Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Excuse Me While I Travel

As we will continue traveling across Texas and Northern Mexico for the next week or so, please excuse the fact that I may not be able to post an activity every day. Thank you so much for your visits and your patience!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Pool Table Time

Toddler ages: 22 months, 22 months

Materials you'll need:
-a pool table
-pool balls
-a pool triangle

As I said in yesterday's post, dads sometimes have unconventional ways of spending quality time with their children. This description would apply to today's post as well.

During our visit with my husband's sister, John decided it would be fun to let the twins play with the pool balls by sitting directly on the pool table itself....

Although I could tell that our brother-in-law was a bit nervous, understandably, he was a good sport about the whole thing, so John continued this activity for well over an hour.

Twin A was a little selfish when it came to the balls...

...but Twin B had his share of the action, too...

(Although maybe not apparent in this photo.)

Like all good things, this, too, had to come to an end, but we all sure had fun!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

This Week's Featured TV-Free Toddler Time Mom and the Smiley Face List

I am so happy to announce that this week's featured TV-Free Toddler Time Mom is Katie at "Our Wonderful Life"!

When moms are in charge of doing TV-free activities, we do things like make edible play dough or finger paints, soda bottle bowling or toy box time. When dads are in charge they do things like dress up the kids in their winter coats, get the sleds out, and if they don't have a hill nearby, they make their own! Click HERE to see how Katie's husband spent time with their toddlers, while she took awesome photos (which were protected, so I couldn't snag them), and made his own fun (and his own hill!) at the same time!

Thank you so much, Katie, for blogging about time well spent with your children. You are an inspiration!

Now, for...

This week we had two toddler moms who made the smiley face list...

-Jen @ 11th Heaven's Homemaking Haven, Mega-Family Blogs and 365 Days of TV-Free Toddler Time
-Coralee @ The Bernard Family

Yeah! And you know what? I have to admit that this is quite a difficult task to accomplish. I really had to calculate and plan far in advance how I would spend at least 30 minutes of quality time each day with my 3 three and under. This was especially difficult during the week before Christmas, as we were doing lots of different activities with extended family members, doing last minute shopping, preparing extra meals and wrapping presents. However, I did accomplish it, and this has given me motivation to keep it up. I also need to thank all of you who follow this blog and give me the encouragement I need to blog my activity every night, even if it's something as simple as toy box time. Not all of you leave comments, but I can see how many visits I receive each day, and just knowing you were here is enough to keep me inspired to find fun ways to spend time with my kids every day and blog about it! So thank you for being here for me!

Again thanks for your visit today and don't forget to email me if you qualify for the Smiley Face list or would like to be the featured blogger next week! Thanks for visiting!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Traveling Time

Toddler ages: 22 months, 22 months

Materials you'll need:
-wet wipes
-baby books

If you read my other blog, you'll know that we are currently traveling in Central Texas....yes, all ten of us. This is the first long trip the twins have taken, and while I don't have any amazing tips for traveling with 8 children, 3 of whom are 3 and under, here are a couple of things that kept the little ones happy for a time....

Wet wipe time:
For this activity, we simply handed each twin a wet wipe to wipe himself after a particularly sticky treat. Here is the fun they had...

Twin A placing wet wipes on head...

Twin B placing wet wipes on shoe...

Twin B hiding wet wipes behind head...

Reading time:

This activity obviously goes without too much explanation, but I did want to let you know which books they received from their grandma for Christmas and are completely in love with, and sleep with every night...

Like I said, these ideas are nothing spectacular, but they worked for us for at least some of the 11-hour drive! Thanks for listening!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Park Time

Toddler ages: 22 months, 22 months, 3.5 years

Materials you'll need:
-warm clothing

This activity goes without too much explanation. If it's not too cold outside, how about taking your toddler(s) to the park? Fortunately, here where we are visiting in West Texas, it was about 50 degrees F outside, which worked out well for our outdoor activity.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take photos of our event because I sat on the sidelines of a football game involving my older children and cousins, and John took the 3 three and under to the playground area of the park. While I wasn't there personally to participate in the experience, I know they sure had fun!

So, if the weather is mild where you are, why not try the great outdoors for half an hour? Thanks for listening!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Food Sorting Time

Toddler ages: 22 months, 22 months

Materials you'll need:
-six different finger foods (we used craisins, Cheerios, banana slices, fresh blueberries, chicken pieces, and pretzels)
-6-cup muffin tin
-cookie sheet or non-breakable plate

This time, as I pondered how this activity would go, I kept my expectations very low, so there would be no disappointments, as per THIS post.

It was lunch time, and instead of dealing with two messy high chairs and having to sweep and mop the floor all over again, we did this as a combination TV-Free Toddler Time and Lunch Activity. Here's how it went...

I placed all the finger food in groups on a cookie sheet...

I then placed the twins' muffins tins on the table next to where they would be sitting...

(As you can see, my mother didn't have any 6-cup tins, so we had to use a 12-cup tin for each twin.)

Before I would let them eat anything, I carefully showed them how to place the different kinds of food in different cups, and I think there was one time when Twin A put a blueberry in a cup...

...but the rest of the time, they just ate the food...

But this is where the benefit of having low expectations was felt. It was okay! I didn't expect much, the 14-year-old girl told me that it wouldn't work, and they made a significantly smaller mess than they usually do during lunch time!

We will definitely be doing lunch like this again in the near future. AND, I saved the tray of leftovers for an easy snack after nap time! For the record, I reallly do think an older toddler would enjoy this activity and actually sort the food. The 3-year-old was out of town, though, so couldn't be my guinea pig. Thanks for listening!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Double Twin Playdate Time

Toddler ages: 22 months, 22 months

Materials you'll need:
-another toddler or toddlers

If there is anything cuter than a set of twins, it's TWO sets of twins! This evening my sister invited her friend over for dinner, along with his absolutely gorgeous 5-year-old twins and 2-year-old daughter. These lovely little ladies played with my twins for over two hours with nary a harsh word between them the entire time. (If my twins could actually talk, then maybe it would have been different, though.)

Here is some of the fun they had....

...playing with their favorite Ball Popper Toy, although apparently Twin A did something Twin B found disagreeable...

...which Twin A thought was hilarious...

Here are the gorgeous twin sisters...

...and the fun Twin A had with them...

But, like all good things, this fun had to come to an end, so dad started the process of getting the girls ready to go home...

(Please notice my mother playing Rock Bandon the Wii.)

It was refreshing to see that other people's children can be just as uncooperative as mine...

Getting all three girls' coats and boots on was exhausting, so dad sat down again for a rest before the drive home...

Twin A was tired after a great time with the twins and 2-year-old as well...

...and was perhaps a little jealous that all three of the girls had given Grandma a hug. However, everyone had a great time, the TV was off (except for when Grandma was playing Rock Band), and the twins (both sets) were worn out by bedtime!

Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Empty Wrapping Paper Roll Time

Toddler ages:  22 months, 22 months

Materials you'll need:
-empty wrapping paper roll
-small food pieces
-paper or plastic plate

This idea came to me when I was trying to figure out how to make a long race car track for the twins' cars. I realized my mother had some nearly empty wrapping paper rolls, so I took off the scant remaining paper and tested it out. The twins' cars wouldn't fit. I then looked around to try to find something that would fit, but then I remembered that once I read an article that said if an object is small enough to fit through a toilet paper roll, it is small enough to be a choking hazard.

I couldn't do a post which involved a choking hazard, so rather than use small objects to shoot down the tube, I choose edible objects....these peanut butter filled pretzels, in fact...

We leaned the wrapping paper roll against an end table, placed a paper plate at the bottom and let the pretzels fly. Here's how it went...

...and again...

Time for a snack break...

...then back to work...

This was fun and we'll be looking for other empty wrapping paper roll ideas! Thanks for listening.

Toy Box Time

Toddler Ages: 22 months, 22 months, 3.5 years

Materials you'll need:
-your toddler's toy box and toys

When was the last time you sat on the floor with your toddler(s) and just played with their toys with them? Usually I get out the toy box when I need to get something done and want to distract the little angels, but today, I decided to sit on the rug and join them in their play.

Currently I am visiting my mother, and I have misplaced my camera cord somehow, so am not able to upload the photos I took of this event, so I will just try to paint word pictures.

First I sat and "wowed" as the 3-year-old arranged portions of his car racetrack onto an end table and pushed his cars down the track into the toy box below. 

Then I clapped as the twins played with their Busy Ball Popper...

This is one of my favorite toys, but actually keeping the balls with the machine is the challenge. Even so, if you CAN keep the balls together, it is totally worth it, as a stream of air pops the balls up into the air, then down the slide, accompanied by the sound of "agitato" classical music!

We then played with a toy that flashes and spins, talked on the toy cell phone, and many other random things.

This activity took no extra preparation, not too much effort and we spent quality time together. I'm going to do this much more often!

Thanks for listening!