Toddler Leg Warmers from Old Socks

Yo20140105-150208.jpgu know you’ve got some lurking in a drawer.  They may have been there just since Christmas or maybe for years….. undesirable socks.  Old, ugly, or with a hole in the heel, they just sit there taking up valuable real estate.

Do you happen to know a toddler?  If so, you can turn your old socks into fantastic leg warmers in 10 minutes by following these directions.  I take no credit for this idea or the above directions.  I merely support the realization that the excitement of Christmas is over and everybody needs a pick me up, especially the little ones.

I made three pair of these recently in less than half an hour and the only sewing skills you need are the ability to cut and to sew in a straight line20140105-150244.jpg.  I put my daughter’s on over her leggings for a bit of extra warmth.  We keep our house fairly cold and wear sweaters indoors all winter.  Why not leg warmers too?  They’re also great for winter playground visits.  Old ski socks would be great for this project if you have some.  In my case I used knee socks that had always been a little too big in the foot area.  Happy sewing!

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DIY Story Stones: Toddler Gift

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DIY Story Stones

‘Tis the season for gift giving.  It can sap the life right out of a person.

Which is why I present to you parents of little people……Story Stones.  Here’s why they’re awesome:

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Collecting the stones last summer.

1.  They are a gift that keeps on giving.

2.  They are fun to collect with your kids. (Shopping is NOT fun to do with your kids)

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Telling a story.

3.  They encourage creativity.

4.  They’re virtually free.

5.  You can customize them to your child’s interests.

6.  You can make them yourself.

If you happen to live near a river you’re in good shape to go ahead and start this project.  If not, you’ll have to find another area to collect some large flat rocks.  Summer 2013 001

This step was a bit difficult in my part of Southern Maryland but I managed to get some small flat rocks from the Chesapeake Bay.  I was only able to find a dozen that were large enough but it’s a start.  In case you can’t find very many remember you can also use the backs.

Next, invest in a jar of Mod- Podge- the glue/adhesive that can be found at Michael’s and other craft stores.

Then, cut out magazine pictures or find stickers your child would find interesting.  Generic things might work best- they allow for more creativity.

Apply the pictures/images to the stones with the Mod-Podge as if it were glue.  Wait for it to dry then seal over the top of it with the Mod-Podge.  When mine dried they were still a bit sticky but after a few weeks it went away.

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Side story intersecting the main story.

Finally- the fun part.  Make up stories with your kid!  The use of the stones makes it easier for them to come up with ideas about what happens next.  You can lay them out in a line as the story gets longer.  If there is a side story about one of the characters you can have it intersect your main storyline.

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Placing a story.

When we play with

them I usually start the story.  “Once upon a time there was a taxi driver named

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Getting organized.

Rosie.”  My daughter will place the next stone, “Her favorite thing to do was read books.”  My turn- “While she read she ate bananas and drank lemonade.”

If your child loves to read these might be a big hit- my daughter LOVES them.

If your child does not love to read, perhaps they would consider this a fun alternative.

DIY Piggy Bank: Cheap and Tacky

20131029-203231.jpgAlthough my daughter is only two and a half (at least a decade away from buying overpriced coffee drinks and supporting bad music) believe it or not we had a pretty big reason to go ahead and construct a piggy bank today.  Here it is in two words;  loose change.  It’s everywhere.  My husband is like a subdued version of King Midas.  Everything his butt touches turns to change.  And everything my son touches goes in his mouth.  So as you can see it would be a mighty quick trip for all the household change to find a new home.

We were sorely in need of an immediate solution.  There was a shoe box sitting on the desk.  Cue the Indiana Jones theme song: we had our answer.  Fortunately we also had a good supply of freezer paper, some tape, and a bucket full of “to be used one day” craft materials.

Step 1:  Cut a slit in the top of your box, rip off a large section of freezer paper and begin singing the Mary Poppins bank song “When you deposit tuppence in a bank account 20131029-202924.jpg
Soon you’ll see
That it blooms into credit of a generous amount.”

It’s never to early to start teaching them show tunes.

20131029-203011.jpgStep 2:  Gift wrap the shoebox with freezer paper or butcher paper.  Preferably you will have a top and a bottom to wrap separately.  Alas, we had no such thing.  Still, a box with an attached lid is better than no box at all.  So what if we have to rip off all the paper open one day to finally get to the change.  We’ll just hang it from our track lighting and pretend it’s a pinata.

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20131029-203146.jpgStep 3:  Settle your toddler in for the long run with plenty of crafty stuff, crayons (old diaper wipe containers make great crayon homes), markers, stickers, google eyes, rubber stamps, last year’s Starbucks stickers, and anything else ya got.  All’s fair in “let’s keep my toddler busy til dinnertime”.

20131029-203208.jpg  Eventually your toddler’s attention span will run out just like it always does.  With any luck your project will look remotely done by then.

Step 4:  Christen your toddler “Keeper of the Piggy Bank” and let them know it is their duty to collect all loose change on a daily basis.  Be sure to mention that the next time a penny comes out of the baby’s butt it will be obvious they didn’t do their job.

Step 5:  Start looking under furniture or just in the middle of the floor for loose change.

Step 6:  PUT IT IN THE PIGGY BANK.

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Success!

DIY Feltboard: Why Not?

A long time ago I had a nanny job which I loathed because of the parents, not the children. In order to distract myself from the fact that I, a virtual stranger, was raising someone else’s kids, I created a flannel board to help the three year old learn his letters.  It was a bare bones approach.  I took an old pair of pajama pants (purple plaid), cut them up and duct taped them to a large flexible piece of cardboard.  It was a hit.  The two doctors I worked for were a bit appalled by how ugly it was and I really didn’t blame them.  But it helped their kid learn to read and I’m happy to say that I played a part in that.  I like to think that in the end that’s why I came to be there.

Today I have my own kids and although I do raid the recyclables frequently for project materials I wanted to make this board to last.  I chose to re-purpose an old bulletin board- one that was just the right size to fit on the back of my daughter’s door.  I went to Jo-Ann’s, selected a lovely blue color to stand for the sky and bought 2 yards of felt.  It was more than I needed but I had illusions of creating some travel boards for the car.  That still might happen.  You know, One Day.

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The Very Hungry Caterpillar

I put the bulletin board face down on the felt and then trimmed and folded like I was gift wrapping.  Next, instead of taping it all down I used a staple gun to go all the way around the back edge.  My husband had to drill into the door in order to get it securely attached and as a renter I did feel rather badly about that.  Then I looked around at all the neglected aspects of my house and fixated on the fact that we do not have a dishwasher.  Suddenly I no longer felt any guilt at all.

We have really just begun to embark on all the possibilities that come from having a felt board at our disposal.  We have other means of practicing our letters and numbers so currently we are focusing on pictures.

I am particularly interested in tying in a literacy component as you can see here with the Pete the Cat and The Hungry Little Caterpillar themes.

My daughter must have stuck that Sneetch on when I wasn’t looking.

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Pete the Cat is very fun to play with because the story is so short and simple and therefore easy to memorize.  We’ve also created a bag of shapes to use as construction materials for houses, playgrounds, etc.  That red thing on the left is a polka-dot house but I’m sure you knew that.

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So if you don’t have a feltboard yet it’s a relatively cheap project and my two year old can be fairly independent with it.  Colored felt can be purchased at Micheal’s in fairly stiff sheets but you can reinforce it with spray starch.  Just spray it on the felt, iron it, and let it dry outside.

Do you have any feltboard themes that have been a big hit with your child?  Please tell me:)