Tuesday, March 12, 2013

New Year, New Fun

 Apologies, my blogger friends. I let work get the best of me and have been slacking at update with all the fun things that Noah and I have been doing

Noah is almost two now and I can't believe how quickly time has flown by. It seems just last week, my husband and I were bring home our beautiful baby boy. Now, he's growing into such a wonderful toddler and I am constantly impressed with how smart he is! He's developed quite a fondness for trains. It's helped him work on his fine motor skills, cause & effect, cognitive, and language development. He'll tell me the names and colors of the trains, "Blue Thomas", "Green Percy", and "Purple Charlie". He's learning how to manipulate the different trains to align them using the magnets and move them through the wooden tracks/obstacles. For older children, you can try something like THIS to introduce math with measuring. Try comparing sizes of trains. Grouping them by colors. Talk about going OVER the bridge and UNDER the tunnel. Turn his hobby into a fun, learning experience. Found HERE.

Like any mom, we still have to run errands. Noah loves going in the "car cart" and identifying different foods, colors, and shapes that we see. Try THIS for more ideas on how to keep running errands fun!

For Christmas, Noah made masterpieces for presents. Inspired by THIS.  Easy, cheap (we made 2 11x 14 canvases for under $15), and tons of fun. Noah loves to paint. His art is priceless and I love displaying his little masterpieces. They were greatly appreciated by family members too. Great for grandparents! :)

Another fun buy at the Dollar Tree, WINDOW CLINGS! Noah love using his fine motor skills to move and redecorate one of our windows. He enjoyed pointing out the different colors and items on each window cling. For more examples of fun you can have with Dollar Store products, click HERE.

Just remember, the goal is to have fun. You can always have fun using the stuff you have at home without spending a dime. Here, Noah used an IKEA clothes hamper as a tunnel.  What a goober.
Happy playing!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

(EXTRA)Ordinary Fun

We've been dealing with a stomach bug this past week. So I definitely wasn't in the mood (or even able) to go out and get fun new things for Noah. This week, we turned normal activities into fun, new-ish games! Okay, don't get all excited. It's not that impressive, but it was fun & free!!

While window showing, we lol'd at the rodents at Petco! Noah's always been a fan of animals, so we try to stop at pet store when ever we have a chance!


We took advantage of the beautiful afternoon and washed our cars.

Noah loved playing with the squeegee.

We even pulled out his cozy coupe so he could wash his car, just like mommy!

And of course, we had to roller coaster ride down the drive way with Aunt Rachel!

On Sunday, Noah's 16 month birthday, we took a bath .... full of JELLO! It was actually pretty awesome. I made a double batch of blue jello. Added a little bit of water and we splashed, played, and ate.

Here's a better shot of what the sensory bath looked like! Just putting a little bit extra into ordinary things to make them fun!!

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Week of Pinterest

After the crazy month we've had, I wanted to take it easy and stay home for the week. Just get back to basics and catch up on some sleep. I wanted to try something different from pinterest every week! And the best of all, it only costs me 72 cents for a week worth of fun!!

MONDAY and TUESDAY: you've already seen HERE. We made a table fort on Monday and Tuesday we made cornstarch goop.

WEDNESDAY we played with a box full of stuff (inspired HERE). Literally. I gathered a bunch of random non-toy things, threw them in a box, and called it a day. Noah's box included a mirror, empty oreo box, funnel, cheese grater, alarm clock, bump-its, alligator clips, squirt bottle, resistance band, pants hanger with pajamas bottoms attached, cooling rack, and a silicone bundt pan.

THURSDAY, it finally stopped raining so we could play outside. I made 5 trays of colored ice cubes after seeing THIS pin and knew Noah would have a blast. He didn't disappoint. First we added ice cubes to our tub of water. Noah had fun trying to pick the ice cubes out of the water.

Next we played with them on our picnic table and he "painted" with them.

Noah was still in a creative mood, so we colored with chalk! I don't know why I hadn't let him do that before. He love scribbling all over and then stomping on his artwork with his wet feet, washing it away in the process.

FRIDAY we painted with cornstarch. I used the same cornstarch from the Tuesday activity and followed these instructions. I used a tablespoon of cornstarch, and enough water to cover it, with food coloring. I mixed them in individual containers before transferring them to the muffin pan. It was Noah's first time painting and he was quite the artist.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Life As of Late

We've been play-dating and exploring what our city has to offer like crazy lately. It's nice to get out of the house, but you better believe it's almost more work to keep your tornado of a toddler contained in public.

We've gone to the Austin Zoo,

went to Loco-Motion Inflatable Playland,

and even the Austin Children's Museum. I can't recommend each place enough. There was so much for Noah to do at all three locations, we played and laughed until little man was tuckered out.

We've even celebrated with a holiday and a milestone. Noah got his first hair cut and took it like a champ. Almost zero wiggles and no fussing whatsoever. What a relief!

Fourth of July didn't go exactly as planned but we made the best of it! We went to Frontier Festival and met up with some family. Enjoyed a petting zoo and some cold popsicles. Grilled out, swam in the pool, and celebrated with sparklers and fireworks!

Even with our busy schedule, that didn't stop us from trying new pinterest activities!

We made a giant outdoor bubble bath! Add a little bit of soap (we've used hand soap and dish soap with no problems) and a hose! I put the hose on spray mode to get the most bubbles (maximum bubbles NOT pictured)!

On one of our play dates, we tried chocolate pudding finger/face painting! I believe she made it from a little bit of hot chocolate mix and water, but you could easily just do it with instant pudding mix.

We also made cornstarch goop! Cheap and easy to make. We used 1 cup of walmart brand cornstarch (72 cents), half a cup of water, and a few drops of food coloring! Mix and you have this amazing "sliquid". You can touch it and it will be a liquid, but if you hold it, it's a solid. So crazy. Just go try it. Would be even better for older kids, but Noah still had a blast!

Today, we went old school and tried a table fort (just sheets on our kitchen table). I had brought books and a flash light in to read some books, but the flash light stole the show. I grabbed all the rest of the flash lights I could find and let Noah play with the shadows and lights. Tons of fun and free!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Splash Park

As a goal to get out more and try new things Noah, my sister, and I decided to hit up a new splash park at Falcon Pointe (more info HERE for all you locals). For the free admission, this place did not disappoint, especially as hot as it was today!

There was a birthday party going on when we first got there. Noah has definitely become more anxious with strangers. It took him a bit to get warmed up to the splash park.

Noah loved playing with the big plastic play balls someone had left from the party. When we go back, I'll definitely be adding beach balls or something to our "must pack" list. 

They also have a park with swings and a big ride on toy just a jump away from the splash park. It was a great day!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Fun Activities

So I've gotten a lot of request on what kind of things I do with Noah. It's really simple. I let him be a boy and I play with him as much as possible. It's becoming increasingly more apparent that he's growing up waaaaayy too fast and I want to make the most of that time. Especially considering he's probably going to be our one and only!

We play everywhere. I check all the groupon, google offers, living social and other sites to get new, cheap, fun way to play. It's always nice to get out of the house and do something I can't recreate at home. Commonly there will be a local activity like a carnival, festival, or library event that we can go to. Join a mom's group, find local play-groups. Look-up a list of every local park in your city and a near-by city and make it a goal to try all of them!!

Just get outside! A change of scenery is good for every one! We try to go to the park every day, whether it's in our wagon, stroller, bike, or car. No matter how many times we go to the park, Noah always finds something or someone new to play with!

There are SOOOO many things we do that are free, fun, and easy. Pull out a water sprinkler (ours is from the dollar section at Target), go to the pool, feed the ducks, walk to a friend's house, find a sand volley ball court (aka giant sandbox),

Throw a baby dance party, play in front of the bathroom mirror, smoosh your face up against the windows, take tons of silly pictures, play hide 'n' seek,

Take a trip somewhere, try a new food, read tons of books, make tons of funny noises, teach your kid something new, have a SUPER bubble bath, let them help you with your chores (even if it takes WAY longer)

I check pinterest for tons of new play ideas! I love how so many of the activities are free or really cheap! I try to do as many as possible!! I follow tons of moms and blogs who post so many new ideas every day. Here are a few that we've done and I've taken pictures of; these are in no particular order.

Jello Play-doh! I used the recipe from HERE and modified it because I knew we weren't going to eat the play-doh. Then I realized I only had lemon pudding and not any jello. Whatever - I used the whole pudding box, then added flour and butter till it was the right consistency. It still worked and was a huge hit for the next 2 weeks until it molded. If I would have chosen a better storage contained (rather than a ziploc bag) it probably would have lasted a lot longer!

Picture puzzle! Went to Wal-mart to find a cheap wooden puzzle. Picked this dinosaur one up for under $4 and used pictures that I already had. I used the puzzle pieces to trace them, then glued them on to the board. Easy! I made this for Noah for Valentine's Day and he's used it every day since!!

Slime! I could have easily made this myself (using THIS or many other recipes), but I saw this "test tube slime" at the dollar store and couldn't help myself. I've had it for a month and it's still pretty play-able. Best of all, it doesn't stick to you. It comes right off!

Frozen toys! Fill up an ice cube tray with water and little toys (we used cars, party beads, and magnetic letters) and freeze. We've also used food coloring and froze that for bath-time play!

Bean sensory box! Stock up on beans in various sizes and put them in a box. We added sand toys and toy dinosaurs, but you could easily make a simpler, smaller scale of this too! You could also try this with sand, deer corn, pebbles, rainbow rice, water!

Balls and a muffin tin. Inspired by HERE. We've got a large assortment of various bouncy balls from marbles to as big as you whole hand. Later on this would be great for sorting, but Noah just loved emptying out the muffin tin and putting the balls back in.

Pom-poms! First we put them in a muffin tin. Mama sorted by colors, then Noah "stirred" them with a spoon. Infinite lolz. We've also upcycled a butter tub with 3 different sized holes cut out on the lid to put pom-poms in. He loves taking the lid off, dumping them on the floor, and starting back over again. Same concept with the bottles. I've got a 20 oz soda bottle and a 2 ltr bottle we put stuff (we also use straws and pop-sickle sticks) in. I cut a hole out on the side to get the items back out.

Shredded paper. Noah loves the shredded and we get an obnoxious amount of Oriental Trading magazines. I shred them. He laughs. Sometimes we'll just play with the shredded paper and pretend it's raining, other days I will give him fake hair and he'll pull it all off. This particular time, I cut a hole out of an empty box, put contact paper on it and he stuck the shredded paper on it. I've even just put contact paper on a window and let Noah stick junk mail on it.

Snow box! Got the snow from HERE. Add water and a box. Instant snow = instant fun. Best part is you can reuse it; just add more water and it'll fluff back up.

Water beads! We got ours HERE and that was more than enough! It took us over night and 3 buckets later, but they grew and we were impressed! We've only used our water beads in a 55L box with a few bath toys, but I've pinned a fun more activities we'll have to try later on (like THIS and THIS).


Paint in a bag inspired from HERE! A mess free way to finger paint. We put 2 big squirts of paint on either side of a large ziploc bag, put contact paper over the WHOLE bag and stuck it to the window. This lasted for a week before I pulled it down. The contact paper method was MUCH safer and totally mess free. I was able to use my finger nail to draw letters, shapes, and pictures without any rips or tears!

Water blob seen HERE! Plastic sheeting ($1.98 for the smallest size at Home Depot) and masking tape. We filled ours with water and added magnetic letters to it to make it interesting. Keep the tape close in case you get a hole!

Food coloring and yogurt! It's simple and messy, but it's totally worth the fun! We used vanilla yogurt, but you could easily use whatever you've got. Just add a drop or 2 of food coloring and let your artist do the rest! The first time we let him use his hands, the second we added a spoon!

Pipe-cleaners! I used a cleaned out parmesan container and cut pipe cleaners into halves. I cut half of the lid so only the large opening has a removable lid, the side with the holes is permanently open. Noah loves working on his hand-eye coordination and putting them inside and taking them out!

Balls in a pack 'n' play (or you could use a kiddie pool too) a la HERE! We've added way more balls since these pictures, but it's a fun way for Noah to be contained while I get something done. Originally we ran to Wal-Mart to get a bag of 150 balls for $10. Then we scored another bag at consignment sale for $7. I'd say there are easily 400 balls in there. It's obnoxious. But he loves it.

Plastic lids! I've been saving plastic lids from various empty containers (gallons of milk, peanut butter, bottled water/soda, etc) and finally brought them all out after about 2 weeks of saving. Noah had fun putting them in a larger container and stirring them with a spoon.

Straws in a wipe container. Are you seeing the pattern here? I save every plastic container and find something to do with it. This one was the most successful so far. Probably the most uninterrupted play-time I've gotten so far. I cut a bunch of straws in half, opened the Clorox wipe lid up a little bit bigger and let Noah go. He fussed when he finished all the straws, Mama emptied it, repeat. Easy peasy.

We'll back back with more fun activities later!