Play Everyday

365…ok 366 days of simple, inexpensive and wildly fun 2-year-old play!

February Handprint Art ~ Hearts

It’s the first of the month which means it’s time to add to our monthly hand print art collection!  I was reminded recently just how significant and heart-melting these prints will be in the future.  Several weeks ago my mom was visiting, mainly to help me get my head back on straight.  I spent much of her visit gutting, cleaning and reorganizing every room in my house.  I felt like I needed a new start.  And in the midst of gutting the craft room closet I found this…

Oh how my heart melted.  Noah was about 3.5 months old at the time.  Just so tiny.  He was still at the age where his delicate little fingers were in a perpetual fist, which certainly made this craft easy.  I couldn’t get over just how tiny his hand was.  After staring at this print, his two-year-old hands seem so grown-up to me.  But I know they aren’t.  They are still so small and wonderous.  When he takes my hand in his I slip just two fingers in his palm as he wraps his still dimpled knuckles around mine.   And my heart melts.  Every.  Single.  Time.

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Happy Box / Memory Box

Noah and I had a fun day planned. We were getting back together with friends we had seen nearly everyday during his first year. These were 2 of my best friends that I hadn’t seen in months bringing together our children who had grown up together (at least as much growing up as 2 & 3 year olds do). One has a little boy less than a year older than Noah, the other a little boy just a few months younger than Noah. Add in the newest addition of a 7 month old baby girl and Noah and I both were so excited we’d been counting down the days!
I brought along enough supplies for the 3 boys to create this super fun project together. But things didn’t go quite as planned. I mentioned yesterday that Every. Single. Picture. of my one and only child had been deleted from my laptop. As time passes, and recovery attempts fail, I am becoming increasingly distracted and saddened by this. I tried to stay present in play with Noah and his friends. Really I did. But I just kept seeing these tiny newborn photos in my head. As hard as I tried, I knew I couldn’t remember every single one, that alone broke my heart. And so I focused on the images I could recall, pressing hard for details not just of the images, but of the feeling. The feeling holding him gave me, the feeling of his skin on mine, of rocking him, smelling him, nursing him. My heart began to ache.
We came home and as Noah napped I continued to call computer repair services, I cried, and I searched for photos. There were some prints in a box, some in an album, a stack in the craft room I was planning to incorporate into a project. Though I had long ago (and guilt-free mind you!) given up scrapbooking, there were some completed scrap pages in another closet. I gathered them together along with a few other mementos (the obligatory hospital bracelet collection, inked footprint, etc.). I was fine with not creating some elaborate scrap page out of everything, but I did need a place, one single go-to place where I could see these things, hold them, remember.
I don’t need this because I am a mother. I don’t even need this because I am a mother who potentially lost every baby photo of her one and only (gulp). I need this because I am human. Not unlike my favorite little human boy. We all should have a place to go that brings us joy, laughter and love whether it is because we feel sad, lonely or just want a reminder of how damn blessed our lives really are.
Fortunately I have a thing for containers (kind of like I have a thing for fabrics and a thing for jars). I found a couple of boxes that would make good Memory Boxes, Happy Boxes as I referred to it for Noah. Painting is his hands-down most requested activity so I knew he’d love today’s play adventure.


While he napped I spray painted the shoe box white to give him a proper canvas.  I had it for another project and it dries quickly so that was perfect.  In the second picture you can see the piece of “canvas” I saved from our Train Track Painting activity (with that shoe print in the middle!).



Noah handed me a brush and encouraged me to help.  Love that!!  I made some squiggly lines on the side and spelled out his name in big blue letters across the top.  He perfected it with a big red handprint!



We bought this little painting caddy for Noah’s 2nd birthday and it has made painting so much more accessible for him and do-able for me.  I never want to say “no” to art and this caddy has really made that possible.  Everything is right there, even the water for rinsing brushes.  Clean up is a breeze!  I would recommend having something similar in every home.  Art lives here and I want to make sure it stays!  Today I put a seperate brush in each paint color and that really helped keep the paints from getting muddled into 4 variations of brown.  Definately going to conitnue with that.

I’m starting to think painting is his favorite activity because it’s always followed up with a (necessary) bath.  He didn’t get nearly as messy as he usually does before asking for his bath this time.


And here is the completed (for now) happy box.  I imagine we’ll continue to add to it, both inside and out, as time passes.  So long as those perfect little handprints are never erased!



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