Posts Tagged 'crafts'

Beating Cabin Fever with Toddlers

Little girl looking out the window

Unaltered image. LeAnn, Flickr. CC License.

There’s been pestilence at our house for way too long. In addition to the common colds and stomach bugs, we’ve had a round of RSV. The fun’s lasted for three weeks now, and with the extremely cold weather, it’s tough to keep two three-year-olds occupied indoors and maintain the adults’ sanity.

Lucky for me, the clearance sections at big-box retailers have been ripe for the picking.

At Meijer, I discovered Little Hands craft kits. Paper bag puppets, animals on craft sticks, and all kinds of other fun projects (sometimes as many as 20 and it includes a glue stick) came in a box. For a little over $3, you can’t beat the price. Now we have a menagerie, with some aliens and monsters sprinkled in, on our countertops, cabinet doors, refrigerator, etc.

While at Target (my home away from home), I found Cra-Z-Art projects on clearance. I scored a set of cardboard blocks that can be colored as well as a giant dry-erase floor puzzle. Huge hits with the kids!

We also have indoor sandboxes. This isn’t a project for the faint-of-heart. It can get messy, but it’s easy to clean up. Start with a smallish, shallow container with a lid that can be fastened on tightly. Ours are about 8 inches wide, 12 inches long and 3 inches deep. At the store, pick up birdseed, corn meal, dried beans or pasta, rice, aquarium rocks — anything with a dry texture. Combine them in the containers and provide small cups for pouring, spoons for scooping, and trucks for driving. The kids love it. Just keep the vacuum handy when you’re done playing.

When the kids aren’t sick, we like to take them to open play at a local gymnastics place. For a few bucks per kid, we get free rein of the gym, trampolines, foam pit, balance beams, and all the other fun things. It’s a great way to burn off pent-up energy and make new friends.

I’ve also been looking into the Michigan Activity Pass Program, which gets you entry to parks and museums around the state for little to no cost. The program is run through local libraries, so check to see if yours participates.

There’s also a ton of great kid-activity websites out there. What are a few of yours? What are some great indoor activities for your kids?

– Rebecca Calappi is a Publications Coordinator at Beaumont Health System and adoptive parent of multiples

Summer Scrapbook

Photo of a scrapbook cover

We’re about half way into summer now and for some kids the excitement of outdoor fun is starting to wear off.

Here’s a great activity to keep your kids entertained for hours while they practice skills like fine motor movement, literacy and creativity: A summer scrapbook! You can either buy a blank scrapbook or make one. This is the one we are using from Amazon.

Now’s the fun part! Brainstorm a list of activities your child can add to their summer scrapbook. This is appropriate for ages 2 and up. The older the child is, the more independent this activity will be.

I wrote a title on the pages for my 5 year old to remember what the theme of each page would be. Some examples we came up with were: family time, sisters, summer play dates, the lake, and so on. I put together a zip-top bag of supplies for her like stickers, scissors, glue, markers and construction paper. Then I let her have her fun with creating. We also talked about adding captions to some of her pictures so many years from now, she’ll remember where they were taken.

Photo of interior scrapbook page

My daughter has fun customizing each page.

Some days she asks me to sit and scrapbook with her and I will help her add to a page but for the most part, this is a quiet, independent activity. This is a project of her own that she’ll be able to enjoy looking back on for years to come!

– Maria Dismondy, mother of three, reading specialist, fitness instructor and bestselling children’s author living in Southeast Michigan.

Use Halloween to Boost Language Development

Halloween is such a fun time with kids. Plus, there are a million ways to work on your child’s speech and language development revolving around the theme of Halloween. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Read a Halloween book. Choose something that is age appropriate for your child.  If you child is under 2 years, ask them to point to pictures in the book.  Around 2 years and older you can begin asking simple what and where questions. For example, what is the witch wearing on her head?  What color is the ghost?  Where is the pumpkin on this page?
  2. Create a sequencing activity with pictures about Halloween night.  Children get so excited about dressing up and going out to get candy.  Sometimes it can be overwhelming to them and the thought of something different can be exciting as well as nerve racking.  Take some pictures of your child eating dinner, wearing their costume and the walking around outside.  You can then put together the sequence with your child.  If you child understands numbers you can even have them put a number next to each picture.  #1 We are going to eat dinner.  #2 We are going to put on your costume. #3 We are going to go trick or treating.  You can make a sequence as simple as this for 2 year olds and more complicated for older children.
  3. Create a Halloween craft. There are so many ideas out there for Halloween craft ideas.  By doing a craft project together with your child, you are working on sequencing, increasing vocabulary, following directions and increasing expressive language skills.  Some of my favorite craft websites include:
  4. Sort through the candy.  If your child is old enough, you can begin working on categories.  For example, have your child put all the m&m’s in one pile, all the white wrappers in a second pile and all the red wrappers in a third pile.  You could work on categories of chocolate vs. sugar candy vs. pretzel/chips.  Increase vocabulary by teaching your child labels such as “this candy is soft, while this candy is crunchy.”
  5. Create a scrapbook after the event.  Once you have settled down from your child’s sugar high sit down and create a scrapbook to mark down your memories.  You can work on receptive language skills by asking simple questions, “ Who is in this picture?  Who was dressed as a dinosaur?  What did you get when you went trick or treating?”  This also is an excellent time to work on sequencing.  First we cut out the picture, then put the glue on the back and then stick it to our paper.  You can work on having your child describe what is happening in each picture, which continues to address vocabulary and expressive language skills.

 

 

What are your favorite Halloween books and crafts? Post pictures of you and your child doing them together to Beaumont Parenting Program’s Facebook page and we might feature you in a post.

–Kristina Frimmel, M.A. CCC-SLP


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