20 December 2014

(Last Minute!) Toddler Gift Ideas

Wow! How is it already the last weekend before Christmas? Is anyone else fixing to pick up some last minute gifts this weekend? Thankfully I've had mine done for a while (had to plan ahead since baby #2 will be here any day!) but I thought I'd share some ideas that might be perfect for the toddler in your life! My favorite places to score good deals are Target (especially the dollar bin section!), Marshalls, Homegoods, TJMaxx, eBay, Walmart, Etsy, local antique/thrift stores, and Zulily. Also, remember that if you have Amazon Prime, you still have time to order most of your gifts in time to get them under the tree! So here we go...
*please note that many of the below links are affiliate links- by purchasing through these links, I do receive a small payment to help support our family!*

19 December 2014

5 Toddler Winter Sensory Activities

Hey all!
How have your holiday seasons been going? Sorry it's been so quiet around here. Trying to wrangle a toddler, puppy, and being 8.5 months pregnant has taken its toll on me, hehe. I thought I'd pop in and share with  ya'll some of the fun entertainment that I've been sharing with our little one! She has a short attention span (go figure, since she's 2.5 yrs old! hehe) so keeping her occupied all day is definitely sometimes an exercise in creativity! Anyhoo, let's get on with some of these ideas, shall we???

We have a love/hate relationship with sensory bins. The little one loves them! As parents, we have a tendency to loathe them due to the extensive clean up they often require, hehe. Since they tend to keep her attention really well, I do enjoy giving them to her anyways! :) It's always so interesting to see what she does with the contents... I'll be sharing more sensory bins throughout the coming weeks! Here's a look at this one and what I included...

"Winter Themed" Sensory Bin
  • penguin foam shapes (dollar bin at Target!)
  • snowmen foam shapes (dollar bin at Target!)
  • snowflake foam shapes (dollar bin at Target!)
  • cotton balls
  • blue pebbles (the kind you see sold for fish tanks or as vase fillers, they're at the bottom of the bin)
  • white/blue pom poms (not included, but could be!)
  • white, blue, teal ribbon scraps
  • cool-colored Easter eggs (I like to think of them as "igloos" hehe)
  • empty containers for filling and pouring
  • cool-colored pipe cleaners (not included, but could be!)

This is a no-brainer really... if your wee one is anything like mine, any crafting supplies are a big hit with them! Here's just a few supplies and themed-ideas for ya...
  • crayons
  • washable markers
  • stickers (dollar bin at Target is perfect, or the dollar store)
  • more stickers...
  • and just a few more stickers!
  • foam shapes (again, dollar bin at Target!)
  • glue sticks (for the older supervised toddler... I haven't been that brave yet, hehe)
  • pom poms
  • pipe cleaners
  • ribbon, brads, & other old scrapbooking supplies

  • color in coloring pages - printed out free from online
  • decorate coloring pages with stickers
  • decorate foam shapes with stickers/pom poms
  • make jewelry from pipe cleaners (bracelets/necklaces are super easy!)
  • make animals from pipe cleaners

These are the types of activities that kinda fall outside the realm of the above two and really get the fingers going! I'll share more ideas from this category in the next few weeks, but here's two ideas to get ya going right now!

Decorate the Tree
Tis the season for trimming the tree! I picked up a $10 mini-tree at our local thrift store and a $5 bag of ornaments and some garland. She LOVES this little tree! I'd recommend getting very sturdy ornaments (perhaps wood or hard plastic) if your wee one is as rough on toys as mine is... some of the cardboard-based ornaments have already bit the dust, but that's why I didn't spend too much money on them! If you see one, a mini nativity scene for the little one to set up under their tree would be a great addition! 

Playdough Decorating
This was a real stretch for me! I was not allowed to have playdough as a kid due to the copious amounts of carpet in our home, so I was very weary to allow the wee one to have it. DH told me not to fret. I gathered up some random trinkets from the craft room (mini pom poms, chipboard shapes, buttons, Easter egg halves, and plastic spoons), flattened out some playdough colors for her, and let her loose... the funny thing is that her favorite activity was having me roll pieces into balls for her! She'd squish them, and I'd roll, she's squish, I'd roll, etc. 

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