Sunday, February 26, 2012

Izzy and Sean: My Professional Product Testers

My two children are the inspiration for each handcrafted item I create, so it only stands to reason that they should give each item their stamp of approval before I put it up for sale in my Etsy shop.  They truly put things through the ringer.  Pictured above they gave my fleece winter hats a test drive.  They quickly approved.

I was uncertain how my fleece tie snugglies would go over, but Sean and Izzy seemed to really enjoy cuddling with the small scraps of fabric.  Having these cozy pieces of fleece to play with also allowed me to work on my crafts without them constantly trying to steal my fabric from me.

These flannel boots however, while incredibly adorable, did not meet the standards of a busy baby.  Without any type of elastic casing, Isabel almost immediately expelled them from her feet.

Last but not least, my current favorite item, the scrap monster was met with love and adoration.  Izzy and Sean carry these adorable creatures around everywhere they go.  Being 16 months old they are not easy on their toys.  So far so good, scrappy has made it through many a load of laundry and still comes out kickin.  Our two dogs also love these illusive creatures. Even after a few chomps and chews from Isis and Yoda, the scrap monster can't be beat.  

I consider myself lucky to have such honest and loveable product testers.  As long as I follow their lead, the items I put up for sale at Belly Bear Baby Gear will be sturdy, practical and adorable!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

For Toddlers: A clean sensory experience

If you are the proud parent or family member of a toddler, you know all too well that they are constantly exploring the world around them using their senses.  Particularly their senses of touch and taste!  With this quick and easy activity, you will be able to allow your toddlers to safely have a new tactile experience.

All you will need are a few common household items: a ziploc bag (any size), food coloring, duct tape and good old fashioned foam shaving cream.
Once you have gathered all the necessary ingredients it is time to begin!

Squirt enough shaving cream into the ziploc bag to fill one corner of the bag.  A little bit goes a long way.  Too much shaving cream will make the bag too fluffy.  Then add 2-3 drops of food coloring. 

Here's where the fun begins.  Seal the bag attempting to force as much air as possible out as you completely close the ziploc bag.  Now it's your turn to enjoy this experience before your children.  Gently massage the shaving cream and food coloring in the bag to create a cohesive color.  If you feel like sharing, you can involve your children in this step as well :)

Your bag is now ready to adhere to a flat surface.  For this application I used the duct tape to hang these bags to my refrigerator.  One of my children's favorite places to play.  This also works well on a child's sized table.  You may choose to only attach the bag with duct tape a the top or duct tape all four sides.  Be aware that if you only duct tape the top, chances are your resourceful toddler will quickly have this activity removed from the surface you have taped it to!

Now step back and admire the joy on your toddler's face.  If you have preschool age children and are feeling brave, this activity can also been done without the bag (toddlers will eat the mixture without the bag) on a table top or in a tray.  This will be messy, but the amount of fun your child will have makes the clean up worth it.  If doing this activity without the plastic bag I would recommend using liquid water color paint rather than food coloring to avoid staining. 

As a side note, shaving cream does an amazing job of cleaning children's marker and crayon markings off of table tops.  If you find yourself with a table covered with stray marks, give your preschooler some shaving cream and let them go to town.  You will be amazed at how the marks disappear when it is time to wipe the shaving cream off with a damp sponge.

*As always, never leave your child unattended with this activity.  Toddler teeth are always looking for something new to bite and they will most certainly chew right through the bag posing a health hazard to themselves.

Enjoy this experience with your toddler.  Watch how the shaving cream mushes and moves as they manipulate the bag.