Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Toddler Diaries - Paint Bags

It's easy to fill my days with devotionals, math lessons, writing prompts, science experiments, read alouds...all geared towards my older kids.  After all, my oldest is in middle school now and there are lots of lessons still to be learned.  My little ones are often along for the ride, absorbing information at an amazing rate from their big siblings' lessons.

However, my toddlers still need activities that are just for them.  They need their own "Mama time" and they are always desperate for "their turn" to "do school".  And honestly, sometimes I just need them to be occupied.  Perhaps, you have little ones like me and are on the lookout for said activities?

May I introduce to you The Toddler Diaries.

Here are the players...

J1.  Endlessly curious.  Full of energy.  Demanding my attention.

L2.  Talkative and bright.  Fun, loving, and all smiles.

L4.  Independent, but cautious.  Quiet, but strong-willed.

E5.  Not quite a toddler anymore, but still close enough to enjoy playing with his younger siblings.  E5 is artistic, charming, and loves to have fun.

We'll be trying out toddler activities and letting you know how they go...if they work and if they're worth the time invested.

First up...  Paint Bags!

Paint (I used acrylic)
Gallon Ziplock Bags
White Paper
Gorilla Tape or Duct Tape

First, I filled our bags with lotion.  Actually, I didn't fill them.  And I figured out quickly that less is more.  Just fill them enough that it just covers the bag when its laid out flat.

Next, add a few squirts of paint.

Remove as much air as possible and zip closed securely.  Then work the paint around the bag until it is thoroughly mixed.

Attach a white piece of paper to the back of the bag with tape.
Wrap the tape around all four edges for extra security.

Now, hand your paint bags to the kids!  Let them practice letters and draw with their fingers...without the mess!

Rating: Fun tool to use to reinforce writing skills.
Suggested Age: 2-5.
Time Commitment For Me: It took me about an hour to prepare six paint bags.  Plus, it had the potential to get rather messy and since I didn't have washable paint on hand, I opted make these sans toddlers. 
Toddler Time: About 5-10 minutes.  The kids are always excited to see me pull these out but unfortunately, the kids don't seem to stay interested in these for very long.  However, I use them so frequently when practicing writing letters and numbers that I still think they are worth making.
Final Comments: You could, just use paint without the lotion but I was concerned that the paint would dry out and I wanted the paint to go a little further.  You could also use hair gel instead of lotion, which I think would probably work a little better.  We've been using our paint bags for over a month and they haven't dried out at all.  However, we did have one spring a I would advise only letting your little ones use these with supervision.

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  1. Great activity! Love all the colors!

  2. What a lot of fun! I, too, have discovered that my littles need to have their very own "schooltime" or they feel left out. We're on vacation from school at the moment, and those littles are just begging for school to start again!

  3. I'm going to try these! My just-turned-5-year-old is totally into drawing and writing her letters right now and we go through SO MUCH paper! This would be a fun alternative and she has sensory issues with autism, so bonus for the squishy paint aspect. =0) My youngest will be 3 on Saturday, so this would be awesome for her, too.

    I will be checking back for more toddler diaries installments! I need the ideas!

  4. Lotion- how smart! I made these with fingerpaint in ziplocs, but I can see how it would move more easily with lotion. Next time I'll know, thanks.



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