Easy Peasy Painting

Would you like a simple activity that will entertain kids of multiple ages? I have an easy one for you today! It is called… wait for it… “Paint the Sidewalk.” ha, real original, but SO EASY!

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Now that the weather is nicer, we are taking every opportunity to get outside. On a really warm day last week, I remembered that my kindergarten students loved painting the sidewalk with water… what an easy and fun idea! So, I grabbed some paint brushes, tupperware, and for some more fun; food coloring.

Emmy and I headed outside with some excitement, some clothes we didn’t mind getting messy and started painting. At this time, Emmy is 14 months old and is really starting to mimic everything I do. I gave her the paintbrush and watched her twist it around her hand, feel the bristles, and then give it a good shake. I used another paint brush to dip in the water and showed her how to paint the sidewalk. She immediately started copying me. I could see the wheels turning in her head as she was figuring out this new activity. She was fully engaged for a good 10 minutes. When I noticed she was losing interest, I added the food coloring and once again she was fascinated! I added another tupperware container with water and a different color and again she was sucked into painting our sidewalk.

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This activity can’t get any easier, and it provides a lot of sensory input, language development, as well as some fine motor and gross motor activity. Encourage vocabulary by naming the colors, and the materials, and take this time to narrate what your child is doing or maybe even label a feeling. (Try; “Wow! Painting seems to help you relax!” Or “Wow! You are painting so much! You have so much energy!” Sounds cheesy, but the more you talk, the better!) My kindergarten students always loved this activity, so I don’t see a need to modify it for older children. For babies, you could forget the water (or keep it, if its warm enough) and just use a paint brush to tickle their toes, knees and hands!

I hope that you have so much fun getting outdoors with your little ones! I would love to hear how you make this activity your own. What are some other ways that you enjoy the outdoors?

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In and Out

I feel like most activities I do with my toddler last maybe 10 minutes? And that would definitely be the maximum amount of time! Tonight, Emmy was engaged in an activity for a solid 30 minutes!!! My husband and I were in disbelief.

 

All you need is an empty tissue box, some bouncy balls and maybe another container. I used a tupperware container.

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It is super simple, and a great activity for building language, fine motor skills and even gross motor.

 

I modeled how to take the balls in an out of the tissue box. Each time, I said, “in, and out.” The bouncy balls were new to Emmy so, she was fascinated by these and had to turn them over in her hands a few times. I kept pointing and repeating “ball.” Then, she began to mimic what I had been doing. She kept taking the balls out of the tissue box and placing them in the tupperware container. I only had six balls because they are smaller than I would prefer, so these are an item I will put away because I don’t want her to play with them without me monitoring. Once she had placed all six in the tupperware, I clapped and cheered! She then started clapping for herself, which is so cute, and then started the process over again!

 

There were so many variations with this activity and they all kept her so engaged. I could see her wheels turning as she manipulated the bouncy balls. I thought for sure I would end up with bouncy balls all over my living room… but she was very intent on keeping these in their containers.

 

Emmy actually created her own variation to this activity. She pulled a ball out of the tissue box, walked around our ottoman, and then placed in the other container. She did this so many times we were worried she was going to get dizzy!

Toddlers love taking objects out of containers, bags, cabinets, and drawers! Although this can drive us crazy, it can also be a fun opportunity for building language skills and having some fun with your little one!

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Let me know if you tried this activity or created something of your own. I am off to clean up all of the tupperware that Emmy forgot to put back in a cabinet!

Flying with a Toddler

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I have to start this post by saying that my husband and I flew ALOT prior to having Emmy. Honestly, my experience and routine in flying helped me as I prepared for our first trip with a baby. My husband and I recently counted the number of flights that Emmy has been on since she was born… It was 23! We need to get her a frequent flyers mile number ASAP! 

I am hoping that our experiences, success and mistakes can help you as you prepare to fly with your little one.  I mostly fly with Emmy by myself, but these tips can definitely be used if you are flying as a family.

When I fly with Emmy, I take one carry-on rolling suitcase ( I always check it unless my husband is traveling with me), one backpack, my Ergo Baby 360, her stroller and her carseat.  (Emmy is still in an infant car seat- we plan to switch her soon!) Most of our trips are to Georgia where our parents have an extra car seat base, and pack and play. We will be taking a trip to the Northwest and Hawaii in June, so stay posted for how we pack for that vacation.

In my carry-on size suitcase:

  • My clothes, shoes, hair accessories (usually a straight iron or curling iron, never both) I wear my bulkiest items, my ankle boots have been great for transitioning from Wisconsin to Georgia, but I have worn light cold weather boots as well. I generally then pack my small ballet flats along with a pair of tennis shoes or Toms.
  • Liquids (bath soap and lotion for Emmy, some hair products for me)
  • I LOVE packing cubes. I don’t always use them for my stuff, but they have been amazing for Emmy’s stuff! I pick two smaller cubes and roll her tops in one, and pants in the other. I usually squeeze some socks and shoes in with the bottoms.
  • I like to put her brush, tooth brush, bows, and anything else random in a small bag and I include this in my checked bag
  • I like to tuck some diapers in the suitcase if I have room, but I don’t worry about it too much.

My Back-Pack (In the south I said “book-bag” but had to change when I moved to Wisconsin! I was confusing my kinders.)

  • I have two gallon-size zip-loc bags.
    • One with diaper changing materials: diapers, changing pad, and a small container of aquaphor) *I keep the wipes out of a bag because I use them so much!
    • The second one I pack last because I want to grab it easily. This holds, snacks for baby and me, wipes, a couple toys, boogie wipes, tissues and extra paci’s
  • I pack 5-10 diapers on the bottom of the bag. Just for worst case scenarios. I also roll up an extra shirt for me, and two extra outfits for Emmy. If I have room I add some leggings in case Emmy has an accident on me. (This has never happened… knock on wood!)
  • If I have room, I include a book because this can entertain her for a bit on the flight.
  • I like to bring a water bottle if possible, if not, I always buy one at the airport once we get through security, and this is another fun toy for Emmy to play with!
  • My back-pack also includes essentials in case of a major delay that I wouldn’t want to buy (kids tylenol, along with the dispenser, nose frida and saline solution.) The liquids go in my quart size zip-loc along with my must-have liquids.
  • I also like to pack my make-up in my back pack because I would be a mess if that was lost too!
  • One sippy cup of almond milk for Emmy. I let her drink from my water bottle if needed. *I always let the TSA agents know I have a sippy cup of liquid. 
  • One Muslin blanket- nursing cover, cover when sleeping, or ball it up and use it support your arm when they sleep. 
  • If you have a younger baby, the monkey mat is amazing! It can hook onto your backpack as well. I used this when Emmy was sitting up or for tummy time prior to boarding!
  • i-Pad: If you plan ahead, you can download some shows from amazon prime or netflix!

During the flight

I like to board first, I know some moms prefer to wait, and now that Emmy is walking we may end up doing this too! I like the extra time to get situated, especially when traveling alone. Ever since Emmy could sit up, I plopped her in my seat, then buckled her up so that I could unpack and wipe down the surrounding surfaces! I am not a big germaphobe, but airplanes/airports gross me out!

I hold off on bringing out the toys for as long as possible. We have been lucky that people sitting with us or nearby like to entertain Emmy and I fully support that! When I was nursing, I would nurse during take-off. If you are not nursing, try a paci, and if your child doesn’t take a paci, offer a bottle or sippy cup! The sucking can prevent their ears from popping.

The rest of the flight is pretty much me trying to entertain her. I offer snacks, I let her play with my water bottle, my phone, or watch shows on the iPad. When the flight attendants come around, I ask for a bag of pretzels and empty cup.. Both purely for Emmy’s entertainment- New, cheap toys!

She usually falls asleep about halfway through the flight and I always let her! If she is awake and antsy, I take advantage of the seat belt sign being off and I get up and walk her to the back of the plane and try to stand out of people’s way.

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I hope that your flight is as stress-free! Everyone knows babies cry, if your child gets upset, try your best to stay calm. Get up and walk around, take a breath and just know this will be a small memory some day.

What are some travel tips that have helped you?