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When I was in elementary school, we lined our mittens up on the radiators in the classroom to dry them after a cold and snowy recess. If any of us developed an earache, our teacher would tell us to grab a hot mitten from the radiator and hold it to the ear.
If you don’t have a hot mitten nearby, I’ve got a nifty trick you can try using one of our earflap hats (also called an aviator hat), to hold a warm cloth in place on a child’s ear.
How does warmth help an ear infection?
An ear infection hurts because of pressure on the ear drum as it bulges to contain fluid that is building up. Heat works to help fluid in the ear break up and be on its way, thus relieving pressure on the ear drum.
But getting a child to lie still on his or her side and hold a cloth perfectly in place themselves for long enough can be a challenge.
A trick for keeping a warm cloth on a wiggly child’s ear
Put the earflap hat on your child without tying the strings. Then take a regular, dry wash cloth and microwave it for 20-25 seconds to warm it. (My husband and I also did this to warm our babies’ blankets after bath time.)
Check that the cloth is not too hot, just comfortably warm to the touch. If it’s too hot, wave it in the air a bit until it’s the right temperature, and then tuck it under the earflap next to the offending ear. Tie the strings under the chin. Let your child lay back and relax.
If your baby is up for it, you can also place them with their painful ear on your chest to provide warmth. But good luck getting your preschooler to do that!
And of course, we’re not doctors here. So make sure you get your child to a doctor if you suspect an ear infection.
While we’re on the topic, I highly recommend a trip to Web MD’s Ear Infection Health Center . You’ll find a vast number of articles dedicated to the topic, including worksheets to help you decide when to give antibiotics.
What about you? How do you get through dreaded ear infections with your little ones?
No one is sure where the name “beanie hat” came from, but there are several theories.
Some think it’s from the slang term “bean” referring to the head. Others point out that the button that was commonly found on top of beanie hats a long time ago was about the size of a bean.
Academics like to think the name beanie hat might have come from the term bejaunus, which means “yellow bill”. It referred to a cap worn at universities during medieval times, which may have evolved into the popular college beanie hats seen even here in the U.S. At one point, bejaunus became beanus. I guess that’s pretty close to “beanie”.
It seems the name beanie wasn’t used much until the 1950’s. Then a popular cartoon popped up featuring a character who always wore a beanie hat with a propeller on top. He went by the name of Beany and embarked on a series of adventures with his friend Cecil the Seasick Sea Serpent.
Beanie hat is just one term for the type of hat we’re talking about, though. The basic knit cap is also known by other names around the world and in different cultures. Other names for the beanie hat include skully, tuque, watch cap, calot, skull cap, dinky, dink, toboggan cap, stocking cap, sock caps, ski cap, sipple cap, chook cap, monkey cap, and, simply, knit cap.
I have to confess, I only knew of a few of the above names, and those I thought were actually a bit different from a beanie hat. (For example, I always thought a stocking cap had a long tapered tassel on the top. However, it seems in certain places a stocking cap actually is the same as a beanie hat.)
How about you? What did you call your knit hat grow up?
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Every child needs to explore arts and crafts. Sometimes it gets messy (like it should!) And other times you just want the benefits without the mess.
Their little hands benefit from manipulating artsy materials. And creating a finished craft teaches kids valuable lessons in patience, creativity, perseverance, and how things work.
What’s a mom to do for those times you want the crafts without the mess? We put on our Thinking Caps (our Beanie hats, of course) and these are the products we came up with.
All the art, none of the mess
These little WikkiStix are soft and bendy and slightly tacky so they can stick together – but their stickiness doesn’t come off onto your little one’s hands. Kids can curl them up, twist them together, bend them all around and even stick them onto a page to create images and scenes, letters, numbers and shapes. And then use them again whenever they feel like it! No residue and no cleaning required.
Write with water
Does your little boy or girl love to write but make you nervous when the markers and crayons come out? Try this neat water painting doodle mat that comes with a pen you fill up with water.
As your child “draws” over different sections, colors appear, making it look like he or she is using markers. The pen is easy to hold and draws nicely.
No erasing is required, as the water dries and the writing/drawing disappears in five minutes. (If you want to preserve one of her creations, you’d better take a picture!)
Magnetic drawing board
A classic toy that makers got right a long time ago, magnetic drawing boards now come with all kinds of bells and whistles. However, the fun remains writing, drawing and using your imagination – all without any chance of spills, stains, or mess.
My son received one for his birthday when he was two and he is still using it every day at four. (He used to draw cars, now he practices writing numbers.) These are great for travel, as the pen is attached and can’t be dropped or lost.
We got this foam craft set at our local supermarket one time when my son was allowed to pick out a toy for himself. It took me a long time to actually bring it out to use it with him, because it just looked daunting. But boy was it fun! And it was much easier than I thought.
You basically use a little damp sponge (so the water can’t even be spilled!) to wet the foam pieces and stick them together to create shapes. You can press shape templates onto them, cut them, and even reshape them to really get creative!
Creating messy mosaics were so fun when I was little. Now my son can do it all by himself using stickers and a cute template. This sticky mosaic kit lets him use his tiny fingers to pull apart stickers to fill in the corresponding shapes on the picture. When he finishes one, it has a tab for hanging the complete mosaic and a spot for him to write his name and the date on the back. I hang them in his room, they’re that cute!
Disclosure: I (the blogger at Chizipoms) have used all these products with my son, to great success. Chizipoms is not affiliated with nor receiving any sort of compensation for the product links above – except for the satisfaction of being helpful to our customers. Learn more about Chizipoms.
Do you have any more non-messy craft activities to add?