Archive of ‘Infants’ category

Rose Scented Rice Valentine’s Day Sensory Bin

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, I know! Life got in the way of creating fabulous blog posts. Lucky for you guys, I made a massive list of posts I wanted to create in my absence, so I have plenty of material waiting to be created. Hopefully there won’t be any more long breaks around here!

Things have changed, we’re in our new house, the new baby is here and we’ve adjusted to all of it! I’m excited to start sharing with you guys again! Since Valentine’s day is fast approaching, I thought I’d kick off blogging again with a great idea for the holiday. This activity had my first-grade niece asking me if I had any more cool creations while she was here the other day it was so much fun, while my 4-year-old nephew and Peanut were elbow deep in it.

Rose Scented Valentine's Day Sensory Bin

*2 bags of uncooked white rice
*Food coloring
*One gallon ziplock bags
*Rose Absolute Essential Oil
*Various valentine’s day items, such as:
Rose Petals
Felt Roses
-Plastic heart shaped bracelets
-Anything you have around the house that relates to Valentine’s day or roses!

This activity does take some preparation, but it’s worth it in the end! The day before you want to introduce this sensory bin, prepare your rice. It’s simple to do, you just need some time for it to dry or your little ones will end up with fingers dyed the color of your rice.

How to:

1. Select your food coloring. I used one food dye to get the dark pink and light pink in this sensory bin, I just used a different method of dying for both.

2. Dye our rice using one of two methods:

Dying method #1:

Dry Rice Dying Method
Step 1: Add 10-12 drops of food coloring to an empty one gallon ziplock bag.
Step 2: Add one bag of uncooked rice to the ziplock bag.
Step 3: Add 10-20 drops of essential oil and drizzle a bit more food coloring to the top of your rice.
Step 4: Seal the bag and shake until your food coloring & the EO is mixed in and the rice is dyed.
Step 5: Lay the rice out on a cookie sheet or some parchment paper. Spread it out to a thin layer and dry over night.

Dying method #2: To create the lighter color, dye your rice using vinegar.

Vinegar rice dying methodStep 1: Add about a cup of vinegar to an empty one gallon ziplock bag.
Step 2: Add 10-20 drops of food coloring to the vinegar along with 10-20 drops of essential oil. Mix the vinegar until the food coloring is evenly distributed.
Step 3: Add one bag of rice to the ziplock bag. Seal and shake.
Step 4: When the color is evenly distributed, use a fine mesh strainer and drain the rice over the sink. Let sit for 10-15 minutes so the excess vinegar can drain off.
Step 5: When the vinegar is drained, spread on a cookie sheet or parchment paper in a thin layer and dry over night. Mix rice up from time to time, if possible, to ensure it drys evenly.

3. When your rice is good and dry, add it to a shallow, long tub. Add your Valentine’s goodies, and let your littles have at it!

Rose Scented Valentine's Sensory Bin

4. Tip: Place your tub on a table cloth so the rice stays a bit more contained. When your kiddos are done playing, gather the rice in the middle of the table cloth and put it back in the sensory bin!

5. When you’re done, the rice can be saved and used again as often as you feel comfortable!

What was said while we played:
Peanut’s vocabulary has exploded since the last time I posted! We talk about all kinds of stuff and she give me all kinds of great responses! When she dove into this activity she kept telling me, “Me having very fun, Mommy!”

I asked her, “What color is the rice?”, “How does it smell?”, “What are you doing with the rice?”, “What else can you do with it?” I also let her ask me questions about what she was playing with. She did ask me what it was when she first started playing. She spent a lot of time repeating the color back while she was playing and also picking up the small roses and telling me what they were, once I had identified them for her.

5 Things to do With Your Toddler When You’re Moving

5 Ways to Entertain Your Toddler When MovingIt became clear very early in the moving process that Peanut was going to make my job more difficult. A LOT more difficult. When I started trying to pack, no matter what super fun activity I set out for her to do, she was much more interested in what I was doing and unpacking everything I put in the box or adding unwanted surprises to the box. I almost packed up a cup of grapes she snuck in at one point….so, I had to get a bit more creative and find a way for Peanut to get involved in moving.

The good news is, I was successful. I found a few activities that kept her busy and feeling like she was helping Mommy out. Unfortunately, I was so busy I didn’t always get pictures so I’ll try to explain it well! Also, tell us of any ideas you had while moving that kept your toddler entertained and out of trouble!

1. Big box coloring. I found a giant box Peanut would have a hard time getting out of, threw in some markers (since she doesn’t get to use markers very often I knew she’d be excited about it), stripped her down to her diaper, and put her in the box. I took the cap off a few of the markers and showed her how she could color all over the box. She happily started repeating “color” over and over and making a master piece in the box.

5 Ways to Entertain Your Toddler When Moving

2. Big box stickers. The big box worked out so well at keeping Peanut contained where I knew she wouldn’t get into something and get hurt that I wanted to use it for something else. So, what else do toddlers love besides markers? Stickers! I grabbed some sheets and put Peanut in the box with a variety of her favorite stickers. She had so much fun. To make the activity independent I folded the sticker pages back so she could grab the stickers without my help. Before she was done, she had all kinds of stickers all over the box and her self…but she was happy and I got stuff done!

5 Ways to Entertain Your Toddler When Moving

3. Box races. Peanut came up with this idea on her own and I just encouraged it. When she stole my empty box I was just about to start filling and ran away pushing it all over. I put her baby doll in the box and told her to push her baby. When she was done pushing her baby, I had her push the markers around, which made a fun sound in the box. When she was done with the markers, I switched out the markers for a stuffed animal. Switching out what she pushed around seems to re-spark her interest in the fun and she discovered what would happen to that item as she pushed it along.

4. Toy packing. After watching me pack away room after room, Peanut really wanted to help and kept trying to put whatever she could find in the box I was filling. I gave her a box of her own, a stack of toys, some newspaper and let her pack away her toys. She packed and unpacked the box several times and it kept her from sneaking surprises into the real moving boxes!

5. Stuffing boxes. This was one of the first things I tried to keep Peanut entertained while I was busy packing. She loved filling the box with newspaper, emptying the box, ripping the paper up and crumpling it up more, then stuffing it back in the box. It kept her entertained for a good long while. She even tipped the box over and crawled in with the newspaper, which she thought was hilarious. It was such a simple way to entertain her, but it worked!

5 Ways to Entertain Your Toddler When Moving

Hopefully these ideas will help keep your toddler out of your hair while you’re packing and moving! We all love our kiddos, but we all know how hard it can be to pack while your little love is trying to undo everything you’re doing or sneak in an extra item (or 10!) into the box!

Now, if you have any tips on getting life back to normal quickly after you’ve moved, I’d love to hear those. We are still trying…but stick with us, we’ll be back at it soon!

Hula-Hoop Ball Roll For Toddlers

What toddler doesn’t love balls? I think “ball” was one of the first 5 words Peanut and all her friends said. They’re just so much fun! This activity incorporates a hula-hoop to trap the balls in and work on refining those gross motor skills.

Hula Hoop Ball Roll For Toddlers


  • A variety of balls, various colors, sizes, textures, and bounciness
  • A hula-hoop

By tossing the balls in the center of the hula-hoop I tried to create a barrier for them that Peanut could attempt to keep the balls in. I knew this was going to be a challenging task, since she’d probably run right up to the hoop and try to fling all the balls around as hard as she cool….which is exactly what she did.

Hula-Hoop Ball Roll for Toddlers

So, I had her chase down the runaway balls and bring them back in the hoop. Then I modeled a gentle roll for her and showed her how it stayed in the hoop. She tried, with a bit too much gusto and the ball still escaped. But, we continued to work on it and eventually she was able to keep the ball she rolled in the hoop sometimes. She liked aiming for other balls and making all of the balls move around in the hoop at once and she also enjoyed chasing the runaways down, claiming they were “crazy!” with big giggle. Peanut also liked picking up the hoop and shaking it around to make the balls move.

We switched out what balls were in the hoop from time to time to see how they acted differently when she rolled them and the balls ran into each other. Some proved impossible to keep in the hoop (even for me!) and some were so bouncy they’d hop right over all the other balls and out of the hoop. Changing the balls out little by little allowed this activity to keep Peanut engaged longer than simply throwing all of the balls in at the same time. Different combinations made for different kinds of fun!

What we talked about in play: 
“There are a lot of balls in the hoop!”
“What color is that one? It’s blue.”
“The red one got away! Go get it and bring it back!”
“Gently roll the ball, like this.”
“That was a nice roll.”
“Look at all the balls rolling around in there!”
“That was a crazy toss!”

This was a simple activity that worked at hand-eye coordination, gross motor for the whole body, and our colors all along the way!

P.S. I also learned, with quick moving activities like this I should use my DSLR instead of my iPhone….all my pictures came out blurry so I don’t have many to share with you, sorry!

Tool Band for Toddlers

Tool Band for Toddlers

I had the idea for this activity when my parents were in town. My dad had Kennedy outside helping him with the garage sale while my mom and I were inside painting trim. I heard some ridiculously loud banging and shrieks of excitement outside and and to go investigate. That’s when I discovered Papa and Kennedy banging away on some extra tools we had for sale. I couldn’t believe how long I heard the commotion going on and couldn’t wait to play some music with her again.

A variety of relatively clean, toddler-safe tools such as sockets, wrenches, and screwdrivers

Tool Band for Toddlers

I love wrench sets for this activity because they provide such a musical aspect to the play. With each increase in size, the sound it makes changes leaving your toddler crazily switching back and forth between wrenches to see what sound they make.

We did this activity inside today because it was getting too hot outside to stay out for very long. Really, it’s best done outside on concrete where the ground can help become part of the instruments. I wouldn’t do this activity on any hard flooring inside unless you want your next major project to be reflooring!
Be sure the tools aren’t too heavy for your kiddo so you don’t end up with any squished fingers…and be careful they’re not getting used as weapons!Since we were inside I had peanut banging all the tools together to make all kinds of fun sounds. She loved exploring the different sounds she could make. While she was outside with my dad the last time she played tool band, they were banging tools on the ground, dropping them, rolling them, and seeing how many different ways they could make sounds. It was so much fun! While you can still play inside, outside is just much better!


Does your daycare stack up?

Does your daycare stack up?

Not all of us are lucky enough to stay at home. Which means some of us have the unlucky task of choosing child care for our little loves. Picking a daycare is one of the hardest things you have to do as a parent. Not only are you picking the people who are responsible for your child’s safety while you’re apart, but those who are educating them in some of the most formidable years of their life. How can you know if your daycare is up to snuff when you are not there all day to watch over your provider? Here are some big clues I’ve come up with over the years during child care facility observations, my time as a preschool teacher, classroom teacher, and parent.

This list of clues is fairly comprehensive. A child care facility which was perfect on each level would be hard to come by, so as you’re reading, understand that the daycare that’s right for your child may not have all of these or they may have other qualities you find important. Also, understand that I am using the terms daycare, child care, center, facility, etc. as blanket terms. This list is a great place to start whether you’re looking at a large child care center or a small home daycare.

  • Environment. What happens when you walk through the door of your child’s daycare? I’m not talking about if you’re acknowledged or said hello to, but how do you feel? Does it make you happy to be there? Is it colorful? Are their interesting things for the kids to see at their eye-level? Not just toys, but posters or artwork? Does it feel bright and is the temperature comfortable? 
  • Cleanliness. How clean is the facility? Do you actually see the staff cleaning things? Is there a routine for cleaning
    after meals and messy art activities? Can you see cleanliness when you walk in? Does it smell clean? Is there a system for monitoring if toys have been mouthed in the baby or toddler rooms and then cleaning them before other children play with them? Cleanliness is a sign of pride in the facility. If it’s not clean, the staff doesn’t have much pride in their workplace, which means they’re likely not as dedicated to the center as they should be. Another sign of cleanliness can be how often the workers are sick. If the center is doing everything they can to be clean and healthy, staff should generally (everyone gets stick sometimes!) be able to stay healthy even though they’re working with snotty kids all day. :)
  • Do the kids contribute to the environment? Is their artwork displayed? Can they see it? Is it changed out regularly, signaling that new activities are planned often? How are the kids made to feel important and loved? Are there 
    pictures of the children up? Are their names displayed? How at home are the kids made to feel? Is the space really theirs or is it just a place they’re kept?
  • Are their routines? Kids are happier when things are predictable. Ensuring that your daycare has a well scheduled routine can be a major factor in how good the daycare is. Not only does it make things easier on the kids, it keeps the teachers on track to get everything in for the day. From naps, snacks, and diaper changes, to outdoor time, circle times, and sensory activities…a schedule keeps everyone on track. It’s even better if the schedule is displayed somewhere in the classroom with pictures for kiddos who can’t read yet.
  • What do you see happening? This is the biggest factor. As I stated before, there should be good routines and schedules in place, so if you come in at exactly the same time every day you may see the exact same things happening every day. Kids do need time to warm up to the environment when they first get to daycare and free play is a great way to transition in and out. But, if you have the ability to stop by at different times, what do you see going on? Are teachers engaged with the kids? Are teachers “teaching” or leading activities? Do you see arts and crafts happening? Do you see children being read to? Chances are, if you NEVER see these things happening (even if you do come at a certain time) they’re not happening. Especially with younger children, who tend to have more “child-based” schedules. A big red flag can be if you constantly see teachers just talking to each other.
  • Materials. Is there a variety of materials available to your child to use? Not only for arts and crafts, but for different areas of play. Is there a gross motor area (inside and out), is there manipulative play suitable for your child’s age group? Are their sensory and art areas? Is your child allowed to play with and discover a variety of mediums, not necessarily in one day, but are you seeing things be changed out? How often are toys rotated? Is there any sort of toy rotation? Do you see new things being introduced on a regular basis? Are children bored with the toys or do they seem to be enjoying them? Below is a more specific list of what you should see based on your child’s age:
    • Infant (Birth-mobility): Look for a variety of (clean) infant positioners, such as: Boppy pillows, Bumbo chairs (safely on the floor), tummy time mats, swings, bouncy seats, comfortable blankets. It’s very important for muscle development that infants are moved regularly, if they’re not already mobile. Check for a schedule of rotation to ensure all of the babies are getting the opportunity to use all of the positioners appropriate for them. There should be visually stimulating toys such a mobiles and things they can track. Manipulative such as rattles, teethers, and board books. Toys with a variety of textures items children can touch and feel. There doesn’t necessarily need to be lots of toys with lights and music. In fact, in a daycare those can be rather over-stimulating for infants. Cribs and comfortable places for sleep. A rocker for putting children to sleep is great, too. A completely separate area for sleep is even better. Also look for he center’s method of tracking feedings, diapers, and naps for infants. There is no way they could keep the kids schedules straight with out them. Trust me, I’ve been there and there is so much going on you NEED to write it down.
    • Toddlers (mobility-usually age 3): Water or sand tables for sensory activities, tables for art projects as well as meals and snacks, a variety of manipulative toys suitable for small hands that cannot be choked on, a gross motor area, blocks, cars, baby dolls or other pretend play toys. A variety of books and comfortable places for children to “read”. Places to wash hands and facilities for diapered children as well as children who are potty training.
    • Preschoolers (3-school age): Essentially the same as a toddler room although manipulative are more advanced, smaller and more numerous, there is more opportunity for pretend play, and more area for structured activities such as circle times or science experiments.
  • Planning. Do teachers work from lesson plans or a curriculum? Even with the smallest of children, having a plan is critical. If there is no plan, children are not being introduced to new experiences and the center is likely “stuck in a rut” of what is easiest for them to do.
  • Teacher Training. Early childhood education degrees are becoming increasingly popular. While most states do not require preschool or daycare teachers to have a college education, looking for a center where teachers hold an early childhood education degree (or similar) is important. However, I do suggest looking experience as well. There are a lot of great preschool teachers who have been teaching for decades that are just as qualified, if not more so, than the college-educated teachers.
  • Teacher-Child Interactions. Unfortunately, teachers will be on their best behavior when parents are around (aren’t we all when someone else is around?). So, most of the time you won’t be able to see exactly how the teacher might interact with your child when you’re not present. However, do keep an eye on interactions when you’re there. Do you see teachers calming dealing with behavior issues or problems? Are touches gentile and caring? Red flags would be teachers yelling or screaming at children, saying hurtful things, or touching a child roughly. If they’re willing to do these things in front of you, what are they willing to do when you’re not there? This is a great place to use your instincts. If the provider just doesn’t seem to interact well with children, seems unhappy to be there, or is awkward with the children, it’s probably best to look elsewhere.
  • Communication. What sort of a system is set up for communicating with parents? Often times (great) teachers are too busy with other children when you walk in to talk with each parent individual on a daily basis. Is there a way for the teacher to communicate with you even if they are busy? Is there a note home or a board displaying what the children did that day? Are you able to know when your child slept, ate, and was diapered? What about during times of potty training or other transitions? A great center will always have a way to communicate.
  • Quality of materials. From toys to dishes, playground equipment to cots, good quality daycares are going to insure that their facilities house great products. Not necessarily expensive items, but well kept items. Toys will not be broken or damaged. Things that are not in working quality will be replaced regularly for children’s safety. Something can be old, but in great condition. Once again, this can be a sign of pride in the center itself.

The following are some things that are NOT determining factors in your child’s daycare quality. They may seem great on the surface, but when you dig a bit deeper they are not sufficient clues.

  • The name. Simply because it’s a “child development center” or a super cute name like “Susie’s Sweet Lambs” doesn’t mean it’s any good. There are little to no regulations on child care facility names. Someplace may call themselves a “daycare” but in fact offer a much more enriching environment than a “child development center”. 

  • Using fancy terminology. There are a lot of politically correct terms floating around early childhood education these days. Phrases like “developmentally appropriate”, “engaging”, “circle time”, “literacy rich”, etc. come out of the mouth of many early childhood “educators”. However, it’s best to judge a center on what they’re doing rather than if they use fancy words when you’re getting a tour or interviewing. See activities that are engaging and appropriate for your child’s age group happening is a much better determining factor than the tour guide telling you they happen, when in all actuality they’re only occurring on a sporadic occasion.
  • Location. I say this cautiously. If your daycare is in a strip mall, a home, or a fancy new stand-alone facility….any of those locations can be great. It just matters what is on the INSIDE of the facility. It can be in a brand new, state of the art building but hold no other standard true. So, don’t be blinded by the smell of fresh paint.
  • Cost & size. The small in-home daycare down the street that cost a third of the price as the large center down the block can provide just as good of care and education. The people and the overall environment are much more important than the cost or size of the facility you choose.

There you have it. Some important things to look for when you’re trying to decide on a daycare for your little one. What questions do you have about looking for a quality day care?

Computer Games for Toddlers

Computer Games for ToddlersA lot of people look for screen-free activities for their kiddos. However, around here we don’t get much screen time (well, except for mom typing away on her blog). I want to start getting Peanut on the computer to learn skills that will be priceless as she gets older. The problem is, I wasn’t sure were to start. She LOVES the computer and tried to pound the keyboard every chance she gets. I knew motivation wouldn’t be a problem, but how was I going to help her discover that she was controlling what was happening on the screen by her actions? So, I set out to find some good quality computer games suitable for young toddlers.

Here’s a list of what I’ve found so far. I will be updating the list when we find new games we love to play and creating a new list when she become more proficient on the computer. The games listed here are meant to be very basic, for babies who haven’t used computers before. An adult will have to help, teach how to stop pounding the keyboard, guide the mouse on the screen, and understand how what they’re doing on the keyboard/mouse pad is effecting what’s happening on the screen.

I’ll do my best to describe the site, the skills needed, and ways for you to interact with your little one while they’re playing because at this age adults should still be involved in everything the child is doing on the computer. This site you might have seen on commercials. It’s an “early learning academy” online for little ones. This site is packed with content (math, ABCs, 123s, science, you name it!) and your toddler will need help navigating the site. However, they have guided lessons that have some great skills built in and guide your child through based on their progress. Stay nearby to help click when needed, but there are songs and activities they’ll be able to enjoy and learn from! This site is a paid site, however, you can get a free one month trial! (For Toddlers): Naturally, a great site for toddlers. Again, your toddler will need help navigating the site. However, once you get to the game or activity you choose your toddler can control the game often with 1 click or press of the keyboard. There are lots of engaging songs and activities with your kiddos favorite characters from Sesame Street. Some of my favorite games are Elmo’s Keyboard-o-Rama, Peek-a-boo, and Number Fun, although most of them on the site are great. Many of the games available to play on their website are also offered as apps for smart phones. You can select an age range to filter through their games, which makes it easy to find games that are suitable for your child’s skill level. Checking the “infant” box on the left pulls up games that are generally controlled by any click of the keyboard. This is great for teaching baby to stop pounding the keyboard and to start deliberately pressing one button at a time. As your toddler’s control gets better, you can select games from a high age range to continue building their skills. This site is a great starter site. If you select games from the baby section, the games are controlled with clicks of JUST the space bar so baby can learn where the specific key is. Games from the toddler section are controlled with the space bar and enter key. These are two of the most important keys to learn, making this site great for learning computer skills over anything else. There are also videos and lessons to move to when baby is more efficient at computer skills.

These are the site we’ve explored so far. Come back often for updates!

Homemade Shoebox Guitar

Homemade Rubber Band GuitarKids love to make music. So, finding different ways to let Peanut explore music has been important to me since she started interacting with toys. Buying a million different instrument toys can get expensive (unless you score them from the Target dollar section, and I do suggest checking there often)! Making them yourself is easy, your little one can get involved, and when they toss it to the side after a couple of days you’re not left wondering if you can return it.

This is probably an idea you’ve seen before or done yourself when you were a kid. We all need reminders of some of the best simple play ideas! I know you have the stuff you need to make this craft in your house now, so you can do this tomorrow with no trouble at all!

Rubber bands, preferably in a variety of thicknesses
A shoebox (or any type of box rubber bands would fit around)
Optional supplies: Washable markers, stickers, or other decorations

Homemade Rubber Band Guitar

Since we just emptied our house of anything excessive to put it on the market, I was actually all out of shoeboxes. I thought about using a Tupperware box, but was worried about the rubber bands fitting around the box. I ended up using a cardboard box we use to store Peanut’s hair clips that I could borrow for a bit.

Homemade Rubber Band Guitar

If you happen to have an extra shoebox lying around that doesn’t have to be used for a different purpose again later, let your little one decorate their guitar before you put the “strings” on. When they’re done, simply stretch the rubber bands over the box. When your box is assembled, hand it to your kiddo, give it a strum and watch them make beautiful music.

Really, it’s that easy! Peanut carried her guitar around with her for a good long while before ditching it for a snack. :)

Yes, we cried it out….and my daughter is still normal

cioI feel like I’ve seen a lot of blogs talking about how terrible the cry it out method is. From desensitizing you from your child’s cry to causing attachment issues. Everyone keeps talking about how bad it is. Here’s the thing: if it’s so bad, how come so many families have benefited from it so much? Well, we happen to be one of those families.

I think there are times when children do need sleep training. My daughter absolutely needed help. Bed time was horrible when Peanut turned about 6 months old. We had a great routine we did every night religiously: bath, nurse, PJs, book and cuddles, go to sleep. The problem was, going to sleep wasn’t happening. I would rock her, walk her, bounce her, pat her back hunched over the crib for an hour at a time…everything under the sun. If we did get her to sleep, the transition to get out of the chair, set her down in the crib or moving in any way would wake her back up no matter how long we waited once she fell asleep. When she woke back up after we moved, she pushed away, screamed, and fought us putting her back to sleep (in all the fantastic, back-breaking methods mentioned above) or screamed in her crib. Eventually, after months of this she just started fighting as soon as the book was over. Bed time was taking HOURS. The most dreaded hours of my day. Everyone was frustrated. My husband wouldn’t even try to put her to bed, I was getting to the point where I hated putting her to bed, and everyone was stressed out. We couldn’t do it anymore. It was affecting our parent-child relationship. Something HAD to be done.

My educational and behavioral background told me I had to pick a method I was going to stick with and be consistent. When I began researching things I could do, I hit a lot of dead-ends. I was already doing so many of these things and they weren’t working. I knew about CIO, but all I had heard was the bad things and thought I would be a terrible parent if I did CIO with my daughter. Then, I came across the Ferber Method of Modified CIO. It made absolute sense from a behavioral standpoint. You would fade out the behavior slowly by increasing the intervals of time you’re out of the room and not reinforce the unwanted behavior of crying and not sleeping. Then, Ferber reminds us that a behavior will get worse before it gets better; an extinction burst, usually happening a few days to a few weeks in.

I didn’t follow the method by the book. The first night we started CIO, I did our routine and put Peanut in her crib. I set the timer for ONE minute and left. Of course she was upset. But, it was one minute and then I was able to go back in and spend three minutes with her patting her back and calming her down. Then, I would go back out for ONE minute again. It took a long time the first night. It was almost two hours. But, she would get calmer when I went back in, not completely calm but calmer, and she knew I was there for her. The next night I would set the timer for two minutes and be in her room for 3 minutes. The second night it was around an hour before she was asleep–which was already less time than I was spending putting her to sleep when I was putting her to sleep the so-called “right” way. I continued to follow this routine every night adding one minute to my time out of her room.

I was amazed at how quickly it worked. By the fourth night, there was less than 15 minutes of crying and I only went into her room 3 times. It just improved from there. Before 10 nights were up, I could lay her down in her crib, walk out, and she’d fall asleep. I cried. I cried because I was so relieved. How on earth had I not done this earlier? We’d had months of her fighting sleep and frustrating nights where NO ONE was happy and all it took was a few nights of modified CIO to make bed time a calm, happy time in our house. I will confidently say, it changed our life.

Did I stick my child in her room and let her cry until she was in hysterics? Absolutely not. It would be awful for her and ME. No one can tell me that continuing the bedtime routine we had would be better than modified CIO. I wasn’t getting enough sleep, Peanut was distressed every night at bed time, I was mad at my husband for not knowing what to do to fix it (how would he know?!), and it was down right TERRIBLE. Since we’ve done MCIO, Peanut happily goes to bed and falls immediately back to sleep after she is nursed, get a bottle, or has a diaper change. So, don’t tell me CIO should never be done.

Please, consider all of your options when dealing with sleep problems. Understand that sometimes baby needs something and that’s why sleep is hard. But, don’t be afraid of CIO. Set up a method that will work for you and that you’ll stick with. If you can only stay out of the room 30 seconds the first night, than that’s where you need to start. But, I’ve been there and done it. I still respond when my daughter cries, I still have a great relationship with my daughter (probably BETTER now!), and she is one of the most well attached children I have met. Just remember: You’re the parent and if bed time is hell and you feel like something needs to be done, it probably does!

DIY Noise Maker for Toddlers and Babies

Toddlers and babies alike love to make noise. A sound can stop them in their tracks to investigate where the noise came from. This DIY noise maker is great for nearly any age, but particularly those babies and toddlers.


2 plastic cups, preferably clear
duct tape, in a fun color!
beans or beads


If you’re creating this for a baby, skip the decorating steps and go straight to the adults only part of the project. If this noise maker is for a toddler, the first part is half the fun!


Present the cups and stickers to your kiddo. Peanut needed me to show her how to put the stickers on and also needed my help to get the sticker started peeling off the sheet. We worked on grabbing the sticker sheet with one hand and getting a sticker with the other and you could tell she felt like a big girl getting those stickers with only a little help from mom. Then, I had to remind her what she was supposed to do with the sticker nearly every time. But, she enjoyed sticking the stickers everywhere on her cup. We ended up with several inside the cup to flop around with her beans. When she seemed like she was not interested in decorating anymore came my part.


I added some dried lima beans to the cup, letting Peanut see what I was doing and play with a few of the beads. I stacked the cups lip to lip and wrapped the duct tape around the cups several times. This is the most important part, and why this is the part I recommend an adult takes over. If there isn’t enough tape or the tape isn’t secure, beans will be flying everywhere in no time.


With the beans securely taped inside the cup, I handed Peanut her creation and the shaking began. I asked her if she wanted down from her chair and she was so enthralled with shaking that she just stayed put. She shook like crazy with both hands, figured out how to tip it back and forth, tried it with one had. She had so much fun…and went right back to it this morning when she found it on her toy shelf.


I like this project for several reasons. 1) it works on fine motor skills (putting the stickers on) and gross motor skills (shaking), 2) it’s a project where Peanut got to create something and there isn’t any mess to clean up 3) it can grow with her. When she’s older I can let her select what she wants to put in the cups to discover how those objects sound compared to the beans. I can also increase the difficulty of the decorating to work on different fine motor skills as she grows. It’s a great, fast project!

Bubbles! (Tons of them!!!)

I am well aware that you are perfectly capable of playing with bubbles. I don’t have much to tell you about bubbles other than they are great for babies to work on tracking. They’re great for toddlers to work on gross motor skills as they chase them and attempt to catch them.

Gazillion Bubbles Typhoon

The most important thing I have to tell you is to buy this bubble machine. Holy cow. This thing is amazing!! A friend brought theirs to a splash play date we had and Peanut was amazed….frankly so was I. The packaging says it lets out over 1,000 bubbles a minute and it absolutely does. It would take 20 kids to catch all the bubbles this bubble machine puts out. Not to mention it runs for hours on one tank of bubbles. We found ours for $19.99 at Target. This thing is going to be years of fun! Gazillion Bubbles Typhoon…

Go buy one!

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