Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Parents As Teachers... As Parents!

My BMF (best mom friend) Wendy is a very thrifty and creative mom.  It doesn't hurt that before she was a mom, she was a Parent Educator for the Parents as Teachers program in her district.  My daughter and I visited her this weekend and I just had to blog about the amazing and educational toys she has created for Baby E. 

Genius toy #1:  The Corn Syrup Kaleidoscope
Materials: one clean, empty, 20 oz soda bottle; one cup light corn syrup; food coloring (optional); sequins, beads, other visually interesting small plastic objects

Remove the label and any other markings from the soda bottle.  Mix a few drops of food coloring into the corn syrup, if desired.  Pour corn syrup into bottle and add sequins, beads, etc.  Spread a strong glue, such as hot glue, Super Glue®, or J.B. Weld© on the threads of the neck of the bottle and put the lid on.  Wipe away any glue that squeezes out and check the instructions on the package to find out how long the glue needs to set up before it's permanent.  This makes a very fun and interesting thing for baby to play with, especially when rolled across the floor!

Genius toy #2:  The Zipper Bag Social Story Book
Materials: photos from a recent event, clear zipper food storage bags, hole punch, ribbons, duct tape, sticky labels
Wendy used photos of herself and Baby E on a trip to the St. Louis Zoo in this project.  She chose photos of single animals and placed two in each zipper bag - back to back, so you can see both photos.  She placed a sticky label on each page and wrote the name of the animal on it.  The duct tape was used to seal the tops of the bags, to protect the photos.  Each zipper bag got three holes punched in it on one side, to bind it like a book.  She cut ribbons and tied the zipper bag pages together.  I love this book!!! 

Pictured here is Baby E's absolute favorite; Genius toy #3: the garlic bread bag mat.  Materials:  garlic bread bag; plastic grocery bags; duct tape
You know those big bake-and-serve loaves of garlic bread you get at the grocery store?  They come in these wonderfully durable silver bags.   After a delicious dinner of spaghetti pie with garlic bread (Wendy is also a fabulous cook), she washed and dried the bread bag, then turned it inside out to make this super-easy toy.  She cut the bag to the desired length, and then stuffed it with a few of the plastic shopping bags we all seem to accumulate, and sealed it up with the ever popular Duct Tape.  Baby E loves the crinkling sound it makes, as well as the shiny visual texture of the bag.  In the picture, my little aspiring babysitter was throwing it up in the air and then catching it, keeping him entertained while the mommies had supper. 

Wendy has so many great ideas like these!  I'm looking forward to many more Wendy-riffic idea posts in my blogging future.   :-)

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