Tag Archives: quiet activities for toddlers

Simple Straw Bead Necklaces

Simple Straw Bead Necklaces | Mama Papa BubbaAs the chaos continues, so do the super simple, created-on-a-whim activities for Miss G.  Because the days are passing by so quickly and we still have a ridiculous amount of stuff to be done before the big move, I’ve basically been throwing together activities with whatever is nearby at the moment, and hoping that they’ll keep Gracen happily engaged for a good long time so that Brad and I can throw some more stuff into boxes (sad, but true).

IMG 2567Today, as I was sorting through our big catchall closet, I came across the bubble tea straws we used for Grae’s beloved bubble tea shop we did recently.  I knew I had seen yarn on a shelf somewhere, so I created a really basic beading station for the little lady to enjoy.

IMG 2568Using some big scissors, I chopped up the straws to form beads.  They leapt up from my scissors as they were cut and Gracen thought it was quite funny.  Her job was to collect all of the beads and pop them into this bowl.

IMG 2569Because the straws are so large, Brad created a cardboard stopper at the end of a piece of yarn instead of a giant knot.  This can be done as he did it (by feeding the yarn through a small hole and knotting it on the other side), or it can be done by wrapping the yarn through a couple of slits made in the cardboard square.

IMG 2570Though we actually have several large, unsharp sewing needles from Grae’s ‘sewing kit‘, I had seen this creative alternative on Happy Hooligans, and decided to give it a shot.

IMG 2572Grae started beading right away.  The beauty of this activity is that not only is it simple and fun, but it also is great for fine motor skill development and hand-eye coordination.  Plus it lends itself very easily to patterning if your child decides to take it that way (Miss G did not).

IMG 2576Grae worked on this project for a good long time and finally finished off a giant, brightly-coloured  necklace that she was very proud of.  

I realize that not everyone keeps bubble tea straws on hand, but this same activity would work great with regular small straws (just use a dull knitting needle instead of the straw needle, or put a bit of masking tape on the needle end of the yarn), or better yet – if you’re a Slurpee-loving family, wash out those big Slurpee straws and repurpose them for this project.

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Under the Table Fort

Under the Table Fort | Mama Papa BubbaMany days, Miss G wakes up from her nap (though it escaped us again today) with a clear plan for our afternoon.  Today’s request involved building an indoor tent.  No big deal, right?  With limited space, a non-existent wood stash to build a frame with, and an un-napped, slightly impatient toddler on my hands, I opted for the simplest option possible… An under the table fort.  Close enough, right? ☺

IMG 8066While a basic rectangular table with four corner legs would have probably lent itself more graciously to the project, our centre stand table provided an unexpected perk – two separate rooms.  As soon as I mentioned this to Grae, she immediately deemed one of them a reading room and the other a music room.  

IMG 8073Setting up our fort couldn’t have been easier.  We simply moved the chairs into the kitchen, threw a king-sized sheet on top, and moved in a few pillows and blankets to give it a cozy feel.  In the reading room, we added a couple stacks of small books, and in the music room, we added a xylophone, a microphone, and Grae’s ‘DJ headphones’ (actually noise-cancelling headphones from when we went to the Patriots game).  It could have been more simple to set up, but G was pleased as punch with her new hideout.  It was the perfect project for an afternoon like today’s, and we’ll definitely be remembering this for our next string of rainy days. 

♥ 

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Stacking Felt Board Rainbow

Stacking Rainbow Felt Board GameToday as it poured rain outside, Miss G and I got out some crafting supplies and put together a quick and easy stacking rainbow for her felt board.

IMG 7946Truth be told, while I cut out the rainbow pieces, she did this…  Created a “porh-ple porkee-pine” with our felt stack and some pins.  Hey, whatever floats your boat, right? 

IMG 7942Because you have to be fairly precise with this project, I opted to find a rainbow image online and print it off to use as a pattern, but you could draw your own too.  I made sure to pick one that had 7 stripes so that we could include both indigo and violet, and gathered some coordinating felt pieces plus some pins and some very sharp scissors.

RainbowI chose to work from the bottom up, so I pinned the pattern down on the violet felt sheet and cut the entire rainbow out.  

IMG 7947Before pinning the pattern onto the next felt sheet, I cut off the bottom stripe off of the paper in order to make the next crescent slightly smaller.

IMG 7950I continued these steps until all of the colours had been cut out.

IMG 7952At the end, I cut out a couple of freehand clouds to finish off the edges.  Voila – a game that involves fine motor skill development, size comparisons, colour recognition, and rainbow order. 

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To learn how to make your own easy felt board and to see our other felt board games, click here.

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Indoor Balloon Badminton

Indoor Balloon BadmintonThis may very well be the easiest activity to throw together ever, but Gracen thoroughly enjoyed it.  All you need is a couple of paper plates (ours are made of styrofoam, which I absolutely despise, but they, along with many other party supplies, were in the cupboard when we moved into this house, so I don’t feel quite as badly about using them), 2 large popsicle sticks, some masking tape, and a balloon.  To create simple racquets, all you have to do is tape popsicle stick handles onto the bottom sides of the plates… Then you’re ready to play!  Partner pass, keep it up, and distance contests are all fun.

IMG 7731This is a perfect activity for a rainy day and great for helping your toddler burn off some energy if getting outside isn’t an option.  The other perk is that it is relatively quiet (especially when played independently), so it could make a good quiet activity for an older sibling whose little brother or sister is napping.

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Easter Egg Felt Board Puzzles

Felt Board Easter Egg PuzzlesThis is an extremely simple felt board game that takes no more than 10 minutes to whip up, start to finish.  All you have to do is cut out several egg shapes (you can always print one off or draw one on paper first to use as a pattern), then chop them up into puzzle-like pieces.  The nice part is that you can make them as simple or as complicated as you like, depending on the age of your child(ren).  And when complete, the set of egg-shaped puzzles makes a great sugar-free addition to an Easter basket. 

To learn how to make you own {simple and inexpensive} felt board, click here.

♥ 

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Spring Flowers Felt Board Set

Spring Flowers Felt Board SetToday after her nap, Miss G and I enjoyed a little crafternoon.  We set up shop in the warm sunshine pouring through our front window and she worked on decorating felt eggs while I worked creating this new spring felt board set.

IMG 6711This time around, I created paper patterns by drawing very simple flower shapes onto scrap paper.  The ‘line drawing’ section of Google images is great if you’re in need of some inspiration, or if you simply want to print off some templates and skip the drawing part all together.

IMG 6712Next, I cut around my flower shapes and pinned them onto bright, colourful sheets of felt (I use the inexpensive stuff made of recycled plastic bottles for felt board sets and save the more costly wool stuff for my Littlest Lulu projects, but both work great).

IMG 6713Then I carefully cut out both my paper patterns and the felt flower pieces all at once.  I used the same method to create several differently shaped leaves too.

IMG 6710Afterwards, I cut out several long, thin pieces of green felt to act as stems.

IMG 6714As well as several centres that can be mixed and matched on the flowers.

IMG 6717Here’s the end result…  Flowers that can mixed, matched, and combined into tons of different possibilities. Just for fun, I may add grass strips, soil clumps, terra cotta pots to the set later on.  And clouds, sunshine, and raindrops would be fun additions too!

IMG 6728Here’s my little love’s finished project.  A beautiful colourful felt egg to display in time for Easter. 

To learn how to make your own easy felt board and to see our other felt board games, click here.

♥ 

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Sticky Wall Colour Matching Game

Sticky Wall Colour Matching GameOne of the little activities I set up for Miss and her friends to enjoy at our Valentine’s tea was this sticky wall colour matching game.  The idea came from No Time for Flashcards (an amazing activity resource for kids of all ages) and although I followed Allison‘s instructions pretty closely, I made a couple of little changes along the way.  

IMG 5537Needed for the project was construction paper in rainbow colours, a heart-shaped paper punch, permanent markers in coordinating rainbow colours, and clear contact paper {which can be purchased at dollar stores and home hardware stores}.

IMG 5538First off, I punched out tons of hearts and mixed them up really well in order to make the activity more challenging.

IMG 5540Next, I rolled the contact paper out on the floor (paper backing side down) and drew rainbow-coloured hearts inside one another on the non-sticky side of the contact paper (using permanent markers for this part is key).

IMG 5570The following morning I peeled the paper off of the corners, and taped the sheet up to the wall before peeling the entire backing off.  As you can see, I attempted to make it look cute by taping it to the wall with my black and white polka dotted washi tape, but it simply didn’t cut it.  The ugly masking tape had to be brought out, but it worked perfectly.

When Miss G’s little friends came over, they began popping up the hearts all over the place {somewhat to Grae’s dismay}.  And though most of them didn’t get put in the ‘correct’ places, they had a lot of fun with it.  In fact, at one point I think we had 3 toddlers pressing their faces onto the sticky wall and slowly pulling them away before sticking them back on again. ☺

IMG 5576Of course, once everyone had gone, she got straight to fixing things.  The beauty about contact paper is that the paper hearts can easily be removed and reattached if need be.

IMG 5575Grae worked hard on her project for a good long while and it’ll stay up for the next while for her to revisit when desired, which I know will be often.

♥ 

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Sugar Cookie Felt Board Set

Sugar Cookie Felt Board SetToday, while enjoying some downtime together as a family, I put together a quick and easy new felt board set for Miss G…  A sugar cookie cutting and decorating set.  All it really required was a few sheets of the cheap {recycled from plastic bottles} felt, a pair of sharp scissors, a plastic cookie cutter, and about 40 minutes of {interrupted} time.  Because Valentine’s Day is coming up, I went with a heart-shaped cutter, but any shape would be fun.

IMG 5335To start off, I traced the cookie cutter onto the tan felt several times, placing them as I’d cut out cookies from rolled dough (making sure to leave a decent amount of space between each).  The only tricky thing is that in order to keep your ‘rolled dough’ piece intact, you have to very carefully cut the shapes out without cutting through the borders.

IMG 5336Here’s what you should have when your shapes have all been cut out.

IMG 5337Then I quickly rounded the edges to make the rolled dough piece look a little bit more realistic.

IMG 5350Next, I cut out smaller hearts in different colours (and two sizes) to act as the frosting.

IMG 5353The last {and easiest} job was creating ‘candy sprinkles’ by chopping up thin strips of felt.

IMG 5345Miss was dying to get her hands on her new game, and began placing the cookies into the dough immediately.

IMG 5346Then it was straight to cutting them out using her cookie cutter.

IMG 5354Next up – the best part…  Decorating!

IMG 5355Almost as much fun as the real thing… If only felt cookies tasted delicious. ☺

You can find our easy and inexpensive felt board tutorial here and some of our other felt board games here.

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Animal Sink Bath

IMG 4828Since returning home from a long vacation 2 weeks ago, playing independently has been  a lot more difficult for Grae.  Instead of playing on her own, she wants to be right beside Mama {if not right on top of me} all. of. the. time.  When I explain that I need a little bit of personal space to get something done or encourage her to play, she responds with, “But Mama is the best…” or “But I just want to watch what you’re doing” or “But I LOOOOVE you!”  Oy.  It’s not easy.  

The one time she seems to be happy to play on her own right now is while I make dinner (thank goodness for that).  She often does puzzles, reads, or plays dress up, but tonight she set up one of her long time favourite games…  A sink bath for her animal friends.  She pulls up a stool, collects her sea creatures (sometimes it’s a baby or rubber ducks), and grabs a wash cloth while I fill up the sink with warm water, get out a squirt bottle or a sponge, and retrieve some soap or a little chunk of FUN.  Together we add a drop or two of food colouring to the water, and that’s it.  She plays and splashes and washes her animals in there for a good long time, and by the time she’s done, I usually have dinner on the table.  

A sink full of water… Who knew?  Works like magic every time.

♥ 

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Valentine’s Creative Table

One of the things I’ve been doing to encourage independent play {and creativity} in recent months is keeping a fun, inviting, and well-stocked ‘creative table’ for Gracen.  All it is is her little table (or sometimes a tray or even the floor) with an assortment of materials available for her free use.  Sometimes it’s paper and glue and embellishments (like in our Christmas tree creative table), sometimes it’s play dough and cookie cutters and decorations, and sometimes it’s a tray of baking soda with droppers and dishes of different coloured vinegars.   Naturally, some creative table set-ups are more open-ended and some lend themselves more to a finished product, but either way, the purpose is for Gracen to explore materials, experiment, and create freely while enjoying the process.  

Valentine s Creative TableToday, Miss G and I did a little bit of shopping for this year’s Valentine’s Day projects (yes, we’re thinking about it already), and though I intended on holding off on a Valentine’s themed creative table for a while yet, my little lady popped up from her afternoon nap and her first words were, “I want to craft now.  Grae Grae gets her new craft things!”  And that was that.  A Valentine’s creative table it was.

IMG 4670IMG 4669IMG 4672Together we gathered up all sorts of pink and red craft supplies…  Smelly markers, sparkly foam shapes, bingo dabbers, stamps and a stamp pad, doilies, construction paper hearts, and some glue.

IMG 4683As she does with most creative projects, Grae dove right in.

IMG 4687The immediate favourite?  The foam stickers.  She plower through the initial stash and asked for more right away.

IMG 4681Throughout the afternoon and evening, she came and went as she pleased, adding to her pieces as she wished.

Here are a few of the pieces she declared ‘finished’…

IMG 4688IMG 4694IMG 4689While it won’t be around until the big day (I try to change up our creative table supplies every 4 to 7 days or so), there’s no doubt it will be enjoyed, added to, and revisited for several days to come.

♥ 

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