Top Tub Toys for Toddlers

When it comes to toddlers, you really don’t have to spend a ton of money to make bath time fun. However, many of the toys marketed for the bath quickly become moldy, difficult to clean and just plain gross to have around. Here are some simple solutions for fun in the tub without the moldy mess.

#1 The Basic CupDSC_0503

Every single toddler, baby, big kid needs a cup for the tub. This one is quite large and came free with the purchase of a drink! Use it for rinsing, playing, or dumping water all over the floor. No matter how you look at it, a cup is a must have! Our little guy loves filling the cup up and dumping it through other toys.

 

2. A Cup With Holes

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This simple cup with two holes gives my toddler hours of entertainment. He loves to dip it into the water and watch the water come out. Or use it to fill up the bigger cup. This one comes in a set of multi-colored cups, which offers a great opportunity to practice learning colors.

#3 Begin Again Bath Toys

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These things are amazing! They are made of natural rubber and come in many fun shapes. Each one “blows bubbles” when you put it underwater. They easily drain due to larger holes on the underside of each one. We have had these for almost a year and not one has ever had mold on it. If they get dirty you can throw them right in the dishwasher. They also can double as a teether. My little guy LOVES to chew on the blue diver.

Here are some close up photos to better show the features of the Begin Again Bath Toys. They retail for only $4 each. If you are interested in purchasing they are carried at Kelly’s Closet by clicking here.

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#4 Marcus & Marcus Bath Toys

DSC_0519Another fabulous, fun yet easy to clean toy. This toy is made of BPA free and phthalate free silicone. It squirts just like a regular bath squirt toy. What really sets this toy apart is that it has a piece that unscrews allowing the inside to air dry and prevent any mold from forming. I can’t tell you how much money we tossed into bath squirt toys that we had to end up throwing away because of mold. This one is totally worth the money. It can be purchased from Kelly’s Closet by clicking here.

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**This post contains affiliate links.

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Tips for a Successful Holiday Photoshoot with a Toddler

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Taking cute Christmas pictures with a toddler was definitely way more challenging than getting cute pictures of a non-walker last year! Here are some tips to take your own toddler’s pictures at home this holiday season.

 

1. Timing

Toddlers can be so temperamental. Take advantage of their happiest time of the day. For these photos we did them first thing in the morning, right after he had eaten breakfast.

 

2. Lighting

Use as much natural light as possible and avoid using the flash.

 

3. Plan but be flexible.

Plan in a sense that everything is readily available. Be flexible. Let your child guide the photoshoot. In my mind I really wanted pictures with lights, just like the year before. Well, after telling him the lights on the tree are hot, he wanted nothing to do with the lights! Luckily I had a basket filled with ornaments on the table. He loved playing “basketball” with the ornaments.  dsc_0019

4. Use wrapping paper as a backdrop.

Each year at the end of the season I buy wrapping paper when it’s on sale. It is a cheap way to get a festive background.

5. You have a toddler, it won’t go as planned

Here are some outtakes from our little photoshoot. They make me laugh. This is life with a toddler. I was patient and still captured the pictures I was hoping for, I especially love the one with our cat, his little buddy.

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Be patient, make it fun.

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Super Easy Edible Play-Doh

We have had an unusually high amount of rainy days this summer. The little monster is becoming more and more challenging to keep entertained indoors all day long so today I decided we would make play-doh.

I love this recipe because it only has a few ingredients, they are cheap ingredients, they are ingredients most people have and my kid can safely eat it. 

I mixed 1 cup of oatmeal, uncooked. 1/2 cup of flour (I used whole wheat because that was the bag that was opened). 1/2 cup of water. Divided it out and mixed in some color. I let it set for about 15 minutes just so it wasn’t as sticky. Oh I also put a dash of cinnamon in.

The dog was excited that the monster was in his seat. She was anticipating meal time. Sure enough, the first thing the monster did was take a bite. He actually liked it. 

He enjoyed exploring by tasting, squishing, squashing, smashing and rolling. 

Again the recipe is 2 parts oatmeal, 1 part flour, 1 part water. Add cinnamon and food coloring if you would like. 

Why I Let Him Fall

Did you chuckle, or full on belly laugh too? It makes me chuckle every time. Go ahead and think I am a “bad mom” and then I will explain why I was right there and let him fall. And no, it is not because I was video taping. 

There are a few reasons why I let this happen and let similar things happen on a daily basis. First off, I knew he was safe. I knew he wasn’t going to get hurt. It wasn’t like I was allowing him to fall from the top of the climbing structure. He had also successfully climbed up the same structure unassisted about 27 times before I decided to record him. 

My second reason is that so many kids these days never experience failure or struggle. We seem to always be right there to help them, to swoop in and protect them. But one day they will go to pre-school, kindergarten, high school, college or into the real world on their own where we will not be there. (I know that’s scary and it sucks to realize that our babies will be there in the blink of an eye.) How can we expect them to handle failure and struggle without freaking out if they have never experienced it, even on the small scale? 

Also, I want my child to know that it is OK to make mistakes. I want him to be able to get back up and try again. And ya know what? In this video that is exactly what he did. He looked at me, I smiled back at him, he smiled back, he got up and climbed to the top by himself. At 16 months old my child has learned that fall doesn’t equate cry every time. Fall does equate get up. 

I let him fall and struggle with other things too because babies and toddlers have amazing brain power. They are problem solvers. They can figure out how to do things in ways we wouldn’t have imagined. I want him to be a problem solver. I want him to realize he doesn’t have to solve a problem in the same way as someone else. 

I want my child to grow up to be determined to accomplish whatever he wants to accomplish. I want him to be able to be able to perservere because life isn’t easy. I want him to have the skills to problem solve and be creative when he needs to be. That is why I let him fall. 

Making Colored Rice For Sensory Play

Colored rice is a great sensory activity, here’s why I think so:
1. It is SUPER easy to make.
2. Inexpensive
3. Appropriate for a wide range of ages.
4. It covers a lot of senses, touch, sight, put it in containers to shake and hear.
5. You can reuse it for art projects too.
6. Short list of ingredients.
7. It’s fun!

Here is what you will need:

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  • Tablespoon measuring spoon
  • Pan and parchment or wax paper for drying
  • Baggies for mixing
  • White Vinegar (1 tbs per cup of rice)
  • Food Coloring
  • Rice

Here’s all you have to do:

  1. Mix 1 tablespoon of vinegar with about 20 drops of food coloring into a baggy.DSC_0016.JPG
  2. Add 1 cup of rice.DSC_0017.JPG
  3. Mix it around so that all of the rice gets color on it.
  4. Spread it out on the pan.DSC_0018
  5. Stick it in the sun to dry. Every 5-10 minutes spread it around and break up any clumps. (You can also just dry it in your house, but it will take longer. I am sure a low temp. oven would work too, just didn’t try that myself.)

I mixed one color at a time simply because I don’t own a ton of pans, and I wasn’t in a hurry. Little man enjoyed helping mix the bags.

Having a variety of colors to explore with makes it even more fun! We mixed red (which came out more bright pink), yellow, green, blue and purple.

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Helpful tips:

  1. Be sure the rice has dried completely before storing it.
  2. Storing the rice in containers with lids ensures moisture won’t get in, and they are also fun to shake around.
  3. Get a large container with a lid for playing in that can double as storage. (The ones I picked up I got at the grocery store, it was reasonable for a two pack)
  4. You can mix more rice of each color, just adjust the amount of vinegar, amount of dye and size of your baggy.

 

The best part about it was watching little man’s delight at feeling the rice and mixing the colors. I am big into just letting him explore and figure things out on his own so, I just let him go at it whatever way he wanted. He preferred using his hands to put each color in individually, then mixing them. He also preferred playing with the empty containers. Playing outside made cleaning up even easier.

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When we shook it all together at the end, the result was pretty cool looking. All the rice is stored away in the same container we used to play in for the next time. We did not spend time to sort the colors back. HA.HA.

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