As you know, I’m constantly looking for new activities, crafts, and projects for the twins. Because we have a nanny and they don’t go to a daycare, they are here all day with the same old toys. They don’t get a change of scenery often until the weekend. So on lazy Saturdays (and Sundays), we try to engage the toddlers in activities that are different, educational, and frequently sensory based. Both B and C get very excited to see what fun games we have in store for them, and I certainly think the independence many of these activities provide is right up B’s alley, considering his strong-willed, passionate nature.
What I look for in a toddler activity first and foremost is simplicity. Unfortunately, as much as I wish it weren’t true, I lack creativity (which is not helpful as an elementary school teacher and a mom of toddlers). What games can toddlers engage in that involve the least amount of materials? From there, I look for price. It needs to be super cheap, if not free. If I can find a simple, cheap game or craft for the toddlers to play or create, I’m in.
That’s why when I came across this so simple and cheap activity from Jamie at “Hands On As We Grow”, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it myself.
The twins go through phases of interests, as I suppose all kids do. They were on a letter kick for a while as they learned their ABC’s. Then they obsessed with numbers while they practiced counting. Lately, they can’t get enough of colors. My goodness – they want to name them, screaming out loud of course, pointing, getting their hands on color. On our first snow day I provided crayons after an unsuccessful mess-free paint experience. I gave them a piece of a paper and let them have at it. But it wasn’t the best way to get them coloring.
No, the right move here was to buy butcher paper. I bought it on Amazon, and I can’t say it was super cheap/free. It wasn’t (almost $40). However, the roll is huge – it’ll last YEARS for sure. It was absolutely worth the purchase.
A few times a week, I cut butcher paper to the length of the twins’ little toddler table and tape around the edge so it can’t be lifted up or ripped while they color.
As soon as I put the jumbo crayons out (Dollar Store find!), the twins start grabbing and scribbling at top speed.
Sharing between siblings is going to be a constant work-in-progress, especially since both kids want the colors their twin is holding (obviously!). B has lately been entranced by orange. He can’t stop pointing out what’s orange, and he requests his orange cup, bowl, plate, socks…you name it.
On this particular day, my husband “the artist” wasn’t home, so I drew what only a non-artist can draw – letters. (In previous coloring sessions my husband has been caught drawing farm animals and creating comics, much to the kids’ enjoyment.) The twins enjoyed going around the table and shouting out the letters they saw. C was getting hung up on a Q looking so much like an O, and B kept turning his head this way and that to see how the H was also an I.
I was even able to catch C working on her grip to get the crayon to paper just right.
Colors are so much fun for toddlers and putting crayons to butcher paper is a guaranteed success in our house every single time. Getting B and C to hug each other on command though, not so much.