Thursday, April 21, 2016

Color Activities

Here are a few quick and easy activities to teach color recognition with toddlers.  The first activity involves foam stickers and laminated construction paper in corresponding colors. The idea is for your toddler to sort the foam stickers by color. It's a cheap and easy idea that can be put together in 15 minutes or less and uses items you likely already have sitting around!

Sorting her little heart out!


The second activity also involves just a few items and is very inexpensive. At my local hardware store, I picked up 6 different colors of paint samples (2 of each color). When I got home, I cut off any words or labels on the samples and pasted one set of each color onto construction paper and kept one set loose and separate. I laminated the construction paper and the individual samples and then added hard Velcro to the construction paper on each color and soft Velcro on the corresponding loose samples. Simple as that, and now your kiddos have a simple color match activity to enjoy!

 Simple and inexpensive...just the way I like it!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Autism Awareness Month Craft Funsies

April is Autism Awareness month! As an Autism Support teacher, I am clearly a huge advocate of educating the world on Autism and spreading awareness. Autism is symbolized by puzzle pieces, which represent the puzzle that Autism is and the need to determine it's cause. It also symbolizes the desire for the medical, educational and general population to work together to "make all the pieces fit."

I found a denim blue pair of canvas shoes at Wal-Mart and printed puzzle pieces from Clip Art onto iron-on transfer paper. After cutting out the puzzle pieces, I ironed on each piece on high.

Using scraps of puzzle piece fabric I had around the house, I created bows for my girls and added painted puzzle pieces to the center using hot glue

I was apparently on a big shoe kick this year. For this pair, I used a pair of blue slip-on shoes purchased at my local Five Below. Using a white, fabric marker and a medium-sized puzzle piece as a stencil, I traced puzzle pieces in various directions all over the shoes. I also ironed over the shoes to heat set the paint into the shoes in the hopes they would last longer.

While it took a bit of time to make, this wreath turned out better than I expected! I used mesh ribbon in a wire, wreath frame and embellished with painted, puzzle pieces adhered with hot glue and puzzle piece ribbon (sold at Wal-Mart).

My hope is not only that we can find the cause and treatment for Autism, but that we can create awareness of what Autism is and avoid the stigmas that have been created that individuals with the disorder are unapproachable, dangerous, or unable to be treated or helped. In my life, I have had the absolute privilege of meeting, teaching, and loving many individuals with Autism. Some of the strongest, most dynamic, and fun people I have met in my lifetime just happen to be Autistic!

Here are some fantastic resources that provide valuable information regarding Autism...

Peyton's 1st Birthday

How is it possible that my baby girl is 1 already?!?! Unbelievable! Peyton is the sweetest little cuddle bug whose smiles light up my whole world! This past year has been more challenging (transitioning from one child to two, first year in childcare, the dreaded ear tubes, you name it, it happened this year) than I could have ever imagined, but I wouldn't trade it for the world, because it had her in it! For her first birthday party, I wanted to do something special and original...just like her! I had been practicing letters and their sounds with my oldest daughter and dinner one night and the idea came to me...What if we themed the birthday party around the letter P?

Letter "P" wreath to welcome party guests..
We constantly refer to Peyton as Sweet P, P nut, and pretty much any play on words we can come up with, so it seemed like a no brainer that we would theme the party based on that. Claire and I brainstormed items and fun things that started with "p" while Peyton happily munched on her puffs and the beginning stages of the party were planned...

Cupcake table, complete with cupcakes in the shape of the letter P, party bags for the kids and Peyton's month by month pictures placed around the table in (you guessed it) letter P's

Pink and Purple became the obvious choice for party colors. Of course, we also threw in Polka dots any chance we got!

Peyton's party favor bag

The cupcake table featured vanilla and chocolate cupcakes with pink and purple icing and sprinkles. I found the coolest cake pan that allows you to make a cake in any letter or number. I used it to make a smash cake shaped in the letter P
I wish I had a better picture, but I was a little busy this day, and this is the best I could do, haha!
Month pictures

Using pink and purple polka dot cardstock, I printed off all of Peyton's month pictures and cut them into the shape of the opening in the letter "P" and hung them around the cupcake table for party guests to check out.

Who knew the letter "P" lent itself to so many food options. On the, potato chips, pretzels, pop, and punch

Princess Peyton of course had to have her thrown decorated, so I used my handy dandy Cricut, cardstock and ribbon to make this bunting for her highchair.

Highchair bunting
Perhaps the most fun part of setting up for this party was theming each of the tables with things that start with the letter "P." I used cardboard letters purchased at my local craft store and painted in (wait for it...) purple and pink with polka dots. Each table had a letter "P" with balloons attached and surrounded by items found around the house that pertained to the theme. Themes included penguins, piggies, posies, ponies, puzzles, and pandas. We also added two play tables in the back, one with pirates and one with princesses.

P is for Penguins table
P is for Piggies table
P is for Posies table
P is for Ponies table
P is for Puppies table
P is for Puzzles table
P is for Pandas table
The birthday girl herself could not have cared less about the theme and all of the time her craft nerd mommy put into the party, but she certainly had a wonderful day, and her clear favorite activity was digging into her "P" shaped smash cake. And smash she did...

Peyton modeling her smash cake prior to the smash
Love those pink teeth
Total demolition!
"Helping" to open her gifts...
An awesome string art sign my aunt made for Peyton that she will keep forever. Love it!

Fun was had by all!
Happy Birthday, Sweet P!!!