Good Morning, Autumn

Again I say: Good Morning, Autumn.

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Let me just say Fall in Oregon is beautiful. I remember my mom always pointing out the few changing trees in our neighborhood back in Los Angeles. I thought the leaves changing in California were pretty, but to see all the leaves change around you in Oregon, that is something else. Again, Autumn here is beautiful.

 
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Noël and I go on walks almost everyday, so of course we see a ton of fallen autumn leaves on the ground. This toddler art project is simple with (in my opinion) beautiful results.

Materials: leaves, Sharpies, acrylic paint, paint brushes, water bowl, towels, paint pens, glue, paper

FIRST STEP - gather leaves!
Go on an exploration walk with your toddler. Pick up any (preferably whole) leaves. Pick leaves with stems, without stems, small, big, red, yellow, green, brown, red and yellow… (you get the picture). The more variety you have the better.

Next, lay your leaves out on a flat surface and place a few books on top to help flatten your leaves. I would wait a few days. We actually waited an entire week before using our leaves.

After you leaves are nicely flatten, set up a simple workspace. I decided to op out of my regular table cloth and use an old cardboard box instead. I figured the table cloth might damage the leaves and cardboard would provide a more sturdy surface to work on.

BEGINNERS PLEASE- Supervise Sharpies
Okay, I am so glad you are trying this out! I know, Sharpies?! Yes, Sharpies. Try it. Have your toddler wear a dark or old shirt if you’re afraid of stains. But as long as your your little one is being supervised, you will live. Give your toddler one color at a time. I even showed my daughter how to hold the leaf with her other hand so that the leaf would stay in place as she decorated. Let your little one use 2-5 colors on each leaf.

 
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PAINTING ADVENTURES- color pop
I decided I wanted to participate in the project as well. I love painting and honestly the color contrast is much more pleasing. If you have let your little one use a brush before, I would really encourage you to have them paint their leaves as well. I would pick 2-3 colors, preferably on the lighter side. I had Noël use off white, gold and light blue acrylic paint. Another alternative to paint and paint brushes for this particular project would be paint pens. You can use them like markers and they might give you more peace as you watch your child get excited over their masterpiece.

 
 
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CHALLENGE ME- draw a picture, make a face
If you want to do this project with an older child, have them draw a picture or face or make a pattern on their leaf. I painted a few with patterns and made a cat head and little creature on a few of my leaves.

 
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After you finish decorating your leaves (if it is painted let it dry first), glue your leaves to your choice of paper. I also decided to round the edges and cut my paper to frame the size of each leaf better.

Flatten your leaves one last time to ready them for display.

 
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Then enjoy! Tape these masterpieces to your wall, hang them in a frame, add them to the refrigerator, make an autumn flag, turn them into cards.. Just make sure they are being enjoyed by your little one and others!

 
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Pumpkin Art

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It’s October!! Even before Noël was born I would paint a pumpkin every year. One year Benson even participated with me and we (more I) painted a Spiderman pumpkin! That being said, pumpkin painting is a tradition of mine, so you bet that is something I plan to do with Noël every year. Last year Noël was one, so she had a small pumpkin, we used sponges, and she only wore a diaper. This year, I let her do the real deal. She wore her regular clothes (I forgot to change her) and she got a regular sized pumpkin.

I let Noël pick all her colors and she had so much fun!

 
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Materials: Pumpkin, acrylic paint, paint brushes/foam paint brushes, water bowl/cup, paper plates, paint pens , table cloth (shower curtain)

MY FIRST PUMPKIN: yay!
If this is your first time painting a pumpkin with your little one, yay! I am not going to lie, this particular project is a little more messy than others, but totally worth it. As you can see, I set up a shower curtain as our covering on the garage floor. I also placed a paper plate under the pumpkin (if your little one paints the entire pumpkin, this allows the pumpkin to dry normally on any surface).

 
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STEPS:
1. If your little one is old enough to say colors, let them pick a few. This is another opportunity to reinforce color recognition.
2. Set up your supplies. Put water in your bowl, ready the paper towels, place the pumpkin on the paper plate, brace yourself.
3. (optional) Add painters tape first to your pumpkin and later you can pull it off to create a different type of abstract look. We added the tape at first, but ended up just leaving it on. I wouldn’t do this in the future.
4. Let your little one use one color at a time. I would also use separate plates for contrasting colors or else you will just get brown paint. For example I placed all the warm colors on one plate and all the cool colors on another plate
5. Help your toddler rotate his/her pumpkin so the paint can be distributed all around
*also, paint pens can be used for detail or if you prefer less mess!

 
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Noël was so proud of her pumpkin. She points it out every time we come home. If you want ZERO mess, have your little one just add colorful washi tape to a pumpkin. I got Noël a small white pumpkin and she added some yellow and gold washi tape to it.

 
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HAPPY FALL! (Please excuse Noël’s home clothes pajama set)

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Bottle | Take 1

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WE USED GLITTER! I prefer "adventurous" instead of "crazy" ahaha  

A couple of months ago I saw these Season Sensory/Discovery Bottles on another blog.  I loved the idea and I just had to do something like this with Noël.  Of course when I typed "sensory bottle" into Pinterest an endless list of DIY bottle ideas appeared.  I still love the seasons discovery bottles, but I am going to save that idea for a later time. 

I'm calling this post Take 1.  Today we kept it simple with shiny glitter and a few streamers.  

 
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FIRST TRY bottle one
Noël is pretty good about not putting things into her mouth.  I would also say she is on the neater side, so I decided to be adventurous and let her use glitter.  I know the use of glitter can be frowned upon with young ones, but looking back now I do not regret it.  She did a great job.  We did a thorough wipe down and clean up after, so I would say overall this was pretty successful.  If you are a little more hesitant about your young one, beads or legos work nicely.  I also think adding a few streamers showed some extra movement inside.  
Materials: Voss bottles (suggested, but any water bottle will do), clear glue (glitter glue), warm water, chopstick, superglue
Your choice materials: beads, legos, buttons, rice, glitter, streamers, rocks, waterbeads, sand, etc. 

 
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STEPS
1. Fill 1/3rd bottle with warm water
2.Add 1/4th of glue bottle to warm water, stir with chopstick
3.Add material (we used different colored glitter and gold streamers) 
4.Fill the rest of bottle with warm water
5.Super glue lid shut

 
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I told Noël B the water was hot, so be careful. She proceeded to blow into the bottle to cool it down (: 

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What do you think?  There are so many more sensory bottles ideas.  I'm deciding if we should do color focus bottles or an ispy next. 

 

Art Presentation

 

In art, presentation matters. A simple mat, border, frame, or even lamination goes a long way (especially in kids art). 

 
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Not every piece can be framed and some projects are better as cards or hung with a thumbtack on daddy's office wall. So adding a simple border really makes a toddler's abstract piece look more purposeful and even professional. 

Here is Noël B's mixed media art piece for this year's Father's Day. She used watercolor and crayons. Her choice of colors, of course! 

 
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To recreate Noël's Father's Day frame- we used black cardstock paper and measured a 3/4" border around her mixed media art piece, everything is held together with glue stick 

Meal Prep | Brussel Sprouts

 

My little one loves taking things in and out of bags. 
So I decided I could use this love during our meal prep.

 
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I am trying to make meal prepping with Noël part of our everyday activities.  It is in our daily schedule, but that doesn't always mean it will work out.  I try to find at least one thing we can do together, like measuring out rice, breaking pasta or washing vegetables. 

 
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This time Noël helped me move the Brussel Sprouts from the grocery bag to the cutting board to be cut.   After I cut the Brussel Sprouts, she moved them into the colander to be washed.  

 
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We sat next to her kitchen during our meal prep.  I hope she will enjoy cooking as she gets older.  I like finding and trying new recipes, but cooking and especially baking is not something I am not particularly good at.  Unfortunately, my baby girl has quiet a few allergies :( so for now we are becoming especially comfortable in our kitchen.  

 
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Benson was able to capture this sweet moment of Noël and me working together. 

Do you meal prep or cook together at home?  Tell me about your adventures! 

 

Beginners Paint

 

I am so excited to share my love of art with my daughter and now you!

 
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For some reason paint has the reputation of being the most "artsy" art medium.   
And as an art teacher I could not wait to let my little one paint. 

Note:
Now mamas, don't be afraid of paint. Actually, painting with a toddler doesn't have to be scary at all! I love painting with Noël.  She wears her normal clothes and it's awesome to see her face light up when she sees her creation. 

For those of you who would like to try this at home.  Here are three awesome ways you can paint with your child.

FIRST STEP: So this is your first time buying art materials
Materials: water, jar/bowl (I prefer something heavier or lower and with more surface area.  This helps minimize spills), towel (you/something will get wet), construction paper, variety pack paint brushes (allow your child to try out different size brushes)
No Real Mess- Okay, so this is your first time painting with your young one. If you're worried about the mess, don't. Start off with painting water. Cheap construction paper absorbs water wonderfully. You will see a contrast in color and guess what?! Your worse spill will be of water! Which in my opinion is the best kind of spill. 

 
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GO FOR IT: Do it!
Materials: water, towel, variety pack paint brushes, any light colored paper (your young one is exploring.  no need to buy expensive watercolor paper), watercolor palette
If you have watercolors or tempera paint lying around at home, go for it. A watercolor palette alone is just beautiful to look at. Best of all, a cake watercolor palette is dry until activated by water!  So if your a little nervous, give your little one a dry brush and dry palette to play with before adding water. 

 
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ADVENTUROUS:  Try something new?
I love liquid watercolor. If you are afraid of spills, keep a close eye on your child.. but liquid watercolor guarantees color every time the brush is dipped. 

 
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So what do you think? Share with me your painting experiences.  I'd love to hear them!