Thursday, December 10, 2009

Plush Alphabet Project

So, a friend I met through MOPS had a set of super-cute felt alphabet toys for her toddler son. She couldn't remember where she got them and I couldn't find any the same size to buy in a store or online (I wanted them stuffed-toy size not magnet size) so over a vacation I decided to try to wing it on my mom's sewing machine. They turned out passable - not as cute as the originals but they'll do for letter games and early phonics and reading lessons...and just plain imaginative play, which is what little Biscuit likes them best for right now :)

We use them to make some of his favorite words...
CAR, of course!


and just for fun, a little rhyming lesson using the "at" words...

All you have to do to make your own set of plush ABC's is get 26 full felt sheets (8.5 x 11) in fun colors. Fold each sheet in half and draw on a big bubble letter to fill each half sheet using sewing chalk or washable marker (a template for the letters adds more hassle...just hand draw them, it makes them "yours!").  Cut out any holes in letters like A, B, D, P, etc. Then sew carefully around each letter outline leaving an inch hole for stuffing (consider leaving two holes on complicated letters like M, X, W); cut each letter out; stuff 'em with fiberfill (use a pencil or dowel to stuff hard-to-reach areas) and sew up the loose ends. Trim any loose thread and there you are...all done! Have fun!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Leaf-Looking with a Little One

Today we had the delightful combination of beautiful foliage and warmer weather so me and my little guy couldn't resist a trip to the park. In fact, we heard about a new one we had to check out, and it was paradise for a toddler ;D

Of course, the new playground was fun, but the best parts of all were not man made!!

He absolutely LOVED this little creek. And the gravel pile beside it of course! The colors of the trees near there were breathtaking! A photo does not do it justice.

The fuzzy "caterpillar" weeds made his day too!

He called them "tickle weeds!"

He also found some deer tracks...this place looked like Heaven for wildlife.

Then it was time to run through the fall fields!

Look! We found a scenic trail hidden behind a field.

Hmm...I wonder if there's a tree house to play in up there?

"See the pretty grasses mommy?"

And a bridge too? Wow, does it get any better?

Yes it does! Ladybugs!

And ladybug kisses!!

And holes to throw pine needles and rocks inside!

The quiet babble of the brook was so relaxing to us both.

I wish the leaves didn't have to fall off...but until they do, we'll probably be back to this place as often as we can!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Playroom Makeover

With colder weather coming up fast, we needed to make some adjustments to the playroom so there'd be plenty to keep us occupied indoors this winter. The big room of toys didn't have much organization to it, so I gave it more structure and hopefully now it's more practical to use.

Here's the book features a fun new lounge chair and ottoman we got on clearance at big lots,  a cozy bear for snuggling up for reading, ABC foam playmat, a bookshelf full of newbery medal books, puzzles and word cards and alphabet/phonics posters, a basket of lil biscuit's favorite stories, and of course, the plush icons of children's lit, Corduroy (biscuit's best bud!), Brown Bear...and Clifford, the best-read dog on the block ;) As you can see, lil boy has already made himself at home in his new toddler chair!

Next there's a center for playing cars, where all the radiator springs and hot wheels heroes cruise around. It has a playmat, race track, wooden parking garage and bin for storage. And beside it sits a small red table for building with blocks

The playroom playground has his pop-up tunnel (he loves pushing his cars through it), bounce house and slide; it's sitting on more foam playmat and carpet remnants.

Then there's the music center for pounding away at his keyboard; the box holding it doubles as storage for his ball pit balls; and the bins hold more toys that he doesn't play with all the time.

The last area is the art center, which has his new craigslist easel (it has dry erase/chalk board/roll of paper for painting) and toddler table/chair. The little drawers hold his crayons, colored pencils, markers and chubby chalk; the sand pail is play dough and accessories; the clothesline with pins for displaying his masterpieces; and the bin is for coloring books, aquadoodle, magnadoodle, sticker books etc.

Here he is, trying out his hand at watercolor...or, more accurately, trying to put his hand in the cup of water...

Anyway, clearly it's a low-budget production, but it should keep us a little more organized and occupied when the frigid air hits later on! In the meantime, it's "something different downstairs" and is already working as a nice boredom busters. So maybe we'll just keep re-arranging as needed to keep things interesting ;)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Going Green...(taking a toddler biking on a greenway)

Now that the weather has started getting cooler, we decided to go for a family bike ride down a local greenway that connects a pair of parks near made for a fun and scenic evening mini-adventure!

Hooray for greenways...want to come along next time?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Ready to Roll! (Hill games)

Little Biscuit went with me this week to have a quick trip down memory lane ;) I found the greatest grassy hill for rolling down, just like when I was a kid. I figured, you're never too old to stop being a child at heart, so he's not too young to start playing like one either ;)
The moment I got up from my demo roll down the side of the hill, Biscuit was all over it ;) He couldn't stop giggling, and off he went, go-go-going!It was a big hill for a small boy...Split-second halftime break.Play resumes...Mission complete!Time for round two!
After he was done, he wanted to climb another "hill"...I wouldn't let him roll down this one though :-/
We'll definitely be back to visit the Hill when snow comes ;) Or maybe before, if I can find one of those fun ice-runner sleds for grass. (Wax paper didn't work as well as we hoped.)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Free Festivals...Another Family-Friendly Local Activity

This past weekend we decided to check out the Festival of the Little Hills on the riverfront not too far from us. Of course it was mostly vendors but little b just likes to meander aimlessly anyway, pushing his stroller ... anything to get out some of that rambunctious toddler energy. So we visited the barbecue n burger kiosk for lunch, stopped by the stage to listen to the local municipal band (he is a huge music fan so little b ate it up!), got a free balloon for him from First Baptist Harvester's tent, visited the engine club's exhibit of spitting tractor and old truck motors (he liked seeing the displays but the noise made him skittish to get to close), visited the kids corner where inflatables, rock walls and other carnival-type were in action. But his favorite part of all was the hands-on craft tent where he got to paint his very own wooden snake. we didn't take many pictures of the day's festivities but we did get a few of the snake-painting...