Friday, December 21, 2012

Pony Bead Wreath

I can't remember which blog I read a few weekends ago that reminded me about making a beaded wreath. I thought I pinned it, but no (would have liked to give credit where credit is due). Although honestly, I think I really did see this a few different places since. Holiday brain strikes again.

Anyway, I thought the project would be great for a teacher gift, and since I already had the pipe cleaners and pony beads laying around, it was quite convenient.

Ethan loved beading, and talking about the wreaths and who he wanted to make them for....but he never did finish any. Just as he'd get them just about to completion, he'd pull all the beads off and start over. So really, the only complete wreaths we have are the ones I made while we were crafting together...but as they say, art projects are really about the process at this age, so in that case, we found success.

I'm certain this will be my last post before Christmas, so here's wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Time is Precious, Kits are OK

I grabbed a gingerbread cookie kit on a whim at CVS the other day. The reality is that our holiday time is running short, and I wanted to get in a cookie activity (in case that homemade dough in our fridge never makes it into cookie form). These were great. Ethan could have cared less that they came from a kit, and honestly, the only eating he did was licking up the frosting and sprinkles. Also, he thinks gingerbread men are cool (he calls it a "breadman") and frankly I don't really care for gingerbread--so win-win.

It's so easy to get caught up on your favorite fabulous blogs and Pinterest and feel like you're a holiday season failure.  BUT, you can see how into it he was, and how proud when he was done. So today I'm here to say, it's ok to take shortcuts...especially if it saves you precious time to sit back and enjoy the season.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Little Loves- Christmas Magic

There's nothing more magical to me than the holiday season. 

Although I haven't been blogging much lately, we really have done some neat things to celebrate the season. 

Here's our holiday snapshot:

This was the first year that Ethan really got to meet Santa. It seems like this year, Santa was there every time we turned around. THREE different times. Once they played ball together. Once they were wearing the same hat. And once he arrived in the neighborhood on a firetruck. Some other highlights were a light dusting of snow (the first in Ethan's memory), decorating a cookie at a holiday party, putting tinsel on the tree, and tons of Christmas stickers.

Our other favorites (not pictured) are driving through the neighborhood in search of lights (how delightful to live in a 'hood where people decorate). We especially love the "arrow house." They have this giant illuminated arrow pointing to their chimney. Most awesome. Also loving the holiday movies...especially Frosty the Snowman, and the (admittedly less exciting) Frosty Returns. Ethan loves the holiday tunes too...he's a caroling machine. 

Hope you're getting out there and enjoying the magic this year. :)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Year in Review Infographic

I had made my decision- this was going to be the year without a holiday newsletter. Besides moving, we didn't have a lot of large landmark events this year. I felt like I was writing a newsletter just because I thought that I should. I was totally uninspired. 

Our goal for this season was to get our cards out early, and we gave ourselves a deadline (since last year our cards didn't go out until well after the new year). Two days before our deadline, I saw this great resource from the lovely Alma Loveland on about creating a holiday infographic instead of a holiday letter. Now that was something I could get on board with.

So here's my version:

Much more interesting than the letter I didn't want to write (imho).

If you want to know more about making your own holiday infographic, be sure to check out Alma's tips and free icons to get you started! I have to admit, those great icons saved me a ton of time!

Have you ever made a similar stuffer for your holiday cards? I'd love to hear about it!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving Collage

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Leaf rubbing and glued shape collage

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Organizing Shoes & Toddler Matching Game

I recently decided to tackle the shoe disaster that was happening on my closet floor. At our old place, the space I had necessitated that the shoes be low and flat on the floor. In this closet, the available space is more vertical. SO I bought some clear shoe boxes (you'll find the link below) and was thrilled....EXCEPT finding the right shoes was a disaster. Even though the boxes were clear, it was so hard to see what was in them. I got out my camera and took photos of all the shoes and got them printed when Snapfish was running a 99 prints for 99 cents deal. Really, it was a lot less effort than it sounds!

Here's where the toddler part comes in. I placed all the photos out on the ground. One at a time I would open a shoe box and have Ethan find the corresponding photo. Once he did, he was responsible for placing the photo in the box, putting on the lid, and stacking the box in the closet. He LOVED it. Seriously, it was great.

I bet it would be fun to do a scavenger hunt using the same method. Take photos of simple items and match the photo to the corresponding item. Maybe the next time prints go on sale....?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Little Loves- Voting and Bubbles

I Voted

I would have loved to have taken Ethan to the polls with me, but I was more interested in going at a time where I anticipated the lines were "short." Have to say, kinda wish we were one of those families who made the experience a full family event--seems so romantic--but we went out to dinner together instead (win!). I heard that stickers were hard to come by this year, but I spied a roll and determined they were meant to be "help yourself."

Tiny Bubble

This photo is from a few months ago, but I love it. Just the one colorful tiny bubble right on his nose is in focus. Apparently Ethan had learned to blow bubbles at daycare...I had no idea.

Enjoy the rest of your week everyone! :)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Scooping Dried Pinto Beans

I've been meaning to do something like this for awhile, but Saturday when we were at the grocery store, Ethan and I picked up two bags of dried pinto beans. Just to give you an idea, I paid just under $4 for two large bags. I told him that they were not for eating, but that we were going to do something special with them. Intrigued by the idea, he insisted on holding them for the remainder of the shopping trip, as well as in the car on the way home (Blast, I totally should have gotten a picture!)

That being said, I didn't have a whole lot of time to get things together when we got home (notice how he's still wearing his jacket!) I grabbed a serving spoon, some plastic measuring cups, a large bowl, a shallow tray, and an empty plastic sugar container. He really had a good time scooping and pouring the beans--an activity we duplicated the next day, at his request.

I'd give this activity a solid A. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Little Loves- Expressions

If you remember, I started this little series (which has evolved a bit) to challenge myself to get back to thinking more seriously about my photography. Some takeaways from recent blog reading have reminded me to refocus on the details and little moments with more intention. I never stopped taking pictures, I stopped thinking about what I was taking. I'm starting to feel a bit back on track again. (Oh, and did I mention that I no longer have a "camera grabber" on my hands?)

I'm not going to give any explanations for these photos. I think the expressions speak for themselves. The absolute splendor and wonder of the world must be incredible at two.

Trip to the Train Museum

Picking Pumpkins

Posting has been a bit slow while I've been taking my Illustrator class. It's been absorbing a lot of my creative time and energy. Working on a new blog header, so keep an eye out for that!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Boy, His Glue Stick, and Shape Practice

I bought a little glue-together Turkey craft from Target for $1 yesterday. As soon as Ethan saw it come home in the shopping bag he wanted to make the turkey. It ended up being a great project for Ethan and his Daddy to make together! (Love that!) But of course, the project was over quickly and Ethan was not done practicing his mad glue sticking skills.

Quick thinking Daddy got out some construction paper and cut shapes for Ethan to paste. He'd ask him what color and shape he wanted--a great way to sneak in some toddler color and shape practice! Ethan had such a great time selecting his shapes, using the glue stick, and slapping the shapes onto paper. 

Sometimes the basic tried and true projects really are the best. Not to mention, check out how cool this finished product looks! :)

I have to remind myself- Shapes are FUN when you're two.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Make Your Own Infant Oompa Loompa Costume

A blast from the past! 
This costume I created for 2 month old Ethan three Halloweens ago, but had yet to share here. This particular year some wonderful friends of mine were throwing a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory themed Halloween party and I couldn't resist the opportunity for our little dude to be our little Oompa Loompa. (I went with an Oompa Loompa from the original movie--my personal favorite) The costume was super easy to make--no sew (also my favorite)!

So- How how do you make this Halloween favorite?

What you need:
Long sleeve brown shirt or onesie
White pants 
1" white ribbon
Button stickers
Green knit cap 
Green knit booties 
Self-Adhesive velcro dots

Start by gathering a suitable long sleeve shirt or onesie and some white (khaki would probably be ok too) pants. Carters basic long-sleeve onesies are a delicious color of brown, but obviously any brown shirt will do! 

I used 1" white ribbon to make the straps of the overalls, but I wanted to be able to attach them at the party so that they were not a danger in the car. I also wanted to be able to deconstruct the costume after the party without damaging the original cloths items. This is where the self-adhesive velcro comes in. Attach velcro to the ends of the ribbon and inside the waistband of the pants. Ta-da! Instant overalls.

I was lucky and for the buttons, I happened upon some button stickers! They were great because as in infant Ethan didn't mess with them, and they did not pose a choking hazard. You could create your own button stickers by finding a printable button (like from MS Office here) and printing on sticker paper.

The green knit hat and booties are a bit trickier. They were a lucky score on my part. I was going to actually consider the costume complete without them, but the green "hair" really does make the costume. Before I found this set, I had considered dying a white Gerber set, or even using one of their light green caps. You could do the same for the booties, or maybe even try folding some out of a green paper napkin?

So that's it! Easy squeezy and oh-so-cute! (Sorry there aren't more detailed photos- this was pre-blogging days!)

I wore one of my husband's blue shirts and a red belt and went as Veruca. My husband's name is Charlie, so he was "Charlie." (yea, I know, not very original). This shot of the three of us isn't the greatest, but you can see the full Oompa Loompa in all his glory!

PS- The green hat also makes for a great pumpkin stem! 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Inspiring My Own Creativity

Inspiring My Own Creativity = Creative Time for ME!

I'm so excited to share about the Typography class I just finished up at Nicole's Classes. So excited.

For quite some time now I've been really wanting to get myself a bit of a design refresher course, but I've been quite nervous about the time investment (as I quietly whisper something about that daunting financial one). I've been holding off by trying to absorb information on my own, but let's face it--it's really hard to be creative in a silo. That constructive feedback loop is just oh-so-important. Ridiculously important. Plus, there's that whole being held accountable thing! I'd like to say that none of the above apply to me, but the hard fact is that all of the above apply directly to me! So it's been easy to make excuses.

Nicole's Classes

I don't remember how, but I stumbled on Nicole's Classes a few weeks ago and started following their blog. I was always excited to see their posts pop up in my reader. The content just felt so relevant to me and fun. I decided to start with the Typography because it's one of the mini two-week classes. Low commitment, very affordable, and a topic I was excited about (Typography was one of my favorite classes in undergrad). I wasn't disappointed...the class followed through on all counts.I learned (and re-learned) a lot in just two weeks. Definitely the creative boost that I was looking for.

The practical homework and feedback I got from Melanie was incredibly helpful. I completed the class with two pieces that I am pretty excited about and became Featured Student Work (Yay! No really, go look, there's a great student collection on their blog). If you're like me and your creative juices need a pick-me-up, Nicole's Classes is a great resource. I really suggest checking them out. (I'm taking the Illustrator 101 class now- same experience- good stuff!) Hoping to take a Photography class soon too! Even if you aren't interested in a class, they have a lot of great free resources, tutorials, and printables on their blogfacebook, or twitter!

Need a little extra inspiration?

I love this message from Ira Glass (video by David Shiyang Liu). Creativity not living up to your potential? "The most important possible thing you can do is do a lot of work." Love that. Really is about practice, practice.

Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

How do you stay creative? How do you sharpen your skills and continue growing?

PS- No worries, more kid stuff coming your way soon!  (Just gotta get my "after" photos done and I'll get those up here too!)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Little Loves

I knew when I began that my "Happiness is..." photo series would need to adapt and change. I also knew that if I didn't just get started that I never would--a bigger bummer.

Little Loves is my new project title. It's a bit more organic. It's about remembering to pick up my camera (preferably my SLR- although not always), and capturing everyday details. Because frankly, that's exactly what I love about photography.

The Secret Formula

The Secret Formula to our recent successful tooth brushing is TWO special toddler selected toothbrushes. Toddler must sit on the counter (we have a very large vanity) and be in full control of the water. Wash and repeat must take place many times. Now the fight isn't the tooth brushing so much as when to stop the tooth brushing. We pick our battles. Of course, the formula will most likely change somewhere in the near future, but for now we celebrate the small victory.

New Shoes

I am in love with these Keen toddler shoes. The canvas and shoe construction is very sturdy, and let's face it, they're super cute. I look hard to find clothing that fits Ethan's personality. These are a good fun fit. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Apple Picking & Apple Tree Abstract Painting

This past weekend we planned to go apple picking. We were super fortunate because just that week on Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood we watched the "Fruit Picking Day" episode, so Ethan was really excited when we told him that he was going to go pick apples like Daniel Tiger (Do your kids watch it? Ethan LOVES Daniel Tiger).

Apple picking was awesome. Ethan loved it. It was a real confidence boosting activity because the apples were low enough for him to pick by himself. He was really proud of his apple picking abilities. I would definitely suggest the activity. So fun. We ended up with a 25lb bag of of the apples weighed a whole pound by itself! 

After we got home, Ethan sorted and "played" apple for awhile.

Later that night we broke in our new "studio" in our basement. (I'm so excited to have an art space to work in!) One of the projects that we worked on was an abstract apple painting. We did something inspired by this Scrubber and Cork Stamping Apple Tree on Putti's World. I knew though that I wanted to limit how much direction that I gave, so the project became a bit more abstract. (Because this is an awesome way to discover your artistic self when you're two!) Ethan painted the tree with the dish scrubber. Ethan used a cork to paint the apples. Then I painted his hands brown and we smacked down handprints to represent the tree trunk and branches. I'm pretty sure that the handprints were his favorite part.

The painting was a lot of fun, and was a great wrap-up to our fantastic apple picking day!

In case you're wondering..this is how you "play" and sort apples. I think it's a bit of an art installation myself...What do you think?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Recognizing Chalk Shapes

There's a funny thing that happens when you're child is in a daycare or preschool program-- Sometimes you think you're going to work on a skill, and you find out that it's one that they've already mastered, without you ever knowing it. And then you're surprised--and proud--all at the same time.

That happened to me yesterday with shapes. I knew Ethan had a basic understanding of shapes. He was playing with sidewalk chalk and I decided to draw up some shapes on the ground and see if he could name them for me. Just the exercise of drawing shapes (letters or numbers) and asking if they can identify is great practice. Of course, because it's chalk on the driveway (or sidewalk), it's suddenly a bit more fun. To my surprise, he named them all, except the oval (I was especially surprised when he came up with diamond). By the time we got to oval though, his general answer was "I don't know." He was done--the activity had come to its natural end. So who knows. The moral of that story is that it's a great activity, but don't expect it to be a long one! I think next time we're going to focus more on letters or numbers.

Shortly after, Ethan abandoned the chalk to collect seeds that had fallen on the driveway. Made me chuckle and reminded me an expereince that Becky over at i'm going to make it (after all) had with a similar chalk and shape activity.

Have you had success with a similar activity?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Collecting Petals

I was given a lovely bouquet of sunflowers as a housewarming gift. So pretty, but now they are past their prime. Ethan however, was not impressed that I was throwing them away. From there, collecting petals was born.

We took them outside where I gave him a plastic bag and let him collect the petals. Believe me when I say, it was a serious hit. Like many toddlers, he really enjoys collecting, dumping and pouring. After the petals were collected he carried them around proudly in his baggie. He talked about how he was going to save them to show to his grandparents and uncle. He was so proud.

What did we do then?
  • We counted them (some of them)
  • Looked at how some petals were yellow and some were orange
  • Piled them high on the table
  • Looked at them closely
  • Carried them around proudly
  • Took them in and out of the bag multiple times
  • Learned the words "petal" and "stem"

The whole experience was a great tactile one and a good science related project. 

Ethan liked the project so much that the next morning he begged to have the petals off of our one remaining sunflower, and brought his bag of petals to daycare to show his teachers and share with his friends. Long story short, toddler life is rough, and Ethan was told he could get more petals when he got home. But we had no more petals. SO after much lamenting the lost petals, we went to the grocery story and bought a few BOGO flower bunches from the scratch and dent floral section. Really though, I shouldn't have had to pay for them at all..they were in ROUGH shape. Regardless, he thought they were wonderful and spent yet another night picking and
organizing petals.

Round two. He thought it was funny that I was taking a picture of "the mess."

It was nice to see the flowers enjoyed for one last time. Being such an important part of a toddlers day is a great last hurrah for a flower,
don't you think?

I'd love to use the petals to make a craft. Iron them between wax paper or put them between contact paper sheets, but he insists that their purpose is to be in the bag--fine by me! 

Just a warning, you could be in danger of creating a flower petal removing monster...proceed with caution (and fun)!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Multi-Purpose Label Collage

This multi-purpose label collage is actually something that Ethan made at daycare. I just had to share it because it made him so happy to make (he was finishing it when I picked him up) and just turned out so well. They look quite awesome on the red paper too! I especially love the idea of using these labels because they're much cheaper than regular stickers.

I have a ton of similar labels left over from when we created a sombrero for Cinco de Mayo this past spring. Thinking some of these label collages could be perfect for an upcoming road trip that we are planning. 

What other uses do you have for multi-purpose labels? 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Toddler Paper Plate Obstacle Course

Toddler obstacle courses are great for gross motor skill development and also for practicing problem solving skills. This weekend I made a quick obstacle course for Ethan using a stack of paper plates as the base for the course. 

I placed them in the yard and wove them around some upside down sand pails and some plastic cones (left over from our Construction birthday party). I showed him to follow the plates, stepping on each one along the way. I put a hula hoop on the ground at the end of the plates and instructed Ethan to jump into it and jump back out. Also part of the course was his climber (the starting point) and a tunnel made out of a small slide and a blanket (a blanket over a chair would work great too). 

The highlight for Ethan was stepping on the plates and following the plate trail. He loved that. After he jumped into the hoop, he decided that he'd wear it on his next lap around the course. Way to go! He also moved the blanket to another location on his climber where he preferred to have the tunnel. It was a lot of fun, although we didn't really get to play for long before the heat and bugs brought the course to a natural end.

We saved the paper plates so we can play again later. Maybe next time we'll create a crawl tube using a cardboard box.

Have you had any experience with toddler obstacle courses? Any other good obstacle ideas for our next course??

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Happiness is...Climbing to New Heights

We have a monkey on our hands! He scales the elementary school playground with ease. This was his first attempt...thank goodness Daddy had his cell phone! We still laugh about the giant sticker that says "For ages 5 and up" on the playground support (I really should get a photo of that too).

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Happiness is...Making Straw Mustaches with Daddy

Nikon D80, Edited with Photoshop and PicMonkey
I'm pretty sure this was Ethan's idea. He thought it was hysterical. Loves to be silly. Sometimes it really is about the simple things.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Toddler Bike Wash (Small Space Edition)

Bike washes aren't unique. I washed my bike when I was a kid, and if you look on Pinterest, you'll probably see a ton of bike washes. 

Washing a bike is a great summertime activity, and a good excuse to play in some water and soap suds.

We did this bike wash activity at our old house where our space was limited and we didn't really have an outdoor hose. I filled up a container with water and a touch of dish soap (not having a driveway, we didn't have any car wash solution). Gave Ethan a sponge and a towel and let him go to town. We sang "This is the way we wash our bike" to the tune of "Here we go round the mulberry bush" which he thought was hysterical.

Instead of a hose, we rinsed off the bike using a squirt bottle. Just be careful, leaving soap on the bike could cause it to rust, so make sure you rinse well. The spray bottle is a great solution if you lived in an apartment, town home, or other small area like we did, or if you'd rather stay clear of the hose that day (yup, I can understand that...)

We had fun..and since our bike was a yard sale score, it was nice to see it all clean and looking "like new."

Do you bike wash? 

Thanks Dad for taking a great photo while my hands were wet! :)
PS- At our new house Ethan has found he loves to help wash the car too. What kid doesn't like to be in control of the hose?!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Happiness is...being just like Dad

Nikon D80, edited Pixlr-o-matic and PicMonkey
Little dude can't get enough of his mower. He could care less if it has bubbles in it. His mowing is for real-- straight line passes working from the fence to the inside of the yard. Very serious work. This morning I was talking to his daddy about mowing the yard tonight and he says "Ethan mow too!" Love.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Happiness Is...Never Letting Your Feet Hit the Ground

Taken on Android with Camera360, Edited in Instagram

Introducing my new photo series: "Happiness is..."

Let me give you a little background...

The project is also a good way for me to challenge myself creatively both for my personal mental status and for my professional life. I have been looking for a good creative spark and I'm hoping this project is a fit for me. I don't plan to make an entry every day. In fact, maybe I won't even hit once a week, but I just want it to be on-going and thoughtful. And if it falls flat, so be it...I'll still have the photographs! :)

I was inspired by Jennifer Borget's 365 Moments Project (in conjunction with Hallmark and Parenting). Absolutely love it.

I haven't thought about taking a photo series since college- a shame, because I really do enjoy them.

Have you ever taken a photo series?

Construction Truck Birthday Party

I've never claimed to be amazing at creating stunning party decorations, although I must admit that there are days that I wish it was my secret super-hero skill. 

What I am good at is some creative ways to pull things together in a pinch, and usually on a dime. I'm a firm believer that with some careful thought (you know, the kind you can do in the car when you're driving from work to daycare or from home to the "chicken nugget store") it can all come together quick, easy, and still fantastic.

This year's second birthday party was a construction theme. I had the party early in the day because frankly, that's when Ethan is at his best. 

Decorations included:
  • Small road cones- Dollar store find
  • "Working Hard" sign- major score from the Target dollar bin
  • Orange Pennant Banner- Oriental Trading $8.50 for 100ft!  (BTW, 100 ft is A LOT of banner!)

DIY decorations:
  • "Dig In" sign- Here's where I took a major short-cut. When I say I was pressed for time, I mean that even the idea of cutting construction paper into a perfect square seemed like it was going to take too long. To really speed up this process, I bought a pack of 6x6 scrapbook paper and used one of the yellow pieces to make the sign. Origami paper would have worked great too. The idea was to have paper that was already a perfect yellow square.  I also used vinyl lettering. All in all it wasn't the most cost-effective sign (although certainly not expensive), but it definitely was super quick!! 
  • Food labels- I found an awesome quick solution for these signs. There are new sticky notes that have adhesive over the entire back of the paper square. I wrote on them with Sharpie marker, cut an orange straw to size for the pick, and sandwiched them between two of the yellow sticky notes. Could not have been easier!

  • Bagels- Love that I can place an order for bagels and spreads and just pick them up. Versatile, easy, and cost effective.
  • Fruit Salad- I opted out of the fruit tray and cut fruit on my own to save a few bucks. This was probably the most time consuming preparation of the whole party, but at least it could be done the night before.
  • "Tires"- Chocolate donuts. BIG hit with the kids.
  • "Bricks"- Red Licorice bites.
  • "Logs"- Pretzel sticks.
  • Cupcakes- The cupcakes were excellent. We have a locally owned grocery store that makes fantastic cupcakes (at an awesome price). I got marble cupcakes with chocolate frosting and asked them to use Oreo cookie crumble to make it look like "dirt." I then topped some of the cupcakes with truck erasers from Oriental Trading ($5.25 for 12). The erasers looked awesome, although like a review on the merchant site said, they fall apart easily and aren't appropriate for kiddos who still put things in their mouths. The looked great for the price though!
  • Paper Goods- A good cost cutting tip is to buy plain paper goods in coordinating colors. The fun design plates, napkins, and tablecloths are just too expensive, and I find I like the solid colors better anyway. For this event I got orange plates, yellow and white striped napkins, and black table cloths. 
The invitation:
Got a great deal at Snapfish on the invitations! :)

So that's it in a nutshell! We had a great time, especially the little dude...and isn't that what matters?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Look Who's Two!

This week our little guy turned two. My goodness!
It's amazing how quickly that time goes by, yet sometimes it feels like he's been two forever.

Hoping that after all the birthday madness blows over that I can get back to sharing more regularly!

Until then, Happy Birthday Ethan! We love you! :)

Monday, August 6, 2012

We've Been on the Move!

It's been awhile...we've been "on the move."

I'd like to say that we're also "all moved in"...close...but not yet.

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Open the Doors to Creativity in July

Like this print? You can purchase it from me here...
I've always loved design and creativity, but it's so easy to get stuck in a creative rut. I'm on a new mission to get inspired again...not by looking, but by DOING.

I just took two classes on the Alt Channel in partnership with Bing's Summer of Doing (#thanksbing). Thanks Bing! They were absolutely fantastic and inspiring. For those of you out there who are bloggers, there are some great blog related classes coming up!

Classes are $15 (totally worth it), but you can get some for free if you blog about them.

It's amazing how much you can learn and apply in just an hour class- and how it can get the ball rolling again.

Would love to hear if you've taken one of these classes, or if there are other class series out there that you like or would recommend.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Playing with Rhythm Sticks (or straws!)

My son takes classes at The Little Gym every week and one of the activites that he's always enjoyed is using rhythm sticks to practice motor skills and hand-eye coordination. It also helps reinforce body part names (and even some letters). And of course, you can also practice music and rhythm. It's also a great opportunity for toddlers to listen and mimic.

The activity can be done with both babies and toddlers. Babies who are unable to hold the sticks and sit in your lap while you tap this sticks, or you can help them hold the sticks while you tap them. I remember Ethan enjoying this activity even when he was only a few months old.

Daddy helping

We actually have a pair of rhythm sticks at home...they are relatively inexpensive. But what if you don't have a pair?

Enter Daddy's great idea to use straws! The straws are great because I can leave them accessible in the toy box. They also don't hurt as much if the tapping gets a little crazy! Of course, they don't make the same great sound that the rhythm stick do!

Sorry for the photo quality here- I had a camera attacker on my hands!

Here are some of the activities we do:
  • Drum them on the floor
  • Tap on your...toes, knees, belly, hand
  • Put them on your head like bunny ears
  • Make letters...T, X, L, V
  • Roll them between your hands...under your hands...under your feet
  • Tap them together
  • Tap your stick on my stick. Now I tap yours.
  • Tap one like you're hammering a nail
Rolling on his leg
Of course, I'm sure you can come up with more--maybe even your little one will add to the list!


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