Q-Tip Painting

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Sometimes it seemed like every other project Travis brought home from pre-k involved dot markers; teachers sure do love this art medium! This craft is almost like a homemade version, but will help with precision and letter tracing.

I wrote Travis’s name all in capital letters on construction paper and set out bowls of paint and q-tips.

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He thought the idea of “homemade” dot markers was so neat! At first he intended to smear along the lines of the letters, but when I showed him how to dot the q-tip, he quickly took to it. I had imagined he’d dot at intervals, but he wanted his dots right up against each other so no line showed through.

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This activity is nice reinforcement if your child already knows how to spell his or her name. Because he had to move slowly through each letter, Travis noticed that an upper case R starts out looking like a P, until you add the last diagonal line. What a way to notice the building blocks!

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He wasn’t satisfied until he’d added the last dot.

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And loved mixing up the colors, too.

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Off-Peak Play

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Grown-ups like off-peak prices on train tickets, and babies like off-peak hours at indoor  play spaces… but which I mean, going when it’s not too crowded! If you’ve been curious about checking out such a place with your baby, I highly recommend going when you know it won’t be packed (hint: lunchtime, when everyone else makes an exodus home).

To wit, we showed up at a play space today when it was quite crowded (whoops, I should have known, on a rainy day!). Veronika seemed tentative as she tried out a few baby toys on the soft mats…

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and the ball play area…

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and soft blocks to build with.

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Once the space cleared out, I saw her whole body loosen up. Suddenly her movements were bigger, her expressions happier, and the “ga ga gas” began in earnest.

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Now she loved baby toys!

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And balls!

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And soft blocks!

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I loved watching her and brother in the soft block space! If there is a ball pit, dangle your baby in gently and swish him or her around, for a gentle introduction.

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Do you have a favorite local indoor play space? Please share in the comments!

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Simple Shower

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This is a quick and easy DIY activity that will help teach your baby about cause and effect – and make for a great bath toy!

Use a leftover container from the grocery store that has an easily-pierceable lid: think non-dairy cream cheese or cottage cheese (if your family eats dairy).

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Use a small screwdriver or metal skewer to pierce holes through the lid. It helped to twist the screwdriver a bit to make the holes wide enough.

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Fill the container about half way with water and add the lid. Invert over your baby in the tub, and watch the water shower down!

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Veronika looked up in wonder – and of course tried to reach for it.

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I had to give the container a little squeeze for the water to come out, which was nice since I could control the speed. Drizzle the little shower of water over your little one’s tummy or hands, and then encourage him or her to take the container and continue the fun!

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Once in her hands, she was more interested in the container itself than in making it “rain,” but one way or another, it made for a fun bath.

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