Toddler Craft – Moon Dough

I bring to you today another Pinterest discovery. Moon dough. It is mouldable flour that keeps your kiddies entertained for ages. Best thing is it is dead easy to make and easy to begin with basics from your kitchen! My little guy LOVED this and it encourages sensory play and creativity so winning all round.

This is primarily an outdoor activity as it can get a little messy, but if done correctly can also be an indoor activity as the flour is easy to clean up.

What you will need:

  • 4 cups Flour (I used plain flour)
  • Sunflower Oil (roughly 1 cup)
  • A whisk or a fork to mix
  • A container to put the moon dough in after for storage.
  • A tray to have the moon dough in while playing (i used a plastic basin which was $4 from the hardware store)
  • Items for the child to use (such as cups or small containers etc) while playing.

Ok to make the moon dough all you do is put your 4 cups of flour into a large mixing bowl and then slowly pour in the oil. Now nearly every recipe I found on the net said one cup of baby oil  and I was reluctant in all honesty to use baby oil in the event this was accidentally ingested. So I substituted Sunflower Oil for Baby oil. The sunflower oil was very light and doesn’t seem to stain. So I poured in my cup and mixed it into the flour using my hands. One cup wasn’t quite enough to make the flour mouldable so I just poured in a  few more small amounts till I got the moulding consistency.

That is it! I told you it was easy.

For something a little different/special you can add food colouring to the mixture and make coloured moon dough. I have not tried this yet myself  but sounds kinda cool.

Pour the mixed flour into a tray (preferably outside) and give your toddler some containers to play with and let them have at it. Several websites stated they used kitty litter trays as being perfect for this activity but as we actually have cats who use a kitty litter tray I was reluctant to use one, in case he decided the used cat litter tray would make a good tray to play with.

Also you can use simple cups, spoons and containers from the cupboard or special sand castle building type containers. You really can use anything. You could also (with a big enough tray) create scenes to be played with like a small city and put roads in for cars to drive on. Or make cupcakes with cupcake holders.

Hope your little one has as much fun as mine did.

I Have A Banned Shops List

Note: wow sorry I didn’t realise how long it had been between posts.We have had some gorgeous weather here and have been out fully enjoying it!

The other day I was distracting my little monkey at the shopping centre. Hubby was at the groceries check out, it was busy, and we knew there was no way our little man would stand still for us as he was borderline cranky as it was. So off I went for a walk with my son to find something interesting to look at.

And boy did we find something interesting. A window display full os trinkets, crystal figurines, jewellery, sparkly rocks, figurine frogs and dragon flies. My little man thought they were awesome. I however looked past the display into the shop, and really looked for once at just what was in that shop. It was a gift shop. It had drinking glasses on glass shelves, dangly things from loosely tied sticks (that were roughly with in reach), Stone crafts, pottery, random figurines, and jewellery. For a brief moment I thought I had found a real life little shop of horrors, as I stared wide eyed and in horror. A dare say I did an awesome impersonation of a guppy. It was at about this point that I made the conscious decision that this shop was pretty much a no go zone when I was with toddlers. Either my little guy would break something by accident (just random touching), or on purpose. Both ways would have been expensive. There and then I thought “never ever going into this shop with my son”. Thus was born my banned shops list.

As we left the shopping centre I realised I had unconsciously already developed a banned list. Pretty much top of the list was any gift shop. While I have been in gift shops since the birth of my son I have only done it during work hours. This was followed roughly by most new fashion shops because perviously the pram wouldn’t fit, and now because my ass wouldn’t fit into anything (well actually as I learned recently when I dared to venture in looking for a formal dress my chest is apparently too big for their clothes. I didn’t see that one coming at all. Haven’t decided if I should be happy or not). Naturally lolly (candy) shops are a big no no (which thankfully in my home town is not a big issue) and for me any shop that is busy or has a big queue (the only exception being grocery shopping and then when we get to said queue one of us takes the little monkey away while the other stays behind with the groceries).

So I am curious to hear if there are any shops you refuse to take your little one into?

Toddler Craft – Paper City by Made by Joel

I like thousands of others have discovered Pinterest. So I thought I would blog about some of the things I had found while on pinterest, and have tried.

So I am starting with the activity called Paper City.It is pretty simple, you print out the templates, cut them out and stand them up. Voila instant city to entertain your little one. There were lots of templates to choose from; a plain city scape, Sydney Harbour Bridge and Luna Fun Park, plus Paris. Look at the beautiful photographs below of how it should look when complete.

I saw this and thought this would be something easy I could do. Well I should have known better really. Now something you need to know about me, I have ZERO craft skill. In fact if it is possible I would be in the negative figures when it comes to skill level. Despite heaps of enthusiasm I just can’t do even the simplest crafts. I am pretty sure my home ec/arts teachers used to cringe when I walked in the room as I would break sewing needles, burn food, end up with paint virtually every where but my canvas and wood work. And finally I think my wood works teacher actually cried when I showed him my spice rack. So based on that you are probably now thinking this ended in an epic fail.

Well you would be close. Firstly my finished folded standing city did not look anywhere near as lovely as those in the photographs posted on Made by Joels website. But hey it was my first attempt and I was pretty proud of my efforts (it resembled what it was supposed to look like and I was impressed with that, for me it is a huge win lol).

Secondly this activity is relatively disaster proof. You just need thick paper (or thing cardboard), a printer, scissors and about 20 minutes to print, cut and fold. One of the problems I had is that i had ceiling fans in my house, so they easily blew over in the gale force produced by my fans going at full title. So I had to modify the template a teeny tiny bit and make a little stand out of cardboard to make it stand for longer then 5 seconds.

Now for the final test drive, is it a win for my toddler to play with? Yes! little monkey liked it. He happily drove his toy cars in front of the buildings. The he turned into Godzilla and knocked everything over. All up an hour of distraction and quiet time for me. Winning all round.

So for a free easy game to entertain your child this would be hard to pass up. My little one is 2 and so was probably a little too young to fully appreciate it but I think older children will enjoy it much more.

Well I hope you liked this post as they will become semi regular as I trial different stuff I find on Pinterest.

If you have any simple crafts I could take a stab at please feel free to leave suggestions in the comments section.

Toddler Talk

I never used to understand how parents could understand their toddlers. I would watch them listening intently to their child and say “oh yes certainly you can shove that car up your brothers nose” (or something to that effect). All I heard coming out of the toddlers mouth was noises, nothing even resembling words or sentences. I used to think parents just made it up to make the rest of us clueless people look silly.

Now I have my own toddler who is starting to talk and it really is like learning a whole new language. Probably no one else would know that my little monkey pronouncing “loud” and pointing at the roof really meant “thunder”. Sometimes you just “know” what the word is they are trying to say. To an outside person my little monkey saying eek eek would not register as him saying squeak squeak, but to my finely tuned ears that is exactly what he is saying.

But more than that, you get really good at reading body language and good old fashion detective work. A pointed finger, quivering lip and a cry could mean (depending on what is in the direction of the pointed finger) anything from wanting food/drink, toy, blanket or person/pet. You have to slowly and methodically (though usually its frantic and chaotically) work through each possible item till a big smile breaks on your toddlers face and they clap their hands in delight, and you think “eureka!”.

I am not afraid to admit that you don’t really know what your kid is saying you just make it up. There maybe a whole stream of jibberish and one recognisable word so you hear yourself saying “yes that is a pink polka dotted elephant, well done!”. It’s not like you child can say “oh come on I am not speaking Japanese pull it together woman I meant ‘get me a water’ not ‘there is a pink polka dotted elephant’ ”. So you have the advantage there over other adults, who secretly suspect you have no idea what your child is saying, but because you look like you know, they assume you do. As the saying goes “Fake it till you make it”.

Weaning Is All About Timing

We are now one month completely and totally breast milk weaned. I thought it was going to be harder than it was, that there would be tears, tantrums and late nights. But there wasn’t. I felt jipped. Now how am I supposed to regale people in the future of a weird or funny story from when we tried to wean our son?

Realistically weaning started when our little monkey started day care full-time, but I didn’t want to admit it to myself. I still breast feed mornings and night-time (and during the night), also on weekends. Eventually, ever so slowly this reduced to once a night. With out me noticing my son was weaning himself but still needed booby when upset, or tired. I started to think exit strategy. I always knew I wanted him weaned by two but had not really considered how we would achieve this.

While on holiday in September my little monkey started demanding booby milk. He would walk up and pull down my shirt (which lead to some awkward moments) and laugh or cry (depending on his mood). To me this signalled he was ready to wean. If he can demand booby he can demand a cup of milk or water, or even a plate of food.

Again though we weren’t sure how to properly wean. But October rolled around and I decided “this is it, I am drawing a line in the sand, from this day no more booby”. Of course that night our little man woke with a fever and cried the whole night. Hubby kept saying “just give him some booby milk” and I resolutely refused saying “if we can’t make it through this then we are never going to properly wean him”. I must admit I wavered, I doubted myself, I felt sad over this change…..I nearly gave in. I started thinking that Indigenous tribes woman look with the boobs down near her ankles could totally work, they just never had a decent bra right?

That weekend was the hardest and hubby had to step in a few times to give milk in a sippy cup or take our little man away. I couldn’t settle him to sleep because it upset him. But slowly this lessened and I was able to go near him without fear of a crying fit or having my shirt ripped off. I also had to wean myself of the internet again which is how I spent my new found time.

By the end of the following week he was weaned and we haven’t looked back.

To be honest I think it was all due to timing. Our little monkey was ready. If I had tried earlier we probably would have failed epically and we both would have been a sobbing mess in the corner. If you can afford too (I know it is not always your choice to wean sometimes there are extenuating circumstances) then let your baby/toddlers cues guide you when they are ready to wean.

I am so grateful my weaning process went so well. I would love to hear any other weaning stories as everyone’s experiences seem to be so different.

Welcome Mr President

This week was an important week for my little corner of the world; President Barack Obama the 44th President of the United States of America rolled into town. This was a huge deal for the locals and we were giddy with excitement that such a powerful person was visiting us, a small little city literally in the middle of no where. But then we learned that there was to be no public appearances, and to say we were disappointed would only come close to describing how we felt. The closest the general public got to President Obama was to watch, from a distance, Air Force Once land and later take off and some really lucky people got to see the motorcade drive past with a glimpse of the great man inside. We had to be content with watching the great man’s visit from our living rooms on TV.

I really wanted my little monkey to see President Obama in the flesh. So I was personally very disappointed when the news broke of no public appearances. As we were sitting in the comfort of our home watching President Obama speak to the troops at our local base it dawned on me that it was really was a good thing we hadn’t been able to see him in person. That maybe, just maybe,  the White House had actually done us a favour by being uber, super, paranoid and locking down our city to everyone including the locals.

Why would I say something like that I hear you ask? (cos yes deep down I know you really want to know the answer) Well there are firstly the obvious reasons; it would have been packed with people (i hate crowds). It was a hot and humid day (I hate crowds and heat together, just a bad combo). We probably would not have seen much (i am a shorty so chances were good I wasnt going to see much, and cop and elbow to the head), and it was the end of the day so we would have been tired and hungry (I hate crowds, heat, being elbowed in the head and being hungry with a passion). Then the traffic out of the CBD would have been nuts (locals don’t normally have traffic jams longer then 10 minutes, so anything longer is torturous for us).

Then there are the toddler related reasons; little monkey would be tired and hungry, realistically would not have seen anything, he just didn’t care, and we would have been dealing with an epic melt down later.

My Little monkey currently has no idea who Barack Obama is or his significance to the world, and certainly doesn’t care that the President visited our little corner of the world. If President Obama had worn a coloured skivvy, busted out a Wiggles song, demonstrated his leetness as an Angry Birds player, or rocked up in a fire truck; then our little monkey just wouldn’t have noticed him.

In fact the only thing that sparked our little guys interest (despite all our best efforts) about the live telecast on TV was when President Obama stepped into his plane; which resulted in our little man excitedly yelling “PLANE!”. He then spent the remainder of the telecast watching Air Force One taxi down the run way while randomly proclaiming “plane”. Sorry Obama according to our 20 month old, your plane is far more interesting and exciting. Air Force One was awesome, President Obama was not.

The reality is there is no way our little monkey would have remembered this day let alone appreciate it’s significance and the fact “he was there”or not. So really dragging our little guy out to see the President (if Public appearances were allowed) would have been for only one persons benefit, mine. Which in the long run would have back fired spectacularly when after the event I would have been dealing with a tired, hungry and mostly cranky toddler on a 30 minute drive home.

So I really started thinking about why we drag our babies and toddlers to such things? I can’t see how they get any real benefit out of it, other than the prestige of saying “I was there” when they are older. It is not like seeing some one of significance will have a profound impact on their lives at this age. Obviously if you are going to an event for yourself it is different, but now I wonder if there is value in taking your child for their sake? Is there a right answer to this answer? probably not.

But having said all of that if I got the opportunity again, I would take my little monkey to see some visiting dignitary without hesitation. Who said I have to be logical and rational?

The Seven Eating Habits of a Toddler

I have noticed that most toddlers have seven basic eating habits. I probably haven’t come close to covering all the different styles,but here are some that I have observed.
  • “OMG what is this poison you are trying to feed me?” – This particular behaviour is when you give your toddler food (usually your carefully crafted meal) and your toddler acts like you are trying to poison them. They may, if your really lucky, take a nibble, but mostly reacts violent and hurls it across the room. Usually this ends up with the food being chucked at the floor, cat, the tv, or if your really unlucky your head.
  • “Food Addict” – This behaviour is usually observed when your toddler eats or is about to eat their favourite food. Especially if its junk or sweets. There can be laughter, clapping, dancing, or a simple huge smile. But in general an overall happiness. When you remove this beloved food you have anarchy. Tears and screams. Hello tantrum central.
  • “I can eat it mum, what do you mean spaghetti doesnt go up the nose?” – This is when your toddler insists on eating themselves. Usually without utensils (though even if they DO use them it doesn’t make much difference), and usually when it is the messiest food around. Particularly if it stains (like bologna sauce). This type of eating style results in mess, usually all over your toddler, the seat, the floor, the cat, the table, and you. Food will also be found in random places like in the nappy, behind an ear (not necessarily the toddlers) , or down your shirt. BUT your toddler will be happy and eat a great deal. My tip, if at home strip your toddler down or put them in something you don’t care about getting dirty that way the damage is limited.
  • “Are you sure that is edible?” – This one is more of a look your toddler will give you. You present your food and they look at it in stunned disbelief. It’s almost like they can not believe you would have the audacity to put such a crime against toddler-hood in front of them. This can be followed by the “OMG what is this poison you are trying to feed me?” reaction or “I can eat it mum, what do you mean spaghetti doesn’t go up the nose?”.
  • “My name is Piggy Mr Piggy” – This one for us is random, but for some a way of life. It’s when your toddler seems to develop a black hole of a tummy and just shovels food in.
  • “A-N-I-M-A-L!” – This is when your child is a bit of a feral. They will eat off other people’s plates (while they are still eating), finish off siblings left overs, eat any food spilled on the floor. This is similar to the “my name is Piggy Mr Piggy” behaviour but with the difference off they wont stay put in the chair oh and sometimes they may and growl if you try and take the food off them.
  • “Well it’s green and furry it must be edible” – Probably the most revolting eating behaviour is when your child finds some long-lost, piece of food, that had been hidden only god knows where and proceeds to eat it. If your lucky you catch it before they get it in their mouth. If you are not lucky, be prepared for a heart attack. Some signs to look out for; Looking at something under a piece of furniture intently, going very very quiet.
  • “I don’t want it but you can have it” – I have yet to work out if this behaviour is sweet or gross. The food is usually half eaten and slobbered on when your toddler decides they want to share with you. I try to think this is sweet because otherwise the slobbered mangled food would freak me out (also I pretend to eat it and do a crafty slight-of-hand-mummy move that results in the food going nowhere near my mouth. I am ninja!).

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