kids activities

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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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

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.   On May 1st, kids assemble little baskets full of popcorn and little treats.  Then they drop them on doorsteps, ring the doorbell and run! This activity is similar and a great way to create community in your neighborhood and spread a little joy this Halloween season!

To start this tradition, all you need to do is assemble some special treats in a bag, lunch sack or tote. Print off the downloadable copy below, print 2 copies and then choose 2 neighbors or friends to “boo”.
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!

Your boo treat might include:
The options are endless.  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.
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!  Also, check out this cool activity to do with your kids while you are carving pumpkins this year.  Read more about the Pumpkin Parable here.


Until next time, keep on keeping on with a joyful, faith-filled life.  #tribekoko
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7 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, we set about creating our own at-home water park.  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!

flamingo in pool 7 backyard water activities for kids

5 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 – Water Games 

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 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!

7 – 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!
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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The Ultimate Guide to Creating Family Bucket Lists

Happy Friday friends!  School’s out for the summer — now what?

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!  


Bucket lists helps you anticipate the joy of the season.

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! 
Seasonal bucket lists help us to be intentional, making time for what matters. 

So how do you make a seasonal bucket list?

Sit down 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.

Reminisce about last year.  First we discussed what we have done in the past, what things we loved and what memories we remember.

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.  
Reflect.  At the end of each season, take time to look back and remember all the fun you had together!

Reflection is an opportunity to praise the Lord for all the fun we had and think about the memories we made.

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.  
Vacations.     Family visits.    Road trips.   Seasonal and holiday activities.

Winter Bucket List & 25 Christmas Ideas

If you need more ideas – please check out my my summer bucket list Pinterest board!

Bucket lists are not meant to overwhelm you or be a competition of who did the season best.

This season remember to keep on, keeping on. #tribekoko.  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? 
If you blog, make sure to link-up on Monday when we will all be sharing our summer bucket lists.  Be prepared to be inspired!  #notacompetition  We can all learn from one another!  Happy first summer weekend to you and happy bucket list making!
Grabe the image and link back if you like!
Linking up with Erika and Andrea for Friday Favorites!


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