Outlaw Mom Elmers Boredom Busters

Independence Building Boredom Busters

In our house there are a few “bad” words that the kids are absolutely and completely forbidden to say, like “I hate,” “I can’t,” and “I’m bored.” But that doesn’t mean they don’t ever say say it – in other creative ways – or feel that way when we don’t have scheduled activities. How do […]
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DIY Batik Shirts with Glue for Kids

Glue Resist Batik T-Shirts

If you thought DIY Batik Shirts were difficult to make – like I did before we tried this new activity – you are so wrong! Making Glue Resist Batik T-Shirts is actually super easy, super fun, and super cheap, especially if you already have glue and painting supplies handy. This is the perfect weekend activity you can […]
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Summer and Rainy Day Activities for Kids

DIY Board Games for Kids

Hooray for vacation and stay at home days! Well, except for those days when the weather is too hot or too cold to get outside and run off all the extra energy from being cooped up. Even though we rotate toys – I hide stuffed animals in the attic and store birthday and holiday gifts in […]
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Outlaw Mom Magic Heart Wands

{Homemade Valentines} Magic Heart Wands

If you’re like us, you’re scrambling to make one hundred homemade Valentines for your children’s classroom Valentine’s Day Exchange and need something quick, cheap, and fun. Lucky for all you last-minute crafters, we’re sharing our simple Magic Heart Wands that will help your child spread some love this Valentine’s Day. All you need is: A […]
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National Geographic Kids Weird Wednesday

5 Weird But True Facts About Us

Have you heard? Today is #WeirdWednesday. That means that today Austin, Texas, is being crowned by National Geographic as the inaugural “Weird But True” Town of the Year and all week long National Geographic Kids will be celebrating the results of its survey of kids across the United States who have shared what’s kooky, unique, […]
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American Girl Inner Star

Our American Girl Initiation

This week we were so excited to get a sneak peek of the brand new American Girl store that’s opening this weekend at the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto. I’m not totally sure why we were so excited because neither my daughter nor I had ever actually seen an American Girl doll in person […]
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Easy Ways To Encourage Open-Ended Pretend Play

Exploring Open-Ended Pretend Play

When we received a box of craft supplies to make our own DIY Costumes from Chica at Sprout’s The Chica Show, the kids nearly died from excitement! (After regaining their composure there was a very serious discussion about the difference between chicks, roosters, hens, and chickens). For my part, I was looking forward to spending […]
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Science Experiment for Kids: Exploding Sandwich Bag

I took my own advice this summer and tried this classic messy outdoor science experiment for kids last month: the Exploding Sandwich Bag. This experiment is your basic baking soda and vinegar reaction experiment, but the anticipation of the explosion, the big pop, and the overflowing fizzy solution made this one a favorite with the […]
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Summer Learning Activities for Kids: Top Ten Ways To Keep Kids Curious

School’s out! Have you figured out how to keep your kids learning while they’re on summer break? True story:  my mom would leave academic workbooks outside each of our bedroom doors so we would find them when we woke up for the day and we’d have to have them completed by the time she got […]
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Outlaw Mom Upcycled Puppets Earth Day Craft for Kids

Earth Day Craft: Upcycled Puppets for Kids

Earth Day is around the corner, so we are crafting with an upcycled theme at our house lately.  We’re making art out of found objects and raiding our recycling bin for craft materials in an effort to maximize the waste we have, while reducing the waste we produce. The kids are also watching the classic […]
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Creative Play Workshop

Do You Like to Play with Your Kids?

I just read a really interesting article in Redbook Magazine – yes, I realize how old that makes me sound, but I find it even more aging to pretend I’m not an almost 40-year old mom – about a mom who confesses that she hates playing with her kids and has mommy guilt about not being […]
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Outlaw Mom Featured Kids' Rainbow Activities, Crafts, and Recipes

Rainbow Inspired Recipes, Crafts & Activities for Kids

Today I’m over the moon to be sharing another fabulous batch of the best rainbow-inspired recipes, crafts, and activities that you and your kids can eat, make, and play! Last year, we had 100+ ideas linked up featuring posts on ways to learn about, explore, play with, and eat rainbows – can you believe it? I’m still going […]
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Outlaw Mom DIY Magnetic Flower Chore Chart

5 Tips For Getting Kids To Clean Up

It’s a New Year, it’s supposed to be a new me, but the same old I-don’t-want-to-clean-Chrissy is still here. Luckily, there’s still time to teach my kids good housekeeping habits so they don’t risk growing up to be slobs! Here’s how I get my kids to clean up after themselves – even after the super […]
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Raising a Thinking Kid

The ABCs of Raising a Thinking Child: U through Z

Well, here we are on the final day of the ABC’s of How to Raise a Thinking Child series with tips from U through Z today. Thank you thank you for reading along and hanging in every day with a post on the same topic. We’ll be back to regular posting after today! In case you […]
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Raising a Thinking Kid

The ABCs of Raising a Thinking Child: P through T

We’re getting ready to wind down the ABC’s of How to Raise a Thinking Child series with tips from P through T today. I think you know the drill.  Here’s a little recap of the week so far: Monday we shared 20+ ABC Guides to Mom Tips & Tricks, Tuesday we linked to 10+  A through Z guides […]
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Raising a Thinking Kid

The ABCs of Raising a Thinking Child: K through O

Are you ready for Day 3 of the ABC’s of How to Raise a Thinking Child series? I promise that regular blog posts will be coming after this series is finished, but I hope that you are enjoying the tips I’m sharing this week and getting some great ideas and inspiration from the dozens of ABC […]
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Raising a Thinking Kid

The ABCs of Raising a Thinking Child: F through J

Welcome to Day Two of the ABC’s of How to Raise a Thinking Child! At the end of this post I’m also sharing 11 other bloggers’ A through Z guides in the ABC’s of School Activities category.  If you didn’t already: don’t forget to check out the 20+ ABC Guides to Mom Tips & Tricks […]
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Raising a Thinking Kid

The ABCs of Raising A Thinking Child: A through E

If you could teach your child only one thing, what would it be? What about the top five things?  I made a list of Ten Things I Will Teach My Daughter a little while ago, but really what I want for either of the kids is much more simple. Kindness is a given and easy for […]
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Creative Holiday Art and Craft Activities for Kids

Creative Christmas Countdown: 24 Children’s Activity + Craft Ideas

It’s time – once again – for one of my favorite projects: the Creative Christmas Countdown! Alissa from Creative with Kids spearheaded last year’s inaugural virtual crafty advent calendar for kids (check out all 24 ideas again for more inspiration).  And she’s back this year with Maggy of Red Ted Art showcasing 24 more awesome crafts and […]
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Games and Activities using Leftover Halloween Candy

Leftover Halloween Candy Activities

Wondering what to do with all of that deadly sinful Halloween candy? Don’t let your leftover Halloween candy go to waste … or to your or your kids’ waists! Instead, hone your little goblins’ MEMORY skills in this fun Find The Candy Under The Cup Game! Join us over at Kids Activities Blog to see […]
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Fine Motor Activity: Transferring Pom Poms with Tongs

Simple Classics: Pom Pom Transfer Activity

We’re back with another simple, classic play activity that requires barely any setup time and is just as fun as any newfangled game or activity on the market.: transferring pom poms with kitchen tongs. Materials All you need are baskets (bowls or trays – even a shoebox – will do) + pom poms + kitchen tongs. […]
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Virtual Book Club For Kids - Lois Ehlert (September)

{Virtual Book Club For Kids} Lois Ehlert: Oodles of Animals Inspired Paper Collage Activity

Welcome to September’s Virtual Book Club For Kids blog hop! This month we are featuring book reviews, activities, crafts, and recipes inspired by the works of children’s author and illustrator Lois Ehlert. (All book links, including images, are Amazon Affiliate links). Amazon.com WidgetsWe are very fortunate to have a dedicated Children’s Library nearby, so we were […]
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Virtual Book Club For Kids

Announcing: Virtual Book Club For Kids

I’m really pleased to be working with some of my favorite kid bloggers who champion children’s literacy skills and have come together to form the yearlong Virtual Book Club for Kids, spearheaded by none other than the fabulous Kristina of one of my favorite kid blogs, Toddler Approved, Danielle at Mommy & Me Book Club and Kim at The […]
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DIY Science for Kids: Bouncy Ball Tutorial

Make Your Own Homemade Super Bouncy Ball

I’m still on a blogging break, but don’t want to leave you hanging on for too long, so…here’s our easy tutorial on how your kids can make their own Super Bouncy Ball. {Just click on this link or the photo and it will take you to Kids Activities Blog where the tutorial was posted last week} If […]
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Simple Preschool Addition and Subtraction Activity Using Do-A-Dot Markers

Preschool Math Activity: Do-A-Dot Marker Math

Technically, I’m on a break here, but I wanted to share our Simple Preschool Addition and Subtraction Do-A-Dot Marker Math Activity published over at Kids Activities Blog today: Do you have any simple preschool math activity favorites at your house? LEARN! Math, counting, numbers, addition, subtraction You Might Enjoy:{Play} Toddler Twister With Party Plates{Play} Fun With Candy! […]
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dinosaur ice excavation activity for kids

Fun With Ice: Dinosaur Excavation Activity

I’m always making pie crust promises here on the blog … I’ll show you this activity or that birthday party or this cake. This time I am NOT showing you what I promised (again), but I am going to share a super fun game we played for my son’s Dinosaur Themed Birthday Party this July. […]
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Outlaw Mom | Simple Classics:  Mirror Play

Simple Classics: Mirror Play

I love a simple, classic play activity, like playing with a mirror, that requires little or no setup time and is just as fun as any newfangled, intricately creative, modern game. Mirror Play is not just for babies; your toddler or preschooler will really get a kick out of it, too. Materials A mirror (handheld, […]
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How to set up a sensory bin

{Play} How to Set Up Successful Sensory Play Activities

The first rule in setting up a successful sensory play activity: DON’T do what I did. I’m half-joking and you’ll see my fail in a minute, but let me back up to something really basic and define what sensory play means. Then I’ll let you in on my big secret on how to set up […]
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preschool math games

{Play} Learning Math With Dominoes

I’ve been doing tons of spring cleaning – even though it’s almost fall (that’s how far behind I am on everything in life) – and came across a sweet set of dominoes. Come check out how we did some preschool math learning by playing with tiles from a favorite classic game over here at Quirky […]
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outlaw mom art for kids on quirky momma

{Play} Absorption Art: Tie Dye Paper Towels

This Tie Dye Paper Towel activity is another in our Accidental Art vault.  Read more about how we came upon this fun art activity that’s part of our Absorption Experiment Series and how to recreate it yourself at Quirky Momma here. Check out these other activities in our Absorption Experiment Series: Science:  Absorption Experiment with Sand & […]
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{Live} The ABCs of Me and Kids Co-op Playdate #12

It’s been a whirlwind of work and family life, so not much in the way of creativity this week, but luckily I’ve had a few guest interviews on other blogs to share with you, like Monday’s post at Crayon Freckles and today’s post at PlayDrMom, plus an unplanned post yesterday when I did my best to spin […]
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Outlaw Mom: Celery Capillary Action Experiment

{Play} Science Experiment for Kids: Celery Capillary Action

For some reason, this experiment stands out as one of my favorites from childhood.  I’m not sure if it’s because I thought Celery Capillary Action was magic or that my mom had magical powers. It was probably more of the latter, which is why it was so exciting to recreate this “magical” absorption experiment for the […]
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learn about absorption with sponge painting

{Play} Quirky Momma Announcement and Absorption Art: Sponge Painting

So absolutely thrilled to share with you all today that I’ve joined the Quirky Momma team of talented bloggers over at kidsactivitiesblog.com!   Quirky Momma’s site is chock full of super fun and inspirational play, learning, and family ideas.  It’s such an honor to be included with this group of awesome ladies. My first post at Quirky […]
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international mud day.

{Play} Absorption Experiment for International Mud Day

Did you know…it’s International Mud Day today! So, I thought it would be appropriate to bring you a post on playing with mud. You’re thinking: why would she write about kids playing with mud?  Kids and mud are like celery and Bloody Mary’s or Louboutin’s and red soles. Let them play in it and that’s […]
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4th of July Ideas From The Homeschool Classroom

{Play} Kids Co-op Playdate #11

Happy Friday! It’s time for our playdate! It’s already another weekend and we’re still recovering from a big Father’s Day Weekend of strawberry picking and making jam This weekend we may be looking at biting the mom car bullet and taking a few swanky minivans for a spin.  I know, don’t get too excited just […]
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paint blot print title.

{Play} Accidental Art: Paint Blot Prints

“How do you come up with all these ideas?” my friends who read the blog ask. I would so love to take credit for everything here and pretend I have some unsurpassed level of creativity and energy, but really the kids often are the ones who inspire the activities we end up doing. Many times […]
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Open Ended Play Invitations

{Play} Easy Ways To Encourage Free Play

I wrote a post about Jane’s Free Play Fun activity a while back when I needed an easy way to give myself a few extra minutes of downtime and make sure Jane was actively occupied with something she was interested in (that wasn’t television). I’m writing about it again because a friend mentioned to me the other […]
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watercolor painting with candy sweethearts from ramblings from utopia

{Play} Kids Co-op Playdate #10

Happy Friday!  It’s time for our playdate! The kids finally got better this week, so we were outside bird watching, making mud pies in preparation for International Mud Day, and exploring some fun shipped straight to our home (more on that later!) What have you been up to this week? Need some inspiration?  Here are […]
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learn colors and shades with playdough

{Play} Color Shading With Playdough

Of course, just playing around and exploring play dough is enough in and of itself.  Just ask the kids, who like to smoosh, poke, prod, push, mold, and mix it any and every which way they can imagine. But, there are a lot of great teaching opportunities, too!  Here’s how we played with the concept […]
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golf tee porcupines from reading confetti

{Play} Kids Co-op Playdate #9

Happy Friday!  It’s time for our playdate! The kids were hit by a particularly nasty virus this week on top of all the busyness of late. I haven’t had much time for anything, but taking care of them, so there are about 30 one or two month old activities I have in backlog that I […]
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tinkerlab challenge #10

{Play} Tinkerlab Challenge #10 | Flower & Bead Wire Bracelet

It’s time for Tinkerlab’s Creative Challenge #10! Rachelle‘s challenge this time around was all about flowers. I had envisioned a contact paper flower collage or some kind of glued flower medley, but as things normally go around here: I am not in charge. So, I followed Jane out to the “garden” with some scissors to […]
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boy playing in sandbox

{Play} Kids Co-op Playdate #8

Happy Friday!  It’s time for our playdate! Still busy trying to get myself organized with a part-time working schedule and a full-time home schedule that suits us best, so no features this week, but I promise a spectacular double feature next week! And I’ll leave you with this photo of some of our fun play […]
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children's feet in mud

{Play} Sensory Activities For Little Piggies

Remember that sensory play post I told you about a few weeks back that I wrote for Childhood Beckons? Well, here it is in full! At our house we have a lot of fun with sensory activities, like playing and learning with rainbow rice, baking, and kneading playdough. Most of the time, we are concentrating […]
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jellyfish at aquarium

{Play} Kids Co-op Playdate #7

Happy Friday!  It’s time for our playdate! I’m back from my trip to Ireland (yay!) and back to work (ugh!), so this has been a wonky week, but we managed to celebrate Sam’s 2nd birthday with a trip to the Aquarium of the Bay at Pier 39 in San Francisco: This is Jane up close […]
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homemade fishing game

{Play} Kids Co-op Playdate Linky #6

Happy Friday!  It’s time for our playdate! We’ve been busy playing, doing a little Mother’s Day Shopping, signing up for school, and getting ready for me going back to work, so not many play posts this week. More fun posts coming next week! What have you been up to this week? Need some inspiration? Here are my faves from […]
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girl and boy playing on redwood tree trunk in the woods

{Play} Kids Co-op Playdate Linky #5

Happy Friday!  It’s time for our playdate! We’ve been exploring our feet this week and trying to get outside more for fun activities like playing with Flower Confetti and hiking at Muir Woods: What have you been up to this week? Need some inspiration? Here are my faves from last week’s playdate … if you’ve been featured, […]
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girl playing with confetti made from flowers

{Play} Flower Confetti

Here’s another Screen Free Week activity that will get your kids outdoors, playing with natural objects, and jumping and giggling until they fall down trying to catch their breath: Flower Confetti We have so many fallen wisteria blooms littering our yard that I’ve been meaning to rake up (Read: look at every day and walk […]
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children's feet in mud

{Play} Sensory Play For Feet

Need sensory play ideas for your little ones’ little toes? Head over to Childhood Beckons, where I’m guest posting about squishy, fun ways to get your child’s little piggies involved in sensory Pedi-Play! You Might Enjoy:{Play} Magic Rainbow Rice Letters{Play} Sensory Activities For Little Piggies{Play} Kids Co-op Playdate Linky #5
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{Live} 100+ Screen Free Week Ideas

We’re not going screen free, but perhaps you are? If so, here are some ideas (10 for you and 100+ for the kids) to get you through the extra hours in your day this week: For The Kids 1. Try one of these 30 Active Indoor Activities 2. Try one of these 100+ Rainbow-related Activities […]
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diy jump rope made from marker caps

{Play} Kids Co-op Playdate #4

Happy Friday!  It’s time for our playdate! Well, I think you know it’s been all about RAINBOWS around here this week.  If you missed it, check out the over 80+ Best Kids’ Rainbow Art, Eats & Activities here: What have you been up to this week? Need some inspiration? Here are my faves from last week’s […]
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the best kids' rainbow art, eats & activities

{Play} Best of Kids’ Rainbow Art, Eats & Activities Blog Hop

Like I admitted to in our Rainbow Squares Activity post, I’m slightly rainbow-obsessed. In my angst-y teenaged years, I used to be an all-black lover, shunning all shades of the color spectrum, but I’m one hundred percent over that dull phase now. When we first tried doing rainbow activities, Jane did her own thing. One […]
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fine motor skills and sensory play rainbow rice activities

{Play} Fine Motor Skills & Sensory Play With Rainbow Rice

We’ve really been getting mileage out of our first batch of Rainbow Rice, which we used to make Magic Rainbow Rice Letters.  The opportunities for play and learning are endless with this material, which makes it one of our favorites, even though it’s a hassle in terms of clean up. Here are some of the […]
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the great outdoors.

Kids Co-op Playdate Linky #3

Happy Friday!  It’s time for our playdate! We finally got a break in the rain and we’ve been out enjoying the fabulous weather: Haven’t posted much this week since we’ve been going on adventure hikes, pretend fishing in creeks, digging dirt in the garden, playing with slugs and snails, and just plain old running around […]
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egg beater art

{Play} Kids Co-op Playdate Linky #2

Happy Friday!  It’s time for our playdate! It’s been a slower week for us around here – maybe due to the weather.  But, we managed to make some Tissue Paper Flowers to brighten up our house, and had fun in the bath with an Egg Carton Boat that we made for Tinkerlab’s Creative Challenge. There were so many […]
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toddler tissue paper and pipe cleaner spring flowers tutorial

{Play} Toddler Tissue Paper Spring Flowers

It’s a bit rainy, but it’s still starting to feel a bit like Spring! We’ve been busy planning for my mom’s birthday party – which Jane insisted be rose-themed. To make our table a little more festive, we made these cute, scrunchy “roses” to attach to the chairs – basically the toddler version of these […]
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swedish pancakes homemade crepes

{Around The World In 12 Dishes} Sweden | Swedish Pancakes

Welcome to Around The World in 12 Dishes! In March, we – and 12 other amazing bloggers and their children – began our culinary adventure around the world to explore 12 different countries in 12 months by cooking one dish from one country each month with our kids.  This month we’re learning about SWEDEN! Swedish […]
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egg carton boat for tinkerlab creative challenge

{Play} Tinkerlab Challenge #9 | Egg Carton Boat

It’s that time again.  Time to raid your recycling bin and get busy creating for Tinkerlab’s Creative Challenge #9: Egg Cartons For the last challenge, we had a lot of fun making a Paper Bag Fan and I knew we’d have fun trying to create something out of an egg carton. The difference this time […]
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learning with egg dye crayon resist art

{Play} Easter Egg Dye Crayon Resist Art & Kids Co-Op Playdate Linky

Welcome to The Kid’s Co-op Weekly Playdate! This is my first week as a hostess and I’m thrilled to be bringing you an opportunity to share your best play ideas from the week and a place to browse for new inspiration. Since this is our first playdate together, I don’t have any highlights from last week’s […]
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easter candy math with jelly beans and egg carton

{Play} Fun With Candy! Easter Candy Math

If you don’t already,  you know you’ll have an empty egg carton and leftover Easter candy in a few days.  This is a great way to get a second life out of that carton and keep -at least some of- all that candy out of your kids’ bellies. Materials We just used a 30-egg carton […]
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how to make magic rainbow rice letters

{Play} Magic Rainbow Rice Letters

Making Rainbow Rice has been on my play to-do list since we saw these beautiful images and tutorial at Share & Remember.  (She also inspired our Painted Toast Activity). If you noticed, I did say “my” list, and not “ours,” because frankly, sometimes my own desire to participate in cool preschool activities overtakes any goals […]
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make your own multi-color crayons

{Play} Make Your Own Multi-Color Crayons

I so remember doing this when I was a kid. We have so many broken (and half-eaten) crayons, it was inevitable I’d end up doing this activity with the kids.  All you need are peeled, broken crayons and a mold.  Some people use muffin tins, but I decided to use a silicon ice cube mold. […]
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30 active indoor activities

{Play} 30 Active Indoor Activities For Kids

When it’s too hot or too cold to play outside, these active indoor activities are just right! It’s supposed to sunny and warm here by now, but we’re going through a cold snap and suffering from repeated bouts of cabin fever with this extended winter season.  The good thing is that we’ve built up a […]
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cup and ball toss game

{Play} Cup & Ball Toss

Yes, this is a kid-friendly blog with ideas for preschooler and toddler play. Yes, I realize the dangers of adolescent drinking. Yes, I know I have a sometimes adolescent sense of humor. No, I did not tell my daughter she was learning how to play Beer Pong. No, beer was not consumed during this activity. […]
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pom pom ball bombs

{Play} Pom Pom Bombs!

I was packing for my trip in my bedroom with the kids and they broke into my secret stash of Pom Pom Balls.  What ensued was pure pom pom bliss in a battle to dodge flying neon fuzzies! For some reason, they formed a team against me. After jumping on the bed, seeking cover behind it, and […]
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paper roll coffee sleeve segmented snake and pom pom caterpillar

{Play} Segmented Coffee Sleeve Snake & Paper Roll Puffy Caterpillar

I’m what you might call an upcycling hoarder.  I can’t throw out anything that might have a second – or third or fourth – life.  If it can be repurposed, it will be stored.  Somewhere.  Regardless whether we have room for it.  I’m always glad when I pick through my stash to find something I […]
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Bathtub Shadow Puppet Show

{Play} Bathtime Shadow Puppet Show

The kids are crazy about their shadows and love locking themselves in a room, turning off the lights, and playing with flashlights to make shadows.  To up the ante on the fun factor, we’ve taken this activity to the bath. Materials A flashlight Something to rest the flashlight on Step One Turn off the lights […]
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five fun indoor hopscotch activities

{Play} Eight Indoor Hopscotch Activities

The game of hopscotch has been around for ages.  We played it as kids, our parents played it, our parents’ parents played it.  It’s fun.  It’s active.  And it’s as much a required childhood activity as jumping rope and patty cake.  But what to do when the weather’s wet, windy, or too cold?  Here are […]
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how to make your own cloud

{Play} Weather Blog Hop | Make Your Own Cloud

I’m thrilled to bring you another great blog hop started by one of my kid blogger buddies.  You’ll find so many weather-related activities, crafts, experiments, and play ideas in the linky at the bottom of this post. Our activity was a science experiment: Make Your Own Cloud It was raining last week and Jane and […]
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shepherd's pie recipe

{Around The World In 12 Dishes} United Kingdom | Shepherd’s Pie

Welcome to Around The World in 12 Dishes! Starting this month, we – and 12 other amazing bloggers and their children – will be taking you on a culinary adventure around the world, exploring 12 different countries in 12 months by cooking one dish from one country each month with our kids. This project is […]
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book club for babies and toddlers

{Play} Book Club For Babies And Toddlers

Book clubs are not just a chance for exasperated mommies to get together and drink too much wine.  And as for book clubs where actual reading and literary discussion take place, they’re not just for reading age kids.  Babies and toddlers are the perfect age for Book Club and will love this pre-reading activity. Years […]
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valentine's day salt dough heart attack

{Play} Valentine’s Day Art, Craft & Activity Ideas For Kids

I never said I wouldn’t post more Valentine’s ideas…just that I thought you might be sick of them! I’ve given you a few, like our Valentine’s Day Lacing Hearts Activity Valentine’s Day Stained Glass Heart Cookies Valentine’s Day Jar of Hearts and Valentine’s Day Jello Play but here’s one more – not necessarily the last! Heart […]
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paper bag fan

{Play} Tinkerlab Challenge | Paper Bag Fan

You’ve probably seen some of the fun challenges put on by Rachelle over at Tinkerlab. If you haven’t, check them out here.  For her latest Creative Challenge – Paper Bags – we made a Paper Bag Fan! Materials paper bags anything to decorate your bags:  markers, paint, pencils, or glue + gems/feathers/any small objects a round […]
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valentine's day heart lacing activity

{Play} Valentine’s Day | Lacing Hearts Activity

We had some leftover Elmer’s foam board from the Pottery Barn Woodland Tree Wall Decal knockoff I made last month, so I broke out the X-ACTO knife and cut out some hearts, thinking we would make Valentines.  But while I was sawing away, I inadvertently made some nicks at the edges, and realized I was […]
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valentine's day jar of hearts

{Celebrate} Valentine’s Day | Jar Of Hearts

I’m so excited to bring you this Valentine’s Day activity, which is part of Toddler Approved’s 100 Acts of Kindness Project!  My inspiration was Christina Perri’s Jar of Hearts – a melancholy song about a tortured break up – but this activity is about recognizing love and kindness in another and creatively expressing thanks for that person’s […]
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valentine's day jello play

{Play} Valentine’s Day | Fun With Jello!

In the middle of all our Valentine’s Day crafting madness, both kids came down with their first stomach bug, so the posts have been slow as of late.  The good news is that we discovered a new sensory play activity for our Fun With Food! series. Ingredients 2 packets of Jello water 13 x 9 […]
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bathtub painting

{Play} Bathtub Painting

On the days when the screeching and screaming won’t stop, the t.v. no longer holds their interest, Hubby’s not home to help me round up the rebels, and I just really really really want to get rid of them, I throw Jane and Sam in the bathtub with some shaving foam and a few drops […]
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2011 Best Ideas For Kids

{Play} Best Toddler Activity Of 2011

For someone who’s so nostalgic about everything, I’m surprised at how much I’m looking forward to 2012.  But before I get busy jumping ahead, here’s my favorite play post from 2011: Colorful Ice Cube Painting   We got so messy, but we had so much fun! Jane was in heaven with the different textures and […]
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family memory game

{Play} Family Memory Game

I’m so excited to be sharing with you the activity for Day 23 of the Creative Christmas Countdown:  Play A Card Game!   One of Jane’s favorite games is the iPhone Toy Story 3 Memory App.  She’s already mastered the Easy Level and isn’t fazed at all by the Medium Level.  To break her away […]
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toddler thumbtack ornaments

{Celebrate} Homemade For The Holidays | Toddler Thumbtack Ornaments

We’ve been having lots of fun making ornaments, like these Recycled Paper Ornaments, these Sequin Ornaments, and these sparkly, painted, and filled ornaments, and we’re still on a roll! I’m sure you’ve seen this stunning thumbtack wreath from Madigan Made Source: madiganmade.com via TheOutlawMom on Pinterest  or these thumbtack trees around blogland. As an experiment, I wanted to see if Jane […]
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marshmallow snowflakes

{Play} Fun With Food! Marshmallow Snowflake Craft

Jane is too young to cut out intricate paper snowflakes (trust me, we tried).  So we tried to have some snowflake fun another way:  with marshmallows and toothpicks! Materials Mini-marshmallows Toothpicks How To This is similar to our Gumdrop Sculptures activity, except instead of standing the sculptures up on their own, we just made little […]
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homemade rainbow play dough gift

{Celebrate} Homemade For The Holidays | Rainbow Play Dough Tubs

For some reason, even though we start out with full tubs of store bought Play Doh, we end up with only a tiny smidgen after a day’s play.  Do the kids eat it?  Is it stuck underneath the couch?  I have no idea.  But I do know that it’s a pain to keep going out […]
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painting with winter leaves and needles

{Play} Painting With Winter Leaves & Needles

  A few weeks back – before it turned really cold (well really cold to a Californian) – we gathered some pine needles and other winter leaves for a painting experiment. At first, Jane wasn’t quite sure what to do when I put out the paint and leaf collection, but she quickly realized she could […]
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handprint menorahs

{Celebrate} Homemade For The Holidays | Menorah Handprints

Here’s a super easy Hannukah gift that your child can make in just a few minutes.  Jane made them as teacher’s gifts.   Materials Blue and yellow paint (or any other colors you wish) Paper Step 1 Using the blue paint, have your toddler make a handprint with each of her hands, with the thumbs […]
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recycled paper ornaments

{Celebrate} Homemade For The Holidays | Recycled Paper Ornaments

We get so many holiday catalogs this time of year and I have so many back issues of every fashion magazine known to woman, we decided that turning the piles of paper sitting in our recycling bin into ornaments would be the perfect Sunday afternoon mother-daughter activity.  And it was! We were inspired by Aleacia […]
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Creative Christmas Countdown Button

{Play} Twenty Four Family Holiday Activity Ideas

It’s December 1st, can you believe it?!  Starting today, you can find one awesome activity for your family to do each day until December 25th on the Creative Christmas Countdown hosted by the fabulous Alissa of Creative With Kids! It’s called the Creative Christmas Countdown, but you definitely do not need to celebrate Christmas to enjoy these activities with your children and […]
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crayon bowling

{Play} Crayon Bowling

We’ve been indoors so much lately and the cabin fever is starting to set in.  While it seems like Jane would love to color until the end of time, we seem to reach that point more quickly if that’s all we’re doing.  So we grabbed our crayons and turned them into bowling pins! Materials Avocado […]
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thanksgiving turkey mask

{Play} Thanksgiving Turkey Mask From Recycled Materials

We have the biggest recycling heap.  It’s not exactly something we should be proud of since even though the materials aren’t ending up in the trash, it means we are consuming and wasting a lot.  Here’s how we give some of our waste a second life:  animal masks!  This Thanksgiving turkey mask is so easy […]
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pipet painting

{Play} 30 Days to Hands on Play Challenge | Days 1 through 8

If you aren’t already playing along, Jamie at hands on : as we grow and Anna at The Imagination Tree are co-hosting the 30 Days to Hands on Play Challenge:  thirty days of hands on play prompts for you and your children. Here’s what we’ve been doing over the last week: Day 1 – Develop A Mission Statement We […]
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pipet painting

{Play} Pipet Painting

For Day 8 of the 30 Days to Hands on Play Challenge, we came up with this colorful pipet painting activity!  I would have called this “Dropper Painting,” but Grandma and Jane quickly corrected me that what we were using was a pipet, not a dropper. Materials baby food jars or clear cups a pipet (otherwise […]
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Making Patterns Out Of Candy

{Play} Fun With Candy! Making Candy Patterns

I’ve heard from a lot of my mom friends that they’ve instituted one-week and two-week Halloween candy rules, as in, you can eat all you want (or one piece a day) for a week and then it’s all getting thrown out.  In our house, I instituted a one-hour rule, because really, does a 2.75 year […]
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fall fingerprint tree

{Play} Guest Post | Fingerprint Fall Trees

Fall is most definitely here, folks!  If you haven’t started your fall-inspired arts and crafts projects, here’s a superfun one from Vicky at Mess For Less! Living in California, I don’t get to experience the gorgeous Fall foliage as much as those of you in other parts of the country.  I used to live on the East Coast, so […]
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painting with brushes, balls and bodies

{Play} Painting With Brushes, Balls and Bodies

  The other day Jane looked up at me and said, “Mommy, I want to paint.” “What do you want to paint?” “Something HUMONGOUS!” My first thought was, “Where in the heck did she learn that word?” And my second was, “What humongous paintable thing do I have lying around the house?” Initially, I thought […]
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fall memory box and leaf rubbing

{Play} Fall Memory Box and Leaf Rubbing

The title of this post could be Fall Memory Box and Leaf Rubbing Gone Wrong.  But is a parent-planned activity that doesn’t pan out as we parents intended necessarily a failed project? For instance, Jane never paints the object we set out to paint at the beginning of an art session (the perfect examples are […]
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make your own monster

{Craft} Make Your Own Monster Gift Kit

To know me is to know I can’t resist a good theme!  I fell head over heels with all the pirate-themed birthday gifts Sam received at his first birthday party, so when we were invited to a monster-themed birthday, I just had to give a theme-y gift. But what to give? With so many birthday […]
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painted pumpkins

{Play} Painted Pumpkins

Well, you know that we’ve been busy decorating our pumpkins lately, so that is – of course – what today’s Toddler Thursday post is all about! Materials paint paintbrushes pumpkin Keep in mind that if you use washable paint and your younger toddler decides to try to eat the painted pumpkin, his face will end […]
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{Craft} Five Fresh Fall Pumpkin Decorating Ideas

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with good old fashioned carving when it comes to creating your jack o’lanterns for Halloween, but for a little twist on your old orange standby, here are five fresh pumpkin decorating ideas to try: The Ribbon Pumpkin Use self-adhesive ribbon to wrap up a pretty little pumpkin!  Start at the top […]
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free play

{Play} Free Play Fun

I love that being home with the kids gives me more time with them, but sometimes I need a little time for myself while I’m with them. The Painted Toast activity is great for a few extra minutes in the morning, but when they’re done eating the toast – and that’s usually pretty quickly – my […]
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fall and halloween cookies

{Bake} Tips for Decorating Cookies with Royal Icing

Fall is undoubtedly my favorite season.  It marks the start of school, four-inch thick fall lookbooks, and the beginning of the holiday season.  It also means pretty fall-inspired cookies just in time for Halloween!  What better time for my first attempt at decorating cookies with royal icing and trying out the proper piping and flooding […]
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{Play} Alphabet Sticks and Pencil Holder

When I was growing up, the little wooden sticks we used to craft with were called “tongue depressors.”  My parents would bring them home for us to play with and they were sturdy, smooth and free.  Nowadays, there are these things called “craft sticks,” which you not only have to pay for, but have to […]
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painted toast

{Play} Fun With Food! Fun With Toast

Fun With Toast! is our latest installment of the Fun With Food! series. Some mornings I just need more time to myself.  Share & Remember inspired this fun painting activity that gives me  a few extra minutes to shower, blog, eat or have a cup of tea in peace. Materials toast milk liquid food coloring bowls paintbrush Step […]
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square rainbow activity

{Play} Rainbow Squares Activity

One bright spring morning earlier this year, I was driving in to work when I looked up and saw the most magnificent full arch rainbow in all its bright technicolor splendor.  At the same time, Lionel Richie was playing on the radio in the background. Like Cher in Clueless, I realized in that moment that […]
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{Play} Colorful Ice Cube Painting

WARNING:  This project is not for the faint of art! If the thought of messes, stains, vibrant color and irrepressible squealing makes you squirm, stop reading here and hurry over to last week’s post on Water Painting, which is a completely fuss- and mess-free project you and your kids will love just as much as […]
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{Play} Water Painting

Okay, so technically, today isn’t Thursday, but at our house, we live on toddler time, so any day goes! Now, what you’re about to witness is nothing short of a miracle of miracles . . .  Jane and Sam actually playing together – art play no less – and not fighting each other to the […]
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{Play} Tovolo Rocket Pop Molds

We’re refusing to let summer go.  How can we when there’s still so much summer fun still to be had? Auntie C (remember her awesome White Wine Summer Fruit Sangria?) and Uncle B brought us these great Tovolo Rocket Pop Molds for Jane’s Special Agent Oso birthday months ago: They claim to “Make a cool treat […]
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{Play} Summer Spray Painting

It’s the first of September and summer is almost officially over, but there’s still time for outdoor fun and making summer memories even though it’s back to school! Materials spray bottle paint paper water (optional) Step 1 Fill your spray bottle with paint.  (We picked ours up for $1 at Target).  Dilute the paint with […]
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{Play} Bubble Wrap Fun

As Jane and Sam found out after Hubby brought home a custom handmade double guitar stand swaddled in miles of protective plastic, it’s fun to snap bubble wrap! I know plastic is bad.  It kills our planet and can kill our babies.  But this swath of giant bubble wrap was headed straight for the recycling […]
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{Play} Fun With Pasta! Pasta Necklaces

Fun With Pasta! is our latest installment of the Fun With Food! series. What do you get when you mix pasta + paint + a toddler?  Painted pasta necklaces and a whole lotta messy fun along the way! Here’s what you’ll need to make your pasta jewelry (think bracelets, headbands and crowns, too): Materials paint […]
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{Play} Construction Paper Dress and Windsock

As y’all know, I love making crafts or projects using the bazillion brown paper grocery bags we have stockpiled in our kitchen drawer from over the years (like this One Minute Paper Bag Monster) or other recyclables lying around our house that would otherwise turn to waste (like this Repurposed Easter Grass Garden, these Rock Candy […]
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{Play} Themed Sticker Books

In the middle of Week One of my adventures as a working mom staying at home, I stood in the middle of our kitchen/family room scanning the busy counter spaces and heaving bookshelves, waiting for inspiration to pop out at me.  Luckily, it did. “Let’s make a book!” I exclaimed to Jane, who was supposed […]
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{Play} Potato Stamping

This toddler activity is an old favorite from my own childhood.  Nothing like some good ol’ fashioned potato stamping fun, or “playing Juicy,” as Jane calls it. It’s so simple, you have no excuse not to try this.  Unless, of course, you’re planning to serve the potatoes for dinner. Step 1 Cut a potato in […]
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{Play} Salt Dough Hand Prints

Inspired by these salt dough footprint keepsakes from The Imagination Tree, we made these salt dough handprints as one of Hubby’s Father’s Day presents: We followed The Imagination Tree’s tutorial, so I won’t re-post it here, but will just say that it is oh-so-fun for the kids to mix and knead the dough and make […]
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{Play} Butterflies and Binoculars | More Paper Roll Ideas

I guess we’ve been on a “roll” lately. Last week was telescopes, this week it’s butterfly finger puppets (and room decor) and binoculars. Butterfly Finger Puppets Materials toilet paper roll tubes (or paper towel roll tubes cut in half) construction paper or coffee filters (the cone type) pipe cleaners crayons (or markers, paint or stickers) […]
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{Play} Paper Roll Telescopes

For some reason, every tube or hole Jane can spy through she pronounces a “telescope.”  There are variations, like the spy scope, the super scope or the pirate scope. So a perfect idea for a recent rainy day was to break out my teeming stash of toilet paper and paper towel rolls to make some […]
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{Play} Fun With Food! Fun With Beans

I don’t care what the so-called parenting gurus say:  food is fun. Fun to eat. Even more fun to play with. This is the second post in a series of Fun With Food! posts for you and your toddler to enjoy!  Check out Fun with Gumdrops! for our first Fun With Food! post. Every year my father […]
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{Play} Twig and Ribbon Princess and Magic Wand

Jane loves sticks and stones. When we took a pre-bedtime walk last night to meet Hubby at the train, she picked up a nice little collection of branches as usual.  Unfortunately, Hubby was delayed for two hours due to another poor soul’s unfortunate experience and we weren’t able to pick him up from the station. […]
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{Play} Toddler Twister With Party Plates

Even though April showers are supposed to be over by now, we’re still getting our fair share of dreary, drizzly weather.  Not being able to play outside is a bit of a drag, but not if you drag out your paper or plastic party plates from the Rainy Day Construction Paper Octopus project or your Special […]
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{Play} Fun With Food! Fun With Gumdrops

Goody goody gumdrops! Fun With Gumdrops! is the first post in our Fun With Food! series. Remember gumdrops?! I used to love the sugary, spicy taste of these yummy gummy confections.  My mother always broke them out at Christmastime for our gingerbread houses and just the scent of these candies makes me nostalgic for my childhood. […]
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{Play} Repurposed Easter Grass Spring Garden

You’ve probably already grown your Easter grass since Easter is only one week away, but have you figured out how to display your homegrown greens? We made this colorful Easter grass spring garden using many repurposed items lying around our home: but you can make yours almost entirely out of items headed for the recycling […]
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{Live} Don’t Be Ranunculus

Hubby typically covers the kids for 1.5 hours on Sunday afternoons after he gets back from the office so I can have some “free time” on the weekend. “Free time” at our house loosely translates to “grocery shopping or running to the drugstore alone without the kids slowing you down.”  If you’re speedy enough with […]
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{Play} Rainy Day Construction Paper Octopus

Sam woke up at the indecent hour of 5:00 a.m., so Jane and I needed something to do on this cold and dreary rainy morning until he woke up from his 7:00 a.m. nap. We couldn’t play outside, but The Crafty Crow saved the day with this great idea from the journey into unschooling.   The construction paper […]
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sidewalk chalk

{Play} Spring Fever | Part II

As part of our springtime celebration of warmer weather and longer days, we broke out the Crayola Sidewalk Chalk I bought this week for an exciting new pre-bedtime activity today:   We had lots of fun – again – drawing where we aren’t supposed to!   Sam looked like he wanted to join us, but really […]
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window crayons 2

{Play} Spring Fever | Part I

It’s starting to feel like Spring around here and with Daylight Savings only a day away, we’re going to have a lot more time for fun in the evenings after work and before bedtime! On a spring fever morning before work this week, I stopped in to Office Depot looking for a card reader for […]
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paper grocery bag

{Play} One Minute Paper Bag Monster

In the literally five minutes I had to put the finishing touches on my makeup, cook the kids breakfast, pack my own lunch and give the nanny instructions about Sam’s medicine, I actually managed to get in this super quick monster mask for Jane, who insisted I make it in between cooking her spattering sausages […]
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rainbow of construction paper

{Play} Two-Minute Marker Monster and Paper-Crown Queen

With a two-year old who’s always bouncing off the walls and won’t sit through a project with any waiting time (like waiting for me to cut paper), it’s always a race to finish a project while keeping Jane’s interest.  In one of our speediest projects ever, we put together this construction paper jeweled crown in […]
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{Play} Shake It Up | Rock Candy Maracas!

Wow, these homemade “maracas” are superfun!  This project was so simple to do and hours of fun afterward.  Your toddler will love putting together these homemade noisemakers and it takes all of two minutes.  It was the perfect activity for Jane (2) and the finished product actually sounds like real shakers you buy at the music […]
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{Celebrate} Easy Handpainted Wrapping Paper

Jane loves to paint, so we decided to create a specially designed, one-of-a-kind art piece for Hubby’s birthday wrapping paper.  This is just as easy as the simplest homemade wrapping paper we made for my Valentine’s Day present to myself, but a little messier.  And, the results are a lot splashier! First, we headed to […]
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{Celebrate} The Simplest Homemade Wrapping Paper

Completely enamored by Chloe’s new fragrance, Love, Chloe, I bought my own Valentine’s present this year.  (Well, Hubby also got me something).  But buying your own gift doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be presented beautifully.  I didn’t have any wrapping paper handy, so I enlisted Jane’s help.  This is by the far the easiest wrapping paper […]
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{Celebrate} Valentine’s Day Picture Frames

Today, Jane and I made these easy Valentine’s Day picture frames for Hubby. First, Jane painted the two $1 wooden frames with regular poster paint. Originally, I had planned to use pink and red enamel gloss, but Jane had other ideas. Then, we let the paint dry. Next, while waiting for the paint to dry, I […]
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fingerpainting fun

{Play} Fingerpainting Fun

“Fingerpaint!  Fingerpaint!  Fingerpaint!” Jane screams whenever she gets the slightest hint that the brushes and paints are coming out.  Her enthusiasm is dead on:  painting is really that much fun.  It’s quite therapeutic and relaxing after a long day at work and an equally great way to jumpstart your morning.  You have to be willing […]
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