Category Archives: childcare

Fabric Collage with the Kids

I think I told you all that I’ve worked things out that I will have Kelli and Kalissa’s kids (three of my grandkids) on Mondays and Fridays for childcare.  Well, one of my old childcare families asked to join us on Fridays and I decided that would be okay.  Last Friday was the first day for them to come.

The two girls love art projects.  They love crafts.  So when they got here I had a bunch of scraps left out on the kitchen island from cutting out my quilt and the girls wanted to play with them.  In my mind, I couldn’t figure out how they were going to play with them but then something hit me.  I had an idea.

I cut the pieces of fabric down into smaller pieces.  I gave the kids a canvas board (I bought mine HERE on Amazon), some watered down glue and paintbrushes- plus the fabric scraps.

The kids painted the watered-down glue onto the canvas and then put the scraps on the glue.  Carver loved doing this…see? Continue reading

Changes for Jo

Well…Sometimes in life we make the choices and sometimes the choices get made for us.

Back in January I started talking with my kids about cutting back my childcare hours.  I was easily working than more 50 hours a week.  It was too much.  As life was passing me by I kept being sad that I was having great grandma experiences with Carver, Gannon and Georgia but the other grands I wasn’t seeing much-even then, most of experiences with them were childcare related.  I know that is partly because of where everyone lives and, of course, I realize it could never be fair but I don’t think it’s unrealistic for me to see them once a month.

I found myself feeling frustrated when our own kids did come home because I couldn’t get things done that I needed to get done.  I was always feeling behind.  After talking with my kiddos and looking at my finances I had made plans that in the fall I would cut back and only do care Monday through Thursday.  I didn’t announce it but I had plans in place to do that.  I thought having the one extra day to do my “stuff”, I could take a Saturday and enjoy life a life a little including seeing the grandkids that live further away.  My kids were all so happy about my decision.

Well then Covid-19 hit.  I’m high risk and ended up having to close my childcare in an effort to keep me safe.  Here in Iowa schools ended up being closed from March 16th through the end of the school year, I opted to stay closed during that time.

In early May I contacted my doctor and told her that I was wanting her advice.  I wanted to know what she recommended for me.  I told her I was already considering cutting back.  I told her I want to do what is best for me and for my families telling her I can’t keep them hanging.  I asked her, “If I was your mother, what would you recommend?”

She said:  Continue reading

Childcare Chronicles

The childcare kiddos have been keeping me on my toes.  Last week was especially busy and we’ve been fighting runny noses and temperatures.  Nothing serious…more run of the mill type stuff.  It was also a week with two early outs and a no school day.  Those always throw me for a loop.  This time we had a pretty good time.

Here are a couple things we’ve been up to.  I have two of these sets….

It’s a Melissa and Doug Sandwich Set of felt food.  You can find it HERE on Amazon.  It’s a popular toy at my house.  The kids were playing it the other day and I noticed the “menu” tickets had gotten ratty.

Long ago when I bought this set I noticed on the back of the box that it listed pictures and names of all of the food pieces.  Well I cut that part of the box off thinking the kids could use that as a “menu” of sorts.  They sure did.  But then the menus started getting ratty so I put the pieces into the printer and printed more “menus”.  Those got ratty so I put them into the printer and printed new “menus”.  This time I took the time and laminated the “menus”.

A kind blog reader sent the order tickets.  The kids use the menu and tickets all the time with this sandwich set.  I can’t tell you how many sandwiches I’ve eaten since I originally bought the sets.  Having the “menus” and order pads really promotes reading and writing.  I try as hard as I can to incorporate learning like that into simple play.

I’m hoping the laminating solves my “menu” problem for awhile.

With the new wooden boxes I got as decor for the living room the sandwich set is now always available for the kids to play anytime they want and now, they are playing it more than ever.

We started in on a few St. Patrick’s Day activities.  This was a fun craft the kids did the other day.  I cut out a shamrock using this shamrock pattern.

I used double sided tape and taped them to THESE painting boards for kids.

I gave the kids a cork along with yellow, blue and green paint.  The kids used the cork and stamped the painting board with paint.  Once they were done, I lifted the shamrock off the paint board.  It left the white unpainted shamrock in the middle of the board.

After they dried we glued a picture of the kids and the little saying on the bottom.  Carver was a little aggressive with his paint and a little bled near the stem of the shamrock.  The rest of them turned out a little better.

I painted a coat of modge podge over the top.  I didn’t let the kids do it as they paint and paint and paint over the same spot..then the green paint would rewet and smear.  They turned out kind of cute.  If I had to do them again, I would cut the center picture a little bit smaller.

I like to do crafty projects with the kids but also like them to learn something from it.  This time we worked on knowing that if we mixed yellow and blue paint, it turned green.

We have been doing a lot of activities related to books.  Have you seen this book?

It’s a favorite here.  You can find it HERE on Amazon.  The kids did a little activity that went along with the book.  I took a picture of them eating spaghetti and printed it on cardstock.  They glued it and the saying from the book “Not now can’t you see, I’m eating spaghetti” onto black construction paper.

Then I mixed glue and water.  We ran short pieces of yarn in the glue and laid them on the picture.  The yarn dried to the picture to look like spaghetti.

They turned out so cute.

We’ve been incorporating as much learning in as possible.  This day we made Cheerio bars.  Find the recipe HERE.
We take turns pushing the numbers on the microwave.  We watch the timer run down and when it gets to 10 we start counting backwards.  It’s simple stuff but the kids are engaged and happy.

When I was thifting… Continue reading

Childcare Chronicles

Childcare has been going so good as of late.  The babies are almost a year old and have fallen into a bit of a schedule that is predictable.  The 2 and 3 year olds are better at thinking up their own ideas for play.  The school agers are getting along a little better.  I love it.

This always seems to happen right before I get another baby….the kids get totally manageable and then a baby comes and changes things up.   My soon to be coming new baby was born in early January so in March she’ll be starting here part time.

One of my other childcare families is expecting in March so we’ll add that little one to the fold in May.  By then we’ll be close to summer and the chaos of having everyone here, school aged kids included, will begin.   It’s an ever changing cycle.  The only time I’m really sad is when families decided it’s time to phase out of childcare.  The kiddos I’ve grown to love over the years have grown enough to be home on their own without my supervision.  I always have to remind myself that it’s all a good thing and part of life.

Anyway…we’ve all been busy doing some crafty things…Several of them were Valentines related and even though that’s past, I’m going to share a couple of them with you as they were just so cute.

Being it was Valentines we recently talked about hearts.  With the 2’s and 3’s we were talking a lot about hearts, as in the shape….and hearts, as in the organ that pumps your blood.  It’s really hard for little kids not to immediately think of the heart shape when I say heart.  So we did a few fun things that..and we made these.  They were hilarious.  Although we did these for Valentines, you can make them anytime.

We laid a newsprint roll of paper on the floor, had the kids lay on it and we traced them.  Kelli was here that day and it was a huge help.

Then the kids “decorated” the tracing so it looked like them.  Remember these kiddos are still at the age that making a stick person is hard.  After that we took a heart shaped cookie cutter, dipped it in paint and found the place where our heart is on our traced bodies and stamped a heart there.  Then being it was Valentines, I printed a paper that said, “My heart beats for you”.  The kids were so proud of them.  It was a fun project…and a cheap project too.

This one was Carver’s.  See the eyes and mouth.  He was wearing a striped shirt this day so put stripes on his shirt.  Listening to the kids talk as they were making there was hilarious.

One of the hard things about childcare…making projects affordable.  I often have five, and up to 10 if the school agers are here, kids that want to do a project.  If the project cost $1 each, then there went $10 of profit to me.  Of course I do that occasionally but as often as I can, I try to do things with paper or recycled objects.  It also another reason when I thrilled when readers gift me kids craft kits.

Here’s a project we did with recyclables.  A lot of my moms use the “Unstoppables”.  It’s a washing machine agent that makes your clothes smell good among other things.

Well I had parents bring them in…one mom even got one out of the recycling bin. (Yes I washed it well)  I took off the labels, cleaned them the best I could and then they were ready for the kids.

We took the lids off and the kids filled the container with cotton balls.  (Below is how they looked finished)

After they were filled the kids decided the color of their scarf.  I cut two strips of felt and hot glued them to the back.

I brought the ends around to the front and I tied it..or they tied it depending on their ability.  From there I glued on a felt nose.  The kids picked out buttons and I glued them on.

A pompom of their choosing was glued to the top and then the kids could pick out buttons to glue down the tummy if they wanted.

They turned out so cute.  Here are the kiddos with them.

It was a super fun project.  The kids loved it but I did a lot of the work.  It’s not my favorite kids of project as there is not a lot of child work to it…but knowing that, I tried really hard to interject learning into it.  Asking questions like “How many buttons do you want to put on his tummy?”  Or asking if the hat and scarf matched.

It would likely be a better project for older kids who could handle a low heat glue gun on their own….but it was fun and the kids loved them.

I’ll close this chronicle with a couple of fun pictures of the kiddos….this is Carver.  He slept like this for over an hour.  How, I don’t know.

This little guy is super smart.  I got donuts for the kids for breakfast one day.  He was just ready to take a bite and he said, “Look it’s Orson’s “O”.”  He took a bite out of it and said, “Look it’s Carver’s “C”.”  Then he turned the donut to the position it is in the picture and said, “Now I have a “U”.”  He really is a smart little guy….  ..and super sweet too.

I’m still loving my time with the kiddos and as the days march on towards spring, I’m getting the itch to get them, and me, outside!!  I think all of us at my house can agree that we love making crafts and hanging out together but doing it outside is WAY more fun.  Sadly here in Iowa we have at least another month (or maybe two) before we can hope for spring like days.

…and that is the latest childcare chronicle.