Play Everyday

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

Exploding Stars

I remember making these with my brother.  I’m sure it’s something our dad taught us how to make.  I also remember calling them “throwing stars” but for some reason that sounded a bit too violent.  Exploding Stars probably isn’t much better but that’s exactly what happens.  And it’s super cool!

  • 5 popsicle sticks per star

Here’s the end result…


Take 3 sticks, holding them together at one end with the center stick on the bottom 

Weave 1 stick across, going under the center stick

Weave the last stick across, going over the center stick


You have to throw them down fairly hard.  Noah had a little trouble making them explode but it was fun just having Mama do it


As usual, Noah had his own ideas about how to play with the stars.  He liked throwing them into a tree, which is exactly how our Christmas tree was decorated this year 🙂 



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Target Tidy

Super Bowl Sunday! Noah and I had planned on attending an Un-Super Non-Bowl Party with friends.  It actually would have been Very Super but as the day unfolded drive times, car naps and b edtimes collided and we just couldn’t make it happen.  I wanted to do something football themed but after browsing Pinterest I came up empty-handed.  Gasp!  Pinterest has never before failed me!  There were some great ideas, just nothing I felt would be great for Noah.  Sometimes I think I rely on Pinterest (or more accurately all my brillant fellow bloggers) too heavily for inspiration though and it didn’t take me too long to come up with something that would be great for Noah and I both.  A football toss with the target landing all his balls back in the ball bin!

  • 2 paper plates
  • Glue
  • Paint stir
  • Markers, stickers, etc. for decorating, optional

I glued the 2 paper plates together to make them sturdier.  We didn’t do any decorating but that might be a fun option the next time.  I cut the center out and taped the paint stir on the back.   Our ball bin has a clever little pocket where a label can be placed.  The paint stir fit in that pocket perfectly and I added some tape at the top.  We were ready to clean up!  Err….I mean play!


Eyes on the TV…he is ALL boy!  He shoots and scores with a bowling ball!


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“I Love You” Valentine Cards

Whenever we play with markers Noah always wants me to trace his hands.  Then he traces my hands.  I love how they come out all lumpy and contorted.  He just too anxious to pull his hand up to see the outline.  So I knew this card, from Busy Kids = Happy Mom (and oh how true is that?!) would be the perfect Valentine card for Noah to make for his grandparents!  We tried to keep the tracing a little more realistic this time, but it still turned out a little lumpy and contorted, just as it should be!  Check out the bonus gift we stuck inside this card to send the cuteness factor off the charts!

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Rain Sticks

I woke up to the sound of rain on the rooftop, thunder in the distance and the low, soft rhythmic breathing of the boy sleeping next me. It sounds so dreamy and peaceful. And I remember a time when it was. Except now that rain and thunder immediately brought to mind images of my horse standing in a muddy field, head hung low, missing her best friend and not a single tree to find shelter beneath.
I used to love everything about rain; the feeling before a storm, the sound of it falling, and oh, that smell! But that was back when my two horses were on our property, safe, warm and dry in the barn, or happily grazing in the drizzle if they so chose. But we were forced to move them and more recently, one had to be put down, on a rainy day no less. Now rain, and particularly a cold, hard rain like we had this morning just made me anxious and sad.
Noah and I bring Little Bit breakfast every morning. It is a bright spot in the day for all three of us. That thought made me smile, knowing she would appreciate seeing us all the more on a day like today. After taking care of her we set off for a playground nearby. We had a play date planned with a friend and her son who is just a few months older than Noah. On the way there the rained stopped and the skies, though still cloaked in grey, did lighten up a bit.
The boys had a grand time playing in the aftermath of puddles and mud. They squealed and splashed, we laughed and hugged. Bread in hand we set off for a nearby duck pond. No more than a quarter of the way, and after having to wade through ankle deep water, my friend looked to the sky and said “Uh, do you think we should go back?”. Now I’d already thought this to myself at least a dozen times but my friend, with her golden heart and adventurous spirit, was all about forging on so who was I to be the party pooper. But now even she had reservations. I agreed and we broke the news to the boys.
Now walking at disappointed-boy speed, it began to rain. We scooped them up, the rain was coming harder. We ran with them, bouncing their now giggly bodies up and down, the sky opened up. Wading back through the flooded sidewalk we splashed, water now dripping down into my knee high muck boots, “More! More!” Noah managed to shout through fits of laughter. By now I too was caught up in the moment, laughing as we splashed our way back to the truck. “Thanks for the fun adventure!” I shouted to our friends as we arrived at our cars and scrambled to peel their wet clothes off.
And what a fun adventure it was! After the past couple days it was exactly what I needed to get out of my own head. I wanted to make these rain sticks with Noah so that we could be reminded of our rainy day adventure. I loved the rain today. I plan on loving it in the future too. As soon as we got home I made an appointment to tour a new barn where my pony will have shelter from the storms and hopefully some new friends to enjoy the rain with.

The idea for this rainy day craft came from Nancymusic which is a blog written by a musician and has great ideas for incorporating music and music activities into your play.

  • Empty water bottle or similar container
  • Rice
  • Foil
  • Maybe a funnel and scoop to keep things tidy

First we tore the foil into (very asymetrical) strips, scrunched them up a bit and shoved them in the bottle.  This is listed as “messy” but it’s a white shirt kind of messy.


Next Noah just scooped and dumped.  Check out that grin!  We had been out of play rice for about a week which I’m sure felt like an eternity to Noah.  He was so happy to see that rice bin filled back up!  The more rice you add the longer the sound lasts.  We filled our up about halfway.


That’s it!  Tip it back and forth and talk about your favorite rainy day memory!

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