Morning Exercise

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If you’re finding it hard to squeeze in muscle toning activities with a young baby, then make them a game for your little one. To be honest, I had more fun watching Veronika giggle and laugh when we tested these moves out, paying more attention to those gummy smiles than to my muscle movements. But if you incorporate thesee into a morning routine, you’ll both benefit!

For the first move, I put Veronika on her stomach for tummy time. Lie on your stomach facing baby, and lift up into a push-up. She had to push herself even higher to watch me do this – a muscle toning activity for us both!

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For the second move, lie on your back and place your baby on your stomach, belly-to-belly. Do crunches. You get toned and baby gets a ride!

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For the third move, I did leg lifts while Veronika lay on the ground in front of me. I put a hand on her belly, and gently rolled her from side to side.

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(Note: This would be great with even younger babies, to encourage a first roll). Veronika absolutely loved this, cackling with laughter.

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Which made it hard to pay attention to my leg lifting form!

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For the final move, I sat with her between my legs, lying on her back. Hold your baby’s hands, and gently pull him or her up to a sit.

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At the top of the move, she wanted mommy’s pajama pants string!

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I lowered her back down and leaned over her, which provided a nice final stretch.

Include Yourself in Photos

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Today’s activity for your six-month-old is more for you, parents, a reminder to take pictures not just of that adorable baby, but also of yourself!

For the longest time, I had a policy of zero pictures of adults on this blog; I wanted the focus to be on the kids.

That policy had to change slightly once Veronika was born. Since a newborn can’t support herself, and many blogs demanded her presence in my arms, bits of me began to creep into pictures.

But the more I thought about it, the more my insistence on kids-only seemed silly. We love to stage manage our children for pictures, but then we get left out of the memories!

This past weekend, on a family vacation, I made a point: To include myself in the pictures. To be part of the memories.

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Don’t worry if you haven’t had time to shower, or put on makeup, or if your shirt has milk stains and paint stains. These are all badges of honor of this crazy, joyful time that is parenting young kids. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So after more than 1,300 blog posts, here I am!

Include Yourself

Collagraph Prints

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Collagraphy (not to be confused with calligraphy!) is a print-making technique that uses textured elements applied to a rigid surface to make a picture. It’s a fun art process that will engage your preschooler with texture in new ways.

Before school, Travis and I glued various items from our craft bin onto a piece of cardboard. Sponges can be cut into smaller sizes and applied.

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We also added craft sticks, foam pieces, and buttons.

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Corrugated cardboard works especially well; try using the reverse side of a coffee cup sleeve for this!

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I asked Travis what kind of scene we should make, and he decided a spring garden. We glued down all our elements to make flowers, a tree, a fence, and “pebbles” on the ground (these were the buttons).

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By the time he was home from school, the glue was dry and it was time to paint! I set out cups with different colors. For the first round, we stayed true to nature: a yellow sun, green flower stems, red blossoms, etc.

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Press a piece of white paper over the print, making sure to press down hard on all your 3-D elements.

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We lifted up the paper for the big reveal. Travis was astonished and loved it!

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He immediately wanted to make a second version, but with different colors to see how it turned out.

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We’d run out of yellow for the sun and sky, so instead painted these parts black. As we lifted off the paper, I said it looked like a black rain cloud. But Travis said, “It’s a turtle with a smile!” Talk about glass half-full, what a wonderful answer!

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Then he decided it would be silly to make an all-black print, very Rorschach test of him.

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In sum, this was a a fantastic art project and we would definitely do it again.