For this one, you have to do a little preplanning.
The night before you want to do this activity, it has to be frozen. I used an old Tupperware container and filled it with water. Then, I added colored flowers that matched the Olympic Rings to the container.
To keep the flowers in place, I filled the containers lid and put something heavy on it in the freezer.
It ended up looking like this…
Next, I poured a little bit of table salt into a jar and got some brushes out too. To help the melt, I also gave Mila a little cup of water.
Everything was set into a bin to collect the water.
All I instructed Mila to do was rescue the ‘rings’ and that the salt helped make it melt.
While she worked hard on melting all the ice, we talked more about the Olympics and I showed her how it was spelled. She’s recognizing letters that are in her name and the ones she sees frequently!
She worked really hard on figuring out the best way to make the ice melt.
Her favorite was to dump a ton a salt on the ice, then water. It was so neat watching her figure out why it was melting and what helped.
It really did take her a while for all the ice to melt. I was impressed with her persistence.
Once it was melted, she enjoyed played with the letters and the flowers in the water. Water is always a great sensory component!
During this play time, Mila let me know her favorite Olympic sport was swimming… of course. She thinks it’s amazing how fast they can get through the water! I’ve also showed her some gymnastics routines that she enjoyed.
We always love sensory play and toddler activities.
It gives toddlers time to have fun while learning and parents time to get some things done! This Olympic Ice Play was a hit with Mila and I think a ton of other kids will enjoy it too!
Do you watch the Olympic Games? What’s your favorite sport?
Studios are holding sign ups and preparing for another great year. If you’re wondering if you should sign your toddler up for dance or what it’s even like, you’ve found the right post.
Here’s why Mila and I LOVE dance class and why your toddler should join in too!
Friends and Socialization
One of the biggest reasons I signed Mila up for dance was for socialization.
Since she plays by herself most of the time, I knew she needed to make friends. Let me tell you, her socialization and friend group most definitely expanded.
One of her favorite parts of going to dance class was seeing her friends. She learned how to play better with other kids, take turns, and the basics of friendship. That’s a skill that she’ll always have to use.
Plus, as a dance mom, I got to meet so many different parents. I’m so glad to know them and their kids.
Learn About Body Movement
Toddlers are awkward.
They fall and stumble. Somehow they’re always getting back up and running again.
Dance helps toddlers and kids feel comfortable in their own body. It lets them understand how to move certain parts and their capabilities.
I think Mila’s coordination levels went up since starting dance. Plus, she learned how to move her body so fast! Her teachers did an amazing job helping her learn all the moves and to trust her body at such an early age.
Practice Listening to Other Adults
Since I’m almost a full time teacher, but a long time sub, I selfishly wanted Mila to learn how to listen to other adults.
When they go to dance class, they are made to listen and be instructed by someone that’s not their parent. It can be difficult for them, but it’s so rewarding in the long run.
I’m sure that Mila will listen and do so well in preschool because of her experience in dance class.
It might seem like a small skill, but it’s helped her be more independent and happy with other trusted adults. I’m excited to meet her new teacher this year and to have Mila listen and love another supportive adult.
As an adult, I would never be able to get in stage and dance in front of a crowd. Yet, groups of toddlers, kids, and young adult dancers did at their recital last year.
It showed how confident they were in themselves.
Mila’s always been confident, but when she danced on stage, that confidence oozed out. It even helped her and her friends do their talent show.
As a mom of a little girl, I want her to project confidence through all aspects of her life. By being apart of dance, she gets to practice that at such a young age. That makes me a very proud dance mom.
They have FUN!
The most important aspect of anything during the toddler stage is having fun.
Let me tell you, toddler dance classes are chaotic to watch. At the beginning they’re running around crazy, but they’re smiling and laughing. By the end of the year, they know what’s expected of them and are still having fun.
Maybe I’ll call it organized chaos.
BUT… when they’re having fun they want to come back and learn more. Mila and I have so many great memories from dance class and are excited for another year of them.
Dance welcomes boys, girls, and whoever wants to join. It’s such an inclusive space that I’d recommend to everyone.
Local friends, dance studios are opening up. We go to Legacy Dance Studio and have had nothing but positive experiences. Mila and I would love to see you there too!
Have you ever signed your toddler up for classes or sports? What did you love about them?
As you walk through the trail, you get to read more pages in the book.
Mila loved this and was searching for the page stands. Throughout the walk, I asked her to recap what happened from the pages before. She did amazing and was really engaged with the Story Walk!
The walk also lets you explore the gardens more. It gives you beautiful views of the property and a little walking trail that is safe for kids. Mila’s favorite parts of the trail was walking by the pond and going into the woods.
This book choice was perfect for us too, since Mila loves to dance. She danced right with the different animals in the book.
It was a fun adventure through the gardens and I love seeing Mila’s love for reading expand. Spoiler alert, the giraffe dances at the end and Mila did a little celebration dance with him.
Check out the video at the end of this post.
Along the Story Walk was this big and beautiful, wooden octopus.
The octopus is all hand carved and hanging from a tree. He slightly sways if you touch him or the wind blows hard. This freaked Mila out a little, but she warmed right up to him.
I am completely amazed by all the details in the octopus. From the tentacle suckers to the big eyes, Mila and I both had a hard time walking away.
The size and detail reminded me of the wooden giants at the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest in Louisville. That was our last adventure before COVID. Except the giants were even bigger. It was still nice to be reminded of that memory.
When you go to Clary Gardens, definitely seek out the octopus.
Since I’ve become a mom, finding a place where Mila can play is a must. Clary Gardens has a big area set aside just for this!
There’s different areas for kids to crawl through, climb on, and play. The sandbox was Mila’s favorite! Fortunately, there were buckets and shovels already provided for kids to use.
I personally appreciated the vegetable garden areas. Mila and I were looking to see if any had grown and trying to identify the leaves. Just another learning opportunity that we had to take.
The beautiful artwork at the side of the play area was so cute too.
After her time in the sandbox, Mila pointed out the colors and different things on the mural. She immediately ran up to the butterflies and pretended to be one.
This would be a perfect spot for a play date. You could picnic here (or any of the gazebos) while the kids played. The kids would have so many options to play and moms could get some shade and catch up.
Here’s a little compilation video of our visit. My favorite is Mila’s dance at the end.
The gardens offer even more too. Not only can you get married here or hold an event, it has a beautiful amphitheater too. There’s a few plays by Rogue Elephant Productions coming up in the near future that I need to go see.
If you’re local to Coshocton, plan out your visit to the Clary Gardens soon!
Have you ever been to the Clary Gardens? If not, do you have local gardens that are similar?
On Wednesdays, we go to the market. More specifically, we head to the Tuscarawas Valley Farmers Market in Dover, Ohio for food, entertainment, and a fun time.
Open every Wednesday from 3-7pm during the months of June to mid-October, the Market sets up at the Tuscarawas County Fairgrounds. It’s open rain or shine.
Anytime we can support local farmers, makers, and businesses, we do! So, we grab our canvas bags and go shopping.
Mila loves interacting with all the people and I love knowing where our food is coming from.
It’s a perfect combination.
It’s so fun watching Mila interact and explore different foods. She loves to pick out zucchini, all fruits, and flowers. I love that everyone is patient with her (and me too!). Somehow I feel like this is only going to strengthen her relationship with food.
My favorite part is trying out different vegetables than what we would normally pick out.
We’ve tried different squashes, baby carrots, and a vegetable called a kohlrabi. Kohlrabi looks like an alien vegetable, but tastes like cauliflower. I have a recipe I’m going to share soon with it.
We also love the homemade jams, puff corn, hot sauces, and flowers too. I guess you can say we like everything there.
Every time we go, Mila enjoys picking out fresh cut flowers to take home.
They add so much beauty to our home and are different every week we go. That’s the magic about buying local, it’s whatever is growing or read that week.
When you go to the Market, you’re not just going to get produce and leave.
The library brings crafts for kids every other week to do. You can either make them there or take them home to do later.
There’s usually entertainment, such as local bands and musicians too. Mila and her friends danced for a while one week. They had so much fun, as well as everyone else around too. It’s so special to watch a community come together and enjoy the moment.
Another added bonus is the food trucks and stands that join in on the fun.
I don’t know if anyone else is like me, but after I get back from shopping I get tired. Instead of rushing home to make food, we love ordering food and eating there. They usually have brick oven pizza that tastes so good!
Mila usually had sampled all of our produce by the end, but never turns down macaroons or ice cream!
Once you do get home to make meals, you won’t be disappointed.
Last week, I made an amazing BLT with all local ingredients. It honestly tasted fresh and so much better than usual. I definitely need to pick up more tomatoes and bread this week!
We hope that you can make it to the Tuscarawas Valley Farmers Market this year!
It’s a great event for our community, way to educate our kids about food, and help grow our local commerce. You might even get to try an out of this world vegetable too!
Just watch out for Mila pushing her cart!
If you’ve ever been to the Tuscarawas Valley Farmers Market, what’s your favorite thing about it?
My faraway friends, do you have a local farmers market you like to attend?
Mila and I love to find quirky, local adventures. One of our favorite places to explore is the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock in Sugarcreek, Ohio.
It’s definitely worth the visit!
You’ll find this treasure located in downtown Sugarcreek, on the corner of Main Street and North Broadway.
We actually went to go out to the cuckoo clock, but got sidetracked by the Butterfly Exhibit at the Norma Johnson Center. If we’re nearby the clock, Mila and I like to get ice cream and watch the show.
It’s one of the places she asks to go quite frequently. I have no idea how she got so fascinated with it.
The clock plays it’s song and show every half hour in the summer. Its closed down in the winter, so be mindful of that if you’re planning a visit during the cooler months.
We got there a little early, so we walked around the block to explore… and take pictures.
The history of the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock is pretty cool. If you read the Ohio marker in the picture it tells you all about it.
Here’s a little recap of what it says:
Originally, the clock was at a local restaurant a few streets down. It was on the the cover of the Guinness Book of World Records in 1978. Then, after decades, it needed a major restoration. Two years after it was restored, the restaurant it was at closed down and the clock was moved to its current location.
I think knowing what the clock has been through and seeing the shear size of it, makes it even more impressive.
Once it was time for the clock to do its song and dance, Mila ran over to the bench.
The whole thing runs about five minutes.
It’s really cute to watch and Mila likes it too. You can always tell when it’s the half hour because there’s a little crowd all around the clock.
When it was over, Mila gave me her best cuckoo clock impression. I think she loves the dancing.
If you’re close to Sugarcreek or visiting Ohio, this should be on your list to see. It’s only a ten minute stop if you time it up right. Then you can get lunch, ice cream, or go shopping at the local shops.
It’s truly a sight to see and something that will make you smile. Your kids will love it too!
Local friends… have you ever seen the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock? What other fun things would you suggest people see?
Far away friends… what’s your closest “World’s Largest” to you?
Yes! You read that right. My three-year-old drew my latest tattoo. I loved it so much, I actually went and got it.
Tattoos are such a fun way to express yourself.
I have some that have a ton of meaning, one I just randomly got, and others that just make me smile. Yeah, they’re lifelong commitments and I know the whole ‘when you’re old’ comments. But, I still like them and want more.
This latest one will always be one of my favorites. I think I say that about all of mine.
Well, I really loved her creepy people and decided I wanted one of them tattooed on me.
So… I did it.
Before I went, I showed Mila the person I was getting. She was so ecstatic I was getting something she drew on me.
We talked about it a couple days before and I even heard her tell a few people too.
This is a big deal for her.
I love that I have the way she first drew people and seen the world. It reminds me that she pays most attention to facial expressions, if I’m paying attention to her, and legs. Which makes a lot of sense if you put yourself in a toddler’s shoes.
The tattoo took maybe thirty minutes to get. It was simple and quick to do.
This might be the first year that I’ve ever participated in Shark Week. They’re one of my biggest fears… good thing I live in Ohio. But, I’m raising Mila to be fearless, so we did a toddler-friendly shark inspired craft!
The set up is reminiscent of our Frida Kahlo portrait we did earlier this year. Just shark inspired.