Toddler Activity: Earth Day Painting

To celebrate our Earth on its special day, Mila created a beautiful Earth Day Painting.

Is there a huge possibility that more paint ended up on her than the canvas? Of course! But she had a lot of fun talking about the Earth and describing what she was painting.

As for me, I loved watching her creativity and seeing how much she actually notices the world around her.

Reliving curiosity about everything is the best part of parenting for me. Mila has taught me how to love our Earth and everything around us so much more deeply. It makes huge, paint messes like these not feel a burden to clean up. She makes life fun and happy.

I absolutely loved that proverb when I was looking information up about Earth Day. Being a mom and wondering what Mila’s future will be like made me have a connection with it. This proverb is just so powerful.

Anyways, thinking about Earth Day and her creativity led us to doing a painting.

If you want to do what we did, here’s what you’ll need:

This activity is super simple. I promise we had every intention on making neat little earths.

To prep, just grab something circular shaped that you don’t mind getting paint on. Then pour green and blue paint beside each other.

All you have to do is instruct your child to dip the ball in the paint and put it on the canvas.

The ball is way easier to paint with than food!

At some point, Mila decided she didn’t want to paint with the ball anymore. She dipped her finger in the green paint and slid it across her forehead.

I have no idea why this popped in her head, but I just let her do her thing.

I would NOT suggest letting them finger or hand paint if you’re unprepared. Paint went all over Mila’s clothes and the picnic bench. She was covered too.

But it was okay and washed off. The memory of watching her paint was way worth it.

She described she was painting rainbows and grass. The earths on the top of the canvas were clouds and the sky. She had a whole story for her artwork. It was the cutest thing.

The best part was how proud she was of her painting. When my mom came to pick Mila up, she showed off her work.

I love that she’s able to learn, but always put her twist on things.

As always, if you end up doing this activity, let me know in the comments or tag me on Instagram: @greyskies.rainbowhighs.

Check out some of these other Earth Day and natured inspired activities Mila and I have done. They’re a lot of fun!

Toddler Activity: Ocean Pollution Cleanup

Water sensory bins are perfect ways to help toddlers understand the world around them. For Earth Day, I wanted to talk to Mila about keeping our world clean. A perfect way to get her to connect was through an ocean pollution cleanup activity.

Since Mila loves the beach, I wanted her to know how not throwing trash away can hurt other living things environment.

Obviously, toddlers can’t understand the concept of the whole world at this age. We still want to teach them about their actions and the results after.

To connect Mila with ocean pollution, I used some toys and trash she sees every day.

Here’s what you’ll need if you try this water sensory bin:

  • A container – I reuse plastic storage drawers
  • Trash or unused crafting materials
  • Ocean animal toys
  • Reusable stickers
  • Strainer
  • Spoon

I placed Mila’s reusable mermaid and ocean stickers to the bottom of the container first. Also, I added some seashells and her favorite aquatic friends we have around the house.

Then, I filled up the container about half way.

We talked about how ocean animals (and mermaids of course) lived in the water. That all the oceans were their home. I asked her what makes a home? She said a clean place to have fun.

I’m pretty sure she saw my bowl full of trash at that moment.

After that question, I started throwing trash in the container. She definitely was a little confused. I told her sometimes the oceans get dirty because trash doesn’t get thrown away and other things don’t get recycled.

Soon, her ocean friends home were riddled with pollution. Until, I gave her the opportunity to cleanup!

I asked her if she wanted to help the ocean out and of course she agreed.

She used the spoon and strainer to fish out trash. Some of the trash was her fruit snacks, caps, and old ball she had in our house.

Honestly, her face seemed a little disgusted by all the trash. Somehow, she pushed through that phase and still had fun playing in the water.

Little by little, her hard work paid off. The ocean pollution cleanup was done!

We continued talking about trash and the ocean. She asked to do the activity again, and was still very concerned about saving her friends.

This water sensory was a great way to put environmental cleanup in Mila’s hands. She felt like she was helping the world around her and it might help teach her to do just that.

We love the Earth and connecting with all parts of nature. Activities, like this, can help our child love our world even more.

To find some other Earth Day activities, check out what these moms have planned:

If you liked this activity or do it in the future, let me know in the comments!

Toddler Activity: Nature Scavenger Hunt

With Earth Day coming up so soon, there’s a ton of crafts and activities circulating online. The best thing you can do with your child is get outside!

No matter if it’s walking on a trail or exploring your backyard, connecting with nature is good for you and the Earth. There’s so much healing that happens when you have fresh air and the grass under your feet. You might need to get a few more baths and showers, but totally worth it.

One way Mila and I keep busy outside is by doing a nature scavenger hunt.

This little board was easy to make. All I did was reuse a piece of cardboard and painted on different colored squares. To help with word recognition, I made sure to write the corresponding color.

To get the clips to stick, I hot glued them on there.

Mila is at the age where she can do this all by herself. So, it’s fun to make two to see the different items each collect.

In the past, I’ve picked up trash to show her how it’s harmful. Even though it’s colorful, I tell her that it doesn’t belong. We talk about what belongs in nature and she tells me trash belongs in the garbage. It’s also a great way to talk about recycling too!

The best part is just being outside.


Although we spend a ton of time out there, this activity extends play and lets us have other discussions too.

We love the Earth and want to make sure we can always spend our time safely outdoors. It may sound a little extreme, but keeping the world around us clean. Educating Mila about that is important to me since she loves it so much.

If you live in Ohio, like us, this might not be the best week to get outside since we’re expecting SNOW! But, this activity can be done on other days than Earth Day too.

As always, if you and your child do this activity, let me know in the comments below.

Toddler Activity: DIY Seed Bombs

With Earth Day coming up quickly, Mila and I have been making Earth friendly DIYs. Our favorite is seed bombs! They are messy and fun to make, but they lead to a summer of beautiful flowers.

Since we love picking flowers, this is a win all around!

This recipe comes from the Kids Art Box, which is an amazing subscription service that has activities curated for your child with all the supplies.

Here’s what you’ll need to make seed bombs:

As I said before, this can get quite messy, but toddlers love it!

Mila was able to help with every part of the activity. It’s a great way to help them with their motor and life skills by pouring and mixing. Plus, we counted everything we could. This is also a great time to talk about Earth Day and how we need to protect our Earth.

Anyways, back to how to make the seed bombs!

First, mix the dirt, flower, and water up until you get a sticky concoction. Once it starts sticking to the spoon and forming together, add the two packets of seeds too. Mix them evenly in the mixture.

Then either use cookie cutter to form shapes or make little balls.

Let them dry out. I would definitely recommend waiting two days for them to dry out and then plant.

It’s really that simple!

Mila loved helping out with this project. It was a great way to talk to her about how plants and flowers grow. Actually seeing the seeds helped her understand where plants came from. In our “Identifying Parts of Flowers” activity, seeds were the biggest confusion for her. This DIY helped cross that bridge!

Another great idea to use with seed bombs is to give to family members. With Mother’s Day here, they’re a great DIY present for aunts, grandmas, and other motherly figures!

If you try this activity out or have any suggestions to make these seed bombs better, let me know in the comments.

Self Care: Keep Growing

I can’t explain how important self care is at least once a week.

By the end of the week, I usually can feel my body and mind aching for a little me time. Just a few moments of not being a mom or any of my roles. Five minutes of just being me.

I was able to write another poem and knew I needed to share it here.

Keep growing…

even when things pull you
apart,
it’s just the time to show heart.

you can do all hard
things,
no matter what life brings.

just keep growing.

Throughout life, there’s always times where it feels constant. You might feel like different responsibilities are ripping you apart. Before letting it tear you down, center yourself. Realize how powerful you are. All you have to do is keep growing and going.

After filling out my planner this week, my thoughts were running; which isn’t the goal for that activity. It was nice to be able to take a few minutes and just paint.

I love plants. They remind me we can grow through any conditions, but when we try to give them what they need, they thrive. Humans aren’t too different from plants in that aspect. I see my plants that are slow growing right now, even during spring. They remind me of myself and getting through these last two weeks of school.

Soon, I’ll be thriving. I need to just keep growing.

How have you practiced self care this week?

Toddler Activity: Safari Animal Hunt

With rainy days ahead, there’s a ton of fun, indoor activities you can do with your toddler. Since Mila loves zoo animals right now and hide and seek, I’ve combined the two to a Safari Animal Hunt!

You can easily do this activity too! It’s a great way for toddlers to learn about different animals, find hidden objects, and be creative in hiding too.

Here’s what you’ll need:

I made this printable for Mila and she used it as a matching sheet for the animals she found. You’re more than welcome to download and print to use. We used a full sheet of paper, but they can easily be made into half sheets.

I make sure to challenge Mila in saying all of the animals full names. Her favorite to say is hippopotamus and it’s just as cute to hear her say it too.

Next time, I’ll have to make a water animal hunt. It could be a really cool sensory bin!

All you have to do for this activity is have your toddler cover their eyes or go into another room. Then hide all the animals around a single room or your house. We did just one room to make it a little easier for Mila. You can hide at whatever difficulty rating you think would be best for your toddler.

Then, have your toddler put the printable in the middle of the room. Instruct them to find the different animals and match them to the paper.

After they find everything, have them tell you what animal is which.

At this point, they may want to hide their animals for you. Mila had a blast at hiding her animals for me. It was fun watching her try to keep her hiding places a secret.

This is an activity that can last for a while.

It might be good to find out your toddler’s hiding spots. Especially if you’re missing markets, crayons, and scissors! You learn as much about your toddler as they do about safari animals.

If you do this activity, let me know in the comments!

Before you go, check out these other indoor activities you can do with your kids.

5 Tips to a Successful Garden

Last year, Mila and I tried our best to maintain a toddler garden. With a little practice, we’ve found five tips that really help our garden grow and thrive.

I will admit, we’ve acquired a few houseplants since our go at it last year. It’s really helped up understand what plants need to grow. Germinating seeds are a little more tricky than having houseplants, but it’s the same principal.

We ended up buying an herb kit from the dollar store to practice. It costed $5 for the seeds, soil, and container. I thought it was a great deal. They’re a little wonky right now since they’re growing towards our grow light, but they’ll even out soon!

Here’s what we did to make them sprout.

Warmth

One of the best things you can do for your seeds is to plant them in a warm environment.

At this point, they don’t need a ton of sun. Windowsills can be really cold in April, so keeping them in the kitchen or another warm room of your house is perfect. This will help promote them to germinate and sprout. They also grow quicker when they’re warm.

If they get too cold, they’ll freeze and won’t be viable to sprout.

Humidity

Besides warmth, the other most important component of starting seeds is humidity.

If the heat in your house is on, your home probably doesn’t have a humid environment for the seeds. But, there are easy ways to create it.

The easiest way is to use saran wrap. After you plant your seeds and spray water on them, just tear off a piece of saran wrap and put it over your containers. This and heat will create a humid environment that your seeds will thrive in.

It may not be the prettiest sight, but it really does help!

You could also use plastic takeout boxes or Tupperware to create the same effect too!

Shallow Planting

I think this is where Mila and I messed up the most last year!

Your seeds do not need to be buried in your soil mix. They need to be able to feel the warmth and humidity. Last year, I put them further down and although some sprouted, it was too deep. This year, I mostly spread the seeds on top of the soil and gently pressed them in the soil.

It took them a shorter amount of time to sprout this year and they’re really thriving. I believe this tip was the biggest factor there.

Patience

Gardening and growing herbs and vegetables from seeds take a lot of time and patience.

It can take up to two weeks for seeds to sprout. If they get overwatered or it’s too cold, they can end up rotting and not even sprout. There’s a lot of components and science to starting a garden.

This garden is a great time to talk to your toddler or child of any age about patience. They’ll be excited to check and see if their plants have sprouted every chance they can get. Once they finally start to, your child will be so proud of their efforts. You will be too!

Love

They say plants grow better when listening to happy music. Think how much they can grow from kind words and love from you.

Gardening truly is a labor of love. Not only to the plants, but with you and your little ones too. There are so many teachable moments and just teaching your child that something can grow from the love you put into it sticks.

I might not be the gardening guru, but these tips have helped us out this year. Mila is so excited to see her garden grow!

When our plants get bigger and it’s time to switch pots, I’ll update with those tips too.

If you’re wondering if you should start a garden, you most definitely should! Start small and see what works for you this year. By next year, you can take on more if you’d like. Either way, it can be a fun and ongoing experiment with your kids.

Before you go, check out how these other moms garden with their children:

As always, let me know in the comments if you have any other tips or tricks. Or you can let me know what you’re growing this year.

5 Reasons We Love the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Ohio is full of things to do. One of our favorite places to go are the many zoos our state has to offer. This time, we visited the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo!

To celebrate Jensen’s fifth birthday, I thought it’d be a fun idea to go. Mila is really into animals right now and I love seeing them as well. We found out that April is a perfect time to go, even though we had a sprinkle of rain.

This zoo is HUGE. We didn’t even get to go to two big attractions because there was so much to go through. There’s always next time though.

One tip for when you explore this zoo is to bring your walking shoes! There’s a lot of walking to get to the different attractions. When you do check out these five things we loved about the Cleveland Metroparks zoo.

The Interaction

One of the best parts of this zoo is all the interactions toddlers through adults can utilize.

The zoo key program allows visitors to receive so much information. All you have to do is purchase them and go to the front of different exhibits to find out all about the animals. Mila will love this even more when she’s older.

Her favorite interaction was the animal statues. I think she sat on every single one she could. It was a way for her to get an up close view of the actual animals she just seen. She was very observant and pointed out all of their features. Every parent was respectful of this and wiped down the statues afterwards. I really do think these interactions let Mila explore and understand more.

Hopefully by the next time we visit this zoo, all the playground and other explorative areas will be open. All of these areas are my favorite part of the zoo, but unfortunately they’re closed. The play area in the Australia section is huge and I’m sure Mila would have loved it.

There’s also opportunities to feed different animals and other interactive parts that we didn’t get to do because I thought Mila was a little too young.

The Animals

I’m unsure if it was the time of the year or the animals were just in a really good mood, but they were all out to impress.

Every attraction we went to we could see the animals. Usually in the summer they’re trying to cool off. Since it was a chilly April day, they all wanted to walk around and play. It was amazing to see some of the animals we normally don’t get to see.

Two of my favorites were the big cats and the red pandas.

There are a few different species of big cats, but I was obsessed with the tiger and snow leopard. The tiger was just walking around and kept going right in front of us. He was absolutely beautiful. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one that close up and moving around. The snow leopard, on the other hand, just made me laugh. He was sleepy and hanging out on a little perch just watching. I came to the conclusion that’s how I would be if I was a big cat too.

Then, the red pandas were out to play. It was like they were playing tag. It was adorable and I think we spent way too much time just watching and giggling at them. Again, this isn’t an animal we get to see often, so it was a different experience.

Mila loved the tundra exhibit, especially the wolves. She also enjoyed seeing the African animals, such as the elephants, giraffes, and the lions. They’re all animals she’s very familiar with and she was amazed that she could actually see them in person. The only animals that scared her were the kangaroos. She said they looked like big rats!

The Flamingos

No matter how much we loved all the other animals, the flamingos hold a special place in Mila’s heart. They were the last animals we saw and she asked about them the entire time.

Before we left, we stood for at least twenty minutes just watching them.

We talked about why they were pink and how their ‘knees’ are actually their ankles. She asked why they were squawking at each other too. Mostly, she kept saying she wanted to bet them and let them know they were being ‘good boys.’

Of course we didn’t let her in the enclosure, but she did get her flamingo fix in for the day!

The Carrousel

As mentioned before, there was a little rain that happened. Thankfully, we were right by the carrousel.

Mila has been on one before, but not since she’s been able to remember. While we were in line, she was determined to ride the shark, but a little boy got to it first. After much deliberation, she finally chose the donkey to ride.

She really had a blast. We were able to escape the sprinkle and enjoy a fun ride. It was also great seeing her be independent and wanting to ride by herself.

After the ride was over, she wanted to go back on again and again. It actually lasted for quite awhile which was nice! The carrousel only costed three dollars per adult, which was definitely worth the cost!

The Dippin’ Dots

I mean, this is totally self explanatory.

Believe me, I know Dippin’ Dots are available at most zoos throughout the country. Yet, they’re just extra special when you’re there.

We absolutely loved this visit to the zoo and will definitely be headed back in the near future. Next time we go, we want to make sure to visit “The Rainforest” and the primate area since we missed them this visit.

It truly was a great way to celebrate Jensen’s day!

A big thank you to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo for having a great place for families to go and learn about animals we normally would never see. It’s always nice to see animals happy and well taken care of! All the zoo employees that we encountered were nice and helpful too!

Have you ever been to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo? Or where is your favorite zoo that Mila and I can visit in the future? Ohio and beyond!

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:

3 Self Care Tips for Busy Moms.

After another intense week of grief, schoolwork, and parenting, Self Care Sunday is here.

Now I know it’s still hard find a moment to yourself when you’re a mom, but taking a few moments for yourself is crucial. Set your child up with an activity, go outside with them, or give them a few minutes of screen time. Setting time aside for you is needed.

Even though my time is short today, I wanted to share with you three tips I use every Sunday to recoup. It’s not a ton of time, but it makes me feel prepared and refreshed for the next week.

Use a planner.

If I didn’t have a planner or make lists of what needed done every week, I’d be lost.

I try to put important dates in there every month, but like to review each week. Things pop up and I need to know the game plan.

If you’re juggling more than a few things like me, I’d highly suggest using different colored pens. It makes your schedule more appealing to look at and it’s always fun to write with gel pens. I guess you could say I’ll always have the heart of a middle school girl.

Don’t let your planner make you stressed out. Sometimes if I plan too far in advance, I want to get everything done. Your planner should help guide you, not stress you.

Looking for some planners? Check out this one from Alena Michelle. I love how it breaks down habits, weekly schedules, and your role goals. Or if you prefer a classic planner with lots of space to write, try something like this out.

Take ten minutes for you.

Yes. You deserve ten minutes ALL to yourself.

This shouldn’t be the ten minutes with your planner, but ten minutes (or more if you can) of something you actually want to do. Maybe this is just sitting in silence, listening to your favorite songs or podcasts, or reading. Trust me, after you take that small chunk of time for yourself, you’ll feel refreshed.

Here’s a list of toddler activities you can use to occupy them and give yourself ten or more minutes.

Today, I read rupi kaur’s home body. Rupi is a poet that I’ve followed on Instagram for a long time. Her writing is beautiful and I really connect with her words. She’s relevant to what’s going on in the world and I think anyone can find a connection through her writing.

In my ten minutes today, I read, cried, and felt a lot better about the week and where I’m at with life.

Drink water.

This might sound like a silly tip, but drink some water.

I’ve cut out almost everything besides water with mio added to it. Admittedly, I still can’t cut out my Cherry Coke with dinner, but what can you do.

Anyways, there are SO many benefits that come with drinking water. A big glass always makes me feel better. Plus, my body is thanking me for all the water. My skins been clearer and I’m not craving sugar as much.

The drink your water tip is not just for Sundays, but you could do something special today. Find a water bottle that you love to motivate you to keep drinking water. Lately, I’ve bought different cups and water bottles to keep me wanting to drink more. One of my favorites is my S’well bottle because it stays cold all day. Plus, I love the marbled look.

Pun intended, but you deserve self care and to feel your best.

Did you get any self care time in this week? What can you do to get some in this week?