Tag Archives: toddlers

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling…

We painted our bathroom recently, and when I was finished with the mini paint roller I knew just what I wanted to do with it.


Crafts!


We coated some cardboard with aluminum foil and made palettes, and then I squirted various colors of tempera paint for the kids to roll — sometimes onto paper plates and sometimes right onto the “canvas.”


Alex loved it.  There was color mixing, mushing, and plain old messy fun.

Jack and Anna loved it too, especially with Q-tips to draw on the palettes.

Jack even took the opportunity to practice his cursive, tracing and copying his name after I wrote it out for him.

I highly recommend it!  Even if you don’t paint your bathroom first.  🙂

Happy weekend!


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The Puddle Stomping Personality Test

A couple of weeks ago I found myself in a store full of very breakable objects with a small boy.

Being a sensible sort, I left my friends and older kids to continue browsing and took my small boy outside.

We looked for things to do while the others smelled every scented candle in Lincoln, Nebraska.  This included running games…


thinking games…


and eventually led to…

Puddles.

Now, I knew puddle stomping would not be a particularly good idea on that particular day.

It was COLD out.  They were big puddles.  We didn’t have extra shoes, socks or pants.  Alex would get cold.

And he’d also get happy.

Life is short.

I let him stomp.

And stomp.

And stomp.

While Alex stomped, I noticed the reactions of people passing by.  There were three types:

1.  Those who were delighted at the sight and broke into big grins.

2.  Those who looked horrified, no doubt thinking how cold and wet he was going to be soon or what a mess he was making of himself.

3.  Those who were so busy they didn’t notice at all.

It was very interesting watching their faces!  Many of the second group looked around to spot me, no doubt thinking that I must not have noticed what he was up to.  I swear they wanted to yell at him themselves!

I loved watching the first group, and just felt a little sorry for the last group.  But mostly I just loved watching Alex in his absolute delight.

And I also knew that he was going to be wet and cold when he was finished, and we had a lot left to do in the day and no warm clothes.

Some parents would take this opportunity to teach him about “natural consequences” and let him be wet and cold and miserable for the rest of the day.  I’m not that sort of parent.  I didn’t want his fun to be at a price learned at the tender age of three about the steep price of having fun, mister.

The nice thing about outdoor malls is that there are lots of stores!  And while we get most of our clothes from thrift stores and garage sales, I know my way around a Gap well enough to know that there’s almost always something on clearance.

So when our friends were finished, we made a quick stop for a rather darling, warm pair of striped pants at the unbeatable price of $2.99 and he was nearly good as new.


(Okay, he went bare footed for a while and I carried his shoes.  Shoes were a lot more than 2.99!)

I love those pants now.  They remind me of a joyful afternoon and the sort of mama I strive to be.  And the sort of passer-by.  🙂




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Colored Water Busywork

Here’s a simple way I keep my boys happy when they’re bored and I need a few minutes to finish supper.  Fill an ice cube tray or muffin tin with water (half full) and add a few drops of food coloring to about half of the cups (put a towel underneath for little ones who are prone to spills).  Then give them eye droppers or medicine droppers to mix and match the colors.

This is surprisingly fun for kids and very calming for my boys.  They love to make a rainbow of colors and shades.

They can also drop the colors onto coffee filters, newspaper, light colored construction paper or other absorbent paper to make patterns with the colors.

It’s simple fun, with a little color theory tossed in!

Want to add to the fun?  Tint white vinegar instead, and then give them each a little bowl of baking soda with a baby spoon afterwards.  They can add a tiny scoop of baking soda to each cup and see what happens!  In color! 🙂

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Parenting and Puddle Jumping

“I love my daughter’s fierce, irrational puddle jumping. Every day she teaches me a little more about being authentically alive. Sometimes it means hurrying us along before the rain starts, sometimes it means hurling our favorite shiny, black shoes in the grass and returning to the puddle for another round.”

Here, go visit Eros-Allegra Clarke to read the rest of this lovely post!

My own little puddle jumper (or one of them!)…

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A Door to Anywhere

Daryl has been on the lookout for an old fashioned screen door for a play he’s putting on in September.  Last week, he spotted one by the street for trash pick-up and snagged it.  When he got it home, he realized it seemed to be made for very tiny people (!) and would not work at all.

A door made for very tiny people?  I immediately seized on it and asked Daryl to hang it up for us.

Three hinges and ten minutes later, we had a door to nowhere.  Or the back yard.  Or anywhere.

Daryl added a hook and eye screw so the door can be fastened against the garage when out of use.

We discovered that it made a perfect stage for puppet shows!

Or just make believe.  🙂

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that often the most magical things are things that other people would consider rubbish.  Whether it’s scrap wood painted bright colors and used as giant outdoor building blocks or old doors that lead to nowhere, there’s often pretty nifty stuff out there waiting to be imagined — for free!   🙂

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Certifiable

When my girls were little, I sometimes came up with creative ways to occupy them when I was sick.  Between problem pregnancies and long-term illnesses, I spent a lot of time on the couch with little girls who were not the type to sit still and watch Sesame Street.

One of the ways I used to occupy them was to let them draw on the bottoms of my feet.  I’d give Victoria washable markers and she’d doodle halfway up my leg while I got to rest and not fall down or throw up for a little while.

(I still remember how idiotic I felt at the prenatal appointment when I stripped down and then realized I was decorated up to my knees in toddler art and had forgotten to wash it off!)

I still use the busywork trick.

Tuesday night, I really wanted to watch a television show.  My boys were bored so I sat Alex at the top of the couch with me and 25 Matchbox cars and Jack at the end of the couch with washable markers.

For a good twenty minutes, I lined up fire trucks and convertibles with one little boy while another enthusiastically decorated me.

On my right foot was a series of… well, I have no idea, but upside down they look a bit like a weird smiley face.  And on the left… I was orange.  Jack decided he wanted to make me an alien.

It worked.  I watched my show, the boys played and were happy (before moving on to the next busywork — even doing graffiti on Mom only works so long), and I’m pretty sure most of it was non-toxic.

And then today… I kept meaning to take a bath or jump in the shower but one thing after another happened.  And so I took a walk around the neighborhood with two little boys and decorated feet.  I drove to the lawnmower repair shop and rode along to the car repair shop to see about air conditioning.  I gardened and chased the kids outside.  I said “hi” to the passing teenagers.

All with these feet.

(Blue toenails courtesy of Annalee, who offered me a free spa treatment and pedicure the same night.)

My left foot kept scaring me throughout the day.  I’d forget about it all and then catch sight of that and think I’d missed some sort of terrible accident.

Even after I finally got that bath, my left foot is still pale orange.  And the brown heart appears to be permanent.  I’m surprisingly unconcerned, though.  It kind of makes me smile.

I can’t imagine what our townspeople must think of me.  🙂

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Seasons

It’s that time of year again…

When we go from this:

to this:

Yay for (almost) spring!

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