Twin Adventures

Twin girls now rule the house.

Friday Fun with Toddlers!

This week’s activity is a bit of an easy one, but the girls really go for it!

Shape Sorting!

There are so many different ways to sort shapes. This particular way costs money but requires no prep work to put together. Wooden shape sorting boxes are one of the greatest toys that we’ve had since the girls came along.

Shape Sorting

Shape Sorting Shape Sorting

The two particular models that we have are a Melissa & Doug box (Shula’s playing with on the left) and a Blue Hat Toy Company box (Maretta’s playing with it on the right). Both boxes are almost identical except for the lids. This is nice because it means the pieces are fairly interchangeable. Both boxes do have a suggested Play Age of 2+. The girls have been actively using them since about 16-months. (Obviously, the results weren’t as great then as they are now at 21-months!)

The shape sorting boxes are HUGE hit in our house. They get pulled out and played with daily. If Anton and I want to be more involved when they’re playing with the shapes, we’ll grab a handful of shapes and ask them to find a specific one. Or ask them to find the oval or the square and have them point it out on the box as well. Lately we’ve also been using the shapes as a tool for learning colours!

A note for other twin parents: We don’t usually buy two of each “kind” of toy. We’ve only recently gotten the second sorting box (a gift from the girls’ Great-Grandma), but it has been soo nice having two. I definitely wouldn’t suggest going out and getting a second of all your toys but there are some things that are more enjoyable when they each have their own to play with! And these boxes are very much worth it!

A good reminder that a Toddler Activity doesn’t have to have a lot of prep work put in to it or be particularly special; it’s just about putting some time aside for a bit of “structured” playtime.

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Friday Fun with Toddlers!

I apologize for the tardiness… this week’s “Friday” is posted on Sunday due to a baby shower and sick toddlers. Without further ado…

Cheerio Threading

I’ve seen this one a few times while browsing Pinterest. The most frequent picture belongs to i’m going to make it (after all).

  • Mounds of Play-Doh make a good, secure base to do our “threading”
  • Poke some raw spaghetti noodles (or toothpicks) into the bases
  • Hand to your toddler with a bowl/plate of cheerios (froot loops would probably work too)

When I read the original post, I thought they had mentioned wooden skewers (with ends chopped off) not raw noodles. We didn’t have any skewers (or open packages of spaghetti noodles) so we wound up going with toothpicks that had the pokey bits cut off. This activity could also be filed under “Snack Time”.

Cheerio Threading

Cheerio Threading   Cheerio Threading

Both Maretta and Shula grasped the concept pretty quickly, although Maretta was quite a bit more interested in eating the Cheerios than threading them. While it was raw noodles that were originally suggested, I do like how appropriately sized the toothpicks were. If we were to do it again, I’d probably use the raw noodles but snap them in half. At 21-months, their fine motor skills are quite developed so there wasn’t very much fumbling or learning curve. Cheerio Threading lasted about 15 minutes before the girls were pulling the toothpicks out of the Play-Doh (Hello, Safety Hazard!).

Great activity but with a few sidenotes… Whatever you use for the Cheerios to be threaded onto; this is definitely a “closely supervised” activity. It would not take much for that size of “stick” to wind up the wrong way in a mouth or down a throat. Another tip to offer… the Cheerios won’t fit on anything much bigger than a toothpick or raw noodle (no skewers, chopsticks, etc.)

Oh! And a shout out to Anton, who did the activity this week while I was out working. ❤

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Friday Fun with Toddlers!

Another two weeks, another fun activity!

Coloured Ball Sorting

Anton mentioned this activity to me after he happened across it while internet surfing. No link to offer with this activity, but on the other hand I don’t think anyone has done it in quite the same way!

  • You’ll need some small to medium sized bowls in assorted colours
  • as well as some balls or eggs in assorted colours

This was a good activity to kick March and Easter off with. I wound up buying all the supplies I needed (which is the case a lot of the time since we’re first time parents and lacking in the “craft items”) and it only cost me about $5.00. I picked up an egg dying kit and we used the bowls that it came with. I also bought some plastic Easter eggs as our “balls”. These choices worked fairly well, although the bowls were odd shades of the real colours. Pink and orange were very similar, as were the blue and green.

Colour Sorting Colour Sorting Colour Sorting  Colour SortingColour Sorting

Maretta and Shula really liked the plastic eggs, they were constantly “popping” them apart and trying to get them back together, cue the “Momma! Help!”. Colours aren’t something that my 21-month-old’s have got yet, we’ve done very little focusing on them in the past few months. Both the girls can say all the colours, and understand that they are talking about colours… but the colour names don’t always pair up probably with the right colours! And they are both pretty stubborn about it!

Maretta: “Blue!”

Me: “No sweetie, Orange.”

Maretta: “Blue!”

Me: “Orange.”

Maretta: “Blue!”

Me: “Okay.. here, this one is Blue!”

Maretta: “Orange!”

So, this activity was a little less about sorting the eggs by colour and more about just putting the eggs into whatever bowl they felt suited them. Shula also found a lot of enjoyment out of stacking the bowls, and carrying the tray full of eggs around.

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Friday Fun with Toddlers!

Another week, come and gone. I cannot believe how fast time passes sometimes!

Pom Pom Sorting

Another idea inspired by Pinterest and blog-browsing. But, I don’t have anyone to link to… there are a bunch of posts out there with different variations. None of them are really what we we did or what I was basing the activity on, so I’ll just link-less this week!

  • Grab a muffin tin; any size with any number of muffin spots.
  • Grab some assorted pom poms; different sizes and colours can make it more interesting.
  • Sit back and enjoy!

This was a great activity! At 20 months, we are in the midst of learning colours and this activity really promoted that. Learning from one of our previous activities, I provided two muffin tins so there would be less arguing over who-got-to-hold-what. After showing them that you could put the pom poms in and out of the muffins tins I let the girls take control; we didn’t really focus on “sorting” per say. We didn’t try doing any big vs. small, or sorting by colour, etc.

Pom Poms in Muffin Tins Pom Poms in Muffin Tins Pom Poms in Muffin Tins Pom Poms in Muffin Tins

I bought an “assorted” pack of craft pom poms and if I were to do the activity again I would make sure to only have medium and large size pom poms. Shula and Maretta were closely supervised because of how small some of the pom poms were. This could also be a “soother in” activity so there’s no temptation to put the pom poms in mouths. This was one of the longer lasting activities so far… probably a good twenty or thirty minutes before they were losing interest. Once they forgot about the muffin tins, they tried sorting pom poms into the dogs’ mouth… As it would turn out dogs are not very easy to force-feed pom poms to!

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Friday Fun with Toddlers!

See? It’s a good thing that I came up with this idea… I can’t believe it’s been a week since my last post; where do the days go?! Ohhh right… Toddlers. Which brings me to this Friday Fun post…

Fine Motor Skills: Pipe Cleaners and a Strainer

This is one idea I’d seen many times on Pinterest and a few different blogs, but I had a pretty hard time finding one before we started this activity; even with Google and Pinterest** at my disposal! I finally found one to link back to though, and it was a great simple post. Thanks Toddler Boredom Busters! I get the feeling, with a name like that, I may be back to that blog for more ideas…

  • Find some pipe cleaners! The girls are only 20 months, so we aren’t really at the “crafty” stage. This means that we didn’t actually have any pipe cleaners on hand (thanks to my mom, I was raised thinking that was a household staple!) but I found some at our local Canadian Superstore. I’m sure any dollar or craft store would have them. Or any place with a craft or stationary section.
  • Grab a strainer! I almost went out and bought a new strainer (colander) for this activity because most of the strainers that we have all have TINY holes. Your strainer will need to have good size holes to fit the pipe cleaners through.
  • Let your kid(s) have at it!

I really liked the look of this activity. Shula seems to be very intuitive when it comes to her fine motor skills, so this was right up her alley! I sat both the girls down with the pipe cleaners and one strainer and showed them how to put the pipe cleaners into the strainer. They both got in to it right away (maybe Shula more than Maretta). Shula really enjoyed threading the pipe cleaners in and then pushing them all the way down. They both tried different styles of playing: using the strainer as a container and putting the pipe cleaners inside, wearing the strainer as a hat, and putting the pipe cleaners through the handles instead of the holes. By the end of the activity (this one lasted about 15-20 minutes!), it had turned into a “Let’s-put-everything-we-can-find-into-the-strainer” game!

Pipe Cleaners with Strainer Pipe Cleaners with Strainer Pipe Cleaners with Strainer Pipe Cleaners with Strainer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It didn’t take long for a… “disagreement” to arise about who should hold, and sit in front of the strainer; I think if we were to do this activity again I would try and find another strainer so they could each have their own to play with. Some times they are great with sharing… other times not so much!

Come back next Friday and see what else Maretta and Shula get up to!

**Wanna see what other Toddler stuff I’m looking into? Follow me on Pinterest.

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[The Beginning of… ] …Friday Fun with Toddlers!

It’s no surprise to anyone who reads that I’m really inconsistent. I aim to blog at least once a week but it doesn’t take long for two, three, four weeks to pass without me even looking at WordPress, let alone write up a post. Mind you, I didn’t start writing so I could feel pressured to keep it up so it doesn’t really bother me that much. But, I do love sharing my girls and what we go through so I do feel a sting of regret here and there when I haven’t written anything for a while. So, on a note of wanting to contribute more to the blogosphere I give you a weekly article: Friday Fun with Toddlers. We can thank another blogger out there [ 2 little rosebuds], for one of her recent posts was my inspiration. Well, one of her comment replies to be specific.

Each week I’ll try out a new Toddler Activity with Shula and Maretta and report back on Friday. I have a feeling that Pinterest will be the main source of these ideas (I definitely wouldn’t be able to think them up on my own) but I’ll also look towards other bloggers for activities. Fortunately, without knowing that I’d be doing this, we already did a not-our-normal activity this week!

No-Mess Finger Painting

Got a link to “The Hippie Housewife” blog from my Mom, for mess free painting.

  • Take a large sealable plastic bag (Ziploc-style) and squirt in some paint (we used acrylic). A small to medium size pile should do the trick. Use as many or as few colours as you’d like; we went with the three primary colours.
  • Reinforce the opening of the bag with some tape (to make sure your munchkins don’t accidentally or purposely open it up!). Put down a blank piece of paper on your work surface and tape the plastic bag on top. I didn’t find it was necessary to tape the blank paper down; the plastic bag seemed to keep it in the right spot.
  • Let ’em have at it! We used wooden pegs and blocks, and little cars, to manipulate the paint in different ways.

The instructions given on the blog were great. Our set up was a bit different because we just used what we had laying around the house. I used packing tape instead of painter’s tape and acrylic paint instead of tempera paint. I also did all three primary colours in each bag so there was no fighting over the different colours. Set-up was a bit challenging because the girls were really interested in what I was doing with big plastic bags and a roll of tape but once it was ready to go the girls sat down and… didn’t really do much with it. We tried using some different toys (wooden peg, cars, hammer) to draw with so the girls could see what they could do with the paint.

No-Mess Finger Painting No-Mess Finger Painting No-Mess Finger Painting

I think by the end of the activity (didn’t last more than 10 minutes) most of the artistic changes that had taken place were at mommy’s hands. At 19 months, Maretta and Shula may be a bit too young for the “no-mess” part; They probably would have enjoyed it a lot more if they’d been able to get it on their hands and face!

The bags are now hanging on our fridge amongst their crayon drawings, and every once in a while they’ll smoosh some of the paint around.

Thanks Mom and The Hippie Housewife for the inspiration this week!

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