Daily Toddler Play – Caramel Apples

I haven’t done as awesome with my daily toddler play goal as I’d wanted to, but we have gotten to do some pretty cool stuff.  Since it seems like our most successful toddler play efforts (at least, the really cool memorable ones) involve the kitchen, I decided to make caramel apples with Norton.  After all, we still had some goodies left over from the cookie decorating kit, so why not?

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Daily Play = My Parenting Goal for October

I’m not a stranger to setting a new parenting goal for myself.  Sometimes I meet those goals, sometimes I don’t, but I always feel like a better mom for having made the effort.  Lately, I feel like I’ve been lacking in the creative toddler play department.  Things have been hectic and busy.  I’ve been trying to get my house back in order, grow both of my websites, control my chronic migraines, and a bunch of other things.  All this means that I’ve dropped the ball on quite a few things.

So, now it’s time to get back to the basics of why I wanted to be a stay at home mom in the first place.  I wanted to be a stay at home mom so that I could actually be with my kids.  I missed out on a lot with Andy due to a variety of factors, and I always wanted to “do it better” with Norton and Eudora.

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Toddler Play at the Park

As much as I complain about certain aspects of living in Prince George (like the shopping), there are things that are absolutely incredible.  For one, we have a ton of neighborhood parks and urban forests.  In fact, there are two small neighborhood parks within walking distance of my house.  Once the weather warms up and the snow melts away, Prince George can be an outdoor paradise.  We’ve had some beautiful weather here, so I finally got brave and joined a friend for some toddler play at a neighborhood park.  I have to tell you, it was the perfect day for toddler play and a little grown up conversation.

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What the Internet Has Taught Me About Being a Better Mom

I have fretted about being a better mom.  I have worried that my failings, whether real or imagined, are a mark that I’m just not a good parent.   I’ve blogged about my perfectionism, my struggles, and my hopes that some day I’ll figure out how to be a better mom in my own eyes.

Lately, there have been some things that have helped.  And, honestly, most of them have been from things that I’ve found online.

1.) The Hands On Play Challenge.  I have not participated in this challenge every day.  I’ve written a few blog posts about our toddler play efforts from things that Jamie has sent out, but it’s been pretty hectic and stressful lately.  Here’s what the challenge has made me realize, though.  I do play with my kid.  I don’t think I realized how much time I spend just crawling around the house chasing him or playing peekaboo until I set a timer for fifteen minutes to play with him.  The challenge has also helped me in another way, which is awesome when combined with the next helpful internet resource… [Read more…]

Nostalgic Toddler Toy Found on the Cheap

I had a great childhood.  I was spoiled.  I had a ton of toys.  And I took care of my toy.  In fact, I took such good care of my toys that some of them were used by Andy when he was little.  And my nieces and nephews played with them, too.  There are a few toddler toys that I remember fondly…  I’d have to say my favorite toy was my Radio Flyer horse.  I got him for a Christmas present, so I named him Christmas.  I cried when my mother insisted that I throw him away… and I was nearly twenty years old.  Actually, I’m still pretty ticked that he’s gone.

I relate a lot of my awesome childhood experiences to the fun that I had playing with certain toddler toys.  There was creativity and imagination involved all the time, and my big sisters would often play with me.  I want Norton to have an awesome childhood and have fun and play, so I often look for toys that are as close to what I had and loved as possible.  (This love is why Norton has a lot of Little People toys.  I loved my Little People, so Norton now has the Little People Animal Sounds Farm, the Noah’s Ark set, and other play sets for his entertainment.  Yes, we play with it together.) [Read more…]

Day 7 of Toddler Play – Finger Paints!

Monday was day 7 of the 30 Days to Play Hands On Challenge.  That challenge was to roll out some paper on the floor, tape it together to make a large area, and turn your kids loose with crayons, markers, colored pencils, or whatever they could safely use.  True confession: when I saw that for the toddler play suggestion of the day, I nearly scrapped the idea altogether.  There’s no way I’m integrating crayons into our toddler play and experimentation.  Norton seems to think that crayons are cookies.  I’m not a fan of changing colored poo.

But then I remembered that I’d just gotten the stuff to make finger paints.  After all, we bought finger paints a few months ago, and I just wasn’t too crazy about the fact that Norton eats everything and they weren’t made from kitchen ingredients.  Plus, the store bought finger paints tasted awful and Norton was just not impressed.  It was one of those times that I tried to do something with Norton and it failed so awfully that I swore to never try it again.

But I did try it again.

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Day 4 – Toddler Play – Escaping the Island

On Friday, we did Day 4 of the 30 Days to Play Hands On Challenge.  The challenge for that day was to make “islands” and pretend that there’s water and/or lava in between.  It’s the kind of stuff that I’m pretty sure I did when I was a kid.  But when it came to incorporating it into toddler play with Norton, we had a little difficulty.  For one, I’m not really sure how to explain the concepts of islands to a kid with a toddler language delay.  I’m never sure how much he understands, unless it’s me asking him to do something and he does it.  So I tried to do something of the same idea for our toddler play, but without mentioning “islands.”

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30 Days of Toddler Play – Fun with Blocks

I have to say, I’m loving the 30 Days to Play Hands On Challenge.  It’s helping me in ways that I didn’t anticipate already, and this is only day 4.  Yesterday, day 3, the challenge was to play with blocks.  For us, this was awesome.  Norton has a decent collection of blocks and loves to stack his Mega Blocks.  We find them to be a reliable standby for whenever we have some toddler play on the floor.  Sometimes, a little help with toddler play ideas can be good, though. [Read more…]

30 Days to Hands On Play – About that Fort…

On Tuesday, I came across the 30 Days to Hands on Play challenge.  It was perfect.  Something daily to just get me to focus on toddler play with Norton.  No guilt.  No struggling to come up with toddler play activities and feeling like an idiot as I came up empty.  And, heck, maybe we’d even be able to integrate Norton’s homework words into our toddler play time to make it even more awesome.

Yesterday was day 2.  Yesterday’s challenge (which I’m just putting up today due to a busy day with blogging and not wanting to post more than anyone could possibly read… or care about reading) was to build a fort with your kid. [Read more…]

Taking the 30 Day Toddler Play Challenge

I always worry about being a good mom.  I worry about toddler language delay and if Norton’s lack of toddler talking is my fault.  I worry that I don’t spend enough time engaging Norton in toddler play, even though I’ve already learned that he has an Own Agenda Communication Style (thanks to reading It Takes Two to Talk).  Really, I just worry and I’m always out to be a better mom.  I know that I’m also my own worst critic.

My big stumbling block is that with Norton’s Own Agenda Communication Style, he’s perfectly happy with keeping himself engaged in toddler play.  He has little interest in playing with me, and when he does, he climbs on me or plays peekaboo with me to let me know.  And so there’s that vicious cycle of wanting to play with Norton, failing or feeling like I’m “doing it wrong”, and the feeling like a flop as a mom.  I always tell myself that I need to do better, but I just don’t know how.

While I was doing my usual blog surfing this morning, I came across a challenge by Hands on as We GrowThe purpose is to get us down on the floor and just playing with our kids.  The 30 Day Hands On Challenge seemed to be exactly what I needed. [Read more…]