*toddler christmas activities*

Even though I despise winter weather, I adore Christmas time.  I can’t get enough of the twinkling lights, Christmas decorations, the smell of pine trees and cinnamon filling the air, and the endless amount of fun you can have with children. Here are a few activities you can squeeze in before the big day.

Christmas Cloud Dough

My son had a blast with the Christmas Cloud Dough. He was pretending to be a “cookie baker”. This recipe feels similar to cookie dough and allows kids to be in control of the Christmas baking. I added more oil than the recipe calls for, so don’t be afraid to play around. The best part is it is made out of ingredients from your pantry.  If your kiddo decides to take a bite, it will not be harmful. So get out your cookie cutters and sprinkles and let your kiddos dig in!

Christmas-Cookie-Cloud-Dough-Taste-Safe-Sensory-Play-Holiday-Activity-for-Kids.-683x1024

For more Christmas sensory bin ideas CLICK HERE! 

Winter Songs

These Winter Songs are super adorable and super simple!  They take classic kids songs, like The Hokey Pokey, and turn them into fun winter renditions, like The Snowkey Pokey. Most of them have movement incorporated too!

Winter-Songs-for-Preschoolers

 FREE Christmas Printables

This Christmas Preschool Pack is perfect for your little ones to practice skills over their winter break. There are 40 pages of free fun to practice counting, writing, cutting, sequencing, and reading.

Christmas-Preschool-Pack

These colorful Do-a-Dot printables are perfect to take to a restaurant or to give you some time to wrap a few presents.  If you don’t have Do-a-Dot markers,  you can use little pom poms or circular color coding labels.

Christmas-Do-a-Dot-Printables-Pack-Gift-of-Curiosity-627x1024

Easy Christmas Shortbread Cookie Recipe

This Easy Christmas Shortbread Cookie Recipe is a must! It only takes 3 ingredients!!!  It was the perfect Christmas cookie to make with my children.  If you choose to add sprinkles, you can mix it into the batter or sprinkle the cookie before putting it into the oven.  Enjoy!

3-ingredient-shortbread-cookies-2

Have a Merry Christmas and Rescue Your Dreams!

-♥-Amanda

*revamped lacing cards*

revamped lacing cards

Most mommas or teachers have used lacing cards at some point.  They are fantastic for improving fine motor skills by developing finger strength and the pincer grasp needed for writing.  My son doesn’t love to hold a pencil and write, but he does love to sew.  I’ve noticed how well his handwriting has improved simply from doing lacing cards.  You can find them at the dollar store, the dollar spot at Target, or any teaching store.  I personally like the wooden ones because they are more durable and can be used over an over.  However, the card stock versions are cheeper and can be printed yourself.  Here’s a link to amazon with many wooden versions. Or click here for many free printable ones on Pinterest.

As much as I love our lacing cards, I wanted them to be more educational.  I think most teachers understand the desire to make as many learning opportunities from one activity as possible. But instead of buying new lacing cards,  I have revamped the ones I already have!

Here’s what you need…a sharpie marker.  Yep! That’s it! Now turn your lacing cards over so you see a blank canvas.  To make these more educational, think of things in a sequence or an order.  The alphabet, counting in order to 100, spelling, and skip counting by 5s or 10s is a great start.

how to revamp your lacing cards

Draw a star next to one hole to indicate where you want your child to start.  Now think of a sequence for your child to practice. My son needs practice with numbers in the teens.  I started with 10 and wrote numbers to 19 at various holes on the lacing card.  I did not want the next number in the sequence to be next to each other on the card.  I wanted him to have to think what number comes next and have to find it on the card.  You could do this activity with spelling words too! I chose to use color words. Since my son is just learning color words,  I wanted the letters to go in order around the card.  You could also do high frequency words, number words, or even names in your child’s family.

I hope you are inspired to grab those lacing cards and revamp them!

Rescue Your Dreams!

-♥- Amanda

 

 

*sticker hunt*

sticker hunt book

Ready for the EASIEST game ever?!? Go find your stash of stickers.  I know you have basket or drawer full of them somewhere in the house!   Kids seem to accumulate them from the doctor, dentist, grocery store, school, birthday parties, etc.  And of course you can’t throw them away!  Well do I have a solution for you… a sticker hunt! I originally created this game to help my son with his fine motor skills. Picking up stickers and placing them on paper works on their pincer grasp (using your thumb and pointer finger). But this is NOT a sit in your seat kind of game.

Materials: You will need your stash of stickers and a notebook.  That’s it!  My son recently added the stop watch and it’s been a fun twist.

sticker hunt materials

Here’s how you play:

1) Hide around 10-15  stickers in a single room.  Place them high up so your child has to climb on furniture, under tables and chairs so they can crawl, and on the ground so they have to squat down.

2) Tell your child how many stickers they are looking for.  This step is important!  It will help remind you how many you hid and reinforce their counting and adding skills.

3) As your child finds a sticker, they go back and place it in their sticker book.  Ask questions like…

– How many do you have now? How many do you still need to find?  If you have 5 now, how many more do you need to get to 10?

4) Adding the stop watch:  Have your child use the stop watch to see how much time it takes for them to find all the stickers. They can practice reading the numbers on the stop watch to you.  Challenge them to beat their previous time.

sticker hunt

I hope your family enjoys their sticker hunt!

Rescue Your Dreams!

-♥-Amanda

*PAW Patrol PAWty*

Paw Patrol Party    Put the badge on Marshall   Pupcakes

Oh how I love a good party!  I enjoy the planning, shopping, decorating, cooking…all of it!  I tend to go a tad nutso with birthday parties though.  This year my son turned four and wanted a PAW Patrol party.  It was a blast and the party possibilities were endless.  Here are some ideas you could use for a PAW Patrol or dog themed party.

Menu: You must name the food to match the theme! Makes the party extra special.

We ate Dog on Good Sandwiches, Pawsta Salad, Ruffage (veggies and dip), Pupliscious Fruit, Pupcorn, and Pawtato chips.  We sipped on Puptacular Lemonade, Puppy Punch, and Top Dog Drinks (for the adults).

The desserts were my favorite to make!  We munched on Pupcakes, Puppychow, and Kibbles & Bits. My son loved making the Puppy Chow and we were able to do it a few days in advance.  The Pupcakes are simple cupcakes I jazzed up by adding marshmallow paw prints to the top. (You will need to cut a big marshmallow in half  for the bottom of the puppy paw and use three little marshmallows for the toes.) The Kibbles and Bits are just chocolate malt balls.  Did you notice the adorable dollar store dog bowls the desserts are in?  Too cute right?!

Puppy Chow     PUPcakes     Kibbles and Bits

Gift Bags: Or in the case…Doggie Bags!

I collected items from a dollar store, Oriental Trading, and a party supply store.  Inside the doggie bags were little frisbees, Paw Patrol tatoos, pawprint stamps, a Paw Patrol neclace, a bouncing ball, Paw Patrol masks, and a dog collar bracelet.  I placed their doggie bags on their placemat, so they could open them whenever they wanted.  They were a hit!

Paw Patrol Doggie Bag

Games:

We played “Place the badge on Marshall”, which I bought at the party store.  Nickelodeon has a similar game you can download though.  The kids also played “Fetch” with wiffle balls and a dog I drew on a cardboard box. We were going to play “Obedience School”, but we ran out of time.  You play it like Simon Says, but with dog commands. (roll over, chase your tail, bark at a cat, sniff your neighbor, etc.)

Play Fetch Game     Put the badge on Marshall     Paw Patrol Game

General PAWty ideas:

Your first stop should be to Nickelodeon’s website.  They have LOTS of freebies! I found the Doggie Bag toppers and coloring placemats here.

My centerpieces were one of my favorites.  I filled glass vases with dog treats. Then I printed out Paw Patrol pictures, paw prints, and bones on card stock.  I hot glued some ribbon around the vases and the pictures on wooden skewers.  Last I added some crinkle confetti for some color.  LOVE!

Paw Patrol Center Piece

 

Rescue Your Dreams!

-♥- Amanda

*get that goblin*

What do you do when you want to stay in your pjs, but you know your toddler needs to burn off some energy?  You GET. THAT. GOBLIN!

Get that Goblin       Get that Goblin

When you search for gross motor activities on Pinterest, you are inundated with suggestions.  Many sites offer over 563 ideas you have to painfully search through.  After clicking on 274 links, you realize you don’t have most of the supplies or you know the activity will only maintain your toddler’s attention for two seconds.  I promise Get That Goblin is worth it and you have everything you need!

You need a trash bag, permanent marker, some old wrapping paper, duck tape, and some string/ribbon/yarn. That’s it! Use the marker to draw a scary face on the front and back of the trash bag.  Think jack-o-lantern face, zig-zag mouth, angled eyebrows, and oval eyes. Have have your toddler crumble up some old wrapping paper and fill the trash bag.  Next,  you will tie yarn around the handles of the trash bag.  I tripled even quadrupled the thickness for extra strength.  Attach the string to the ceiling or door way with some duck tape.  I used about 8 strips that were 3 inches long. I put the tape on my clothes first, so it would lose a little bit of adhesion.  I didn’t want the duck tape to ruin my walls.

My son spent an hour punching, kicking, and running into the goblin.  He even got some cloth balls to throw at it and a plastic bat to hit it like a pinata. So much fun and burned off so much energy!

Rescue Your Dreams!

-♥- Amanda

*no sand…no problem*

What do you do with a sand table in the winter?  Put it in the attic?  No way!  They make the best sensory and play tables.  Here are 5 ways we have used our sand table this winter.

Go Fish!  Fill the sand table with water and add magnetic letters.  We made fishing poles with craft sticks, string, and a magnet.  One of the fishing poles had paper clips on the end.  It wasn’t very strong in the water, so we took a magnet from the refrigerator.  My son loved this!  I would call out a letter or a sound.  He would try and catch that fish.

Fish for letters

Make Snow! This recipe feels and molds like real snow. We made snowmen, played with winter themed animals, wrote his name, and used kitchen utensils. Use 3 cups baking soda and 1/2 cup of white conditioner. We doubled the recipe to make more. Warning, learn from my mistake and get a conditioner that does not have a scent. The tropical sent was a bit much after a while.  I found the recipe here.

Make snow

Play with Legos! This is the best way to contain those death traps. It also makes playing so much easier for my son. The sand table allows him to sit up and gives him a hard service to build.

Lego table

Letters and Beans Construction Site! Another fun way to practice letter and sound recognition. I would tell my son which letters or sounds to find or my son would tell me what he dug up.

Beans and letters

Paint Ice or Snow! Embrace the winter season with this activity.  I had left over ice from a party, but you could also collect snow from outside to use. After some free paint time, we mixed colors to see what new colors we could create.

Paint ice

Rescue Your Dreams!

-♥- Amanda

*spiderweb!*

This activity is great when you are stuck in the house on a cold winter day.  With the title “Spiderweb”, it would be perfect around Halloween too!  I took left over yarn and wove in and out of a laundry basket.  First, I put several toys in the bottom of the basket for my son to try and get to. Later, he put toys in to rescue.  It honestly provided an hour of entertainment, which in the winter is priceless!  Even my 7 month old daughter enjoyed this adventure.

Laundry basket spiderweb Laundry basket Spiderweb

Rescue Your Dreams!

-♥- Amanda