Forcing the Bloom

Happy, Healthy Mommy Blog

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Ice Cube Art

Ice cube art!  I found this art project idea in Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron.  My toddler (32 months) loved this project but it works for most any age child.

1.) Mix a little washable paint with water and put into ice-cube trays.  Let them freeze.

2.) Pop out cubs and place on paper inside of tray.  (I recommend giving the child a spoon or brush to push the cubes around so their hands don’t get too cold.)  

3.) Swirl around and change the paper as it gets too wet.  Hang up the painted paper.  (It will be wet!) 

You can also put also things inside the tray to mix the paint – brush, balls, cars, etc.  (B prefers to drive his cars through the paint.)

Have a towel and warm water ready to clean up and warm up hands!  (B loved cleaning his cars when he was done.)

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Frying Pan Artwork

B (now about 2 1/2 years old) likes to paint THINGS.  He’s not so much into just painting on a piece of paper, although he will.  He is VERY motivated to paint something, such as a wooden airplane or a pumpkin.  In this project we painted wooden balls (it’s what we had available).  Knowing that the balls would roll away, I put them in an old, lightweight frying pan.  B had fun using his paintbrush and turning the pan to get paint all over the wooden balls.  Then I added some cut out paper shapes on the bottom of the pan.  SIMPLE, EASY, FUN!

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Montessori Moments

What are your Montessori moments this week?  Here are some of ours.  Of course, you can have more categories such as fine motor skills, memory, geography, or science.  Below are just a few we are working on – Sensorial, Art, Practical Life Skills, Language, and Math.


Playing with dried beans and sand.  Usually some sort of vehicle is also involved.  Dirt has also been a big hit recently too.  We find a dirt pile under a trees and B plays contentedly for a long time usually digging, scooping, sweeping, etc.

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How many things can you paint with?  Brushes, marbles, cars, sponges, empty paper towel rolls?  Here B made a painting with q-tips.  He enjoyed folding the paper in half and making a reflection.  He REALLY loved displaying his art and showing Daddy.  We asked him what he made and he responded, “Ducks!”











Typically practice life skills activities in our home include cutting fruit, buttering bread, making smoothies, vacuuming, etc.  Some toys can utilize practice life skills as well.  This  jeep and drill toy lets B practice taking the screws and bolts on and off.  Very entertaining.











B liked this phonics game.  I put a variety of objects in a bin and he had to decide which cup they should go in – the “A”, “B”, or “C” cup – based on the beginning sounds.  The apple piece and bagel were eating and he insisted the cap go back on the bottle, but otherwise he understood the game and had fun.

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B enjoyed putting my cut out numbers in order from 1 to 10.  He can count higher but we are working on mastering order (when the numbers are out of order) and value.  We also count everything and enjoy playing with shapes.

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Summer Curriculum for Toddlers

I count about 9 week, including this week, before August.  My 2-year old (26 months) toddler attending a Montessori school 3 days a week and summer session started this week.  This inspired me to create a Summer Curriculum and see just how much we could accomplish this summer.  I love lists and charts!  I created a list of my summer goals for B and places for us to visit.  I also created a chart for weekly shelf work activities and weekly goals.

Do you have summer goals for your kids or yourself?  Read a certain number of books?  Learn to swim?  Camps?  Tutoring?  Below are some pictures of my goal sheets, shelf work, and art projects for this week.  Our theme this week is Ocean/Water.  We picked out ocean books from the library, made ocean bags (plastic bag filled with corn syrup, pipe cleaner fish, and other colorful objects), and made waves by rolling marbles through paint in a box.  I also copied my list of goals for my 2-year old, places to visit, theme for the weeks, and art projects.  Enjoy!

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Summer Goals for Boaz

–   Potty Trained

–   Count to 20

–   Practice writing

–   Build vocabulary

–   Join book club at library

–   Attend weekly bible school

–   Start geography and science

–   Make nature table

–   Weekly art projects

–   Get ready for baby










Places to Visit


–   Lazy 5 Ranch M-Sat 9-1hr before sunset and Sunday 1 –“”

–   Transportation Museum – Tue – Sat 9-5, Sun 1-5

–   NASCAR Hall of Fame – 10-6 everyday

–   River Jam @ Whitewater Thurs and Sat 7-10

–   Hiking/biking in mountains

–   Ride lightrail

Summer Themes

–   Ocean/Water, Farms, Transportation, Babies, World, Weather, Insects, Food, July 4th














Art Projects

–   Painting w/food

–   Paint w/marbles

–   Paint w/q-tips

–   Make flag – glues parts together

–   Night and Day Sheet – sticker for moon, sun, clouds, stars

–   4 Seasons sheet

–   Story stones



Art Around the Home

I’ve noticed my almost 26-month old toddler is spending more time on art projects.  Maybe it’s a boy thing, but he wasn’t that interested before now.  In the past, he would spent only a couple of minutes painting or coloring.  Just last week he asked for his paints and worked on filling up the entire paper with two colors!  He was very proud of his art work and quickly showed Daddy as soon as he came home.  Recently, we also filled water bottles and added food coloring.  We watched the dye disperse into the water and looked at the bottles held up to the light.  B will often go over to the chalkboard and doodle.  I love seeing him drawing circles.  We make sure to display his artwork around the home, as well as posters of famous pieces of artwork.  I have the Mono Lisa and some Van Gogh up in his bedroom.  I’m looking for new ideas.  What is your favorite way to support an interest in art around the home?

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Montessori Toddler Activities

Here are some Montessori-inspired toddler activities that we are enjoying this week.  The activities including a focus on math, sorting (early math), art mixed with language, music, practical life and more specific language activities.  We are working on letter recognition and phonics.  And we are working on number recognition 1-5 and the basic concept of numbers.  Sometimes B (22 months) will seem to understand numbers and sometimes he won’t.  If he isn’t “into it” on any given day, I just move on.  B loves transportation and construction vehicles, so I integrated that into our art and language activities.

Here is a snapshot of our playroom and shelf this week.  Below are a few of the activities.

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Here is a number activity.  We enjoy placing the numbers 1-5 on our felt board and in the bathtub with foam numbers.  Here I chose to highlight the number “4”.  This tray has several different ways of showing the number “4”.  B loves the counting lizards from Melissa & Doug.










Here is a basic sorting activity.  I am always so pleased with myself when I find a new way to display a sorting activity.  I found this little art bucket in Target.  It’s light and easy for B to carry.  Here he will place the blue popsicle sticks on one side and the yellow sticks on the other.  He loves it!








Here is an art activity.  I added a small printout of transportation pictures.  I actually snagged this from Chik-fil-a!  It’s an eye-spy road game that came in his kids’ meal.  B enjoyed coloring the pictures as we talked about them and then we put down transportation stickers.







Here is a language activity of sorts.  It’s more about vocabulary than learning to read.  They are sort of conversation starters and from there we talk about other things relating to the cow and butterfly, like where we saw a cow or butterfly and what they eat and the sounds they make.








This last activity is simply a music basket.  I usually have a basket of musical instruments out for B to play with.  I rotate the instruments almost every week.  I swear I find my husband playing with them more than B, so I guess it’s for the whole family.  We go to a toddler music class once a week too, which is fun.  B is one of the first toddlers to jump up and put things away.  Otherwise, he’s shy and quiet (like mom).  The teacher noted the Montessori approach they use to set up and clean up!  She noted last week that the class had “normalized” meaning that they had mastered the concept of taking instruments out of the basket and returning them (without a fuss) at the end of a song.  Montessori is everywhere!









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Toddler Activities with Egg Cartons

It is especially fun to create toddler activities with recycled trash!  Cheap, homemade (of sorts) and DIY are some of my favorite descriptions for toddler activities.  So, egg cartons are perfect!  I keep a stack of different kinds of egg cartons in my craft cupboard.  They are great for sorting, counting, and art activities.  They are also great for holding small items and organizing your drawers or cupboards.  Ice cube trays also serve similar purposes.  Here are some basic activities with egg cartons but you can do so much more!  One-to-one correspondence activities such as placing wooden balls, puff balls or wiffle balls in cartons are early math activities.  You can also color code the egg baskets or assign numbers or letters.  You can use them for more complex sorting or use them as paint dishes.  I still remember uses egg cartons when I was in elementary school for painting projects.

Here is B (21 months old) is placing wooden balls in a 6-egg carton.  He did NOT like the activity with puff balls so try different materials and don’t get discouraged.  I usually have to introduce an activity several times before B wants to try it.  We counted each ball as he placed them in the carton.  I’ve seen other people write numbers or letters on the balls and in the cartons for a matching activity.  We’ll build up to that.


egg carton activities from forcingthebloom

egg carton activities from forcingthebloom












Here is B with a 12-egg carton.  He enjoyed filling it with wiffle balls.  No puff balls, please!  Maybe it’s boy thing?   A major part of the activity is taking the carton off the shelf and putting it back when B is done.  He knows he can’t get something new until he puts everything back.  The practice of moving things on and off the shelf helps with body control.

egg carton activities from forcingthebloom

egg carton activities from forcingthebloom












Here are some more ideas from other Montessori mamas using egg cartons !

Living Montessori Now  – Color Walk

Our Natural Journey  – Repurposing Egg Cartons

Kindergarten Basics – Upcycle Egg Cartons to Building Blocks + links to many other egg carton ideas!

Gift of Curiosity – Math with Egg Cartons + several other cool Montessori activities

Any other ideas?  How have you used your egg cartons?

We’ll revisit this theme again in the Spring!  Say, around Easter time!  You, me and that crazy Easter bunny.  This will be the first year B really gets to open Christmas presents and will understand the idea of an Easter egg hunt.  Can’t wait!  Have a Merry Christmas!!

Christmas Tree from forcingthebloom

Christmas Tree from forcingthebloom