Browsing Category: activities for kids

Healthier Worms and Dirt : A Fun Snack For Kids!

healthier worms and dirt

Today I’m sharing a healthier twist on a fond childhood memory!

healthier worms and dirt

I love treating my kids,¬†but I prefer healthier snacks that will provide extra nutrients to get them through their day! I’m not even sure they notice a difference, to be honest! And it makes me feel like a good mom. ūüôā

I have fond memories of eating “worms and dirt” as a kid. The best librarian ever made it for us once at story time – just one of the many reasons to love her! In case you’re not aware, worms and dirt is chocolate pudding layered with crunched up Oreo cookies and gummy worms lurking inside! I thought it was the best thing ever as a young child.

So a couple months ago, I set out to recreate this awesome memory for my kids. I was inspired by finding organic gummy worms at the grocery – on sale! The next step was waiting for the healthier brand of Oreos to go on sale. (Yep, I’m really cheap.) I buy the¬†Back to Nature brand¬†whenever I get a hankering for yummy cookies (like Chips Ahoy, Oreos, Thin Mints, etc.) with no high fructose syrup, artificial colors, preservatives, or flavorings.

Once all those stars had aligned, I went looking for a healthier chocolate pudding recipe. I won’t buy the boxed mixes (especially when homemade tastes SOOO much better!) I couldn’t find a recipe I liked, so I combined a couple. Here is my tweaked version of an “Eat to Live cookbook” recipe and a random pin I found (and since lost).

Healthier Worms and Dirt Avocado pudding
Ingredients necessary for worms and dirt (plus vanilla!)

Chocolate Avocado Pudding

  • 2 avocados
  • 3/4 – 1 cup chocolate almond milk or plain, unsweetened almond milk (add until you get the consistency you like)
  • 7-8¬†Tbs. cacao powder
  • 10+ dates (possibly more, depends on your sweet tooth – can also add honey or maple syrup at the end if you find it’s not sweet enough. It’s easier than adding more dates!)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

First, blend dates into a paste. This¬†is KEY¬†for getting a smooth pudding consistency (Unless you have a Vitamix, perhaps, or another high powered blender, which I don’t.). The dates will come together and ball up in a lump. Once that happens, you can¬†add all other ingredients. Add more almond milk if it’s too thick and¬†adjust amount of cacao and sweetener to taste. If it isn’t sweet enough, I recommend adding maple syrup or honey instead of more dates¬†for ease of blending it all in.

That’s it! You’ve got pudding!

  • Now crush some¬†cookies in a ziploc or chop them up in a food processor (I used about one row¬†out of 3 from the Back to Nature brand box of cookies.).

Grab a pretty glass or parfait dish for the pudding if you have one the kids can break (I have a glass mug set I got at a yard sale for 25 cents. 4 glasses for 25 cents! Totally breakable.).

  • Layer a couple scoops of pudding, then some smashed cookies. Add a couple Black Forest organic gummy worms. Repeat layers. Top with extra gummy worms and add a spoon!

Eating her healthier worms and dirt pudding!

My kids loved helping me make this special, healthier treat! And I loved eating it with them (sans gummy worms)!

Their favorite part was finding the hidden gummy worms…in fact, I probably could have skipped the whole pudding part and just thrown some worms on the table. Oh well. Someday they’ll appreciate me. ūüėČ

Thumbs up for healthier avocado pudding!
This is how they felt about their special snack! Thumbs up!

What’s a fond childhood snack memory you have? Anything you’d like to recreate as a healthier version for your kids? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Unique Gift Ideas For The Toddler Who Has Everything!

Unigue gift ideas for toddler

If you have multiple kids, are you struggling with gift ideas this year? We have two little girls, and feel like our older daughter has everything a girl could possibly need already…Little Sis can share and/or get all the hand me down toys. Why buy anything else?

On the other hand…she can’t live on hand-me-downs her whole life!

Unique gifts for toddler

We’re not planning to go overboard on the number of gifts, or money spent, but we have been searching for some unique gift ideas our 2.5 year old would enjoy. That’s why I was so excited when Uncommon Goods contacted me about doing a post for them. I had heard about the company before, but never realized what a wide variety of awesome gift ideas they had, even for kids!

I also like that Uncommon Goods features¬†many organic, recycled items from small manufactures and artists – but no leather, fur, or feathers. You ‘ll always know no animals were harmed in the making of any of their products. They pay employees a fair wage,¬†and also give back when you shop.

I abhor buying the character-of-the-year themed toys no one will care about in a year Рor less. My husband and I prefer to buy our kids classic, good quality toys that will stand the test of time. I definitely found that at Uncommon Goods, as well as useful items that are still fun and exciting for a kid to open.

Click here to see all kid items on the site, or keep reading to see some of my favorite finds for toddlers! Scroll all the way to the bottom for links to gifts for the grown ups in your life!

Toddler gift idea plate
I love this Ms. Food Face Plate! What a fun idea! (They also have a Mr. Food plate!)

Search by age, refine your search to toys/apparel/crafts, etc, OR search for only handmade items, items made in the USA, recycled or exclusives.

Check out this personalized rolling pin, handmade in Erie, Pennsylvania!

unique gift ideas toddler rolling pin
My little one loves play-doh, and I’m sure she’d be thrilled to roll out her name! ūüôā

My 2.5 year old seems obsessed with anything magnetic. For a year now, she has been playing with wooden magnetic blocks, similar to this robot toy made from sustainably harvested wood. I think he would be a good addition to her stash!

toddler gift idea
The Magbot Magnetic Block Set, good for boys AND girls!

We actually have crayons similar to this already, and my kids play with them as much as they use them for coloring. They stack them, put them on their fingers like claws…and the product description even says you can string these on twine to make a colorful necklace!

Unique gift ideas for toddler
Highly recommend these fun, inexpensive finger crayons! They have been a hit with my two and four year old!

There’s also a Holiday gift guide¬†on the Uncommon Goods blog with “Creative Gifts for Clever Kids”. The collection of sports themed bowls you’ll find there were actually designed by a kid!

kid gift ideas sports fan
What little sports fan wouldn’t love one of these on Christmas morning! So fun!

So if you’re looking to find unique gift ideas for your baby, toddler, mom, sister, friend, dad, or hubby – really, anyone on your gift list! – head to Uncommon Goods and check out the selection of items you’d be hard pressed to find elsewhere!

Click here to find unique gifts for women : http://www.uncommongoods.com/gifts/by-recipient/gifts-for-women

Click here to find unique gifts for the guys in your life : http://www.uncommongoods.com/gifts/by-recipient/gifts-for-men

This is a¬†sponsored post, but all opinions are totally my own. I am honest to a¬†fault. ūüėČ

4 Back To School Duck Tape Crafts!

4 Duck Tape back to school crafts!

Back to School Duck Tape Crafts are so much fun!!

4 Duck Tape back to school crafts!

My daughter should be heading to preschool soon, but instead, we decided to do¬†our own back to school learning – sort of like preschool homeschool. We have a stack of¬†preschool/kindergarten workbooks, and we continue to socialize as we always do! We also purchased a brand new stack of educational¬†Usborne books. We got¬†good, quality books about our world and space, how things grow, question and answer books and many, many more!!…Somehow, no matter the subject, every single one captures and holds her attention. Her favorites are the “Look Inside A¬†Castle”¬†(even though I told her there’s no princess in this castle!) and “Look Inside Your Body” books. They have a million sturdy little flaps to lift and she wanted to read every single one!

But whether your kid is in a traditional school setting or not, they need a crafty outlet! So I was really excited when The Duck Brand gave me the opportunity to bond with my daughter over a new type of project!

I’d never attempted a Duck Tape craft¬†before, but I headed to Hobby Lobby with my Pinterest inspiration and my excited daughter in tow (actually, both my daughters¬†were in tow, but the two year old didn’t really know what there was to be excited about, haha!).

After an excessive amount of deliberation, we chose our rolls of Duck Tape and a few extra supplies. The company offers more than 250 designs, including glow in the dark tape!! Not surprisingly, my glitzy girl picked a gorgeous glitter tape!

Rolls of Duck Tape And because I couldn’t pick just one¬†back to school craft….we created four of them! First we practiced covering a notebook with Duck Tape. There are several ways to do this (I think), but I decided the easiest¬†would be to cover a piece of paper with the Duck Tape, then pop that on the notebook. Cute, Mini Duck Tape Notebook

~ Back to School Duck Tape Notebook Craft ~

  1. Gather your supplies. You will need: One notebook, a roll or two of tape (any size will do, but I found the large size convenient to use as a base!), scissors, scrap paper, and a wooden or sticker initial if you want to create a monogrammed notebook.
  2. Cut white paper slightly smaller than your notebook. It doesn’t have to be perfect.¬†Apply strips of duck tape until you’ve covered your paper
  3. Make sure the Duck Tape extends the tape past your paper – leave an extra inch or two. Decide now if you like the black edge showing on your notebook. Trim if necessary, but leave enough tape to secure.
  4. Cut out the corners as shown in collage above. Put the Duck Tape covered scrap paper on top of your notebook. Fold excess duck tape over the edge of the notebook and seal on the backside. Apply your monogram if using. Ours is a sticky wooden initial from the clearance aisle! It adhered like a dream!

Note: I highly recommend NOT trimming the Duck Tape unless you absolutely have to. I’ve seen many other crafters use an Exacto knife when trimming Duck Tape so I assume that works best. The glitter tape cut really easily, but the plain color did not! I did, however, persevere and manage not to mangle it (as shown in final collage picture!). In retrospect, I now recommend just trimming the diagonal glitter strips (on picture #3 in the collage) and leaving the original edge of the plain tape as is. My paper was slightly larger than it needed to be and I had no choice but to trim the tape ever so slightly. So smaller is better in this case!

For my first ever Duck Tape project, I was very pleased with the turnout!

Past the learning curve, we decided to attempt a…

~ Beaded Duck Tape Bookmark ~

Beaded Duck Tape Bookmark And silly me, I forgot to take pictures in the beginning. It starts the same as the notebook, however…

  1. Cut a piece of card stock or thin cardboard to whatever size you think a bookmark should be. Punch a hole at the top to add ribbon later. Cover entirely with strips of tape, extending approximately an inch past the edge of the paper. Cut out the corners of the tape so you can fold it over neatly.
  2. ¬†If you want to live on the dangerous side, jab a hole thru the duck tape with the blade of your scissor. Does a hole punch go through Duck Tape? I don’t know; it might. My paper had a pre-punched hole. And I don’t own a hole punch of the correct size. If you’re not bleeding at this point, next, apply decorative strips of tape on the front.
  3. Fold strips of decorative tape over to the back of your bookmark. You might notice I added another strip of the wider, yellow tape to completely cover the plain paper on the back.
  4. Double your ribbon and thread it through the hole in the bookmark. Bring the two ribbon ends back through the loop you created when you doubled the ribbon and pull tight. Holding ribbon ends together, thread beads on. Knot.

And you’re done! Now, are you wondering how I got my hands on the perfect bookmark sized paper with a prepunched hole? Check out photo #1 on the notebook project collage…our monogrammed ‘A’ came on a nice piece of card stock just the perfect size!! Reduce, reuse, recycle! Save the earth! And for convenience sake, just use whatever the heck you can get your hands on. ūüėČ Having not lost our steam yet, we started on our next project…

~ Decorative Duck Tape Feather ~

Decorative Duck Tape Feather or Bookmark This was the easiest craft of them all!!

  1. Cut a piece of wire and lay the end at the edge of a long piece of Duck Tape (see picture #1 above). Let’s not be technical, here. Just eyeball the wire to be about the size you want your feather to¬†end up. To cut tape the correct size without guess work, fold in half backwards¬†with non-sticky sides touching. Align evenly with your pre-cut side and snip it off there.
  2. Fold tape LONG ways. Don’t fold the short sides in. ¬†Fold it over to meet and cover the end of the wire.
  3. Freehand (or trace, if you must) a leaf shape. Sort of a long oval. Don’t forget the stem!
  4. Wrap a small piece of duck tape around the wire stem to make it more sturdy and substantial looking (optional!). At an angle, cut towards the wire but stop short of it.

And that’s it! I promise this craft is easy as pie! Even the fringing was¬†simple! I am thinking this could make a cute bookmark as well, or a decorative addition to our next craft….

~ Back To School Duck Tape Pencil Bag ~

Duck Tape Back To School Pencil Bag

  1. Grab a quart or gallon size ziploc bag (I used a freezer bag for extra stability) and cut the bottom down to desired size. Or don’t – I later learned it is much easier to trim plastic following the steady, even line of Duck Tape!
  2. Starting at the zippered top, line up and adhere your first strip of tape. Keep going until you get to the end, and make sure the tape overlaps the bottom to seal up the opening you cut.
  3. Fold all the pieces over to the yet un-taped side! Then cover that side too. This time, don’t overlap the tape, just get it as close to the edge as you can. And try to cut the strips neatly – don’t rip it and create jagged edges, because these will be seen!
  4. Add your decorative Duck Tape. Wrap it ALLLLL the way around from one side to the other. I tried stopping at the ends and overlapping like I did with the yellow tape, but it just didn’t stay down as well or look as good. This way, you only have ONE end showing and it is very unnoticeable!

And you, my friend, now have a cute new bag!! I was skeptical about this one, but the bag seems like it will hold up very nicely and is extremely functional! It ended up being our favorite of all four projects! My daughter loves carrying it around with all her new crafts tucked inside. ūüôā

For more  creative ideas, follow the Duck Tape board on Pinterest! You can find it here.

duck tape giveaway-2

Now, as an EXTRA incentive for you for you to break into the wonderful world of Duck Tape crafts, I am hosting a giveaway for you, my lovely readers! Enter below (USA only, please) and be sure to leave a valid e-mail as I will be e-mailing the winners!

Duck Tape Craft Supplies Giveaway!

Now, if you DON’T win, you can find all kinds of Duck Tape patterns at Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, or Joann Fabrics, as well as other retailers!

 

Thank you to The Duck Brand for sponsoring today’s post and inspiring me to bond with my daughter over these fun Duck Tape crafts!

Fun, Easy Water Play Ideas for Toddlers!

Fun, Easy Water Play Ideas for Toddlers!

Water play activities are a MUST in the Summer! Squeeze every ounce of fun you can out of the warm weather!

Fun, Easy Water Play Ideas for Toddlers!

 

This water play post is actually a companion to one I just wrote for Bree at Family As We Go. You can check it out on her blog, here, and find more easy water play activities! In that post, similarly entitled, “Easy & Fun Water Activities For Toddlers!” you will find:

Giant Ice Cube, Hidden Toys

Washing the (Little Tikes) Car

Washing the (real) Car

Sink or Float.

But don’t forget to read and pin this post before you head over! I’ll provide the link to Bree’s blog again before you go. ūüôā

The first water play idea I’m going to share with you today is:

“Painting” with Water

Water play activities - "painting" with water
This was actually my work of art right there. Even adults can join in on the fun!

This could not have been easier to set up. Grab a bucket of water and various size paintbrushes. Clean up is a breeze, too! Just dump whatever water is left over and put the bucket and paintbrushes away.

Water play activities for toddlers - painting with water!

My kids mostly just wanted to cover as much dry concrete with water as possible. And make very, very long lines all the way down to the street to run along like a giant rat race, lol!

For the next water play activity,¬†you’ll need to plan ahead a tad. Check the dollar store or yard sales for a cheap pool float. Have you seen the diy water blobs going around Pinterest? This is the same idea, but less likely to become your next “Pinstrosity”!

“Water Blob”

First, buy a pack of water balloons. Open it and use the thingamabob that screws onto your hose or faucet to fill your pool float full of water instead of air! Mind blown, right?? Keep in mind, the bigger the float, the heavier it gets! Fill it where you plan to leave it for awhile, lol.

Water Activities for kids - filling up a water blob!

Keep in mind, the bigger the float, the heavier it gets! Fill it where you plan to leave it for awhile, lol.

IMG_4540

Everyone enjoyed this, from the 4 year old to the 15 month old neighbor boy! It was so cute seeing him try to stand up on the wobbling float. He did surprisingly good for his age!

Make a water blob - easy, fun water play activity!

The water blob was like a water bed that you’re actually allowed to jump on! When we were done with it, hubby dragged the water blob to our walkway where I popped open the valves. After letting it sit overnight, most of the water had dripped out by itself. We draped it over something to continue to drain and dry, so I think we can still use it again!

Now that you bought a package of water balloon just for that little hose fixture, what in the world are you going to do with all those water balloons?? Hmmm….

Fill a wading pool with water balloons!

Water activities for toddlers - fill kiddie pool with water balloons!
Yes, my four year old is gnawing on a water balloon. We were constantly on the kids’ case for doing that, so please don’t judge me!

The 15 month old neighbor boy especially enjoyed this. He sat in the kiddy pool playing with water balloons almost the whole time he was over!! Hubby and I sat “poolside” filling the water balloons. In between balloons, the excess water flowed into the pool, filling that up, too. The great thing about this is, that it’s really hard to break water balloons in a pool full of water. Makes them last a lot longer!

When we were done filling the balloons (finally!) we did a…

Pop the Water Balloon Race

Water Activities for kids - water balloon race

On your mark, get set, go! The kids raced to smash the water balloons!

IMG_4539

The kids either stomped or sat on the balloons! Lots of fun to watch! Unfortunately, the freshly cut grass popped quite a few of the water balloons…I found the concrete driveway to be a superior option.

Before you head over to Family As We Go to see the rest of my fun water play activities, please plan to keep in touch!

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