Homemade Paper Balls

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Toddlers love crinkling paper. Toddlers love tape. So if you make these easy paper balls with only those two materials, your little one will thank you!

Half the fun is in the making, starting with crumpling paper up tightly. Ready, set crumple!

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Once we had some nice wads of paper, I wound around them with masking tape. The more pieces of tape you use, the more these will truly resemble round balls.

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We used construction paper for bright colors (and color learning!), but plain white paper works just as well. Veronika always asks for “sticker” whenever I pull out the tape, so it was hard to say which she liked more: just playing with the sticky pieces, or helping to tape up the balls!

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Now it was time to play! We started out simply tossing them into a bucket.

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Then of course comes the opportunity to dump out!

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Veronika soon was inventing her own ways to play with them, whether scooting after them along the floor or – her favorite – making them fall from our heads with a big “achoo!”

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Play pass with the balls, kick them around the house (if your toddler is at this stage of gross motor development), or just sit back and see how your child plays with them. I promise these will not disappoint.

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Hit the Target

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With a little set-up in advance, this is an easy game to help fill a dreary winter day indoors!

While Veronika was napping, I used a hot glue gun to affix Velcro squares (the scratchy side) to several soft golf balls.

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Next, I cut a few simple shapes from felt, like circles, hearts, and triangles. If you’re feeling more ambitious, cut teddy bears or other animal shapes, too! I then used hot glue to attach these to a recycled piece of cardboard.

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When she woke up, I showed her how to toss the balls towards the felt, at which point they stick! She was fascinated.

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It was hard for her to get the concept of putting the balls on herself, preferring to hold the golf balls instead of releasing her grip.

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But she did like pulling them off the Velcro, no doubt intrigued by the tug of resistance.

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I’m going to keep this game around since it’s one that will grow with her. The felt shapes provide a little early learning, and she’ll be able to approach the game differently as her tossing skills improve.

Paper Heart Craft Challenge

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This month’s craft challenge from Highlights magazine was very open-ended: simply to make something from paper hearts!

I set Travis up with multiple crafting supplies, including poster board to use as a background, pre-cut paper hearts from a Valentine’s Day kit, pink and red construction paper, and red craft foam.

Seeing two hearts touch tip-to-tip helped him get started. He declared that it looked like a fairy! So he glued down these fairy wings, and soon had the idea to add a third heart as the head.

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I showed him how to fold a piece of construction paper in half and cut along a provided line, which then opened up into a full heart. Neat!

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Smaller hearts cut from foam became the eyes. We also had little hearts that opened up into a 3-D shape, and these made perfect feet.

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He was so proud of this little fairy, and the creative juices had just begun flowing.

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Soon he was gluing small hearts to bigger ones, and drawing hearts free-hand with a marker quite proudly.

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It’s the first time I’ve seen him draw a heart without tracing along a line – perfect timing for Valentine’s Day!

Heart Challenge altHis final creation was a heart-faced vampire with fangs and legs cut from craft foam. This deviated from the initial challenge to craft only from paper hearts, but I was so proud of his creativity!

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Crunch Time Toast

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Travis got to use the toaster for the first time today in this experimental snack project. It was a great edible tie-in to some recent learning about telling time.

The challenge was to toast two bread slices, but for different lengths of time, and then to compare and contrast them. Carefully, Travis popped in the first slice and set the timer for only 2 minutes.

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He was impatient after 1 minute, hence the very un-toasted slice of bread!

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We popped down the second slice and this time set the timer to 5 minutes. Again there was some impatience, so I would say this was a 3 minute slice of toast.

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But he clearly noticed how more time meant a browner slice, as well as crisper. To finish the snack, we added avocado to the top (sliced on the first and mashed on the second). He proudly sprinkled on salt and pepper for this very big-boy snack.

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The verdict was that he liked the toastier toast better!

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