DIY Items for Little Ones

Read, Write, Build: REPEAT “An Easy Number Activity for Toddlers”

The Florida Morehouse family had an exciting and eventful weekend! Little Johnny saw Sesame Street Live, which was the best experience we have had with him yet! Big John had many classes going on over at our gym (Glory Martial Arts) and I was even able to sneak in a fun DIY project that I will share on my #diyfriday post!

So with the busy weekend behind us, we’re ready to tackle the week ahead! I have decided to share with you all a fun, easy, and engaging activity that our 1 year old has really enjoyed!

“It takes a big heart (and A LOT of PATIENCE) to teach little minds”. This statement cannot be any more true, don’t you think?! Did you know that as a parent you are your child’s first teacher? We tend to get caught in the norm that teaching is done in a classroom and at a specific age, which is definitely not true! We can find teaching moments throughout everyday life, especially when we have little ones running around us!

“Don’t underestimate the power of little minds. Toddlers will surprise you when given the opportunity to showcase their learning capabilities”

Recently I have noticed how Little Johnny has been so interested in numbers, especially with counting. He loves all the songs that have to do with counting…you know the ones (5 little monkeys is a big hit!) His little “counting” finger goes up in the air as he points it out and tries his hardest to keep to the beat. It made me think that I should probably start some type of counting activity that we can “try” to incorporate everyday into our routine.

Here’s the thing about toddlers…they love anything that is repetitive! But seriously, why?! As a parent I tend to get bored with the same things over, and over, and over again…although, there is so much good behind those “repetitive behaviors” Below is a great article explaining the reasoning behind why toddlers crave repetition and adults love variety.  It really helped me to understand that repetition is okay and I just need to “get over myself” with always wanting variety. 🙂

Why Toddlers LOVE Repetition

I had to actually stop myself from overwhelming my little guy because I’m totally guilty of using Pinterest and I pin so many cute activities, but then I have to remember he’s only 1 years old! So, while these activities may seem fun, I always have to ask myself “Will this overwhelm him?” I’m trying my hardest as I teach my little guy to remember this simple statement. “Less is MORE”, especially when teaching basic concepts.

So, I decided to revert to my old teaching days and incorporate the concept READ, WRITE, BUILD using simple tools such as flash cards, white board, and Legos. We try to do this everyday (although some days get the best of us). I keep the supplies away in a bin with easy pull out drawers so I don’t have to “hunt down” for the supplies. Plus, it gives met he opportunity to have another bin in the house, I’m a tad obsessed with all things related to bins, containers, and baskets…it’s a serious problem! haha

**NOTE: The key words here are “easy” & “REPEAT”! 🙂

READ, WRITE, BUILD: REPEAT

“An Easy Number Activity for Toddlers”

 


I started off slow introducing this concept to him, but as we continued it each day Little Johnny started to anticipate what came next and I am now able to provide less help so that way he can become more independent with it. This activity also teaches little ones “one-t0-one” correspondence meaning that the numbers actually have a value! Example: 1=1 dot 2=2 dots 3=3 dots… and so on. As he gets a bit older I will introduce the number zero, as it’s a difficult concept to understand that it actually means “nothing”.

The key here is to “build upon” learning the numbers. I started at the very beginning only teaching the number “1” until I saw that he was starting to understand the concept. Then I added on number “2” and so on… We are currently ready to move onto number “4”. Here’s what I look for:

  • with some support can trace the number on the flash card using his finger
  • independently point to the items as we count
  • independently recite the numbers (Johnny needs a little more support with this, but I can see he is definitely trying)
  • with support write the numbers on the white board (hand over hand approach)
  • with support build the numbers using Legos (This concept will move onto a more independent approach as he progresses and it is one of the hardest concepts, which is why teaching them as toddlers is beneficial.)

{Supplies}

1. Flash cards with numbers and corresponding numbered objects

  • I bought mine at Target in the Dollar Section, but I found some similar on amazon. Here’s the link! —> number flash cards

2. White board & dry erase marker

  • You can purchase one or make it out of a picture frame from the Dollar Tree! I added the color construction paper as the “background” because we’re currently working on the color green and I can switch it out depending on what color we are learning about. Also, I like that it has edges on the side to prevent those little hands from drawing all over the table. It acts as a “bumper” for them.

3. Legos

  • blocks will work too, or really any type of toy you can build with!

{Activity} 

READ


First, start with reading the number by saying the name and counting the objects. These were the best pictures I could get of us in action! 🙂 I do use my hand at times to help guide him.

WRITE


Next, use “hand-over-hand” approach and help your toddler write the number with the corresponding dots. Little Johnny loves to draw on the dry erase board, so I give him time to “practice” writing it himself. Then we say “bye bye (and state number)” which he then erases it with a paint brush. Did you know that will do the trick with acting as an eraser for a dry erase board? We didn’t either and just found that out! haha 🙂

BUILD


Last, use Legos and have the flash cards laid out to “build” the numbers. There is a lot of support given here!

Repeat this process with each number along with trying to incorporate it each day and your little one will soon start learning their numbers in a fun way!

**NOTE- Make sure you are in control of the supplies. I like putting them off to the side and bringing them out one by one so that way he is not distracted.

What are other counting activities you have tried at home with your toddler or preschooler?

P.S. We have an easy shape activity, letter activity, and color activity that I may be sharing in a future post!

Wishing you well,

~Amanda

 

DIY Items for Little Ones, Upcycled DIY

Weekend Recap & Part 2 of DIY Kids’ Chalkboard Table

Sometimes you need a good Sunday outing to get yourself back into high spirits. With the passing of Hurricane Irma life has been chaotic and nerve-racking. The built up of anticipation and preparation drained everything out of us (especially me). I am thankful that we didn’t endure any significant damage as I know so many people have (continually praying for them everyday). We were without power for a few days, but that was nothing compared to what other went through.

Now we are s l o w l y  trying to get our lives back into the groove of things. This past Sunday was a much needed time to get away for a bit. Little Johnny just got over being sick and he was restless (as was I). While Big John was at work for most of the day I decided to treat Little Johnny and myself to a day out in Mount Dora, FL (the cutest little town I have yet to come across here in FL).

My intention was to attend an event held by Renninger’s Florida Twin Markets, although it ended up getting cancelled due to the damage from the hurricane. So, instead I discovered the best Antique Market and spent some time strolling down the Marketplace and soaking in all the beauty from the old treasures. I did not end up buying anything, but I sure wanted to! 🙂

After a while Little Johnny was getting antsy, which what better way to fix that than ice cream, right?! 😉 So, we ventured over to an ice cream shop and found an amazing park for him to play at. In my terms that was a Sunday Funday  for us! We even found time in the evening when Big John got off work to fish over at Lake Ivanhoe. Little Johnny is becoming a pro as casting! I loved seeing his little hands “reel” in the fish (lots of support by daddy). 🙂 It’s truly the small joys in life that help to lift up your spirits up nowadays.

Onto the DIY Kids’ Chalkboard Table…

A while back I started this project and all that needed to be done was painting the pallets (which are used for the legs) along with attaching the table top. Well..it’s been a few weeks now and I have yet to post about my “part 2”. (Here’s the link for “part 1” if you missed reading it!) They say that completing a project in “mom time” takes you double the time, I can attest to this! Most days it’s hard to find moments for my DIY projects, but I’m not letting that stop me from actually completing them. I have come to terms that it’s just going to take me a bit longer, and that’s okay.

Here’s a secret…I’m still not actually done, but it’s “done enough” where Little Johnny can use it and I can share with you all about it. What’s missing is I need to fill the holes on the table top where Big John helped me attach it to the pallets. Not sure why I’m holding off on this, but eventually it will get done.

On my social media accounts I had people vote for the paint color of the pallets, which butterfly wings was the winner! I’m glad it was because I was leaning toward that choice too! This paint was leftover from Little Johnny’s nursery, which painting the pallets with a traditional brush  would have taken much longer (and like I said I’m in “mom time” mode), so instead I was given this amazing gift by my Aunt…a paint sprayer! Best thing out there, hands down! If you’re a DIYer like me, please but this on your list of tools to purchase (no, this is not sponsored…I just really like it!)

What do you think? Is this something you could see yourself making?

Here’s to the week ahead!

Wishing you well,

~Amanda

DIY Items for Little Ones

DIY Friday~ Kids’ Chalkboard Table with Pallets as legs (Part 1)

Not sure if it’s because we’re already in the back to school month, but right now I’m on a “chalkboard kick” mainly because it’s so fun to have within the house! I tend to really focus in on certain DIY materials, so this “month” it’s chalkboard paint! 🙂 (Previously it has been mason jars, spray paint, and weathered wood.) I have always wanted to make a chalkboard table! I just never knew what I could use for the legs that would make it unique. Over the past weekend I was outside trying to figure out my next project, and then I saw it… the pallets I had stored away for a while in the corner were just calling me to use them!

I’m all about “using what you have”, especially when it’s free! So far this project has cost me $5, not bad for a kid’s table!

I’m dividing this post into 2 series, mainly because it’s taking a lot of “elbow work” (I’m hand sanding) to get the pallets to where I can paint them, and also I just haven’t had time. But, I did get the first step done, which is painting the table top with chalkboard paint! So this Friday I’m taking you through my easy tips and steps, which you’ll probably walkaway wanting to chalkboard paint everything! 😉

DIY Chalkboard Table Top 

So the big question is what did I use for the table top? I actually ended up using a shelf from our old entertainment center. It was the perfect size and fits so nicely right on top of the pallet legs!

Tips

  • Always, always, always us a base primer, it helps the chalkboard paint to stick much better and doesn’t end up peeling off.
  • Make sure to really wipe down any residue or dust particles as they will show up once you paint if you don’t have a clean top.
  • Use a roller instead of spray paint or a paint brush. It helps the chalkboard paint to go on smoother.
  • Apply at least 2 coats. I actually went with 3 this time, but you want to make sure you
  • “Season” the chalkboard before writing on it. Simply take a piece of chalk and rub the entire top with chalk dust. This helps so that once you write on it the writing will actually come off and there isn’t any imprints. Here’s a great resource with step by step instructions- how to season your chalkboard.

Steps 

  1. Wipe down table top
  2. Apply primer (make sure to let it dry within the appropriate time)
  3. Use a roller and apply the chalkboard paint with at least 2 coats (make sure it dries in between coats)
  4. Season your chalkboard
  5. Have fun drawing with chalk!

I always like to plan out my DIY projects and set it up within the room I’ll be using it in. It helps to avoid most DIY fails, and gives me a sense of the look I’m going for. While I’m not finished with the project yet, I did end up bringing everything into my living room and staging it. I love the result and now all I have to do is sand, paint, and screw! Next Friday I will reveal the end result, so stay tuned!

(While writing this post I realized I need an apostrophe within “kids’ table” oops, mistakes happen even with bloggers! )

 

 

In the meantime, help me choose the color for the pallet legs! I posted this image on my social media accounts and had great feedback! The most votes win! Reply with your favorite color within the comments below!

Happy DIYing! 

Wishing you well,

~Amanda

 

 

DIY Items for Little Ones

DIY Friday~ turning your fridge into a learning center

This week I’m bringing you another fun activity for toddlers! The season of back to school has approached here in Florida, and not sure if I’m missing that feeling of getting a classroom ready, but I thought it would be so much fun to incorporate an interactive learning center for Little Johnny!

We live in a small place so I’m always making use of every square foot! This leads me to our fridge… We have open space there and it’s a great place for a learning area because it’s a huge magnetic board, so that’s a plus to start with! We also always seem to be in the kitchen, anyone else feel that way?! Another bonus is it’s very easy to hang things on the fridge. I’m a big fan of command hooks, so I totally used them within this project.

Now, I’m sure you’re thinking “Will this last after “rough” toddler hands play with it?” The answer is, not sure…but I’m willing to find out. Even if it just lasts a couple months it’s totally worth the “little” effort that went into making the area.

Exposure is great at this age and even though Little Johnny isn’t the biggest talker I can tell he is definitely soaking everything in, consistency is key (along with a ton of patience). So I’m hoping this exposure will help to boost those language skills! 🙂

Most things I already had at home, but we did recently go on a “Target Dollar Section” run, and oh my! So many fun educational things, especially since it’s back to school time! I could get lost in that section!

DIY Fridge Learning Center 


Before going into detail about the items, please excuse our old fridge! Not very pretty for pictures, but it does the job. 🙂

This area is our “water painting” and dry erase board. Little Johnny loves paint brushes and the idea of just using water to paint indoor is genius! Sometimes we draw on our chalkboard paper and then water paint over it. You can see the chalk disappear and it’s a neat reaction for little ones. I used a mason jar with velcro on the back to store our paintbrushes and dry erase marker. So far Little Johnny hasn’t taken it off yet, but we’ll see how long that lasts. 😉 Doesn’t hurt trying, right? As for the dry erase board, I had a picture frame that I bought from the Dollar Tree a few months ago. I placed bright green construction paper in there to give it more color. I used an adhesive tape that holds up to 10 pounds and stuck it on the fridge, so far so good! This is probably Little Johnny’s favorite activity!

These were our fun finds at the Target Dollar Section! The letter board is great exposure in learning vocabulary terms and when Little Johnny gets older we can use it for blending cvc words. I used velcro to attach it onto the fridge, that way if we wanted to we can take it off and use it else where. The small storage bin was something I bought at the Dollar Tree a while ago and just spray painted it a pretty slate blue color. As for the chalkboard paper, it’s another Target Dollar Section find! I used a white bucket to store the chalk and command hooks to hang the items.

I made this easy shape activity a while back and it’s been tucked into a bin, which we haven’t used in a while.(By the way, excuse my “chicken scratch” handwriting!)  I wanted to bring it back out and when it’s exposed the more use we’ll get out of it. I added songs on the back so we can sing about the shapes and build the shape using popsicle sticks. It’s a fun interactive activity. Command hooks along with a binder clip came in handy when attaching it to the fridge.

Little Johnny received a leap frog magnetic number learning activity for Christmas that we still use to this day! I love the one-to-one correspondence with the numbers, so this is our “numbers” area. I have always wanted to make him  a felt board and instead of going out and buying felt material I actually had a felt blanket that we don’t use and just re-purposed it into a felt board. The transportation felt set was another Target Dollar Section find.

Little Johnny in Action! 

This was an exciting project for me! My hope is that I will instill in Little Johnny that learning is fun because “the best type of learning happens when you’re having fun!” I don’t have a checklist and I haven’t isolated any numbers, shapes, or colors we’re simply just enjoying the exposure to these educational items! Little Johnny leads in his play and sometimes it lasts for 5 minutes, other times it can last longer, and as well all know it definitely depends on the day.

We’re making learning interactive and fun in our household!

What are some activities you have incorporated into your home? Please share! It makes me so happy to hear others share their creativity or just ideas they hear of. Even the simplest ideas are much appreciated! I will say that if you share a suggestion I usually end up doing it because I’m all about trying out new things.

Wishing you well,

~Amanda

 

DIY Items for Little Ones

DIY Friday- Dinosaur Sensory Excavation Activity for Toddlers

It’s about time that I did a DIY project that related to an activity for Little Johnny to participate with. One of my most viewed posts has been the DIY hula hoop sensory toy, so I figured my viewers would love to get other ideas to incorporate with their little ones.

I was going to post about my furniture project this week that I have been working on, but it’s not nearly finished (a job that should take about 2 hours is turning into a few days…m o t h e r h o o d.) Stay tuned though because it will be revealed hopefully next week! This beautiful wooden sofa table is coming all the way from Cocoa Beach! I found this gem at a garage sale while my friend was in town! I almost didn’t get it, but they insisted and actually bought it for me! 🙂 So now I’m making it pretty again! The features in the wood has so much character built into, which all I’m doing is just accentuating them!

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Now, onto the activity…

Little Johnny really enjoys going to the Science Center here in Orlando! While he loves the toddler center, sometimes it’s nice to switch things up, so we venture up to the 4th floor and “dig for dinosaurs”! I thought this week’s DIY project would be a great idea to incorporate at our house for times when we just can’t make it over there. You can also include “bugs”, which they have at the Dollar Tree as well. This DIY project is seriously so easy and fun! Plus it’s another sensory activity which is great for kids to explore at this age.

All the materials I purchased were at the Dollar Tree.

{Supplies}

  • plastic bin
  • sand
  • toy dinosaurs  (or any other creatures you want them to dig for)
  • paint brushes
  • shovel (optional)
  • flour (optional)
  • water (optional)
  • rice (optional)

{Steps}

It’s pretty much self explanatory. The only item that I added a little twist to was the sand. I wanted it to be a little more compact and not as loose (which helps with cleanup duty too), so I added about 1/4 cup of flour, and 1/2 cup of water, and a 1 tablespoon of rice  in order for the sand to harden a little. I simply placed the creatures in the bottom of the bin and covered it with the sand mixture. Little Johnny then used the paint brushes and shovel to find the items.

{Quick note- if you are adding the flour mixture just know that it will only last about 2 days.}

If you have younger children make sure you assist as they tend to always want to put things in their mouth. This is still a great activity for them, just with parental watch. Also, this does get messy…so we took it outside, but if you want to do it indoors on a rainy day simply place a very large towel on the floor and then put the bin on top. When your child is done playing scoop with the towel and shake it outside. 🙂

I hope you all enjoyed this DIY! I’m looking to do more kid related DIY projects in the future, so stay tuned! 🙂

Wishing you well,

~Amanda

 

DIY Items for Little Ones

DIY Friday~ [No Sew] Little Boy’s Bow Tie

It’s Friday again! Time for a DIY Friday showdown. This Friday I am creating something for my little guy. (notice how I didn’t say baby boy! He’s growing up so fast!) I adore bow ties on little boys! While shopping at Hobby Lobby (I had so much fun picking out the fabric!) I was sharing with a woman about my DIY project and she stated “All boys need a bow tie!” I absolutely agree! It’s just something about those bow ties that make little boys extra cute!

Here’s why I’m adding a no sew part…I DON’T HAVE A SEWING MACHINE. I have never been one for sewing, but that may change in the next few years. Anyways… I did some research and the best tool I had was my handy dandy GLUE GUN! Yes, a DIY girl’s best friend. You can seriously use a glue gun on almost any DIY project. They’re amazing! Continue reading “DIY Friday~ [No Sew] Little Boy’s Bow Tie”

DIY Items for Little Ones

DIY Friday- Baby Hula Hoop Sensory Toy & Discovery Bucket (Dollar Store Finds)

It’s time to be creative! This week I am featuring a DIY sensory toy that is versatile for many ages, 2 months-1 year. Here’s why moms will love it: it’s cheap, easy, engaging, unique, AND helps to promote tummy time! (We all know that can be a challenge) Okay, did I get you hooked?

{Baby Hula Hoop Sensory Toy}

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I created this with a friend when Johnny was about 5 months old. I wish I did it earlier because he loves it, and tummy time became more enjoyable for him. Johnny is 8 months now, and he still loves playing with it! You can purchase all the items at the Dollar Tree or your local Wal-Mart. There really isn’t a right or wrong way to make this, I swear anyone can complete this DIY project!

Continue reading “DIY Friday- Baby Hula Hoop Sensory Toy & Discovery Bucket (Dollar Store Finds)”