Finger Painting

Cornstarch + Water + Food Color = Fun Messy Art Time

Icky, gooey, squishy, ooey…we had our hands sticky and messy this morning!  It was our first time to try finger painting for our Wonderful World of Wednesday and Jade had so much fun.  She finished painting after painting after painting.  She didn’t stop until she run out of the paint mixture.  Jakei didn’t like getting his hands sticky and messy so all he has to show for this morning’s art session is a sheet of paper with a few scribbles on it.  Oh, but he did enjoy scooping and spreading the paint mixture from the cup to the sheets of paper.

I don’t have pictures of the toddlers at work though.  You see, my hands were full of gooey paint and could not possibly hold the camera.  I’ll be posting pictures of their finished art work instead.

If you would like to try this activity with your toddlers or preschoolers, all you’ll need are

  • cornstarch
  • water
  • food color (we used red, blue, and green)
  • paper
  • newspaper (to make clean up time less tedious)
  • great imagination

Heat the cornstarch and water in a pan until you reach the right consistency.  It should be a little runny but still thick enough to adhere to paper.  Separate the mixture into small containers, add a drop of your choice of food color to each, and mix thoroughly.  Spread the mixture evenly on a sheet of paper.  Get your fingers ready and paint some pretty pictures on the paper.  Lastly, make sure you have lots of fun with your kids!

Ideas for Summer Indoor Activities

It’s almost halfway through summer vacation and kids are becoming a tad bored lounging in the house every day of the week. When we were children, summer meant playing outdoors with our neighbors. But now, the stifling heat makes that unhealthy and even downright dangerous. So, how do we keep our little ones entertained for the remaining half of the summer while at the same time keeping our sanity (which we are bound to lose from all that whining and complaining the entire day each day of the week)? Teaching your children the latest and greatest nursery rhyme that is currently doing the rounds on the kids’ corner of YouTube could be one thing to do, but what else could you get them doing? You could enrol the kids in summer workshops, non-academic classes, or enrichment classes. Or you could even take them somewhere like Fox in a Box Orange County. There are quite a number of summer activities across the metro. However, if budget constraints make this an impossibility, here are some fun summer indoor activities you can do at home:

You may find that looking into something like castle residential swing sets denver could be the answer to keeping your kids entertained throughout the summer. If you haven’t planned a trip away or any activities away from the house, you and the kids can have fun in your backyard! There are no rules as to where you can spend your summer.

  1. Have your own arts & craft workshop. Set an area in the house, preferably one that you wouldn’t mind getting dirty, and bring out all art materials you can scavenge in the house. You can challenge the kids’ creativity by making use of scrap materials in your house (think boxes, gift wrappers, ribbons from gifts and whatever else you should have already thrown out a long long time ago) instead of buying new ones.
  2. Teach the kids how to bake or cook. Provide everyone with his own handmade toque to create a professional cooking class ambiance. Choose recipes appropriate for the age of the children, something that they can actually cook on their own. For those with toddlers like me, I find that they enjoy mixing the batter for pancakes, making sandwiches, and putting pizza toppings. If you are not kitchen savvy like me, preparing wonderful desserts would be a good alternative.
  3. Bring out the microphone and videoke for an impromptu voice lesson. Ok, so you may not exactly be an expert in the music field but you and your kids are bound to have lots of fun – and fits of laughter – singing together. Better yet, take out those musical instruments and produce your own tunes. For younger kids, toy instruments would be enough to give them hours of fun.
  4. Have a pool party in your garden. Inflatable pools are now much more affordable and easy to set up. Having one at home can surely help beat the summer heat and can save you tons of gas money.
  5. Conduct an in-house writing workshop, a poetry reading or a book talk. It may sound surprising, but a lot of kids actually do enjoy reading and writing stories. Tap your kids’ linguistic ability by choosing fun topics and stories they can relate with.

There are tons more activities you can actually do at home, such as playing computer games. Apparently, by visiting a website like Gamulator, people can actually access older video games on their computer. That could entertain the kids for a while. Maybe they might want to download this super metroid rom to give that game a go. Alternatively, they could try and find some other games. Hopefully, these ideas would be enough to help you have a more enjoyable and productive summer.

You can read about how I keep my toddlers entertained in this post.

Easter Egg Baskets Math Activity

It’s Easter Sunday today and this morning, the toddlers and I prepared Easter cards to give away.  As with most of the activities that we do, I try to incorporate something that would hone their thinking skills.  So while creating our Easter cards this morning, I gave my little Jade a Math activity.

For this activity, I cut out small baskets from used board paper and flowers from a used gift wrapper.  On the flowers, I wrote the numbers 2, 3, and 4. I had Egg Stickers printed beforehand since we were to use them for making the cards.

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Jade’s Easter Math Activity

Here are the instructions I gave my little Jade, which I am proud to say she was able to follow without assistance.

  1. Get three eggs and place them on the pink basket. Two eggs on the blue basket. Four eggs on the red basket.
  2. Color the eggs. (This one she wasn’t able to do properly though. She was in no mood for coloring)
  3. Count the eggs on the pink basket and get the flower that shows the correct number.  How about the blue basket? The red basket?

Jade was able to count the eggs in each basket and to find the corresponding flower for each.  She has actually known the concept of counting from one to twenty for months now.  Her little brother has been able to count by rote from one to ten at an early age just by watching his sister practice her counting skills.

Learning Teamwork and Developing Creativity Through Edmark Smart Cube

Electronic toys abound in toy stores nowadays.  Plenty claim to offer children hours of entertainment.  Some claim to be educational and would do wonders in improving children’s thinking abilities.  Although some are indeed very helpful in teaching some skills,  these toys are still quite expensive.  Add to that the costly batteries that need to be replaced often and you have a veritable money drain in your hands.

Another reason why we don’t usually buy electronic toys for our toddlers is that they seldom encourage imaginative play and are often meant to be played alone.  Puzzles, building blocks and even shape sorters on the other hand challenge children’s creativity and also encourage them to play together.  These types of toys are what my toddlers usually ask for during playtime.

One of their favorite toys is the Edmark Smart Cube which was given as a gift for Jade’s first birthday.  I once checked the store for its price and it costs only around 200 per set.   As for durability, we have been using our set for almost two years now.  It has withstood being thrown across the room, being smashed against the wall, being bitten by Jakei, and whatever else you could imagine a toddler doing with a toy.


Jakei used to just throw the pieces around or smash whatever his Ate Jade has built.  But he has outgrown this destructive phase and can now create figures by himself.  I really love seeing them working together to build something.   They are now able to take turns putting the pieces together.

Typical Toddler Morning

Most of my friends are career women enslaved by the corporate world that require more than half of their weekdays and sometimes even robbing them of family time on weekends.  Although there are times when I do envy their lifestyles,  I am grateful to have a husband who is able to provide for all our needs which enables me to stay at home and be with our children during their formative years.

My children are growing up at lightning speed and when before I could just confine them inside the playpen while I do my chores or prepare worksheets for my tutorial sessions,  now it is impossible to keep them penned.  And so, while they are awake, everything else has to be put on hold.

Toddlers can be a handful as they are very inquisitive, curious, and impatient.  They can be totally fascinated with a toy when you hand it to them, but a few seconds later, will be clamoring for a different one.  Oh, and they can be REALLY hyperactive when bored.  So, what does this mom do to keep her toddlers occupied?  She plays with them and makes a whole lotta mess every time!

We READ together

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We have messy ART TIME

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We have fun with lots of ordinary things around the house

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We also have MUSIC time but it’s just basically singing and dancing to whatever CD we’d fancy listening to and playing with their musical toys.  Oh, and, of course, like any typical parent,  I do let them watch Playhouse Disney and Nick Jr for a couple of hours.

How about in your home, what’s a typical toddler morning?