Make Playdough Together

Everybody loves playdough, especially me. It’s a universal soother for toddlers through grownups! It lends itself to great conversation and imaginative play (everybody makes playdough snakes and slithers them around the table…) Make a fresh batch often, changing colors and mix-ins to keep it fun.

Best Playdough Recipe

I’ve made this recipe AT LEAST 50 times… it always comes out great! Make it WITH your child (you do the cooking!) and they’ll enjoy kneading with the warm dough when it’s cool enough to handle. Add a little vanilla or lemon extract to make it smell yummy. And while it doesn’t exactly taste good, it’s totally safe if little ones eat it!    

Store your playdough in an airtight container or ziplock bag and it will keep for weeks. Change out your playdough toys often to keep it interesting. Here are some ideas:

  • cookie cutters (of course!)
  • rollers that make designs
  • plasticware, esp knives for cutting
  • straws (cut some into small pieces, have some flexibles ones)
  • placemat with shapes that they can make playdough fit into
  • leggo and duplo blocks
  • googly eyes
  • mr. potato head pieces
  • cars
  • large bolts, washers and other tools for molding
  • safety scissors

Fun mix-ins include cinnamon, glitter, dry tempera paint, which makes more vibrant colors!

Watch how little Cady focuses so hard to use her hands to place the straws in the playdough. After doing this for a while, we added some manicotti pasta to thread onto the straws, making it a little more challenging. What a simple way to work on those fine-motor skills!

My Newborn Essential List

what you really need for your newborn - the practical list of essentialsBecause I was a teacher and my baby wasn’t due until August, I had the whoooooole summer off to contemplate all of the many baby things to buy. And guys, there’s so much. So so much. I pretty much oscillated between being a mommy minimalist and a baby item hoarder. Some days I would wake up determined to buy something that for the past few months I had decided I wouldn’t need. It was a weird mix of consumerism and nesting.

Sometimes I would get stressed wanting to have everything we would need the second we came home from the hospital. But I’ll let you in on a little secret: Continue reading “My Newborn Essential List”

Children’s Books About Death

File_000 (8).jpegSounds morbid, right? Who wants to read a story about death to their sweet child?? Though these types of weighty topics can be difficult to discuss, it is one of the precious responsibilities we have as parents and teachers: to help our children build mental constructs around all sorts of issues, including death. Death is a natural process of life that we all experience in a variety of ways, sometimes in unanticipated ways. Whether it’s the death of a close loved one, a pet, or even just an accidentally squished bug, children are not immune to the experience of death. Continue reading “Children’s Books About Death”

The One Question About My Baby I Can’t Stand…

The one question I really don't like to be asked as a parent...Once you have a baby, all sorts of people talk to you about the experience. Stories, advice, and questions come from friends, family, and perfect strangers. In general, I love this aspect of parenthood. I love that children bring people together. I love being a part of the camaraderie of parenthood. Sure, I’ve been given my fair share of advice I don’t agree with and occasionally been met with disapproval of my parenting approach; but even those interactions I normally still enjoy. I see them as interesting learning opportunities. There is one question, however, that still gets under my skin. Continue reading “The One Question About My Baby I Can’t Stand…”

30 Encouragements for Any Baby (or Big Kid!)

30 encouragements for any baby or big kidResearch has shown time and time again what a powerful impact words have on outcome. Both positive and negative language have the transformative power to make situations better or worse. This is true for people of all ages and the effects can be found both from self talk and the language used around you. Positive language helps children to succeed and thrive.

Knowing this, I’ve sought to be intentional with the language I use around my daughter. I want to empower, encourage, and validate her. But I’ll be honest, sometimes it can be a stretch for me to find affirming statements when I don’t know much about her personality yet. She’s only 8 months old–her personality and ability to express who she is is still developing.  Continue reading “30 Encouragements for Any Baby (or Big Kid!)”

20 Developmentally-Appropriate Activities for 6-9 Month Olds

20 developmentally appropriate activities for your 6-9 month oldAs we’ve discussed before, play is a powerful part of childhood development. But it can sometimes be difficult to come up with ways to play with babies. We’ve looked at play ideas for 0-3 month olds and 3-6 month olds; today we’ll go through some play ideas for 6-9 month olds. But first, let’s take a look at what milestones your baby is working on during this time. Continue reading “20 Developmentally-Appropriate Activities for 6-9 Month Olds”

20 Ways to Play with a 0-3 Month Old

20 ways to play with your 0-3 month old

Play is a critical element to healthy childhood development. Through play, children are able to discover and understand the world. Play looks very different for children as they grow and change. Because infants develop so rapidly, their play experience changes rapidly as well. With their short wake time and limited abilities (vision, motor control, communication, etc.), it can be challenging to create engaging play experiences for 0-3 month olds. Luckily, we’ve got you covered with 20 different ways to play  with your 0-3 month old! Continue reading “20 Ways to Play with a 0-3 Month Old”

Six Key Elements of Meaningful Play

six key elements of meaningful play

Play has positive affect on development of the whole child, including cognitive, social, physical, and emotional skills. Although many of play’s amazing benefits are known, children today are spending less and less time playing (children today spend 8 hours less a week playing than children did 20 years ago). Teachers and parents should seek to actively protect and encourage playtime for children. Knowing key elements of play can help you better foster quality play.  Continue reading “Six Key Elements of Meaningful Play”

The Significance of Creative Movement for Kids

 

image (3)Creative movement is movement that reflects the inner state of a child. In creative movement, children are free to express their own personalities, style, thoughts, and feelings. Creative movement encourages children to act on what they are learning and express their individuality. Children of all ages can enjoy creative movement. Let’s take a look at the benefits of creative movement and how to incorporate it into a child’s day. Continue reading “The Significance of Creative Movement for Kids”