Monthly Archives: July 2016

Washing Toy Cars

On Water Wednesday, I wanted to do a new water play activity. I saw the idea of doing a car wash on Things to Share and Remember. Buddy loves playing with water and cars, so a toy car wash seemed like a good thing to try.

To create the car wash, I put dish soap and water in a glass baking pan. I did this so I could easily pour out the soapy water at the end. The washing tools we used were a sponge cut in half and a microfiber towel. Since Buddy still crawls everywhere,  I put everything on a towel to make it a little more comfortable. I set up our water table as well, because I figured Buddy would eventually want more water to play with.

Car wash set up

Buddy was very interested in the bin of cars, but he wasn’t sure what to do with the water at first. After I showed him how to wash the cars, he was interested in trying.

washing cars

I was glad I cut the sponge in half, because the smaller sponges were easy for Buddy to hold. Playing with the sponges was Buddy’s favorite part. He’d never held a sponge before, and he spent a lot of time just squeezing the water on his leg.

washing cars 3

It was great to have a sitting water activity, because it allowed us to play for much longer than if we’d done it in the water table. When Buddy got antsy, we stood up and played in the water table. When his legs got tired, we sat back down with the car wash. Between the two activities, we played for more than an hour.

water table play

We love our water table (affiliate link), and the rain cups from the making rain activity continue to be one of his favorite water toys. These cups moved from the water table to the car wash, and Buddy loved making it rain on the cars.

Overall, it was a successful Water Wednesday, and I hope to do a car wash again soon. We might even try washing some animals or other plastic toys. If you have any fun water activities, I’d love to hear them.

Colors Reading and Sorting Activity

Disclaimer – This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. If you use the link to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. 

For this week’s Time to Read Tuesday, I chose to read books with a colors theme. I had planned to read Little Owl’s Colors and Hello World New York: A Book of Colors. Earlier that day, Buddy finished the library reading program and his final prize was another book about colors, Amazing Machines: Colors.

I wasn’t sure if Buddy would be able to sort colors, but I wanted to try. He often picks out blue toys for playing, so I chose blue and red toys to sort. I picked some of his favorite toys: B. Toys Squeeze Blocks, Measure Up Cups, and Fisher Price Baby’s First Blocks. I also included some attribute links that were blue and red. I used the red tub from the Fisher Price blocks for the red shapes and a blue tub for the blue shapes.

I started by reading the books with Buddy. We looked at the pictures and talked about the colors on each page. He saw the basket of red and blue items, and he was really excited to play with them. I should have hidden the basket while we read, because he wanted to play with the toys instead of read.

I gave Buddy the basket of items and the two colored tubs. He was really excited about going through the basket and pulling out the toys.He was especially interested in the attribute links because he hadn’t seen them since our shapes reading activity. As he pulled out each toy, we talked about its color.

Sorting colors 2

Buddy struggled with sorting the toys, but he enjoyed the activity anyway. I eventually put all the red toys together and all the blue toys together myself. Then we looked at each tub, so Buddy could get a better idea of what each color looked like. After that, he pulled them out and played with them again.

Sorting colors 3

I will try this activity again in a couple months when Buddy is ready to sort by color. If you have any ideas for other fun color activities, I’d love to hear them.

Airplane Activities for a One Year Old

Disclosure – this blog post contains affiliate links for your convenience. If you choose to purchase something using one of these links, I will receive a small commission. 

My husband and I have always loved to travel. Since Hubby works for an airline, we fly often. I’m happy to say that hasn’t changed much since we’ve had Buddy. (Although now we usually travel to see family instead of traveling to new places.)

Even though this was Buddy’s fifth trip involving air travel, Hubby and I were nervous. Buddy is 15 months old, and our last plane trip was several months ago when he wasn’t as mobile. Now that Buddy is used to moving around a lot, it’s hard for him to sit still for a long time. I spent a long time looking for ideas for one year olds to do on planes. However, a lot of ideas I found (coloring books, DVD players, etc.) were better for slightly older kids. Eventually, I found a bunch of small activities for our trip.

Before we got on the plane, I didn’t pull out any of the travel toys. I wanted to keep those for times when Buddy had to sit still. At every airport (we had three different flights on this trip), we looked for seats by a window with empty space. We let Buddy crawl around to burn off energy. He spent hours watching the planes through the window. Another game he loved was stroller basketball. We took our bag from dinner and crumpled it into a ball. Buddy loves balls, and so he loved this “ball” too. He put it in the stroller’s basket over and over again. Our first flight was delayed by four hours, and Buddy was entertained that whole time by these activities (and eating too).

Buddy loves watching the planes.

Buddy loves watching the planes.

I brought a ton of small activities for the plane. Our first and last flight were both over four hours, and I anticipated that Buddy would be awake for most of that time. Our second flight was much shorter (an hour and a half), but I still wanted new activities for that time. In the end, we didn’t need a lot of these activities. Our four hour delay meant that our first flight left hours after Buddy’s bedtime, so he slept that whole flight. He also slept for half of the short flight and more than an hour of the last flight. Luckily, we didn’t need everything, but I was happy to have more activities than I needed.

On each flight, I packed a pencil pouch of small activities and a gallon sized ziplock with a few larger items that didn’t fit in the pouch. I had another gallon sized ziplock in my suitcase of things to switch out for new flights.

Here is what ended up in the pencil pouch for our last flight:

Airplane activities 2

  • Pencil pouch – This was intended to be an activity as well as a holder of other activities. I added a carabiner to clip onto the seat back pocket for easy access. Buddy enjoyed pulling the zippers and pulling things out of the pockets.
  • Cubs teether
  • Post it notes – Fun to put on and pull off of the seat.
  • Dinosaur light up toy from the dollar store
  • Small slinky
  • Police car from dollar store
  • Poms container – This was a salad dressing dispenser from the dollar store and a few pom poms. I wanted to make a travel size version of this activity. This was Buddy’s favorite thing to do on the plane. He loved putting the poms in the container. He also loved trying to put the cap on the container.
  • Koosh ball
  • Penguin toy – We got this as a souvenir on our trip.
  • Finger puppets
  • Measuring tape from the dollar store – Buddy liked pulling out the tape and letting it go back in. He also liked shaking it to hear the noise of the keychain on the box.
  • Small board books – One of these was an old favorite and one was new. The new vehicle books were bought here.
  • Painters tape wrapped around a folded piece of paper. I ripped off tape to put on the back of the seat, and Buddy pulled it off the seat. We actually didn’t use this on this trip, but it was a huge hit on previous trips.
  • Pipe cleaner with some beads to slide around.
  • Altoids tin with cut out stickers and a small notepad. Buddy liked to hold the stickers, but he wasn’t interested in actually putting them on the notepad. He also liked dumping them out everywhere and opening and closing the tin.

This is what the pouch looked like when it was filled.

Airplane activity bag

Here are the additional activities from the gallon ziplock bags:

Airplane activities 3

  • Quiet Book – This was the main thing in the extra ziplock bag. (I was pretty sad that it didn’t fit in the pouch.) If you want to know more about this quiet book and how I made it, read my blog post about it here.
  • Pill case (from the dollar store) filled with snacks
  • Indestructible books – These are one of my favorite travel toys because they take up no space and can’t be wrecked.
  • Bath book from the dollar store
  • Animal chip clips from the dollar store – Buddy loves animals and he really enjoyed these. I brought an index card to clip them on, but we found other things to clip them on as well. Buddy really liked putting them in our empty drink cups, shaking them up, and pouring them out again.
  • Empty easter egg – Buddy enjoyed breaking it open and putting it together again.
  • Playing cards from the dollar store – When we have played with cards before, Buddy liked pulling them out of the box, holding them, and trying to fold them. I bought Pup Patrol ones because he loves dogs. We actually didn’t play with these, but I’m sure we will on our next trip.
  • Button snake with felt scraps – I thought Buddy would enjoy pulling the felt off and putting them on, but he wasn’t really interested. I think he’ll like this more when he’s old enough to practice buttoning.
  • Bead necklace
  • Window gel clings – This was another favorite of Buddy’s. He loved putting them on the window and taking them off. I got these at the Target dollar section, but you can get similar ones here.
  • Small container with a ribbon of buttons and bells – Buddy played with this for a long time. He liked shaking it and hearing the noise of the bells. He liked taking the ribbon out and putting it back in the container. He also liked putting the lid on the container.
  • Extra small books

Not pictured:

  • My phone with a few baby game apps
  • My Kindle with picture ebooks checked out from the library
  • Extra snacks and sippy cup
  • Stuffed monkey

We also had a lot of fun just pulling out the cards and magazines from the back of the seat. Buddy did this for a long time. He also liked stacking our cups after we were done with our drinks. He also liked looking at the people around us and waving at them.

If you have any other ideas for activities, I’d love to hear them!

*Edit*- Here is a more recent blog post of the airplane activities I did with Buddy at 20 months. Some of them are the same, but there are many other ideas as well.

The Snowy Day Indoor Snow Activity

For last week’s Time to Read Tuesday, I was looking for a quick and easy reading activity. I was busy packing for our trip (and finishing my quiet book), so I didn’t have time to prepare a reading activity during Buddy’s nap time. I saw the book The Snowy Day in a box of books and thought that Buddy would love to play in “snow”.

We started by reading The Snowy Day together. We looked at the pictures and talked a lot about snow. Then I pulled out a bunch of cotton balls and two plastic tubs. We went back to look at the pictures again, and pretended that the cotton balls were the snow balls from the book.

Snowy Day Reading

After that, I let Buddy play independently with the cotton balls. He had so much fun! We’ve played with cotton balls a few months ago, so I knew he would love it. Buddy put them from one container to another, poured them out, and tried to pull them apart. From time to time, he went back to look at the book’s pictures on his own.

Snowy Day Reading 2

Snowy Day Reading 3

Buddy had so much fun with the cotton balls that we pulled them out again the next day. It was such an easy activity and so much fun!

My Quiet Book

We’re back home from our week long vacation, and now I finally have the time to blog about my big project. I made a quiet book for Buddy to play with on the plane. I found so many great ideas for quiet book pages on Pinterest, and I was able to come up with some of my own ideas as well.

Here is a quick overview of each of my pages. Please comment if you would like me to give more details on how I created each one.

Monster Peek a Boo Page

Monster peek a boo quiet book pageThis one I made up on my own. I saw two cute waving monster iron-on patches at Jo Ann Fabrics, and Buddy really liked them. They reminded me a little of the monsters from Monsters Inc., which made me think about putting them behind doors. One opens from the bottom, and one opens from the side. I used an embroidery stitch on my sewing machine to add some interest to each door. I ironed the monsters on the felt by putting a thin pressing cloth on top of the felt. I also used glittery fabric paint for the writing. Buddy enjoyed playing peek a boo with both monsters.


Jellyfish Page

Jellyfish counting quiet book page

There are a ton of pages similar to this one on Pinterest. I added a part of a cereal bag behind the jellyfish to make it crinkly. (I know it’s a quiet book, but Buddy loves things that make noise.) I used scotch tape to hold the jellyfish legs in place before I sewed them down. I used fabric glue to hold on the google eyes and puffy fabric paint for the smile and numbers. Buddy really enjoyed sliding the beads up and down each leg.

Wheels on the Bus Page

Wheels on the bus quiet book page

Buddy’s favorite song is Wheels on the Bus, and we have a pop up book of the song that he loves. He especially loves spinning the wheels in that book, but unfortunately they are paper, so they bend easily. I wanted to make a similar page in the quiet book that he wouldn’t be able to break. The wheels are  made of an extra firm felt. They are removable, and they can spin. The headlight is a button, and the rest of the bus was made using this pattern. Buddy enjoyed spinning the wheels, but not as much as he does in the book at home.

Who is in the Grass Page

Grass quiet book page
I saw a similar idea on Pinterest, but there wasn’t a pattern or template for it. I bought a bunch of cute buttons to go in the grass (bunnies, lady bugs, and ducks). I cut the grass in strips and sewed them on the background before I stitched the buttons in the grass. I used puffy paint for the writing. Buddy really likes this page, but he wants to pull the buttons off the page.

Dog Finger Puppets Page

Dog finger puppet quiet book pageI saw pages of farm animal finger puppets, and I realized how much Buddy would love puppets that were dogs. (He loves dogs!) I found a free template for the finger puppets here. I originally wanted to use my sewing machine to put the dogs together, but I found that hand stitching worked better. I used fabric glue to hold the fence together, and then I used my machine to sew the perimeter onto the background. This was Buddy’s favorite page by far. He loves those little dogs.

I put all of the pages on binder rings so that I can add to the book next summer (or whenever I find time to make more pages). For now, I’ll save this book for our trips or times when I need Buddy to be quiet and seated for awhile. It’s not perfect, but overall I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

A Week of One Year Old Activities

This week, we’ve had house guests for the holiday, so we’ve been busy cleaning and entertaining. Buddy and I didn’t have our normal schedule this week, but we were still able to have lots of fun.

Most of the things we did this week were too small for me to do a whole blog post on that activity.  However, we did do a lot of fun things.  I thought a list of quick and easy  activities might be useful for other parents. I know I’m constantly looking for ideas for keeping Buddy entertained.

This week we have:

  • Played in our water tableWater table play
  • Watched fireworks
  • Played with glow in the dark bracelets
  • Swung on swingsSwings
  • Played with homemade playdough
  • Colored with crayons
  • Made pictures with stickers
  • Tried to put lids on containersPutting on lid
  • Crawled in the grass
  • Blown and popped bubbles
  • Put pom poms in an ice cube trayIce cube tray and poms
  • Rediscovered forgotten toys
  • Tossed a beach ball with a friend
  • Crawled in a tunneltunnel play
  • Went on walks around the neighborhood
  • Pushed around in the laundry basket
  • Played in a rice sensory binRice bin
  • Decorated a window with gel clings
  • Built towers and knocked them over
  • Put pom poms in a paper towel tubePom Pom Tube
  • Crawled on and helped to deflate an air mattress
  • Made and ate pudding
  • Played with a stack of lidsLids in high chair
  • Read books
  • “Helped” with laundry (put dirty towels in laundry basket and pulled out clean socks into a pile for matching)
  • Played with friends

This week, we have gone to:

  • Story time at Barnes and Noble
  • The grocery store and rode on the horse
  • Shedd Aquarium
  • Two different parks
  • The library

Meanwhile, I’ve been busy preparing for our upcoming trip to Utah and California. I hope to finish and blog about those projects soon!

Now that we’ve reached the weekend, I’m ready to find new activities to do with Buddy. If you have any fun and easy ideas for young kids, I’d love to hear them!




Repurposed for Fun: Bottle and Straws

The other day, I was looking for a quick activity that would be fun for Buddy. He gets bored with his toys after awhile, so I’m constantly looking for new activities using materials in our home.

I grabbed an empty water bottle and a handful of straws. We only have the tall straws right now, so I cut them down to fit inside the bottle. When I set out the materials, Buddy was immediately interested in them. He wasn’t quite sure what to do with them, though, until I showed him how to put a straw in the bottle.

water bottle and straws

What do I do with these?

Since Buddy loves putting objects in containers, he was really excited about putting the straws in the bottle. It took a lot of concentration, but he could do it.

water bottle and straws 2

Wow! Look what I can do!

After putting a couple straws in the bottle, Buddy shook it to check if it makes noise. (He loves making noise even more than putting objects in containers!) The straws did make some noise, but they also quickly popped out of the bottle.

water bottle and straws 3

Uh oh!

Water bottle and straws 4

What do I do now, Mom?

Buddy happily continued that cycle for awhile. He put the straws in the bottle, shook them out, and then started over again. He was very entertained for about 15 minutes, and then came back to the activity on and off several times after that. It was a lot of fun for him, and so easy to put together. I know we’ll do it again soon.