Tips for Making Play-Doh FUN! (not stressful)

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In 1956 the wonderful world of Play-Doh began. Can you believe it’s been 60 years of squishing and squashing? So much creative fun has been had thanks to Play-Doh! Well, to celebrate Play-Doh is throwing a party and Chickadee & Sprout are loving partaking in the fun of World Play-Doh Day!! 

I first have to thank Play-Doh for sending over the PLAY-DOH TOWN 3 in 1 TOWN CENTER Playset and the PLAY-DOH ICE CREAM CASTLE Playset. They have been at our house a little over a week and Chickadee has played with them almost EVERY DAY!

We have so much fun playing with PLAY-DOH at our house, but I realized when a few friends came over last Friday that Play-doh causes a lot of stress for some moms :) Well, I am here to tell you that just shouldn’t be the case. And I have a few tips make sure creating with Play-Doh is a fun and enjoyable experience for everyone!

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1. My favorite tip when playing with Play-Doh is using a vinyl tablecloth on the floor as their play space. The rule is that all Play-Doh has to stay on the tablecloth. This way the kids aren’t walking all over the house with Play-Doh and potentially dropping/smashing it into the carpet. It also makes for easy cleanup. After putting all the Play-Doh and playsets away I simply dump the “crumbs” into the trash or outside for easy clean up!

2. Chickadee and Sprout are only allowed to use 2-3 colors at a time. This prevents a couple of stressful scenarios. First, it makes sure all the Play-Doh is being used and none is sitting around “drying out” because it was opened but not being played with. Also, it prevents mixing. After talking with my mom friends I found that when kids mix Play-Doh colors together it stresses them out and makes them want to put the Play-Doh away. Less colors…less mixing.

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3. They will still probably mix colors & IT IS OKAY. Sit back and let them create!

4. A toothpick is great for getting little bits of Play-Doh out of small holes and tubes in the playsets. 

5. When cleaning up, ball up the color you are cleaning up and use it as a “stamp” to pick up the other small pieces of that color.

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There are so many great creative and educational uses for Play-Doh. Sprout isn’t quite old enough to play independently with Play-Doh (he still finds it tasty). One thing he loves to do and pull off pieces and let me roll them into balls. We then count the balls as we put them back into the cup! Chickadee loves using cookie cutters when she plays with Play-Doh. Every now and then we’ll use the letter cutters and spell words.

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 So, why do you love Play-Doh? If it used to bring you stress do you promise to give it another go using a few of my stress-free tips? I promise it will be fun for everyone!

Happy 60th Birthday Play-Doh!!

I Spy Learning Bottle

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Every month or two we get together with a group in our neighborhood for a craft/family night. The moms & kids come over around 4:00 and we create something fabulous. Then the dads join us after work for dinner. It has been so much for getting to know our neighbors better and better. We have done everything from Christmas cookie decorating to shirt tie dying. So many great memories made.

We hosted this past Friday night and with the kids we made I Spy bottles. And Chickadee is obsessed. The picture gives it away, but basically trinkets hide in the rice inside a wide mouth clear bottle. Our family made three bottles…one to spy colors, one to spy letters, and one to spy the assorted trinkets Chickadee put inside. 

Here is a quick tutorial. 

Supplies: 20 ounce clear wide mouth bottle (Gatorade, Vitamin Water, etc), trinkets, charms, small animals, uncooked rice, hot glue

 After cleaning out and drying your bottle, remove the label. Then fill the bottle with the trinkets/charms of your choice. For this bottle I was making for Sprout I wanted to concentrate on colors. Whatever you decide to put inside I do suggest you writing it down so you can ask your toddler “Can you find the dolphin? color purple? etc.” 

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Using a funnel I poured in the rice. Make sure to leave about 1.5-2 inches empty at the top to give the rice room to move around while your little one is searching for the trinkets. 

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Last, squeeze a little hot glue on the inside rim of the top and screw on to keep the rice in the bottle & not all over your car or carpet :) I found it easiest to shake the bottle horizontally to move the trinkets around & “hide” them in the rice. Chickadee has been using her’s in the car when we have gone on short trips around town and is loving all the searching. Sprout is 17 months and so we usually look for the colors together. He LOVES shaking the rice around. These bottles have been fabulous. One of my favorite kid toys I’ve made in a while! 

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Enjoy!

Painting with Pom Poms

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I have a fun new painting technique to share with you and your toddlers! Chickadee loves painting both with her fingers and paintbrushes, but to be honest it always gets a little messy. Bring in the power of the pom pom. This new painting tool will add so much for to your next art time!

You will just need a few things. I used these pom poms, some clothespins, and these paints are my absolutely favorite!

I have two projects to share with you, both of which we used the pom pom painting technique. (“technique” doesn’t that make Chickadee sound like a true artist?) The first project was a little more guided. I used a Sharpie to draw pictures and to write out Happy Birthday for one of Chickadee’s friends. Then we just changed out pom poms as Chickadee changed colors. I really LOVE how these two pictures turned out.

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Don’t you love the speckled look? After seeing how this painting technique turned out I thought it would be perfect for Easter eggs. I found these awesome large Easter eggs in Target’s Dollar section the other day and grabbed one for Chickadee to paint.

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Don’t you love how it turned out!

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I noticed Amazon also had Crayola glitter paint…wouldn’t that look awesome. Do have you used any crazy painting techniques with your little one? I’d love for you to share!

 

Spring Handprint & Footprint Art Roundup

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If you have been around A Step in the Journey long, you may have noticed my love for hand print and footprint art with my littles. I love capturing their size and ever changing features at every age and hand and footprint art is a great way to do that. Plus it adds all kinds of fun to our playroom bulletin board!

My kids love to create, but I’ve admitted before, it can sometimes be a little stressful. Here are my go-to painting tips with toddlers: 1. Cover your table/craft space with butcher paper, newspaper, or cling wrap 2. Let the kids wear dad’s old tshirts to protect their clothes (or we use smocks I found at IKEA) 3. Use washable paints 4. Sponge brushes work best 5. When working with real little ones stick to footprints (and put them in the high chair to keep them from grabbing their painted feet) 6. Keep wipes handy to wash off their hands 7. Embrace the chaos!

Here are a few works of art we have done in hopes of Spring that is right around the corner and a few of my favorites from bloggers around the web!

Bunny Rabbit Handprint

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Carrot Footprint

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Chick Handprint

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Butterfly Footprints

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Handprint Flowers

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And a few from blogland…

Yellow Duck from Crafty Morning 

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St. Patrick’s Round Up from Crafty Morning

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Mother’s Day Cupcake from I Heart Arts N Crafts

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Bug Footprints from Fun Handprint Art

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Handprint Strawberry from Live. Learn. Love. Eat.

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Chickadee and I had so much fun making our first round of Spring hand and foot print crafts and I have big plans to use some of the above inspiration next week as we make more! I’d love to see yours :)

Also check out my Fall hand and foot print art

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as well as this Christmas round up!

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Hope yall have a great weekend! And let’s all cross our fingers for Spring.

Toddler Valentine Fingerprint Art

***So I have noooo idea why the internet fairies decided to send out a comment response as a post yesterday, sorry about that. I you wanted to know the kind of sausage I used in this one pot recipe, it was Hillshire. I double checked at Publix on Monday :)

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Hey Friends! I hope yall are staying warm and dry wherever you are. We have had a mix of rain and “snow” down here in Georgia and it has kept us indoors for the better part of a week. This mama is going a little stir crazy…you? I’m here to share a fun little Valentine art project that passed the better part of 45 minutes for us the other day & turned out really cute. I plan on repeating this project today so thought I would share the fun.

So it’s SUPER simple, all you need is some construction paper, painter’s tape, and kid friendly paint (we used this Crayola paint *affiliate). I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves and then I’ll leave you a few tips below.

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 The last step would be to peel the painter’s tape off. A few tips from our experience….1. make sure you have something under the construction paper to protect your work space (we used an open cereal box). 2. Use a smock or large bib to keep paint off their clothes. 3. Keep baby wipes near by for easy clean up 4. Use scissors to cut clean tape lines so you get straight edges. 5. Shake your paint and let your toddler just use the paint left in the lid. Shake again when you run out. 6. Depending on the age of your little one, you might want to help them make sure they have their fingerprints where the paint meets the paper.

So there you go, easy peasy! We did a heart too (this time Chickadee used a paintbrush)….the possibilities here are really endless!

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Happy Wednesday!