Fit 4 Mom- Los Angeles

Helping moms make strides in fitness, motherhood and life

Apple Printing

indexLooking for some fun activities to do at home?  Why not take “Ten Apples Up On Top” from playgroup today and have some more fun with it?  Charlotte and I enjoyed doing apple printing – she was surprisingly good at it!
  • paper
  • paint
  • paint brush
  • apples
  • good, sharp knife
  • cutting board
  • fork
  • bib, apron or paint shirt for your child to wear
TrainParty_2205We had some left over paper that an Amazon package had been packed with, and decided to make wrapping paper out of it.  I used chip clips and binder clips to secure it to our kitchen table.
I cut two apples two different directions.  One apple, I cut from top to bottom, near the stem, and the other I cut horizontally.  The vertical cut gave us a print that was shaped like an apple, but the horizontal cut left us with a neat star pattern made by the seeds.
Note: The first time I tried, I used a flimsy, old steak knife to cut the apple and the cutTrainParty_2219 wasn’t straight, so our prints weren’t turning out well.  I re-cut with a large, strong chef’s knife and everything worked a lot better after that.
After cutting the apples, I laid them cut-side-down on some paper towels to absorb some of the moisture – otherwise the paint doesn’t stick well.
TrainParty_2220I got Charlotte all decked out in an old Tshirt of mine, secured in the back with a binder clip, and away we went!
I stabbed the apples with a fork (it makes a handle!) and then painted the cut side.  Then, I handed them to Charlotte and showed her how to stamp with them.  Easy as that!  Older kids could dip their apples in the paint and then print, but we found that when the coat of paint was too thick, it just looked like a blob – sometimes, the lighter TrainParty_2222second print looked neater!
Have fun!
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Busy Bag Break Down

Thank you to everyone who made this year’s Plum Mom’s Club Busy Bag Exchange a huge success!  For more information on how to hold your own Busy Bag exchange click here.  Beth put together this handy breakdown of the activities.
Counting Cards
  • use small objects or your favorite snack to help your child learn to count
  • save this one for your next flight.  It’s perfect for an airplane tray table!
Velcro on Craft Sticks:
  • Use these to practice making shapes.  Our kits come with a square and a triangle.  Model making the shape for your child first.
  • Want to expand this busy bag?  Double up the shapes – that way you can have a model for your child to work from.  Want to expand it some more?  Make more shapes – a diamond or a rectangle would be good.  You could go hog wild and make them for learning letters as well!
Pipe Cleaner Fine Motor Practice:
  • This is great for fine motor skills.  Is your child too young to get the pipe cleaners in the tiny holes?  Open up the lid and talk about “in” and “out”.  As s/he gets old enough to put the pipe cleaner in the holes, notice that each colored pipe cleaner has a color coded hole to go into – now we’re learning colors, matching, AND fine motor skills!
Memory Match:
  • You can play this like a typical game of memory, keeping the cards face down and trying to find a match.  We start with just a few pairs and work our way up.  You can start with the cards face up and just ask your child to find a particular item or animal.  Then, when you find it’s match you can talk about how they’re the “same” and count them, “One elephant, two elephants!  We have TWO elephants!”.
  • Grow with your ideas: Have your child find a certain colored animal, write the name of the item on the card and start learning letter recognition and spelling!  In that same vein, make corresponding cards that only have the name of the item on it and your (much older!) child can find its matching picture!
Lego Match:
  • Legos are always fun to build with!  Now you can try matching the pictures up as well!
  • Grow with you ideas: Put a sticker on the two legos, so that half is on one and half is on the other (the bottom of the elephant on one, the top on the other), then carefully cut them apart.  Now you have trickier things to match.  Want to work on letter recognition?  You can make Legos pairs with capital and lower case, a blob of color and its word, the animal and the word… the list is never ending!  Did I mention that they’re still super fun to build with? 🙂
Discovery Water Bottle:
  • These are fun to shake up like a snow globe, or a maraca!  Roll them back and forth, move them around talking about prepositions (up, down, in, out, under, over).  Ask what your little one sees – colors, shapes?
  • Hints: If yours gets abused and starts leaking – all is not lost, simply cut the top off and pour the fun innards into a new bottle and glue again.  Whew! 🙂
  • Love this one and want another?  Try one with food coloring and half oil / half water for a lava lamp look.  Try one of the tiny kid sized water bottles for little hands!
Race Car Shapes:
  • Laney already included pretty awesome directions, but in case you lost yours:
  • The race car can be driven along the “highway” of each shape.
  • Included playdough can be rolled out and molded into each shape.
  • Use blocks, manipulatives, or household items such as cotton balls along each highway card!
  • Grow with you ideas: As always, you can add more complicated shapes as your child grows, or use letters and numbers as your race tracks.  Feeling really rambunctious?  Run fun tape (we use painters tape!) along 3-D surfaces of your house (couch cushions for example!) and the world is your race track!
Pom Pom Stuff It In:
  • As the name suggests, hours can be spent just… stuffing them in!
  • Want to “up” the game, sort by color!  Talk about “in” and “out”.
  • Helpful hint:  Need an easier hole for pudgy fingers?  Just cut a slit along the sides so it gives a little as the pom pom gets stuffed in.  No need to cut the whole circle!
Paper Clip Sort:
  • Match the colored clip to the colored card!
  • Little fingers will probably struggle to clip onto the card, so teach your child to lay the clip on the card as an alternative – older fingers will love practicing their dexterity!
  • Count the clips!
Play Dough Mats:
  • The game is imagination and the sky’s the limit – decorate the characters on the mats as the words suggest.  Make numbers, or shapes and learn about colors!  All out of play dough – then make your own!  We found a great no-cook recipe here:
  • I think this would be perfect for sitting at the table waiting for a meal at home or at a restaurant!
Rainbow Rice:
  • This is great on a sensory table!  Don’t have a sensory table?  Dump it in a tupperware tub, or a mixing bowl and go to town.  Keep the colors separate at first, and then let your child mix them one at a time.  Rice is fun to scoop with measuring cups (liquid or dry), pour through funnels, stir with spoons and really anything else you can find in the kitchen to play with.
  • Helpful hint: spread an old sheet or blanket on the floor.  When your child is done playing, simply gather the blanket up and pour the spilled rice back into your container.
Button Snake:
  • Practice fine motor skills by fishing your button through the felt!
  • Have an expert on your hands, felt is cheap and easy to work with, simply make more!
    • Make more in matching colors – then your child can find all of the red to fish on.
    • Make different shapes to sort!
    • Make interesting patterns with the different colors and shapes!
    • Make the button holes easier or more difficult to push through.
  • Travel with a baggie or cup for the un-buttoned felt pieces 🙂
Pinchers and Pom Poms:
  • Can anyone say hours of entertainment?  Just pick the pom poms and paper clips up with the tongs and put them into a handy receptacle (bowl, cup, you name it)!
  • When your Little Miss or Mister needs more challenge, s/he can pick up just one color, or a certain number of them.
  • We saw a child online who likes picking the pom poms up with the paperclips – let them run wild! 🙂
  • When they get much older, whip out the chop sticks for practice!  Or maybe Mama can use the practice right now 🙂
Pizza Factory:
  • Why, oh why isn’t Charlotte old enough to play with this yet?  It’s so darn cute, the 11 year old I nanny for went bonkers over it!
  • Little ones can just have fun with the felt sticking to the felt
  • Bigger kids can follow the recipe cards and cook up a recipe just to your liking
  • Getting bored with the included recipes?  Make your own!  Getting bored with the toppings?  Felt’s super easy to cut – add some household favorites!
  • Have a budding math genius on your hands?  Make the cards math problems! (eg: Add 2 pepperoni, take 1 pepperoni away)
  • Work with colors: Make a pizza with only green toppings!
AaBbCc Spoons:
  • These spoons are super nifty.  Lay the clear-spooned lower-case letter on top of it’s white capitol letter, then you can see them both together!
  • Start with just a few letters.  Do you want to teach his or her name first?  Mom?  Stop?  Some other often-viewed word (one of my nanny charges’ first spelled words was GAP from the tag inside her play tent, I kid you not!)
  • Work up to more and more letters!
I Spy Bottles:
  • These bottles came with a card with a picture of each and every item that can be found buried in the bottle!
  • If your child isn’t old enough or patient enough to use the card, just take the card away and see what they can find on their own!  It’s a 3-D I Spy! 🙂
Heads and Tails:
  • The ring is just for storage purposes.  Take the cards off of the ring and start matching!
  • Start with the cards up, let your child match the front of the animals to the back.
  • Notice the awesome color and item labeling for learning!  (“Can you find the purple animal?  It’s a cat!  C-A-T!”)
  • Once your kiddo’s good at this, you can play it like the memory game with the cards face down.  Start with just a few cards and add more as your child progresses.
Coloring Fun:
  • Every kid likes to scribble away and play with stickers.
  • Keep this stocked with stickers (those free return address labels and fake stamps, anyone?!) crayons and the like for back seat fun for older kids and supervised fun for littler kids.
Pasta Sort:
  • Just like with the Rainbow Rice, you can play with this on the sensory table, but since it’s bigger there’s tons of other fun ways to play with this:
    • pull out some cups and sort by color, or shape!
    • String the noodles (fine motor skills anyone?)
    • Practice making patterns while stringing them
  • Helpful hints: if you’re able to leave these out of the bag for a few days, the alcohol smell will diminish, also, if your child gets these wet or in his or her mouth, the color will bleed.
Paper Clip In & Out:
  • babies can shake it up
  • little ones can put the clips in & out
  • preschoolers can link the clips together
  • sort them by color or create patterns
  • Count the clips!
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2nd Annual Plum Mom’s Club Busy Bag Exchange

A busy bag is a zip-lock bag that contains a small, reusable activity that keeps your little one engaged.  They are perfect for restaurants, doctors offices and the busy holiday travel season.  Toddler activities focus on fine motor skills- opening closing, putting items in and out, sorting ect. Preschool bags build on these skills with number and letter recognition, patterns and activities that are just plain fun.  We are doing ONE swap.  If you sign-up for a toddler activity you will get the preschool bags as well (and vice-versa)!  There are TONS of ideas on pinterest.

If your baby is too young to use the activities right now you are still welcome to join the swap!  As you already know, they grow-up FAST.  Stash the bags in a closet and pull them out when Junior is ready to learn a new skill.
Here’s how it works:
  • Choose 1 busy bag activity from the google doc.  If you find a different activity that you’d like to make, go for it!  Just be sure to add it to the document so we don’t have any duplicates.
  • You make X number of the busy bag you selected.  If 10 people sign up you make 10 bags.
  • Keep each bag under $2- some of the ideas on the list may cost over $2.  It is up to you to be creative and figure out a way to keep the cost down.
  • Your bag does not have to look just like the one listed.  Be creative!
  • Put together the quality kind of bag you would want to receive in return.  This is really important to remember! Of course we want to be frugal but we also want the activity to hold up to toddler use.

The deadline to sign up is October 26th.  I will e-mail a final head count so everyone knows how many bags to make.
We will swap bags Friday, November 9th after Stroller Strides.  You don’t have to be present to participate but your bags do!  If you can’t make it to the swap give your bags to someone and they will collect the other busy bags for you.

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Sticky Squares Window Art

Kids love stickers!  At Plum Play Group our kids created a backwards sticker using clear contact paper & square pieces of tissue paper.  Hang it in a window and it looks like stained glass.  Here’s how to do it at home…


  • 8 1/2 by 11 card stock ( I used 1/2 of a file folder)
  • clear contact paper
  • tissue paper cut into squares


  • cut a square out of the middle of the card stock
  • cut contact paper just smaller than the card stock
  • attach the contact paper to the card stock
  • cut squares out of tissue paper
  • let the kiddos have fun sticking tissue paper on the large square “sticker”
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Shape Place Mat

Last Friday at Plum Play Group we taught our little ones about circles and squares using  shape place mats and cereal.  If you missed it, here’s how you can do it at home.


*Shape printouts – butterfly train

*Colored construction paper


*Laminating paper- I do my laminating at Lakeshore… 39 cents per foot!
*Organic whole grain cereal in the shape of circles & squares.  Like these…


  1. print the butterfly & train
  2. glue on construction paper
  3. laminate the place mat


  • Trace the circles with your child’s finger saying the name of each shape
  • Trace the circle cereal with your child’s finger
  • Help them match the circle cereal to the circles on the place mat
  • Repeat with the squares
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