Monthly Archives: August 2017

Shapes Collage

One of the projects I wanted to try this summer was a collage with Buddy. I saw the idea for a glue bin on Busy Toddler’s blog, and I knew Buddy would love it. He hadn’t used glue before, but I knew he’d enjoy trying it.

I decided to make this a shapes and colors activity as well as an introduction to using a glue stick. We’ve been working on shapes and colors a lot, and Buddy loves it. I cut out a bunch of different shapes in different colors of construction paper and put them in a bag. Then I pulled out a black piece of construction paper and a glue stick.

At first, Buddy just wanted to keep the shapes in the bag. He was very excited about putting glue on the shapes. It was a little challenging for him, though.

Buddy loved how sticky the glue was! He kept putting his fingers in it! We talked about the different colors and shapes as he glued on the shapes. Buddy wanted to use the glue as a crayon, so that was a little challenging for him. I tried to get him to put the shapes on his lines of glue, but he didn’t want to. Eventually, he decided it was easier to put the glue on the shape and then put it down. Buddy liked putting glue on both sides of the paper, which made it a lot easier to put the sticky side on the paper. 

When we finished, Buddy was very proud of his collage. It was an easy and fun activity, and I’m sure we will do it again soon. 

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Cooking with Kids: Stromboli

I’ve been making Stromboli for a long time. It’s easy to make, and is a fun variation on pizza. I don’t remember where I found the original recipe, but I’ve adapted it to make it easier. Since I’m always trying to involve Buddy in the kitchen, I thought this would be a great recipe to try with him.

To make Stromboli, you need Pillsbury pizza dough (the kind in the tube), pizza sauce or spaghetti sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, pepperoni, basil, and olive oil.

Preheat the oven to 425. Spread out the dough on a baking sheet. Mix a couple of tablespoons of olive oil with basil, and brush it on the dough. Buddy really loved using the basting brush for this part. 

Next, cover half of the dough with pizza sauce. (I actually forgot to do just half this time. It’s ok to cover the whole dough too.) You only need a few tablespoons of sauce. I usually use spaghetti sauce and then use the rest of the jar later in the week with pasta. In the original recipe, the sauce isn’t used until the end for dipping. You can serve it this way if you prefer.

Cover the sauce with mozzarella cheese. This was Buddy’s favorite part! We like a lot of cheese in our Stromboli, so we used the whole bag. 

Next, put a layer of pepperoni on top of the cheese. You can sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese on top of the pepperoni if you wish. (I usually do.)

Fold the dough over so that the edges meet. Use your fingers to press the loose edges together. Buddy decided to give the whole dough a few pats, but that isn’t necessary.  

Bake the Stromboli for 20 minutes. It should be a light brown when it’s done. Then you can slice  and serve it. My whole family loves Stromboli, and it’s so quick to make. Buddy had a lot of fun making the Stromboli, and I’m sure he’ll be involved the next time I make it as well.

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Whisking Bubbles

Recently, I needed another inside activity for Water Wednesday. (For several weeks in a row, we’ve had thunderstorms on Wednesdays.) I originally saw the idea for whisking bubbles on Emma Owl’s blog and loved it. Even though she did it outside, I knew it would be perfect for a rainy Wednesday.

To start, I put a little dish soap and warm water in a large bowl. I put it on a large beach towel to help catch any spilled soapy water. Then, I found two whisks and showed them to Buddy. I told him we were going to use the whisks to create bubbles.

Buddy was very excited about the activity. He was happy to stir the water with the whisks, but he needed a little assistance at first. I modeled how to stir the water vigorously enough to create the bubbles. Then we stirred together. 

The more we stirred, the more bubbles we got. Buddy was thrilled! Once we had a few bubbles, he didn’t need any help to get more. He did a neat job of stirring, and he loved it! Once we had some bubble foam, he tried to scoop it up with the whisk. Buddy had the best time! He loved scooping up the foamy bubbles, and then stirring again to make more.

Buddy eventually got brave enough to stick his hands in the bubbles. Then he decided it was “sunscreen” and he started slathering it on his arms, legs, and face. We were both laughing hysterically!Because he had a whisk and not a cup, Buddy didn’t make much of a mess until he starting putting it all over himself. When we were done, it was easy to mop up with the towel. Of course, this would be easy to do outside or in the tub, and then there wouldn’t be any clean up needed. Buddy loved this activity so much, we will definitely do it again soon!

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Airplane Activities for a Two Year Old

Summer is almost over, and we’ve finally finished all of our airplane trips for the season. Buddy has always been a good traveler. However, I’ve found that the more activities that I have on hand, the easier the trip is for all of us. This summer, we had four flights over the course of two weeks. The first two were an hour and a half and the second two were two and a half hours. Now that Buddy is two, he got his own seat on the airplane for the first time. He also is able to do different activities than he could when he was one. (Read about our one year old airplane activities here and here.) Since he had his own seat, Buddy brought his toys in his travel backpack.

Disclaimer – this post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Should you choose to purchase something with one of these links, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thanks for supporting my family. 

Prior to our trips, I spent a lot of time looking for new toys and activities for the airplane. I tried to spend as little money as possible on new things. I set aside several small books and toys from our library reading program and happy meals. (Chick-fil-a board books are the perfect size for travel!) The dollar store sometimes has great cheap toys for travel, but it’s always hit or miss. I found great items in the dollar sections of Target and Toys R Us though. My new favorite place to find cheap travel items is Party City. There are lots of cheap stickers and toys there for treat bags that are perfect for travel.

I rotate our toys and books at home, so some items had been rotated out and seemed like new to Buddy. The only other things I bought used gift cards and rewards money I already had at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Target. I also created some DIY activities for our trip.

The activities I have listed here are from both of our trips. Some items went on both sets of flights and some were just used once. 

  • Thin paper books and small board books. They’re not in this picture because they traveled with us in the diaper bag, but I still love the Indestructibles books for travel because they take up no space.
  • Look and find books are Buddy’s new favorite type of book. I printed out and laminated a bunch of iSpy pages for him. I also found this Disney/Pixar Look and Find book in a box of rotated books. Buddy and I were both so excited about it!
  • I set aside the most recent Highlight’s magazine to have more new reading material on the plane.
  • I also made a quiet book for Buddy. Read more about it here and here.
  • The water wow book was new for this trip, and Buddy loved it! These books are a favorite for us for travel and when I’m cooking dinner.
  • Colorforms are amazing reusable stickers and play scenes. I bought one at Toys R Us and found another one at the dollar store. Buddy can do these independently and they keep him busy for a long time.
  • A notebook and some washable crayons. We also brought a couple Grab and Go coloring book/sticker packs and sticker books from Party City. The Grab and Gos also live in the diaper bag, so I forgot to pull them out for this picture.
  • I put some velcro dots on popsicle sticks to build with.
  • Travel sized iSpy bottle. (Read about how I made the full sized version here.)
  • Pom poms in a salad dressing container from the dollar store. (Read about the large scale version of this activity here.)
  • Light up squishy dinosaur from the dollar store.
  • A retractable measuring tape from the dollar store. This was a huge hit! Buddy loved pulling out the tape and pressing the button to come back again.
  • My old Kindle Fire and kid headphones. I put some Thomas the Train videos on here along with a few apps. I also got some ebooks from the library and free ones from Amazon Prime.

  • Fisher Price Clip – on Doodle Pro. I actually bought this before our plane trips last year, but Buddy wasn’t interested in it. He really liked in on our trips this year though.
  • Duplo Busy Bag. Buddy loves his Duplos! I made small pictures of things for him to build and put it in the bag. Read more about this activity and get the free printable here.
  • Finger puppets
  • Animal flash cards. I wasn’t sure if Buddy would like these, but he really did. They kept him entertained for a long time in the airport when our plane was delayed.
  • Small board books
  • Thomas the Train magnet book. We received this as a birthday gift, and it’s great for travel! Buddy loved having a small version of his “choo choo tracks” on our trip.
  • Jumbo Nuts and Bolts Set. I didn’t take a picture of all of them, but the set has six nuts and bolts with a pattern card and a travel bag. It took up more space in his backpack than I wanted, but Buddy really enjoyed them.
  • Gel clings. Buddy loves these and they are great for airplane windows. Unfortunately, since he was in a carseat, it was too hard for him to actually use it on these trips. This was a favorite activity when Buddy was on our laps. I’m sure it will be great when we decide to fly without a car seat on the plane.
  • I didn’t bring it on this trip, but playdoh is another great activity for airplanes. I wasn’t sure if Buddy could use the tray table in the car seat (he couldn’t), so I didn’t bring it. It will definitely be on our pack list though for the next trip without a car seat.

Here are a few pictures of these travel activities in action.

Coloring with the water wow.

Nuts and bolts on the plane.

Playing nuts and bolts with Daddy.

When we were in the airport, watching airplanes was Buddy’s favorite activity.

Buddy brought one of his many stuffed animals on our trips. Puppy kept Buddy entertained throughout both trips. I also had many snacks and drinks to help keep Buddy occupied during our travels. I especially encouraged eating as the plane was going up and down to keep Buddy’s ears popping comfortably.

I’m not sure when our next flight as a family will be. Hopefully, many of these activities will continue to entertain Buddy when he’s a little older. I’m always looking for new ideas, so feel free to share any travel activity ideas you have.

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Toddler Quiet Book Pages

Last year, I created a quiet book for our family trip to Utah and California. (Read more about it here.) I was really happy with how it turned out. Since then, I’ve brought the quiet book with us to sporting events, plane trips, and road trips. It’s a great way to keep Buddy entertained on the go.

This summer, I decided I wanted to make a couple more pages for the quiet book. Now that Buddy is two, he can do more challenging quiet book activities. I chose two different designs to create.

For this shapes page, I used some large buttons that I had lying around the house. I traced them with chalk and then outlined them with puffy paint. I used hot glue to attach velcro and ribbon to the buttons. Then, I cut out the pocket for the buttons and sewed it to the other end of the strings. Buddy is very into shapes and colors, and he enjoyed solving this puzzle.

Recently, Buddy has been interested in helping me buckle his car seat. I looked at a lot of different buckle quiet pages, and I came across this dog design that I loved. Buddy loves dogs, and I knew the buckle would be extra fun. I found a picture I liked online and used freezer paper to trace it and make a pattern. I sewed together the parts of the dog and used fabric glue to put down the ears. (The fake fur is a mess, but Buddy really liked it.) Then, I sewed the ribbon onto the buckle and the leash clasp. I also added velcro to a dog bone and the dog’s tongue. Buddy was really excited about the dog, but the buckle and leash were a little hard for him. I’m sure this will be a page he grows into and will entertain him as he gets older.

I’m really pleased with how these pages turned out! It was a lot of work to make them, but a lot of fun too. I hope Buddy continues to enjoy them for a long time.