Category Archives: Activities for toddlers

Planting Seeds of Gratitude


As the month of “love” comes to an end, it’s a great time to begin intentionally fostering an attitude of gratitude in our children. One way we’re doing this is by creating a gratitude tree. I saw this idea on Pinterest and loved it. Unfortunately I can’t find the pin to credit the source.

For the month of February I asked A.J. what he is grateful for and wrote it on a heart on the tree. I also included what I’m grateful for and plan to keep the hearts as a keepsake.

When A.J. talks with my mom over the phone she always asks him what he is grateful for. These conversations inspired me to be more intentional about talking about gratitude and to explore ways that we can demonstrate this spirit daily. I will share ideas as I come up with them.

How are you fostering an attitude of gratitude in your children?

Pray, Persist & Prosper!



Happy Valentines Day! How to Make Your Own Envelopes

envelopes2Happy Valentine’s Day! This Valentine’s Day we made our own cards and even our envelopes! In this post, I will show you how to make envelopes yourself.

But first, here is an example of our Valentine’s cards. Since the card has only a back and front, I used a second card to show how A.J. personalized it on the back. He also helped with the gluing and heart.


A.J. gave away these loopy straws to a few of his friends. I saw this idea on Pinterest and thought it was so cute. We made it all with scrapbook paper and little clear party bags.

Now on to how to make an envelope.
envelopexample3Start with an envelope shape that you like from one that you already have. Next, open the envelope to reveal the shape. Then, trace the shape of the envelope on card stock paper and cut it out. This will be your template.


Trace the template on your paper of choice. I like to trace on the back instead of the front. Next, cut the paper and fold into the shape of the envelope.


100_2569 100_2570

Lastly, glue the appropriate sides closed. That’s it!

What Valentine craft did you make with your little one?

Pray, Persist & Prosper!


Winter Theme Wrap-up!

winterwrapupOur theme for January was Winter. As a wrap-up, here are a few activities that we did during the month. I didn’t photograph some activities because I was engrossed in the moment. Nevertheless, I hope what I share is useful to you or to someone  you know.

Arts and Crafts

Snowmen printable cut out from Oh you don’t know how badly I wanted to jump in and help out during this activity! I checked myself and let him do it all by himself.


I downloaded the snowman below and snowflake craft from Learn Create Love, home to over 300 printables.100_2532


Miscellaneous Activities

A.J. loves to match things, so we did some mitten matching. The mitten printable is from


He played with ice…



and even went ice-skating. A.J. enjoyed this activity most.


We learned about arctic animals and read several books. I hope to have the amazon book feature working the next time I share about the books we are reading.

What was your kid’s favorite winter activity?

Pray, Persist & Prosper!













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Play Date: Styrofoam Sensory Fun

We had another rockin’ play date on Wednesday exploring Styrofoam. The boys had a blast playing with it. They also played lots of chase and refined their ability to jump by jumping off of the green bin. A.J. enjoyed landing followed immediately by a forward roll.  The boys were forward rolling all over the place.

A.J. was excited because he knew that he was going to have a paint bath that evening. That evening he also performed a puppet show for me and his dad. I wish I could have had my video or at least my camera handy…perhaps next time.

What group fun has your kiddos had lately?


Week 2: Cucumber Crunch


Cucumber Crunch- Cucumber, olive oil, lemon juice & sea salt. Ummmmm!

This is a great side dish that I found on Pinterest. It also makes a great snack. I can happily eat these cucumbers at anytime. Yay!

Do you have a yummy raw side dish recipe you’d like to share?

Pray, Persist & Prosper!


Sensational Sensory Bags


Contents: pom poms, stars, larger beads, blue glitter, dollar store hair gel. I doubled the plastic bag because they are a bit thin and reinforced the top with clear tape and painters blue tape.

I finally made some homemade sensory bags for the kiddos. I love to squish them and thought the kids would enjoy them, too. Amira kinda, sorta,  liked the bag, although it kept ending up on the floor or squashed in her seat. More so because she is so young and her hand muscles are still developing than the fact that she didn’t like it. A.J. found it interesting and played with it for a while as well.

Ohhh, fun.

Ohhh, fun.

All done mommy!

All done mommy!

I would ask him about the colors he saw and the textures he felt and had him share his findings with his sister. Now that was funny, because all he said were his friend’s names…ManMan and NuNu which is actually LuLu. We are working on his speech and language development, which we have discovered needs more specialized attention. More on that later…

I made a special sensory bag for A.J. with the letters of the Alphabet and some beads.


Heads up: Do not take the tape from the back of the letters. Doing so will make the letters clump together and stick.

100_2433I presented it to him during our evening reading time where we snuggle and read and re-read books. He did enjoy searching for the letters, but as of yet, he has not gotten the bag out on his own to play with it. Meanwhile we will use it during our cozy reading time. This is my sneaky way of bonding and making letter recognition fun.

There are so many ways to use sensory bags as fun learning opportunities. A few are: numbers, shapes, colors, items for books they are reading, ocean animals, farm animals, jungle animals, holiday symbols…etc.

What type of sensory bag does your little one enjoy or you think he or she would enjoy?

Pray, Persist & Prosper!


Shredded Paper Play Date Fun

Here are a few photos taken at our group play date. My friend Keisha brought her sons Corey and Sean over for some playtime fun. You’ll be seeing a lot of them on this blog. They have known each other practically all of their lives already!

To add some sensory fun to the day, I filled the bin with shredded paper. In the spirit of the holidays I added red and green toys to hide in the bin. A.J. and the boys had more fun playing with the paper than actually searching for the toys. Even the youngest boy, Sean got into the action. Amira had a good time, too, but tired herself out before I could sit her in the bin.

I enjoy play dates because I learn so much from other moms. Keisha is an elementary school teacher turned stay-at-home mom. She is a wealth of information and shares great tips, resources and strategies to help nurture kids’ growth.

I’m looking forward to our next play group. I know it will be fun! Subscribe to this blog so you won’t miss a thing!

Do you want a play date with me and the kids? Feel free to contact me and we can work it out:-)

Pray, Persist & Prosper!


DIY Counting Box with Sticks

This is a homemade activity that is easy to make. I tweaked this idea found on Pinterest by adding bottle caps. Your little one can choose one bottle cap at a time then find the numbered stick that corresponds to the number on the cap. Finally, they can place the stick in the corresponding numbered slit. When A.J. places the stick in the slit of the box he is also working on his reasoning and fine finger skills. (That’s a bonus because I didn’t expect putting a stick in the slit would be that difficult. But once he figured it out, he was on a roll.)

Here are a few other activities we did over the past few weeks.

We painted pumpkins






counted pumpkin cut outs






and counted pennies.






We also wrote to a few people on our wellness list found in our church bulletin. It’s a creative and fun way to express care for others.

What homemade counting games excite your little ones?

Pray, Persist & Prosper!

Bowling Pin Counting Fun

My homemade bowling pin scoreboard is a fun way to count and learn what numbers represent. A.J. enjoys bowling and this is a great way for me to “edutain” him.

I use six pins when bowling, so I made 5 numbers each to velcro on the board. Tape divides the poster board and space is left at the bottom to eventually add the number of pins. I made the pin pockets from construction paper. Then found a bowling pin printable and colored, laminated, and cut the pins to place in the pockets.

Seeing A.J. smile, count, and learn made this project so worth the effort!

What creative ways do you use to teach your children about numbers?

Pray, Persist & Prosper!

Homemade Sporty Fun

A.J. is full of energy and loves to drum. When he isn’t drumming, I try to channel his energy in sporty and other creative ways.

He’s currently enrolled in gymnastics.

His Tee Tee Gee Gee bought him a T-ball set.

His grandparents bought him roller skates and he has a soccer ball that he likes to kick around outside.

He also enjoys bowling inside the house and at a real bowling alley.

Even with all his toddler sports equipment, there is nothing like simple homemade sports fun such as:

walking on his hands with daddy holding his legs

tossing socks in a basket

swatting a balloon to see how long he can keep it in the air

or crab walking.

Incidentally, these are gross motor skill activities that’s helping him in many other ways; from teaching him to wait his turn in gymnastics class to learning to create his own fun with items around the house.

How do you have homemade fun with simple items around your home?

Pray, Persist & Prosper!

Fine Finger Play the Montessori Way

My sister recently visited. As usual, we had a  blast! I love it when she comes. She is full of jokes and laughs which are key ingredients in FUN!

A highlight of her visit was our trip to the pumpkin patch at Yule Forest. Although A.J. was a little  standoffish when it came to the animals, he enjoyed the hay ride and the “idea” of the animals. I could tell by his repeating the word hayride along with making sounds of the different animals he saw.

After my sister’s visit, we painted our pumpkins and resumed activities to enhance A.J.’s fine motor skills. 

We focused on the three-finger (pincer) grasp and added an activity to strengthen his circular wrist motion.  

Here is what we did.

Three-finger (pincer) grasp activities included: Stringing beads, using a ladle for scooping the beans and placing Cheerios around spaghetti sticks.

I love his concentration!

Hey Mom! Look at what I did!

He used a ladle to scoop and transfer the beans using the three finger pincer grasp and also did this activity using his whole hand to transfer the beans.

I was totally impressed by this feat! But even more so by his determination to keep trying until he succeeded!

By the time we did the cheerios activity, I must admit that I was a bit tired. My patience was becoming short and I really wanted to stop after a few tries. A.J. however was determined to keep going until he placed all 10 cheerios on the thin, easily breakable, spaghetti stick. Despite my urging to try again later or perhaps tomorrow, he pushed through. I was so proud of him! More importantly, he was super proud of himself!

Circular wrist motion – Using a wisk

Whisking yolks for scrambled eggs

Amira has been observing our activities, too!

What other fun fine motor skill development activities have you done?

Pray, Persist & Prosper,

A.J.’s Special Drum Video

And now for a commercial break! Watch A.J. drum at 14 months-24 months of age in this 1 min. 32 sec. video clip. Enjoy!

Pray, Persist, & Prosper

7 Ways to Plant Smart Money Seeds In Tots

Okay, so I blinged up the photo a bit and got carried away with the gold chain and big watch. But I thought it was so funny.

Once A.J. started putting items in the grocery cart without a care in the world, my husband and I knew it was time to start teaching him about money. This week we learned how to identify coins. We also went grocery shopping in our homemade store.

Below are some of the items in our store.

I placed the items on a shelf.

For the first session, I chose items that cost only pennies and attempted to get him comfortable with saying the word cents. We are off to a good start.

This week’s focus was on the penny, so for one of his art projects, he colored a picture of a penny. I love how proud he is of his work!

Other ways we are teaching about money besides:

1. Identifying coins


2. Purchasing items from our makeshift grocery store


3. Donating to our church. He doesn’t do it yet, but we allow him to put our envelope in the basket. Once my husband and I figure out how he will earn money around the house, he will start donating some of the money he has earned.

4. Paying for his haircut. Each time we are buying something for him, he has to physically give the money to the clerk. A good place to start is when he gets his hair cut.

5. Saving in his money bucket and in his bank account. He always accompanies us to make deposits.

6. We will use this money chart later to help him understand the value of the coins.

7. Lastly, we will teach him ways in which he can earn money.

This is just the beginning, but I’d say we are off to a good start.

What creative ways are you helping your little one learn about money?

Pray, Persist & Prosper!

A Miracle is Born!

That’s right. I had a little girl on September 15, 2012 at 12:27pm. She weighed 7.5oz and was 20 inches long. We named her Amira Cole Hadley. Amira means princess and when you say her first and middle names together it sounds like “a miracle.” She is a precious, beautiful gift. Her big brother A.J. is adjusting well to his new role, too.

It’s been a while, so you may notice that I cut off my locks after wearing them for 10 years. I love the freedom of wearing a short crop. Now it’s easy to wash and go! But now I need to update my profile picture. In the mean time, I’m back in the spirit of blogging and hopefully can take pictures of A.J. engaged in learning activities. Taking pictures became a distraction, so I had to stop. I think he will be able to stay more focused now that he is a bit older, as in two years old.

Stay tuned!

Pray, Persist & Prosper!

Why I Have Been Missing in Action

This is the first time in over a month that I have the attention span and energy to post. My computer as well as my cell phone have been out of sight and out of mind. Why, because I’m expecting! 

While this is great news, it’s been physically draining. The good news is that I’m feeling better. My parent’s recent surprise visit did me well. It helps that my father stayed an extra week to help with A.J. 

I’m slowly getting back to myself and I look forward to getting back into blog action soon!

Pray, Persist & Prosper!