Today We’re Gonna Party Like We Don’t Have A Bedtime…
(Channeling my inner Prince with that title, obviously. You’ve just gotta when New Years rolls around! It’s like, a law, or something).
You guys may have noticed that although I am a mom to more than one child, #thebigone seems to be the only one making any appearances here on the blog. Sure, #thelittleone pops up on my Instagram feed now and then, as well as my Facebook page, but truthfully, there’s only so much time for me to include the toddler in our fun when he’s still napping a total of 3-4 hours each day, and is usually asleep by 8 pm each night. Although we spend lots of time playing and reading together while #thebigone is attending first grade each day, another resolution for me in 2017 is to help be sure #thelittleone gets some new and fun hands on activities of his own.
I decided to start working towards meeting this goal right away, and put together a very simple, quick, and affordable sensory activity for #thelitleone, in honor of the new year. He turned 17 months old earlier this week, and is happily always on the move, and immensely interested in anything noisy or musical. I decided some New Year’s noisemakers would be a fun opportunity for him to explore some new sounds, as well as a bit of cause and effect.
[I’m just going to throw a little disclaimer in right here… noisy fun & crazy kiddo make for non-stop movement, so the pictures in this post aren’t going to be the best… But I figured, hey, the blurs prove he was on-the-go and loving this activity! And also, how cute is my kid?! That little tuxedo sweater?! I couldn’t not include the photos- so we’re just going to call them all action shots. Deal?)
I assembled the noisemakers earlier this week, and then my husband and I just gave #thelittleone free reign in the playroom to check them out. (Biggest benefit of holiday break was my hubs home to help run interference with the kiddos while I tried to work!) #thelittleone was immediately drawn to the sensory toys I had put together- he was digging into the little bin so quick I could barely grab a camera to capture the fun. He played with everything for a good 20 minutes (so essentially, 3 hours, in toddler-time), running around the playroom, shrieking happily and shaking his noisemakers.
Check below for a quick peek at how I put together these fun sensory toys, and then let me know in the comments… When you’re making resolutions, do any of them have to do with your children, or your personal parenting goals?
These noisemakers come together very quickly, and were made entirely with things I had at home, or found during a quick trip to our local dollar store. The materials I show here are just suggestions- you can use any variety of things just as easily, so be sure to check your own craft bins before heading out to make a purchase. You very likely have some perfect ingredients right under your nose!
- Plastic containers with screw on lids. I chose bright colors, because that screams ‘party’ to me, but color choices are up to you! As long as you’re watching your little one very closely whenever they play with these, it’s not necessary to glue the lids on, so you can empty and refill with different items as often as you’d like. Just be sure the lids do not come off easily while playing, which is why I prefer screw on to the plain pull-off lids. Be sure to store them out of reach when sensory time is over.
- Assorted ‘fillers’- I chose to stick with color themes, because the tendency towards matchy-matchy is strong in me, but really, this is very open ended. I knew I wanted a variety of items to produce varying sounds and add some visual interest, so mix and match is definitely a good way to go here. I included different combinations of:
- Perler beads
- Pony beads (round and heart shaped)
- Pom-poms (plain and metallic, because you know you need at least a little glitze for a New Year’s celebration!)
- Glow sticks
- Strings of beads, some cut into varying lengths
- Jingle bells (ours happened to be red)
- Other filler options to consider…
- Pipe cleaners, perhaps twisted in shapes (spirals sound particularly fun!)
- Shredded gift filler
- Short cuts of old tinsel Christmas tree gardland
- We’ve also filled other noisemakers with some basic kitchen staples, and gotten great results. Just be sure your lids are secure, the potential for mess increases dramatically here!
- Dried beans (varying sizes)
- Dry rice (varying grain sizes)
- Dried lentils (varying sizes)
- Dried quinoa and couscous
- Sugar and salt (those tiny crystals makes some fun percussive sounds!)
- I included some fun noisemakers and extra beaded necklaces, just to up the ‘New Year’s’ factor even more. They were a huge hit with #thelittleone, so if you think your child would enjoy it, in my opinion it’s definitely worth having a few extra. (Just be cautious and always supervise when a toddler has something long, like a necklace!)
Have you made any resolutions about things you’d like to do with your little ones this year? I’d love to hear about them!
Ready to get a little messy with your kiddos? Or maybe a little noisy? Fun sensory ideas can be found right here!