Forcing the Bloom

Happy, Healthy Mommy Blog

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Toddler Activities: Busy Bag Ideas

I was very excited to have a second Busy Bag exchange with a group of awesome moms.  I am part of a mom group through and one of the organizers in the group hosted a Busy Bag Swap party, the second one of the year.  These parties are great!  Each mom picks a simple craft activity and makes one for each mom attending the party.  At the party, each mom shares their toddler craft.  So you go with let’s say 12 Button Snakes and you leave with 12 different activities!  How cool is that!  I have slowly been pulling out the activities and adding them to our Montessori shelf.  I like that these activities were educational, simple to make and cheap.  I made the Button Snake and was excited to discover I had most of the material already.  I recommend having a Busy Bag swap with your friends!

A few of the Busy Bag activities: 














Here are links to several of the activities we received at the Busy Bag party:

Money Saving MomButton Snake

Some What Simple – Wacky Sacks 

The Rigneys – Felt Board and several other ideas!

Intrepid Murmurings – Pasta Sorting

Fun & Engaging Activities for Toddlers – Texture Boards 

Playful Learning – Chalk Blocks

Wise Bread – Moon Sand

Here are some other Montessori activities we have on our shelf this week, including a holiday activity.  On the top shelf we have two small puzzles, an empty feta cheese container filled with puff balls, a plastic dish filled with holiday mini-clothes pins, several heart shaped cookie cutters, and a block of flower arrangement foam with golf tees and a hammer to stick in the foam.  On the second shelf we have a basket of large foam letters, an old chai container with a hole on top for sticking in q-tips, more puff balls to place in a water color tray, and an empty Odwalla jug with red popsicle sticks to be placed inside.  The bottom shelf has art (a fireman to color), a shape sorting box (Ikea), and blocks.  Whew!

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I enjoy doing shelf work with B.  We sit together on the rug and talk about the activities.  He is very careful to take work down and put it back.  B is 20 months and often does not want to do what I think he should do with the activity – or at least what I had planned.  It’s tough to keep my mouth shut!  I show him the activity and then try and keep quiet.  I try and let him play and explore the material however he wants.  This is as much a learning process for me as for him!  I can NEVER guess what he will find interesting.  That’s also what makes it interesting and challenging for me!

Another favorite activity these days is taking pictures and videos so that B can see himself.  He laughs at himself and asks to see pictures of Nana and Papa (Grandma and Grandpa) on the phone!

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Montessori in the Home – Toddler Activities 18 months

I have been working on our Montessori playroom for MONTHS!  I did the bedroom first but the downstairs area took awhile.  It took time finding a shelf and desk.  I finally bought the shelf at  I found the Ikea desk and chairs at a consignment sale.  We have been doing activities off the shelf every day now!  Baby B (18 months) loves it and it is so easy to keep neat and clean.  All other activities and toys are stored away and rotated during the night when he’s sleeping.  On the shelf we currently have: a velcro bag filled with ping pong balls, a tray of wooden leaves and small pumpkins, two bottles that are filled with lava lamp oil and have sparkles and beads inside (sealed closed), a small etchy sketchy, a 1/2 size egg carton filled with pom poms, a puzzle, a wooden airplane, a tray with paper and a crayon, a stack of plastic cups, and a basket with colored pipe cleaners (he stick them through the holes).  I also put out a felt board with three fish and the numbers “1” “2” and “3”.  Another favorite is the clean-up basket where I keep a small broom, cloths, sponge, and spray bottle with water.  We practice cleaning up together after he eats at his table, although the dogs get most of it.  He also enjoys his new (used) rocker set up next to his basket of books.  He immediately grabbed a book and started reading while he rocked (it lasted about 2 minutes – but that’s okay!).  We have been working on eating at the small table while fully set.  Usually everything goes okay although it’s messy.  He loves to practice cutting and using the spoon and fork.  The dogs get their fair share of the meal, which they worked very hard for.  Now we just need to tackle potty training!  We just started this week 🙂

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Fall Fun at 18 months

September has flown by and it’s almost October!  I love the cool weather, the colorful leaves, and pumpkins on doorsteps.  And don’t forget about pumpkin spice soy chai lattes!  Baby B (18 months) enjoyed apple picking but was not much help after he discovered he could eat the apples.  Now he enjoys holding and eating his own whole apple (not cut up).  Can’t wait to go pumpkin picking this month.  Another favorite activity is going to the airport overlook with Daddy.  Baby B wakes up in the morning making airplane noises and pointing to the sky.  I guess he dreams about airplanes.  Baby B also enjoyed a visit from the Grandparents this month.  He met a firefighter and sat on fire truck.  He did NOT want to get down.  We are moving along with creating a Montessori atmosphere at home.  I purchased a small Ikea kids’ table with chairs at a consignment sale and some shelves online.  Now I just need to assemble the shelves.  I have mountain (I kid you not) of clean clothes waiting to be folded on the guest bed.  The cat has slept there the last two nights as the pile grew bigger.  Hey, at least they are clean!  I enjoy writing “to do” lists and worked up a new one last night.  I had a list for “doula” work, “legal” work, “nonprofit/health law issues”, “home” work, and “mommy” stuff.  My husband commented that the amount of work listed could employ 3 1/2 people.  Sound familiar?  🙂

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