The Fourth of July: family, grilling, picnics, swimming– and, of course, fireworks. Watching fireworks to finish off your Independence Day is great– unless your a child with sensory processing challenges. Our toddler TJ was recently diagnosed with ASD, and he gets overwhelmed with loud sounds and bright, flashing lights. You can bet fireworks won’t be part of our celebration this year!
However, that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy other fun sensory activities! If you’ve got a child who’s in a similar place, here are some easy and fun ideas to celebrate Independence Day, without the fireworks.
Hey Momma. You are pretty incredible, you know that? You are hard-working and super cool and so, so important.
Can I be vulnerable with you for a minute? (Seeing as I can’t actually hear you as I type this, I’m just gonna go ahead and assume you answered “yes.”) My first 2 years as a mom were the hardest of my life. I didn’t have a support system, I was dealing with major undiagnosed depression and anxiety, and I thought my struggles were completely my fault. I was convinced I wasn’t cut out to be a mom. Mothering my beautiful son, who should have brought me immeasurable joy, sent me into a state of panic and desperation almost daily.
Something needed to change. I needed help. I needed to take care of myself.
If you’ve been following Delightfully Frazzled for long, you’re probably aware that I’m in love with independent and sensory play activities! Anything that both entertains and teaches my curious little whirlwind is a-okay with me. I’ve posted plenty about sensory play and how to help your child play independently, and today I’m excited to share another fabulous and simple activity with you!
The winter months can be full of plenty of fun activities, like ice skating, snowball fights, hot chocolate and snow angels! However, sometimes the bitter cold and grey skies can lead to more than a little cabin fever around our house! On days like that, TJ and I really benefit from a fun, involved indoor activity to fight off the winter blues. That’s why I’ve rounded up some of my favorite posts of winter-themed crafts and activities for little ones for you today! Check out the photos and links from these fabulous bloggers below for some fun winter inspiration.
Wake up (to screaming, usually). Change some diapers. Feed Baby. Get Toddler some breakfast. Convince Toddler to eat said breakfast. Play some games. Do some coloring. Collect all the crayons so they don’t end up on the walls or windowsills in an hour. Diffuse a tantrum about putting the crayons away. Appease Toddler with a snack. Sneak upstairs to get dressed. Change more diapers. Pick up some toys. Unload the dishwasher. Diffuse a tantrum about a sock falling off. Get some writing done. Pick up more toys. Sneak in some squats and crunches (acting as a tunnel for Toddler to crawl through in the process). Play some more games. Feed Baby again. Spend 10 minutes looking for one little truck because Toddler has a dozen but can’t handle not having THAT SPECIFIC TRUCK. Find the truck. Resist rolling your eyes when Toddler plays with said truck for two minutes and then abandons it for other toys. Change more diapers.
Start thinking about making lunch for Toddler (and dreaming about the proverbial peace of nap time that comes after lunch). Look at the clock—-
It’s only 10:15.
How is it only 10:15?
Motherhood can somehow stretch a 24-hour day into a 4,000-hour day. Do you ever have long days like that– where it just seems to drag on forever? Especially now, with the grays of winter and cabin fever setting in, days can feel soooo long. Some days, I start counting down the hours until bedtime way too early. Please tell me I’m not alone in this.
When your day seems to never end or your routine seems to bog you and your kiddo(s) down, it helps to mix things up a bit. Sometimes all TJ and I need is a little change of pace to get what could be a bad day headed in the right direction again! Check out this list of some fun, different ways to break up your day with a toddler or preschooler.
There are few things I love more than sitting down with my toddler to read a special book. TJ is rarely not moving at 100 miles an hour (only a slight exaggeration), but he loves getting to sit on Mommy’s lap and picking a few books to flip through (or the same book… over, and over, and over again…). While we don’t always get through every word on the pages, I’m so glad that TJ likes books. He always enjoys the pictures, and we talk about each page as we go. Reading books with a little tyke is an irreplaceable way to teach and bond with them. I’ve always been a bookworm myself, so I’m so happy that TJ already loves the written word. I so cherish our time that we spend reading together and hope to foster that love in TJ (and baby Eli) in the years to come.
With Christmas just around the corner (Eek! Where did the year go?!), I thought I’d share with you some of TJ’s favorite books from this year. Each of them are very different but can keep the attention of my whirlwind toddler for a few minutes each (a monumental achievement in this house!). Any of these special books would make great gifts for the toddler in your life and can become a cherished addition to his or her bookshelf! (And the kiddo’s parents will thank you for NOT adding to the chaos by buying that large and/or loud toy you’re thinking about. Trust me. They will.)
It’s no secret that raising a toddler is not always a picnic. The tantrums, frustration with communication, and lack of understanding morals can make any day a challenge. While I definitely have my work cut out for me some days, there are also a lot of wonderful aspects of my toddler TJ getting older that are super great! He’s getting better at communicating, for one, and it’s just wonderful to see him interact with his new baby brother with affection! It’s also incredibly rewarding to see him embrace and begin to understand concepts like numbers, letters, colors and shapes– we’ve been talking about them for a while, and I’m so happy he can recognize many of them now! (And now I don’t have to feel like I’ve been talking to a wall for the past months…)
I’m also super excited that TJ is getting to the age where he can somewhat understand and appreciate artistic activities and crafts we do together. I was browsing the web the other day, looking for some ideas involving art, when I stumbled upon a variation of this little gem and knew we had to try it! This activity combines the fun and learning benefits of messy sensory play with the opportunity to actually create a piece of unique and interesting art.
Now, first off please know that if you have to stop yourself from wincing when you the term “messy play,” you’re not alone! I know and love the benefits of messy play for toddlers; I just don’t love the benefits for my house so much… However, messy play is a great way to mix up our day every once in a while– and TJ almost always loves it! Also, I’m a fan of this activity because you actually get some sort of result from the mess rather than just, well, a MESS. If you’re looking for a relatively simple idea for some great messy play, this activity is gold. Not only is it fun for toddlers, but it also helps teach motor skills, spatial awareness, color recognition, and creativity.
Materials (This post contains affiliate links.)
That’s it! You and your kiddo can decide together where to hang up their masterpiece for the world to see. We hung it on the wall right above TJ’s craft table in his room! TJ loved this activity and enjoyed getting to show it off to Daddy and Grandma when she came to visit. I loved watching TJ create and getting to introduce him to art! This was the first time we did an activity where TJ felt pride in the result, which warmed my heart. I’m a huge supporter of creative activities for young minds, both to teach and to help them develop their appreciation for art. I’ve seen art in many different forms help children express themselves when words don’t cut it, and it personally got me out of my shell when I was a painfully shy fourth grader. I plan to kindle my boys’ love for creativity early on, and hopefully they will continue to love it as they grow!
Anywho, TJ had a blast with this activity. We’ll probably whip this one out some other time too– maybe we’ll have to paint a bright and cheery scene to counter the winter blahs of January! I’m excited to see what TJ does next!
I have always and will always be completely in love with fall. Now that the smell of fall is in the air, I was in the mood for some fall-inspired crafting! Fun for TJ, and fun for me!