Saturday, January 23, 2016

My First Mosaic

This has 5 pictures in the box.  I sent 2 to Chase.  On our FaceTime call, he chose the dinosaur and I chose the butterfly.  I had Chase decide which colors and shapes to put on the pictures.  He might pick blue triangles and we both put those on our pictures.  This kept his attention for almost 30 minutes!!  A new record for our FaceTime calls.  This costs around $15 and you can find more great Alex Little Hands products at Alex Brands Little Hands

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Crocodile Dentist

I bought 2 and sent 1 to my grandson.  We took turns pushing the teeth down to see which crocodile would bite first.  I think we played this over 20 times that day!  Chase loved it and he had an opportunity to interact with his great-grandparents and my sister.  Fun for everyone.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Suspend Game - Great for all ages!!

I found another great Melissa & Doug game this week.  The game has wire pieces to balance as you build the structure.  At only $16.99, it will be fun for all ages.  For those living close to Longmont, Colorado, you must go to the PostalAnnex for the best selection of Melissa & Doug toys I have ever seen.  They are located next to the Safeway store at 1610 Pace Street.  Louise Gee is the owner and a delight.  Be sure to tell her I sent you.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Good Toys to Bring on Your Next Visit

Some general suggestions:
Have batteries loaded.  Some toys need screw drivers to open the compartment.
Read instructions ahead of time.  I found a couple were a bit complicated at first.
If the instructions don't make sense to you, see if there is a video on YouTube.
Make sure you have all supplies ready (scissors, tape, etc)
You might have some of the time-consuming steps done ahead of time.
I was so excited to find lacing cards with a boy theme.

The rockets were the #1 hit.  We wore them out.  With 2 rockets, Chase would share 1 with another child on the playground.  One evening, a shy child was intimidated by the rockets.  Chase literally chased him around the playground to insist he take his turn.  Hilarious!!
I have found these at Tuesday Morning and Big Lots for around $4.  Their inventories are hit and miss, so you might prefer Amazon or eBay.  They run around $11 on those sites.

Chase had fun with this one too.  To play, put the ball in the shooter and stomp it with your foot.  The goal is to get all 4 teeth knocked back.  Resetting the teeth didn't work very well, but I could usually get it to hold the teeth after several attempts.

Chase loved this one.  We created new designs on the special paper over and over.  I liked that the paper was recycled when the design faded.  Some might be disappointed to not save a special picture, but I liked it that way.
This was another find at Tuesday Morning!

Art See Studio: This is great.  The iPad fits in the frame.  You will need to download the free app.  The games and backgrounds for the pictures were fun.  This could also be used without the frame if you are away from home and want to entertain your toddler.  I needed to watch videos on YouTube to get the full benefit how to use this.  Once Chase knew how to do a couple of things, he resisted letting me show him new things. He was more receptive to watching the YouTube videos and then would try the new ideas.
I found this at Tuesday Morning for around $7.

Magnetic dress up doll for boys made out of wood.  This is a great toy (as are all Melissa & Doug toys).  I tried to get Chase to mix and match the outfits, but he goes by the rules.  Maybe I will get him to put superhero pants with the pirate shirt the next time I go visit.
Tuesday Morning had a girls' version for around $8.  Other locations might have a boys' version.

The battery operated bubble gun is a great outdoor toy.  If you plan to buy this, bring extras for other kids at the playground to eliminate a sharing problem.

The rules for this game were a little complicated for Chase, but we were able to adapt it to rules he enjoyed.  I suggest you read the instructions ahead of time.

This is great over Skype/Facetime too (see earlier post).

These were fun but took a lot of time to make.  The book has 60 airplanes and cost $20.  I would rather have fewer plane designs and cost less.  The cutting required with the scissors took too long.  I wonder why the pages weren't perforated.  We went through all the straws fairly quickly and had to use regular straws.  Chase had a lot of fun blowing through the straw.

Stupid game.  I thought the talking chicken would be funny, but it was just annoying.  It didn't hold Chase's interest very long either.  I was also concerned with the plastic discs, because they would be easily swallowed by EJ.  It went to the second-hand store right after I left.

I have a new surprise!!  Just like we do on our Facetime calls, Chase finds the surprises on his bed.  It was a fun way to introduce new toys.  Some days there would only be 1.  On a day we were home the whole time, there might be several surprises.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Hippie Sticks

Great Grandma and Chase both have Hippie Sticks in this video.  We needed Lindsay to show Chase how to roll the wand in his hands to create "bubbles".  Once he got the hang of it, he loved it.  In case you are wondering what he says at the end, they are going to get "chicken fries" at a restaurant after the call.  The web site for the Hippie Sticks has more ideas on creating different shapes, but for our first time, we were happy he was able to get the concept of rolling the stick to make it spin.  Check out for where to purchase and more ideas on creating additional designs.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Craft

Crafts are a fun activity on Skype/Facetime.  Chase and I did this for Valentine’s Day.  I set it up with Lindsay to have paper, glue and marshmallows ready.  We started with the Stuffy (see my first post)and I had every pocket filled with fun toys he knows (Elmo, Nemo, a frog, a truck and a Valentine’s pig).  The last one was a bag of marshmallows in Stuffy’s mouth.  Lindsay had placed Chase’s bag of marshmallows on his bed (our normal place when I have a surprise for him).  She drew the heart ahead of time so he just had to follow the shape.  Make the heart smaller for the younger kids so it doesn’t take too long.  You may need to put the heart away until the glue dries.  You don’t want to have to do this again if your grandchild picks up the paper too soon.  We ended with eating the left-over marshmallows.  This was easy to set up and Chase stayed engaged the whole time.  Win!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Kissing Hand


I love this book and it is an easy transition to a video conversation with your grandchild.  I sent heart stickers ahead of time, so during the call, Chase can also put a heart on his hand and cheek.  And of course, read the book together!!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

A frog hopping on the piano!!

I recently heard about a piano teaching method called Musicopoly, created by Lyndel Kennedy from Australia.  This is a fun introduction to children as young as 4-years-old and can be adapted to your Skype/Facetime conversations.  Check out the website to see if there is a teacher in your area:

I grew up playing the piano and would love to share music with my grandchildren.  This is going to take some planning though.  First, I have borrowed a keyboard from a friend and my daughter needs to get a keyboard for Chase.  Then I will start lessons from one of the registered teachers.  Knowing Chase will not sit for a regular lesson, I think I can convert my lessons to 3-4 minute segments for Chase.

The mini-clip I showed you is just a snippet of the creative way to make the piano fun.  The first thing I did was have a frog toy for him to play with. Then I will find a frog story to tell Chase.  Next, I will have him "hop" like a frog.  And finally, add the music component of how a hopping frog would sound on the piano.  The child only needs to pick 2 black keys, use fingers 2 and 3, do a sequence of 2 at a time for the hopping sound and go left-to-right up the keyboard. As you can see in the short video, it is easy and quick.  I will need Lindsay to assist with his hand position and which fingers to use.

The Musicopoly method has more details about building on techniques for playing the piano at this age.  It's amazing to see the concepts of hand position brought in to the story.  There are more animal sounds and fun ways to learn piano basics once you get started.  I am really impressed with Musicopoly.  Check it out!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Gary and Hadley looking for Rio

Pets and Grandchildren - the perfect combination!!
Grandchildren will love to see your pets, especially if they have met the pets during a visit.  When Hadley is at her grandparents, Gary and her often search for Rio, the cat.  Rio is usually hiding and they have to look under the bed and in all the closets.  In this video, Gary takes the iPad with him as he searches for Rio.  This time there is no Rio, but he does find the dog, Scout.  If you listen closely, you can hear Hadley talk to the dog and say "Woof."

Thursday, October 9, 2014

3 Little Kittens

One little, two little, three little kittens
Were napping in the sun
One little, two little, three little puppies
Said come lets have some fun
Creeping Creeping Creeping Creeping
As quietly as can be
One little, two little, three little kittens
Went scampering up the tree

This is short enough to be done before your grandchild wanders off.  Have a parent help them with the finger motions at first.  After a few times, your grandchild will copy you without help.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Find it!

I just discovered this great toy!  It is called “Find It” and the design is ingenious.  In the clear cylinder are thousands of tiny colorful pellets with fun hidden objects.  If you roll it around or shake it, you discover a butterfly, maybe a fish and (if you are really lucky) a penny.  I have the web site listed with this post, so check out the different themes:  Christmas, the Wizard of Oz, Sports and several others.

If I was doing this just for playtime on a call, I would have Chase call out what he finds and I could keep score.  If we each had one, we could take turns calling out what we find.

This would be a good toy to ship to your grandchild for a long car or airplane trip when they are on the way to visit you.  Here’s my idea:  Have the parent give it to the child as they are ready to board the plane, or in the car.  I always want Chase to know when the toys are from me, so I would have a quick Facetime/Skype call before they board to tell him about the objects inside.  His parents can keep track of the objects he finds on the plane.  When they land, I will be waiting and we will talk about the fun objects he found.

The parents and everyone on the plane will thank you!!
You can find this at  Buy 2, keep one and send one to your grandchild.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Fun little toys

I buy 2 and send one to Chase, but you can find these on Amazon.  Look for the Dragon Squeeze-n-Pop by Toysmith and a Whoppee Cushion.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Five Little Ducks

Five Little Ducks
Five little ducks that I once knew
Fat ones, skinny ones, tall ones, too.
But the one little duck with the feather on his back,
He ruled the others with a quack, quack, quack!
Quack, quack, quack! quack, quack, quack!
He ruled the others with a quack, quack, quack!
Down to the river they would go,
wibble, wobble, wibble, wobble, all in a row.
But the one little duck with the feather on his back,
He ruled the others with a quack, quack, quack!
Quack, quack, quack! quack, quack, quack!
He ruled the others with a quack, quack, quack!
You might need a parent to do this too the first few times to help their toddler with the motions.  Kids will love the quacking motion.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Up and Down

Up and Down
Up! Tall! and High! (but not necessarily in that order.) by Ethan Long
I liked this book because of the flaps and each page only has a few words.  Action and fast-moving are the keys to reading on Facetime/Skype.
I've experimented with reading books but struggle with the shot.  I don't know whether to have the video on just the book or to include me in the shot.  I always want my grandson to associate me with the playtime, but it's hard to turn pages that way.  What do you think?  Has anyone had better luck reading on the video call?

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Old MacDonald Had a Farm

My sister, Tammy, helped me with this one.  She sings this to her grandkids a lot and has the kids pick the animal for each verse.  It's a great way to keep the kids involved in the song, even if they don't know the words yet.

Old MacDonald had a farm
And on that farm he had a cow
With a moo-moo here
and a moo-moo there
Here a moo
There a moo
Everywhere a moo-moo
Old MacDonald had a farm

Animals to use in the verses:
horses - neigh
cat - meow
dog - bow wow
pig - oink
duck - quack
rooster - cock-a-doodle
lamb - baa
chicken - cluck