Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Easy Spin Art Turkey Craft

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.

We love spin art! A few of our favorite spin art activities include spin art snowflakes and spin art wreaths. The other day we did two very simple turkey-themed spin art activities that would be perfect to do if you have little guests coming over for Thanksgiving.  

In this post I am sharing our easy spin art turkey craft and you can go here to check out our easy toddler turkey craft with coffee filters that we shared earlier.

My toddler loves pressing the salad spinner down again and again, so this activity is perfect for him.

Materials Needed:

  • salad spinner (we got ours at Target, but they have great inexpensive ones at IKEA, I need to go back and buy one for each kid at our house)
  • washable paint (we just use this crayola kids paint)
  • coffee filters 
  • colored construction paper (orange, red, brown)
  • googly eyes
  • glue
  • scissors

To create:

To get started you just put a coffee filter inside the salad spinner, drop in some paint, and get it spinning!

Sometimes midway through we'll add another squirt of paint.

Once we're done we'll let the coffee filters dry and then we glue on the turkey body and face similar to how we created our dot marker coffee filter turkeys!

As my kids like to say, it is "easy peasy lemon squeezy" to make these!

When we create we always love to read a related children's book. A few other Thanksgiving book favorites are listed below...

Ten Fat Turkeys by Tony Johnston is too funny.

Ten Thankful Turkeys by Angela Muse is another sweet book.

Have any other favorite Thanksgiving crafts you've tried? Here are a few others we enjoy...

Easy Toddler Turkey Craft With Coffee Filters

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.

Each week we have a special night we set aside for family time. My first grader was in charge of our family activity tonight and he decided he wanted us to make treats for a friend and take them Thanksgiving turkey cards. 

We ended up making two different EASY toddler turkey crafts using coffee filters and some simple supplies we had on hand. I'll be sharing the second turkey craft later today, so make sure to check back. 

During the holidays my only goal with crafting is SIMPLE. I don't do complicated things since I get thoroughly overwhelmed by all of the "to do" lists when hosting Thanksgiving. This project is a perfect one to set out for little guests at your Thanksgiving dinner.

Materials Needed:

  • coffee filters
  • colored construction paper
  • brown paper bag
  • scissors
  • (affiliate link) Do-A-Dot markers or any markers are fine
  • glue stick
  • googly eyes

To create:

This craft is pretty self explanatory and is very similar to the process we followed when making our paper plate shape turkeys. To start off you decorate the coffee filter using your (affiliate link) Do-A-Dot markers. I love the round circular marks the dot markers make better than the lines that regular markers make for this project. 

Next since we were making cards we glued the coffee filter to a colorful card made out of construction paper.

After that we glued on a turkey body cut out of a brown paper bag. Then we added on a red gobbler, an orange beak, and googly eyes. My daughter added some additional details with her markers- like eyebrows and legs.

Once the turkey cards were dry we wrote special notes inside to our friends. The kids are excited to deliver the treats and cards to their friends tomorrow. 

Along with making treats and cards, we read A Turkey For Thanksgiving by Eve Bunting.

I had never read this book before and now I'm going to buy one to add it to our Thanksgiving book library. The story is darling. It is about animals that go hunting for a turkey so that they have one for dinner. The ending has a sweet little twist.

We also love Twas the Night Before Thankgiving by Dav Pilkey since it is pretty funny. The children decide to try and save the turkeys from becoming Thanksgiving dinner. My kids got a kick out of the book even though some of the rhyme didn't work.

Do you have any other favorite EASY Thanksgiving crafts that you like to do with little ones?

Here are three more of our favorites...

Plus don't forget to check out our Easy Spin Art Turkey craft!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

7 Favorite Ride-On Toys for Toddlers {Toddler Approved Holiday Gift Guide}

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.

My toddler (age 2) is in love with his "bikes" and every time we are outside he says, "ride bikes!" One of my favorite things to do when we have little ones over is bring all of our ride-on toys to our back deck and let the kids ride around and around. When it is too cold or rainy sometimes I will move our car out of the garage and let kids ride around in there too.

Ride-on toys are so much fun and are a great way for kids to develop gross motor skills and get some exercise too. Kids can also learn great turn taking skills as they problem solve with friends while they are riding around.

Today I am going to share several of our favorite ride-on toys and then I'd love you to tell me your favorites too. 

Our Toddler Approved Gift Guides are meant to be awesome resources for busy parents as they shop for their kids and friends. Please chime in and share your expertise too.

Here are some of our favorite ride-on toys and why...

1. Red PlasmaCar

This car is really easy for my toddler to manipulate because it doesn't have pedals that get in the way. He just scoots his legs along and uses his feet to push him. PlasmaCars do best on really flat surfaces like level concrete and asphalt along with hardwood floors. They don't work well on textured surfaces. Although my son has been using this since he was 15 months, he got especially good at using it when he was closer to age 2.

2. Step2 Push Around Buggy

This is my absolute favorite ride-on toy as a mom of 3 kids. My youngest happily sat in this buggy while I pushed him around and kept an eye on his older siblings. I love that the seatbelt works well and my toddler can't get out without my help. I also love the horn on the car. This buggy is easy to maneuver with one hand too. Now that my littlest is older he likes to sit in this by himself and use his legs to push himself around.

3. Little Tikes Handle Haulers Haul and Ride

This hauler has now made it through three of our kids. They have all LOVED it. The red part on the back can be flipped flat to be a wagon and then the handle becomes something you pull to help haul the stuff from the back of the truck. You can add batteries so that the car makes sounds. We stopped adding batteries awhile ago because my kids prefer to make their own sounds. This hauler is perfect for kids ages 1-3, although my almost 4 year old still loves it. This ride-on toy is also great for little ones that are learning to walk because they can push along from behind. 

4. Fisher Price Rock, Ride N Ride Trike Vehicle

This another daily favorite toy at our house. My 2 year old can't pedal yet, but he pushes himself around while he sits on the bike. This trike can be used in three different ways. One is where the bike is stuck to a stand and kids can rock on it, kind of like a rocking horse. Second you can attach a handle to the back of the bike and stear your child around while you drive him. Third is where you can just drive the bike.

5. Little Tikes Cozy Coupe

This is probably the most fought after toy at our house when we have a playdate and the kids ride bikes. My kids love to open and close the door, climb through the doors and window, and stick things in the trunk. My kids love the music that some of the coupes play and the horns that honk. The only thing I don't like about this coupe is how easily it can tip over if it isn't on a very level surface. I think kids tip over in it when they are younger too since they aren't as good about getting their feet out of the car. If your child is under two I'd recommend staying close by when they are riding to make sure they don't tip over.

6. Playskool Step Start Walk 'N Ride

This is a really great push toy for kids who are learning to walk. It didn't go really fast and it has fun things to press and hit and twirl on the front too. This push toy also folds down to become a ride-on toy. It is very easy to move it from a push toy to a ride-on toy and I like how close to the ground it is because it makes it so easy for little tolders to get on it. The hood opens and closes and the different items on the walker make silly sounds that are fun. 

7. Chicco Sit 'N Ride Train

Although we don't have this train, we use it every time we go to a local children's play area. My son always finds one when we arrive and he doesn't really let it go until we have to leave. The seat is the perfect height for little ones and is easy to explore and play with.

Do you have any of these ride-on toys? See any others you want? Do you have any suggestions of other awesome ride-on toys for kids that you can share with me?

Don't forget to stop by our Favorite Gifts for One Year Olds Holiday Gift guide and then come back next week because we'll be sharing a few other favorite gift guides.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Announcing A Very Toddler Christmas {23 Days of Activities}

Last year we started a new Toddler Approved tradition and kicked off December by introducing A Very Toddler Christmas Series featuring simple festive activities for toddlers all month long leading up to Christmas. I am excited to host this series again this year!

The goal of this Christmas series is to do something simple with my toddler each day during December that is fun, builds our relationship, and gets us in a festive mood! 

Often my littlest one gets lost in the shuffle as we hustle and bustle to family events and school performances and parties. Last year I found that we had so much fun connecting with these simple activities and I really enjoyed the holiday season so much more! 

As part of our series we'll do crafts & learning activities, read books, and even do a few cooking projects. Every activity will be simple, have easy to get materials, and will be geared towards kids ages 2-4 though many could be adapt for younger or older kids. 

Do you want to join in?

You can sign up for my daily A Very Toddler Christmas Newsletter below and get a daily email from me each morning (approx 6am EST) with one activity to do that day. I will also be sharing some activities on the blog and instagram (follow me at @kristinatoddlerapproved) throughout each week.  


You can do the activities along with me each day or save the emails and do the activities whenever you want throughout the month. Some activities will be classic ones that we do every year and some will be new activities we've discovered and want to try. All activities will be simple, age appropriate, and fun! If I get organized enough I will try and get you a materials list ahead of time for the week.

The first email will arrive in inboxes on Monday, December 1st, so sign up today! The last email will be sent on December 23rd.

Don't forget to follow along with our awesome Christmas Sensory Play Series too. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Christmas Present Sound Match for Toddlers

As part of our weekly Christmas Sensory Play series this week we are exploring our sense of hearing! Toddlers typically love to make noise so we sure had a lot of fun with this activity. 

Our Christmas present sound match game for toddlers incorporated listening, matching, and moving while exploring our presents. All three of my kids (ages 6,3,2) had fun getting involved. 

To get started you need to gather a few materials and get some things prepared ahead of time.

Materials Needed:

  • wrapping paper
  • boxes (bigger was better with my toddler :) We reused Amazon shipping boxes)
  • tape
  • scissors
  • jingle bells
  • pinecones
  • plastic Christmas ornaments
  • any other small Christmasy items

Prep Ahead

I tried to get the presents ready when no one else was around so that they didn't see which boxes I put each item inside.

Put Christmasy items in boxes. Make sure that each box has a match- another box that has the same materials in it. For our first time playing this game we had two boxes with jingle bells in them, two boxes with pine cones in them, and two boxes with ornaments in them. 

Next you want to wrap up the boxes. I didn't use any fancy bows because I knew my toddler would just rip them right off. Make sure that the presents are covered in a variety of wrapping paper styles and that none of the matches are wrapped in the same wrapping paper.

How to play: 

Once the presents were all filled and wrapped I took them into the room where my kids were playing and I put them on the floor. The kids immediately started picking up the packages and shaking them. They were so engaged and listening intently to try and figure out what was in each box without me even saying anything.

As my toddler started shaking one present I mention to him that we wanted to find another box that sounded the same as the one he was holding. 

He immediately started shaking each package and listening so carefully. 

His big siblings joined in and everyone made guesses of what they thought was in each box. After they guessed for awhile I let them know which items I had collected to put in boxes and then that helped them figure a few things out.

I loved how much my toddler just loved shaking the boxes. The big kids were interested in the shaking but really wanted to open the presents and actually see what was inside. The toddler however was pretty content to just shake and listen to the different materials.  

Once he figured out which boxes had the same sounds inside, then I helped him stack the boxes that matched together. The bigger kids helped too.

For older kids using more smaller boxes with even more Christmasy items to listen to would make this even more fun! 

We also built some present towers using these boxes once they were done. 

I can't wait to add some more favorite Christmasy items to these boxes next week when we officially get out our Christmas stuff and start decorating. 

Some other ideas of things to put in the boxes could include...

  • small Christmas lights
  • Pine needles
  • candy canes
  • toy trains 
  • Christmas stockings
  • bells
  • a candle
  • Little People animals (maybe from the Little People Nativity?)
  • holly
  • tinsel
  • cinnamon sticks

Do you have any other suggestions of items you could put in a box for our Christmas present sound match game?

Check out these additional Christmas sensory play activities from our creative friends...

Throughout the next several weeks we'll be bringing you a SeeHearTouchTasteSmell Christmas Sensory play series, featuring creative activities that help children to explore the season using their senses. This week’s activities are all focused on using our sense of HEARING. Here are several of the other activities shared this week!

Cathy at NurtureStore shares some cool Christmas Listening Games that go along perfectly with our sound matching activity.

Kate at Picklebums has a Christmas Drawing and Listening Game that looks like it will be fun.

Christie at Childhood 101 has a neat movement activity and obstacle course where you tell the kids Don't Ring the Bells! My kids would get a kick out of it!

Do you have any favorite Christmas activities you've tried using your sense of hearing? I'd love you to share them with me!

Since we love the sound of jingle bells at Christmas time here are two other activities we always love to do Jingle Bell painting & a Jingle Bell toss. If you haven't tried them yet, do it!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

12 Active Indoor Activities for Kids

Do your kids have lots of energy like mine do? I feel like I am always asking someone to stop running or jumping off the stairs. I love finding ways for my kids to be active indoors without doing things that are destructive. 

Here are 12 active indoor activities to get kids moving and having fun in productive, creative, and educational ways!

The 12 indoor activities shared in this post were done with toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarteners though they can be adapt for older kids. Many of these activities also incorporate simple preschool concepts such as number, color, alphabet, and shape recognition. 

Click on each activity title to be directed to the full activity tutorial...

Counting Movement Sticks Game

Indoor Snowball Number Race

Skating on Letters

Alphabet Lid Frisbee Game

Name Broom Hockey

Tape Shape Matching Game

Stroller Number Races

Color Wheel Hunt

Pipe Cleaner Pick Up Sticks

Balloon Tennis

Alphabet Apple Stomp Game

Alphabet Pillow Jumping

I'd love to hear about other active indoor activities that are popular at your house, so feel free to share them in the comments.

A few other favorite festive indoor activities we've done lately are our Build a Photo Christmas Tree and our Pete the Cat Name Hunt.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Awesome Screen-Free Activities for Kids!

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.

Over the past few weeks we've been having fun exploring and playing using the new book by author Asia Citro called 150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids. Asia is also the creator behind the blog Fun at Home with Kids and I love sharing her activities here on Toddler Approved and on our Facebook Page

Today I am sharing one simple activity from 150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids that my daughter is currently obsessed with along with several other awesome screen-free activities. 

I have no problem letting my kids have screen time (TV time or iPad time) in moderation, but most of the time we try and do screen-free activities at our house. Asia sent me a free copy of her new book to check out a few weeks ago and it took awhile before my three-year-old even let me have a turn to look at it. Even my 2-year-old was sucked in!

Before we started creating our first step was going through the entire book and sticky noting every activity that we wanted to try. My daughter even begged to take the new book to quiet time with her so that she could look at the beautiful photos and plot our activities for the rest of the day.

The first activity we decided to try was the Ice Excavation Experiment. 

Here's a quick tutorial to follow although Asia shares more variations on this activity and photos on page 193 in her book 150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids

Materials Needed:

All we needed was a giant container or freezer safe bowl, cool little plastic toys (we used leftover Halloween ones), food coloring, turkey basters, salt, a cup, baking pan with a rim, and water!

Prep Ahead:

Ahead of time we created our giant ice block by adding some toys into the bottom of the bowl, adding some colored water, freezing the water for a few hours, adding some more toys, adding more water, freezing the water for a few more hours... and repeating again and again until we had several layers of toys and water frozen! 

I actually let our ice sit in the freezer for a few days, though overnight is plenty of time!


Once the ice was hard enough I ran the bottom of the bowl under hot water to melt the ice enough for it to come out of the big bowl. Then I placed the large piece of ice onto a baking sheet with a rim.

I got my daughter a cup of warm water with a little salt in it and a turkey baster and let her start squirting water at the large piece of ice to try and excavate her cool toys! 

The large turkey baster made the whole experience extra fun since my daughter hadn't used one of them before.

As the ice melted she was able to free the toys from the ice and started a collection on a little plate. After the ice melted more and more she even decided to hunt around and find some other items to help her get the toys out of the ice (forks, etc). I loved watching her as she thought about how to speed up the process of getting all of the toys out of the ice!

As the ice melted more and more I would occasionally have to suck up some water from the pan and put it into an extra big cup which I then tranferred to the sink... so that the water didn't overflow over the sides of the pan.

Once my toddler woke up from his nap and my older son (and his friend) got home, everyone wanted to help out with excavating the toys. It was a group effort but it also got quite competitive. I will definitely be doing this activity again when friends come over. All four kids were completely engrossed in trying to figure out how to melt the ice the fastest (and get the most toys).

Since our first ice excavation activity a few weeks ago my daughter has asked daily to do it again and again. The instructions were so easy and the activity was perfect to do with a multi-aged group!

150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids is full of ideas just like this ice excavation one where the instructions are simple, the materials are minimal and don't cost much, and the activities are really engaging for kids of all ages-- babies, toddlers, and older kids!

Here are some cool things about 150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids...

  • 120 activities can be completed using items found at a regular grocery store
  • There are 72 activities for babies!
  • Most of the activities were designed to encourage multi-age/sibling play
  • The photos are gorgeous, colorful, and there are SO many of them!

If you need a good holiday gift for any friends or relatives that have kids, this would be my first choice. You could even gather up some craft supplies and give the book as part of a craft kit. PS- If you're related to me please close your eyes otherwise you might not be surprised when you open my gift this Christmas!

Some simple activities included in the book that we plan to try include...

Taste-safe glow water (how cool!)

Colored Salt dough

Magic Foaming Dough

The Fish Small World Play activity

Natural-Dye Fingerpaint Recipe

Magic Expanding Paint

Erupting Volcano Dinosaur World

Asia also includes an entire section of the book devoted to Do It Yourself Toys. 

I am smitten by the pictures and am now trying to decide which one I want to tackle first. 

Some toys I love include the...

Outdoor Sound Wall

Magnetic Robot

Recycled Giant Lacing Box

and a Texture Wall

Here's a quick sneak peek video at some other cool activities in 150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids...

If you are interested in purchasing the book, here are some of the places you can find it...

Do you have any favorite screen-free activities that are always a hit at your house? 

Have you ever done an ice excavation before? What sort of items have you excavated?

You can find our other favorite ice activity here- Fizzy Ice!

Thanks so much Asia for sending me a free copy of your book to check out and explore! I have a feeling we will be doing tons of other activities from your book next week when the kids are off from school for Thanksgiving. I don't think the book has left the kitchen table all week since someone is always sitting down to look at it. You rock! Congrats on such a big accomplishment!
Related Posts with Thumbnails