Saturday, December 31, 2011

Top 10 Posts of 2011

I enjoyed reading this summary on a few of the blogs I read (and I discovered a few things I had missed) so I'm doing it here as well. Here are the top 10 posts for this blog based on page views.

1. Car Seats, Baby Carriers
2. Twin Pregnancy
3. Art with Babies
4. TV and Computer Time for Babies
5. Setting up a Playroom
6. Kids and Pets (part 2)
7. Teething Necklaces
8. Tummy Time
9. Disclaimer
10. Math with Babies

The 10 ten countries reading my blog:

United States 59%
Australia 8%
United Kingdom 6%
Canada 5%
France 4%
South Africa 3%
Germany 2%
India 2%
Russia 1%
Netherlands 1%

Other 9%

I hope everyone has had a wonderful 2011 and will have an even better 2012. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Potty Training

Photo note: Most of these photos are not related to the post, after all most people don't take photos of this experience. There is one photo (toward the bottom) of the kids sitting on potties. No privates can be seen.

My plan with day time potty training was to use the 3 day method. Basically you wait till the child is ready and showing interest. Then you plan a period of at least a week where you will be at home and not going out. You start by keeping the child naked from the waist down. When they go, you give them the words for what has happened and sit them on the toilet. You watch closely and will start to see signs that they will go soon. You keep setting them on the toilet and soon they have success. This is cause for a big celebration! You keep doing this every day until the child goes 3 days without any accidents. Then you put them in underwear. Most will have an accident in underwear because they think they are wearing a diaper. Once they make it 3 days without an underwear accident, you can add pants. After 3 days in pants with no accidents, you are ready to go out in public. I have seen this method work with most children. There is no shame in having an accident, no punishment for getting wet. You don't reward with food, stickers, etc.

Merry Christmas!

You know what they say about plans, right? At 14 months old my daughter told me she wanted to sit on the potty. I laughed, but decided to let her. I took off her diaper and sat her down and she went. We danced and sang and celebrated the success. Then I put her diaper back on because surely this was a fluke, right? She never went in the diaper when awake for 2 weeks. So we tried underwear. She continued to stay dry. I sent her to the Mother's Day Out in underwear. She stayed dry - they were amazed. The only hitch? She wouldn't go for my husband. Then I got sick and my husband had to take care of the kids. He put her back in a diaper and she regressed.She would still tell us when she needed to go and would often stay dry all day long, but she was back in a diaper.

Bags filled with toys!

During this time my son loved the celebration part, but wanted little to do with the toilet. We had small potty chairs and he wanted to wear them as a hat. While teaching her to use the toilet, we were teaching him not to wear it. He had no interest in sitting on it or in taking off his diaper.

How did she get in there?

I decided to try potty training again over the Summer. We talked about it daily. We looked at the calendar and marked the day we wouldn't use diapers during the day anymore. As expected, my daughter did great. She was immediately on board. My son wasn't as convinced and we had many more accidents. Still within a month he was down to only one accident a week. They both were very adamant that they would use the toilet and not the potty chairs.  This meant less work for us, but that only one child could go at a time. Not ideal for potty training, but this way we didn't have to later transition them off of it. We did use the plastic underwear over the regular underwear when we were in the car to help contain if they did have an accident. We ordered it online because the stores don't carry the plastic underwear in small enough sizes.

Sitting on our potties
(if you are looking closely, that is his thumb, no privates show in the photo)

They were both potty trained before turning 2 and everyone wants to know the secret. Um... She wanted to do it and when we started with him he wanted to sit on the toilet like she did. There was no magic trick, nothing to really pass on as far as advice. We are incredibly lucky and appreciate it every day.

So much for a wagon ride.

Night time potty training is a much different process. Typically you should wait until a child is staying dry most nights when they are asleep before starting. This is a very developmental process and can't be rushed by parents who just want to be finished with diapers.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Hustle and Bustle

The first Christmas for my kids they were only 3 months old and we traveled to see all of our family. It was perfect. They were babies so they didn't know the difference and we were able to visit family out of the state and out of the country. We decided to stay at home for their second Christmas to make everything easier for all of us.

Posing with part of the ICE exhibit
Two little penguins (and their Daddy)

I wanted to take the kids to see everything special around the metroplex. I had a long list and we were on the go and did most of it in the weeks before Christmas. First up was a Charlie Brown Ice exhibit. The best part was seeing my little penguins waddle around. We also visited scenic places to take photos, we visited Santa, we went to a historic village to see carolers, we went on a sleigh ride, we went to the town square to watch a parachuting Santa (he was rescheduled due to high winds), and on and on and on.

I think these are breakable!

We were always on the go and rushed. While my kids love being out and about it wasn't as easy and fun as I had imagined. Turns out, once again, the research was right and I was wrong. It's better to do a few fun things and enjoy your time together, rather than trying to fit in everything and being stressed making it all work. Here we are a year later and my kids only have two strong memories of that Christmas.

That guy's really tall.

The first memory they have is making gingerbread houses. I admit we don't do as much 3-diminsional art as we should, so that may be why this stood out. This will be an annual tradition.

We each did a gingerbread house.

Their other memory is what they got for Christmas in their stockings. They don't seem to remember that these specific toys came out of the stockings, but they do remember getting these toys for Christmas. We didn't go out and buy the newest, fanciest toys for Christmas. My kids already have more toys than they know what to do with. We rotate toys and for their second Christmas we simply rotated some toys into their stockings. They loved pulling out the dolls and balls. We gave our sweet daughter a pink doll and our charming son a blue doll. They immediately traded and have loved those dolls ever since. Our daughter calls her doll by our son's name and our son calls his doll by our daughter's name. That makes much more sense than giving dolls based on expected gender colors. Leave it to one year olds to out smart the adults. :-)

There are toys in here!

So my advice, based on my own error as well as research, is don't do too much. Schedule some quiet weekends during this busy season and enjoy each other rather than getting mixed up in the hustle and bustle of the season.

I want her doll, not this blue one...

Monday, December 12, 2011

More Motor Skills

Often people will ask me for ideas to help their kids work on different motor skills. I thought I would post a few of them here.

Fine Motor (small muscles)
play dough, magnets, squeezing glue bottle, coloring/painting - these should be done on horizontal and vertical surfaces to develop different sets of muscles in the hand and wrist, tearing paper, dig in sand/dirt/rice, pour water/rice/sand/beans, string large beads/buttons, tweezers, eye dropper, spray bottle, opening/closing screw type lids, placing coins in piggy bank, picking up Cheerios one at a time, kneading bread, clothespins, hole punchers, lacing cards

We got a great idea for a craft from Family Fun magazine that utilized fine motor skills. It includes tearing paper, stirring, and pushing on a small area. Here are the official instructions: homemade ornament. We did not add the glitter because small shards of metal don't go well with kids who are likely to rub their eyes. They did take a lot longer to dry than listed as well, but the kids loved it.

This shows the very slow process of making these ornaments with a toddler. The grumpy toddler in the background is upset he has to wait his turn. (Might be best to watch without sound. You won't miss anything good.)

Gross Motor (big muscles)
crawling, walking, running, jumping, throwing, kicking, climbing, rolling, essentially anything that causes big movements
I will note that you should start working with your children on crossing the midpoint around the age of one. Basically if you draw a line down the middle of your child you want them to cross it as much as possible. Many children will pick up a ball on their right side with their right hand, transfer it to the left hand and set it on the left side. You want kids to pick up something on their right side and place it on the left without transferring hands. This helps train both sides of the brain to communicate together. The more these pathways are developed, the faster the brain will later be able to process more complex concepts (learning a foreign language, abstract math, art, music, etc). By the way, this isn't just for arms, ideally you want the legs to cross the midpoint as well. My kids love doing silly walks or crazy crawling.

My son's first juggling lesson courtesy of my husband. :-)

I just have to include one more video. Technically the crawling and walking are gross motor skills, but that's not what makes it cute. They are playing peek-a-boo with each other. I'm hiding because they stopped every time they saw me. My daughter, the queen of making things more difficult than they need to be, called this game "peek-a-duh-boo" and requested it often. Most kids shorten words to make it easier; my kid added a syllable in the middle. 


Monday, December 5, 2011

Child Proofing

The amount of child proofing you will have to do depends on your child. Some kids will follow directions and are very careful not to get hurt. Those aren't my kids. Here's what we did and re-did in the constant battle to keep our kids safe.

My son became fascinated with the electrical outlets. He also likes to suck on his fingers so he was trying to stick wet fingers into the outlets. Clearly a problem we needed to address. Most people use the round outlet plugs. These come in many different brands, but do have a couple of issues. After taking them in and out repeatedly they become loose and easier to remove - great for the adults, but kids can also pull these out. Once they are pulled out, or dropped while you are using the outlet, they become a choking hazard. All kids love putting things in their mouths and these are especially tempting. Instead, we chose to use the sliding outlet covers. This way everyone stays safe.

Happy girl

For my kids, slamming cabinet doors, especially when the other one had a hand in the way, became exciting. I started researching cabinet locks. If you have cabinet knobs then the sliding locks are a popular choice. My son spent every day at his mother's day out for a month playing with these. They locks they had used in the toddler room for 10 years without an issue my son took off. Good problem solving skills, but really makes our life more difficult. There are also spring action locks. With these you open the door an inch or so and then press down in order to open it the rest of the way. My issue with these is that kids can open it a bit, stick their fingers in and still manage to smash their hands. I knew if it was possible to use it to get hurt, my kids would. Instead, we went with the magnetic locks. These don't show from the outside and have a switch so you can turn them on or off rather than having to uninstall them when you no longer need them. So far we haven't even lost the magnetic key!

Firefighter and a basket head

Our next issue became door knob covers. First we went with the "easy" door knob covers. This worked for about a week. That's when my kids discovered if you push a tiny finger in just the right spot inside the cover the entire thing falls off the knob. Then they simply open the door and bring both pieces to us so proud of their accomplishment. Not what we had in mind.

Then we upgraded to this type. These are a pain in the... rear to open. (This is a public blog!) My kids broke off the piece that covers the lock and tried using the same pressure point. Luckily that didn't work! This was a huge help for a few weeks. It was around that time they discovered that if I'm distracted with one child and a door is open they could get it off. All the unattended child had to do was slam the door into the wall. When the knob cover hit the wall it would loosen up the snaps and they could then use tiny fingers to pry it off. While we tried never having an unattended child, this is not realistic if you have two. Once again the adults didn't give up and came up with another solution. I would love to take full credit since it was my discovery, but here's the real story.

Pirates love to plunder.

It was late and I was tired. Very, very tired. The knob cover came off again and I quickly snapped it back into place and got both kids into bed. A couple of days later my husband asked why I had put it on backwards. I had no clue that I had done that, but it seems to have solved the problem. The knob cover hasn't come off since. Score!

We also discovered that the rubber tips on the door jamb stoppers aren't that difficult to remove. These are also a choking hazard. Kids love playing with these, after all they make that cool "boing" sound. We debated what to do about this. We considered gluing the rubber piece on, which is what most child proofing experts recommend. Others say to buy the child safe ones. We went lazy and just removed them all together. As long as the door isn't being slammed against the wall, it's not a huge deal. The one door they do slam against the wall will just have to be repaired once we pass this stage.

Do I really have to wear this?

Our playroom doesn't have a door, it's great for an open floor plan, but not so great at keeping the kids safe. We went looking for a baby gate. Most weren't large enough for the opening and I had some very specific requirements. A lot of baby gates have square, triangle, or rhombus openings which make a great ladder. I'm not sure who came up with that design. The ones with vertical bars are more difficult to climb, but certainly not impossible. We went with this gate. The netting makes it difficult to climb and it fits most areas. My kids didn't learn how to open the gate until they were 2, which was after we no longer needed it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Cuddling with my sweet son

I am thankful for so many things. This is a great time to stop and think about the little things that we take for granted. More than 1 out of every 5 people in the world don't have access to clean water (some sources say 1/3). I have running water inside and outside the house and multiple grocery stores that sell clean water. Around 1 out of every 3 people don't have enough food to meet their basic nutritional needs. I have a kitchen full of food, an extra freezer in the garage, multiple grocery stores and more restaurants than I could count all locally. 1/4 of the world population doesn't have sewers or adequate housing. I have a house with plumbing, air conditioning/heating, electricity, and so many things that many others will go their entire lives without.

I love that smile!

This is also the time of year to focus on family. I have the privilege of having two amazing kids. I love them, but the really cool part is that I really like them. They aren't just relatives, they turning into really cool little people. They make me smile and laugh every day. They also exhaust me and ensure I won't ever find my sanity again, but hey, that can be fun also.

He's silly and has the best laugh ever.

I love that they will sit still and listen to books. I love that they enjoy doing art. I love running around chasing them and seeing them gain confidence. I love when they give hugs and the best part is when they say, "I love you." I like watching them play together and eventually I'm sure they will be able to do so without getting injured. I'm constantly amazed with the things they learn and connections they are making in every aspect of their lives.

She keeps us smiling and on our toes with her antics.

The person I am most thankful for would have to be my husband. He is loving, smart, and has also lost his sanity. He is an amazing father who is involved in every part of our kids lives. He works hard to provide everything we need and more. He makes us all smile and is one of the best people I know. I am so lucky to have him in my life.

 An intense game of ping pong

Monday, November 21, 2011


Everyone tells you the importance of giving toddlers choices. It's important for them to feel like they have control or they will take control in areas you really don't want. What they don't tell you is how to do this without regretting it.

I want you to think I'm too cute to cause trouble.

Give only a couple of choices and make sure that you are open to them accepting either choice. "Do you want to clean up your books or blocks?" They get a choice and you are perfectly happy either way. If you ask, "Do you want to clean up?" They could easily answer "no" and you wouldn't be happy. We try to limit the questions they could answer with no, because it's really annoying.

Me, annoying? No

I have heard so many parents give choices they aren't acceptable. "Do you want to hold my hand or walk by yourself in the parking lot?" I have yet to meet a toddler that should be allowed to walk by themselves in a busy parking lot. A better question would be, "Are you going to hold my hand or do I have to carry you?" While your preference is clearly for them to hold your hand, either option is acceptable. 

We call this the reading couch.

I should admit I used this on my husband (then my boyfriend) for almost 2 years before he caught on and turned it around on me. "Are you going to do the laundry or the dishes while I'm gone?" The trick with adults is not to over use it. Then they catch on and tend to get upset that you are treating them like a child. haha

It does work well most of the time on children though. There are still times when nothing works... welcome to having children. It's also important to know when to pick your battles. You don't want to wear pants in the house, not a huge deal. You don't want to wear pants when it's 40 degrees outside, that's a battle I will win.

Not the easiest way to go around

I can't tell you how many times a day I say things like, "It's dinner time. Do you want broccoli or corn?" While it works most of the time, the rest of the time the conversation goes something like this:
Me: Do you want to read books or play with trains?
Child: No
Me: Do you want to build with blocks or play in the kitchen?
Child: No
Me: Those are your choices, which would you like: blocks or kitchen?
Child: No
Me: Are you being obstinate?
Child: No

Yes, my children could both use the word obstinate correctly before they ever turned 2. Some days are better than others.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


It is important for all family members to have responsibilities to help keep the household running. We believe in starting them young, like as soon as they are mobile.

We start with simple things that they are interested in doing. All toddlers love to fill and dump, well, everything. This can be the first step cleaning up toys. We keep all of the toys sorted so they are easy to put away, even if they aren't always neat. All of the puppets go in one bucket, the balls in another, etc. When you cheer and put things away toddlers are usually happy to help. They do need constant reminders to stay on task and each task must be broken down as simply as possible. You can't tell a toddler to clean up and expect something good to happen. You can tell them to put the stuffed animals on the shelf or the food in the kitchen and expect better results. We tell them what to do with each individual toy and cheer when they do it correctly. This is an extremely slow process, but one they need to learn.

Cleaning up a puzzle

As soon as the kids are capable we let them get dressed. This started with shoes and then they learned how to put on socks, pants, underwear, and shirts. By the time my kids were two they could completely dress themselves. Granted this takes around 30 minutes and we often don't have time for that. They really only practice this skill on the weekends. We help them on weekdays so that we can actually make it out of the house on time.

Those aren't your shoes!

The next job we gave the kids was pushing in their chairs after meals. They love to do this. It's simple and one (or in our case two) less things the adults have to do. We then added putting their dishes on the counter when they are finished, pulling out their chairs, and wiping down the table. They are so excited with each new job and we just keep slowly building our expectations so that it becomes habit.

Silly boy at meal time

There are many other jobs they do around the house as well. After they wake up, they put everything back on their beds. They take off their shoes and socks as soon as they get in the house. They help scrub during bath time. They spray water bottles and use a squeegee on the windows outside. They use spray bottles to water plants. They help cook whenever possible. They put food in the dog's bowl. I love seeing them help around the house.

I can pull the wagon.
What are some jobs your toddler does around the house?

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Many people think it's too difficult to teach toddlers Science. While my kids know the words for many things in nature, which is clearly Science, toddlers love to learn more. Many parents and teachers start with teaching how things grow. I have done this an it is an excellent set of lessons. Planting, watering, and seeing something grow is always special. The only issue is this is not a fast process in the life of a toddler. Seeds that sprout in just a couple of days are considered fast for adults, but if you have spent any time with a toddler you know they move much faster. A better fit for this age is teaching Physics.

This is the point where parents and teachers think, "I hate Science. I don't know Physics." You are forgetting, it still needs to be on a toddler level. We are talking about forces, velocity, acceleration, and reactions. These are all things you know. These are also things that kids will start experimenting with even if you don't do anything. All you have to do is provide the materials and vocabulary. In fact, you already have the materials and your toddlers are already learning Physics, so you really just have to talk to them about what they are doing.

Ride on toys are perfect for Physics. It doesn't take kids very long to figure out why it's more fun to go downhill than up. This is a great time to talk about acceleration and gravity. Kids (most often boys) will also want to crash. This offers different lessons if they are crashing into a wall or crashing into something that will move or fall down. In addition to talking about not crashing into people, we discuss velocity, transfer of energy, and reactions. These "lessons" keep the kids attention and they are much more likely to remember this new knowledge, than to remember to water a plant once a day. Bring out the toy cars and trucks for small scale versions of all the same lessons.

Balls are also great Physics toys. Rolling, bouncing, kicking, and practically everything else a child will do with a ball is a clear lesson in Physics. A train set is always a favorite and learning that if you go too fast you won't stay on the track is a tailor made Physics lesson.

If you want more formal lessons that you set up and initiate, rather than just following your child's lead, that can be fun as well. Set up an incline plane (ramp) and mark how far different toy cars will go before stopping. Why do some go longer? What if you cover the incline plane in carpet, sand paper, aluminum foil, or grass? What changed? Why are the answers different? What if you add more force (pushing rather than letting the car go at the top)? Kids love coming up with ideas to continue experimenting and even with short attention spans will play this game for a long time.

The other day my daughter set up a game that was an even better idea. She placed some cars on one end of the table, all facing the edge. She then took a truck to the other side. This is one of the trucks you can pull back and let go and it propels itself. She would let it go and when it hit one of the cars, that car would fall off, but the truck would stop in place. I immediately started talking to her about a transfer of energy. I also realized what a perfect set up this was and felt silly that  toddler came up with it when it had never even occurred to me.

In most of what we do, I follow their lead. This guarantees a level of interest and even if they act like they aren't listening, I later hear them teaching their babies or stuffed animals the same lesson. They say the best way to prove you know material is to teach it, so I love seeing them playing in this way. I hope this gives you some ideas for easy Physics lessons you can do with toddlers.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Questions and Answers

I've already done a post about the importance of talking to your child constantly. This post will cover the importance of questions and answers. I don't have photos of asking questions, so these will have to do.

What's that?

As soon as the children could answer (verbally or non-verbally) we started asking questions. While this starts simply, "Do you want more broccoli?" It soon changes to helping them label the things around them, "Where is the book?" As they become more verbal, we start asking open ended questions, "What happened?" or "What would you like to do now?" This helps develop their expressive language, while the closed questions often allow a child to use only their receptive language.

I'm not sure I like this...

For example, if you have two blocks and ask "Which one is yellow?" They can point or just repeat yellow while showing you which one is yellow. You have given them all of the information. This is an example of receptive language. If you ask, "What color is this?" They must search their memory for the correct word. The first clue is color, so they think of all the color words they know, then they have to figure out what color it is and state the correct word. This is expressive language and it's a much higher verbal skill.

Where are we?
When relying on expressive language, the answers often come slowly. I'm sure you have watched a child thinking. It's almost like you can see the process inside their heads. It is extremely important after asking a question to wait for the child to answer. If you answer for them (or more likely if an older sibling answers for them) then they stop trying to answer.

He's soft!

This is something most teachers have been trained to do because it doesn't come naturally. Especially if you are normally working with a group of students. There are always a few in the group who will answer quickly and you can move on. When dealing with students in small groups or one-on-one it can feel like a long time for no answer. In our world of constant noise, even a few seconds of silence seem to drag it out. Yet it is extremely important to wait. Those students who take longer to answer need these types of questions even more. I worked at a school where we set the goal to ask each child at least one question that would cause them to think for 8-10 seconds before they could answer each week. This is a great example of individualized education.

Monday, October 24, 2011

What not to do

We do not sit on the train table.

We do not stand on the train table.

We do take photos as proof before re-childproofing the table.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

How kids are different

We do art at least 5 times a week, though usually it's more often. The kids love it and it develops their fine motor skills, creativity, and confidence. Once they started speaking I started asking them open ended questions about what they had made. Prompts like: "Tell me about your painting." and "What does it look like to you?" Each piece is completely different, even when the kids are given the same materials and instructions. Most of our projects are open ended and I don't tell them what they are making, but before holidays I do have more "instructed" art projects.

This first project was painting that they did in September, so around 23 months old. They picked the color of the paper, chose 5 paint colors, and used small paintbrushes to create whatever they want. When they finished they told me about their paintings.
This is my daughter's painting. She said, "The paint uh pink white bunny cow uh no car." Aren't you glad she cleared that up for you?
This is my son's painting. He said, "Blue paper with eggs green. The dinosaurs in the water. No paint up the top."

Dictation is important to do with children. It teaches that you are listening to them and that you can write words. For an adult this seems obvious, but the connection between spoken word and written word is one that has to be made for young children. Just as reading makes the connection that written word can be spoken the reverse that spoken word can be written is amazing to toddlers especially. It's also fun to have documentation of how their language improves, their vocabulary grows, and their interests change.

Here is a Halloween project we completed earlier this week (the kids are 25 months). I cut out triangles and squares from black paper and gave them orange paper. I told them we were going to make jack-o-lanterns. I did not have an example. They could not see a jack-o-lantern from where they were working, but have seen them around the neighborhood. Once again they have very different takes on this project.
This is my daughter's jack-o-lantern. She was very precise about where to place each piece.
This is my son's jack-o-lantern. He was also very precise. He described the 3 eyes and the 2 noses (the second nose is the triangle in the top right corner) as well as the mouth.

My daughter's looks like someone told her exactly what to do and where to place each piece. My son's is more unique. Both are equally wonderful. If you have ever walked into a preschool you are likely to see either a class full of artwork that looks perfect (teacher done) or a class full of unique (child done) art. Developmentally it's better if the child does art the way they want it to look, unique AND perfect.

Another project we did this week was to make skeletons. Once again I told them we were going to make skeletons and gave them the black paper, glue, and Q-tips. I did not tell them where to place them. I did curl one Q-tip for each child and they both decided to make it the head. There was no example and they could not see an example of a skeleton while working on it.
This is my son's skeleton. Just a bit symmetrical - he gets that from his father. :)
This is my daughter's skeleton (glue is still wet). She told me it's made from a head and many hair bones. Unique and I love it. Though I do realize we need to read more about skeletons and bones since she clearly missed part of the concept. I don't need much encouragement to bring in another Science concept.

I hear many times how wonderful it must be to have twins who are so much alike. I'm not sure how to respond to this. My kids are nothing alike - you can even see this in their art. Talk to them or play with them and you will see they have even less in common. I love that I have twins, but I love them as individuals, not as a unit. I love them for their differences and even in the few things they do have in common.

Monday, October 17, 2011


We do a lot of activities for each holiday and I thought I would highlight some of the ones we do for Halloween. We start by visiting a pumpkin patch. Luckily, the church across the street from us has one that we can get to by walking. We let the kids wander around playing with the pumpkins. We talk about the different colors, shapes, sizes, and weights - all great math concepts.

Pumpkins, pumpkins, everywhere

We take our pumpkins home and the real fun begins. We float the pumpkins in the bathtub with the kids to learn about buoyancy. They love that they can easily move the pumpkin in water, especially one that is too heavy for them to move otherwise.

We are working together, but still can't get it to move.

We open the pumpkin and let them help clean it out. This is a new experience for the first few years, since they aren't likely to remember what happened a year before. The idea of sticking your hand in where you can't clearly see, feeling the heat from the inside of the pumpkin (they have been sitting outside), and then feeling the slime is more than most kids can handle. We still encourage them to try.

 I love playing in slime!
I needed more encouragement.

We also let them paint their own pumpkins. While I usually don't get photos of the kid doing messy art, my husband happened to be home this day, so we have one photo. This is another great texture experience and having their art displayed outside is unique and intriguing.

Close supervision is required when finger painting with toddlers.

Other Halloween ideas for kids over 18 months old include cooking some pumpkin seeds, planting pumpkin seeds, making pumpkin pie, hammering golf tees into the pumpkin, and letting the kids carve the pumpkin. There are many great art ideas you can find online as well. What are some of your favorite Halloween activities?