Cheap and Easy Shapes Craft

Glue sticks are my new best friend. CeCe and I do crafts together most days, and glue sticks have opened a world of possibilities. Our latest go-to project is the shape-matching game. All you need is construction paper, scissors, a marker and a glue stick.

I cut some shapes out of construction paper, and then trace them onto a white sheet of paper.

Bam. So easy. I end up with a "worksheet" that looks like this:

Yes, I know you can buy workbooks like this. But I have a surplus of construction paper and I don't like leaving the house. So after I create our worksheet, I give CeCe the shapes and a glue stick. The rest is a lovely stretch of quiet concentration.

I sometimes mix it up by shading in the blank shapes with crayons so she also has to match the color and not just the shape. This is week two in my challenge to find activities using only what we have in our giant crafts basket. I think the shapes puzzle is definitely going on our favorites list.

Sorry this photo is blurry. She rarely stops moving.


No Rest for the Weary

CeCe was awake from 1-5 a.m. last night. So if this post is full of typos I really don't care.

Our sleep schedule has been a little wacky since the time change. My almost-three-year-old once slept 8:30-8:30 with a 2-hour nap during the day. I took that schedule for granted and now miss it terribly. These days she rises at 6 a.m., naps for 3 hours, and is in bed by 9 p.m.

But last night, she laughed in the face of a schedule. I heard her at 1 a.m. making a ruckus in her room. I tried rocking her, but the second I would lay her down she would start screaming. After an hour of this, I dragged her dad out of bed to try.

No dice. We asked what was wrong and she simply said she didn't want to sleep. She wanted to play.

We finally gave up and left her to herself at 5 a.m. By 7:30 she was calling for me that she was hungry and her Pull-Up was wet.

So here we are, running on maybe five collective hours of sleep, and she is running around with her batteries fully-charged. No fatigue, not even a yawn. She wants to go play in the snow. She wants to play dress-up. She wants to jump on her trampoline. And I want coffee in an IV.

Here's my girl with her silly grin (which I need to remember when she is tormenting me in the middle of the night.)


Rainbow Matching Game

We’ve been working on using glue in our crafts, which is definitely a skill that takes time and practice for toddlers.  I saw a photo on Pinterest of a “rainbow color match game,” and decided to recreate our own.

I cut out strips of different colored construction paper and stuck them to a piece of cardboard using a glue stick. Then I collected various beads, pom-poms, pieces of pipe cleaners, and some mini-popsicle sticks I colored with markers.

I gave CeCe a small bowl of glue and let her work out matching the colors and choosing where she wanted to place each item on the paper. She enjoyed herself, although her fingers did get pretty sticky.

The end result was what CeCe called “a beautiful rainbow,” and I have to agree.

This craft gets an A+ in our book. It is inexpensive, not terribly messy, and lets CeCe practice multiple skills while creating something she can hang on the wall with pride.


The Calm Down Chair

We all have those days. Those miserable, super-sensitive, everyone-is-out-to-get-me days. Toddlers are no different, except in their ability to handle those days.

If you're on Facebook, you are no stranger to the people who seem to live only these kinds of days and enthusiastically share how AWFUL everything is through status updates. But most of us are able to put on our big girl panties and ride out the storm. CeCe is definitely ready for bluer skies today.

Tantrums and bad days have been heavy for my girl this week. Maybe some of the blame goes to the time change and how her internal clock is confused. Maybe the colder weather taking away her sunshine is the culprit. Maybe the planets aligned in just the right way to cause some cosmic-induced mood change.

A friend of mine created a parenting group on Facebook and recently posed the question about dealing with tantrums. Many moms use singing, speaking in soothing tones and gentle touches to ease their toddlers out of a fit. We use: The Calm Down Chair

This is the glider I've had since CeCe was an infant, and we rock in it every day and evening before sleeping. Now, I use it as a safe space too. When CeCe has a tantrum at home, I decided to not try to forcibly stop her. After all, ladies, what pisses us off more than anything? When someone tells us to calm down, (when we WEREN'T riled up to begin with. But now we are!)

Instead of pleading with her to calm down, or walking away and leaving her to deal with it, I scoop her flailing body up and we head to the Calm Down Chair. She cries, I rock. I don't do much of anything, I just wait. But she knows I am there. 

The results: tantrum times are waaaaaaay shorter than they used to be. She lets out her feelings and can move on quickly. As adults, we all talk about needing stress relief, or needing to just "let it out" sometimes. Why are our children any different? 

Let me know if you have any tantrum-techniques to share. I know each child is different, so if you haven't found the key for your kiddo yet, just remember "there is no way to be a perfect parent, but a million ways to be a good one."

Happy Tantrum-Free Tuesday! (Hopefully.)