Butterfly Hand Puppet

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We’ve been having fun with puppets lately, and here’s a neat one that kids can wear right on their hands!

I had a few fabric swatches in different prints, so cut out circles for a blue butterfly and a rather whimsical pineapple one. Insert this circle of fabric into a clothespin. Ideally I would have used a peg clothespin, but a spring-type clothespin worked in a pinch (with a little hot glue for security).

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I then wrapped a pipe cleaner around the tip of each clothespin as the antennae.

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Now to get it onto the kids’ hands! Using some old exfoliating gloves from the drugstore, I hot glued one “butterfly” onto each glove.

Veronika loved fluttering hers around!

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Travis’s very quickly became a flying dragon involved in make-believe games rather than a butterfly, but that worked just as well! Either way, these puppets were simple but fun to make.

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Pocket Matching

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I had a few old scraps of fabric floating around our craft bin that were begging to be put to good use. So I put together this quick project for Veronika!

To start, cut a pocket shape from at least 3 different fabric swatches. (Note: you could also use gift wrap if you don’t have fabric).

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Arrange them on a piece of poster board and cover with contact paper. Carefully use a craft knife to make a slit at the top of each fabric swatch so that you now have pockets.

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To make “handkerchiefs” for each pocket, I cut two rectangles from each fabric pattern. Place these on squares of poster board as well and cover with contact paper. You’ll notice I needed a little extra tape to secure the fabric on the edges since my contact paper peeled off, which sort of spoiled the effect. Luckily, Veronika didn’t mind!

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Now, I set down the poster board and laid the rectangles next to her. Because it stood out the most, I first asked her to find the polka dot fabric. Could she put it in the polka dot pocket? Yes!

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As soon as she had the idea, she matched up white flowers to white flowers and blue flowers to blue flowers.

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She absolutely adored these little “handkerchiefs” and opened up the pockets to find them and repeat several times.

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When I wasn’t directly guiding her, she mix and matched patterns of course. But she seemed aware of this, too. “They don’t match!” she chirped up at one point, putting the polka dot rectangle into one of the floral-print pockets.

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This activity is great both to engage directly with your toddler and to leave him or her to it solo as a busy activity.

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Fabric Free Play

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Veronika is legitimately obsessed with stars, so when I found a swatch of star-print fabric in my craft bin, I knew I had to let her play with it. It prompted the idea to let her play with lots of fabric scraps, and this turned into great sensory and solo play!

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First, I showed her how to simply pile the fabric scraps in and out of a small box. She needed no further demonstration, and loved moving the scraps in, out, into smaller boxes, back to bigger boxes… You name it!

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Inevitably, your toddler will probably let the fabric rain down like confetti!

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She then had a game going in her head with the big star-print piece, pretending it was her bed.

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For some learning fun, point out any different colors and patterns you might have. I showed her the difference between big dots and little dots. Or between polka dots and stripes.

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You can help your child sort them by color or pattern, too. Finally, you can turn this into movement and music play! I took the longest strips of fabric and tied them to a jingle bell ring from our music bin.

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She loved shaking this in the air.

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Later in the day, I turned to find her busy with the fabric swatches again. So busy in fact that I had time to bake a cake!

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So before you toss any fabric scraps, don’t forget that they make a fantastic toddler toy.

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Make a Sensations Rug

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This project is great tactile way for your eight-month-old to explore different textures with his or her hands or with the full body, if crawling. I made the project with quite a few hacks, since I’m no seamstress. If you’re skilled with a needle and thread, you’ll want to sew various fabrics onto a larger piece of fabric and present that more elegant version to your baby.

But this mama wields a hot glue gun! I used a pliable piece of craft foam as the backing and firmly hot-glued down: reflective paper, burlap, fluffy fabric, smooth cotton, two corks, an old sock, and a second piece of bumpy craft foam.

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Veronika couldn’t wait to get her hands all over this! She dug little fingers into the soft and fluffy fabric, and ran fingers over the scratchy burlap.

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She pulled insistently at the bumpy corks…

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…and otherwise just had a ball.

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The reflective material definitely caught her attention.

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I then put the “rug” down on the floor alongside another tactile blanket that we own, featuring tassels and a nubby fabric. My hope was that this expanded surface might encourage her to crawl across both (note: she’s thisclose to crawling), but she preferred to lie on her tummy and let her fingers get busy.

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There was flicking, rubbing, and pure enjoyment of all the different elements.

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In sum, this is a cute riff on board books that feature textured pages, and has a charming homemade quality that you and your baby will love.

Fabric + Wipes Container

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Veronika and I have played with fabric before as a texture sensory activity. Today, we played with fabric again but it was less about texture and more about the fun of putting in and pulling out!

An empty diaper wipe container is the ideal container for this game. It’s deep, but small enough for little hands. And the pop-up lid is perfect! In fact, before we introduced fabric into the game, Veronika just wanted to check out the box and pop the lid open and closed!

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Next, I filled it with a variety of fabric scraps from our craft bin. I had some eye-catching patterns like bright green and little foxes, which provided visual stimulation.

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A loosely-woven burlap and a few silky scarves provided textural variety. Old washcloths would work well, too!

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Fill up the container and simply let your little one pull out the scraps.

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What fun!

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Then I made it more challenging, putting on the lid so she could pull the scraps up through the opening.

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This was a little tough for her fingers at seven months old, but this is the kind of game we’ll revisit; it will be toddler heaven!

When she tired of the fabric, she went back to the box.

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Playing with it lasted the whole time I made dinner – the perfect way to self entertain!

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