This little game is appropriate for babies ages 14-24 months. It will help develop fine motor skills and perceptual motor abilities as she uses her eyes and fingers to accomplish the task. Allowing her to explore the can and figure out how to insert the sticks is good for developing problem solving skills.
As your little one plays with this over and over she will learn to easily turn and tilt the can to make inserting the sticks easier.
What you need...
-popsicle sticks (you can also use pipe cleaners or flat poker chips)
-tennis ball can or other cylinder type container with lid. Cut a slot in the lid that will allow the objects to pass through
Today over on my craft blog, here, I shared how I made these Eye Spy bags but if you don't sew, you can still make fun and interactive Eye Spy toys that your little one will love.
Every toy starts with a few basic pieces. A clear container with a lid, sand or pellets, tiny objects, and glue.
Our little ones will sit and our laps and help us find some fun things. It teaches them about colors, shapes, increase vocabulary, and builds trust. They know they can sit and interact in the safety of our laps. These bottles or bags are also a fun activity for older kids when they are given scavenger hunt cards.
The little toys keep their minds occupied during doctors visits, long trips, difficult during nap time, or for time outs. For children with RADS they get to connect with you and escape stressful situations for a bit by studying the objects inside. Keep in mind also that the items are typically too small for toddlers to play with so they enjoy looking at the tiny things and you don't have to worry about them going on little mouths
To make the bags you can click the link at the top of this post. To make a bottle you'll need a clean, clear bottle with a lid. Fill your container about half way with pellets or sand and then add your objects. Put glue around the top of the rim and screw the cap on tightly. Let the glue set and you're good to go.
Extenstion: Take snap shots with your phoneof each item you include and use your phone like a scavenger hunt card or print them out, laminate, and put on a ring to go with the bottle. There are many ways you can create a self exploratory eye spy bottle.
One of the things I recently learned about Reactive Attachment Disorder (RADS) is that when children with RADS are introduced to the unexpected , being events or people, they can shut down. Before it was even suggested that we had a possible RADS child in our home I thought the symptoms were him, being shy or unaffectionate. I honestly just thought it was his personality. Then a therapist asked about particular scenarios and the reactions. A flood of memories came rushing in on me with each question. It broke my heart to learn that internally, my boy was shutting down as a coping mechanism. His little body would go into tiny panic mode until he could process the situation and judge how others would react. If the situation felt unpredictable the tiny panic button stayed pushed down.
Then, I read about calming bottles. As beautiful as they are and as fun as they are to make, they served a huge purpose. We have made up several different ones for fun and to see which one he liked best. The purpose is to give him a temporary focus that he knows is safe until he is ready to return to reality. It may only take a second or you might find him crouched in a corner studying the rhythm and waves that he is in control of making. Here are a few of the ones we used.
The eyeball bottle is his favorite.
In each bottle I added different elements or colors. The basis for almost all of them is simple oil and water. I color the water with food color and poor in the desired amount, I add glitter or buttons or googly eyes...what ever is on hand. Rubber bands, tiny toys or anything small. A bit of elements glue gives the water a milky color. I add baby oil to the top, put glue around the rim and screw the cap on tight.
I placed these in a basket near our door going out to the car so I will remember to grab them but they are also reachable anytime he needs them.
I have a few other fun activities and calming objects you can make at home so be sure to come back for a visit.
Those times when it is 2 o'clock in the morning and you are wide awake and can't sleep and you're fighting your own thoughts and your responsibilities as a mom weigh heavy, that's when Jesus is calling you.
"Letters from Heaven" is a new series that is meant to encourage and inspire.
You feel overwhelmed with all I call you to do. Being a mom is a challenge every minute. You worry to much. Your sick baby is my baby too. Your toddler, your child, your teenager, they are all mine too. The responsibility to raise these souls and nurture them weighs heavy. You worry if you've done enough to raise them to their greatest potential. I Am enough. As you accept your weakness and faults, accept my power. You will falter and fail. You will make mistakes but it's during those times that you allow Me to help most. You fall and look up. Tonight, you feel the heaviness of motherhood as I call you to a bigger purpose outside your four walls, your comfort zone.
Your discouragement is natural because of your focus on your limited abilities instead of my limitless power. Remember, I sent my Son for you and He is with you always. If I'll give you Christ and a Helper, what more do you need? You only need to spend moments in My Presence to recharge and set yourself up right again. Your neediness for Me is what I crave as I desire to spend time with my daughter as she grows, just as you do your own children. I never get tired of being with you. My power is always available and flows through you. It is the very reason you can meet the needs and show the love that you do.
Stay focused, the evil one will distract you. It's his plan to keep you from My perfect plan for you. Be aware of your distractions. You have have everything you need and need not go searching elsewhere. You have abundance within you even when you fail, fall, misstep, or falter. You question the technicalities of our relationship to often. You simple, heartfelt prayers are cherished, I adore them. I wish you would not wait until it's hard to speak to Me. Instead, come to me continuously, let Me speak to you. Open yourself and I will flood you with all that you need. Strength, encouragement, praise, love, knowledge and much more, flow like a river and never dries up.
You feel you are on a steep, rocky path at times. That only means I am taking you higher. Just keep your eyes on me.
Your purpose is important. Jesus dried up the fig tree with a few simple words, a thought, belief, and power. Everyone was shocked. The tree wasn't producing fruit, it was not serving its purpose to its greatest potential as other trees do naturally. Stay focused on Me and I will continue to keep you with your purpose. Habakkuk 3:17-19 Rejoice when you feel you have nothing left to give. Jude 1:24-25 Seek Me to keep you clean and atoned forever so that we may spend many moments together so that I can refresh you. Philippians 4:7 Seek My Son, Jesus, daily, He is always there, call on Him, the Spirit, and My angel armies. I will give you peace so pure you can not deny it is from Me, a supernatural peace.
Isaiah 17:4-6 You will be fruitful because you seek Me. Far too few of my beloved children produce fruit. I will harvest your fruits and it will be good. It will be in such abundance that gleanings and fruit will remain even after the harvest for future planters. Your fruits will multiply for those who lean into Me.
Years ago my boys and I would spend a lot of time playing with play dough. It's recommended for ages 2 and over and really good for their fine motor skills. They are growing up and almost out of elementary school now but they still love it.
As a foster family we have recently been directed to a RADS diagnosis for one of our little ones. It's kind of a big deal but thank goodness he is still little. There's a great deal to learn about the cause and effect of having Reactive Attachment Disorder. I won't go into detail about the diagnosis we have but you can read more about it here.
What I want to focus on is the healing. I'm no expert on RADS but I'm learning and my background is Early Childhood Education and Reading. These two degrees have given me an excellent base to start remediation at home while Occupational Therapy takes place with the professionals.
These photos are of my boys when they were little. We loved to squish and model together on our patio table. Today I bring the activity in doors at the kitchen table until the weather permits us to go outside. I'm going to post links to a few of my favorite recipes for homemade play dough and activity at the end of this blog.
How can playing with play dough be beneficial for a child with RADS? It has to be a combined effort between caregiver and child.
Working on building an attachment is one part of the process. The other part is trust. For children with RADS they have been let down by their caregivers in the past. The connections in the brain that connect a caregiver to trust or love just simply isn't there. So we build new ones. Like a bridge from island to island we work on building trust and love. Following trust and love is self worth and recognition.
As as I sit with my FS (foster son) I pull out of a box a choice of tools. I let him pick which ones he wants to try. He's intrigued by the plastic knife and extruder tools. I pinch off several colors of play dough and show him how to squish, roll, and model. I make it a point to sit beside him and help him. I show him new techniques and help when needed. Being very considerate of the fact he may not ask for help but would rather adapt to meet his own need.
The task at hand helps him:
Here are a few resources I loved
Tip Junkie's No Cook Kool-Aid Play Dough
Jell-O Play Dough
Yogurt Play Dough
Psalm 91 is the key to winning the spiritual battles going on around you. It's the key to winning your day. As a foster mom, I see first hand the spiritual battle going on. There is always carnage to clean up after a battle has been fought. These scritpures are key scriptures for activing blessings over battles. Many of us neglect to find a place to meet Him and even, a time. Make an appointment to meet God and carve out a time. Prayer time anywhere you want to be is amazing but if you're not meeting Him in a secret place, free of distractions from the world, then you are missing out on all that He has from you.
Remember, our battles are not with flesh and blood but with the unseen. Eph 6:12
Below is the book I reference that I am currently loving.
HERE is the link for the decal on my shirt.
*I am not compensated in any way by sharing these links with you.
I feel like there has been a force at work today to keep me from posting this. This is for someone. This is for a momma, a wife, a daughter of the King who needs to be encouraged and reminded that He created you as special and as beautiful as the galaxy itself. At our very best, He still wants to show us how much better He can make this life, this journey back to Him. If we will trust His plan and His design, we can all be a Virtuous Woman. What is your vice that holds you back from being that woman? I know what mine is. Can you relate?
I shared on January 1st the word for my new year.
In order to be the light I must be transparent. Social media and the internet love to show you perfect lives but sometimes we glorify imperfection to a degree that makes our lack of effort okay. In order to produce fruit and harvest what God is trying to give we must be the light and put the effort in. This is my prayer today.
Pray with me.
Help me Lord to see your Son in every situation. Help me Lord to lift the veil daily to see Him standing at my right side, arms open and out, ready to guide and help. Help me Lord to be a light for the rest of my life, let's start with today. Use my broken, tired, weak vessel, make it beautiful, lively, and strong to serve. Let the words and love that pour out of me be with such gracious abundance that it falls on others. All from You. I don't want to simply splash Your love on others. I want to help drench them. Help me to start with my closest family and friends. They are closest to me, given to me, so let Your love pour out on them first. Let me, Lord, shine for you. Help me be a guiding light straight back to You in this dark world. Increase my wisdom to know how to lead and direct others to Your written Word. Help me to be bold when I tell others to pray, even if it's not what they want to hear as a solution for their problems. Let my conviction of the goodness of prayer and the relationship it brings with Your mighty power be more evident than ever. I give my all, my everything, to You. I am not short of struggles and pain. Set me up right daily as I come to You. Pour in me the light. Give me a peacefulness that only comes from you so that others may find peace and rest when near me. Let them experience You through the light. I realize that in all my asking for help that it is a direct reflection of my weakness. I realize that my weakness, my cracks, is where You shine through to others. Help me to seek You in all. I come to You in all I do through Your Son Jesus.
Yes, Lord, let it be done.
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power than is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
I laid in bed with my boy and rubbed cuticle cream on his little fingers. He's been chewing his nails down and picking nervously at them for awhile. I'm not sure when it started but I remember the day his teacher mentioned it and I realized it was serious. He's the kind of kid that tries to do his best and do right. If he thinks he's is struggling his little heart worries and then his fingers suffer. I feel helpless. He feels helpless. So, I rubbed cuticle cream in and we talked about how nourishing his hands and fingers would be much better than picking. Seems many of us need more nourishment in our lives rather than picking.
As he laid next to me and fell asleep I thought of all the other mothers before me. Centuries of mothers throughout the whole world have held their babies close and wondered about the life ahead of them. I was once a worrier concerning my babies. When my oldest was little I rarely turned to God for help. One night I gave up. I laid flat on my bed and cried out to God. I couldn't do this mothering gig anymore under the stress. If I didn't worry about something concerning my baby then someone made me worry. It was constant and at every turn. I cried out. He was almost 3 at the time. I couldn't keep worrying like I did about things that would probably never happen. So I prayed.
I became a warrior for my children and not a worrier.
That night I gave my boy back to God. Not in a ceremony at church in a baby dedication but right in my home with a tear soaked pillow. I asked God to be in charge. I would simply do the best I could and He would have to do the rest. I was not sufficient on my own or even with my husband to raise this boy child into a man. He belonged to God. The most important part of him, his soul, belonged to God. I was just the caretaker of this little guy. God knows better than I at all times.
Since that night we have been blessed with 4 more children. I keep them out of the streets, the knives safely put away, the thermostat on the water heater turned down, warm clothes in their closet and blankets on their bed. God provides and I use the provision to do the best I know how to protect them but what about loving them. That's what I'm called to do daily. Love them.
Showing God's love for them is a challenge sometimes. When I'm busy and forget the kiss on the forehead, the hug, the reassuring words then I feel guilty. See! I'm not sufficient. So I pray for them. I think about every mom before me that raised babies with love. Did they worry? Did the regret? What would they do different? Does their heart long to go back to holding their babies once they are grown? Does it hurt when they are gone? It's not just a purpose I serve. I'm deeply attached to my purpose. My babies are so precious to me. Does every mom feel these?
I cry tears over my babies regularly. Mostly they are thankful tears and happy tears. Rarely do I cry over disappointments but this fleeting life does make me wish I could go back. The remembering of their tiny baby bodies and the way they smelled as infants is harder every year. I'm grateful I live in the day and age that I can look back at lots of pictures. However, looking back isn't looking forward.
My prayer today as I hear a toddler squeal and bigger kids pour cereal, I know my oldest is still sleeping and the youngest is still too, I pray for them. I want them to have the qualities of Christ poured into them as the grow to be men and a lady of Christ. I pray they seek to serve him. I pray for protection. I pray for so many things that God is not withholding. I pray for wisdom. I ask God. I simply give them back to Him daily and let Him be sufficient in the many places I am not.
Prayer is part of my strategy as a warrior. Reading God's word and seeking wisdom is another. I refuse to sit and wring my hands with worry when I can pray and fight for them wearing the full armor of God.
Raising them to do the same for themselves is a whole other blog post.
Be a WARRIOR!
Sometimes you have that dream that is different than any you've had in awhile. It's a dream that you seem to remember as a whole even after you been awake. You almost feel as if you could lay down and keep the dream going. These dreams, in my experience, have been meaningful. Like preludes to something that is coming. They usually leave me baffled and confused and searching for answers.
A few nights ago I dreamed a dream I probably won't forget because, well, it was one of those. It wasn't spectacular, it just sticks. Let me tell you about it and what I believe God is trying to show me. Because I know and He knows, I pay attention to these dreams.
Before finding out I was pregnant with any of my 3 sons, I had a dream I was pregnant. Weeks later I found out I was with every one of them it happened. This past week I dreamed again I was pregnant but this time it was different. Not like the others. It was a pregancy no one could see. The baby was breach and as soon as it was turned upright where birthing positions are concerned this tiny baby was suddenly in my arms. When I say tiny, I mean it. He was perfect. We didn't have a name and no one knew he was coming. I'm the midst of it all we were moving into a bigger house. My foster daughter was older and had a completely pink room with 6 extra beds that were empty. Our foster boy had a loft with no ladder yet some how we managed to get up there. It's ceilings were shaped much like his teepee that he currently sleeps in.
I visited each childs room as we were moving in to see if they were all happy. All the while carrying this tiny thing. What was this tiny baby doing here?
Giving birth to a vision can be likened to bringing forth a child.
As I was running today and in the silent cold of nature during this time of year I asked God what this dream was supposed to mean In my spirit I felt it. It is the vision He gave me that I questioned if it were real. He has done this before, put me back on His path with an intervention. The empty beds are significant. The sanctuary for rest away from the world is significant. The safe place is significant. The names brought to mind are significant. In the middle of my run I wished I had written it all down.
See, I spoke my vision out loud to someone Friday night. I always play it off like it's a big 'maybe' but the reality is, God is asking me to be obedient and trust that this vision has a real purpose for His kingdom.
Almost a year ago my husband and I went to look at an old home built in the 20's and has 10 bedrooms. It was a complete mess. That house impregnated our hearts with the seed of a vision. We must find a home like this one in the perfect location for the perfect price of "just about giveaway". We are to renew it and make it safe. We are to add warm comfy beds and a big farmhouse kitchen table that seats many.
Our dream, the legacy we want to leave, is for foster children to have a safe place. I don't know how we are going to make this happen. We trust God knows.
This seed of a vision has to stay put inside of me. It is my duty to keep it safe, to guard it, to nurture it and let it grow until it is ready to be born like a new baby. Only it will then still need tenderness, love, safe keeping, nourishment, discipline,and protection. A small group home for foster children as they wait for a more permanent foster home. Too many children today are living in hotels while they wait. Can you imagine?
I want clean, cozy, private rooms. I want security and peace. I want nourishment and education. God is putting this in my heart. This is a rare vision. You'd be hard pressed to find anyone else with this like mind unless God is moving people. I believe He is equipping women every where, right now, to use our gifts and talents to serve Him. Lift up the widows and love the littles.
I am going to leave this post at that. I'm not sure what will come of this vision. I pray that if I am meant to see it through that God be completely in charge because it's too scary if He's not.
Pray with me please.
I am birth mom to my 3 boys, foster mom to 2 sweet babies, wife to my high school sweet heart, and daughter to my King. I love to write. I am no scholar but I love my Lord and He helps me.