Make your own easy pop-up puppet with readily available materials.
Do you remember those old cone pop-up puppets? I used to love them as a child and just knew that my daughter would love them too. Puppets are wonderful for the imagination and for pretend play. These pop-up puppets are fun, interactive, easy to make and you should have most of the materials readily available.
Paint blots are a fun and easy way to create and explore your imagination.
My daughter and I have been making paint blots together since she was only a couple years old. At first, it was just interesting to see what she saw in the blots and then it was fun to watch her make her own paint blots. Today, we did both and found great inspiration within our blots.
My daughter and I sort of have a set evening routine. I come home from work, we eat supper together as a family, we talk about our days & then my little girl and I head to the craft bin. Some nights she wants to craft with me, on others, she wants to craft on her own & some days, she just wants to draw.
Last night, she pulled out some old scraps from a cupcake liner that we had cut up for a craft. She looked at the liner for a minute & then said to me “Mama, this looks like a tutu. Let’s make a girl out of this.” She glued it down on a piece of paper & I took some of the other remnants and made a bow with it and placed it where a head might be. Mai squealed & took the paper & began drawing her girl. She drew in the face, the hair, legs & high-heeled shoes, like mommy has.
She was very excited when she was done.
This simple activity sparked me to want to try more shapes and see what she did with them.
I glued down a triangle & a rectangle. In my mind, when I envisioned this, I pictured her creating a house. Her perception of these shapes was different from my own.
I watched her fascinated, as I realized that she was creating a well.
It is amazing to watch a young mind work.
Next, I gave her two circles.
She drew up a storm on this one.
Mai offered me a very detailed description of what was happening in her drawing. This was a garbage truck & all the garbage guys we going to work.
The last one that we made was just 2 yellow cupcake liners glued diagonal from one another.
Mai saw a baby chick in this one.
Her cute craft & imagination inspired mommy to make a cupcake liner chick of her own.
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We like to work with shapes a lot in our home. My daughter loves creating with shapes & I love watching her. Her imagination is flourishing & it is an amazing thing to see. We use these shapes to make abstract art, holiday crafts & we even use them for imagination play in the bath. Last night, my daughter came across a photo of shape magnets for kids in one of her kid’s magazines.. Her eyes automatically lit up. “Mama, I want these.” My eyes lit up too when I realized that I could make them myself at home.
If you have a toddler or a small child, you know the importance of routines. We have had the same bedtime routine with our daughter for the majority of her young life. Somewhere around 7:30 she brushes her teeth, takes a bath & gets in her jammies. We read some books, rock & then tuck her in for bed. As she has gotten older she has made some subtle adjustments to her routine.
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In lieu of books, she now prefers to be read Highlights magazines, lots of them. At the end of every magazine there are usually games, activities & recipes for the kids to do. In a recent edition, I came across a great idea.
Did you know that foam will stick to the side of a tub when it is wet? I did not either. We work with foam sheets for crafting all the time, so I had plenty of it to experiment with. I cut out different colored shapes & showed my daughter how to dip it in the water & stick it to the side of the tub. She let her imagination go from there. She sent me out of the bathroom a few times to cut more foam. She had special requests for certain shapes so that she could finish her masterpieces.
Mai made a sideways & colorful snowman, a man in a hat & scarf and just a square.
Here she created a princess castle & a Minnie Mouse.
She had so much fun with the shapes that I could not get her out of the tub. I had a pruny footed toddler at bedtime, but she sure did have fun.
I just adore my how my daughter’s mind works. I never know what she is going to say or do. To look at life through her eyes is a daily adventure, with a new story every day.
Since the birth of my daughter I have become a pack rat. I never throw anything away because everything has some sort of creative potential. Things like empty paper towel rolls, tissue boxes & milk jugs are great for craft time. My daughter loves to draw and color and I have found that many things other than paper make for a great canvas. My home is cluttered with empty boxes, recycled ribbons & bows and other assorted odds & ends.
Mai’s birthday party is this weekend. This year, it is a Play-doh theme to pay homage to her favorite addiction. I have saved all of her old Play-doh containers in the hopes that I would be able to use them for her party. As I was washing out all of the containers, Mai saw a chance to grab the lids. My daughter played with the lids, pretending that they were various things. She baked Play-doh lid cookies, formed Mickey Mouse ears with them & cracked them open for scrambled eggs. For an hour, we played with them. I listened as she described to me every step in the Play-doh cookie lid baking process. She told me the flavor of each different colored treat. Some were sprinkled with sugar, some with cinnamon. She made sure that both of us had our oven mitts on before handling our freshly baked desserts. She is just fascinating to watch.
With a glorious imagination like hers, remind me again, why we have a house full of toys.
For more free fun…Please check out my latest article in this month’s Seek.
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It is funny how before you have a child, you take for granted the little things like having a few moments of privacy while you are on the toilet. It is very rare for me to be able to use the bathroom in private, so it was no surprise to me when my daughter came barreling in on me today when I was on the toilet.
Mai: “Mama, mama!”
Me: “Yes Baby!”
Mai: “Come look, I made Mickey Mouse.”
Me: “Ummmm, Ok, give mommy a minute.”
I could sense my daughter’s excitement, so I got out to the living room as fast as I could to see what it was that she was so excited about.
“Look Mama!”, she said to me pointing at the coffee table & beaming with pride. There on the table were 3 golf balls arranged in such a way that it resembled the shape of Mickey Mouse.
I thought this was amazing. I loved that her young mind was able think & create in this manner. This is something that I want to cultivate in my child & watch as it grows. I wondered what other creations might be brewing in that little brain of hers. This gave mommy an idea for an activity that we could do together. Since it turned out to be a dark & rainy day & all of our outdoor activities were cancelled, it seemed like the perfect thing for a boring rainy day.
I grabbed some different colored foam sheets from our craft bin & cut several different shapes of varying sizes and colors. I cut out circles, triangles, ovals, diamonds, squares, rectangles & crescent shapes.
We laid them down on the floor. Immediately Mai jumped into them.
First she was just excited to share with me the shape names & the colors. I then grabbed 3 circles & copied her previous pattern with the circles & showed her that we could make Mickey Mouse with these shapes too. This intrigued her. She started grabbing at the shapes and laying down different patterns explaining to me her thought process as she went. “Look Mama, I make a club house.”
“You most certainly did. It is beautiful.”
I always like to play alongside her as well. As much as she likes to create, she like to learn new things just as much. She studies and absorbs everything & often is happy just to watch me as I do an activity. This is how she learned all her US states at only 2 years old. She simply would watch as I did a United States puzzle & named off each state as I placed them.
With my shapes I decided to start with a bus. The road that the bus is riding on was Mai’s idea.
Together we made pyramids, fish, a Christmas tree, a princess castle & decorated a birthday cake. It was wonderful to watch & listen to her as she used these shapes to create colorful & imaginative images. It was an easy & fun rainy day activity for us to share.
It is not always easy to leave the house with a toddler. As soon as you have a child it becomes a huge production to go anywhere. You have to make sure you have their diaper bag or back pack… snacks (check), juice boxes (check), change of clothes, diapers, books, crayons (check,check,check & check). And this is just for a trip to the supermarket.
With the weather getting nicer, we have been taking more day trips on our weekends. This will continue through the summer with trips to the zoo & beach. It is easy for our active little ones to get bored while riding in the car. It is not always easy to keep them entertained from the front seat.
But, like most things in life, every moment can be a learning opportunity, even if it is from a car seat in the back of the car.
I love to keep engaged with my daughter as I drive. There is always a teaching moment with our young ones.
Lessons that you can teach from the road:
1. Directions – As we drive, I always like to tell my daughter when I am taking a turn whether we are going left or right. I signal to her with my arm and repeat “Right, mommy is turning right.” She will repeat it after me & is getting better at differentiating her left from right.
2. Imagination exploration – On many of our journeys, my daughter will look around and point out things she sees during our ride. A few months back, she started making up little stories to go with the sights she was seeing. One rainy day as we were driving she made up this story about us driving in a submarine because of the rain & she was pointing out the fishies that she saw swimming up. “There is a mama fish & dada fish & baby fish.” Now, mommy jumps in on story telling time too & together we weave fun tales as we travel.
3. Eye spy – This is a good one. Mai, where is the yellow sign. “Right there!! Right there!” Do you see a red car? “There’s a red car!” This works great for shape, color and object recognition. My daughter get so excited and you can hear her pride as she points out what mommy asks for. Of course, I can’t see what she is pointing at unless we are stopped, but I am sure that she is pointing to the same things that I spy.
4. Counting -Counting exercises are another fun way to pass the time in the car. My daughter and I will take turns going back & forth counting off our numbers. We used to do this with the alphabet too, but now that she knows her ABC’s we practice on our numbers.
5. Music lessons – My daughter likes to sing. She has gotten pretty good a few songs. She can sing ‘Daisy, Daisy’, ‘My darling Clementine’ & ‘Oh Susanna’ word for word. It melts my heart. It is a great way to learn new words and music can be extremely influential to our children.
How do you keep your children entertained while on the road? Share your favorite stories from the car seat.
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