Snowman Button Counting

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This lovely counting activity is not new to the internet, but I wanted to share it because I think that it’s so cute!  I’ve included a free printable in this post too-scroll on down so that you don’t miss it!

Simple enough: Match the numbered hat with the correct amount of buttons.

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This counting activity works well for any little kiddo aged 1-3, or for others who may need reinforcement.  My three-year-old knows her numbers well, but still enjoyed this activity.  Besides the benefits of counting, children are also enhancing fine motor skills, and can practice concepts such as sorting and classifying when choosing which buttons to place on the snowman.  You can help that along by asking “can you find three large buttons” or “try finding five orange buttons,” etc.

If you don’t have a collection of buttons in the family, I highly suggest getting some because they come in handy for all sorts of projects and activities. Here are some really inexpensive ones that will do the trick Blumenthal Lansing Favorite Findings Basic Buttons Assorted Sizes, 130/Pkg, Citrus

 

If you want a little more variety at a slightly higher cost, I would personally go with these:
Bag of (100) Very Assorted Buttons. Assorted Colors. Sizes Range From 3/8″ to 1-1/2″ Whatever you choose, they will get used time and time again!

 

 

I came up with a couple variations to this snowman activity in order to stretch it a bit for kids who may need a challenge.  

  1. An easy switch: Try counting in a different language.  You can Google the pronunciation for almost anything these days, so even if you don’t speak another language, you can always let Google help you out.  You and your child can learn how to count in a different language together!
  2. You can also work with prepositions and ask your child to place the buttons under, on top of, next to, around, or beside the snowman.
  3. A third idea is to do simple addition or subtraction with the hats and buttons.  Place two hats on the snowman (as pictured below) and have your child place the total number of buttons as you say something like, “One button plus two more makes three.”  Flip it into subtraction by taking a hat away as your child takes the appropriate number of buttons away.  You can talk through what is happening, “When you have three buttons and you take away two, only one button is left.”

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I fashioned this cute little snowman out of some shiny photo paper we had lying around, and I cut the colorful hats from some thin foam-like paper. (Is there a name for that stuff?)  But, if you want something quick and easy, I have a quick download for you below. It includes a snowman template, numbered hats, as well as blank hats that you can number yourself if you choose.  Enjoy!

Here is the link to your free snowman-printable 🙂

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Want more fun activities and printables like this straight to your email?  Enter your info below!

 

Fall Sensory Craft Using Oatmeal and Coffee Grounds

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After running across the idea of using these oatmeal and coffee grounds for a simple fall craft, I decided to put my own little twist on the original idea by making a colorful fall tree.

 

You will need:

  • Newspaper to cover your work surface
  • 1 piece of Cardstock (your choice on the color and size)
  • 1 pen or pencil
  • A spoonful or two or ground coffee
  • 1/4 cup of rolled oats
  • Elmer’s glue
  • 1 paintbrush
  • A few drops of food coloring OR watercolor paints in these colors: green, orange, yellow, and red

 

Process:

Lay out newspaper so that your entire work surface is covered.  (This also helps with a quick and easy clean-up.)  Sketch an outline of a tree on the piece of Cardstock, or if the children you’re working with are old enough, let them draw their own trees.  You can also grab my free tree-template or request another free template at the bottom of this post. image

Squeeze out a little glue on the trunk of the tree and, using a paintbrush, spread it over the entire area that you want to cover with coffee grounds.  Make sure this is a semi-thick layer of glue, if you go too thin, the coffee won’t stick.  Spoon on the coffee grounds and then tilt your paper back and forth until coffee completely covers the gluey area.  Dump excess coffee onto newspaper.

If you are using food coloring, mix each desired color into a tablespoon or two of the rolled oats.  We used small containers and a toothpick, but you could also knead the oats and coloring around inside a plastic bag. borderoats

*If you are using watercolor paint, read on…

Repeat the glue-spreading process to cover the top of the tree.  Sprinkle on the colored oats and shake, tilt, and dump, just like before!  Take your hands and press down on the oats and coffee grounds to make sure they adhere to the paper before setting it to dry.  Scoop up everything in your newspaper and dispose.  Never has there been an easier clean up process.

*If you are using watercolors to give the top of your tree some color, wait until the glue has dried and then paint away!  Be sure not to go too heavy on the water so that the Cardstock doesn’t become soggy and begin to tear.
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My little one loved this project.  She enjoyed playing with and examining the ingredients as well as working through the multi-step process.  She wanted to try another tree on her own after working on the bigger one together.  She sketched this one out by herself:bordertree

 

Other shapes you could try:

A sunflower with coffee in the center and yellow oats around the outside.

A spider or bat made of just coffee grounds.

A turkey with alternating rows feathers using both oats and coffee.

Download the tree-template here!

Request a free template below!  Simply fill out your email address and tell me the template you’re interested in (Sunflower, Bat, or Turkey) and I will ship it to ya! 

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Occupied for Hours

My name is Jordan Walz and I’m addicted to Pinterest.

There. I said it.

 

During the school year I barely have time to exhale it seems, but when summer comes along, my Pinterest obsession is in FULL FORCE!

I pin everything.  Household improvements, activities for children, recipes, party decor, cleaning solutions, hairstyles, wedding dresses…. But, still, I feel like I’m practical about my pinning. At just over 3,000 pins, I honestly feel like (someday) I will get to fulfill each and every last one of them.  Plus the couple dozen that I’ll end up pinning later tonight.

I have organized myself this summer so that I can tackle certain pins each week.  And so far, so good.  I am sure I will have plenty of fun things to write about before summer comes to an end.

One type of pin I consistently come across on Pinterest is the collage of bright colored pictures displaying all sorts of thrilling toddler activities- you know the kind.  After clicking on the link, it seems like every website supplying these wild activity ideas offers the desperate mother a dream come true:  “Glue, sand, water, pom poms, and a kitchen spoon: Toddler fun for 3+ hours” or, “Just a stack of newspaper and a jelly bean keeps your 4-year-old busy all afternoon.”

If you have a toddler or have ever played with a toddler for two minutes, you know that their attention span is about two minutes long.

These magical ideas on Pinterest would have you believe otherwise.

And I did start to believe otherwise.

Ooooh, if I just mix food coloring with water, fill seven glasses each with a different amount of the liquid, and hand my daughter a spoon, she’ll go crazy making music for the next hour and I can be free to get some housework done (or, let’s be real, try out that idea I pinned about makeup contouring).

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Not that I need an activity to “babysit” my child.  If I did, I would just turn on the TV and let her have at it.  But, when I’m constantly bombarded with these promises of hours of fun on Pinterest, because I’m constantly on Pinterest, I expect at least a good 15 minutes.  Wouldn’t you?

 

After trying many of these marvelous toddler activities over the years, her and I have had a lot of fun together.  But never once has my sweet toddler girl been so fully immersed for hours on end as Pinterest would have me expect.

Last night, I tried something new: coloring pasta shapes with a little food dye and rubbing alcohol.  My little girl was beside herself with excitement, wanting start playing with these noodles immediately.  I told her we’d wait until morning to make sure they were fully dry.

When I considered how much pasta I used and how long she would probably want to play with the shapes, I started wishing I just made pasta for dinner instead because eating it would be of better use.

Totally wrong.

This, folks, is the one activity that will keep your toddlers busy for hours.

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This is the only thing she played with this morning before her nap.  I had to pry her away from it for a play-date and then again when it was lunchtime.  She loves sorting the shapes, colors, stacking them, and I think just the whole sensory experience is thrilling to her.

Finally!  Mama can clean the toilets this afternoon! (Or, let’s be real, I’m going to try this or this or anything else on my Pinterest boards, really 😉)


 

Colored Pasta Shapes

Stir together 2 teaspoons of food coloring and 3 teaspoons of rubbing alcohol.  Add the mixture to a Ziploc bag filled with 2 cups of pasta shapes of your choice.  Shake to cover the pasta completely, and then dump out onto parchment paper and let dry.