Monday, February 28, 2011

What’s in the Tub? ~ Space Sensory Tub

sensory tubs

Next month our theme at Totally Tots is Space.  Here are some ideas for you to use in a sensory tub with your little one to explore the theme up close and personal.   


 What’s in the Tub?:


I used a blue tub and put some of the glow-in-the-dark stars on the side.  


The tub was a huge hit and the kids were asking to play with it before I could even set it on the floor!  NOTE:  Make sure you put a rug down because there will be moon sand everywhere!

What’s in the Tub? is a feature that focuses on fun sensory tub ideas to go along with the monthly theme at Totally Tots.   Click here to see past sensory tub ideas.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Treats 4 Your Tot


Here are some more cool giveaways for tots/moms of tots, check them out below and let us know if you win something we told you about!!!!

Bolded are items we personally own and love!  If you are hosting a TOT friendly giveaway you are free to leave a link in the comments section!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Get Real with God~Idleness

Get Real with God

We’ve all read Proverbs 31, most of us have probably read it more than once and maybe we have even tried to master a few of the virtues this amazing woman accomplished seemingly daily.  There’s  one part that has been on my mind lately, it’s verse 27.

“She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.”

I’ve been thinking about what “bread of idleness'” means.  Since I make my own bread I figured I should be able to pull some deeper truth out of this statement.  We’ll see!


Idleness (as defined by the Noah Webster 1828 dictionary)-

1.  Abstinence from labor or employment; the state of a person who is unemployed in labor, or unoccupied in business; the state of doing nothing.

2.  Aversion to labor; reluctance to be employed, or to exertion either of body or mind; laziness, sloth; sluggishness.

3. Unimportance


5. Barrenness

6. Emptiness

So how do we eat idleness exactly.  Such a strange word picture, because there is an amount of activity that goes into baking bread, even if I didn’t grind the wheat, I still have to get out the ingredients and mix them together and knead them.  I have to be vigilant to pay attention to the texture of the dough and the temperature of the oven.  I have to make sure that I don’t let the bread bake too long and I have to protect it from crazy cats and impatient fingers. 

I think eating the bread of idleness has to do with getting things set up in the proper way, and then letting it just disintegrate.  Procrastination.  If I go through all the trouble of making the bread, but then don’t clean up afterward or pack it away into the freezer so that it gets moldy, I’m eating the bread of idleness.  If I spend time making lists and preparing menus, but then call out for pizza, I’m eating the bread of idleness. 

As women we go through seasons where we can’t do most of the things she does, especially with a houseful of little people.  In that case eating the bread of idleness might mean not following through with a consequence of an established rule that has been broken.   It might be choosing to surf the internet instead of preparing for the next day or instead of going to bed at an appropriate time.  We all know when we’ve been idle.   I know I would rather blame my idleness on being 8 months pregnant, than the real truth of the matter—I just don’t feel like it! 

Already this Proverbs 31 woman makes me feel inadequate and lacking, but she also inspires me.  I think, if she could do it, I can too!  If this kind of woman brings glory to the Lord, then that’s the kind of woman I want to be!

So, as a matter of job security, I want to encourage you to take a deep breath and ignore the part of your mind that says, “I’ll just do it later.”  And instead tell yourself, “I’ll not eat the bread of idleness today, instead I will do the next thing and enjoy the rest that comes from the completion of a task.”

Father, help us to know the difference between eating the bread of idleness and doing too much.  Allow your Spirit to guide us in making good choices with our time all day long, focusing on the things that you would have us to do, rather than the things we want to do.  Thank you for the incredible example you have given us in Your word, help us not to intimated by her, but to be inspired by her!  Amen!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Once Upon A Book: Alphabeep!


Book Summary: This colorful picture book is a vehicle lover's dream-a whole alphabet of automobiles, trucks, machinery, and road signs. From "Ambulance" to "Zamboni," each page has a lower and uppercase letter displayed, a vehicle, a description and illustration that emphasize the spotlighted letter.

Painting with Cars-Jonah had a fun time dipping the wheels of his cars in paint and rolling them on paper. I chose cars with wheel patterns that would make interesting prints on the paper. We used a large piece of paper from our Melissa & Doug Deluxe Standing Easel outside on a warm day to have more room for painting.

We used our 1-10 number inserts with our Education Cubes and played the Parking Lot Game. (Visit link for a full explanation of the Parking Lot Game and to download a printable of the game mat.)

We sorted, counted, and made patterns with Transportation Foam Beads. (I purchased these from Oriental Trading several years ago, but can't find the correct product when searching on their website.) I wrote my tips for using these foam beads as math tools here.

Jonah put together our Lauri Toys Lace and Link Letters in ABC order and drove his cars on the "Alphabet Road." Each time he crossed a new letter, he said the letter name. We did this repeatedly.

Jonah also drive his cars on the Highway Letters to practice letter formation from Making Learning Fun.

Additional Resources
We used the Transportation Tot Pack from Homeschool Creations for all sorts of Transportation fun!

We also revisited the Cars Tot Book from 1+1+1=1 at Jonah's request.

It was a jam-packed Transportation unit for us! We didn't even get to everything I want to try, but then again, with my car-crazed little guy every day feels like a Transportation unit!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Little Hands-On abc's and 123's - One-to-one correspondence

little handson Abc 123

One-to-one correspondence is an important basic math skill to teach your little ones.  Understanding that the number spoken goes with the object being laid down or pointed to is necessary for any meaningful counting to occur.
There are many ways to practice this at home during play.
The easiest, most economical way, is to save an egg carton.  I numbered ours because I wanted my daughter to associate a numeral for the number I was saying.  We used rocks because we had a ton of them and they were free, but as with cards and counters, you can use anything for this - marbles, buttons, plastic animals....
A muffin tin would work nicely too.
Another one-to-one correspondence activity that was popular with Bear was to place the flat marbles on the dots of this number card.  That the marble magnified the dot held her attention by providing a point of interest.
You can also use stickers instead of marbles. The stickers have the added benefit of developing the pincer grasp as the child pinches the sticker off the sheet and places it on the card. The stickers are on the number 4 in the photo. You can read about how we used it in more detail here and you can download the actual sheet (without dots) there too.

Julie Signature Button

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Play With Me ~ Cylinders and Cubes

This month our Play With Me toy is actually TWO similar, but equally wonderful, wooden toys ~ Guidecraft’s Cylinders and Cubes.

image image

Each 12 piece set is brightly colored with non-toxic paints. The pieces graduate in color from dark primary to a light pastel version of the color. Each piece also has a fun pattern painted on the edge of the piece, giving an added detail to an already wonderful toy.

Here are some more fun and creative ways to play with the Cylinders and Cubes.

To help with color recognition, grab some colored craft sticks and match the color of the sticks with those of the blocks.


Hide a small toy or a rock underneath one of the pieces and have your child guess where the piece is hidden. Make it more educational by talking about ordinal numbers.


Make cakes! These blocks can stack inside each other or on top of each other. Have fun pretending and create birthday cakes and towers. Since the paints are all non-toxic, it’s fine if your little one even wants to ‘taste’ the frosting. :)


Jenn also came up with a GREAT game idea using her Education Cubes


First, remove all of the blocks from the yellow base. Roll the Education Cube and read the color name. Find a cube or cylinder that color and add it to the base. Take turns doing this until your base is filled. First one to fill their base wins! You can read more about the game here.

Other ideas on how to use the Cylinders and Cubes:

  • Sort by color
  • Sorting by sizes
  • Stacking to make tall towers
  • Nesting the graduated sizes
  • Mix the Cylinders and Cubes together and sort by shape or size
  • See how many beans or other object fit inside each cube or cylinder
  • Trace each cube or cylinder and then cut out and color them

Due to the size of the smallest pieces, both the Cylinders and Cubes are recommended for ages three and up, but the paints used are non-toxic and safe for any child. Both the Cubes and Cylinders are available through the Guidecraft website and also available from Amazon {Cylinders and Cubes}. 

Much thanks to Guidecraft who provided this toy for us to use and review as a part of the Guidecraft Mom Bloggers team.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Little Books for Little Cooks ~ Rhyme Time Valentine

Little Books for Little Cooks

Heart-shaped Marshmallows


Show some love…with heart-shaped marshmallows and some yummy hot chocolate!

The Book Before You Cook…


Rhyme Time Valentine

by Nancy Poydar

Summary: For Valentines Day, Ruby makes heart-shaped Valentines for her classmates. Although they are blown away by the wind, she later notices them fluttering through the sky for all those passing by to enjoy! Click here for a  more in depth review.

When It’s Time to Cook…

You’ll need:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 envelopes of unflavored gelatin
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • red sprinkles
  • butter

To Make:

  1. Combine sugar, gelatin, and salt in a saucepan. Add water and stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves.
  2. Heat for 3 minutes more, remove from the stove & stir in vanilla.
  3. Pour mixture into a large mixing bowl and mix with an electric mixer on high speed for 10-12 minutes or until the mixture looks like a thick marshmallow crème.
  4. Pour mixture into a buttered 13x9 inch pan & chill in the refrigerator for a few hours or until the mixture has stiffened.
  5. Heat a heart-shaped cookie cutter in hot tap water & cut out the marshmallows.
  6. Fill a baggie with equal amounts of powdered sugar & sprinkles. Drop in the marshmallows and shake until coated.
  7. Enjoy your heart-shaped marshmallows with some yummy hot chocolate!

Little Books for Little Cooks is a monthly feature that focuses on creating some edible fun with your little one.   We will share a fun book to read with your little one along with a cooking activity to do that ties in with the featured book. Sometimes there may be actual cooking involved…and sometimes just fun!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Treats 4 Your Tot


Here are some more cool giveaways for tots/moms of tots, check them out below and let us know if you win something we told you about!!!!

Bolded are items we personally own and love!  If you are hosting a TOT friendly giveaway you are free to leave a link in the comments section!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Once Upon A Book ~ The Little Engine That Could



 The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper

Summary:  A classic, this book tells the story of a little engine that must get to the other side of the mountain to give gifts and toys to all the good little girls and boys.  Like the story of the Good Samaritan, the initial passerby's wouldn’t help.  But finally one engine helps just in time to deliver the presents.  Use this story to encourage your Tot to help others in need or to comprehend that he/she can do all things through Christ. 

Bible Verse

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)


Head on over to Make Learning Fun for some great train pintables.  We use various sized magnets and place the printable on top of a metal cookie sheet.

Toy Train Fun

If you have a train collection, help your Tot:

  • push the train


  • connect the trains


  • count the trains


  • make a mountain and have the little train say, “I know I can.  I know I can.  I know I can through Jesus.”


Other ideas: 

  • sort trains by color
  • chose three lengths of trains and practice lining them up from shortest to longest
  • have your Tot line all of the trains in a long row


Head on over to Michaels and purchase these great wooden trains to spell your child’s name.  Your child will become familiar with the letters in their name while playing with them.  You can also allow them to paint said trains.


Have fun with Do-A-Dots . . . we sure did!  By the way, this printable is from Preschool Post, which also has many other great ideas and a complete lesson plan regarding trains.


Gabe actually had more fun opening and closing the markers instead of using them for their intended purpose.  This is a great fine motor exercise for your Tot.


 Shape Train


To make this train, head on over to Little Page Turners.

Spelling Train

While you are there, check out the spelling train.


Want to see what's coming next (and books we've done in the past)? Click here to see our Once Upon a Book webpage!

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