You Say Mess Free, I Say Magic

My daughter loves to create and I always want to encourage her artistic endeavors. What I don’t want to encourage is the scenes that look like they are straight out of a Dexter kill scene with red splattered on walls and furniture everywhere. Did I mention she really loves painting with red? Who wouldn’t it though right? It’s bright, stains everything, and is full of emotional expression. I have paint stained grout and walls that make me feel more like I live in an artist studio than a grown-up house.

When I found the “Mess-Free” line of Crayola products, I felt like I had just been let in on a big parenting secret. From the stamp set to the markers, I was excited to give my daughter the chance to create without the work of wiping and scrubbing out all the “outside the lines” marks she makes.

Here are some of our faves:
Crayola Color Wonder Mess-Free Art Desk

The stamps make for creative fun from making scenes to just getting some proprioceptive input by drawing on the solid board. My daughter spends lots of time creating with this magical set and there are no smocks required at this art desk.

Crayola Color Wonder Mess-Free Light Up Stamper

What kid doesn’t love to stamp things? What parent doesn’t loathe scrubbing excessive stamps off their kids’ hands, face, arms, legs, and themselves? This is a match made in heaven for stamp loving kids and parents who aren’t so keen on going to work with smeared ink on their cheeks. The ink pads light up as you use them for added visual input and fun.

Crayola Color Wonder Mess-Free Finger Paints & Paper

What? Finger paints that don’t require drop cloths and a hose to clean up after? Sign me up. Crayola has really outdone themselves with this magic mess-free line up of art products that will give your child lots of creative sensory play.

 

Crayola did not sponsor this post, but I wouldn’t say no if they offered them to me, because I am smitten with the entire Color Wonder Mess-Free line.

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For the Love of Stacking

Once my daughter got the hang of stacking, there was no stopping her. When she struggled early-on to put one block on top of the other, I did what any other panic-stricken mom afraid her daughter was falling behind would do: I invested in stacking toys and found a couple that really helped give my daughter the edge amongst her stacking peers. Stacking quickly became one of her favorite ways to avoid bedtime. She would stack the hell out of blocks and toys while I applauded and cheered her on well past her bedtime. She learned early on how to get out of sleeping, and here are some of her favorite bed-avoiding tactics toys.

Melissa & Doug ABC/123 Blocks

These classic toys seem almost as necessary as diapers. I still find these mixed in with other toys. The durable wood construction means they survive toddler antics. My flat screen tv is another story. The Melissa & Doug ABC/123 blocks also work for sorting by color as well as number and letter recognition. And baby’s first drums. Stacking towers and destroying them made for lots of laughs and fun.

Tobbles by Fat Brain Toys

This brightly colored gem was introduced to me by one of my daughter’s therapists. The two layers and unusual shape made for good sensory exploration. These uniquely shaped Tobbles by Fat Brain Toys are weighted to make stacking fun and easy in all sorts of combinations giving toddlers a chance to explore different sizes, balance, and spinning.

Melissa & Doug Stack and Sort Board

Melissa & Doug toys are well known for mixing up fun and skill building into great toys and who doesn’t love this classic take on shape sorting? My daughter was sorting shapes and colors long before she could ever say words like “circle” or “red”. The Melissa & Doug Stack and Sort board is a great introduction to counting too. She would do this over and over and over and for a toddler who had the attention span of a fruit fly, that was a big deal.

What are your favorite stacking toys?

My First Love…I Mean Trampoline; My First Trampoline

Ever been in love with an inanimate object? No? Me neither. Just kidding. I have. I’m not gonna lie, sometimes when I look at this trampoline, I get little hearts in my eyes. This is by far the best addition to my daughter’s sensory playroom and I have never regretted the purchase, even when I have been forced to jump with her at 5:00 AM.

When your child requires a room full of sensory equipment, you have to make the most out of the space you live in. I transformed our one-car garage into an indoor playspace, open year round, rain or shine. The addition of this perfectly sized My First Trampoline was the ideal finishing touch.

Despite my extensive assembly experience, I still cringe when I read the words “assembly required.” I hired a local handyman to put this thing together and he still needed an extra set of hands to hold some things in place and get the protective netting on in the end.  Otherwise, assembly was mostly a one-person job and took about an hour and half to complete. My daughter has spent countless hours jumping on this trampoline. She loves it and it ranks right up there with coffee on my list of “must haves” now as far as parenting survival tools go – I cannot imagine life without it.

The trampoline is durable – there have been 3 kids bouncing in ours at once. It’s possible 4 could fit, but when they all start jumping around like maniacs, arms swinging, and bodies flailing, someone will get inevitably bumped into, possibly hurt, and the dramatics that follow are often worse than the injury itself. I would say it’s great for 2 and ideal for a solo sensory seeker who needs room to toss her limbs about. Add music and a few balloons and you have an afternoon of sitting on a nearby chair and watching your child with boundless energy smile and laugh while you sip your coffee and enjoy the sweet life. A happy kid equals a happy parent, right?

My First Trampoline is great for small spaces. Ours has been kept indoors and has not endured any elements of weather, but it is made for outdoor use too. We just happened to get lucky with high ceilings that eliminated the risk for head injuries. My daughter loves to jump, dance,and bounce and My First Trampoline has provided her the perfect space to enjoy doing all three safely.

Check it out:

Check out the full garage transformation on YouTube!