Melissa and Doug SALE!!!! Just For You!!!

 
 
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase one of the products, I’ll receive a small commission at NO extra cost to you! Pretty cool huh?
 
 

I am so excited to share this great offer with you! One of my favorite toy creators is offering you, my wonderful followers 20% off orders of $50 or more! And you know who it is (drum roll please!) Melissa and Doug! I cannot tell you how much I use Melissa and Doug products with my kids as well as in teaching sign language and sensory play. I love the durability of these products and that I can easily sanitize them after little hands and mouths have come in contact with them (because no one likes sharing germs!)

 

If you can’t wait to start looking at the awesome toys available, you can
Take 20% Off Orders of $50 Or More in the Melissa & Doug Spring Shop. Use Code SPRING20

 

We are currently obsessed with the wood and felt food sets! With summer right around the corner we are practicing our ice cream stacking skills with the Scoop & Serve Ice Cream Counter where your little one can make the cutest creations for pretend play and Mommy can eat them with no guilt!

 

Our other favorite pretend food is the new Prepare and Serve Pasta set because who doesn’t want to make pretend pasta while Mommy is making the real thing?

 

The pieces are so realistic that you get lost in the play, that is, until you go to take a bite!

 
 

And if you have room for dessert you can decide if you want to bake cookies or a cake with the Slice and Bake Cookie Set or the Wooden Make-a-Cake Mixer Set. Both sets will have your little one in the kitchen all ready to start learning and soon they may be bringing you more than just felt and wood food!

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Are you ready to find some fun pretend play?
Take 20% Off Orders of $50 Or More in the Melissa & Doug Spring Shop. Use Code SPRING20

What are your favorite Melissa and Doug toys around your house? Will you be trying anything new with this awesome sale?

Don’t wait because this sale ends April 3, 2017 at 11:59pm EST.

 

Categories: Sensory Play

Mommy Necklaces

 

  • This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase one of the products, I’ll receive a small commission.

Have you ever been frustrated about the fact that wearing anything pretty with a baby or toddler gets messy, or worse destroyed? I have been there many times! So many necklaces have been ripped off, bracelets broken, and jewelry chewed on.

When my daughter was 6 months, I finally gave up trying to look cute at all because I thought to myself, “Why bother? It will just get messed up anyways.” I also didn’t want her to be sucking on anything that could be harmful.

Then I found this wonderful company called Mommy Necklaces! These are meant for moms, grandmas, and daycare workers who work with little ones all the time. They are pretty and functional all in one. From nursing necklaces to teething necklaces, there is something for everyone.

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I love being a partner with this wonderful company! I am a raving fan when it comes to this product for SO MANY reasons!

And I promise you will never be bored with the selection! They come out with beautiful new necklaces and limited edition necklaces on a regular basis, so let’s just say I have a closet full!

There are several different styles to choose from depending on your needs and style.

Nursing Necklaces

I LOVE the Mommy Necklaces Nursing Necklace! My daughter and my son both loved to pull on my hair, grab onto my shirt and anything else that was in their reach. My Nursing Necklace has been a lifesaver when one of them wanted to lift up my shirt or rip off the blanket I was using to feed them in public because they had something to play with while they nursed. And look at how pretty it is! A little secret, I use this as a statement necklace with a solid shirt and jeans to dress up an otherwise boring outfit!

Teether Strands

I did not buy one of these until my son was born because I felt like it would look silly. I had seen so many teether necklaces that just looked weird being worn by a mom and then I finally tried this one and I love it! It is so pretty and I where it all the time. It is really nice now that my son is teething because I can have it on and he has a teether right there to sooth him while he is in the carrier or when I am holding him and trying to be at a play date for my daughter. No tears here!

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Dangling Donuts

Dangling Donuts are awesome for fiddlers and toddlers who like to steal your jewelry. My daughter ALWAYS has to have a necklace when I pull one out of my closet. She is a real fashionista when it comes to jewelry and since she wants to be like mommy, I have gotten rid of almost all of my pre-baby jewelry because I like these so much and they are baby and toddler safe.

 

 

 

Locked Donuts

I would call the Locked Donuts my fashionable necklace. They are different than anything that I normally wear, but they are a real eye catcher. I cannot tell you how often I get compliments about my necklace and everyone is always shocked to know it is a baby-safe Mommy Necklace!

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Short Strands

Short Strands are my favorite everyday necklace. They are great when I have little bit in the Ergo because he can play, but still not lay on it when he falls asleep. My daughter wears these ones all the time as well because what little girl doesn’t like copying Mommy?

Faceted Rock

I discovered this one as a surprise! Every once in a while Mommy Necklaces does a fun sale where you buy 4 necklaces for $40 and tell them the color for a special surprise in the mail! It was so fun to get such a pretty necklace in my set!

Flat Rock

This one was also a surprise for me. I usually don’t like big jewelry, but these Flat Rocks go with tons of things! I love how I can dress up a plain outfit with it and still not be too dressy!

img_20161003_175539Accessories

 

Who doesn’t like to match? Or just have more fun things to wear?! I love the options for accessories because I can get a matching bracelet with the same awesome clasp that my kids can pull on and not worry about a million beads flying everywhere or with a stretchy band.

 

If you have little ones or need a gift for a friend or relative having a baby this is a great place to get the perfect gift! So why not start your collection today? Click here to visit Mommy Necklaces LLC

Just Keep Swimming: Mess Free Sensory Bin

Sensory comes in all shapes and sizes and as we get towards the end of a beautiful summer, I would like to introduce you to a fun in the sun, or in the living room, sensory bin that is sure to please. With no water needed your little one can go on an under sea adventure to find Nemo and Dory!

My daughter was obsessed with this activity and her friends enjoyed finding the multiple Dory and Nemo figures we placed in the bin.

To get started you will need a long and shallow bin. I love the ones that fit under the bed or crib because I can leave my sensory gear in there or put things like diapers and clothes in them later! Here is the one I like best, and use often.

You will also need a good amount of blue toys. I love the ball pit balls we have for my daughter because I can use them for multiple sensory bins and they are just fun to play with! They are also great for little hands! Think of all the cool stuff you can do with these! I also put all our soft blocks in this bin to give a few textures and they built blue “water” cities with them.

Finally, you will need at least one Nemo and Dory toy. If your child is as obsessed as mine this will be an easy find, which is why we had multiple Nemos and Dorys in our box. You can get a bath toy set (great for real water fun) or this figure set to find even more friends!

Now just have fun under the sea finding all your fishy friends! And don’t forget, “Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming, What do we do we swim, swim.”

 

Show me some of your sensory bins and interesting things you put in them!

 

*This post contains affiliate links, which I receive compensation from if you purchase the item(s). You will be redirected to the affiliate page after clicking on the link, which may be highlighted words, pictures, or other format link. Thank you for your support of this site!

Music and Movement Sensory Play- 2 & 3 Year Olds

Music is a wonderful thing that can be soothing at any age. When it comes to sensory play, music can be used in a variety of ways to help your child further understand the world around them.

For example, singing to your baby and doing finger plays helps your child develop rhythm and vocabulary. Today we will focus on 2 and 3 year olds and their need for music and movement simultaneously.

This activity will use a variety of senses including touch, sound, speech, and sight, which will make the play fun as well as educational.

For this activity you will need:
~A device to play music on, such as a phone, CD player, etc.
~Children’s Music
I suggest Raffi, The Laurie Berkner Band, or if you are looking for more music video songs Praise Party by Yancy is fantastic!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~Instruments-you can always use pots, pans, and spoons as well or here is a set I like from Melissa and Doug

 

~An open space

Directions:
You will want to have all your materials together before you tell your toddler what you are doing so they don’t get distracted. Have them stand in the middle of the room and turn on 2 or 3 of your/their favorite songs. (Or more if they like it!) Have the instruments out so they can play with them as you

Some of the ones I like to do:
We Are The Dinosaurs– The Laurie Berkner Band

For this one you can march around like dinosaurs and pretend to be a big dinosaur or a little dinosaur! Littles have a great time making big dinosaur roars as well!
Fast And Slow (The Rabbit And The Turtle)– The Laurie Berkner Band

This song goes back and forth between fast and slow, which helps your toddler understand opposites. When you are talking about the turtle walk, dance, and skip very slow, and when you are talking about the rabbit run, dance, and skip really fast!

Junior Ragtime– Raffi

I love this as a way to introduce fun styles of music that kids do not usually hear and it is so fun to dance to! Maybe you can teach your little how to do the Charleston!

Shake My Sillies Out– Raffi

I use this in almost every class I teach to toddlers because it is a great way to get them moving and then settled down right before you start talking about something else.

This is a great activity to do to get your child moving, get that little extra energy out, or a fun thing to do inside on a rainy or snowy day!

What songs did you use? What part of this activity did your child like best?

 

*This post contains affiliate links, which I receive compensation from if you purchase the item(s). You will be redirected to the affiliate page after clicking on the link, which may be highlighted words, pictures, or other format link. Thank you for your support of this site!

Playing Together: The Importance of Sensory Play (Guest Post Featured on Rookie Parenting)

As a parent helping your child learn is one of the most important things to you, and sensory play is a fun and engaging way for your child to excel in many different areas. Sensory play encourages scientific processes because problems are solved using the five senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. By stimulating your child’s senses, you are helping them develop creatively, socially and emotionally, cognitively, linguistically and physically through simply playing with them.

You have probably seen your child play with the most inexpensive “toys” like a paper towel roll, a pot and a spoon, or straws. Your child is using anything and everything to explore the world around them and encouraging this behavior will benefit you and your child by letting your child explore and create and giving you the opportunity to discuss what is happening in any given project.

boy-958457_1280By stimulating your child’s senses you are helping their brain develop because when a sense is engaged neural pathways are being created to assist with further learning in later years.

Sensory play is not only important for babies and toddlers, who often have the time to play and explore at home, but also for preschoolers and elementary children. When your child is allowed to use multiple senses to accomplish a task, they will learn more from the experience and retain more information. This ideal does not change as you get older, even adults retain more information when multiple senses are engaged! Even you are creating new neural pathways in your brain when engaging in sensory play, which can help negate Alzheimer’s(1), assist in creative thinking, problem solving, and time needed to respond to a catastrophic situation (2). Creating time for your child, of any age, to engage in sensory play is imperative for their long-time learning and health.

Creating time for your child, of any age, to engage in sensory play is imperative for their… Click To Tweet

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So how do you start integrating sensory play into your everyday life? The good news is it is simple! By taking objects that you already have in the house you can create many fun experiences for you and your child. For example, take a colander and spaghetti noodles (or pipe cleaner) and challenge your child to put the noodles in the holes. They will be drawn to this experience and will start to develop basic motor skills as well as problem solving skills when they break IMG_20160824_210528the spaghetti noodles.

 

For older children play-doh and fondant are great ways to teach sensory play, as well as skills that your child can

use in the future such as baking a cake. Fondant can be used to make beautiful designs, but it takes time and patience to get the results wanted, both are needed skills in everyday decision-making and life.

 

 

Don’t be afraid to try something new and make a mess! This is a great time to bond with your child and create fun memories that will last a lifetime!

For tips on handling the mess, more sensory ideas, and using American Sign Language with your child (also great for sensory play!) visit imaginationsigning.comis designReferences:

(1) How to Help the Ones We Love Symptoms and Strategies for:. (2016). Retrieved August 25,
2016, from http://www.alzheimershope.com/stop_delay.php

(2) Center for Brain Health. (2013, September 9). Retrieved August 25, 2016, from
http://www.brainhealth.utdallas.edu/blog_page/study-finds-brain-training-enhances-brain-health-of-adults-over-50

Other Resources:

Good Habits Make You Feel Like You’re Gonna Die. Published on May 31, 2012 by Loretta Graziano Breuning, Ph.D. in Your Neurochemical Self

Getting Messy: Childs Play, the Mess It Creates, and How to Handle It

What is Sensory Play?

0-3 Months Sensory Play: Smiles

Who doesn't like babies smiling? It is SO cute and you can get some great pictures out of it too! 

This is going to seem like a super simple sensory game, but it is so important for building a bond between you and your baby as well as teaching social and emotional skills. 

Sitting on a couch or in a chair place your baby in your arms, moving baby to where they can see you. Say your baby's name and smile really big. You know that super awkward smile that is really animated. Start having a conversation with your baby, for example:

"Sarah! Hi baby girl! You are so cute and mommy loves you! Oh, I love your smile! That was such a pretty smile! Are you happy my sweet girl?!"

This will start your baby developing emotional awareness, social and emotional skills, and language as you play and talk with your baby.

Don't forget to have a camera ready! You may just get that picture for your Christmas card this year!

Sensory Development Area Is It Used?
Cognitive Visual Stimulation
Linguistic Language Development
Social & Emotional Emotional Awareness and Bonding
Physical
Creative

Categories: 0-3 Months Sensory Play

0-3 Months Sensory Play: Lighting

Babies are really fun to play with, if you know what to do. One of these technics is using different variations of lighting to let your baby explore visually the world around them. This will also help your child start to develop the idea of night and day based on the lighting in the room and outside.

This sensory play topic is very easy because you only need what is in your house already!

Day Time:
Place your baby in a safe place, like in a bouncer, and turn off all the lights. Open the curtains at different lengths and let your baby look at the light on the wall. It is great to talk to your baby about the light as well explaining whether it is dim or bright. They are getting to the point where they will start to coo and have “conversation” with you so have a camera ready because it gets pretty cute!

Night Time:
This one is really fun in our house. If you have a bathroom attached to your bedroom, turn on the light in the bathroom and the light off in the bedroom. This will create a different atmosphere for baby to explore with the room half dark. The light will be making shadows on the wall that you can talk about with your baby. If you do not have a bathroom attached you can always turn on a light of an adjacent room as well.

Sensory Development AreaIs It Used?
CognitiveVisual Stimulation
LinguisticBeginning Vocabulary Development
Social & Emotional
Physical
Creative

Newborn Sensory Play: Soft Toy Stimulation

Material Needed:
➺ Large Pom Poms or other soft baby toy
➺ Safe place to lie baby on back

Note: If using Pom Poms, remember to never leave small objects with a baby or to leave soft toys with a baby in their crib. These can become a suffocation hazard.

The thing that amazes me the most about newborns is the fact that they are a blank slate. They have no comprehension of object permanence and do not know how objects move about in the world around them.

This activity will focus on cognitive and visual development through moving a Pom Pom or other soft toy up and down, side to side, and touching baby’s tummy, hand, cheek, and/or nose.

First take your toy or Pom Pom and lift it about 10-12 inches above your baby. Slowly move the object from side to side as you baby tracks the object. This will be slow at first, so take your time before moving on. Continue by moving the object up and down touching baby on the tummy, hand, cheek, and/or nose. I like to make a cute little sound like “boop!” when the object touches to give the baby some noise to associate with the action.

As your baby gets a bit older this is a great activity to do using opposites such as left and right, up and down, as well as learning the different parts of the face.

Click on the picture below to view some good options for Pom Poms from Amazon

If you are looking for a baby toy that would work well with this activity a soft rattle would do well. Our favorite has always been the Jiggly Giraffe by Little Learners, but it is out of print as of this writing. I will continue to look for a better item or you may see the perfect fit coming to our store at the end of September 2016!

 

Sensory Development AreaIs It Used?
CognitiveVisual Stimulation and tracking objects as well as visual development
Linguistic
Social & Emotional
PhysicalTactile Stimulation through touching baby's face, hand, etc.
Creative

Newborn Sensory Play: Singing & Rocking

Materials Needed:
➺Rocking chair or your arms for rockingbaby-21249_1920

➺A quiet time and place

Holding your baby is such a wonderful thing and is imperative for their healthy growth. One of the ways that you can stimulate your baby’s senses from birth is by holding, rocking, and singing or talking to them. This may not seem like the most exciting sensory play, but I guarantee it is important and I promise, as they get older, you will be running after them so enjoy this moment of snuggling.

Find a time when you are not busy or stressed and you are in a quiet place, such as right before nap time. Sing or talk to your baby as you hold them in your arms rocking them or holding their head in your hands at your knees. This is a great time to tell them you love them, give them Eskimo kisses, as well as sing lullabies that have been passed down in your family.

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If you need some ideas here are a few:
Skidamarink a Dink a Dink
Drip Drop by Rita Baloche
Michael Row the Boat Ashore
Down in the River to Pray 
♪’I’ve Got Peace Like a River

 

 

 

 

Sensory Development AreaIs It Used?
CognitiveVisual Development (being able to see you and watch you as you talk/sing)
LinguisticListening Skills
Social & Emotional
PhysicalAwareness of Touch
Creative

Socially Addicted: Kids and the Media

12809518_10154087273029382_4024219675046577160_nThe weather finally let up long enough for my husband and I to take our toddler to the park and boy was she excited! While she dug in the muddy rocks and climbed up the stairs to the slide, several teenage boys walked into the little gated park. I was worried they would cause some trouble, however, they proceeded to sit on the swings, one next to the other, and pull out their smart phones. I was shocked that the first thing they wanted to do was play on their phones when they were right next to each other and could have played tag, tug of war, or built a fort. I looked over at my husband and said, “I don’t remember doing that as a kid!”. We eventually started back home and even my husband, while pushing the stroller, was on his phone. My head spun with the realization that this was a huge problem, not only for kids, but even adults in every generation. We are so consumed by what this little box can tell us that we are missing the big picture of everyday life! No wonder children get in trouble, marriages are falling apart, and people lack basic communication skills. So, what can you do as a parent with children and maybe even spouses that have the phone, computer, or Ipad glued to their hand?

First off, be the example.

I know sometimes work or that interesting story on Facebook can seem more important, but when your spouse wants to talk or your toddler is tugging on you to come build blocks or play dolls, GO! For the love of all things good, GO! Your spouse will be appreciative that you chose to have some quality time with them and your child will understand that everything has a place and that they ARE MORE IMPORTANT than whatever can wait on your device.

Set time aside for your digital work, especially if you have to do work at home or you work from home.2

Being a blogger, I have to wait until my kids are in bed and my husband is at work to get any good content out. Having a toddler makes it almost impossible to be pressing buttons and not have her right in my lap “helping” bring you this dgjhksdgjndsvk siu fsjdg sdg sjdn. You see what I mean. This makes my life less stressful because I’m not trying to balance spend time with husband before he goes to work and take care of baby who needs me, what seems like, every second. I also have more time to just sit and do instead of being interrupted a million times with snack requests and where something is in the drawer.

Limit your child(ren)s time using media.

This will benefit them in many ways from being able to sleep better, entertain themselves without media, and allow them to learn things media cannot give (such as practicing the piano or reading a book). I understand most things can be done on the internet, but helping your child learn how to function outside the walls of the World Wide Web will help them function in society and communicate better with others.

Set up activities that do not associate media into your child(ren)s schedule as well as your own.

Go swimming, pick up a real book, color, paint, draw, go for a walk, have a picnic, go to a museum, the activities are endless! These activities will help to strengthen problem solving skills (because weird things happen in the real world), and it gives you a chance for a multitude of teachable moments. For example, let’s say you decide to go to the Children’s Museum with your kids and another child falls and gets hurt or finds they are lost? This is a great time to help the child together and to stop for a moment and talk about compassion and how we can help others around us. These hands on lessons will be a much better benefit for teaching than anything Dora, Doc McStuffins, or Barney can teach.

12322719_1700980026810266_5640625233390583906_oFinally, instead of using media, whether television or an app on your phone, as a babysitter for your kids try giving them small things to do or pre-preparing activities to keep them distracted while you do the dishes.

I am guilty of this one, big time! If I want to take a shower Mickey Mouse Club House is calling my daughters name! And I am by no means saying that the occasional show while you get something done is always bad, but, just like we like to say about food, everything in proportion. If you say your kids can only have two hours of media time, whether it was the babysitter or not, two hours is it. If you bend on this rule, they will figure it out fast, those smart kids! This would be a great time to sign them up for a class or make them practice piano so you can have a few minutes, but they are not engrossed in the latest Bachelor at 5 years old.

Media is by no means a bad thing. It is actually wonderful, if it is used wisely. Don’t worry about trying to keep it away from your kids completely because they will find it, but be aware of how much they are on it as well as what they are watching and playing. What do you do to manage the media in your house? Let us know in the comments below!

happy mommying

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