Tag Archives: two year old activities

Mighty, Mighty Construction Site Sensory Bin

Buddy is really into construction vehicles right now, so I decided to do another construction sensory bin for this week’s Time To Read Tuesday. (Read about our other construction site sensory bin with shredded paper here.) I checked out the book Mighty, Mighty Construction Site (affiliate link) from our library to go with our sensory bin. Buddy loves Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site (affiliate link), so we were both excited to read the sequel.

I started by reading the book with Buddy. He loved all of the trucks from the other book and all of the new ones too. I loved the themes of friendship and teamwork. It’s a great book and definitely worth checking out or buying.

Then, I pulled out our sensory bin, poured in black beans, and added four mini CAT construction vehicles. I bought mine at the dollar store, but you can also get them here. They are really nice for the price, and all of the parts move the same way they do on the actual construction vehicles. Buddy was with me when we bought them a few months ago, but he hasn’t seen them since then. These new toys made the sensory bin extra exciting. 

I knew we had a bulldozer and a dump truck, but I wasn’t sure what the other two vehicles are. Fortunately, both were new friends added to Mighty, Mighty Construction Site. After looking at the pictures, we decided our other trucks were a backhoe and a front-end loader.

In the book, the front-end loader helps fill up the dump truck. We spent a lot of time doing that as well. Then Buddy tried using the backhoe and the bulldozer to fill up the dump truck. He had the best time filling up the dump truck, driving it around the bin, and dumping it back out. Buddy also loved grabbing handfuls of beans and dropping them.

This was one of my most successful activities in a long time. Buddy played with the trucks for over an hour! When we had to stop for dinner, he was hysterical about me putting it away. We compromised by picking up the beans and leaving them in the bin with the trucks. (Normally I keep my sensory bin fillers in an extra large ziplock bag in a cabinet.) We’ve played with it twice in the last week. It’s a mess, but Buddy loves it so much, it’s worth it. I know we’ll continue to play with our Mighty, Mighty Construction Site sensory bin often.

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Brown Bear Matching Activity

For our first Time to Read Tuesday of the summer, I chose the book Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? (affiliate link). I came across amazing resources for this book on 1 + 1 + 1 = 1’s website, and I was excited to finally be able to use them. (The version of the activity on the website now is a little different than the one I downloaded.) To prepare the heads and tails Brown Bear matching activity, I printed off the cards and laminated them. When I cut them out, I cut each card in half.

Buddy and I started the activity by reading the book together. Once we reached the last page, I told him we’d use it to help us solve a puzzle. Buddy was excited because he loves puzzles. We spread out all of the cards and started to look for matches.

It was easy for Buddy to find matches. He knows his colors well, so that helped a lot. Initially, he liked to check the cards with the book to see if they were the same animals. I loved that he really made a connection between the book and the cards. 

While Buddy had no problem making matches, he did have a little problem putting the two parts together correctly. Again, we used the book as a reference to help us. Eventually, he got better at lining the cards up correctly.

Buddy loved his Brown Bear matching activity! We did it three times in a row, and then two times again later in the week. Every time he finished it, he was so proud! It was so easy to make, and it will be a great busy bag. I will definitely try some other matching puzzles later this summer. 

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Road Trip Activities for a Two Year Old

*Disclaimer – This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. If you choose to purchase an item through these links, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting my family.*

Buddy and I started our summer break with a road trip to visit my family. Since this trip was in the middle of the week, Hubby wasn’t able to join us. That also meant that I had to find activities to keep Buddy occupied for more than 6 hours in the car. All of these activities had to be things that Buddy can do independently and would hold his attention. They also had to be easy to pack and carry in the car.

Buddy actually looks excited to start his long car ride!

Last summer, I blogged about tips for driving alone with a toddler (read here), and I used many of those same things on this trip as well. I modified the toy box set up a little from last year, but otherwise it’s the same. I poked holes in a shoe box and used string to tie it to the arm rest next to Buddy’s seat. Then, I loaded it up with small toys and books to keep him occupied. 

Here is what is in the box:

1.Water wow – This is one of Buddy’s favorite things right now. It’s a paint with water book that goes back to black and white after it dries. It actually didn’t fit in the box, but I handed it to him separately. I filled the water pen ahead of time, and he is able to put it in and out of the holder himself. We brought the water wow to a family dinner and all of the kids were obsessed with it. Buddy had to take turns with his 5-year-old and 3-year-old cousins painting one object at a time.

2. Colorforms – These we actually didn’t do in the car, but I bought them to do at my dad’s house. I’d been looking for reusable stickers for plane rides, but couldn’t find anything I liked. Then I came across Colorforms at Toys R Us and realized it was perfect! Buddy’s older cousins loved the Colorforms too.

3. VTech Go Go Smart Wheels – Buddy loves these. (Read about the portable tracks I made for these cars here.) He can turn the noises on and off himself. I did make the mistake of bringing our fire truck, and it took awhile to realize why I kept hearing sirens all over the place…

4. Old MacDonald Hand Puppet Book– Buddy sings Old MacDonald non stop, so of course I had to bring our book/puppet for it!

5. I Spy bottle – I linked one that you can buy, but I packed one that I made out of a tiny water bottle. (See the DIY directions for our larger one here.)

6. Finger puppets– These are small and fun to play with.

7. Indestructibles Books – I have blogged before about how much I love these books for travel. They are made of the same material as packing envelopes, and they take no space to pack. Several of them live in our diaper bag at all times. The Things That Go one is our current favorite.

8. Fisher Price Smart Phone – Buddy hadn’t seen ours in a while, so it was extra exciting for him on this trip.

9. Small board books – Buddy loves reading, so I always bring a bunch of books. I really like these small chunky books that are 2 inches by 2 inches because they don’t take up much space.

10. My First Thomas Pull Back Racer – Buddy loves all things Thomas, and these are a little larger and easier to bring (and not lose) than the wooden trains. They are the best pull back toys I’ve ever seen. They go forward a lot for just a little effort.

11. Stuffed animals – I probably didn’t need a link for this one because every toddler I know has a ton. The one I linked is a Peter Rabbit that is a current favorite of Buddy’s.

12. Munchkin farm animals – These are supposed to be bath toys, but we’ve never used them in the tub. Buddy loves playing with these animals.

13. Baby Einstein Music Toy – The music and lights make this interesting for both babies and toddlers. It is one of the few toys that I packed that would also be appropriate for a night drive. (I drove during the day, but we’ve had the problem of what to pack for dark drives during other parts of the year.)

14. Snacks are an important activity (in my opinion) to keep a toddler happy and entertained in the car. We love this Munchkin snack cup and Munchkin straw sippy cup.

I brought a few more toys and books to play with during our trip (a deflated beach ball is always a favorite of mine because it takes no space to pack). For the most part, these travel toys were the favorites both in the car and out of it. If you have any questions about travel tips with a toddler, please ask in the comments.

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Tales of a Teacher Mom’s First Anniversary

This week is the first anniversary of Tales of a Teacher Mom. One year ago, I started this blog unsure if I’d enjoy it. I hoped it would give me motivation to find new activities to do with Buddy and keep me busy during the summer. It definitely did both of those things and more. During the last year, I’ve connected with many other parents, and it’s been amazing. I love that my writing has been helpful to others.

A few statistics from this first year. (I’m a math teacher; I can’t help but include numbers!) This year I have written 57 posts and had 31,866 views. At the beginning of 2017, I set a goal for myself to write a new post every Monday, and so far I’ve met that goal. On Pinterest, I’m averaging 383,445 monthly viewers of my pins and engage about 17,644 every month. My most popular article (Painting with Water) has been pinned by more than 18,000 people. I’m really proud of what I’ve accomplished so far, and I hope to grow even more this year.

My top five blog posts:

  1. Painting with Water
  2. Airplane Activities for a One Year Old
  3. Making Rain Sensory Activity
  4. Cornstarch and Water Sensory Play
  5. Repurposed for Fun: Water Bottle and Straws

Five more posts that I love:

  1.  Thomas the Train 2nd Birthday Party
  2. Cardboard Box Coloring
  3. Find That Shape: A Sidewalk Chalk Game
  4. Fishing for Magnetic Letters
  5. Five Easy Chores That a One Year Old Can Do

My first blog post: Road Trip Tips For Driving Alone with a One Year Old

My favorite post: Twelve Things About Being a Mom

Thank you so much for reading. Your comments have been especially motiving to me. It’s been a great year, and I’m looking forward to another year of blogging.

Ten Activities to Entertain a Sick Toddler

*Disclaimer – This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. If you choose to purchase an item from these links, I receive a small commission at no additional expense to you. Thanks for supporting my family.*

A few weeks ago, Buddy was sent home sick from school. Hubby stayed home with him on his first day off, and I was with him on his second day. By that time, Buddy was feeling much better, and he needed a lot of activities to keep him busy. He was still too sick to go out of the house, but he had enough energy to play. These are some of the things we did together.

  1. Read books – Buddy loves reading, and when he’s feeling a little sick, he has extra patience for sitting and reading. His favorite books are ones that have parts to move, like this  really cool version of “Wheels on the Bus”.
  2. Sing songs – Buddy is finally able to sing many of his favorite songs. He especially loves “Wheels on the Bus” and “Old MacDonald”, and we sing them all the time. We also love singing along to songs on the toddler song station on Pandora.
  3. Playdoh – Playdoh is so much fun for toddlers. We usually only pull it out on weekends when we have plenty of time at home. Buddy especially loves playing with his Thomas train playdoh set from his Thomas party and these Playdoh tools. 
  4. Play with forgotten toys – I rotate Buddy’s toys and books every month. It’s especially great for days like this where I need something “new” to distract Buddy. Buddy was excited about several of the rotated toys, but he was most excited about this Fisher Price firetruck
  5. Play with favorite toys – It’s nice when we have enough time for Buddy to play with all of his favorite toys. Right now, his favorite is his “choo choo tracks”. (We bought him a train set similar to this one for his birthday along with some Thomas trains.)  He played with these for a long time. 
  6. Box play – It’s amazing how entertaining an empty box is for kids. I gave Buddy the Thomas toss game box from his party and offered to play the toss game with him. He decided it would be more fun to put all of his trains and cars in the box and push them around. We’ve also had a lot of fun in the past coloring in a large cardboard box. (Read more about that here.) An empty box offers a lot of different entertainment options for toddlers. 
  7. Make music – Buddy has a lot of different musical instruments, and he enjoys making music with them. (We have the Horner Kid’s Band and the B. Parum Pum Pum Drum and love them both.) On this particular day, we spent some time playing our piano. We don’t do that often, so it was a lot of fun for Buddy. 
  8. Do a sort – Buddy is very interested in shapes and colors right now, so I decided to pull out my attribute links. We’ve played with these before (read about our shapes activity here and our colors activity here), but it’s been a long time. I asked Buddy what he wanted to sort first and he wanted to do a shape sort first. Then we mixed everything up again and sorted by color. Even if you don’t have attribute links, Pinterest is filled with many ideas for doing different types of sorts with shape and color.
  9. Stickers – Stickers are such an easy way to entertain a toddler. Buddy’s very into stickers right now. (We’ve even started carrying some in the diaper bag to keep him entertained when we go out to eat.) My favorite places to buy lots of cheap stickers is Party City and the dollar store. Buddy spent a lot of time putting lots of Thomas stickers on paper and making scenes of the characters. 
  10. Be artistic – Being stuck in the house is the perfect excuse for an art project. Right now, Buddy is really into his Water Wow book that he got for Easter. He can paint a picture with water, and it is really fun. We could have also drawn a picture with crayons, used his Color Wonder markers, or actually used paint. Since the Water Wow is new and easy, that’s what we did. Hopefully we are done with sick days for awhile. But I’d love to hear more ideas for sick day toddler activities if you have them.

Move Like the Animals: A Gross Motor Skills Game

Buddy was a very late walker, and he works with a physical therapist once a week. As a result, I’m always looking for fun ways to build his gross motor skills at home. Last week, Buddy’s physical therapist mentioned that they had been imitating different animals in their session. I thought that sounded like an idea that would be fun to do at home as well.

Buddy received a set of Fisher-Price Little People Zoo Animals (affiliate link) for Easter. I thought they would be fun to incorporate into our animal movement game. To play the game, Buddy chose an animal from the tub. Then, we would try to move like that animal. Some of the animals were easier to think of movements for than others, but it was fun trying to make up movements for all of them.

When we first started, Buddy spent a lot of time looking through the animals and deciding which one to pick.

Once he picked an animal, we both got up and moved like it. For the zebra, we did high marching kicks. For the panda, we pretended to climb up bamboo. We swung around like a monkey, waddled like a penguin, hopped like a kangaroo, and snapped our arms like an alligator’s mouth. We crouched and crawled and roared for both the lion and the tiger. The seal was the weirdest one movement wise; we just waddled around and barked like a seal. Both of us had so much fun!

Marching like a zebra

Climbing bamboo like a panda

Moving like animals is so much fun!

After a little while, Buddy wanted to just play with the animals and the container, which was fine. He had a lot of fun just lining up all of the animals and then saying their names.

It was a really fun activity for both of us, and it was great for practicing some of his gross motor skills. We have played this game several times so far, and I’m sure we’ll play it again soon. If you have any other ideas for fun gross motor activities, please share in the comments.

Cooking with Kids: Easy Ham and Cheese Sliders

Buddy is very interested in trying to imitate others and being a “big kid”. As a result, I look for ways to include him in my daily routines around the house. I’ve already blogged about many of these chores in this blog post, but recently, I’m trying to include Buddy in the kitchen as well.

A couple weeks ago, I decided to try out this recipe for ham and cheese sliders. I realized that it would be easy for Buddy to help, so I let him.

I cut apart the Hawaiian rolls an put the bottom part in a glass dish. Buddy helped me put the ham and cheese on top of the rolls. Then, I put on the top part of the roll. I melted butter, and Buddy helped me brush it on the top of the Hawaiian rolls. Finally, we put the rolls in the oven at 350 degrees to bake for 20 minutes.

The ham and cheese sliders were delicious and took less than 10 minutes to put together. Buddy was so proud of himself for helping make dinner.

I’m hoping to find some other easy recipes to try with Buddy. If I find anything I’ll like, I’ll share it here. I’d love suggestions if you know of some good recipes for kids.

Gardening Sensory Bin

Buddy loves sensory bins, so it’s always fun when I come across a new sensory bin idea. I first saw the idea of making a gardening sensory bin on Frugal Mom Eh’s blog. Now that it’s spring, it is the perfect time to try it.

Buddy and I bought the gardening materials from the dollar store. I had him pick out some flowers he liked, and I bought some small plastic pots as well. We also bought a jumprope with carrot handles. I cut off the rope so we could use the carrots in the bin. We bought five bags of black beans at the grocery store, and the rest of the tools we already had at home.

Before we played in the gardening sensory bin, I cut down the stems of the plastic flowers with wire cutters so they would fit in the pots. I wrapped the ends with electrical tape to cover up the exposed wire. I also found some toy gardening tools that we’ve used with some of our other sensory bins.

The bin was set up with the flowers and some black beans in the pots and the carrots buried in the “dirt”. Buddy was very eager to play in the bin, and he immediately started taking out all of the flowers.  I hoped that picking out the flowers with Buddy would increase his interest in them, but it didn’t.

Buddy’s favorite part of the bin was the plastic pots. He loved scooping up the beans and putting them into the pots. Then he’d pour the beans out of the bin, and start over again. Buddy also loved banging the pots together and stacking them in one another.

I loved the black beans as a sensory bin filler. In fact, it is my favorite filler that we’ve tried. Buddy loves it as much as rice because it’s easy to rake, scoop, and pour. I prefer it to rice, though, because it’s much bigger and easier to pick up. Buddy also helped me pick up the spilled beans to put back in the bin (something he can’t do when we play with rice).

Overall, Buddy and I both were really happy with this sensory bin. It entertained him for a long time, and was faster to clean up than some of our other sensory activities. I’m sure we’ll do it again soon.

Cardboard Box Coloring

Sometimes the best activity ideas are the easiest. A long time ago, I saw the idea of coloring in a cardboard box on Pinterest. (See the original idea on Berry Sweet Baby’s blog here.) I immediately thought it was a great idea, but Buddy was too small to do it at the time.

Last week, Buddy received a gift that came in a very large cardboard box. I took the present out, but I didn’t immediately break down the box. Later in the day, I needed an activity for Buddy when I remembered the coloring box idea. I grabbed Buddy, gave him some crayons, and put him in the box.

Buddy loved being in the box! He colored for a bit, and then he had a lot of fun knocking down the sides of the box. Every time he hit the side, Buddy burst out in hysterical laughter!

Buddy loved coloring in the box as well. He actually loved this activity so much, we did it four days in a row! (And then we revisited it again later in the week!)

Buddy loved to take peek-a-boo breaks from his coloring. He loves playing peek-a-boo, and the box made it extra fun.

This was such a great activity! I left the box with crayons in it in our living room for a few days, and we would color whenever we needed a fun activity. It was worth the eye sore to have a quick, fun activity right on hand. We’ve since thrown out the box, but I’m sure we’ll do it again the next time we have a large box delivered to our house.

Find That Shape: A Sidewalk Chalk Game

I’m so excited that spring break is here! As the weather is getting warmer, Buddy is extra eager to go outside to play. A friend and colleague of mine told me about a shape sidewalk chalk game she plays with her granddaughter. She draws different colored shapes in chalk and tells her granddaughter to find different colors and shapes. Since Buddy is working on colors and shapes, I knew it’d be a perfect game for him.

To make this game easy for Buddy, I only did one of each shape and color. I also picked shapes and colors that Buddy knows. 

I told Buddy to find a specific color/shape combination and jump on the shape. He had a lot of fun finding each shape. Buddy can’t jump yet, but he enjoyed stomping on each shape as he found it.

Buddy took some breaks from the game to draw on our driveway with the chalk. We’ve never played with chalk before, so that was fun and exciting for Buddy. Then we’d go back to playing our game again.

We also played a variation where he told me which shape and color to jump on. Buddy thought that was lots of fun too.

Once Buddy becomes more confident with his colors and shapes, I will make this game more difficult by making shapes in more than one different color. So far, we’ve played it twice this week, and it’s quickly becoming one of Buddy’s favorite activities.

Buddy and I have some extra time together this week due to spring break, so I’m looking for more things to try with him. If you have any ideas, please share!