Jamie from Hands On As We Grow with Children’s Activities
Tell us more about yourself, your site, and your family.
I label myself as a baker’s wife. My husband and I own and run our family bakery, it’s been in his family for almost 45 years, he’s the 3rd generation. I don’t work there full-time, but I do the backend work at home of bookkeeping, orders, etc. I also decorate the cakes for the store as well as wedding cakes. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Graphic Design, so cakes have been a nice way for me to express my interest in design.
Hands on : as we grow has been another creative outlet For myself as a blogger it gives me a creative outlet, but also with my kids. Hands on : as we grow is all about the hands on activities that I do at home with the kids [Henry, 4, and George, almost 2]. Lots of practical, easy activities are shared, and learning opportunities are snuck in whenever possible.
How did you think of the name of your blog, “Hand on: As we Grow”? What does it mean to you?
I started blogging when my youngest, George, was only a couple months old. So there were a lot of late night feedings where I thought a lot about what I wanted my blog to be. I knew we were doing activities together and that’s what I’d be sharing, hence the ‘hands on’ part of the name. The ‘as we grow’ comes into play because I don’t want to label it as a toddler or preschooler blog because the kids won’t always be that age. My family is not only aging, but also growing in number [another baby will be in the mix in November!].
You have a great activities section on your blog, including: educational, energetic, and fine motor activities. If you could recommend one activity from each of those sections for moms to do with their children, which activities would you suggest?
Educational Activity [I do just want to note that I believe that every activity, and even non-activities, that we do with our kids are learning experiences. These are noted as intentionally educational activities.] I love putting together scavenger hunts for the boys, and they love doing them. So that combined with learning makes this my favorite one: A Letter & Number Scavenger Hunt, looking for the letters and numbers and matching them up with their counterparts. This is great for preschoolers that are learning to recognize letters and numbers, as well as counting.
Energetic Activity: Henry has always been a mover and it was really hard to get him interested in art or even most activities a year ago, the trick was always to make it big or have the ability to run. My favorites would be any kind of big art. I especially love our ribbon throw painting that Henry did last year. A great starting place though would be the roundups of activities, there’s 30 Moves for Excess Energy and 40 Activities to Get Your Kids Moving.
Fine Motor Activity: Another great starting place would be with a roundup of 30 fine motor activities. Henry was never in to ‘small’ things when he was younger. So I’m particularly proud when George does very well with this area of development. An all-time favorite activity that we still pull out on a regular basis would be the pom poms and the container we use to put them in.
What are three of your favorite crafts to with your kids?
The coffee filter crafts are always a hit for some reason and they’re just fun! Both boys worked on these watercolor coffee filter flowers together for Mother’s Day.
I also love any type of craft that uses contact paper! It’s such an easy medium to work with and great for toddlers starting out, and a bonus is that they’re awesome for window décor for holidays! A St. Patrick’s Day craft, but the concept could be used for anything, is the Shamrock Window Décor.
And my next favorite medium for crafts would be yarn. We’ve tried the yarn bowls or balls with no success, so we modified it to make it work for my kids. Yarn monsters were a fun one to make around Halloween!
Can I sneak a readers’ favorite in here too? The Tin Can Windchimes is the most popular activity on hands on : as we grow, so I can’t go without mentioning that!
Which crafts and activities do your children enjoy the most?
My boys go for a couple types of activities. Activities that include a vehicle of some sort, especially tractors. And Henry’s really big into water activities. Whenever I ask him what activity he’d like to do, that’s his request. Painting in some way or another is often requested.
Tell us more about your “Play Challenge”. Have you taken the challenge yourself? How have your children responded to it?
The 30 Days to Hands on Play Challenge is about spending quality, uninterrupted time with your kids. Each day for 30 days you’ll receive a play prompt to do with your kids for at least 15 minutes [absolutely uninterrupted, no phone calls, no internet, no television, etc.]. The play prompts are meant to be open-ended and to introduce you and your child to a new way to play!
I have done the challenge and I also take ‘mini challenges’ here and there with the kids when I need to get myself back on track. Anna from The Imagination Tree and I did the challenge together and we each did the challenge ourselves as we presented it. It was very relaxing and the entire dynamic of the house was so much better by just spending quality, focused time with the kids. So I try to do it regularly with the kids, but I know it’s tough sometimes.
When you have the time, how do you like to relax?
I blog! Ha ha! Right? It is relaxing to me for the most part, and it’s what I do in my ‘down-time’. If I’m not blogging, you’ll find me playing with the kids, occasionally reading a magazine (very occasionally!) or catching up on my DVR. I am also constantly planning the next ‘project’ for our house. My husband is a DIYer and is constantly working on something. I’m always trying to keep one project ahead of him in plan mode.