Starting in October of last year (2020) I began designing printable play based early learning activities for us to utilize in our home. I wanted to create activities that were easy to use and to keep organized. I also wanted to design something that required limited supplies. And, since loosing my job to the pandemic, I was searching for a way to bring in some extra income and searching for a creative outlet that was easy to manage along with a toddler at home. It was only natural for our little blog to morph into something new.
After using the activities I had created with Grace, in December of 2020, we re-launched our Etsy Shop with just 20 digital listings. 5 letter learning activities, 5 number learning activities, 5 shape learning activities, and 5 color learning activities. Since then, I’ve continued to create additional play based early learning activities that have met our needs at home and that we can share with others. Our shop now contains over 80 digital listings, and we have been over joyed with the kind reviews, messages, and pictures sent to us from all those who have supported our small business this far.
Starting this journey meant a lot of late hours designing and editing, printing, cutting out cards and pieces, laminating, then cutting out the cards and pieces all over again. Mornings were spent photographing, creating listings on Etsy, replying to inquiries from customers, and even a few custom orders. I’d be lying if I said this new adventure didn’t impact the way we were learning at home. Not only that, while we didn’t expend a significant amount of money on activities prior to the pandemic, without a second income, we were no longer freely buying supplies to set up activities. And other things went by the wayside as well, like our blog.
While we amped up our social media presence by sharing various activities as we completed them and our Etsy Shop listings, one of the main reasons I had started our blog to begin with was to document our adventures for Grace. A journal if you will, for her to look back on one day. It may have taken me a year to get to the point where I have the time to start writing blog posts again, but I’m so glad I can get back to where it all began.
While the way we continued to learn at home changed due to time constraints and the aforementioned, I still think it’s worth sharing here. Those early learning resources I created for Grace to use became our base and we added in other seasonal activities as they came along. Grace loves to use our card sets, play dough mats, and pretty much all the activities we have listed in our Etsy Shop. She gets so excited when there is a new one to try out, and she has become our little product tester for sure. I especially loved when she sneaks away to our basket full of card sets and returns with one she wants to play with that day.
I had to tweak our “goals” for learning at home, since having a little less time for planning and set up. The most important thing that remained was making sure we have a letter learning activity, a number or early math activity, a shape activity, and a color activity every week. It can be as simple as a roll & cover game, a gross motor letter game where Grace finds then slaps a letter flashcard with a flyswatter, using our shape clip cards, or playing Candy Land (Grace’s first and favorite board game). Everything else is a bonus. We still do “loose themes”, meaning I follow Grace’s interests at that moment, or I base our learning activities around a holiday. And we don’t solely rely on our activities, but they are a huge part of our learning adventures at home. We still snag awesome activities from other creators from time to time, and we continue to use games, books, and educational toys we’ve had in our collection as well. I guess you’d could say I took the pressure off of both of us here, even though we added quite a bit more to our plate.
If you follow us on social you’ve probably seen the following photos pop up on your feeds over the last year, but I wanted to share just some of the fun we’ve had learning and exploring new things here on our blog as well.
From this point on, I plan to continue our blog. Look for a super fun blog post on fungi soon! In our current season of life, Grace is attending a half day preschool program in addition to all the learning we continue to do at home. We’ve also recently started to focus on more nature related studies as Grace’s interests allow, so look for more posts with a nature theme. We’d love for you to check out our shop, as we are always adding new items and we really believe in the products we offer. We are consistently amazed at what Grace is learning and absorbing every day, and we can’t wait to see what the future will hold.