September 27, 2012

Ice Cube Letters

I got these really cool alphabet silicone molds and have been putting them to good use. I used blue Kool-Aid to dye some water and then froze it in the molds to make an icy alphabet. In hindsight, the Kool-Aid wasn’t the best choice for dying the water, because Red’s hands ended up looking like this for a few hours:

But maybe that’s part of the fun—blue hands! He worked on scooping them.

But he preferred just using his hands and lining them up as he named the letters. It makes for some educational sensory play!

His toes even got involved!

He was disappointed when they melted, but it was a good little science lesson to see that the letters melt faster on the driveway than they do in the bowl. I just had to promise to make some more!

September 26, 2012

Tot School – 9.23.12

-Red is currently 27.5 months old-


Letter: G

Theme: Goats/Farm Animals

Tot Trays & Learning Toys

1. Matching star stickers. I cut up a sheet of star stickers so that the backer was separate from the stickers and let Red put the stickers back into the holes of the backer. He liked this okay, but it wasn’t his favorite.

2. Farm Cube Puzzle. This puzzle was much too difficult, but he enjoyed just playing with the blocks.

3. Tonging shapes into a paint tray. My little guy has never gotten the hang of tweezing/tonging. I keep trying, but he hasn’t shown much interest yet.

4. See Saw Sorter. He seemed to like this toy. It was fun to add the blocks and watch it start to balance.

5. Putting animal blocks into empty wipe container. He enjoyed this activity. It was a good one to pull out if I needed to go get something done. It kept his attention for a long time (relatively speaking).


For some reason he never wanted to do his printables from 1+1+1=1 this week. We had a busy week, so I may have not offered it enough or at the right times.

He worked on sorting capital and lower case letter “G” beans into parmesan containers.

To see what other tots are learning about this week, visit 1+1+1=1!

September 19, 2012

Billy Goats Gruff Small World

We’ve been reading The Three Billy Goats Gruff this week, and Red loves the story. After pinning this post on Pinterest, I thought I’d try my take on a small world for this story. I went very simple, using items we had at the house.

I used a shoebox and covered it with green and blue construction paper to make it look like a meadow with a river. Then I grabbed some of our foam blocks to make a bridge. After that, it was just a matter of rounding up some goats and finding a troll (I have no idea what that creature I used is or where it came from :).

We have enjoyed reading through the story and acting out the parts. Here he is walking the goats across the bridge:

And the troll appears to be doing something destructively trollish in this one:

Red really enjoyed moving the pieces along with the story. We’ll have to do these book extensions more often!

September 17, 2012

Liebster Blog


Hannah from Making Boys Men recently nominated my little blog for a Liebster award! If you haven't seen her blog, I highly recommend checking it out. She has a lot of ideas for fun and messy play! 

In case you were wondering (as I was), a Liebster award is given to smaller blogs (less than 200 followers) by fellow bloggers. It's a great way to find out about other awesome blogs! I'll answer the 11 questions Hannah asked me, nominate 11 new blogs, and then post 11 new questions for them.

So, on to the questions!

1. Are you an early bird or a night owl? I am definitely a night owl. If I have to make a choice between primping and sleeping, sleeping pretty much always wins.

2. All time favorite song. Wow, that's tough. I definitely go through phases on the type of music I listen to, but I don't usually tire of worship music, so maybe something like Revelation Song.

3. All time favorite movie. Yikes, another hard one. I tend to watch movies only once, even if I enjoyed them. But for whatever reason, I've seen You've Got Mail many times. Now it's funny to see all the dial-up/AOL references. I don't know if it's my all-time favorite, but I've watched it a lot.

4. What's your earliest memory? My earliest memories are the everyday stuff in my childhood home...eating dinner, watching Looney Toons with my dad, playing on the swingset/sandbox in the backyard. Those are the memories that go back the farthest.

5. What was your best holiday ever? I always love Christmas the most. There isn't one specific Christmas that stands out, but I love sharing all the festivities with my little boy now.

6. What superhero would you be? When I was little, I would have said Jem. Only fellow children of the 80's will have any idea what I'm talking about ;)

7. If you could have an endless supply of food, what would it be? Popcorn

8. In the movie of your life, what actor would play you? Natalie Portman (just because I like her, not because we are similar in any way)

9. Do you have any party tricks? Definitely not. I'm pretty shy, so I tend to not be the one to draw attention at parties!

10. Do you have a pet preference for dogs or cats? Dogs, for sure.

11. What 3 things would you take to a desert island?  My Kindle, Junior Mints, and a cute swimsuit ;)

My list of 11 great blogs:

Questions for the nominated bloggers:

1. What are you most excited about in the upcoming year?
2. What are you least looking forward to?
3. What are your biggest distractions?
4. What is your favorite activity to do as a family?
5. What is your go-to dinner meal?
6. What is the best advice you've ever received?
7. What is your favorite season?
8. What is your favorite book/author?
9. What is your favorite TV show?
10. What is your child's favorite book?
11. What is your child's favorite TV show?

Check out these great blogs for tons of new ideas!


September 16, 2012

Tot School – 9.16.12

-Red is currently 27 months old-

Letter: J

Theme: Jellyfish/Ocean

Tot Trays & Learning Toys

1. Magnetic Alphabet Puzzle Book. Red loves all things alphabet-related (he’s kinda nerdy like that ;), so this puzzle book was right up his alley.

2. Shape Puzzle. I got this one at a consignment sale, so I don’t know the brand. It’s pretty easy for him to complete, but he still has interest in it.

3. Pouring beans from a measuring cup. Red has worked on pouring beans from a miniature pitcher before, but this was his first time with a measuring cup.

4. Unifix Cubes. Another tray involved copying abab color patterns with blocks. He wasn’t very interested in this one.

5. Putting beads into a mini ice cube mold. Red did enjoy putting beads into the holes of this ice cube tray. We worked on putting one bead per hole. It was great for 1:1 correspondence as well as his pincer grasp.

6. Stacking Pegs. Red wasn’t very interested in this tray this week.

Letter Work

Red used the letter “J” printables from 1+1+1=1.

He also played with a salt tray. I made the letter “J” for him.

While he did a lot of this:

And this:

He matched up bottle cap letters to spell the word “jellyfish.”

Then he played with a tactile letter I made out of foam. He wanted to match his bottle cap letter “j” to it.


Red used some water colors to paint an ocean scene. He added some ocean animal stickers to it after it dried.

Then we made a jellyfish out of a plastic cup and some crepe paper and ribbons. He enjoyed swimming it through the air.

Red’s babysitter helped him make this cute handprint jellyfish scene.


Red played with an ocean sensory bin I made using water beads.


Favorite ocean-themed books this week:

Hello Ocean

I'm the Best Artist in the Ocean!










Over in the Ocean: In a Coral Reef (Sharing Nature With Children B)

We also read this alphabet book. It was very simple, but it was fun because it showed the sign language for each letter and word.

Winnie-the-Pooh's ABC

To see what other tots are learning about this week, visit Tot School at 1+1+1=1.

September 12, 2012

Ocean Sensory Bin

We re-hydrated our fabulous water beads this week for an ocean-themed sensory bin.

It contains water beads and aquarium rocks as a base, and then I threw in some miscellaneous seashells, an aquarium plant, toy fish, a toy frog, and a spiky ball that reminded me of some sort of sea urchin. I also gave him some tongs, a scoop and a jar for scooping and sorting.

He enjoyed squishing the water beads in his fist.

And he attempted some tonging, but it was difficult since the beads are so slippery.

Scooping them into the jar was a bit more his speed.

Later this week, I’ll probably add some water to the bin and let him explore it that way.

September 11, 2012

Concrete Letters

I found this amazing tutorial for making concrete letters via Pinterest (that link goes to my Pinterest page). Now, mine did not turn out nearly as polished as the ones in the tutorial, but they were still pretty rad despite that.

I’m going to try again with different cement (mine was too chunky/rocky) and a better water:cement mix ratio (needed more water…they ended up a little crumbly). Both of those changes should help, but Red still loved the letters even with my less-than-perfect results ;)

September 9, 2012

Tot School – 9.9.12

-Red is currently 27 months old-

Letter: C

Theme: Cats/Pets

We’re back! We took a loong break from tot school over the summer. I hadn’t even planned it, but we both (mostly me, really) needed a break. After reading many books and spending a lot of afternoons at the pool, I’m excited to get back in the swing of things again, though!

Tot Trays & Learning Toys

1. These interlocking foam puzzles are from a consignment sale. They each have just two pieces to put in place, so they are really good for him right now since he’s a little past the standard wooden peg puzzles but not ready for the ones with many pieces.

2. Wooden Sound Blocks. He enjoyed stacking these blocks, but even more fun was looking through the colored plastic windows and shaking them!

3. Shape Sorter. He did really well with this shape sorting board. He liked to line them up on the floor. He arranged them all and told me “Look at my beautiful monster, Mommy!”

Here he is showing me that he made a diamond with 2 triangles.

4. Sticker Sheets. I made him a variety of sticker sheets that he could match. The one below is numbers. Those dot stickers are challenging for him to peel off by himself, but they are perfect for working on that pincer grasp.

I also made a letter one and one that was just colors.

5. Stringing beads onto pipe cleaners. He did really well with this. I don’t think he would have been able to do this back in May when we last worked on trays. It’s amazing how much he’s developed since then.

6. Putting pegs into an empty wipes container. We worked on counting the pegs as he put them in to reinforce 1:1 correspondence.

Letter Work

Red used the letter “C” printables from 1+1+1=1.

He also played with a rice bin filled with items that start with the letter “C.”

I cut out some pictures of things out of magazines that start with the letter “C,” and he glued them to a page to make a collage.

We also used glass stones to make a letter “C” in his play dough. I laid them out and let him press them in.


I helped him paint a hat like the Cat in the Hat wears.


We read a lot of cute books about cats/pets this week. Here were some of the best:

The Birthday Pet

The Best Pet of All










Jacob O'Reilly Wants a Pet

Gilbert Goldfish Wants a Pet










If You Give a Cat a Cupcake (If You Give... Books)

I’ve also been trying to check out a few alphabet books each week, since we’re working on letters. I would say these were only okay, in terms of keeping his attention:

Quilt Alphabet











It took a little tweaking to our routine to get us back in “school” mode, but Red enjoyed all his activities, and I think this next week will be even smoother.

To see what other tots are learning about this week, check out Tot School at 1+1+1=1.