Tag Archives: toddler

On the crafting docket for Feb 2013…

There are so many inspiring resources available that I find myself mentally planning and Pinterest-pinning activities and stopping there. So, I’ve compiled a short, doable (rather than wishful) list of Valentine’s Day related activities that I’m going to do in the next 4 weeks. I think of it as my antidote to Pinterest-paralysis. :)

  • Salt Dough Ornaments in various, embellished heart shapes. I’m going to string these onto garlands–one for us and a few others for friends and family. My plan is to do most of the work on my own, and then have River paint the shapes with glitter paint and glitter glue, since that’s one of her favorite things to do. I made the dough tonight, and it’s in the fridge to use tomorrow. I already have a few ideas for variations brewing–mixing glitter into the dough so that it doesn’t flake off, and possibly coloring the dough pink.Image (Photo credit and idea credit go to the brilliant and inspiring Jean, at The Artful Parent)
  • Soap Petals–I just adore these and have always wanted to make my own for some weird reason. February is a good month to do something like this with the container of pink, silk rose petals in my craft cabinet. My mom has already put in her order for some, and I think River will get a kick out of using them. Image Photo credit goes to Donna DeRosa of the lovely Etsy Shop, Blushing Rose
  • Find and read a story about St. Valentine that’s appropriate for a 3 year old and talk about the origins of the holiday.
  • Memorize a short love poem with River.

I’m thinking that “Love Came” by Rumi might be a truly fun one to memorize with her if I incorporate lots of interpretive gestures. Sure, it might come across as ridiculing a gorgeous, profound poem, but if silly gestures get that gorgeous, profound poem into her head, I’m OK with the indignity of it). I plan to read the poem aloud with her (with gestures), then record it on her digital recorder for her to listen to, then practice it with her a few times a week. We’ll see how it goes.

  • Memorize John 3:16 with River. (Well, I already have it memorized, so it’s more like helping her learn it). I plan to use the same techniques for this verse as for the Rumi poem.
  • Let River go crazy with a pack of 200 heart-shaped stickers to create 6 Valentine’s Day cards that we will address and send to select friends and family. Yes, I’m deliberately doing only 6 cards. If I get very ambitious, we’ll address these cards with photo address labels similar to the ones Meg of Sew Liberated uses in her little guy’s letter-writing activity. My idea for the cards is to have her put stickers on waxed paper, iron another sheet of waxed paper on top of the stickered one, and cut out hearts that she can then glue onto cards. (It’s an easier variation of Martha Stewart’s “Heart Covered Waxed Paper“).
  • Bake a heart shaped cake topped with strawberries and whipped cream. I will probably do a gluten free one so that I can enjoy it. If I’m ambitious enough, I’m going to attempt a GF version of the child-friendly, French yogurt cake that Pam Druckerman raves about in Bringing Up Bebe. If I’m too tired to have my 3 year old “help,” I will do it by myself while she is occupied with playdough. :-P

So, there you have it: garland, soap, stickers, cards, a poem, a verse, and cake. I figure that mixing in “love” themed activities gives me the entire month of February to do some of these. :)


1 Comment

Filed under 2013, crafts and creativity, gift ideas, gluten free

do it RIGHT the FIRST time (I get it now)

Having been very gently introduced to and inspired by the Montessori philosophy of child development by Meg of Sew Liberated, I dove into researching it before and after River was born.

My local library here in CT has a wealth of primary sources (books written by the founder, Maria Montessori) and teacher-oriented books on the method, and internet is a wealth of illuminating illustrations and real-life examples. I found a combination approach of library and internet research to be vital in exploring this philosophy because it has a lengthy set of carefully thought through principles behind everything it does. The exegesis of these principles just doesn’t show up on the Montessori blogs and websites that I’ve found (and I’ve combed through more than thirty), so the books gave me a much needed foundation for applying these principles.

One particularly odd principle that I came across in the books was the emphasis on teaching a child to do a task by modeling it PERFECTLY. This means that if you’re going to teach your child to, say, scrub a table top with a sponge, you practice doing this activity yourself until you can do it fluidly, perfectly, and clearly. Then, you model it for your little one.

There is even a book that contains lengthy instructions on how to model each “life skills task”–sweeping the floor (even describing your hand placement on the broom, etc).

Naturally, being the brilliant educator that I am, I blew off this principle when I showed River how to clean her outdoor table with a sponge.

She happily dunked her sponge in a basin of water, pulled it out, squeezed the excess water out with both hands, scrubbed diligently at the table, and periodically rinsed the sponge.

I was thrilled. Until I thought about transferring this activity to an indoor table. And I realized that she was squeezing the water out of the sponge AFTER she’d pulled the sponge out of and about a foot away from the basin of water. This wasn’t an issue when we were playing outside….

But I realized to my horror that her current method meant that every time she rinsed the sponge, my floor would get doused with at least 3 oz of water if we moved this activity indoors.

“No worries,” I thought to myself. “I’ll just playfully show her how to squeeze the water out OVER the basin, so that it splashes in. She’ll change her method in no time.”

Well, those of you who interact with toddlers on a regular basis are probably already chuckling at my delusional optimism.

River was NOT thrilled with my proposed change, no matter how fun I tried to make it, and she became even more emphatic about doing it her ORIGINAL way. I left her to her cleaning and am now pondering reintroducing the activity in a week, when she’ll hopefully have forgotten her original method and will be more open to the new and improved method.

But I get it now. TEACH IT CORRECTLY THE FIRST TIME! It’s not just a perfectionistic goal–it’s a practical, time-saving, labor-reducing (in the long run) concept.



Filed under 2011

DIY, no-sew, non-slip, baby knee pads!

learning to crawl...it's so arduous!

My daughter just started crawling, and we’re currently in a house with slippery wood floors. She can just barely crawl, and tends to push off of the floor with her knees (rather than fully lifting them), to propel herself forward.

This disqualified the regular (and slippery!) baby knee pads that I saw on amazon.com and various DIY sites–they were just focused on padding and didn’t include non-slip provisions. (Note: lots of people whose babies crawl normally seemed pretty happy with them, so I’m not saying they’re terrible for everyone). :)

The Snazzy Baby knee pads looked WAY too bulky for her little legs, and several reviewers complained that their babies were uncomfortable wearing them.

too bulky!

My first attempt at non-slip baby knee pads was an EPIC fail. I took a pair of baby legwarmers (since I knew they fit), and drizzled them with glue. I figured that the glue would dry as a grippy substance. I forgot that not all glue dries flexibly (there’s a special fabric glue that does, but naturally that’s not what I used).They were stiff and incredibly uncomfortable.

epic fail! too stiff and uncomfortable.

I then thought about chopping off the non-slip pads from a pair of footed PJs and ironing them onto tube socks via fusible web.That COULD work, but was a lot of work….

Which lead me to my next idea….why not just use socks that already have grip? Like slipper-socks?

I took a pair of slipper socks, trimmed off the toe and the material above the heel, slipped them on her legs, and she was off and crawling!

finished in 30 seconds :)


I used fleecy-chenille-like textured socks, so they didn’t unravel when cut, thus eliminating any need to hem or finish the edges. They stay in place surprisingly well, even when she’s crawling on carpet. I think it helps to leave the heel of the sock on as extra material to prevent slippage.

not too tight, but they stay on pretty well!


Here’s what another version of the sock looks like (before being chopped up).

see the grippy dots on the underside?


The socks are made to be “one-size fits all,” so they’re pretty roomy. My daughter’s legs are very small, so there are about 2 inches of extra room inside each pad, so she’ll definitely be able to grow into them.

The down side is that the slipper socks are pretty warm, so I’m not sure how great they’d be during hot weather.

baby knee pads on the go!

For cooler weather, though, they’re flexible and comfortable protection against hard floors AND slippery surfaces!

happy crawling to all!


Filed under Uncategorized