🐸My Etsy Sh🌎p🐸

Monday, January 15, 2018

2018

 2018.
They say a new year, new start.  I am looking forward to many things in 2018 - like my upcoming trip to Europe - but, also, there are many things that I am NOT looking forward to at all. This year holds a lot of uncertainty for me - new creations in my shop, new job possibly, new beginnings.
 Any time there is a bigger issue, problem, or unknown, I tend to focus on the small stuff.  The details.  The things that make things special.  They say the devil is in the details, but I say God is in the details. He makes the good.
This year, I must decided if I am going to 'make a go' of my shop full time. I am right on the cusp of my little shop of imagination being able to support us financially.  It's a lot of work, but I love creating these play mats, peg dolls, trees, and wooden toys to spark imaginations.

The photos here in this post are creations that I had in my noddle for a while and finally brought them to fruition.  The Happy Camper Play Mat sold and is going to France this week.

I am over the moon happy with the people I have met through my shop and sending my toys all over the world.

Here's go a great 2018! I will take the bad with the good and trust that God has a plan.

Speaking of plans, I will be sharing plans for Space themed play.

Have a fun and playful day!
Mel

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Faux Snow Playdough or "PlaySnow"

 We cannot get outside to play as it is -3 here in Ohio, so...we are making faux snow playdough or "playsnow".  It's super easy and fun (and kinda messy!)
Faux Snow Playdough:
3 cups baking soda
1 cup white hair conditioner
 I set up a snowy scene with sparkling water (add scrapbook paper), mountains, pine trees, penguin peg dolls, other cold weather animals, rocks etc.
 The story was...it's cold outside. Let's make a cave. Polar bears like caves.  They sleep in caves. Oh, wait, the penguins are cold too.  Maybe they want to come into the cave,
 The imagination takes over in this sensory play activity.
 We made animal tracks in the faux snow, which lead to...what else can make tracks?
 The more the merrier as the saying goes.  Animals from all over came to our winter wonderland.
The play possibilities are endless.

Have a fun and playful day!
Mel

DIY Polar Game - Option Two

 Another DIY game to make with your kiddos is a Snowflake themed roll the dice game.  I simply placed the snowflake stickers on in a zigzag path on a piece of 12x12 scrapbook paper.  The kiddos might like helping with this part.
I used my Penguin Peg Dolls as game pieces, but you can use any toys that you have.  Safari Ltd. makes Toobs of animals that are perfect sized for this kind of thing.

Each player takes turns rolling the die and moving that many spaces until someone wins.  You can make these games cheaply and with any theme.  The kids can even make up different rules to go along with their game. The play possibilities are endless.

Have a fun and playful day!
Mel

DIY Polar Game - Option One

 It's all fun and games until it's too cold to go outside.  That's what we are experiencing here in Ohio right now.  The thermometer is reading 14 with a windchill of -3. Ouch!  Time to make some new games to keep the kiddos busy.
 Here, I used a piece of 12x12 scrapbook paper, a Sharpie, and some snowflake stickers.  I divided the game board (aka scrapbook paper) in half with the Sharpie marker.  Then, I added one sheet of snowflake stickers to each side of the game board.  Now, you are ready to play.
 This game is for two players.  I have a die and some acrylic "ice" (aquarium rocks) for markers.  You can use cereal, pennies, M&Ms, etc. as markers.
 Each player takes turns rolling the die.  Here, I rolled a 5, so I cover up 5 snowflakes with my "ice".  The first person to cover all their snowflakes wins.
You can make this game with any theme and the kiddos can help make the game.  It's a quick game and can be played again and again.  It teaches counting - the 5 dots on the die means that I cover up 5 snowflakes.  It also teaches patience as they wait for their next turn.

A dear friend of mine and former preschool teacher Miss Cheryl used to say "Oh, Paige is the first winner and let's let Kendel roll again and he is the second winner."  It wasn't a winner/loser situation and feelings didn't get hurt that way.  She is kind of a genius, right?

Have a fun and playful day!
Mel


Writing Party - add the sprinkles

 Learning to write should not be a chore.  It shouldn't be all worksheets and tracing.  Let it be a party!  With this writing activity, making letters and writing is a sensory activity and fine motor exercise (& yummy too).  I found sprinkles at my local dollar store and have had this wood try for a while. I found it in the craft section at Walmart, but any flat tray will work.
 Simply pour in the sprinkles and let the kiddos make the letters in the sprinkles.  It's that easy.  Learning should be fun and - in this case - very colorful!
 You can use salt, seasonal sprinkles, flour, so many possibilities.
Have a fun and playful day!
Mel

Sensory for Infants and Toddlers

 Sensory for Infants and toddler is easy peasy with items you have around the house.  I found these little containers at the Dollar store - 12 for $1.00!  I gathered up some items around the house and in the pantry that will make different noises when shaken.
I simply filled the containers and hot glued shut for safety purposes.  Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers will make all kinds of music with these sensory shakers.

Have a fun and playful day!
Mel

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Books and Toys go hand in hand

 If I have learned anything from my 20+ years in the early childhood field, it's this...books and toys go hand in hand.
 I have observed many children flip through a book casually, lackadaisically.  But if you add an animal or play mat or props from the book...well, that's a whole new story!
 Once the props have been added, the book (and the learning!) becomes tangible.  Little hands play and the imagination sparks.  Children are able to act out parts of the story, committing it to memory more so that if the words are simply read to them.
 I love bringing favorite stories to life with props. I will be sharing more ideas on how to do this in the coming weeks.

Have a fun and playful day!
Mel