Sensory Bin – Outer Space

Just simple lasagna pans filled with black beans, and then add what you want. Ours is a solar system theme, so I have squishy planet “stress balls”, and stars and rocket erasers. We talk about the textures, shapes, colors, sizes, senses, and just “feel” into everything.

Buy items here:

Disposable Bakeware Pan

Dry Black Beans (5 lbs per bin)

Solar System Stress Balls

Star Erasers

Rocket Ship Erasers

Not pictured: Josie eating the foam stress balls, some fighting over the planets and “who gets which”, mess of stray beans on the floor. 😊 Nothing’s perfect, nor does it need to be!

DIY Slime

Kids LOVE slime! It can be messy, but I have done it enough times to know how to do it in a manageable way. To start, (1) I have a rule that the slime can only be played with on their plastic tray, each child has one. Otherwise, I will find slime all over the house! Next, (2) I learned the hard way that children should not make slime until they are two years old. I tried with my daughter, at about one year old, and in an instant she put it in her hair and I had to cut off some of her curls to get it out. So learn from me, wait until they are at least two years old. The last rule stems from the second, (3) no slime in the hair or in the mouth. My children had to be able to agree to this before we could make it a regular project.

That being said, it is a super fun sensory experience, as long as they are old enough to follow those rules. There have been times my son will play with his slime at the table for an hour!

Ingredients:

Directions:

You will need a small bowl, spoon and I recommend this plastic tray. Let your child empty one bottle of glue into the bowl. Then add the 1/2 tsp Baking Soda and mix thoroughly. Once it is mixed, then add 1 1/2 tbsp Contact Lens Solution, and again mix thoroughly.

If the slime is still too sticky, knead into the mixture with your knuckles, and add more Contact Lens Solution until it is more firm.

When cleaning up, I like to wipe the glue residue off the bowl / spoon / try with a wet paper towel, directly into the garbage. This is because you don’t want the left over glue solution to go down the drain of your sink.

Washable Coloring Tablecloth with Mandalas

This washable Mandala Table Cloth creates reusable fun. Just throw it in the washing machine and it is like new with each wash. My kids will sit for a good half hour or more coloring in the butterflies, birds and mandalas on the intricate print. It is perfect for when I want to prepare dinner, have some quiet time, or sit with them and join in the creativity. Be sure to use with washable markers, I use Crayola Ultra-Clean Washable Markers.

Love and Pain

By Christina Contaldi

Heartache is
love and pain woven together.

Like masked friends,
These two collide

As if to say –
I didn’t know you, too, existed.

These two could sit,
Back to back

for a lifetime,
Never recognizing the other.

One would sit in love,
And the other, in pain.

One stuck in time,
Disoriented and confused.

The other lost in sorrow,
Alone, buried in misery.

Then one day,
Should they choose

They can turn
And face each other.

Two opposites,
Can sit side by side

As they share
Their stories.

One is the story of love,
The other is the story of pain.

Love’s words will soften the heart,
While pain’s will harden it.

Love will expand the heart,
While pain will guard it.

Love will laugh,
Pain will cry.

Then love will extend a hand,
And pain will accept it.

They merge together,
As if to say –

You were there,
And I was there.

My stories happened,
And your stories happened.

Yes, we have suffered –

But we
have also

loved.

– Christina Contaldi

A Love Letter to My Son

By Christina Contaldi
December 29, 2019

My shoe size
has been the same
for over 20 years.

I look in the mirror,
and ever since I can remember,
the same brown eyes,
the same brown hair,
the same face,
look back at me.

I know myself.

Yet every day with you, my son,
I am confronted with
a constant of change.

When you were an infant,
I watched your baby blue eyes
morph into a hazel-brown.
And just like that,
you had new colored eyes.

Like a walking clock,
I can see the passage of time.
In your walk,
your words,
your clothes,
your mannerisms.

With every season,
your body grows;
requiring a new coat,
new shoes,
new sizes.

I’ve packed up the time
in organized bins –
0-3, 3-6, 6-12, 2T, 3T, 4T…

I watched your body
roll, crawl, wobble, walk, run.
Just when I think I know you,
you become someone else.

I’ve watched
your round belly disappear,
your chunky legs thin out,
facial features get more defined,
as the baby fat fades away.

I’ve heard, and seen you,
talk, listen, understand,
interpret, relate, express, create.

It truly is astounding
to watch you unfold.
And with each milestone, I know,
that it will soon be a distant memory.
Because more of you
is blossoming every day.

I can only hope,
that with the whirlwind of change,
you can always feel
the constant of my love.

Because whomever you become tomorrow,
you can be sure,
I will love him, too.

Pink Flower Arrangement

Was just loving me some pink today! Enjoyed making this arrangement with various tones of magenta. Made me feel a whole lotta LOVE!

Cooking with Kids: Pizza Dough

When I know we will be home in the afternoon, and I need to occupy the kids AND cook dinner simultaneously, they LOVE this option of making their own pizzas!

Ingredients:

  • Premade pizza dough (one for each child)
  • 1 container sauce (usually good for two pizza pies)
  • 1 bag shredded mozzarella cheese (also good for two pizza pies)

We roll the dough right on a clean table. Sprinkle flour on the table and dough, I like to use Almond Flour.

You will want to move the dough onto a pan before applying the sauce. Let the kids spread the sauce, it gives them a sense of accomplishment and creativity!

Then they sprinkle on the cheese. Or in my daughter’s case, they eat the cheese too!

Put it in the oven according to the premade dough package instructions.

The finished product is ready to EAT!

Art for Kids: Painting Castles

I found these wooden castles at a recent Michaels trip and I was so excited to get started on this project! Now, I thought it would keep them occupied for a looong time, but it was about 30 minutes. It is ok though, because they were so proud of their creations!

The castles were $9.99 but they always have one of those 40% or 50% off coupons that you can find. All you need is some paint and paintbrushes, as well as something to cover the table (I used a roll of kraft paper).

I let the kids pick which colors they would like on their “palette”, which is a small plastic bowl.

My daughter is almost two years old, and even she was very engaged an excited about this project.

I find it best to give each sibling their own brushes and paint from the start, so they know what is theirs and it avoids fighting.

They did an excellent job!