Making the Home Improvement Store a Toddler Language Experience

Most every weekend I find myself in a home improvement store (usually multiple times a weekend) with my toddler and husband. My husband is like a kid in a candy store in home improvement stores and I typically follow him around like a lost puppy. Oober bored. Flowers and the gardening section are pretty much my only attraction to these type stores. Knowing that my husband would much rather meander about the store and stare at tools for days without me staring at him or our toddler doing whatever he can to get attention, lately we’ve been telling daddy “bye-bye” and going off on our own adventures. There is actually a lot of fun and learning to be had in home improvement stores. The opportunities for supporting language skills in babies and toddlers are endless. Every single aisle has something cool for little ones to look at and explore and for caregivers to talk with them about. Whether I’m playing with my son or other kiddos, when introducing new concepts my philosophy is “I do, we do, you do.” Below are examples of my son and I doing and talking together. Have a look at how I’ve been making the most out of otherwise boring visits to the home improvement store.

Making the Home Improvement Store a Toddler Language Experience(1).pngBlinds/Windows/Doors: “Open” and “Close”

Cabinets: “In” and “Out”

Switches: “Up” and “Down”

Lighting: “On” and “Off”

Tile/Floor/Wall Coverings: “Shiny” and “Dull,” “Bumpy” and “Smooth”

Flooring: “Soft Carpet” and  “Look at the picture. Where’s the doggy?” “What’s the kitty cat say?”

Mirrors: Look in mirrors together! Make silly faces, do different actions (wave, clap, jump) and name each other, body parts and articles of clothing.

Gardening: Smell flowers and talk about scents, colors and sizes. We worked on using our nose to smell, not our tongues :)!

Animals: Take your dog along (I know at Lowe’s Home Improvement you can), talk about other dogs you will likely see and of course make doggy sounds.

Paint: Lastly, don’t forget to stop by the paint section and talk about colors. Grab some paint strips and make a color book! My son loves this color book I made him. I simply wrote the color names on the back of the paint strips, laminated them and put them on a notebook ring. I love that it shows the various shades of a color, which helps with color recognition.

If you find yourself in a home improvement store with a lingering man and rambunctious toddler(s), put on your hard hats and go on a language excursion! Doing so stimulates language development and makes for a happy husband and baby…yes please! I actually kind of look forward to going now and we all know…if mama’s happy, everybody’s happy :)! Hope you found this helpful.

Peace & Love,

Molly

Respect, kindness and love begin with babies…we must show them the way!

8 Fun Activities To Entertain Your Toddler When You’re Snowed In

Well, this is a first. I’m snowed in with my toddler while my husband is off gallivanting. He is duck hunting…having fun I’m sure. And that’s ok. My son and I are making our own fun. We rarely get snow in our part of North Carolina so it’s exciting. Unfortunately we didn’t get as much as expected, but it’s just enough. I’ve had to get creative to keep my little man entertained, because all he wants to do is be outside. Here’s what we’ve been getting into!

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Shaving Cream

We got into daddy’s shaving cream. You just give a good spray of shaving cream on a glass door or table, smear it all around and let your little get messy in it! This is a great multi-sensory experience for kiddos. Draw pictures, make letters and write words for a fun and educational time. Shaving cream cleans up easily with dry paper towels and leaves the surface nice and clean too.

Bird Watching

Before my husband left, I made sure he filled our bird feeder with seed. I also sprinkled birdseed on our porch right in front of the doors to get the birdies close. My son has really enjoyed watching the birds. We talk about them and make “tweet tweet” sounds. You can also make pinecone birdfeeders together, which will attract birds and squirrels.

Work together in the kitchen 

Pull up a chair and let your little stand beside you and help as you make snacks or meals. We had fun using alphabet cookie cutters to make a “F” sandwich. After you make your goodies, eat them together!

Muffin Tin

While you’re in the kitchen, break out the muffin tin! Have littles fill it with most anything they enjoy. My little man was into filling his with ball pit balls today. He filled it one-by-one, dumped the balls out, then I tried to shoot the balls back into the tin. He got a big kick out of that. Check out this post for more Muffin Tin Activities.

Books

Read books together and let your little play and explore with books independently. Pick out two or three books, show them to your toddler and let them choose which book they would like to read. Read as many books as your toddler will sit for. Give them a little break then read some more! Always have books within your baby’s reach. Reading with toddlers supports language development 100%! Click here for read aloud tips for babies.

Bubbles

Bubbles provide great entertainment for littles. They can pop, stomp, clap and catch them. Once the bubbles have all popped, be sure to encourage some form of communication (talking, signing or gesturing) before blowing more.

Get Outside

Bundle babies up and get outside! This is by far my little man’s favorite activity. This is his second snow. The first being when he was five months old. This snow is really cool because he is able to interact with it. Going outside in the snow is an awesome sensory experience for littles. They use all of their senses to interpret the scenery. You can make snowballs, snow angels, sled, taste snow, transfer snow from one area to another or make a baby snowman. I bought the stuff to make snow cream, but that didn’t work out for us. Maybe next time. Going outside is great because other than dressing your little to look like Ralphie’s kid brother from A Christmas Story, parents can sit back and watch. Kiddos create their own fun in the elements.

Bath

Take off those cold, wet clothes, turn on music and let babies bask in a warm bath. My son loves baths, so I can always depend on it when all else fails. The bathtub will buy me around thirty minutes of entertainment.

There you have it, a picture guide of what we’ve gotten into so far on this snow day. Hope you found it helpful. We are hunkered down for a few more nights of record cold temperatures here in NC. At least my husband is expected home tonight! If you’re on the strugglebus of what to do with your stir-crazy toddler, give these activities a try. If you are snowed in like us, what are you doing to keep the kiddos busy?!?! Please share and take care.

Cheers!

Molly

Of note…Some links embedded in this post will take you directly to Amazon for which I am an affiliate. If you make a purchase through this link, I may make a small commission at no cost to you. If you do, thank you!!

Fun and Creative Ways to Keep Your Kids Entertained During Holidays

This article is a guest post from Zara Lewis. Enjoy! featuredYou all know just how happy the kids get when Christmas starts approaching. It’s all about Santa, gifts, and gingerbread. Sadly, we the parents don’t get to be as excited about Christmas simply because, in addition to taking care of the household, we have to entertain the excited kids who are bursting with energy. So, in order to avoid the holiday grumpiness you as a parent will likely suffer from, here is a short list of fun and creative activities which will keep your kids busy and happy around Christmas.

Making Christmas cards

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It doesn’t matter if you have an energetic toddler or a happy preschooler, you can engage them in the process of making and decorating Christmas cards for friends and family. Using your kids’ handprints and footprints is a great way to create unique cards, which you will cherish and save for years. Cover their fingers with white paint, their thumbs and upper hand with red, and their palms with pink and when they press their hand onto the paper you will get a Santa who only needs eyes and a nose. You can also have them step into white paint and use the footprint to get the shape of a Snowman.

Paper snowflakes

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Is there a child who doesn’t like making paper snowflakes? From the simplest ones that only require you to fold the paper three or four times before you cut it to the intricate and delicate patterns that require a lot of time and effort, paper snowflakes truly help everyone in the house get into a holiday mood. If you want to keep things interesting, let your kid color the paper with crayons first to add some color, or cover it with glue and sprinkle glitter over them when you finish. You can also use them to decorate your Christmas tree (kids will be proud to see their little artworks up on the tree).

Spend time in the kitchen

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For sure, bringing your kids into the kitchen can be a messy affair, but it can also be fun. Have the kids help you make gingerbread (they can help with decorating or with preparing the dough), prepare hot chocolate together or make a huuuge bowl of popcorn and have them help you make popcorn garlands for your tree (they will probably eat half the popcorn but that’s fine, garlands are just an excuse to spend time together anyway).

Go outside

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Physical activity is important and the chilly weather will allow the kids to grow up strong and healthy. Let your inner child out again: make snow angles in the back yard, make a snowman and wrap him up in a colorful scarf, go sledding and skiing with your kids and enjoy the winter. Even if it’s not snowing, you can have loads of fun outside: simply make a bonfire in the back yard (it makes ordinary s’mores ten times more delicious) and instead of being sad that you can’t go snowboarding, let your kid try a fun hoverboard segway instead. Snow or no snow, outdoor activities are great for you as a parent as well as for your kids.

Yes, some of these ideas are a bit tiring, but wouldn’t you rather have your kid be creative and spend quality time with them than just turn on the TV and let them watch cartoons until they get sleepy? These activities allow us to bond with our children and make a lot of special memories we will cherish in the years to come.

Zara is a mom, fitness & yoga enthusiast and a regular writer for High Style Life. She loves to share her parenting tips and is always open to learning new skills, because for her parenthood is like going to school forever. She enjoys traveling, hiking, cycling and baking. (Twitter: @ZaraELewis) 

Thanks Zara for contributing to Speechbaby Blog and thank you readers for hanging out with me. Happy Holidays!

Cheers!

Molly

 

 

 

Trick or Treats for Little Feet

For some odd reason I’m excited about celebrating Halloween with my baby. I’m not exactly sure why, as we have no plans as of yet and obviously my one year old son can’t eat candy. So trick or treating isn’t really an option for us. But the excitement is still there and got me thinking. What if homes that welcomed trick or treaters had toddler friendly treats to give out? Wouldn’t that be cool?! I think it’s a great idea! I’m sure there will be some baby and toddler brothers/sisters joining in on the Trick or Treat fun. Here are some reasonably healthy treats they are sure to enjoy!

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  • Goldfish Crackers
  • Cheez-Its
  • Vanilla Wafers
  • Animal Crackers
  • Veggie straws
  • Pirate’s Booty Cheddar Puffs
  • Small packs of Ritz crackers
  • Captain’s Wafers
  • Graham Crackers
  • Cereal Bars
  • Banana
  • Applesauce cup

*All of these come in individual packets and would be easy to hand out.

If you live in a trick or treating community, maybe have a few of these on hand. I feel sure the little, littles and their parents would much appreciate it! If you do, let me know. We may show up on your doorstep :)!

Cheers to Halloween fun!

Molly