Saturday, December 7, 2013

DIY Kids Art Display

If you have been keeping up with my posts you know that we recently started doing craft time every night. This has left us with a lot of art that we really have no place for at the moment. I want to hang her stuff up because she loves looking at the things she made, but I also want to stop poking holes in the walls with 1,000 push pins. 

IKEA has a really cool solution for this. It is this little metal wire with little metal clips. But it is like twenty dollars and you can hang maybe 5-6 8x10s on it. Not worth the price at all. So I decided to make one with stuff I had around the house.

 What You Need:
Twine or some kind of string
A Hammer
Two Nails
Clothes pins (Not pictured above)

All you have to do is pick where you want this to hang and then hammer two nails in at either end. Tie your twine or string to either end with a bow or a little curly like I left, or you could even have it stop right at the nail.

Now just hang up your picture with the clothes pins and you're done! It is so simple and easy. I really like the look of the twine and clothespins together. It adds a little bit of a country look and when we get our house finished I plan on doing a lot of walls up with this kind of thing.

 You can hang whatever you want on here really. Pictures, art, recipes. The options are endless! Which is my favorite kind of storage! It is also so easy to change these as she creates more and more things.

What would you hang on these? Would you rather buy the ones from IKEA?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Establishing A Schedule for a Toddler

It is important to me that Emma spends the majority of her time learning to love learning and exploring rather than immersing herself into technology. When I was growing up I had a fair amount of technological opportunities but I also spent a lot of my time with imaginative play and interactive activities. I want to teach Emma in the same way. I want her to embrace technology and learn to use it to her advantage, but I also want her see it isn't the only way.

While I realize it is impossible to get a toddler on an actual schedule, she determines what time she wakes up, falls asleep, takes a nap and gets hungry, I want to have certain things we make sure we do every day.

Outdoor Play
This is really important. There is an entire world out there for her to explore. Just being outside helps her realize temperature changes, visual changes, sensory changes, new coordination skills are developed as she has to balance over the uneven ground. There is nothing better to teach a baby than by letting her explore the back yard.

We spent an hour one day simply digging a hole in the ground. She loved getting to see her small actions of shoveling out some dirt making a bigger impact and creating a hole. She loves seeing the different types of birds and fish that are in the yard. One of her favorite things to do this summer was touch all of the different branches of the trees and smell the different flowers.

If I could pick one thing that I required her to do, it would be play outside. If you do not have a backyard, go to a park. If you don't have a park, bring the outdoors in. Let them plant seeds and see how they grow. Nature is the biggest most awesome thing a child may ever see. And it is your job to teach them to appreciate it.

Reading Time
I think pretty much every parent understands the importance of reading to your kids. Even my doctor asked to make sure we were doing it. I have been reading to Emma since she was in my tummy, so this is something I know she will strive in.

The important thing to remember here is not to force them into reading. So many kids will want to read but when parents put too much pressure on them they lose interest quickly. You simply have to provide them with the tools and if they see you taking time to read they will want to too. Hopefully. (Isn't parenting exhausting?)

Art Time
This is a new one we are working on. Every day before bathtime (if it is messy) or after dinner (if it is something that can easily be cleaned up) we are doing some sort of art or craft. This can get a little expensive, so buy in bulk and only get things you can do for multiple projects. If you're getting to a point where you want to spend a little less, all a kid needs is crayons to do so many activities and they are cheap. Coloring for example leads to a million possibilities. There are also a lot of crayon melting projects.

Even if it just taking ten minutes out of our day, crafting with kids can teach so many lessons. It is possible to make a mistake in art and still have it turn out beautiful (an important life lesson.) It teaches them to care for their art materials or they may not have it again soon (if they break all their crayons they can't color until they've earned some more). It is also a way for them to express themselves. Emma loves running around and pointing at all the things she made.

Dramatic/Imaginative Play 
This is something we don't get to do on a daily basis because she is so young and doesn't really get the imagination part. But it is essentially dress up and pretending to be characters. For example, she has this baby stroller where she takes baby dolls around the house and when she passes us she says "Bye!" like she is actually going somewhere. She isn't, and therefore is pretending.

This is easier with older kids, but it is still something I'd like to incorporate as much as possible.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Every Day Is a Chance to Create ♡

So I have been trying really hard to get Emma on some kind of schedule where she does some fun learning things each day like art time, reading time and other specific play times to help her develop and explore her new world. I saw each and every one of these ideas on pinterest, some of them I tweaked, some of them I didn't. All the links are in my pinterest under my holiday board if you are interested in seeing the original post.

Fingerprint Snowmen Christmas Bulb
What you need:
An ornament
White, orange, black paint
Small paintbrush
Tiny fingers
What you do:
It's pretty self explanatory but you just have to have your little one paint white (I used Crayola finger paint, but you could probably use any if you washed it off really quickly.) all over their hand and carefully grab the bulb. Emma's hand slid up a little, making her fingers look kind of short, but still adorable! Then you have them, or do it yourself if they are too little like Emma, paint the hats, scarfs, eyes, buttons and nose on their little snowmen. Let it dry and WALAH! You have a meaningful ornament you'll remember forever.
Handprint Wreath
What You Need:
Some sort of paper, I used a 11x14 canvas
Green (Red is optional) fingerpaint
(optional) Glitter sticker letters
What You Do:
Again, pretty self-explanatory, but you draw a circle in the middle of the canvas to help guide you and your child. Dip their hand in, or paint on for a little less mess, green finger paint. Have them press their hand along the circle until you have what looks like a wreath. Then have them dip a finger in red for the berries. You can get creative and draw a bow if you want too. Then, either you or the kids, stick the letters to the bottom and vwalah! Adorableness.
Glitter Snowflake Ornaments
What You Need:
Popsicle sticks
Mod Podge or Glue
What You Do:
Again, this depends on the age of the kids. Older kids will be able to glue the popsicle sticks in the shape they want, but for Emma who is 1 and a half, I did that part for her. Then you simply paint mod podge or glue on, and let them drop the glitter on. Older kids can paint designs on in glue. But this one is particularly great for the little ones because they get to play in glitter and it is really hands on for them. Emma was bawling when we were done because she wanted to keep doing this craft, so we ended up doing several layers.
Melted Crayon Ornaments
CAUTION! This one needs to be done by or under supervision of adult. Possible burns!
What You Need:
Crayons (try to use the broken ones!)
Clear Ornament
Hair Drier
 Oven Mitt
What You Do:
Break up the crayons into tiny pieces and stick them inside the clear ornament. We started off trying to do one color at a time, but obviously that just melted for the second layer, so put all colors in at once. If you want one color to be more dominant, just add more of that crayon. Hold the ornament with a pot holder, I do not recommend letting your kids do this part because it gets hot, and put the blow drier near it. Rotate the ornament until the crayons look how you want them and you're all done!
What kind of activities do you guys do with your little ones? Any tips on getting Emma on a learning schedule?