Toddler Activity: Flag Hunt

Happy Flag Day!

To celebrate the occasion, we went on a Flag Hunt and talked about the importance of flags. Mila was surprised with how many flags were in our little community!

To start off, we did not intend to go on a mini flag hunt. There were just so many at the beginning of the walk! At the beginning, she was very enthusiastic to find flags and ran over to touch them.

Our town always has a lot of American flags up, just more throughout the summer with Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day.

Most cities or towns will have flags at these places:

  • Schools
  • Post Offices
  • Police Stations
  • Town/City Hall
  • Monuments
  • Any Government Building

We also found them on our towns telephone poles, fences, and yards. Although we didn’t go on anyone porch, Mila was pointing them out on there too.

I didn’t expect her to find as many as she did.

Some roads had a lot of telephone poles, so she was constantly saying, ‘there’s one, there’s one, there’s one too!.”

At one point she did ask why there were so many flags and what it meant.

Right now, she associates hearts with love. She’s starting to understand there’s some association with objects and feelings. Probably not as complex as our flag, but you have to start somewhere.

I told her that the flag represented where we live and that’s the United States. That’s a big concept for her since she’s just started to learn our town and state.

When I saw her look of confusion, I asked her what a heart meant. She, of course, knew. Then I told her the flag meant pride, community, and togetherness for some people. That seemed to make a little more sense.

She enjoyed talking about the colors of the flag and the stars more.

I also want to mention, beware if you’re flag hunting on a hot day. When we went, it was very humid and a tiny bit miserable.

Mila and Max were dragging their feet. At one point, Mila defeatedly dropped her head walking home. She most definitely let me know how hot it was most of the time though.

Leave it to a toddler.

So, if you go on a flag hunt, make sure you bring lots of water or go on a cooler day!

If not, you might get these types of looks of disappointment.

Either way, we had an educational walk that was engaging and got us outside for about an hour. Next time, we’ll bring more water and maybe a cold rag.

As always, let me know if you do this activity with your child and how they like it.

How do you talk to your toddler about our flag, the USA, or community? Is there any activities you’d like to share?

Toddler Activity: Ice Cream Bonanza

With the temps steadily increasing, Mila keeps asking about one thing for breakfast: ice cream. To make her ice cream dreams come true, we had an ice cream bonanza (after lunch) to celebrate life.

I mean… there doesn’t need to be any reason to eat ice cream, but we had to make it special. They’re only three and this excitable once!

The first step was to make an ice cream charcuterie board!

We used all our favorite ice cream toppings for this. M&Ms, Oreos, strawberries, whipped cream, and of course sprinkles. Plus a little more too. Mila was shocked this whole board was for her!

Good thing she didn’t eat everything off of it. That would have been a fun sugar rush.

After she was satisfied with her dessert, we opened up her new Little Bookish Wardrobe box. We’ve been subscribed to this monthly box since last year! It’s a great way to add to your library. Plus, it comes with a dress up outfit AND a few activities to do too.

This month’s book was Izzy: The Ice Cream Fairy by Make Believe Ideas. It’s an adorable book that Mila had so much fun reading.

The story is set at a beach. Izzy and the ice cream fairies run out of ice cream. So, they go on a trip to find more. So much drama! Mila’s face throughout it was hilarious.

Honestly though, the best part of our whole bonanza was seeing Mila dress up as an ice cream fairy.

She thought her dress up outfit was perfect for the day.

After the book, we did the activities on the card. She also answered all my ice cream related questions, which made me happy.

Apparently her favorite ice cream is vanilla. Sprinkles are her favorite topping. She loves the ice cream from The Tusky Dugout and Dairy Queen. Cookies do NOT go on ice cream, but they’re good to snack while you’re eating it.

I love three.

Have you ever had an ice cream party for your toddler? What’s your favorite type of charcuterie board? Sweet or savory? Let me know in the comments.

Explore the Fountain of Dogs in Mount Vernon, Ohio.

It’s no secret that Mila and I love to explore. Whether it’s in our backyard or a different country, we love adventure. So, finding a Fountain of Dogs wasn’t too out of the ordinary.

Located at South Main Plaza in Mount Vernon, Ohio, sits 18 dogs all spitting water to a golden bone.

We were in town visiting a plant store and after looking for a place to eat. It was quite eye catching to drive by this… playful fountain. I was surprised Mila didn’t see it.

After dinner, we walked around the block and her eyes got so big as she took in the fountain.

If I hadn’t had a hold of her hand to cross the road, she would’ve ran right up to it. For a little girl who LOVES animals, she was impressed.

Upon further inspection, there was a variety of different dogs. Four you could touch and the rest were in the fountain. But, they all were pining for the golden bone in the middle.

There’s also a cat, horse, and two birds that are around the fountain too. They’re not so interested in the bone.

Around the fountain are plenty of benches and it’s a clean place to just relax.

Honestly, if we lived in Mount Vernon, I could imagine eating lunch here during the summer. It’s beautiful, fun, and quite peaceful.

Although if you’re a toddler… there’s no relaxing.

Mila gave every dog or animal she could get to equal attention. She loved putting her hands in the water and trying to get me wet. We were there for about forty-five minutes and I think she ran and climbed the entire time.

When we had to leave, Mila was heartbroken. I reminded her of the plants in our car and she was happy to get them back home. Before we left, she said goodbye to every dog.

We had to get one last picture too.

It was one of the most unusual fountains I’ve ever seen, but I’m glad I got to see it with Mila.

I plan on going back to the plant place and I’m pretty sure the Fountain of Dogs will be on our list of places to stop, maybe for lunch.

If you’re ever in Ohio and love roadside attractions, the Fountain of Dogs is a cute place to go. No matter your age or if you’re a dog lover or not, it’s something to be seen!

What’s your favorite roadside attraction in your state or beyond? Maybe Mila and I will have to go visit!

Toddler Activity: Tea Party and Manners

Who said tea parties HAD to be fancy? In this house, we have pajama tea parties sprinkled with lessons on manners.

Mila has recently entered the pretend play stage. She and I play with certain toys and do different voices all the time. Since she has a few tea sets, she’s been asking to have a tea party.

Well… minus the tea. Turns out, she’s not the biggest fan of tea, but she loves chocolate milk.

When I told her we’d be having a tea party for brunch, she went and grabbed her tea supplies and a few friends too. I grabbed everything else.

Here’s what we used to have a successful tea party:

  • Brunch food
  • Tea cups with chocolate milk (oh the irony)
  • Kindness Rules!
  • Stuffed animals
  • Play tea pots
  • A BIG imagination

For our sandwiches, I used a heart cookie cutter to make them a little festive. Mila took noticed and loved that. She also loved the macaroons and veggie straws. Everything she ate, she had her pinky out

We did a grazing board because for some reason Mila will eat more this way.

She had the option to dress up in dresses, but she insisted it be a pajama tea party. How could I refuse?

Our little party started with Mila making everyone ‘tea.’ With a tasting promptly after.

She ate and fed her friends. I was informed of what was in all the different tea pots she used too.

Her tiger, baby, and blue Mickey Mouse were the guests of the century. They say quietly mostly, but they did help teach Mila a lot about manners.

A tea party felt like a perfect time to talk to Mila more about manners and being kind. We have these talks fairly often, but it was a great opportunity to demonstrate table manners.

First, we read Kindness Rules! We love Hello!Lucy and their set of books. Their My Mom is Magical is one of Mila’s favorites. We read it completely through and stopped on the pages that talked about eating nice and neat.

They used a wolf and the main character as examples. The wolf ate messy, but the elephant was full of manners.

To demonstrate messy and nice eating, Mila’s animal friends happily volunteered.

Her tiger ate messy without using utensils. Mickey Mouse used every manner and ate without making a mess.

I asked her to tell me the difference between the twos eating styles. She laughed wildly at the tiger, but ended up saying Mickey’s style was how she wanted to eat.

She continued eating, using her manners and making sure to remember how to eat neatly.

We took the time to talk about kindness words. I quizzed her on when to say please, excuse me, thank you, and so on. Kindness Rules! gave her a nice refresh and visuals on how it can be mean when we don’t use manners or are not kind to one another.

Overall, we had a fantastic tea party brunch. It wasn’t extravagant, but it was memorable in so many ways.

Does your toddler like tea parties? If not, what’s their favorite way to pretend play?

Also, I’m taking suggestions on different teas Mila would like. Let me know in the comments.

While you’re at it, please, check out these bloggers take on tea parties too:

Toddler Activity: Stormy Clouds Experiment

Rain rain, go away, come back another day! Or if you insist on staying, it’s a perfect time to introduce the water cycle to toddlers.

Mila LOVE experimenting. I try to tailor to her learning style as much as I can. She would prefer doing an experiment every day, but that’s not always possible. Thankfully, teaching her about rain and the water cycle gives us an amazing opportunity to get dirty and make what she calls Stormy Clouds.

This experiment is fun for both toddlers and adults. It not only talks about the rain cycle, but you can incorporate color recognition, the Scientific Method, and motor skills too; so much learning packed in one rainy day activity.

Here’s what you’ll need to make stormy clouds:

I’m going to first start off by saying this activity can get messy. Whenever there is food coloring, it somehow gets everywhere. I’d recommend placing a plate, mat, or some sort of paper under your big jar. Of course, food coloring will clean up, but it’s nice to just take some precautions.

Once you get an area where you’ll experiment set up, fill a big clear jar with water. The jar I used had a lip on it. I filled it up to the bottom of the lip so it gave me some room to put the shaving cream.

Next, mix your food coloring with water in little jars and bowls. Your child will be either scooping the colored water with a spoon or using a pipette. I used very small Tupperware containers for this step. For the water/food color combination, I used 8-10 drops of food coloring and eyeballed the water. I wasn’t too scientific about the measurements!

Then, add shaving cream to look like a cloud on top of the BIG jar of water. I did this step after the food coloring because Mila would not have had enough patience to wait for all of the colors.

After you’re set with the cloud, have your toddlers start spooning or dripping the dyed water over the could.

It takes a little bit for the water to penetrate through the cloud, but once it does, it’ll look like rain drops are coming out of it. Mila enjoyed using purple the best since it was easier to see. Although, it was fun to do a huge mix of colors.

Throughout the experiment, we talked about how clouds make the rain and then it goes down to Earth. I’m not a huge science buff, so I turned to Little Raindrop, which is a cute book that talks age appropriately about the water cycle! It has adorable pictures and tells the story about a single raindrop. Mila got this when she was one and it was too advanced for her. At almost three, it’s perfect!

Even if your child is not interested in learning about the water cycle or even into rain, the activity is fun to just make a mess and play with colors. I showed a group of adults this activity and they enjoyed it too. It really is fun watching the shaving cream turn different colors.

Next time it’s raining or anytime you want a hands on activity to do with your child, this Stormy Clouds Experiment is perfect!

If you liked or tried this activity, let me know in the comments!

Check out these rainy day activities from other moms!

Always Blow the Bubbles.

In a month, Mila will be three.

Three whole years of learning about and loving her. I’m going to admit, two has been my favorite. It’s a gift that I only have a month more to cherish.

If I could go back to a year ago and talk to myself about parenting, I’d tell myself one thing.

Always blow the bubbles.

When she has her bubble bottle outstretched to you, take that ten minutes and blow them. Even when you’re swamped with work and need to clean, blow the bubbles.

This is the purest time in their lives. The world around them is magical.

With all the worries adults have going on, bubbles are the only thing on a toddler’s mind. That and seeing their favorite smile in the world.

Bubbles are, of course, metaphoric.

They can be singing, or playing, or running, or listening, or dancing. Whatever it may be, when your child asks, try and blow the bubbles.

The years go so fast and in the moments you drop everything, time stands still.

Their laugh is all you can hear. And their smile… well, there hasn’t been a sweeter sight. They’re engrossed in the moment as much as you. All it took was focusing on this second.

Work, a dirty house, and other adults will always be around, but they won’t be little forever.

There will come a time where they don’t want you to blow bubbles. They’ll just do it themselves. The freedom you crave now will come and those toddler cuddles and desires will fade away.

Two and these toddler years are hard, but they go away so soon.

For us, two ends in a month.

If three-year-old Mila’s mom came to talk to me today, I bet she’d tell me the same advice…

Always blow the bubbles.

What advice would you give to toddler moms?

Weird Things My Toddler Does: Part 13

In all the weird things my toddler does, this one has me the most perplexed.

A few weeks ago, I bought Max, our dog, a new chew toy from chewy.com. This pink bunny would be perfect in distracting him away from all of Mila’s stuffed animals… or so I thought.

When I opened it out of the box, Max wagged his tail so much and was so excited to get a new toy. But, there was someone else who had their eye on it…

She still hasn’t let it go either.

Mila has taken claim to this stuffed bunny. Max isn’t even allowed looking at it without her interjecting. Before we leave the house, she hides it in her closet so he can’t get to it. It’s a cat and mouse game that I don’t quite understand.

Instead of her other stuffed animals being saved from Max’s love of chewing, she has protected this bunny with all of her might.

At least this is one toy that doesn’t go into the bathtub.

So, here’s my daughter with the dog’s her chew toy bunny. In her zoo full of crazy colored stuffed animals, for some weird reason, she’s crazy over this particular one.

Toddlers are just weird.

Weird Things My Toddler Does: Part 12

If you were wondering if I ran out of weird things Mila does last week, I didn’t. There was just other things to share.

Don’t worry, she’ll always be full of weird things.

Mila’s bedtime routine consists of brushing hair and teeth, reading books, and snuggling. But, a couple months ago, she added something new.

Every night before bed, Mila brings fruit snacks and Capri Suns for a midnight snack. It’s almost on cue. When she’s tired but still fighting sleep, she gets up and gets in the snack cabinet. Then comes with her hands full with these sweet treats.

Every. Single. Night.

I guess it’s sweet that she thinks about me and brings me snacks too. She could just keep them for herself… so that’s sweet.

It’s just a really weird thing to have added into a bedtime routine, especially after her teeth are brushed.

I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again, toddlers are just really weird.

Does your toddler ever bring food to bed?

One Way to Trick Your Toddler Into Brushing Their Teeth.

If your child is anything like mine, they can’t stay still. Especially when they’re doing something as mundane as brushing their teeth.

I’ve finally found the trick to get Mila to brush her teeth and do it right.

All it took was Pizza and his friends.

Okay, I know everyone loves Pizza updates. You’d never imagine how central he is in our everyday life. This time, it was finally for my advantage though.

Mila has had issues with brushing her teeth since the beginning. I would have to hold her down to get them cleaned

I did different tricks like making her laugh, having her brush mine then me hers, and changing her tooth paste and brushes. For a few months, I even told her they’d fall out if we didn’t brush them. Some things worked… for a little while.

This time though, I’ve found the golden ticket

Since Mila has started dance class, she’s become this little performer. All eyes have to be on her and she loves when she gets to teach dance moves.

One morning, when it was time to brush her teeth, she did her usual refusal.

She was playing with Pizza and his friends and a light bulb went off. I asked her if Pizza knew how to brush his teeth. She said no and I asked her if she wanted to teach him.

Weirdly, she said yes.

For the extended weekend, she had to have an audience while brushing her teeth. I set them up in the morning and she did her lesson.

Now that it’s routine, she doesn’t give any complaints when I ask her to brush her teeth.

All it took was the power of teaching, Pizza, and a few toys.

Does your child have any issues with teeth brushing? What are some tricks you’d share that made the journey easier?

Weird Things My Toddler Does: Part Nine

Mila is back doing her weird things, like normal. This one really makes me laugh, especially since I have no idea where she got it.

Like most kids, Mila likes to eat snow. She’ll get a handful, says something, and then eats it.

Well, I was curious as to what exactly she was saying. Sometimes toddlers speak really fast. Mila does when she’s excited!

Anyways, I figured it out. She calls the snow she’s going to eat snow cookies.

It’s the cutest, but weirdest thing to call snow. But at least she’s not asking me when Santa is coming back anymore.

I still have zero idea where she heard the phrase snow cookies. She insists that’s what they’re called. Of course, that means everyone around her calls then that.

I guess toddlers and their made up words are just meant to be weird.