kids activities

Boo Your Neighbors Halloween Activity

It’s almost time for Halloween and who doesn’t love an excuse to ding dong ditch?  If you live in the midwest, you might be familiar with May Day.   This activity is similar and a great way to create community in your neighborhood and spread a little joy this Halloween season.
Boo Your Neighbors Halloween Activity Directions
To start, all you need to do is assemble some special treats in a bag, lunch sack or tote.  Then, print off the Boo Your Neighbor Printable by signing up here.  Print 2 copies of the printable and then choose 2 neighbors or friends to “boo”.  If you are feeling extra festive, you can boo even more people!
You will want to wear your running shoes because you will drop the treat bag on their door step, ring the bell and run.  You might want to check and make sure they are home first because it’s most fun if they find it while you are dashing away.
Once, you deliver the boo treats, the recipient should copy 2 additional sheets, hang the “we’ve been boo-ed” sign on their door and then boo 2 more people.  Hopefully, everyone will be boo-ed in time for Halloween!
Sign-up here to get your Boo-ed Printable
 

 
Do you need ideas for what to include in your boo bag?

The options are endless for what to include.  Make sure you include enough for each child in the family that you are gifting the bag to!  If you have extra supplies, you can put them in your trick or treat bucket for trick or treaters who might need a non-candy option.  Don’t forget to tuck in the directions as well.  You can get them by signing up here.

Are you ready for some serious fun?
Remember, it’s all about having fun.  It’s so fun to both boo and get boo-ed.  When you hear that doorbell, you better dash and see if you can find who “boo-ed” you.  Leave a comment and let me know if you do this tradition in your neighborhood.  I promise you it’s so fun, it’s frightening.
Happy Halloween!  Now, go boo your neighbors!
 
Check out these other fall-inspired posts –

Simple Apple Nachos Recipe

Apple Chicken Salad Recipe

Boo Your Neighbors Halloween Activity

Fall Fashion Essentials

Fall Bucket List

Pumpkin Parable

Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

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10 Tips for A Successful Sleepover at Grandma’s

Sleepovers at grandma’s house can be the best times of your kid’s lives but they can also cause anxiety for all if you’re not prepared. So how do you have successful sleepovers at Grandma’s? In this post, I’ll give you 10 simple tips to help make sure the time spent will be wonderful for both you and your grandkids.


As a grandmother to a toddler, I know that sleepovers can be difficult. We have had our fair share of late night pickups because he really wanted mom and dad! But we have also had successes as well. The morning wake ups with breakfast and cartoons are the best.

Choose any of the suggestions below to create a shared time with your grandkids that everyone will long remember. Simple activities shared together can become real ‘moments that matter’ in the memories of your grandkids.

 


1. Communicate Ground Rules with Parents

Sometimes parents and grandparents have different ideas of what is acceptable when it comes to children. What might have been fine when you were raising your kids might not be what the parents want while raising their own kids.

• Spoil them Rotten: Spoiling the grandkids is what we do best but definitely be considerate of their parents too. Don’t forget how much time it took for your own kiddos to adjust after spending a night of spoiling at grandma’s house.

• Create Memories: On the flip side of that, also remember that time spent with grandparents is for making memories with their grandchildren. Grandma’s house is meant to be different and fun for a reason. Creating those memories and fun moments will be something that your children will cherish for years to come. A couple of days of adjustment is well worth the special times that they will have with grandma and grandpa.

• Safety First: Make sure that you have an up to date car seat for the little ones if you are going to go somewhere and learn how to buckle it properly. After all, it probably has been a long time since you’ve had to do that and things change all the time!

• Discipline: Sometimes you will need to discipline your grandkids too. Make sure you understand how their parents want them to be disciplined. Do they want them in time out, do they only practice positive parenting? It’s best to ask to get everything out in the open beforehand so the kids aren’t confused and everyone is on the same page.

• Communication is the Key: Thoughtful communication up front will save any hurt feelings or misunderstandings later. Sleepovers at grandma’s house are supposed to be fun, enjoy them knowing that everyone is happy.

2. Prepare Snacks Ahead of Time


Now to the fun part, planning the ultimate sleepover!!

The first thing that I like to think about is what kind of snacks to prepare. It really depends on how long your grandkids will be there to know how many snacks to make. A good rule of thumb to follow is one or two snacks during movie or game time if it’s just for one night. Plan for a few more snacks for the whole weekend.

If the kids are only staying one night, of course, you will want to wait till after dinner to provide the snacks.

Our favorites are:

• popcorn

• homemade trail mix

• fruit or veggie tray

• cheese and crackers

• Smoothies are also great fun for the kids to help make with all of their favorite items

Make it fun and arrange them on a pretty platter or let them have their own snack tray if there is more than one grandchild spending the night.



3. Plan a Theme for Your Sleepover


If you want to make the sleepover extra special, plan a theme for the party.

• Movie night: Pop some popcorn and pick out their favorite movies.
• Camping Out: Pitch the tent and make S’mores over the campfire (aka cook stove)
• Animal Safari: Have them bring their stuffed animals and explore the wildlife in the jungles of your home.
• Dance Party: Karaoke the night away. Just don’t forget to turn off the music to wind down about an hour or so before bed or they’ll never fall asleep!
• Travel to Other Countries: Find a map or globe and have the kids point to a place while blindfolded. When they see where they pointed, Google the other country to learn more about it and how people dress and talk. It’s also a great time to play dress up with the kids!
• Game Night: Find all their favorite board games and have fun. You might even bring out some of your old favorites. They will have a blast learning the games you played as a kid.

4. Find Some Great Books for Story Time


You will want your grandkids to bring some of their favorite books but it’s also fun to have some on hand for something different. Here are a few of my favorites that we read to the grandkids when they come over:



5. Layout Some Crafts



Pinterest has some excellent age appropriate crafts that would be perfect for sleepovers.

My grandkids are only 3 and 1 but our favorites include:

• Watercolor paintings
• Balloon rockets
• Soap clouds made with ivory soap
• Anything that we can make with markers
• Laying out craft paper and coloring
• Making a fairy garden
• Pretend fun with big boxes

I’m sure the list will continue to grow as they get older!



6. Make Dinnertime Special

Find different ways to make dinnertime fun.

• Have a Buffet: One of our favorite ways to make dinnertime special is to have a buffet of all of their favorite foods. They don’t have to be foods that typically are eaten together either. Mix it up by making hamburgers and mashed         potatoes, mac and cheese with chips and dip, the possibilities are endless. They will have fun helping to plan the meal and they might even eat everything on their plate. It’s a win-win!!
• Breakfast for Dinner: Another fun way to make dinnertime special is to make a breakfast night. Kids would love eating eggs and hash browns at night. Waffles or french toast topped with their favorite fruit would make the perfect   dessert.
• Picnics are Fun: Have a picnic on the living room floor! Gather up a blanket and a picnic basket if you have one and pack some kabobs, sandwich wraps, peanut butter and jelly or whatever the kids would love for a picnic and have fun!

7. Provide Comforts of Home

Sometimes kids can get homesick and that’s very understandable. Make your grandchild’s stay more comfortable with the comforts of home.

• Favorite Lovey: Make sure the kids bring their favorite blanket or stuffed animal. This will be especially helpful at bedtime. Another comfort is to have them choose a stuffed animal or blanket from a store so they will always know that   it’s there if they forget theirs from home.
• Keep a Routine: If the kids have a routine at home, try to stick with it as much as possible. This will help them adjust better to being away from home and will help the parents later when it’s time to go home.
• Loosen up: Sometimes your grandkids don’t like to eat the same things that their mom makes because it’s not the way mom cooks it or don’t like the same story because it’s not the way mom reads it! Believe me, I’ve learned from      experience!! Just don’t be a stickler when it comes to things like that and don’t take it personal. It will be a lot of trial and error but eventually all of you will learn to love the differences at grandma’s house and develop favorite foods   and activities of your own.

8. Beat the Nighttime Blues


Bedtimes can be the most stressful to your grandkids because it’s not their normal routine. Hopefully these tips will help to prevent those middle of the night transfers.

• Keep Activities to a Minimum: Bedtime is a time to wind-down. Get out their favorite books and loveys and snuggle for story time.
• Find a Place to Sleep: We have really been thinking of getting our grandkids a couple those little cots that you see in stores. But during our last sleepover, we found something even better…we bought a small tent and the kids love it!    It’s also fun if you are pretending to “camp” at dinner in the living room.
• Expect the Unexpected: The first few times that our grandson slept over, he insisted that he wanted to go home when it was time for bed. Luckily, our son lives just down the road so he was able to come get him. But, on occasion,   our grandson would say it a few times and then fall asleep in my arms. So have patience at first to see how it plays out, especially if they are really young.

9. Create a Fun Breakfast


They made it through the night! That’s a big milestone for them, especially in the beginning. Celebrate with a memorable breakfast.

• Color their World: Turn ordinary breakfast items into colorful rainbows using food coloring. Let them add a drop or two of their favorite color into their oatmeal or make them green eggs and ham. Bonus points if you read the Dr.    Seuss book while eating breakfast!!
• Make a Great Presentation: Cut toast or pancakes into their favorite animals using a cookie cutter or create a smiley face in their food. Whatever fun characters that you create will for sure make the breakfast extra special.
• Create a Fun Setting: Make dry erase placemats for the kids to use over and over again. Buy colorful plates, cups and silverware for them to use, create place cards with their names on them, use craft paper as a tablecloth and let   them draw while eating.

10. Enjoy Your Time Together


No matter what, make sure you enjoy your time together.

These tips are simple and don’t take much planning but doing them is not mandatory. The primary goal is just enjoy your time together and create special memories to bond with your grandchildren. There is no better joy than just hearing your grandchild tell you that they have the best time with you even if you have nothing planned.

Also, don’t forget to take lots of pictures to preserve those memories!!

 

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You Might Also Like –
Simple Indoor Activities for Kids
Simple Water Activities for Kids
Summer Bucket List Ideas
Until next time, keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life.
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Simple Summer Activities for Kids

**Thanks to Heather from Glitter on a DimeGlitter on a Dime for guest-posting today**

Summer Break is quickly becoming my favorite time of year! It is nice to forget about school routines for a while. We enjoy doing a DIY Summer Camp with lots of fun themes and activities. I know that route is not for everyone though. That is why I am here today to share some simple summer activities to help you make great memories with your kids without a whole lot of effort.

Plant a garden together.

Gardening with Kids

Some of my best childhood memories revolve around planting flowers with my mom and hanging out in my grandfather’s vegetable garden. Kids love to watch plants grow. Gardens also provide them with so many learning opportunities.

This activity can be as simple as planting a flower in a small pot. This year we are growing cherry tomatoes and cucumbers in pots. My kids also enjoy our backyard fairy garden. We like to change it up each season with different flowers and accessories.

Take a trip to the library.

Childrens Books about summer

Most libraries have summer reading programs that are great for kids. Our library also includes adults in their program so this is something we can all do together. Check out some fun books about summer or find books by their favorite author.

Our library also has small events throughout the summer to keep the kids entertained. Be sure to check the bulletin board in the children’s section of your library for this information. They may have story times for all different ages, Lego activities, coloring projects, and more!

Make a bird feeder craft.

Bird Feeder Craft

Bird feeder crafts are super simple and provide ongoing entertainment for the kids! We all enjoy watching the birds and squirrels in the backyard once we put the feeders out. I think the kids will have great memories of this and hopefully want to do this craft in the future with their own children.

We love creating these cardboard tube bird feeders with recycled materials. All you need is peanut butter and birdseed. The kids spread the peanut butter onto the cardboard tube with a plastic knife. Then they roll it in a shallow plate of bird seed. I use a paper plate and clean up is a breeze.

Visit a local park or splash pad.

Park Activities

Check your local park and recreation website to find out where all the parks are located in your area. I was very surprised by the number of parks I was able to find that we hadn’t visited. We even found one with a fun splash pad. Some shopping areas may also have public splash pads.

This is such a simple way to have fun with the kids too. They will enjoy being outside and playing with other kids. You could pack a lunch and meet up with friends. I also love the idea of getting to the park early before it gets too hot. I learned this tip from a friend last summer. She had picked up Starbucks on the way and enjoyed the morning at the park with her kiddos.

Set up a lemonade stand.

Lemonade Stand

My kids have already started asking if we can do another lemonade stand this summer. They absolutely love it! It really isn’t about making money for them. We actually set ours up with all the proceeds going to the American Heart Association.

I have seen some really cool lemonade stands on Pinterest. We kept ours super simple though. I brought out their craft table to the driveway and we made a sign on a piece of posterboard. Then we used jugs of lemonade from Aldi. I think we may do it again this year and have free lemonade. It was just a lot of fun to get out and chat with our neighbors.

Get Out and Enjoy This Summer!

I hope you will get out and enjoy some of these activities with your kids this summer. We are definitely looking forward to spending some time together over the break. I am always excited to get out of the school routine for a little while.

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You Might Also Like –
Simple Indoor Activities for Kids
Simple Water Activities for Kids
Summer Bucket List Ideas
Until next time, keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life.
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Simple Kids Art Supply Storage Solution – Create an Art Cart

Do you have tiny artists and a whole lot of art supplies?  Do you want a simple art supply storage solution that your child can maintain independently?  If you answered yes, you need an art cart.

The problem we kept running into was that she would pull out all the supplies and it would be strewn across the table and then at the end of the day we would have to put it all away and it kind of became a daily battle. Does this sound familiar?  We needed a simple solution to store all the art supplies in one spot when they weren’t in use and allow our daughter to access them independently when creativity struck.

Finding an Art Cart for Art Supply Storage

I found our art cart at Target for $30 (SHOP HERE) which is similar to this one from Ikea (which you can get on Amazon).  All our daughter would have to do was it wheel it out of the pantry in our kitchen and pull it up to the table.  In no time flat she could get to work.
Once we got the cart home, the assembly was pretty straight forward.  After we built the cart together in about 20 minutes time, we got to work organizing each of the shelves.  We gathered all the supplies our daughter normally uses and sorted into like categories.  We created a little basket of crayons, one for stamps and stamp pads, another for markers, etc.

Organizing the Art Cart for Art Supply Storage

We designated the top shelf to hold all her most used supplies.  We got to work using dollar store containers to house all of her different supplies from glue, to her favorite pencils, markers, fun scissors, and favorite crayons.
The 2nd shelf held more supplies but things she didn’t use as often.  Things like stickers, beads, dot paints, stamps, and stamp pads as well as other crafty type supplies.
The bottom shelf then housed her coloring books, paint books and craft kids like this fashion one.

Storing the Art Cart

All in all, it was a fun project to work on with her and she could not have been more excited!  We have lived with the cart for over a year and she is still as in love with it as the day we set it up.  We taught her to pull it out while creating art cart and then to store away her supplies correctly and push the cart back into its special spot in our pantry.  She can do it all independently which is huge.
I know not everyone has a walk-in pantry, a local friend houses hers in her front coat closet.  Another friend stores it in the corner of their kitchen.  Is there a space out of the way that you could put it?  Sometimes, we just have to think outside the box and find an under-utilized space that could work harder.

Maintaining the Art Cart

Occasionally, the art cart needs a little cleaning.  Art projects get stacked up, markers get old and crayons get broken.  When the art cart starts to overflow, it’s a good sign we need to tidy it up.  It’s a good opportunity to sit with our daughter and teach her how to organize and tidy her space.  We grab a garbage bag and get rid of things that no longer work, relocate art projects to other places and make sure everything is in its rightful home.

Create an Art Cart Today

If you have a budding artist in your life, I highly suggest an art cart for your home.  Not only is it a functional project but so fun to work on together.  This would make a great present for a little artist in your life!  Where do you stow your art supplies for your kids?  Do you have a budding artist at your house?

Check out these Art Cart Supplies


Need Some Art and Activity Inspiration?  Check out these posts!

Simple Spring Activities + Spring Bucket List Printable

Simple Indoor Activities 

 

Until next time, keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life.
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Harry Potter Helped My Son Fall in Love with Reading + 17 Books Series to Read After Harry Potter

Harry Potter Helped My Son Fall in Love with Reading

When my son started second grade, he didn’t love to read.  I was the same way as a kid so I totally got it however as a grown-up I knew how important it was for him to become a proficient reader.  Just like anything in life the more you practice, the better you become so it was essential I helped him fall in love with reading but how?

I was talking with my sister who also didn’t love reading as a child and she told me that Harry Potter made her fall in love with reading.  I knew my son at the time might not have the reading stamina it would take to read it independently (hello 700+ page novels) but as a trained early childhood educator, I knew the value of reading to your children for as long as they would let you.  So, I started reading Harry Potter to my son.

It’s been 18 months and we have read almost every night together before bed.  It not only has proved to be a simple but purposeful way to spend time with my growing son but Harry Potter, indeed, helped my son fall in love with reading.  This past weekend we wrapped up the series and the next day, we both said, “I miss Harry.”

So, what do we read after Harry Potter?

I don’t mean to sound dramatic but I don’t believe any book series can quite compare to Harry Potter.  It’s been 20 years since he first appeared on a bookshelf and the series produced several blockbuster movies, a dedicated theme park, and lines of products like legos, clothes, games – you get the idea.

However, I needed some ideas so I did the only logical thing and I went to social media. I did some crowdsourcing and my community (Facebook & Instagram) delivered some great recommendations.  Of course, sharing is caring so I am going to share the top picks for what to read after the Harry Potter series.

Psst…I also have a fun printable you can get in case you want to print it and take it to the library with you and you pint-size reader!  You can sign-up to get access to it and my printables library here.

Top 17 Series to Read After Harry Potter

The number one recommended book series to read after Harry Potter was Percy Jackson.  Author Rick Riordan wrote the book series when his son didn’t like to read to help him learn about mythology and fall in love with reading.  Let me know what books or series you would recommend in the comments. Don’t forget to download your printable booklist by signing up here.

Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan

Land of Stories by Chris Colfer

The Magic Thief Series by Sarah Prineas

Diary of a Wimpy Kid By Jeff Kinney

Dogman by Dav Pilkey

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson

Prince Warrior Series by Priscilla Shirer

Chronicles of Narnia Series by C. S. Lewis

Little House on the Prairie Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Treasure Hunter Series by James Patterson

Magic Misfits Series by Neil Patrick Harris

Swindle Series by Gordon Korman

The Wild Robot Series by Peter Brown

Fablehaven Series by Brandon Mull

Complete Roald Dahl Series

Ramona Series by Beverly Cleary

More Recommended Books to Read After Harry Potter

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier

What would you recommend?

Now, we know nothing will compare to the Harry Potter series and if you are reading this and haven’t read it yet, stop right now and order it (HERE)!  Seriously, I don’t love fantasy or Star Wars (sorry!) but I loved Harry Potter!

Then, when you are finished come right back here for some more great recommendations.  Now, go snuggle up with your kids and help them fall in love with reading one book at a time read together!

Pin this for later!

 

Until next time, keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life.
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Linking up with Becky and Andrea

12 Simple Valentine Activity Ideas

It’s almost Valentine’s Day!  I love a reason to celebrate mid-winter with my family so even though Valentine’s Day isn’t necessarily meant for the whole family, I always include everyone and celebrate our love for one another with some simple activities.

If you are looking for a way to celebrate your husband or kids or both, I have 15 things you can do that without too much money, work or a trip to the store that will still make them feel very loved!

1.  Make a Top 10 List

Who doesn’t love to hear all the qualities you love about them?  Take a moment and make a homemade valentine with 10 reasons you love each of your big and small valentines.  Encourage your kids who can write to do the same and gift them to each other!

2.  Make Homemade Valentines

Take some time to get out the stickers, construction paper and whip up some masterpieces.  You can either send them to doting grandparents or take them to the local first responders or nursing home.  Share the love with others this Valentine’s Day!

3.  Heart-shaped Pizza

You can either make a heart-shaped pizza or buy one.  Every year, we get a “heart-baker” pizza from Papa Murphy’s.  I get a night off from cooking, everyone eats well because it’s pizza and clean up is a breeze!  That’s a LOVE-ly meal right there!

4.  Set a fancy table

Dust off that china you registered for at your wedding but rarely use and set a fancy table for your family.  Serve something bubbly like sprite or sparkling apple cider, light some candles and play romantic music.

5.  Share why you love each other

While eating your Valentine’s meal go around the table and have each person say one thing they love about each person.  Ask them to try not to repeat something someone else has said.  We tried this the other night and I could visibly see the warm fuzzies as my kids’ shoulders puffed up from love.

pink decorated cake for Valentine's Day

6.  Make a homemade dessert

Add red food coloring to your chocolate chip cookie batter or get out your red sprinkles to top the cookies.  Make peanut butter cookies with Hershey kiss centers or chocolate-covered strawberries.  Ask your kids to assist you for a fun way to spend time together in addition to a yummy dessert.

7.  Gift a Date

Valentine’s Day is a perfect opportunity to gift each of the kids with a one on one date with both mom and dad.  You could go to the park, the ice skating rink, go bowling, get your nails done, get dessert or go out to dinner, see a movie or go to an arcade.  They can be tailored to your kid’s interests and be a great way to engage in quality time!  I love to give these scratch-off tickets.

8.  All Red Dinner

Have everyone dress up in as much as red as they can and then serve all red food and drinks.  You could make spaghetti and meatballs or enchiladas with red sauce.  Serve up some cherry 7-up, cherry tomatoes, and strawberries to go with it!

9.  Candlelight Picnic

Move your dinner to the living room floor and light some candles.  If you are worried about spills, just add a water-proof shower curtain underneath the blanket!  Grab your favorite food to go and enjoy dinner at home to avoid the crowds.

10.  Family Dance

Turn off the lights and get out some glow sticks or flashlights and have your own Valentine’s Dance in the living room.  Dance to tunes like the Cupid Shuffle, the Hokey Pokey and some slow songs with your favorite loved ones.  If you have Alexa, she can totally be your DJ :)!

11.  5 Love Languages Quiz

Did you know there is a love languages quiz for kids now?  Have you ever taken it before?  We often show love how we like receive it which is great if your spouse and kids receive love like you do but often they don’t.  Take time to take the love languages quiz today with each of your family members’ so you know how to love them best.

12.  Valentine’s Day Inspired Games

Grab a heart-shaped pillow and play hot heart (played like the game, hot potato) or cut out some hearts and play musical hearts (played like musical chairs).

You might also like –

4 simple Valentine’s Day breakfast ideas

Valentine’s Gift Ideas for the Whole Family

Just Remember –

Every year, my kids remember the smallest things we did to make a holiday extra special.  You don’t have to do all these things to make their day special.  It doesn’t have to be fancy, cost a lot of money to be meaningful to your family.  It’s just about intentionally taking a moment to show a little extra love to your favorite people.

Until next time, keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life.
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Simple Indoor Activities For Kids

Psst…I am so excited that my friend Angela agreed to guest post today and share some amazing indoor activity ideas for kids.  Thanks for sharing with us Angela!

It’s no secret that winter days are long! With cold temperatures and less sunlight, we tend to spend more time indoors. I know winter days can get super long, so today I’m sharing with you some simple indoor activities for kids. I’m always trying to think of inexpensive and easy activities for kids, so I hope these ideas will inspire you to try them out with your kids!

2-Ingredient Bath Paint

The first activity is great for toddlers through early elementary aged kids. Honestly, it’s my go-to activity when we don’t know what to do! We just whip up some 2-ingredient bath paint and decorate the bathtub!

All you do is spray foam shaving cream into a muffin tin (or something similar) and stir in food coloring. Then give your child a paintbrush and let them paint the bathtub! One tip is to NOT use gel food coloring. That will stain your child’s skin and the tub and I’m sure you don’t want that!

This activity is a great sensory play activity. Kids are exploring a new texture and can use their creativity to make whatever they’d like!

Bathtub Stuffed Animal Fun

Another activity to do in the bathtub is without water! In a dry bathtub, add all your kiddo’s stuffed animals and let them play in there. I know it sounds super simple, but your kids will love it! It’s great for pretend play and you can play games in there. For example, ask your child to find the stuffed animal that makes a barking sound or is the color green. Some of my favorite activities are the ones that take no prep and lead to imaginary play for little ones.

Ice Excavation

This next activity will take a little prep, but it’s not hard, I promise! This ice excavation activity is fun because kids have to melt and break through the ice to get all the items inside.

To prepare the activity, just fill a large bowl of water along with colorful items from around the house. I put in beads, confetti, water beads, pipe cleaners, ribbon robe, and more! You could also use items from nature. Put the bowl in the freezer overnight. When you’re ready for the activity, just run warm water around the bowl until the ice pops out of the bowl. Then place it in a larger container along with tools for your kids to explore the ice with. I usually give them some squirt bottles with warm water, a toy hammer, and anything else to dig in the ice.

You could even have them make a prediction for how long it will take to break through the ice and then see if they are right! This activity is great for problem solving, sensory play, and exploring.

And if your kids love activities with ice, make sure to check out these dinosaur ice eggs!

Balloon Rockets

Balloon rockets are so fun! All you need is a balloon, straw, string, and tape. To set it up, slide a straw onto the end of the string. Then tie one end of the string to one sturdy object and the other end to another object. We did this activity in our playroom, so we tied the string to our play grocery store and the other end to the mini trampoline.

Then place two pieces of tape on the straw so that it would fasten onto a blown up balloon. Blow up a balloon and pinch the top so air won’t escape. When you’re ready to race, release your hand from the balloon and watch it fly!

Cup Tower

One activity that has kept my boys busy this winter is playing with red Solo cups. We bought 200 cups and my boys have played with these more than their toys! We’ve used them to build towers and forts and my kids absolutely love this activity! My 4-year-old especially loves knocking down the towers. This is a great STEM activity.

Tinker Trays

To inspire creativity, I like to bring out tinker trays. Basically, I look through my craft supplies and fill a divided tray full of materials my children can use to create with. I love tinker trays because it inspires little ones to use their imagination and creativity to make whatever they want. This process art activity is awesome because kids don’t feel like they have to copy a craft idea or have the perfect end product. I’m always amazed at what my kids come up with.

Snow Bin

Lastly, if you’re looking for an indoor activity with snow, I recommend bringing some inside to play with! It’s a great sensory activity and you won’t freeze! I usually scoop some up in a tub and give my little ones squirt bottles with a few drops of food coloring. The squeezing is great for building up hand strength and they have fun watching their snow turn into a colorful creation.

I hope these ideas are helpful to you! What indoor activity ideas do you have?

Make sure to connect with Angela…

Angela is the writer of Teaching Mama, where she shares hands-on learning activities for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. She is a former teacher, turned stay-at-home-mom to 3 wonderful boys. She is also the author of Play and Learn Toddler Activities Book, a book with over 200 ideas for keeping toddlers busy! You can connect with her on FacebookPinterest, or Instagram.

 

Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

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Linking up with AndreaBecky

10 Simple Water Activities for Kids

It’s Summer.  It’s hot.  There’s no denying getting wet is the best way to beat the heat.  Water and kids go together like biscuits and gravy.  So, today I am sharing 10 simple water activities you can do in your own backyard.  It’s perfect for big siblings while little siblings nap or maybe you want some simple summer fun without leaving home.

I set up a few fun things and let the kids use their imagination for the rest.  It resulted in hours of water activity fun,  Let this inspire you that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a whole lot of fun in your own backyard!

10 Simple Backyard Water Activities for Kids

1 – Storage Tub Pool for One

Take an extra storage tub and fill it with water to create personal pools for each kid.  If the water is especially cool, you can add a few pitchers of hot water to it.  Who doesn’t love their own personal storage tub pool?
kid standing in tub of water

2 – Turn Your Swingset into a Splash Pad

Hook up the hose to the canopy of the swing set and they had a water slide, raining shower head down below and even swung on the swings with water pouring over their heads. Who needs a splash pad when you can hook up your hose to your play-set?

3 – Water Fight 

Water squirters make for lots of water fight fun.  Our favorite is found at the Dollar Tree dollar store.  We stock up every year.  They are my kids favorite and not too hard to push for little muscles!

 

4 – Slip N’Slide

Don’t forget about the traditional slip n’ slide.  My kids like to use these rings to help them slip n’ slide a little faster.  For added fun, we even set the sprinkler next to it so the water rained down on them as they slid!

5 – Drip Drip Drop Water Game

Who doesn’t love the traditional game of Duck, Duck Goose?  You will love Drip, Drip, Drop!  It’s the same concept but instead of tapping the participant’s head, you drip a sponge on their head until you get to the person you want to tag and then you wring that sponge out on top of their head and run.

6 – Water Obstacle Course

Set-up a water obstacle course with a variety of water obstacles.  Have your kids help you dream them all up.  Slide down the slip n’ slide, dump a water bottle over your head, carry a bucket of water and dump it into a bucket at the other end.

7 – Water Balloons

If you are in the market to spend a little money and want to have a whole lot of fun fast, water balloons are so easy to fill and are so much fun. especially these water balloons.  They make great birthday gifts!

8 – Water Baseball

Speaking of water balloons, try water balloon basebal or use those balls that are like sponges (see here) and play a very wet version of baseball!

9 – Sprinklers & Umbrellas

Pull out the sprinkler or spray the house and have the kids run through with their umbrellas.  Make an ark and have them try to run under without getting wet.

10 – Water Playdate

Invite the neighbors over and set up all these activities in your backyard.  Water activities are more fun with friends to enjoy it with.  Set up the 6 above activities and you will be set!  Make sure to have towels and popsicles on hand for a break!

11 – Launch a Water Rocket

My kids got this cool water rocket as a gift and it offered hours of entertainment last summer. Simply, affix it to your house and control the power of the water being sent to the rocket.

Water Makes Everything More Fun!

We love to go to the pool but sometimes the baby needs a nap or the laundry needs to get done which means a day at home.  You can still have so much fun with these 6 water activities in your own backyard.  How do you beat the heat?  We are setting record highs around here and we need all the ideas we can get!

Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

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Summer Bucket List Kids Activities

It’s summer and with that comes the anticipation of all the fun to be had.  However, some days it’s hard to think of something to do so we love creating a summer bucket list full of kids activities ideas so we can pick something to do when we need an idea!  I have shared the ultimate guide to creating a family bucket list.  We love to sit down as a family and make our summer bucket list to kick off summer break.

 

Summer Bucket List

We worked on the list the first day of summer and got all of our ideas written down.  We did throw out, “visit Australia again!” It was Vera’s great idea but it’s not really in the budget!  Since our board might be hard to read I made a graphic that you can pin!

50 Summer kids Activities Ideas

50 summer bucket list ideas graphic
 
Here are a few fan favorites — 
Drip, Drip, Drop!  You need a sponge and some water and it’s played just like Duck, Duck Goose.  You walk around with a sopping wet sponge above everyone’s heads dripping them until you pick your person and then you wring out the sponge on top of their head and run!  Then the next person takes a turn!
Squished couch movie night.  You simply squish your couches together to form a big pit and everyone crawls in and snuggles up to watch a movie of your choice!
Cousin Camp.  My in-laws take the older cousins for 3-4 days.  They do all sorts of fun outings from the zoo to the science center, as well as swimming.  They also do crafts with Nana and woodworking with Papa (last year it was a birdhouse).  They even worked together to cook us a meal for the night we went and picked them up!  It’s the highlight of my kids summer!
What made your list? 
 
Do we have any of the same items? 
 
What did we forget that we need to do this summer?

Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

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How To Create Family Seasonal Bucket Lists

The days are long but the years go by quickly.  How can you be intentional with your time and create sweet family memories?  Creating bucket lists is a favorite of ours because it helps us get excited for all we have to look forward to in the new season, be intentional with our time, and hopefully create memories that will last a lifetime.  Then at the end of the season, it gives us pause to reflect on all we did do amongst all the chaos!

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Bucket lists helps you anticipate the joy of the season.
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Have you ever stopped to think about the fact that we have only 18 summers with our kids…some of us might get a few more, some a few less based on summer plans and obligations.  I have just 10 summers left with my oldest (this summer included).  #passthekleenex  I want to make the most of the time I have and I know you do! 
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Seasonal bucket lists help us to be intentional, making time for what matters. 
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How do you create a family seasonal bucket list?

 

Sit down and Write It As a Family.

We sat down the night school let out for the summer because we were so excited to anticipate all that we love about summer.  You might be surprised what your kids mention they want to do in the upcoming season.  Often times its very simple things.

Reminisce about Last Year. 

Discuss what you have done in the past.  What things did you do that you loved?   What special memories do you remember?  What do you want to do again?  Make sure it’s on the list.

Brainstorm.  

We work together to come up with all the things we want to do.We might narrow it down to a manageable list that will fit on our board.  That doesn’t mean we won’t do other things but this is a list to start from.   Scott and I also throw in some things they forget (like family vacations) or little things we want to do with them.

Record.

Depending on how old your kids are, you could have them help record or have them do their own bucket lists.

Post the List where you can see it.  

Then the kids cross off items as we do them.   We post ours in our kitchen on an old full-length mirror I painted with chalk paint.

Focus on these bucket list items.

Every season bring busyness but focus on the things you and your kids wrote down on your bucket list.  Those are the things that matter most to you.  If you miss something, that’s ok!  There’s always next year!

Reflect with Gratitude.

At the end of each season, take time to look back and remember all the fun you had together!  It’s a great skill to teach your kids to reflect and be grateful.
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Reflection is an opportunity remember all the fun we had and be grateful for all the memories we made.
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So what do you put on your seasonal bucket list?

Service Projects.

This year we hosted a #LeilanisLemonadeStand to kick off our summer.  All the proceeds went to support a sweet young girls’ family.   You could also pick up the trash at a local park, collect food for the food pantry, make cards to be shared at the hospital or a nursing home, or bake cookies for your local police or fire department.

Home Activities.

My kids love to squish the couches together and watch a movie.  They also love to have family room picnics.  How about cooking with your kids?  You could also put up the tent in your basement for a little at-home camping.  You could also invite friends over for a play date, make a craft at home or write postcards to family far away.   Host a bonfire and play kick the can with your guests.  Make at hot cocoa.  Indoor snowball fight.  Carve pumpkins.  Plant flowers.  Create a garden.

Local Activities.

Go to the park, go to a lake, visit the library, participate in the summer reading program, attend a local class at a craft store, go downtown and play, visit the zoo, go to the pool, visit a splash pad.  Visit the pumpkin patch.  Go to the apple orchard.  Visit your alma mater.  Attend a sporting event.  Go ice skating.  Go fishing.  Sledding.  Snowman building.  Go to a state park.  Go hiking or camping.

Bigger Activites.

Don’t forget to include bigger activities too like vacations, family visits, road trips and seasonal and holiday activities.

 

Seasonal Bucket List Inspiration

 

Just Remember –

Bucket lists are not meant to overwhelm you or be a competition of who did the season best.  Be intentional, have fun and remember we aren’t aiming for the perfect season, just a great, memory-filled one!  Expectations can be the thief of joy!

What’s on your bucket list? 

 

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