Tag Archives: two year old activities

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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Nature Scavenger Hunt

For Try Something New Thursday, I wanted to do a nature scavenger hunt. I loved scavenger hunts as a kid, and I thought Buddy would enjoy them too. There is an amazing free printable on Life With My Little’s blog (get it here). I printed it and laminated it during Buddy’s nap. Once I found a small dry erase marker, we were all ready to go.

Buddy saw the scavenger hunt sheet, and he immediately understood what to do. He “read” the list on his own. We needed to find a stick, a dandelion, a clover, a bug, and a cool rock. I love this particular scavenger hunt because it is short, has nice pictures, and everything is easy to find.

Buddy got into his push car, and we went to the park near our house. There is a walking path around a small pond, which I knew would be perfect for our hunt. Buddy studied our scavenger hunt list as I pushed him to the park.

Once we reached the park, Buddy got out of the car to find the items. As we found each item, he crossed out the picture with the dry erase marker. Buddy loved using the marker and carrying our scavenger hunt list!

We found a clover!

Crossing out pictures on the card.

Since we took our time finding the items, we were able to see many amazing things not on our list. We saw a rabbit, a squirrel, a heron, and several huge dragonflies! Buddy loves animals, and they made our walk extra fun. After we walked for a while, Buddy wanted to push the car on his own. It slowed us down a bit, but we saw many fun things as a result. 

This was such a fun and easy activity! We both loved it, and I’m sure we’ll do it again soon.

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Bubbling Colors: A Science Activity for Toddlers

For Try Something New Thursday, I wanted to do a science activity. I’d seen several different activities with baking soda and vinegar on Pinterest. Since I had both of those ingredients on hand, it seemed like a good activity to try. I especially loved the hidden colors activity on Busy Toddler’s blog, so I decided to try it.

To start, I put two old muffin tins into my sensory bin. Then, I put several drops of food coloring in each cup of two muffin tins. Some of the cups had just one color, and some of them had two different colors. Then, I poured some baking soda in each cup. I put the vinegar in a water bottle from the dollar store. With the cap open, the vinegar dribbled out slowly. It was perfect for Buddy to pour the vinegar on the baking soda. 

I set out the materials for Buddy to explore. Buddy initially wanted to explore them with his hands. But once I showed Buddy the water bottle of vinegar, he was excited to pour it into the cups. He loved the bubbles that came up! It took a little while before we could see any color, but that was extra exciting once they showed up.

Buddy was happy to keep pouring the vinegar into the baking soda. The longer we did it, the better we could see the colors. He kept walking around the container making sure that he got into all of the muffin tin cups. 

Once most of our bubbles were gone, I shook out the top of each tin into the bin. After I did that, it exposed the extra baking soda that was still dry. Then we were able to continue our experiment. 

This was a fun and easy activity. Buddy really had a lot of fun, and it was easy to clean up. I love that Buddy had a chance to do a science experiment. Hopefully, we will be able to do another experiment sometime this summer.

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Repurposed for Fun: Duplo Drop

We had an extra couple of boxes at our house last week. Immediately,  I knew I wanted to use the larger one for some cardboard box coloring. However, it took a few days for me to figure out an activity for the smaller one. Eventually, I decided to make a Duplo color sorting activity for Buddy. I originally saw this idea on Toddler Approved’s blog, and I knew Buddy would love it.

First, I used a box cutter to cut five holes in the box. Then I used some paint to outline a different color outside the edge of each hole. Since I only needed a little of each color, I used a q-tip instead of a paint brush to make clean up easy. 

I let the box dry for a couple of hours. Then I showed it to Buddy. He immediately knew what to do with it. Buddy was very excited to put each Duplo into the matching hole for its color. We’ve been working on colors, and he’s pretty confident with them. 

After he played with it for a while, Buddy decided to be silly. He would attempt to put the block in the wrong color and laugh about it. “Red in blue?” Buddy thought this was the funniest thing ever!

Our box wasn’t the strongest, and I was afraid it was going to break. Every time Buddy reached across the box, he put all of his weight on it. Eventually, I decided to put it vertically, and it fixed the problem. Plus, it was a whole new way to play, which made it more fun. 

Overall, this was a fun and easy way to repurpose a box. Buddy loves his Duplo drop and plays with it often. We will probably keep this out for a while and then fold it flat to save for later. If you have any other ideas for a cardboard box, please let me know. I’m always looking for new ways to play with the ones at my house.

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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.