Bubbles!

Bubbles are a baby staple. Every baby, child, and adult enjoys good bubbles. Think about it, isn’t it satisfying to blow through a bubble wand? And isn’t it disappointing when they’re just not good bubbles?

Bubbles are an inexpensive toy that can provide endless activities. Here are ways to use bubbles and activate each area of development.

Cognitive: Babies are in awe of bubbles. “What are these shimmering balls floating above my head?” Blow bubbles to extend tummy time and encourage those eco muscles to look ALL around. For toddlers, they are using problem solving skills as they learn how to shape their mouth and how hard to blow, trial and error at its finest!

Language: “Where should we blow the bubbles? On your head or toes?” “Look! The bubbles are going up, up, up!” Bubbles make room for lots of language. Babies will communicate with you through smiles and reaching while toddlers use their words or hand gestures for “more”.

Social and Emotional: Who wants a turn? Everyone. Always. Practice turn taking with your toddler every time the wand needs reapplication. For babies, they are expressing their feelings of joy when the bubbles pop on their nose (or dislike) and it’s your job to respect their emotions. “It looks like you don’t like when the bubbles pop on you, I’ll blow them farther away,”

Motor Skills: Pointing, teaching, clapping, stomping, running, how many ways can you think to pop a bubble? Get moving!

The best part is bubbles are inexpensive, available almost anywhere including the dollar store, and last forever!

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Hop to it!

Peter Cottontail is on his way and is bringing goodies!  Fill your child’s basket with more than just jelly beans and chocolate eggs!  Below are Play to Grow’s top 10 must haves for your little bunny that still fit in their basket (This isn’t Christmas! We see you IG one uppers.).

  1. Bubbles
  2. Books
  3. Shaker eggs ( DIY version= here and here)
  4. Bath paint
  5. Window Clings
  6. Stickers
  7. Play Doh
  8. Chapstick
  9. Flashlight
  10. Chalk

 

Hoppy Shopping!!!

 

Now, go play!

Dollar Store Haul

Wander the aisles of your local dollar store and fill up on goodies that are sure to entertain your kiddos.  Below are a few activities you can throw together with simple materials available from the dollar store, although you may already have most of them at home.  Keep them in a bin and store away when not in use.  Pull out in times of need, ie: prepping dinner, making doctor appointments, checking email, writing a blog post, etc.

Animal Bath: Fill a bin with an inch or two of water, add some plastic animals and a sponge.  Use a plastic table cloth as a catch-all and for easy clean up.  Let your little ones give their animals a “bath”.  Add some dish soap for some bubbles, or not if you have someone who eats everything.

Push and Pull Garden: Poke artificial flowers through a colander, let your little one “pick” flowers for you!  For a toddler, show them how to weave pipe cleaners in and out of the holes then let them work it themselves.

Stainless Steel Fridge Fix: Baking Sheets double as a magnetic refrigerator.   Add magnetic letters for spelling fun.

Tummy Time: mirrors, paper cups, bubbles, masking tape sticky balls, balloons, and items of various textures (cleaning cloths, hairbrush, gift bows, measuring cups, flashlights, practically anything.

Dollar Store Shopping List (all materials noted above plus some extra)
Bins/Containers
Plastic Animals
Sponges
Dish Soap
Colander
Artificial Flowers
Pipe Cleaners
Baking Sheet
Magnetic Letters
Mirror
Paper Cups
Bubbles
Masking Tape
Balloons
Flashlights
Velcro Hair Rollers
Toy Cars
Baby Doll
Kitchen Utensils (spoon, spatula, tongs)
Gift Bows
Tissue Paper
Streamers
Paper Plates
Coffee Filters
Spray Bottle

Want more?  Drop a comment with a random dollar store item and we will make an activity out of it!

Now, go play!

Get me outta here!

cab·in fe·ver
noun
  1. irritability, listlessness, and similar symptoms resulting from long confinement or isolation indoors during the winter.

We know the feeling.  We’ve all experienced it.  Whether it’s because you are snowed in, rained in, frozen in, stomach bugged in, humidity-ed in, no car-ed in, whatever the reason you are stuck inside with tiny humans it can get tense, reaaallllll quick.  Get through the day with these easy, minimal prep activities.

Cotton Ball Snow Angels

 

Materials:
-Cotton balls or craft puffs for “rainbow snow” (no cotton balls? no problem! Crumple up scrap paper, tissue paper, toilet paper, whatever you’ve got!)
-floor space

Have your child lay on his back and count to 3.  Dump the cotton balls all over him and let him make snow angels.  Have him collect the “snow” and put it back in the bin/bowl/bag to do it again.

Extending the activity:
-Sing a winter song
-Count the snowballs
-Let them roll around in the “snow”, throw it in the air themselves, have a snowball fight

 

Play Doh Invitation to Play

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Note: your child’s snowman will NOT look like this.

Materials:
-play doh of any color
-snowman making materials: sticks, stones, buttons, baby socks for hat, googly eyes, baby carrots, anything you can find in your junk drawer or craft box
-glitter if you’re brave.

Place all items in small containers or bowls so your child can see all there is to offer (this is perfect).  He may decide to only use one item or just the play doh.  Practice rolling the play doh into balls.  Stacking the balls.   Push the balls down to make a melting snowman.

 

Snowball Soup

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Materials:
-Actual snow if it’s available, otherwise bring back those cotton balls/paper snowballs, or crack some ice cube trays
-2 pots or large bowls
-spoons, cups, small bowls
-large towel

Spread the towel out and have a snowball picnic.   Allow your child to scoop and pour from one bowl to the other.   If snow is in short supply, fill a bowl with an inch or two of water (it will go a long way!) and a handful of ice cubes.  Your little will LOVE scooping the ice from the water.  Make a coffee, sit back and scroll through the gram.

 

Freeze Dance
Materials:
-music or favorite songs
-floor space
-blue suede shoes

As simple as it sounds, this will surely get some energy out.  Practice directional words like “stop/go” or “fast/slow”  Hint: dance with your child, you both need it.

 

How else do you get through a looonnng day?  Leave a comment below!

Cloud Dough

Snow dough, blue dough, moon dough, glitter dough…

Whatever the day, mix up these 2 household ingredients for a safe to eat, fun to play, time for coffee activity!

4 cups of flour
1/2 cup of oil (olive, vegetable, canola, whatever is in your pantry)

Simply mix the oil into the flour, stirring at first, then mix with your hands.  It will become crumbly, but when molded together, it holds its shape.

Add a couple drops of food dye, edible glitter, cinnamon, ginger, peppermint extract, anything to set the mood!

Serve on a baking sheet with spoons, cups, cookie cutters, trucks, plastic animals, or legos.  Spark creativity and an invitation to play!

 

Now, go play!

Go Big or Go Outside

Toddler wake up on the wrong side of the bed?
Tired of listening to yourself sing “Wheels on the Bus”?
Day got you dragging?
Feel like there’s a million hours left before bedtime?

Think big.  Gross Motor Skills are a great way to use up time and energy, while activating the brain!

 

Kick it, kick it real good.

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Crawling on clouds.

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Ball o’ fun.  Because who’s using it for exercise anyway.

 

Forget the rake.

 

And on that note, when all else fails, get outside.  Fresh air is great to rejuvenate yourself and your babe.  Take a break from chores, screens, and whatever else is weighing you down and take in the sun.

 

Now, go play!

Put a bow on it.

Here it is!  Your guide to holiday shopping for the little ones in your life.  These are Play to Grow’s fave items for gift giving.

Tips for toy giving:

  1. Buy something that does not take batteries.  The parents will thank you.  And so will the child’s brain.
  2. Look for something that can grow with the child, that they can use throughout their childhood.
  3. Stay away from gender stereotypes!  Boys can play house and girls can drive toy cars around.

All of the gifts are linked to buy them but PLEASE visit an actual store!  Although the holiday crowds can be crazy at time, remember it’s important to interact with people on a daily basis! Brick and mortars for the win!

Disclaimer: Play to Grow does not receive any monetary reward for this post or any of the links you click on.  They are truly just great products!  Wouldn’t that be nice though? (So, hey! Any retailers reading this, hit us up!)

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Latch puzzle

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Toy house

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Shopping Cart

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Tea set

 

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Kitchen

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Legos

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Sit and Stuff Bean Bag

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Books
And more books

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Step Stool

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Pop up Tent

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Shape Sorter

 

 

For more ideas on gift giving, check out this past post.

Looking for ways to keep it all together despite ribbons and bows, click here.

 

Now, go shopping.
Then, go play!