This school year is feeling strange for us all. For us, things don’t feel quite as weird since we are not yet at the school-aged stage, but it still has bummed me out that we can’t attend the toddler class we were originally enrolled in.
It is still really important to me that Hudson gets a year full of learning and play! I am the type of person that needs a very clear plan and structure to make this happen. I have pulled on some of my teacher skills, and I have begun the process of making a 26-week ABC curriculum. This will help kick off our Tot School/Mommy Play-school (basically think of it as the pre-preschool).
Quick side-note, if you too have a 2-3 year-old and would like to implement a Tot School at home with your little one, I have found this resource from Mrs. Plemon’s Kindergarten to be super helpful.
I am creating this as we go, but this first week has proven to be a lot of fun! Most of the learning and activities will take place within our home, but I have coordinated with a few mom friends to add a social element (we are being careful and safe, but after months of very minimal social interactions with friends, H and I both desperately need this social space). With one set of friends, we will be doing weekly adventure field trips. With the other set of friends, we will be decorating the letter of the week and reading a book together.
If you would like to download the alphabet book I created, you can purchase it for just $2 on my Teachers Pay Teachers Store! The book is bright and colorful and image based. I intentionally made the letters extra big and it is perfect for your little learner.
Each week, I will be summarizing our week of learning here on the blog. I will be linking to the books, products and resources we use! I hope you find this helpful and fun!
You can download a full week of letter A curriculum for FREE on my TpT shop! If you download it, I would love for you to leave a review! Within this curriculum, you will find a weekly calendar that gives you a book and an activity for each day of the week! I also list the early learning standards. Within the curriculum, I give you a few learning activities to do at-home. I also outline some activity ideas not included in the packet. The main intention behind this weekly curriculum I am making, is to give you some inspiration and structure! It is easy to get lost in the rabbit hole that is Pinterest, so I do the hard work of planning and brainstorming for you! All you need to do is print and have fun with your little one!
Monday: Airplane Park Field Trip + Airplane Size Sorting
We went to Jose Del Valle Park in Lakewood. Of course, most of this park is still closed, but we did all of our activities by the big airplane structure within the park. It made for fun photos and was the perfect setting for learning about airplanes! We read some airplane books, made paper airplanes, and did the airplane size sorting activity (in free curriculum here). This is a simple activity and works best if you laminate the airplanes so they are sturdy and can be used again and again. This activity is great for color recognition + size sorting! I found it worked best as an invitation-to-play. I simply set it out in our living room and Hudson gravitated right towards it.
Tuesday: Letter A Apple Stamping
Each week, we are going to decorate the letter of the week! By the end of the 26 weeks, I will laminate each letter and bind it together in a book. This will be a great keepsake for H and his friends! If you too would like to create an alphabet book with your little one, you can purchase it for just $2 on my Tpt Store. This week, we read Ten Apples Up on Top and then decorated the letter A by stamping apple halves. This is a fun and simple activity! We of course added a bit of glitter at the end for fun!
Wednesday: Alligator Counting Activity
In the afternoon, after Hudson’s nap, I set up an outdoor classroom for him since it was so hot in our house. We read There’s An Alligator Under My Bed by Mercer Mayer. This is a new favorite book of ours and is perfect for the letter A week. During this particular read-aloud, I really emphasized the word alligator and had H point to the alligator on each page. He was really into it. The counting part of the lesson, he was not as into, but this will take time. He is only 2! We kept it light and fun as we worked on our counting skills from 1-5. Again, you can get these “How Many Alligators Are Under My Bed?” counting mats for FREE when you download my Letter A Week Curriculum.
Thursday: Apple Pie Scissor Cutting Tray + Apple Pie Making
This day was all about apple pie! In the morning, I set up a really simple scissor cutting practice tray. These apple pie printables are a fun way to practice scissor cutting skills and work on understanding parts of a whole. This was a bit advanced for my 2-year-old, but would be perfect for your 3-4 year-old. We focused on working with scissors to cut our pretend apple pie made of play-dough.
In the afternoon, we read the book, How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World. Then, we worked in the kitchen and with some help from Grammy and Auntie, made a delicious apple pie! Another great way to make this activity more toddler-friendly, is to buy pre-made pie dough and just have your little one mix apple filling and place in pie tin. The whole process of making a pie was a bit too long for little H.
Friday: Ants Go Marching Activity + Ants on a Log Snack Making
To finish off the week, we focused on ants! I set-up a make-your-own ants on a log snack tray. I let H do it all on his own. He really enjoyed the independence. This is a fun snack tray and a built-in activity that only requires celery sticks, peanut butter, and raisins!
After this activity, we listened to the Ants Go Marching One by One and used the little laminated ants I made to form the A and a (this activity is also in my free letter A curriculum). Again, H was not as into this, but we will eventually get there. It was still a great activity to show H what the Aa looks like and it paired nicely with the book, Hey, Little Ant. We both really enjoy this story and it is a great one for teaching about different perspectives.
Letter A Sensory Bin
At the start of each week, I will be creating a sensory bin with all letter A things for Hudson to look at and interact with throughout the week.
You can download this week of curriculum for free at my TpT store!
The following is our story walking through miscarriage. I wrote everything as we were going through it. It might feel a bit rambling and disjointed at parts, but hey, that is the sound of grief.
My heart literally feels like it is on fire. My stomach feels empty and dead. My vision feels blurry from all the crying. My soul feels weary.
Literally two days ago, we were scheduling the date of our gender reveal as we found out I would be able to take a 10-week blood test to find out our baby’s gender. Now, instead of the gender reveal on the calendar, I have a week full of blood work, doctor’s appointments, and a scheduled D&C surgery.
Things certainly have taken a turn.
Our dialogue in the past week has been light and fun. I bet we are having a girl. No, we are definitely having a boy. How should we do the reveal? Should Hudson hit the ball or throw the ball?
Oh how I wish we could back to these simple dilemmas.
Now everything feels different. Most of our dialogue is in-between tears. There are long stretches of silence and loud, painful wails. There are words about blood work and hCG levels and D&C surgery.
My talks with the Lord have definitely been different lately. There has been less words. More pauses. A few more questions. But in this season where I can’t really find the exact words to pray, I am still finding myself saying, I know you are in this Lord. We trust you. We love you.
Even in the darkness, I can’t help but feel God’s hand over all of this. I feel Him in the loving text messages we have received. In the extra snuggles Hudson has so generously offered over to us. In the early morning prayers. In the most beautiful bouquet of flowers. He is caring for us in such tangible ways.
The Ultrasound that Changed Everything
It has been a few days since I last wrote. If I am honest, writing is not really the thing I want to be doing right now. Mostly, I just want to watch Gilmore Girls and eat warm doughnuts and sit on the couch. But, I forced myself to get up early this morning because I know this time is sacred and I do want to put into words how I have been feeling lately.
I actually want to start back on Friday. The day everything changed for us. Due to Covid, Lance was unable to come with me to any of the doctor’s appointments. With our pregnancy with Hudson, he literally came to every single appointment. Initially, we both felt disappointed that he could not see our baby on the ultrasound, but I promised to video it for him. Little did we both know that him not being there would be so incredibly lonely for us both. I needed Lance and he couldn’t even sit with me in the lobby.
The whole process of the appointment made everything worse. I still believe it could have been handled with so much more sensitivity and kindness. I get it. Sadly, miscarriage is common. 1 in 4 common. This is another day for these doctors and nurses, but for us, it is literally the worst day of our lives. It is our greatest fear coming true.
The Texting Ultrasound Tech
Everything felt so procedural. During the ultrasound, there was no explanation or anything as to why the baby looked so tiny and motionless. I asked if everything was okay because he or she looked so small and the ultrasound tech simply replied with, yes, looks small. Again, I get it. I don’t think he legally was able to directly tell me the baby was not alive, but why couldn’t he have grabbed the doctor so she could directly tell me? Instead, he told me to go back to the lobby and the doctor would review the results with me.
So I silently sat myself back down. This time I could not read my book that I was easily flipping through a few minutes prior to that terrible ultrasound. I texted Lance, something is wrong. And then I began to Google incessantly.
Is it okay if baby is measuring 8 weeks when you are supposed to be 10 weeks pregnant?
Are there special cases where heartbeat is not detected at 8 weeks?
Are there reasons ultrasound tech does not talk much during ultrasound?
Symptoms of miscarriage.
And I did this for an hour and a half alone. Do you know how long an hour and a half feels when you are unconfident about the health of your baby? Eternity. Especially when you are sitting alone.
I have replayed this window of time in my head over and over again. And the thing that sticks with me most is that ultrasound tech guy. As I Googled with tears in my eyes and became increasingly more certain that the news I was waiting for would not be good news, I heard him laughing. He was laughing and texting and chatting. He knew my baby was not alive. Again, I get it. He sees this type of thing often. He does not know me or my life or all our hopes and dreams we had for this baby. Yet still, the casualness of it all, stings my heart.
Mask Full of Tears
When I was finally called into the doctor’s office, the doctor was quick to deliver the words I had been dreading for an hour and a half. It looks like you are having a miscarriage.
I tried to hold it together. But within seconds, the tears flooded and were held within my mask.
The doctor was kind, but she was also very medical. Saying things like this is so common, 1 in 4 pregnancies result in miscarriage, it is nothing you did, chromosomal abnormality.
Yet still, it felt too numbers-based. Too-medical. Not enough compassion.
She explained the next steps. Blood work, follow-up ultrasound, and scheduled D&C surgery. And that was it. Still in the middle of tears, I was expected to go back out there, see that ultrasound tech as he continued to text on his phone, and make my next appointment that would confirm our greatest fear.
I felt so vulnerable and alone. I needed a second. So I went to the bathroom. Ran cold water on my face. Took a few deep breaths. Whispered to myself everything is going to be okay. Put on a fake smile and went out to make the appointment.
Again, I was met with procedural coldness. I don’t know exactly what I was expecting. Maybe a look in my eyes and a gentle smile. Maybe a word of encouragement. Instead, it was all business. She handed me over the forms of blood work that had hCG and abortion highlighted on it. Seeing that word “abortion” on the blood work forms brought me such intense sadness. Did you know that? Did you know that the medical term for miscarriage is abortion? Over the course of the week I had to see that word on every paperwork I signed and confirmed. Words are powerful. Every time I saw that word it stung my heart. This was not my choice. We wanted this life so desperately. Abortion did not at all accurately describe what was happening in our lives.
There were no instructions about where to get blood work or hours of operation or anything. This might seem small, but when you are just given terrible news, it helps to have very clear instructions and steps. I again felt a bit lost, but I was in no mood to ask questions. As soon as she handed me the appointment card, it felt like I ran out of the office. I wanted to escape that terrible place. I held it together in those minutes and steps from office to elevator to car. And the moment my car door slammed, everything broke loose from me and I wailed.
I called Lance. I wailed some more. And I drove home in confusion and despair. The only thing I could think about was how I wanted a milkshake and hot fries. Grief makes you long for comfort.
From the moment I got home, there was an overflow of tears from all three of us. Hudson is at a very sweet stage where he feels so deeply what you are feeling. When he saw us crying, he was compelled to cry. And not just cry. It really seemed like he understood the severity of our pain. He felt the loss of his baby brother or sister just as much as we did. It was like he knew something was wrong. He grabbed our little doppler that we were using just earlier that day in hopes we would hear the heartbeat on our own. He remembered this and grabbed it and kept bringing it to me saying, “heartbeat, heartbeat, heartbeat!” I sadly had to tell him that we were not certain if there was a heartbeat anymore.
The milkshake we got that night tasted salty. It was a sweet comfort, but I am pretty sure it was mixed with my tears.
In the intense sadness, the Lord was gentle with us and allowed our weekend to be lighter than we imagined to be possible. Sunday was Lance’s birthday. Terrible timing in some ways, but by the grace of God, we were able to celebrate. We were able to be honest and say we are both so very sad, but we can somehow still enjoy this day. We escaped to Malibu for a much needed day with just the three of us. We skipped church and responsibilities for a day. We were sad. We were grieving. But the Lord met us where we were that weekend and somehow gave us lighter hearts. We had the perfect lunch in an outdoor gastropub in Malibu. We literally had the patio all to ourselves. It was quiet and peaceful. We explored beach caves and took in the salty, fresh air. There was an underlying sadness in it all, but it was still, despite everything, a good day.
Handle with Care
And then Monday hit and it was like we woke up and realized this was in fact our reality.
Monday brought a wave of deep sadness. It all seemed to finally hit me. It was the start of a week full of bloodwork, doctor’s appointments, a final ultrasound, and surgery. Not a ton to look forward to. This day, I felt especially on edge. As we waited to be called back for bloodwork, we went to my OB’s office to explain to them how I was unable to get blood drawn on Saturday since the Lap Corp was closed. I needed to move my Tuesday doctor’s appointment for this reason. I was fully caught off guard when I was met with a harsh tone questioning if I tried all the Lap Corp locations. A harsh tone questioning my decision making was the last thing I needed as I was going through a miscarriage!
This small interaction made me lose it. I held it together, but as we left the office I again burst into tears. Do they realize what is going on here? I felt like I needed to be wearing a shirt that stated I needed to be handled with extra care and gentleness. I really wish it was explained to me which locations were open. Grief puts a hold on logic. I did not think to call up a bunch of locations. I simply drove to the one my map showed me and the sign said closed, so I went home.
The rest of the week was weird. There was a lot of grief, but it was also mixed with a tiny amount of hope. I was still carrying our baby. There was still no blood. There were no external symptoms that I was miscarrying. If I had not gone into that ultrasound, I would still be strutting around happily with my little bump.
A Missed Miscarriage
To me, this has been one of the most confusing parts. I had a missed miscarriage, which means that my body never registered that the pregnancy was no longer viable. My body did not want to let go. And in some ways this frustrates me, but in a lot of other ways it makes me feel proud. Just like my heart, my whole body wanted to hold onto this little life as long as possible. By the time I had my surgery, it was already three weeks that the baby’s heartbeat stopped. Even though in some ways I feel like my body failed me, I also feel like it fought so hard to keep and protect our baby. And for that I feel thankful.
So in the days between Monday and Thursday (the day the miscarriage was officially confirmed), I spent most of my time either on the couch, at an appointment or in prayer praying for some kind of miracle. There was a lot of Grey’s Anatomy and Gilmore Girls consumed. Lots of Googling. Lots of sitting and waiting and blood work.
This in-between time was painful. I knew deep down what the result of the week would be, but in these days there was still a small string of hope. I was still carrying a baby. It was likely not alive, but it was still in my tummy and things just felt strange.
Closure + Covid Tests
In a lot of ways, Thursday brought a sense of closure. Thursday brought peace in a strange way and I actually felt like I could finally and fully grieve our lost baby. Thursday also brought frustration as I again was stuck in a doctor’s office waiting over an hour after the final ultrasound again showed me our sweet tiny babe with no heartbeat.
Then I had to deal with an uninterested and uninformed lady who was in charge of scheduling my surgery. I had to get a rapid result Covid test in order to have my surgery the next day. She had no idea where I could get one, so as she sat on the phone distracted, I had to research on my own the best place to get Covid test results the same day. Again, it might sound small, but this was just another stressor that added to my grief.
After an exhausting day of running around doing yet another round of bloodwork and driving to get the Covid test, I finally returned to my spot on the couch. And this is the place I have spent most of my time since surgery on Friday. I don’t really care to go into the details, but the whole procedure went smoothly. The nurses were kind. And Taylor Swift thoughtfully released a new album the day before, so Folklore kept me company as I waited alone on the hospital bed. For what it was, the Lord absolutely used these small details to bring me comfort and peace as I was literally losing my baby from within me.
Days Following D&C Surgery
In the days following the procedure, I have found myself not crying much. This seemed strange at first, but grief operates in a weird way. I have good days and bad days. Days where my heart stings all day long and days where I feel light and hopeful. In the good and the bad, Lance and I have felt so deeply cared for. From the flowers delivered to our door to the gracious friends and family bringing over a meal to the text check-ins and phone calls, we feel the love. We feel covered in prayers and we feel well taken care of.
I am not exactly sure what the next days or even weeks will look like. I am taking things one day at a time. Actually one moment at a time. I have minimized my days and really only focusing on the things that matter. I mostly stay at home. I occasionally do a few normal things, like dishes and laundry. I return to the couch every time I begin to feel overwhelmed and tired. I am taking things slow. I am running. I am praying. I am asking for help. I have never walked through something like this before and I don’t really know how to do it well. All I do know is that I need grace and a lot of it. I need Jesus more now that I ever thought I did before.
I share this story because I hope it can give you a deeper perspective on the word miscarriage. I hope it can better humanize this very real (and sadly, very common) experience. I hope it can make you feel a little less alone if you too have experienced this type of loss or are currently going through it today. I hope it can help you better understand the experience if you have a friend or family member going through it. Ultimately, I hope our story points you to a loving Father. One who doesn’t always prevent his children from enduring pain and loss, but One that walks right alongside us through it all.
Also, I share this story because I am terrible at faking things. I am terrible at pretending everything is okay when I just lost our baby. I can’t simply move on. I need to share. I need to put words to how I am feeling. And mostly, I need to honor our baby. We lost our baby so early that I don’t even have a healthy ultrasound photo. I do not have any official pregnancy announcement photo. All I have are these words and a heart longing to one day meet our baby in heaven.
This is the perfect book for purple week and also the perfect book for our world right now.
This book is fun, colorful, and bright! And it is also packed with content that speaks really well to young children about what it looks like to be a kind advocate in our current world. The book explains how “purple people” ask great questions, laugh a lot, use their voice, work hard, and are true to themselves.
I love this book for not only teaching about the color purple, but also for teaching about being curious, kind, inclusive, and standing up for what is right. This is a beautiful book and I am thankful we have it on our bookshelf (thanks mom!)
Monday: Purple Sensory Bin
This week’s bin consisted of: purple pom poms, popsicle sticks, big lego blocks, wooden letters, an elephant, plastic shapes, foam shapes, pipe cleaners, and feathers!
Like most weeks, we spent most of our time building tall towers with the items in the bin!
I have noticed that creating these color sensory bins have been a great way to have his eyes concentrated on a specific color. While he quite honestly does not spent a ton of time playing with the bin, it sits out in our playroom all week and I can’t help but believe that it’s mere presence is helping his mind form ideas around each respective color.
Tuesday: Mix Red + Blue Paint in a Bag
This activity is perfect if you are looking for a quick, no-mess paint experience with your baby or toddler.
All you need is:
I simply put a piece of paper and wrote “purple” on it. I let Hudson squeeze some red and blue paint into the ziplock bag. He enjoyed incorporating the colors into the bag! While his interest in it did not last long, he was still amazed to see how the red and blue mixed together to create purple!
Wednesday: Toilet Paper Octopus Craft + Ocean Wave Sensory Play
We love using toilet paper rolls for crafts! This purple octopus turned out so cute and it was super simple to construct.
All you need is:
Toilet paper roll craft
Purple construction paper cut into a small circle
2 big googley eyes
First, paint the toilet paper roll purple. I let H do this and helped fill in the spaces when he was done. Add eyes and smile to to construction paper circle and attach to the top of roll. Let dry. Once fully dry, make 8 cuts of equal distance to right below the octopus head. This will create the 8 tentacles. To make more octopus-like, I curled tentacles upward.
To keep the play going, I used the octopus craft as inspiration for another sensory bin.
All you need is:
Blue tissue paper (a few sheets)
This bin turned out to be a big hit for Hudson! I simply took the tissue paper and twisted and curled it to make it look wave-like. I threw the “waves” and the octopus in a bin and let Hudson play freely. It was a bit different than I expected, but Hudson was occupied for over 15-minutes and really enjoyed playing with the tissue paper.
Thursday: Purple Lavender Rice + Epsom Salt Sensory Play
There is nothing quite like the smell of lavender. Adults love it and kids do too! This sensory bin is the perfect set-up right before naptime or bedtime. Hudson really enjoyed it and definiely seemed more relaxed afterwards.
All you need is:
Purple Dye (or red and blue dye)
Lavender essential oil
Epsom Salt (ours was already lavender-scented)
Spoons, cups, funnel, bowl
Most colored rice recipes call for vinegar, but I found that adding just water worked! Add rice, water, dye, and essential oil to ziplock bag. Fully incorporate colors into rice and set out to dry. I found that it seemed to be dry pretty quickly and after a few minutes, I poured purple rice into the bin.
For epsom salt, I did the same process, except NO water. Just add salt and dye to ziplock bag and incorporate the color fully. Let dry and then also pour into bin. You can have the rice and salt separated so your little one can mix together. I pre-mixed it because our salt looked more blue-like than purple.
I then added purple flowers, a funnel, a bowl, and a wooden spoon and Hudson immediately began to play. Sensory bins are not always a hit for H, but this particular one was very successful! He played with it multiple times throughout the week.
Friday: Grape Pom Pom Counting Activity
This is the perfect counting activity to pair with learning about the color purple!
To be sent the printables I created for this activity, subscribe below and I will email the PDF version!
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All you need is:
Purple pom poms
Grapes for snacking (optional, but always a good idea!)
We worked with one number at a time and I had Hudson count out the correct number of pom poms. I intentionally made the circles on the worksheets extra large to make it extra clear for our little learners!
Hudson is not quite at the stage where he sits down and is super focused in a counting activity like this. And that is totally okay! I still believe me sitting down to intentionally model what it looks like to count out the pom poms and practice numbers 1-5 is important for him. He will eventually get to the point where he will sit down with me and be more focused.
Saturday: Purple Collage
Like the end of every color week, we end with a collage activity.
For this collage, we used the following purple materials: paint, construction paper cut up into shapes, pipe-cleaner, popsicle sticks, feathers, and pom poms.
This was the first week, that Hudson was actually interested in really sitting down and gluing items on paper! This was exciting to me because it shows the value in staying consistent with activities, even when at first your child might not seem as interested. We made this collage a bit more special by adding purple paint + glitter. Instead of taking out and dirtying a paint brush, I picked a purple flower from our yard and had H use it as a paintbrush! This is a fun way to mix up the painting experience.
Bonus Activity Idea
H really enjoys going on “nature hunts.” This week, we went on a purple flower hunt! He immediately grabbed his binoculars and basket and was eager to find some purple flowers in our front yard. This is a great activity to get outside and one that requires no set-up. Hudson is instantly happy and I was pleasantly surprised at how well he was able to identify the different colors we saw in nature!
Father’s Day is this weekend! To celebrate Father’s Day this year, I wanted to share a simple and fun card idea Hudson and I did together this week! It involves colored pasta, which we played with before putting the card together as a way to review our colors.
How to Dye Pasta
This was our first time dyeing pasta and it is super simple. It is a fun morning activity to have your little one help with.
All you need is:
Bow tie Pasta (we just used a total of 16)
Rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover or vinegar (ideally vinegar, but nail polish remover was the only thing I had on hand)
ziplock bags (one for each color)
one mason jar
To dye pasta, simply put the amount of pasta you wish to dye that color in ziplock bag. Place bag in mason jar (see picture above). Then, put one tablespoon of liquid (we used nail polish remover) and as many drops of food coloring. The more drops of food coloring, the more vibrant the color on the pasta. Seal bag and shake and incorporate the color throughout the pasta. Repeat this for each color.
Set pasta to dry on a piece or parchment paper or wax paper. Let dry for 3-4 hours.
Bowtie Father’s Day Card
For the card, all you need is:
White card stock
Construction paper to cut out “big” shirt for dad and “small” shirt for child.
Photo cut out of head of dad and child
Glitter (optional, but fun for decorating)
As Hudson was taking his nap, I setup everything for the card. I glued the shirts, glued the photos, and wrote a Father’s Day message.
When Hudson was up, he got some time to play with the colored pasta and we worked on sorting the pasta based on color. This was a fun way for us to review colors!
Once he was over the pasta, I let him choose the bowtie he wanted to give to dad and himself. He chose red and so then he found the matching red bowtie and placed it on his shirt. I helped him glue the pasta on the shirt. Then, he decorated the shirts with glue and glitter.
This was super simple, but the perfect card! I love how it incorporates a matching photo of my husband and son (they are both wearing Yankee baseball caps!). The red bow tie pasta is also a really fun and unique touch.
Hope everyone has an amazing day celebrating all the amazing dads out there!
And to Lance, thank you for truly being the best dad to Hudson. You love our son so well and I am so thankful!
For Hudson’s 2nd birthday party, we celebrated just with family at our home. Before the pandemic, I had grand plans of throwing him a party at an indoor soccer facility and inviting lots of people and planning lots of things. Of course all of those plans in my head did not happen, but the result was actually much more enjoyable for us all.
We had a small gathering with family spread out throughout the day. I bought most of the decorations at the Dollar Tree and barely did anything homemade. This was quite the contrast from his first birthday party, which was baseball-themed and I spent way too much energy, stress and time on little details that ultimately did not matter much.
This year was different. 2020 will forever be the year that changed everything. While some of the changes have been hard to swallow, there have been some changes during these times of quarantine that have actually been very good for my own soul. The elimination of elaborate party planning has definitely been one of those good things for me personally.
Hudson’s 2nd birthday celebration was not elaborate or costly or extravagant. It was simple. It was small. And it was good. I enjoyed myself so much more with this type of celebration versus his first birthday party where I was so concerned that everything had to be perfect. I am learning that the small, casual gatherings, filled with love are actually the types of parties that our children prefer!
With that said, I wanted to share some of the fun details from Hudson’s trash truck-themed party! Even though I kept decorations to a minimum, I had a lot of fun with this trash truck theme!
There are a ton of cute trash truck invitations out there, but since we were not throwing a big party, I did not want to use any budget on invitations. So instead, I quickly designed a PDF invite that I texted to family members. I am by no means a professional designer and it is not perfect, but I thought it was a fun (and free) way to invite family. It is also something for me to keep and remember from his 2nd birthday.
I used Canva to design this. Canva has a free option and it is a really great tool for design, especially for non-designers. If you would like me to send you this trash truck invite PDF, enter your email below, and I will send you an editable PDF version so you can quickly make your own changes!
Send Me Editable Trash Truck Invite for FREE!
The Birthday Shirt
My mother-in-law found this shirt for Hudson from Etsy and it came right in time! It was perfect and a fun way thing for him to wear all weekend long as we celebrated trash truck-style.
This year, I decided to not do a million DIY decoration projects and I was so much happier. I found this amazing trash truck birthday banner on Amazon and it was perfect. Since most of the party was held outside we hung it outside on our house wall. It was the perfect addition for the theme and it required no extra work on my part- it was even pre-strung!
For balloons, I just did a small order of a few green balloons and a big gold “2” foil balloon! Party City delivered it directly to our house, which made the whole balloon process even simpler and less stressful. I also got a smaller 2 foil balloon to put on our mantel. I had leftover banners from last year’s birthday so made a simple, “Hudson is 2” setup. This was a nice spot to get photos of H and for people to put presents.
All the other decorations, were from Dollar Tree. I got strung green pom-poms, which made a nice touch by where all the food was. All paper good (plates, napkins, straws) were also from the Dollar Tree.
To top it off, I put out a couple of Hudson’s toy trash trucks, put straws and utensils in little blue bins (these were perfect and dropped off by our local trash truck company), and blew up a few extra balloons for the floors. It was all super simple, but it still felt festive and very on theme!
I had grand plans of making a homemade chocolate cake with a chocolate buttercream frosting. As I was making this cake the day before his party, the whole cake literally began to crumble as I was frosting it. Hours of work in the kitchen literally crumbled before my eyes. After shedding a few tears of frustration and stuffing my face with chocolate cake, I realized a store bought chocolate cake would be just fine.
Even though the cake was store bought, I made it still feel homemade by:
Putting it on a pretty cake platter
Topping it off with a toy trash truck and lots of candy, which was supposed to look like “trash” coming from the truck!
Even with the cake fiasco, this alternative, turned out really cute and was a fun centerpiece to have out on our living room table!
This was all my mother. She spent weeks making this handmade trash truck piñata for H! It looks just like the trash trucks in our neighborhood! It was such a sweet and unique decoration for his party. It of course was a big hit for H, as he got to pull the string from the bottom, and let out all the balls and candy!
Every holiday and birthday, I always make sure one of the gifts is a book. This year, we got him The Wheels on the Garbage Truck by Jeffrey Burton. I was not sure if this would be a hit, but Hudson loves it. It goes to the tune of “The Wheels on the Bus” and it points out all the different parts of a trash truck! This is a new favorite.
The night before his birthday, we let him open one present. It was trash truck pajamas for him to wear that night! He of course does not get super excited over clothing, but they looked so cute on him. They were perfect for the next morning when all the trash truck drivers in our neighborhood stopped by to wish him a happy birthday! He wore the pajama bottoms with his birthday top!
Hudson’s 2nd birthday was so special and one I will always remember. The thing that put this birthday over the top was the kindness demonstrated by our trash truck drivers. On the morning of his birthday, which happened to fall on trash truck day, all three drivers stopped by to wish H a happy birthday. They did not merely honk and drive away. They stopped and chatted and let Hudson hop up on the truck and pull the horn! They went above and beyond to make this trash truck-loving birthday boy extra happy!
This year as I planned Hudson’s simple trash truck party, I was reminded of a few things.
Store bought cake is not the end of the world
A simple call (in my case, calling the department of sanitation for our city) can be the thing that really makes the birthday extra special
This week we learned all about the color BLUE! It was a week full of the ocean, Cookie Monster, and denim. Blue is just one of those colors that bring a sense of peace. For me, blue always brings me to the ocean, the sky, and the lovely outdoors. While H is still a bit stuck on the color green, he slowly warmed up this new color as I introduced some fun, hands-on blue activities!
This is an Eric Carle book that I was not familiar with at first, but I love this story for teaching not only about the color blue, but also about creativity. The story is about an artist who paints animals different colors. All the colors he paints the animals are not typically how that animal is portrayed.
The horses are blue and the lions are green. This is an excellent story to teach little ones about the importance of creativity and thinking outside of the box. It is also the perfect book to pair with a painting activity: “Paint the Horse Blue” (activity description can be found below). Read-aloud can be found here.
This is a classic and another perfect book for blue week. There are lots of books in this series, but I am linking to the original one. This story is perfect for teaching animal sounds! Hudson especially loves how little blue truck goes “beep!”
Boynton is one of my favorite children’s authors. Her stories are perfect for baby and toddlers. They typically are not super wordy and have super fun and engaging illustrations. Even though it is perfect for little ones, I always find her books to be deeply entertaining. This particular book is excellent not just for the color blue, but also for teaching all colors and clothes! Throughout the simple story, it follows a confused turkey that has trouble figuring out how to properly put clothes on. This is a good one.
If you have a train-obsessed toddler, like me, reading some Thomas the Train books is a must during blue week. I am linking to an electronic reader book set we have that is intended for slightly older children; however, we don’t use the electronic part. I just read some of the different stories to Hudson, and he really enjoys them! This set will eventually be helpful when he is beginning to learn to read on his own.
Blue Sensory Bin
There were a lot of fun things in our blue bin this week that made playing even more fun.
This week’s bin consisted of: blue trash bins, big legos, foam shapes, blocks, train tracks, Thomas trains (lots of them), letters, balls, envelopes, wooden blocks, daddy shark puzzle piece, popsicle sticks, pom poms, and a few other random things.
We had so many Thomas trains that we played a lot with trains in the morning time. We built tracks using only the blue pieces and had the Thomas trains race down!
Monday: Paint Cookie Monster Blue + Cookie Counting Activity
To start off blue week, we did a couple activities around our favorite blue, cookie-loving monster…Cookie Monster!
For this paint setup, all you need is:
Coloring sheet of Cookie Monster (we used this one)
An easel setup (optional)
Once H painted Cookie Monster as much as he wanted, I helped him fill in the white spaces. Once it dried, I cut it out so he could hold and play with it.
In the afternoon, we continued with the Cookie Monster theme and did a really simple counting activity.
For this cookie counting activity, all you need is:
Blue cupcake liner
2 big googley eyes
Black construction paper cut out like a smile
White card stock
4 small cookies (I use the ones from the tub at Trader Joe’s)
To construct this simple Cookie Monster craft, glue a blue cupcake liner on left side of card stock. Glue eyes and mouth on top. With the marker, write out numbers 1-4 (or whatever amount you would like to work on with your little one).
Before I brought out the cookies, I explained to H that we were going to spend a couple minutes practicing counting. I clearly told him he had to first practice with me and then he could eat the cookies. This definitely grabbed his attention and made him much more invested and excited to get the counting done, so he could gobble up the cookies.
At this age, it is important to keep learning super fun and light. We ran through the numbers 1-4 a few times as we counted the 4 cookies on the paper. I then let him eat them! Fun and simple and a great way to introduce counting.
Tuesday: Ocean in A Bottle
The ocean is definitely one of our favorite blue things. After a morning visit to the beach, I set up a ocean in a bottle activity for H in the afternoon. It is really simple and results in a fun sensory play for little ones to shake and play with after.
This is a good activity to have setup before your little one is up! It is also a great activity to practice pouring skills. With a little help, H used the funnel to pour the blue water into the water bottle. He then threw in the different items he wanted in his bottle. Once he was finished, I put the cap back on and sealed it with tape. Then, your little one can shake and play with the bottle! It turned out really pretty and it was fun to watch the sand flow throughout the blue water.
Wednesday: Blue Sand Art
With some of the extra sand I had lying around, I decided to dye it blue. This made for a really fun sand art activity.
To make the sand blue, simply place sand in sealed zip lock bag, add a few drops of blue dye, and incorporate dye into the sand. Keep adding dye until the sand is the color blue you prefer.
H really enjoyed playing with the blue sand. I let him play with it a bit and then, using the glue I made a wave design on the paper. H really enjoyed using the spoon to scoop the sand onto the paper. This is a great activity to practice transferring skills.
The end result of our blue sand waves turned out really fun!
Thursday: Paint The Horse Blue Activity (based off of an Eric Carle book)
This was an Eric Carle book I was unfamiliar with, but we both really enjoyed it. The blue horse is the familiar horse from the beloved Brown Bear, Brown Bear.
For this blue horse activity, all you need is:
The book (we were not able to get a copy in time, so we listened to the read-aloud version on Youtube).
A copy of the book or Brown Bear, Brown Bear (use the book to trace the horse)
Friday: Blue Chia Sensory Play with Boats
Chia seeds make for really fun sensory play! The texture is slick and slimy, without all of the mess and stickiness of regular slime.
For this sensory bin, all you need is:
1 cup chia seeds
4 cups water + a little extra to top it off
12 drops of blue food coloring
Bowl of water
Simply, combine water, chia seeds, and food coloring in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours (ideally overnight). Take out of the refrigerator and fill the mixture into a tray for your little one to play with. Place a bowl of water and the boats out for little ones to use for play. I added a bit of extra water to make the chia mixture more ocean-like.
H really enjoyed moving the boats through the chia! He especially enjoyed the bowl of water and spent most of his time sitting in it! The chia can stick on hands, so the bowl of water was helpful for this.
This can get messy, so be be careful with clothes! This is a good activity to do in diapers or bathing suites.
Saturday: Blue Collage Activity
To finish off our color week, we always make a collage of that particular color.
For this collage we used the following blue materials: letter and number stickers, popsicle sticks, foam shapes, envelope, construction paper cut into squares, pom-poms
Earlier in the week, H painted blue on blue construction paper. To reuse this piece of art, I cut it into squares and put it out as a collage material option. This is a great way to use excess art you do not have a place for!
I was making a sign for H’s birthday and had blue letter and number stickers out. H got a hold of these and decorated most of his collage with these stickers. So, this collage has its own unique look!
Blue week was a lot of fun. This a great color to explore during summer…it is perfect for water play and the ocean! Next week, we will be reviewing colors and doing some birthday-themed activities! My baby turns 2 this week!
This week was all about the color GREEN! It was a week full of frogs, slime, dinosaurs, and leaf hunts! Green is already becoming H’s favorite color. Most of the week he was shouting, “Green! Green! Green!” It makes sense why he loves this color so much. Most of his favorite things revolve around this color: gardening, trash trucks, and dinosaurs just to name a few!
This book is part of a series of many other books about Froggy. We did a lot of crafts around frogs, so this was a great book to pair with those crafts. This particular Froggy book is also perfect if you have a little one learning how to swim! The book shows how Froggy overcomes his fear and learns how to swim with the help from his mom. The Froggy books tend to be a bit wordier, but my almost 2-year old really enjoyed the entire story. It can easily be shortened by just focusing on the illustrations.
This was another childhood favorite of mine and the perfect book for green week! This is another book about a frog, so it works well paired with frog activities. The illustrations are fun and the storyline is compelling with a plot twist towards the end. After just one read, H was hooked and kept saying “Wilma!”
Arnold also has a book called Huggly’s Pizza, which H thoroughly enjoyed as well. Huggly is a green monster that lives in a slime pit. This is another book that works well with green week. It is actually quite a long story, but H loved it and kept asking for it again and again.
For this week’s color bin, we had LOTS of things that were green.
This week’s bin consisted of: green train tracks, big lego blocks, popsicle sticks, feathers, pipe cleaners, shapes, grandpa shark puzzle piece, plate, toy peas, palm tree Duplo Lego pieces, foam blocks, balls, Percey trains, and a few other random green things.
Since we had SO many green legos, we spent some time early in our week building tall green towers!
Monday: Plant Something Green
With this past Monday being a holiday, Memorial Day, we did not do many planned activities, but we did plant some basil! This past week was National Children’s Gardening week, so it was a perfect way to celebrate the week. H helped me shovel dirt in the pot, which he of course loved. I gave him a straw to poke holes in the dirt and showed him how to carefully place the seeds in.
We talked about how the tiny seeds are going to grow into green basil for us to eat. I then let him use his watering can to water the freshly planted seeds. Be sure to only fill up the watering can with however much water you would like the plant to have. H over watered it a tad!
Tuesday: Jumping Frog Origami Craft
As I spent a lot of time with my grandma who was Japanese, I grew up really enjoying origami. This jumping frog origami from Red Ted Art is really simple to fold and great for young kids. While the folds are still too hard for H, he enjoyed watching me make the folds and explaining to him what I was doing. To get him more involved with the process, I let him color with a green marker on the frog’s back. I also let him help me glue the googley eyes on.
Hudson loved playing with the final product! He loved watching it jump around. Even hours after we made these jumping frogs, he went back to play with them some more. That is always a sign of a good craft!
This activity could easily be extended into a more active activity. We didn’t have time for this, but after making these jumping frogs, you could play a “Jumping Lily Pad” game. You could either cut out lily pads with green construction paper or draw them on the sidewalk with green chalk. This could be a great way to teach numbers too. You could number each lily pad and call out a number for them to jump on to!
Wednesday: Green Slime + Dinosaurs
We made green slime THREE TIMES this week, and if I am honest, even the final batch did not turn out great. Next slime recipe I think I am going to try with Borax. This is the recipe I used and even after pouring in way more water and contact solution, it was way too sticky. So if anyone has the perfect slime recipe, let me know! I also was hoping to make it glittery by adding green sparkles. The sparkles would probably have showed up better with clear Elmer’s glue.
It was still a fun process to make with H! We threw in some of his miniature dinosaurs into the slime, which he seemed to really like. It was fun for him to pull out the dinosaurs and see the elasticity of the slime. Since our slime was SO sticky, I threw it all in a bag, which made for good mess-free sensory play.
Thursday Morning: Build-A-Dino Play-dough Tray
This play-dough tray was a hit! It was a super simple set-up with minimal materials. For the homemade playdough, I used Must Have Mom’s green jello play-dough recipe. It was a great recipe, but definitely needed a fair amount of flour to be added towards the end because it was still pretty sticky. Using Jello or Kool-Aid mixes in playdough recipes is a great way to add color + smell!
For the tray, I used a cracker and cheese platter. I put out some googley eyes, cut up pipe cleaners, some feathers, a roller, and a few other playdough tools. So simple and something that H keeps coming back to!
Thursday Afternoon: Toilet Paper Roll Frog Craft
Last week’s bee toilet paper roll craft was such a hit that we did another one this week! I had more time, so I was able to set-up this craft before he woke up and that made a big difference. Right when he woke up, he was able to start creating! It made it easier for the both of us.
Toilet paper roll
2 big googley eyes
Green construction paper cut into a circle (frog’s head) and two legs
Cut piece of red pipe cleaner (curl with finger to make it look like aa tongue)
Green glitter glue (optional, but a fun way for little one to decorate the frog)
Invite your little one to paint toilet paper roll green. H was not super interested in this part, so he mostly watched it be put together. Towards the end, he loved squeezing green glitter glue all over the toilet paper roll. This addition made the final product look really fun and sparkley.
This is the perfect craft to chase your little one around with. You can make frog noises, “ribbit, ribbit!” and practice hopping like a frog together. We even named our frog Wilma and then read the book I mentioned above, Green Wilma.
Friday: Herb Watercolor Painting + Leaf Tracing
Herb watercolor painting was a simple activity that turned out really beautiful and even smelled like rosemary!
Rosemary or other herbs
Watercolors (we mostly just used the different shades of green)
Cup of water
Simply, dip rosemary into water and then watercolor, and stamp it all over the paper. The rosemary made a really interesting pattern that a typical paintbrush cannot.
For the leaf tracing, we first went on a leaf hunt right outside our front door. I gave H a set of binoculars and a basket to collect the leaves. Since he is so into gardening, he really enjoyed finding and pulling leaves off bushes and trees in our front yard.
Green glitter glue (optional)
For the leaf tracing, simply place the leaves under the white paper and color with crayon on the paper. The shape and lines of the leaf will appear. It looked really pretty to use different shades of green.
Like most crafts, H’s favorite part was squeezing glitter glue everywhere. If you have a child that like mine that is not super into crafts, finding the one element they do enjoy is a great way to get them more involved. For H that is squeezing glue everywhere!
Saturday: Green Collage Activity
At the end of each color week we make a collage with items of that particular color. Once we finish this color unit, I will bind each collage into a book for H to flip through.
For this collage weused the following green materials:feathers, popsicle sticks, crayons, pipe cleaners, foam shapes.
Like I say every week, at this stage, the collage is very much a team effort. H needs help with gluing, but he likes to point where he would like the item to be placed.
Green week was a lot of fun! Now, on to the color blue! I will have a full week of blue-inspired activities next week!
This week we learned all about the color YELLOW! It was a week full of sunshine, lemonade, and buzzing bumble bees! There is something about the color yellow that just makes you happy. Our week of play seemed to feel happier and lighter as we explored this bright and summery color.
This is a great story if you have a little one that loves vehicles! We listened to “Yellow Submarines” by the Beatles a lot this week, so out of curiosity I wanted to see if there was a book about a yellow submarine. And there is! This is not only a perfect yellow-themed book to read, it is also very informative. The authors go into great detail describing the purpose of a submarine and the different parts! If you do not have access to get a copy of this book, there is a great read-aloud version on Youtube.
This one is another great yellow-vehicle story! There even is a mention of a crane, which is one of H’s current obsessions. It is a perfect book for babies and little ones with shorter attention spans! There are very few words and the images are bright and engaging. It is a simple storyline with a happy ending of the yellow copter saving the teacher that is stuck in a ferris wheel. This would be another perfect book for yellow week. If you do not have a copy easily accessible, there is a read-aloud version for this story as well.
We also read a couple books this week that had yellow characters and objects in them. Spot’s Birthday Partyby Eric Hill or any of the Spot books are fun ones to read and point out how Spot and Sally are yellow doggies.
Any of the Curious George books would also be great to read during this week with the bright yellow book covers + the man with the yellow hat!
Monday Morning: Yellow Sensory Bin
For this week’s bin, it was not difficult to find an abundance of yellow things!
This week’s bin consisted of: Yellow blocks, balls, pegs, train tracks, big lego blocks, plastic coins, stars, shapes, giraffe, toy pan, plastic cheese, finger puppet chick, pom poms, popsicle sticks, feathers, foam shapes, textured material, tractors, a Lego Duplo submarine, and a few other random yellow things.
I have noticed that H has not been very interested in playing with the bin throughout the week, but I still think creating the bin with him is a great way to teach a specific color. This week I included him in the process of helping mama find all the yellow things in our playroom. He seemed to really enjoy this!
Monday Afternoon: Yellow Bubble Foam + Vehicle Play
In the afternoon, I made some yellow bubble foam. There are tons of recipes and play ideas out there for bubble foam. I was inspired by Bored Toddler’s recipe and setup. Bubble foam is super simple to whip up, literally!
All you need is:
½ cup bubble bath (tear-free)
¼ cup water
A few drops of food dye for color
I added some yellow food coloring drops to make it go along with our color week and then simply whipped it up with a hand-blender. I put the setting on high and it quickly became a thicker consistency. I would recommend whipping it in a bowl and then pouring it into the bin you plan to have your children play with.
Hudson got super excited when he saw the yellow foam. He started clapping his hands and jumping up and down. I threw in some small yellow tractors, which got him even more excited. After playing with the bubble foam and tractors for a bit, he quickly became uninterested.
To make the activity last a bit longer, I created a “Yellow Truck Wash.” I set up a bucket with soapy water, handed him a sponge, and he loved it. Just make sure the trucks you let your little ones wash are okay with getting water on them!
Tuesday: Apple Star Stamps + Lemon Moon Stamps
This craft did not turn out exactly how I imagined, but it still fun to show H how when you cut an apple in half, a star shape is revealed.
To create this star stamp: Simply cut apple in half to create two parts, the top and the bottom. I then cut away the edges to make a smaller square shape. This proved to help make the star more visible when stamped.
To create this moon stamp: Simply cut a lemon in half. Then, cut a way a small chunk to give it a more moon-like appearance.
Other materials you will need:
Black construction paper
Yellow paint (if you are doing this project with a baby that still puts things to their mouth, try a safe-taste paint recipe).
White chalk to create a title or to let you little one draw on finished product
Glue and glitter to add a final touch!
Quite honestly, H was not super into the stamping process. It was mostly me showing him how to do it. However, he did really enjoy dripping glue everywhere and shaking on the glitter. Especially when you do crafts with little ones under 2, it is definitely not guaranteed they will be into it. I still believe a craft is a success if there is a small part they find interest in! For this one, it was the glue + the glitter.
Wednesday: Lemonade and Lemon Bar Picnic + Lemon Scoop Activity
Naturally, when you are learning about the color, lemonade and lemon bars must be on the list!
Grammy brought over an entire bag of lemons and we ended up using the entire bag for both the lemonade and lemon bars.
We used this lemonade recipe. We used an electric juice squeezer that made it easy for H to help squeeze the lemons. H and his auntie squeezed all the lemons together! After we made the lemonade, we enjoyed some sunshine and sipped our lemonade in the backyard!
Before we squeezed more lemons for the lemon bars, we made a fun game out of the remaining lemons. This Lemon Scoop Game is SO simple and H literally had the best time. I simply but a bowl of lemons on one side and an empty bowl on the other side. I gave him a big serving spoon and had him scoop the lemons and race them over to the empty bowl. I made it feel like a race and said on your mark, get set, go! Everytime he got all the lemons into the bowl, I cheered and he got super excited and asked for more.
Thursday: Toilet Paper Roll Bee Craft
For this craft, you will need:
Toilet paper roll
Yellow and black paint
Card stock paper (we used yellow)
Googly eyes (we used extra big ones)
Pipe cleaners (again, we used yellow)
This bee craft turned out SUPER cute. The process, however, was a bit more tedious. I realized mid-craft this was a bit more challenging for H to get involved. I was planning on having him paint the yellow stripes on the bee, but that proved to be too challenging for him. He was more interested in wildly painting on the yellow construction paper. I let him to do this with the yellow and black paint. I then took this artwork and cut out two oval shapes for the wings. It made the wings look super unique and it was a great way to showcase H’s artwork.
After the stripes were painted, I cut out a cicle for the head, and glued all the parts together! We glued big googly eyes on the head and I drew a nose and smile. For the antennas I cut pieces of yellow pipe cleaner and used scotch tape to attach to the back of its head.
Even though H was not super into this craft, he loved the final product! This craft created even more play and imagination as I ran around the house chasing him with the bee. The toilet paper roll makes it the perfect finger puppet too!
A fun book to pair with this bee craft that we love: Orville: The Bumble Bee Who Didn’t Belive He Could Fly. This book has beautiful illustrations! It is a sweet story of a bumble bee that through the encouragement of his friends eventually comes to believe that he can fly, even with small wings.
Friday: Turn the Baseballs into Softballs Painting Activity
Our Friday was super full, so I did a super simple paint set up on the easle board. I simply drew three baseballs on white card stock. I then gave H a paint brush and some yellow paint and told him to paint the baseballs yellow. I also had a white baseball and yellow softball displayed for him to show him the difference!
Once your little one is finished painting the baseballs yellow, you could cut the circles out and let them play with the dried product!
Saturday: Yellow Collage Activity
Our week was pretty full, so this collage activity fit into our week better as a Saturday morning project. This would be another great setup for really any early morning activity. H is usually more fresh and willing to go along with my different crafts and activities earlier in the day!
For this collage weused the following yellow materials: feathers, popsicle sticks, pom poms, origami paper cut into squares, pipe cleaners, foam shapes.
At this stage with H, projects like this are definitely still a team effort. Similarly to the bee project, even when he doesn’t in the moment seem super into it, he loves the final product. In his playroom, I have been displaying each collage with the appropriate color flashcard. He loves seeing his artwork displayed at eye-level!
Ideas We Did Not Get To:
Lion Craft (using picked yellow flowers as mane)
Yellow Fire Hydrant Scavenger Hunt
Paint the M yellow on Waste Management Trash Truck
Drop off sunflowers to neighbors with a sweet note
For week 2 of our color unit, we focused on the color orange! It is amazing when your mind is focused on a particular thing, how much you begin to notice. Orange has never been a favorite color of mine, but after spending a week all about orange, I must say I have a greater appreciation for the way it points us to things.
Hudson and I noticed how much orange was everywhere along the street and within construction sites. Traffic cones, street barricades, the letters on trucks. Orange is everywhere. It is not the type of color that gets all the glory, like blue or green, but our world simply would not function as well without this bright color pointing us into the right direction. So thank you, orange!
With this new appreciation for all things orange, Hudson and I had a lot of fun exploring and learning about this color through books, play, and hands-on activities.
This book was the perfect book to read again and again this week. It is a great book to teach all the different colors through types of food and the animals that eat each color. The illustrations are beautiful and bright.
We do not have a copy of this book, so we watched it on Youtube. It is a really cute story about a blob that only does orange things. The word “orange” is repeated a lot throughout the story, so it is great for little learners. Also, orange blob only plays with orange soccer balls, which made Hudson excited, since he too loves playing soccer.
Even though this book is centered around planting pumpkin seeds for Halloween, it is still a fun one to read in the spring as it explains the process of growing a pumpkin. I love the bright illustrations of this book and the way it shows the changing colors of the pumpkins as they grow.
After noticing how much orange is within construction sites, we pulled this book off our shelf. This is definitely a favorite of Hudson’s. He loves the flaps and loves naming the different trucks and equipment. He gets very excited at the crane and bulldozer page. A fun orange activity with this book is to point out all the orange cones.
Monday: Orange Sensory Bin + Orange Scavenger Walk
For this week’s bin, we collected as many orange things we could find. I definitely noticed we had less orange items than red items from last week, but we had enough to make a relatively full bin.
Our orange bin consisted of: Lego Duplo clown fish, big orange lego blocks, plush basketball, orange drumsticks, orange train tracks, foam pumpkin cutouts, lion and tiger finger puppets, orange letters, orange popsicle sticks, orange pom poms, and a few other random orange things.
Similar to last week, we made towers with the orange blocks in the bin and we made an orange line after reading The Lineup Book.
On our orange scavenger walk, we got the chance to really notice the beautiful orange flowers in our neighbor’s frontyard and the orange leaves on the ground. This orange scavenger hunt continued throughout our week, as we noticed how the Ex on the FedEx truck is orange and even sometimes green. We noticed the amount of orange traffic cones and signs and barricades out right now due to the quarantine. Even the rocks along the shore were all orange!
This color scavenger walk is a great activity to carry throughout your week. You might just be surprised at how much one particular color is in fact all around you!
Tuesday: Squeeze Orange Juice + Bouncing Basketball Craft
Grammy came over this Tuesday morning and Hudson and her together squeezed some fresh orange juice. Hudson loves making juice with his grammy and especially loves drinking it after!
Like the baseball craft from last week, I wanted to come up with an orange craft that was aligned with Hudson’s interests. Naturally, I landed on basketballs. For this simple craft, I took a paper cup and covered the opening with foil. We used this as a cicle stamp to create the basketball shape. I actually really like the way the foil stamp turned out! It created circles that have a more textured look on paper. A sponge cut into a circle would also work well for this craft.
On the cardstock, I created dotted “bounces” as a guide to encourage him to stamp the basketball at the bottom and top of the peaks. This allows the basketballs to look as if they are bouncing across the page.
Hudson loved the outcome and enjoyed watching me draw the lines on the basketball, but was not as into the process of stamping. I have a feeling he will enjoy a craft like this even more in a year.
The part Hudson enjoyed the most was actually the process of creating the orange paint. I only had white paint, so we created our own by adding red and yellow dye to the paint. This is a fun way to show how colors are created. H really enjoyed adding the yellow dye and mixing it with his paintbrush.
Wednesday: Orange Picnic + Carrot Dig
There are SO many yummy orange foods, so it was easy to create a full picnic with all of our orange favorites. In our picnic, we had orange slices, cheddar rocket crackers from Trader Joe’s, dried mango, carrots, and a carrot-apple squeeze pack also from Trader Joe’s.
A color picnic is a fun and tasty way to teach colors! Thinking of the color orange even helped guide me as I made my weekly grocery trip. I found myself trying new flavors and foods because they were orange and I was curious.
The carrot dig sensory bin setup was SO simple and was by far Hudson’s favorite activity that we did all week. All I did was pour soil into an aluminum food tray and buried about 12 carrots. Hudson is very into all things gardening, so this was the perfect activity for him. He loved shoveling the dirt and it was nice to have a more controlled area where playing with dirt and digging were acceptable. After he found all the carrots, I let him wash them with a bowl of water. The washing them part was equally as fun for him.
This activity is a great thing to leave out for a few hours and let your little ones go and play with it as they wish.
Thursday: Paint the Ex Orange + Pumpkin-Vine Weaving
I came up with this idea as I noticed on our Monday run how bright and orange the Ex is on the FedEx truck. Hudson is very much into all types of trucks so this was another way for me to tie in his interests. I did not have much expectations for this craft, but it turned out to be a fun one. Hudson definitely needed help to actually paint the white space on the Ex, but he did enjoy wildly waving his orange brush all over.
Even though it is not fall, we did play a bit with pumpkins. With some of the foam pumpkin cutouts I had, I showed him how to hole punch and helped him to weave the vine (green pipe cleaner) into the top of the pumpkin. This is a great activity for those fine motor skills. This activity would work great paired with that pumpkin book I mentioned above.
Friday: Orange Collage Activity + Orange Water Mixing/Sponge Activity
We used similar materials from last week’s collage: white card stock paper, feathers, pom poms, popsicle sticks, foam shapes, orange origami paper, and pipe cleaners.
This week, I left the materials out longer, so he could come to the art table when he actually felt like it. I realized morning time is a better time for him to do an activity like this. He was much more into pointing to where he wanted each item to go on the paper. I helped him glue, but he s