Wednesday, February 29, 2012

"Bartholomew and the Oobleck" Activity

To go along with the Dr. Seuss book Bartholomew and the Oobleck, I mixed corn starch, water, and a few drops of food coloring. I poured about a cup of corn starch into a bowl and then added water little by little, very slowly until it was just barely hard to the touch but still "melted" in my fingers. I know this activity is an old one (I remember doing this when I was in grade school), but it was new to my Baby Bear, and he loved it! He played with his oobleck for at least half an hour and probably would have played longer if we hadn't needed to clean up to get around for something else. The good news is, the corn starch and water clean up easily. The bad news is I used more than two drops of food coloring and have smurf hands now. Oops! Baby Bear's came off better because he got to play in the bath tub after this, so I guess a little extra effort will help. Hehe!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

"Ten Apples Up on Top" Stamping

My son's nursery is decorated in Dr. Seuss characters, so how could I pass up the opportunity to do a few Seuss-related activities in celebration of Dr. Seuss's birthday? While looking through activities my toddler would likely enjoy, I came across this apple stamping and counting craft on the Kiboomu site. It goes along with the book Ten Apples Up On Top. I was fresh out of apples, but I did have one leftover potato that worked just as well. I cut the potato in half, poured some red paint in a bowl, and grabbed a sheet of legal size white paper. To say that Baby Bear was intrigued by me holding a potato and asking him if he wanted to paint would be an understatement; I couldn't get the materials around fast enough to satisfy his curiosity! I began by showing Baby Bear how to use the potato as a stamp. Then, I helped him stamp the rest of the "apples" in a column onto a paper. Once we had our column of apples, I handed Baby Bear another sheet of paper to do his own stamping. He loved it! When the red paint was nearly gone I poured in a little green, and Baby Bear helped me mix to make brown so I could add a dog. Once it was dry, I added googly eyes, drew a nose and mouth, and wrote out the numbers with a sentence describing the amount of apples. Baby Bear likes "counting" with Papa Bear and I (he makes noises in a rhythmic pattern as we count), so this activity was just right for him.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Mega Blocks Car Ramp

This is one example of what fun you can have thinking outside the box. Papa Bear thought to turn Baby Bear's Mega Blocks sideways to build, and he ended up building a car ramp. I added a lane of train tracks to the end, and Baby Bear had a blast rolling his little cars down.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Crinkly Shredded Paper Sensory Box

This past Christmas, my sister gave me a beautiful culinary gift of pastas and sauces sitting neatly in a colander atop a mound of white, crinkly, shredded paper. My family enjoyed the cuisine, but we have also enjoyed using the paper it was wrapped with as a part of a sensory box. Our most recent use of this paper for a sensory box followed a pastel theme to go along with the warmer weather we've been experiencing and upcoming spring.

Our sensory box included porcupine balls, straws, and pom-poms. This provided a good range of textures, sizes, and colors to explore.

Yes, it made a pretty big mess, but it was easy enough to clean up with a good sweeping. Baby Bear even thought the cleaning up was fun because he got to help use the broom.

We had a lot of silly fun with our crinkly shredded paper sensory box!
With Easter just around the corner, crinkly paper should be pretty easy to come across for more sensory box fun. I have also seen small bags of it in the craft section of Wal-mart near the faux flowers during other times of the year. I bet this box would be even more fun with colored paper!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Still Under Construction

Updating my tabs is taking longer than expected because I keep running into problems with Blogger re-publishing pages with the changes made. I just wanted to let any confused readers or new visitors know that I am still working on updating my site. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you come back soon! :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Water Bead Sensory Box

We have jumped on the water bead band wagon! For months now I have been anxious to try water beads. All those water bead sensory boxes I see all over the blogosphere look so cool! Those boxes aren't for babies and toddlers who put everything in their mouths, though. I needed to make sure my son could play safely beside me with a box full of them before trying them out. Well, that day came, and let me just say... water beads are awesome!!! I think Papa Bear and I have just as much playing with them as Baby Bear does! There's something so soothing, almost therapeutic, about playing with water beads.

I filled the box with clear water beads, a handful of blue decorative stones, and a couple of glow sticks leftover from Halloween.
Baby Bear liked the water beads, but he thought the glow sticks were the best part of the whole box. I think I may need to find another pack of them!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Farm Sensory Box with Black-eyed Peas

While walking through Kroger a few weeks back, I spotted bags of black-eyed peas sitting on the bargain shelf for only a quarter a piece! I immediately knew that I wanted these for a sensory box and snatched up four bags. Days later, I sat staring at the bags wondering what kind of sensory box to use them for... besides something Halloween-themed. One Google search later, this zoo box from Pink and Green Mama turned up, and it was perfect for my Baby Bear! I made a farm box using some of Baby Bear's Little People animals, a little tractor, and a toy bale of hay. I also had half a container of oatmeal that had been sitting in the pantry for too long, so I added that as well. Finally, I threw in a couple of measuring cups because Baby Bear loves pouring from container to container.

Sometimes, the animals ate the oats, but mostly Baby Bear just loved playing with the black-eyed peas. This box stayed out for over two weeks, and just a couple days after I put it away Baby Bear asked to pull it out again. He LOVED pouring the black-eyed peas from cup to cup and could spend the entire play time just doing that.

He liked when I buried one of the animals and he could go digging to find it, or when I buried his hand and pretended it disappeared. He grinned from ear to ear as let me look for a few seconds before pulling it back out and shouting, "There!"

And of course, no play time involving any kind of box would be complete without Baby Bear climbing inside to play.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Kool-aid Playdough

Earlier today I shared that Baby Bear and I played with Patriotic Playdough colored with Kool-aid for President's Day. In the past I have tried two recipes for Kool-aid playdough that I found on the Internet, but those attempts were unsuccessful. This time, I made my own, kept it simple, and it turned out great! How did I do it? I used one packet of Kool-aid (Tropical Punch for red) instead of food coloring and added extra flour (I estimate a half cup) to no-cook playdough! While still a little on the pinkish side, this is the best shade of red I've achieved yet, and it didn't take a whole tube of red food coloring. Plus, it smelled good!

President's Day Playdough & Hat

I wanted to post this yesterday for President's Day, but I was ill. Better late than never, though! These are the activities Baby Bear and I did for President's Day.

Patriotic Playdough: We stamped stars into red dough with lots of glitter to make it shine like fireworks. I colored it with Kool-aid and will post later today on how I did this!

Lincoln hat: Baby Bear helped paint a paper plate black, and when it dried I glued a piece of black construction paper rolled into a tube to make a tall top hat. I attached a piece of stretchy string like a party hat to help it stay on.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


A reader suggested I connect my blog to Bloglovin to make it easier to follow. I had never heard of this, but I just signed up for an account, so here goes!!!

<a href="">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Mirror Art

A couple days ago I mentioned that Baby Bear and I have been exploring other canvases for drawing and coloring. Well, in our guest room closet hung an old, worn mirror in a plastic frame that the previous home owners left. Baby Bear loves mirrors, and mirrors do make a smooth writing surface. So, I pulled the mirror down, set it in the hallway, and we got silly drawing on our own reflections in the mirror! We used bathtub crayons so it would wipe off easily for multiple uses. It could be fun to lay a cloth under the mirror and use finger paints, too! What kinds of unusual art canvases do you like to use?

Friday, February 17, 2012

TP Roll Chute

Since starting The Three Bears Get Crafty, I've become a bit of a hoarder when it comes to potential craft supplies. For example, I struggle to make myself throw away empty toilet paper and paper towel roll tubes. For a little over a week, I decided to collect all the empty rolls and make something with them. When I stared at the pile of cardboard tubes at the end of that time, I couldn't help but want to stack and tape them together. So, I did! Aside from Papa Bear using it as a sword, our stack made a great tunnel to shoot cars and bouncy balls through!

Baby Bear loading a car

Out the other end it goes!

The cars were fun, but Baby Bear enjoyed rolling little bouncy balls down even more. I learned that hanging on to an odd item with the intention of using it in the near future can lead to a lot of fun.

Construction Reminder

For those who are new to visiting my blog, I wanted to repost that it is under construction. Namely, the tabs are currently being reorganized and updated. Thanks for visiting, and be sure to check back soon!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Bathtub Crayons

Lately, Baby Bear has not been content with coloring, painting, or drawing on plain old paper. So, we've been exploring new canvases. Enter bathtub crayons! It's so simple yet so fun! At first I was worried that he would take this as a sign that it was okay to color wherever he wanted, but he understands pretty well when I tell him that those are special crayons just for the bathtub. It helps that we keep them in a special drawer in the bathroom, too. They're store-bought (I got mine near the baby and toddler bathtub accessories at Target), so there's no prep work to it. I just sit with Baby Bear by the bathtub, hand him the crayons, and we draw!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Baby Bear and I have done crayon resist paintings before, but never a secret note. On the Awesomely Awake blog, they commonly write family love notes, including some in the form of crayon resist painting. What a wonderful idea! So, for Valentine's day, I wrote a secret message for Papa Bear with white crayon on white paper. That evening when Baby Bear, Papa Bear, and I sat down to paint, I handed Baby Bear the paper with the secret message and some watered down tempura paints. As he and Papa Bear painted, they revealed the message, "We love you, Daddy!" Papa Bear hung it up on his desk after it dried. :)

I saved this activity for last because writing family love notes and making something special for loved ones should not be reserved for Valentine's Day alone. This is something we can all do year round. <3


Throughout the rest of February, I will be editing, organizing, and cleaning up my blog. So, if you see a post that seems misplaced, that's because it is. :) For now, anyway. The tabs will be a little disheveled for the time being, but if there is an idea or post in particular that you are looking for, you can use the search box located on the sidebar to help you find the topic you seek. Thank you for your patience!!!
Sonya (AKA Mama Bear)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine Slime

For months now I have been taking note of the various blog posts about homemade slime using Borax, glue, and water. I wanted to make it for Baby Bear, but I had to wait until he was far enough out of the "everything goes in my mouth" stage before it was safe enough. Well, we finally reached that point, so Baby Bear and I made Valentine Slime!

Although I have seen this recipe on numerous sites, this one from It's Gravy Baby is the one that inspired me to try this for Valentine's Day. Here is the recipe I used, but I cut it in half:

- Dissolve 1t Borax in 1c water.  Set aside.
- Empty glue into bowl. (I used white glue, so my red food coloring made pink slime. I'm going to try clear glue next time.)
- Fill your empty glue bottle with water and pour it into the bowl of glue.
- Add food coloring and stir. (You could add glitter, too!)
- Pour the Borax mixture into the glue mixture and stir.
- Finish by dumping the excess water and kneading with hands until dry.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Homemade Heart Stamper

I first saw this idea in The Heart Project book (an awesome fundraiser for the AHA that you should definitely check out), and it immediately stood out to me as a craft Baby Bear and I had to try. As soon as Baby Bear went down for a nap, I grabbed an empty tp roll and some craft foam with sticky backing. I cut hearts out of the foam and stuck them to the tube, thus creating a stamper. I tried attaching it to a paint roller, but I decided that the instability of the roll would probably be a little too hard for Baby Bear to make it actually roll. So, we rolled it by hand instead, and it worked beautifully!

Rather than making a bigger mess by having Baby Bear roll the stamper through a big glob of paint or an ink pad, we used our fingers and paintbrushes to paint the hearts on the stamper. After the first time we painted the hearts, I rolled it across a sheet of paper to show Baby Bear what it did. This is what I got.

Then, we repainted the stamper, I handed it to Baby Bear, and we worked together to roll it across another piece of paper. He wanted to roll it a few times, so we got a layered heart effect.

Later that day, after the paint had dried, Baby Bear had fun peeling the hearts off the roll and trying to re-stick them to a piece of paper.
 This was a great craft that could be adapted for different holidays and age groups. We could do shamrocks for St. Patrick's day, ovals for Easter to make eggs, or stars for 4th of July. Depending on the skill set, an older child could cut out his or her own shapes to design his or her own stamper. This was just one of the many awesome crafts in The Heart Project book. If you haven't bought your copy yet, you should!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Playdough Hearts

Baby Bear has asked to play with his white glitter dough just about every day since we made it for snow week. To help transition to our hearts theme, I simply handed him a heart cookie cutter. Since these pictures, I have also colored the dough purple to change things up a bit, fit the holiday a little better, and renew interest. I am amazed at how skilled Baby Bear has become at using cookie cutters to create shapes while playing with dough!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Doily Heart Stencils

My favorite Valentine's Day craft that Baby Bear, Papa Bear, and I have done together so far has got to be the doily heart stencils we did. I just love how they turned out! All I did was tape some heart-shaped doilies to a piece of white paper and let Baby Bear paint. I gave him red, blue, and yellow tempura paint along with some blue and silver glitter glue to use for the picture. He alternated between using the paintbrush and making hand prints on the paper. He also painted Papa Bear's hands and had him make prints. It was a great family time that turned into a beautiful work of art!

This is what it looked like when we were done painting but before I peeled the doilies off

This is what it looked like after I peeled the doilies off! I love it!

Most of the doilies stayed in tact, so I glued them to another piece of paper for a separate work of art. :)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Valentine Sponge Painting

Baby Bear likes painting with different tools, so this week I introduced him to sponge painting. I cut a heart shape from a sponge, showed him how to use it as a stamp, and gave it to him to try. It was an instant hit!

I dribbled a little bit of tempura paint into a bowl. I chose this instead of our paint tray so the sponge could soak up more colors. I was also careful about the order I place them in so that Baby Bear could watch the colors mix to make new colors as he painted.

Dipping the sponge into the paint

Stamping a heart

Lots of stamping!

Look, Mama! More colors!!! Mix, mix, mix!

The finished product (with a few hand, foot, and leg prints mixed in ;) )

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Heart Pancakes

A heart pancake is a simple food that fits the heart theme. To make our meal healthier for Heart Month, I added a little flax seed to the pancake batter. Baby Bear couldn't get enough of them! He ate his heart, plus he stole two of Papa Bear's large pancakes! Sometimes I puree a fruit or veggie to add to the batter, but fresh fruits seemed to add the perfect touch for this meal.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Scratch Art

Recently, Baby Bear and I have been trying our luck with store-bought finger paints instead of the homemade edible ones. The colors are a little more vibrant, and, let's face it, it's just easier sometimes. So far, he's been doing very well with these paints. He's tried tasting twice, but I was right there with a damp washcloth to wipe off his tongue. He didn't like that and hasn't tried again as of late. For Valentine's Day and Heart Month, I decided to turn one of Baby Bear's paintings into scratch art.

I started Baby Bear out with only red paint. I gave him a doily to make a print with, which was fun. Then, he took his paintbrush and started painting his hands to make prints.

He wasn't content with just red, so I added a little blue but didn't mix. This gave the paint a bit of a tie-dyed effect.

Baby Bear finds painting himself far more entertaining than painting paper. This is why we do all of our painting in the bathroom now. Having the bathtub right there comes in very handy!

While Baby Bear played in the water after I rinsed him off, I used the end of the paintbrush to scratch a few hearts into the paint. This could be fun for older kids to do themselves.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Crayon Resist Valentine's Painting

I found a recipe for homemade watercolors on I Can Teach My Child, so I thought I'd try it for a crayon resist painting with Baby Bear.

I started by drawing some hearts with pink, white, and purple crayons on a sheet of white paper. Then, I mixed the watercolor.

 This is the recipe I used:
1 T Baking Soda
1 T Corn Starch
1  White Vinegar
3/4 t corn syrup
3-4 drops red food coloring
1t  red glitter glue
At least some of the paint ended up on the paper. ;)

I learned that with this particular watercolor recipe, dark colors work best for crayon resist painting. Most of the purple hearts were visible, but the pink and white ones were covered. This could be in part because I added glitter glue to the original recipe. I think next time I will add a little less corn starch and use a black crayon. It went on smooth, washed off fairly easily, and provided a source of artistic entertainment for Baby Bear, though. That's a win in my book!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Heart Meatball Spaghetti

I'm not really a big fan of Valentine's Day, but I do love all the creative opportunities it presents. The other day while browsing the Disney Junior site, I came across this idea for spaghetti with heart meatballs and thought it was just perfect for Baby Bear since he loves spaghetti. I made the meatball mix (I use ground turkey instead of ground beef) and shaped a few hearts by hand. They didn't turn out an ideal heart shape, but hey, I was sculpting with meat! :) The next day I needed to get some stuff for a Heart Month luncheon and decided to do the meatballs again, but I bought a heart cookie cutter for this batch. The hearts came out better and tasted just as delicious. It was a cute meal for upcoming Valentine's Day and Heart Month.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Indoor Picnic

Although the weather here has been unseasonably (and wonderfully!) warm, we've been receiving what seems like spring showers. So, when I wanted to take Baby Bear outside for a picnic but the ground was too wet, I threw together an impromptu pretend picnic indoors instead. We used pretend food, little plastic cups from an old tea party set of mine, and a couple of our reusable plastic plates. We pretended to nibble on our food (Baby Bear happily said, "Nom, nom, nom, ahhhhh!" after each food) and sipped our pretend lemonade. It will be nice when we can have a real picnic outdoors again, but for now, we're having fun with these pretend picnics.