Carpet Squares – What to do with them?

A few weeks ago I was at a carpet store and asked if they had any carpet squares to give away. They said they had some by the front door and I could take what I wanted.

Being a former preschool teacher and also owning my own preschool I have used carpet squares a lot. They are not really squares but most of them are rectangular. They are great for when you are doing circle time and you want each child to have their own space.

Carpet squares can also be used for playing games – hopping/jumping from one carpet square to another, using it for color recognition/sorting, or just having it around in the book corner.

I got some carpet squares for my grandchildren. I got one for each of them so if my daughter was doing circle/story time they could each sit on a carpet square. As you can see in the pictures they had other ideas.

C and H playing with the carpet squares.

C and H playing with the carpet squares.

C trying to decide what to do with the carpet squares.

C trying to decide what to do with the carpet squares.

Some other things that you can do with carpet squares – get enough to make a hopscotch game, can be their own playing area, build on it with blocks or legoes, take outside to sit on if you don’t have a blanket available.

What would you use the carpet squares for?

Shaving Cream – What Else Can You Do With It?

A few weeks ago I planned some fun activities to do with my grandchildren. I like to do things frugally when I can, so I purchased a can of shaving cream at the Dollar Store. Shaving cream is a great sensory product for children who don’t put things in their mouth.

Before I let the grandchildren play with the shaving cream, I got a dish pan(from the Dollar Store) and filled it  half way with water. I also had some towels available. I do this to make clean up easier. I did this activity outside but it could also be done in the house.

Shaving Cream Fun

Shaving Cream Fun

They had a small child size picnic table that we used. I squirted the shaving cream on the table and let them at it. After a little while, I asked my eight year old grandson if he wanted to play tic tac toe in the shaving cream. He thought it was a cool idea. I had him look for a couple of sticks to use as our writing instrument. We could have also used our finger.

Tic Tac Toe and Shaving Cream

Tic Tac Toe and Shaving Cream

For those children who may not want to touch the shaving cream or they still put things in their mouth, you can put some shaving cream in a ziplock bag and seal it. Let them play with it and squish it.

What does your child like to do with shaving cream?

Some Characteristics of a Three Year Old

  1. Enjoys gross motor activity – running, jumping, playing with balls, etc.
  2. Builds a tower of nine or ten cubes.
  3. Likes to use crayons and is interested in finer manipulation of play materials.
  4. Has vocabulary that is increasing at a remarkable rate.
  5. Asks many pointless questions that are part of the developmental mechanism for achieving speech.
  6. Has a strong desire to please.
  7. If requested, will do little errands.
  8. Begins to understand what it means to wait one’s turn.
  9. Will share toys.
  10. Can feed self.
  11. Gets over tantrums more quickly than at an earlier age.
  12. Has longer spans of interest in listening to stories.
  13. Insists on stories being retold and reread word for word without change.           These are just some of the many characteristics of a three year old. Many children at this age will demonstrate most of these traits but there will be some that are ahead as well as some children that are far behind. We need to take a look at these children and see what we can do to provide opportunities to enhance and enrich their development.

Stuffed Animal Parade

You can have a stuffed animal parade with one child or twenty children or any number in between. When I use to own a preschool we would have a stuffed animal parade day. The children were able to bring their favorite stuffed animal.

The children can share with others about what they brought. They could also talk about the different kinds of stuffed animals as well as various sizes.

The children could make hats for their stuffed animals and also themselves. Prior to this, collect some boxes that the children could put their stuffed animals in and parade around the house or class. The boxes can also be decorated. You can also use wagons or strollers to pull the stuffed animals around in.

Olympic Playday

With the summer olympics coming in August it might be fun to have your own olympic playday. I did this a number of years ago when I did family day care and also when I was a preschool teacher.

What is an olympic playday? It is a day or afternoon/morning where you plan some activities for the children to do. You can do it with your family or invite some friends over with their children to join in the fun.

Decide on a day that you want to do it. Do you want to have it at your house or go to a park? Decide what activities you want the children to do – ball throw, jump(see how far they can jump), bean bag toss, running, make an obstacle course, and anything else you and the children can think of. Let them practice the week before.

Talk with the children about the olympics coming up and what kind of events are in it. Plan on watching an event or two. Talk about the difference between the summer and winter olympics.

Make ribbons/medals for the different events. What other events can you add for an olympics playday?

Outside Play – Chalk and Mud

A few weeks ago my grandchildren had a chance to go to something called Adventure Playground. It was a free event held at an elementary school that had access to mud, water, painting, cardboard building, as well as other things that they could play with. The brochure said to wear clothes that you can get messy and that’s what they did. My granchildren had fun doing the different things. The boys especially liked playing and digging in the mud.

K digging in the mud.

K digging in the mud.

My daughter lets the children play in the mud at home, but not that often because there is a lot of clean up especially in the cooler months where it would be harder to hose them off. She let them play in the mud to their hearts content because when they were done she could hose them off leaving the water and mud at the playground instead of her backyard.

C making plans of what he is going to do next with the mud.

C making plans of what he is going to do next with the mud.

Children should have the opportunity to play in the mud during their childhood. If you are not one for messes, try to find events that have that available or set something up on a smaller scale. Fill a dishpan with some mud and let them go at it. Have an old tablecloth or tarp underneath and do it outside. Hose your child and tarp off when done.

The girls enjoyed coloring with chalk. They like to get messy like their brothers but chose not to dig in the mud. The youngest one N who is 22 months old thought it was fun to color her foot with chalk. What’s nice about that you just hose them off before you leave.

H & N coloring with chalk.

H & N coloring with chalk.

More Crepe Paper Fun

Back in July, 2014, I wrote a post on crepe paper fun. I want to share some more ideas of what your child can do with it. Besides using it in the house, why don’t you let them take it outside for some fun. A couple of weeks ago I had some of my grandchildren over. It was a nice day and I wanted them playing outside most of the time. I set three rolls of crepe paper on the living room floor in case they wanted to play with it.

Crepe Paper

Crepe Paper

C found the crepe paper and asked if he could play with it outside. His brother and sister wanted one also. I said they could play with it outside but when they were done they had to throw it all away. We didn’t want to leave any around in case it rained.

C and K found different things to do with it. They wrapped it around trees, tied it to their waist and let it hang down like a tail, tied it around their wrist and ran with the wind blowing it. K tied his to two trees and would run through it like a finish line. N who is only 22 months old just kind of threw it and didn’t do much with it. I did tie some crepe paper to the stroller so when I pushed her around the crepe paper would blow.

You can also tie crepe paper to the back of bikes, or on riding toys, hang from a low tree branch and let them run through it. What does your child like to do?

If you don’t want to throw the crepe paper away just yet – your child can make a collage with it.

DIY Toddler Toy

I recently came back from a four day California coastal cruise with my husband, son, daughter-in-law, their two children(ages 3 and 18 months), and her parents. We were flying to the cruise port and I wanted to make something for my eighteen month old grandson to play with on the plane, and also while we were on the cruise ship.

I went to our local Dollar Tree to see what I could make. I came across two small clear plastic containers with lids that can pop up. These were small enough that we could pack it in the carry on bag. While I was at the Dollar Tree I was looking to see what he could put in it that wasn’t too small.

I came across some plastic fruit that is used to freeze and put in drinks. This was a great size and it fit in the conatainer. I also had some other things at home that he could drop in it – plastic bottle lids and the colorful plastic lids from fruit pouches. I brought five of each and put them in ziploc bags. I also put a piece of felt in the bottom of one of the containers so it won’t be too loud when he drops things in it. Normally I wouldn’t mind it being loud, but since we were on an airplane I wanted to be considerate of others.

In the other conatainer, I put some colorful and silky material in it, that he can pull out. He liked that but I think he had more fun with the container that he could dump out and fill again. His three year old sister liked playing with it also.

Plastic jars and fruit from the Dollar Tree.

Plastic jars and fruit from the Dollar Tree.

DIY Toddler Toy

DIY Toddler Toy


E dumping plastic fruit.

E dumping plastic fruit.


E putting plastic fruit in container.

E putting plastic fruit in container.

Paper Towel Tubes – What Can You Do With Them?

A few weeks ago I was watching some of my grandchildren – ages 7, 6, and 21 months old. I was trying to think of something to make/do with the toddler. She loves balls and I had some paper towel tubes, so I taped one to the wall. I showed her how to drop the ball in the tube.

She had fun for a little while and then she was done. Her older brothers wanted to know if I had more paper towel tubes because they wanted to add to it. I gave them some more paper towel tubes, tape, and scissors. They were busy for a little bit constructing a marble tower with what they had. They were trying different ways to see which would work better and also cut one of the tubes to make it fit.

Marble Tower

Marble Tower

They were busy playing, and constructing for over an hour. This activity didn’t cost anything since it was with things I had around the house.

What do you have around your house that your child can create something with?

10 Activities Your Child Can Do While You Are Getting Dinner Ready

Hello!! Happy New Year!! I hope you all had a blessed Christmas. We’ve taken some time off and now we are ready to get back in the swing of things. This new year we will be sharing a variety of things, ideas, and other blogs that have a wealth of activities that you can make and do with your child.

Do you find your child wanting more of your attention while you are getting dinner ready?

As my children were growing up, this was usually the case and especially when I was doing child care in my home. The dinner prep hour – usually tired, hungry children, especially those in child care that were with you all day long.

Crockpots are great for helping with dinner especially when you can make ahead some freezer meals. TV, video/computer games can be helpful but I only used them occasionally.

If I had babies or toddlers in my care I would sit them in a high chair and give them things to play with. Depending on their age, stickers, coloring, playdough, small wind-up toys(have an older child wind up toys for the baby).

Here are some things you can have the older child do while you are preparing dinner:
1. Help with cooking
2. Playdough
3. Coloring
4. Pipe cleaner necklace/bracelet with pony beads
5. Busy Bags – Many ideas on Pinterest
6. Ispy book/bottle
7. Color/shape sort
8. Mini blocks
9. Pipe cleaners
10. Mini felt/magnetic board & things to play with

These are only a few ideas of things your child can do while you are making dinner. I like to have the children in the kitchen so we can still interact but they are playing on their own.

You can also put some of the above mentioned things in small containers and have them use it during this time only. You can rotate the toys or make a new batch of playdough. Remember the idea is something for your child that he/she can do on their own with minimal supervision and mess.

What do you like your child to do while you are making dinner?