Stop and Go

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Here’s the perfect game to introduce your toddler to the idea that red means stop and green means go. These two colors represent “stop” and “go” in so many ways, whether traffic rules, figures of speech (“we got the green light”) or alert systems. You can introduce the idea playfully on your next car ride; the only requirement is that your toddler can tell the difference between red and green.

To set up, I cut circles from red and green construction paper and taped them to plastic straws. For older toddlers, you can also add the words STOP and GO as early sight words, You could also make the red shape an octagon instead of a circle, but I kept things on the simplest level for Veronika.

Whenever the car went forward, I asked her to hold up green. “Green means go!” we shouted, and she playfully held up her sign.

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Whenever I came to a red light or stop sign, I asked her to hold up red. “Red light! Red means stop!” I told her. This worked especially well during a long stop at a train crossing.

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Keep these little Stop and Go signs in the car and play often, and soon your toddler will get the idea.

Abstract Couch Art

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If you want to challenge your child to make art but don’t have craft supplies on hand, here’s an alternative: raid the couch and make sculptures!

To help Travis understand the idea, I first challenged him to make a burger.

With a pile of clean laundry on hand, we used two pillows as the buns and then layered in lettuce (a green shirt), carrots (an orange shirt), cheese (a white shirt), and tomato (a red shirt).

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Now it was up to Travis to think of which sculpture he could make next. This time he chose a Star Wars character, and although not the direction I would have gone in, I was proud he came up with the idea on his own.

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Pillows formed the head and body, and he added accessories (a mask, cape, and gloves) to complete the work of art.

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What will your child make from couch pillows? Please share in the comments! 

Baby Pool Games, 3 Ways

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It’s late in the summer but still hot outside, so it didn’t feel too late to invest in a baby wading pool. Here are three ways Veronika has loved to play in it so far!

First up was a classic toddler fishing game. I had a pack of fish-shaped sponges that were perfect for this, although you can cut normal sponges into fish shapes if you’re feeling crafty.

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Attach a paper clip to each fish so it will be magnetic, then tie or glue a kitchen magnet onto a string and attach the string to a stick or dowel. I showed Veronika how to go angling for the little fishies!

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It turned out that the sponges were hard to lift once saturated with water, so next time we might play this while the pool is dry.

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After the fishing fun, it was time to make a splash! Simple grab a bouncy ball and toss it into a baby pool filled with a little water. This was fun from outside the pool…

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…or inside it! And it was equally fun whether with a small bouncy ball or larger beach ball.

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“Splash!” Veronika cried out happily each time.

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For extra ball fun, we didn’t just use one ball; I poured in our whole bag of soft play balls.

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This made for lots of extra splashing, sitting on, tossing, and otherwise playing with the balls in the pool.

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One thing is for sure: this girl is keeping cool in the pool!

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