Browse Tag: Kids

Independent Activities for Little Kids (2-4)

I’m always looking for activities to keep my kids busy while we are at home. Don’t get me wrong, I love playing with my kids but sometimes I need a break to do something else…like laundry for 5 people ūüôā I’ve outlined some of¬†their favorite activities below that require little to no adult involvement – yay! I’d say these are good for the 2-4 age range.

Wooden Beads & Pipe Cleaners

My boys love using wooden beads to create bracelets and necklaces! This is a great activity to improve fine motor skills. You can find supplies at a craft store and I even spotted some at Target the other day.

Creative Puzzles

My boys received shape puzzles for Christmas this year and they love them!  My 2.5-year-old really likes this simple shape puzzle by Melissa & Doug: http://amzn.to/2myF0Rb

My nearly 4-year-old likes this more complex shape puzzle from Melissa & Doug: http://amzn.to/2mNMgcH

Forts

My kids love to make forts. ¬†I help them make a fort under the kitchen table and they can play in it for hours. ¬†It’s awesome. ¬†They will also try to make a fort with the couch cushions but ofter get frustrated when the cushions fall over. ¬†If found that throwing a few sheets over the kitchen table works a lot better for them.

Lacing Games

My nearly 4-year-old has this Melissa & Doug lacing set that he really enjoys.  This is a little advanced for my younger son.

Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/2n3XImB

Dot Painters

Dot painters are the best. ¬†It’s like painting but without all the mess ūüôā ¬†I think these are good for 2 and up. ¬†Here’s a link to the set we have on Amazon:¬†http://amzn.to/2mNFTWJ

The kids can use these on blank paper or do activities.  There are lots of activity books made specifically for dot painters.  Also, I  have drawn things on blank paper for them to trace Рlike their name.

Dry Erase Activity Books

These are a great way to help kids practice pen control and they aren’t messy! ¬†Here are some good options for books:

I’d suggest buying a few extra dry erase markers – we always seem to misplace our¬†markers!

Oobleck

We’ve been reading the book¬†Bartholomew and the Oobleck, and just started making¬†our own oobleck. ¬†You can find the book on Amazon here:¬†http://amzn.to/2n3X74y

Oobleck recipe:
  1. Start with the water in a bowl and add the cornstarch a bit at a time
  2. Stir until it has a gooey consistency – I have the kids use their hands for this part
  3. When the oobleck is just right, slowly add food coloring, if you want.
  4. Play!

Warning: This is definitely a messy activity, but really fun!  When the kids are done playing, you can save the oobleck for a few days to play with again.

 

Building Toys

There are so many options for building toys.  These are some of my favorite toys because they really encourage creativity.  I keep our building toys in separate bins in our toy closet so the kids can easily access them.

Tinker Toys РWhile my 2.5-year-old plays with these occasionally, they are very popular with my nearly 4-year-old.  Amazon link: http://amzn.to/2nexf6l

Bristle Blocks РThese are great for 2+.  They are so easy to build with and cause minimal frustration.  Amazon link: http://amzn.to/2mNQReS

Duplo Legos РWe have multiple sets of duplos.  We started with just a basic set and then added a few more based on the kids interest in superheroes and construction.

Magnetic Tiles – We don’t personally own these, but my kids use them at preschool and the museum. ¬†We are getting some for my 4-year-old’s birthday and I’m so excited to play with them myself ūüôā

Here’s a link to a basic set on Amazon:¬†http://amzn.to/2mU2WRm¬†From what I’ve heard, there are a lot of brands (Magna tile, Picasso tiles, etc.) and they are all very similar and can be used together.

This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, but hopefully, it gave you a few new ideas.

РAnna, Life with Little Ones 

 

 

Kid storage by the front door

We don’t have a mudroom or much of an entry way in our house. ¬†With kid shoes, hats, etc. it’s important to stash things somewhere close to the door.¬†I have tried a bunch of different storage solutions that didn’t work and I finally found something!

Our front door basically opens directly to our living room.  See my recent post about our living room transformation here for more photos of the complete space.  I found this storage bench that was really inexpensive and fits the space perfectly.

The whole bench and baskets cost me $100! ¬†And I love that there is a basket for each kid. ¬†The kids can easily access their shoes…which means there is no excuse for leaving them on the floor ūüôā

Click to View Bench

Click to View Baskets (On Sale!)

Target has a bunch of different baskets that work with this bench so you could easily pick a different color or style.

– Anna, Life with Little Ones

 

 

 

DIY Ruler Growth Chart

I wanted a growth chart for our kids, but I knew we would be in this house temporarily so I needed something moveable. ¬†Pinterest has a bunch of “Ruler Growth Chart” examples. I tweaked the tutorials I saw online to make an even easier version that I’m excited to share with you – it took me less than an hour to complete (not consecutively).

 

MATERIALS

    • Plank of wood min. 6ft in length -> I purchased a 6ft x 6in one at Home Depot¬†that was precut…if your family is really tall then you might want a longer one
    • Natural wood stain -> I used this one:¬†Minwax 70000 1 Quart Wood Finish Interior Wood Stain, Natural
    • Black Sharpie (standard size)
    • Pencil
    • Ruler / Yard Stick / Measuring Tape

Instructions

      • Figure out how tall you want your ruler to measure and where you want to hang it. ¬†I wanted my ruler to go above 6 feet and I didn’t want it to touch the ground. ¬†I made the bottom edge of the ruler represent 6 inches so that I could mount it 6 inches above the ground to avoid issues with the baseboards.

      • I used a pencil to softly draw out where I wanted to marks to display. ¬†I made each foot line 3 inches long, the 1/2 lines in between feet are 2.5 inches long and the 1/4 lines are 1.5 inches long.
      • Next,¬†on the foot lines, I lightly drew large numbers to represent the feet. ¬†You can definitely use a stencil for this. ¬†I drew these freeform but looked up numbers online to reference and I made sure each of the numbers were roughly the same size.
      • When I was happy with the pencil drawings, I wrote over them with a sharpie, making the larger lines thicker than the smaller lines.
      • After the Sharpie was completely dry, I put on a coat of the stain. ¬†I went with the natural stain, but you definitely could use a tinted stain to get a different look. ¬†I applied a second coat of stain once the first dried (according to instructions on the can).
      • Let the ruler dry for several hours and then mount it!
Our growth chart is mounted between the kids’ bedroom doors

This is one of my favorite projects and the kids love to stand next to it and see how tall they are growing!

– Anna, Life with Little Ones

I quit my job to stay at home…

Gulp, I did it. I quit my job to stay at home with our three kids (3 years, 2 years, and 4 months).

Within 4 years of college, I was married to a physician in residency, had two kids and two dogs while still continuing to work 45+ hour weeks.  With my husband’s crazy work schedule (nights, weekends, holidays and other odd hours), I was the primary caregiver for our children when I wasn’t at work.

I decided to stay home for several reasons, one of which was the schedule. Here is the schedule I was planning for the first few months of work before I gave my notice: 

Typical Day of the Week While Working
4:30am РWake Up, Shower, Get Dressed
5:00am РFeed Baby & Answer Work Emails
6:00am РGet Older Kids Dressed and Fed
7:00am РLeave House & Younger Two Kids with Nanny
7:30am РPreschool Drop Off (Before Care)
8:00am РArrive At Work
9:00am – Pump
12:00pm – Pump
3:00pm – Pump
4:30pm РLeave Work
5:00pm РPreschool Pickup (After Care)
5:30pm – Dinner
6:00pm РBathtime & Answer Work Emails on My Phone
6:30pm РRead Books
7:00pm РKids Bedtime
7:00-9:00pm – Cleanup, Laundry, Pack Lunch & Deal With Whatever Kid(s) Protest Bedtime
9:00pm – Work
10:30pm – My Bedtime
 
Ugh! I felt like that schedule was¬†exhausting for me and our children.¬†¬†By staying home, I thought I could give our children the opportunity to unwind a little and not be “scheduled” 24/7.¬†
 
So what does my schedule look like after staying at home?
 
Typical Day of the Week While Staying at Home
5:30am РWake Up & Feed Baby
6:00am РGet Older Kids Dressed and Fed
7:00-7:05 РGet Ready Myself 
7:05 РStart Backing Car & Getting on Shoes & Coats 
7:25am РLeave House with all Three Kids
7:45am РPreschool Drop Off for Oldest (with two other kids in tow)
8:20am¬†–¬†Return Home
8:30am РFeed Baby & Snack Time for Middle Kid
9:00am РMorning Activity for Middle Kid (soccer, museum, etc.) 
11:00am РLunch for Middle Kid & Feed Baby 
11:30am РNap Time for Middle Kid 
12:00-2:30pm¬†–¬†BLACK HOLE –¬†Time suck of trying to put the baby down for a nap, attempting household chores, maybe feeding the baby again, etc.¬†
2:30pm РWake Up Middle Kid (fingers crossed he is in a good mood)
2:40pm РLeave for Preschool Pick Up РALREADY?
3:00pm¬†–¬†Preschool Pickup with all Three Kids
3:30pm¬†–¬†Arrive Home
3:30-5:30pm РBLACK HOLE РAnother time suck of getting snacks for the older kids, feeding the baby and attempting to get dinner ready
6:00pm РBathtime
6:30pm РRead Books
7:00pm РKids Bedtime
7:00-10:00pm – Cleanup, Laundry, Pack Lunch & Deal With Whatever Kid(s) Protest Bedtime
10:00pm РShower & General Personal Hygiene 
10:30pm – My Bedtime
 
While I do think staying at home has tremendous benefits for my children, it doesn’t significantly change my schedule.  Instead of me running from meeting to meeting in my pencil skirt copiously checking off items from my to-do list, I am shuttling three kids around in my yoga pants while trying to keep them all alive, fed and in (somewhat) clean clothing.  
 
While I transition from working to staying at home, it is quickly becoming apparent that motherhood is exhausting no matter how you slice it.  
– Anna, Life with Little Ones