Tag: Karen Braga

Tis the Season for Christmas DIY Projects

By: Karen Braga
Twitter: @Karenbabydoll22

The holidays always bring people together and sprinkles a little special magic in the air. So for this holiday season why not do some fun Christmas activities with your toddler.

I will share with you my top ten favorite DIY projects that you can do to either decorate your home or to give as a personalized gift to someone special. Remember when doing activities with your toddler always set up a good working station. Also make sure you and your toddler are wearing old clothes if you are working with paint. So play your favorite Christmas songs and let’s get started.

Top Ten DIY Projects

  1. Personalized Christmas Ornament

*Please note that you can find some ornaments that are thicker and will not break easily; however in case you don’t, just work over a soft surface.*

Materials Needed: Plain White Christmas Ornament (I got a couple of mine from the dollar store), Paint, Glitter (optional) and Glue.

First, have your toddler pick the colors of paint that he/she wants to work with and put some on a paper plate. With hand over hand, guide your toddler to add some paint on their brush and have them decorate the ornament. For a more simple/personalized decoration, you can add some paint onto your toddlers hand and have them hold the ornament. This will leave their hand print on the ornament. Once dried you can have your toddler add some glue and then sprinkle some glitter over the glued areas.

Photo Credit: Pinterest
Photo Credit: Pinterest
  1. Christmas Stockings

Materials Needed: A Plain Christmas Stocking, Hot Glue Gun (for your use only of course) and some decorations of their choice. Some art decoration ideas for your toddler would be pom poms, Fabric Paint and Christmas Foam Designs.

Place the stocking in front of your toddler and have them hand you the decorations that they would like on it and where they would like it placed. You can also have your toddler fill the stocking with some Christmas treats and little gifts.

  1. Stuffed Snowman’s

Materials Needed: A sock of your choice (you can use a plain White one or get a Christmas themed one), Rice, Three Elastic Bands, Materials to make a snowman face and hot glue gun (for your use only of course).

This idea is super cute, fun to do and also a great sensory play for toddlers. Hold open the sock and have your child scoop up some rice with a scooper or with their hands and put it in the sock. Together fill the sock close to the top but not all the way and tie it tight with an elastic band. This will leave a little piece of the sock sticking up and that’s ok as that will be the bottom of your snowman. You can either hot glue it down so it can stand up straight or fold it up. Now create your snowman layers by tying two elastic bands in two different spots. If you want to cover the elastic bands you can tie a ribbon around it. Once completed your toddler can hand you the materials for the face of the snowman. I used materials I already had around the house. For the eyes we used small buttons. For the nose I colored a tooth pick orange and cut a small piece (I put the pointy part sticking out however I added a small drop of hot glue on it so it wouldn’t be sharp). Then for the mouth we drew it on with a marker. Feel free to be creative by using different materials you already have and doing your own snowman design.

  1. Hot cup of love

Materials Needed: Tin of Hot Coco Powder, Mini Marshmallow, Plain White Mugs or Mini Jars, Candy Canes, Little Bags, Ribbon and Paint. Tip: I like to get my mugs or mini jars from Walmart as I can get a set for a lot less money than purchasing them separately.

This is one of my favorite DIY gift ideas because it is not only fun to do, you can also make a lot with it such as giving this as a gift to many people.

Make sure your mugs or jars are all washed and dried. Then by using hand over hand, guide your toddlers hand with the paint brush to create your design. Once your toddler is done painting, set them aside to dry. Hold open a small bag in front of your child and have them place some mini marshmallows in the bag and then tie it closed with a piece of ribbon. Repeat this step with your child with the coco powder. Have your toddler put a candy cane, bag of coco and a bag of mini marshmallows in the mug.  If you decided to use the mini jars instead of the mugs, you can put the coco directly in the jar followed by some mini marshmallows on top, then seal the lid and tape the candy cane onto the jar. Finally, don’t forget to add a tag with the person’s name on it.

  1. Christmas Wreath

Material Needed: Ring foam (You can find this from Michaels Craft store), Christmas bows, Christmas Tinsel garlands, Pom Poms, Hot Glue Gun (for your use only of course) and any other decorations you would like to use. *If you’re on a tight budget please feel free to cut out a reef shape out of a paper plate instead. However if you would like to use the ring foam from Michaels Craft store please check out their website, as they have coupons you can use towards your purchase.*

This gift is super cute and a great decoration piece. Add some hot glue onto the ring foam to secure on the end of the tinsel garlands. Together with your toddler wrap the rest of the tinsel garland around it until it is all covered and then glue the last piece down. Put some hot glue onto the Christmas bows and with hand over hand, guide them to place the bow on the reef. Other decorations such as pom poms, have your child hand them to you as you glue them down. Once you have completed your look it is ready to be given or displayed.

  1. A “Hand-Full” Christmas Tree

Materials Needed: Green construction paper, Brown construction paper, Scissors (for you of course), A Pencil, Glue and some art decorations of your child’s choice.

First trace your toddler’s hands onto a Green construction paper with your pencil. You will need a couple of them so if your toddler is getting inpatient have them walk away from the activity until you have traced and cut out the hands that are needed (you will need about 10). Also cut out a rectangle piece of Brown construction paper for the stem of the tree; however make sure it is long as it will be the support for the hands. Together with your toddler, glue four hands together (have the fingers facing down) onto the brown stem, as the bottom of the tree. Then glue three hands onto the stem, then two on top of that and then finally your last hand on top. With the decorations of your choice decorate the tree from top to bottom and don’t forget to add a tree topper. For a personalized touch you can add a small family photo as your tree topper.

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  1. Christmas lights

Material Needed: White Paper, Different Colored Paint and A Black Marker.

This activity is safer than it sounds. Together with your toddler add a small, thin amount of paint onto your toddlers thumb and place it onto the paper, leaving a thumb print. You can also add some of your thumb prints as well. Continue this process until you both have reached your desired look. Then with the black marker draw lines to connect the lights together (you can use hand over hand guide).

  1. Just for Santa

Material Needed: White Plain Plate (I got mine from the dollar store), different Colored Paint and a Black Permeant Marker (just for you of course).

This activity is super cute and will get all children excited for the big jolly guy. As you explain to your child how Santa gets really hungry after making all his stops, he likes to munch on snacks; so creating a special plate just for him will make him feel special.

Have your toddler paint the plate and then set aside to dry. Once completed you can write a message for Santa on the plate for example: “Dear Santa, hope you like these tasty snacks I have left you.”

Photo Credit: Pinterest
Photo Credit: Pinterest
  1. Mittens

Material Needed: Colored Construction Paper, Glue, Scissors (for you of course) and the decorations of your child’s choice.

Cut out mitten shapes with the colored construction paper that your toddler has picked. Then with hand over hand, add some glue onto the mittens and encourage them to add the decorations that interests them. For a more complex activity you can get a solid colored pair of mittens for them to use; however decorate them with fabric paint.

  1. Pretty snowflakes

Materials Needed: This activity can get a little messy as it requires glitter so if you do not wish to use this then you can substitute it with paint or markers. Other materials needed is glue, tape and string.

Place your pre-cut snowflake designs in front of your toddler, then with hand over hand, add some glue to the snowflake and sprinkle some glitter on top. Repeat this step until all snowflakes are decorated. Then once dried tape your snowflakes onto your string and hang it up for decoration.

These are just some of the many DIY activity ideas you can do with your toddlers this holiday season. Remember to add some special touches yourself into the activity so it’s a special project made just from the two of you. Writing your child’s name and the year they made it on would be ideal to place on the back of the DIY projects as this will be an added memory for them and you!

If you make any of these DIY projects please be sure to tag me as I would love to see everyone’s creations.

Until next time…Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

 

About the Author

Karen Braga graduated from Sheridan College with an Early Childhood Education Diploma. She worked with children for about five years before expanding her skills in Administration. Karen is a loving Godmother/Auntie to one. Combined with her ECE background and passion for DIY projects and baking, she has recently become an expert writer for mom blogger, Momma Braga. Karen hopes by sharing her knowledge, tips and tricks, she can bring families together through her creative ideas.

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10 Tips to Trick or Treating with a Toddler

Special Guest Post

By: Karen Braga
Twitter: @Karenbabydoll22

After much thought in choosing the perfect Halloween costume, children then look forward to getting free candy. Although we teach children not to talk to strangers and take candy from them, Halloween is the one day where it is accepted; however with limits. It is important to explain that trick or treating should always be done with a parent or an adult guardian. If you have an older child (13 +) and you give them permission to go with friends, make sure that they are in a group of at least three or more. They should also know the importance of checking candy before consuming it. The good news is toddlers don’t really show much interest in eating the candy as much as getting it.

Here are my top ten tips in trick or treating with your toddlers.

  1. Together with your toddler choose a fun Halloween candy bag or pale at one of your local Halloween stores. Just make sure that it is not too big for them as they will most likely want to carry it themselves. For a little fun activity and for those on a budget, you can purchase a plain bag from your local dollar store and decorate it together.
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  2. Depending on the day Halloween falls under, sometimes it’s a rush to get home and get everything ready for the adventure. No matter what though, eating a good dinner is important as they will need all the energy they can get. My niece LOVES pizza and it was easy to pick up and it filled her belly for a long time. However, for those of you that have the time to cook a meal that day make sure your toddler has some protein. Keeping your toddler full will help them resist the temptation of asking for a piece of candy.
  3. I highly recommend preparing all your things before changing your toddler in their costume. They might get restless waiting around for you to get things ready when they know there ready to go. Some important items to bring along with you is an umbrella, sweaters or a blanket, healthy snacks, water and a flash light. Also bringing along a favorite stuff toy and a pacifier (if your toddler uses one) can be a comforting item to relieve a scary moment or even a tantrum. Also make sure to bring a plastic bag with you as you can use it to empty out your toddler’s bag when it gets full.
  4. Weather is sometimes very unpredictable, so taking a quick look at the forecast is highly recommended. Depending where you live, Halloween can be quite chilly outside so making sure your toddlers costume is warm enough will help them have a comfortable experience. If it isn’t warm enough, then small alterations can be made the day of. For instance, you can put on a long sleeve shirt and pants under their costume for warmth. As mentioned above, bringing sweaters or a blanket can be handy as well. Aside from the cold, sometimes it rains on Halloween so be prepared with an umbrella, rain boots or even a rain coat. There are some clear rain coats that your toddler can wear and still have their costume shown.
  5. Toddlers love to be independent and want to walk on their own but often times they get tired easily. I highly recommend you bring a stroller or wagon for the trip. It’s easier to store the things you just packed and a backup for when your toddler gets tired. Also a great place to put the extra candy they get. For a fun activity you and your toddler can decorate the stroller or wagon for Halloween and have them help you put the items in it.
  6. It’s a good idea to head out trick or treating as early as you can. The typical time to go out with your little ones is 6:00 PM. This will allow your toddler to explore and experience the holiday but get home on time for their bedtime routine.
  7. We all know how day light savings time works and it can get dark quickly even if you go out trick or treating around 6:00 PM. So being prepared with a flash light or Halloween reflectors for safety is recommended. You can find Halloween reflectors at your local store and the price can range from $3.00 (CND) to $5.00 (CND). However, you can find cheaper ones at your local dollar store; either way as long as it’s bright it’s good.
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  8. Going trick or treating around your neighborhood is a great way for your toddler and you to get to know your neighbors. It is also close to your home, so if your toddler is finding it overwhelming or they become too tired to continue you can easily head back. If you do choose to expand your trick or treating area, please choose a street that has many trick or treaters and not many cars.
  9. When approaching your first home, take the time to talk about the decorations that the house has, so they don’t get scared. Walk up or carry your toddler to the front door and encourage them to say “trick or treat”. If they can’t say it then that’s ok as they will be hearing you say it and they will learn that next time that is what they should say. Before you know it, they will pick up on the concept quickly.
  10. Creating a smooth tradition to head back home doesn’t have to end with a tantrum. An easy transition is when you start in your area, go from the end of your street and work your way back home. If you are away from your neighborhood an easy transition to go back home would be to build excitement around all the candy that you can go through when you get home. Just make sure they know it won’t be eaten in one night! 😉

Overall, having a fun and safe Halloween with your toddler can be done with simple steps. Although if you do not want your toddler trick or treating or they are too scared to go out; there is another way they can still be a part of that adventure. Together with your toddler you can greet the children that come to your door and put some Halloween candy in their bags. For fun and a great fine motor skill activity you can have your toddler put some candy in the mini Halloween bags a head of time to give out the day of.

Something special I do each year is get some Halloween stickers from my local dollar store and cut them into squares (about 4 to 6 stickers on each square). Then I hand them out with the candy and let me tell you how happy children get. Sometimes they show more interest in the stickers then the candy that I give them. Nevertheless it’s a little bonus treat I like to do to make their Halloween a little special. For those that look a little scared with my decorations I throw them some extra stickers just for being brave.

Until next time… Have a safe and fun Halloween!

 

About the Author

Karen Braga graduated from Sheridan College with an Early Childhood Education Diploma. She worked with children for about five years before expanding her skills in Administration. Karen is a loving Godmother/Auntie to one. Karen is passionate and knowledgeable about Halloween. Combined with her ECE background and passion on Halloween, she has recently become an expert writer on the topic for mom blogger, Momma Braga. Karen hopes by sharing her knowledge, tips and tricks, she can help families enjoy this holiday.

Introducing Halloween to Your Toddler

Special Guest Post

By: Karen Braga
Twitter: @Karenbabydoll22

Ah Halloween, my favorite time of the year! The one time where you can dress up as anything you want, get free candy and see all the creative pumpkins. However, we never stop to think that Halloween can be a very confusing holiday for children.

First off, children see it as a day where there is a lot of scary monsters around and despite the fact that we teach children not to take candy from strangers, this day is an exception. So one might say how do we prepare our toddlers for Halloween?

Sweet Pea meet Halloween

Stores typically start to display their Halloween decorations in late August. However, I suggest starting the conversation with your toddler in late September and walk with them to see the Halloween décor in the stores.

 

What I did with my niece was talk about Halloween during the month of September. I talked about pumpkins, witches, candy, fall colors and masks. Even though masks can be quite scary, I explained in the best way I can that underneath the mask was a person. I also played some of my favorite Halloween songs and had a little dance party with her.

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Now it was time for me to introduce her to Halloween decorations so I took her to Walmart. When we got there I started by talking about the decorations that were displayed and had her touch some of them. When we came across the “scary” décor like scarecrows, Halloween masks or even the fake hands, I told her that it was ok and there was nothing to be scared of. To earn her trust I touched the decorations myself and even made some jokes with them that made her laugh. She got more comfortable and walking past them was a breeze.

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There are also other Halloween stores that only open for the holiday. One of my favorite Halloween stores is Spirit Halloween, they have a large selection of costumes and decorations, but I also love the fact that they collect donations for sick kids to give them a special Halloween. I was itching to introduce that store to my niece; nevertheless I know how scary some of the masks and displays can be, so I had to think of a way on how I could still take her inside.

First, I visited my nearest location and took a look around. Now that I knew what was inside, I would be able to control and guide her in having a positive experience in the store. However, oftentimes children show interest in things we typically wouldn’t think they would be and not to mention that sometimes things don’t go as planned. For example, when you walk in the entrance of the store there is a medium size display with electronic decorations; such as moving clowns, mean looking dogs and skeletons. However they only “come to life” once you step or push the button. I was planning on skipping that display all together when to my surprise my niece wanted to see it. She seemed to be fine as she was waving hi to the electronic decorations. Before anyone could push the button I redirected her to the other Halloween decorations so that she didn’t get scared. She showed some interest and didn’t seem to be scared as I used some humor to help ease any fear she may have had.

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In conclusion, small talks and trips can help your toddler understand the holiday a little better. The goal is not only for them to acknowledge and understand the holiday but also not to be scared of it. Remember that all children react to things differently so please don’t force your toddler to see things they do not like. Follow their lead in interest and if they are not ready to explore the decorations then that is ok as long as you explained what Halloween is all about.

Until next time……..Happy Spooking!

 

About the Author

Karen Braga graduated from Sheridan College with an Early Childhood Education Diploma. She worked with children for about five years before expanding her skills in Administration. Karen is a loving Godmother/Auntie to one. Karen is passionate and knowledgeable about Halloween. Combined with her ECE background and passion on Halloween, she has recently become an expert writer on the topic for mom blogger, Momma Braga. Karen hopes by sharing her knowledge, tips and tricks, she can help families enjoy this holiday.