Summer Outdoor Fun

- liquid food coloring
- box Corn Starch
- water
- 8 oz individual containers for each color

- Measure 1/4 cup cornstarch into each cup.
- Add 1/4 cup water to each.
- Drip in 5-10 drops of food coloring.
- Stir it up.
At first it will seem as though the cornstarch just won't mix in, but all at once it comes together.
- Add more color for intense colors, less for pastel shades.

Pre test on the driveway, fence, and brick to see if paint will come off - It should though.

Using a ice cream pail, put a small amount of water in bottom.
Add treasures. Freeze.
Add another layer of water, add treasures, freeze.
Add another layer of water, add treasures, freeze. Etc.

All these layers will ensure treasures throughout the ice block rather than them all frozen on the bottom.

Marbles, stones, shells, coins, plastic animals, etc.

Put in a shallow plastic bin and let the kids excavate their treasures using toothbrushes, spray bottle, eye droppers, spoons, etc.

Great cool activity for hot summer day!

Frozen Paint:
Water down some paint, pour into ice cube trays. Lay foil over top and poke toothpicks through to act as holder. Freeze.
Let kids hold their paint cubes and paint their pictures outside.

ICE CUBES: coloured or plain, they’re fun to watch melt

Bathtub Paints

2T liquid soap
1T cornstarch
Food Colouring (just a drop, mix, then see if you need more)

Mix up and put in ice cube trays.
This will float in the tub and they can fingerpaint!

if they dunk it in the water, the paint gets too watery and won't be easily applied with fingers - perhaps a paint brush would still work though.

Edible Peanut Butter Playdough Recipe

1 cup Peanut Butter (smooth)
1 cup Milk Powder
1 cup Oats
1/4 cup Honey

Mix all together!

(Makes enough for 3 kids to have a good size chunk to play & snack)

If you are tempted to add more dry ingredients, STOP! It needs to be a bit sticky and once it's all mixed thoroughly it won't stick to your hands.

This is my favourite edible playdough recipe. The majority of peanut butter playdough has icing sugar for the second dry ingrediant (rather than oats in this one) and since Peanut Butter is made up of lots of sugar, that is just way too much for my little one. This one is healthy and still quite yummy - trust me cause I like to eat it too!

link for ideas on tools & accessories with edible playdough: http://123mytoddlerandme.blogspot.com/2009/04/playdough-tools-from-around-house.html


Bubble Recipes & Tools

My daughter loves bubbles!

During the winter months, we enjoy bubble blowing during bath time. Now that spring has finally arrived, we'll be heading outdoors with them!

1/4 cup liquid dishwashing detergent

1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp. sugar
Put the dishwashing detergent in the water. Carefully stir in sugar trying to avoid suds.

1/4 cup sugar

2 quarts warm water
3/4 cup liquid detergent (Joy or Dawn)
Mix 1/4 cup sugar with 2 quarts of warm water. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add 3/4 cup liquid detergent.

Recipe Tip: Be careful not to whip up small bubbles while mixing!

Bubble Tools:
- Plastic strawberry basket
- Pipe Cleaners bent into different shapes
- String tied in a loop to a stick - now dip in mixture and run!
- Flyswatter
- Slotted Spoon
- Frozen juice can with both ends removed
- Six-pack plastic rings
- Funnel
- Wisk
- Cookie Cutters

Make some Bird Treats!

(taken from http://www.familycorner.com/ - check it out, there is so much stuff there!)

* 1 slice of sandwich bread for each hanger
(perfect use for stale bread you are about to toss!)
* Cookie cutter or Paring knife
* Yarn or other strong piece of string or cord
* Peanut butter or Vegetable shortening
* Wild bird seed

Use a cookie cutter to create shapes from slices of sandwich bread.

Let bread sit on the counter until dried out.

Line a plate with bird seed.

Use a toothpick or wooden skewer to poke a hole through the bread for the string.
Be sure that you leave enough room above the hole so that it doesn't tear.

Thread string through the hole and gently tie in a knot.

Spread both sides of bread shape with peanut butter.

Coat with bird seed by laying it on the bird seed lined plate and turning over to coat thoroughly.

1/2 Large Orange or Grapefruit
*Scrape fruit out and eat for snack. Use skewer to poke three holes along rim about 1/2'' from top. Thread & hand with string or twine. Fill with birdseed.

Go on a nature walk with your child to collect pine cones (bigger the better). Smear with Peanut Butter and roll in Bird Seed. Tie a string and hang from tree!

Hang your creation outside within view of your window!

My daughter loves watching the birds!

Edible Playdough Recipes (without Peanut Butter)

Got these from http://www.familycorner.com/:

Oatmeal Play Dough
1 part flour
2 parts oatmeal
1 part water
Mix ingredients together and form into shapes.

Note: The items made from this play dough recipe can be painted when they are dry.


Cream Cheese Play Dough
8 oz. package of cream cheese
1/2 cup non-fat dry milk
1 tablespoon honey

Combine cream cheese, milk and honey in a bowl and mix until well blended. Mold sculptures on was paper.

Storage: Unused portions MUST BE STORED in an airtight container and kept refrigerated!
Use the expiration date on the cream cheese package as your guide for how long you can keep this play dough.

Note: The shapes can then be placed on crackers or bread slices, decorated with edibles (celery or carrot slivers, raisins, dried fruit pieces, nuts, or seeds for a healthy snack... then eat!


Chocolate Play Dough
8 oz. semisweet chocolate
1/4 cup plus one tablespoon light corn syrup

  1. Melt the chocolate in a metal bowl set over a pan of simmering water (a double boiler). Stir the chocolate with a spoon until smooth, then stir in the corn syrup.
  2. The chocolate will stiffen almost immediately but stir completely combined.
  3. Transfer the chocolate to a sturdy plastic bag and refrigerate until firm; the consistency will be that of Play Dough.
  4. When firm, the dough can be worked by kneading. If it is too hard, cut off small pieces and knead until pliable.
  5. If the dough sticks to the counter when rolling, lightly spray counter or breadboard with vegetable spray or lightly grease with vegetable oil.
  6. Hand shape the dough into a rope or braid, making two or three long ropes and twist or braid them together -- can be used as the outside edge on top of a cake or around the base.
  7. Make ribbons to cover the cake. To do this, pat your dough into a disk shape and roll dough out to desired thickness using a rolling pin or else use a manual pasta machine.Flowers, too!

Storage: When not using, MUST be stored in an airtight container and refrigerate.


Utensil for Toddler

These spreader knives that you purchase for use with dips or cheese balls are great for a toddler to learn how to properly use a knife.
My daughter uses it to cut up her playdough and Ive also let her cut up her banana at snack time. They have no sharpness to them but will cut soft foods.


Gift Wrap Ideas

Candy Style (using a toilet paper roll or oatmeal can and covering in tissue paper with paper bunched at ends) **It would be fun if the present was several smaller items to give the child several presents wrapped candy-style.

Wine Bag - doesn't have to contain wine, could hold a cool toy!

Plastic Container w/ lid - Presenting the toy in a box (could cover in stickers for decoration) gives the child a storage bin for toys as well!

Basket - Put the toy inside and then wrap all in cellophane or beach towel or blanket or neat Pillowcase - whatever!

Beach Towel - Wrap gift in towel and then tie with ribbon

Trashcan - (What?!) Put the gift in a new & neat trashcan - especially if it's a funky colour or cartoon themed can

More Birthday Party Ideas:

Bug Theme – caterpillar cake, make caterpillars from egg cartons, eat gummy worms, etc. Activity: Bucket of dirt/water mix (mud!) with various plastic bugs & creatures inside. Kids have 1 min. to find as many as possible.

ALPHABET Party – Primary colours, Alphabet Posing, Find something that starts with letter “__”, Alphabit cereal & pretzel snack mix, letter cookie cutters used to make jello jigglers, sandwiches, etc. Alphabits on Cupcakes.

S is for Sophie Party (or whatever the birthday child's name is) – all games, snacks that start with that letter.
For S, you could have sandwiches, strawberries, S shaped cookies, have a sock hop (dancing), and give silly putty & shoestring licorice in loot bags. That's all I could think of at the moment but if you gave it some thought and looked around the house, cookbooks and dollar store, Im sure you could find other things.

Barnyard Party: Various animals for decorations. A cake shaped like a favourite animal, an animal toy & animal crackers in the loot bag.

Face Painting: What about letting the kids paint their own face?
When they arrive they go to the face paint station. There would be multiple colours of face paint (you could create your own face paint, I think Ive got a recipe in the craft recipes section) and little hand mirrors. Maybe the hand mirrors could be part of their take home package.

Green Birthday Ideas

Working on ideas for my daughter's upcoming 2nd birthday. Thought that perhaps we'll try an Eco theme of Green.

Location: Summer Birthday outside in the yard. I won't purchase any games but will find some ideas for games on the internet. Most activity will just be free-play on swings, sandbox, wading pool, etc. If in future years I need a theme for this same style of birthday, I can say butterfly celebration, bug safari, or garden party.
Craft Activity: Trinket Boxes. I have several little containers from Maxwell Cafe Cappucinno, Hot Chocolate, Fancy Tea, etc. They are all sturdy little containers with nice lids. I'll let the kids decorate them with craft supplies I have on hand (glitter, ribbons, stickers, markers, buttons, etc.) It's recycling & keeping them occupied at the same time. After they've made their creation, I will write their name on the bottom and hand back with the loot bag later.

Dishes: no disposables, we'll use our plastic camping plates & cups for the kids. Im thinking of finger foods so I don't have to worry about utensils. Parents can use the glass plates.

Cake: Homemade

Loot Bags: Reusable cloth bags that I'll make myself. Internet has various instructions for making easy drawstring bags. Ive got tons of fabric scraps I can use. The bag can then be later used by the child for their cars, snacks, doll clothes, etc.

(Here's how they turned out!) --->

You could also take two squares of felt and sew up three sides. Cut a rectangle for the handle. They could be left as is or decorated with paints or markers (party craft!)

Or purchase small canvas bags from a craft store that can be decorated at the party.

*check out another post I made on loot bags for various other ideas*

Loot Bag Fillers: No plastic junk that will just get tossed. Some ideas so far are:
*homemade playdough w/ recipe & cookie cutter
*clay pot (kids decorate at party) with baggie of soil and seed packet
*homemade decorated cookies
*notebook & fancy pen
*homemade chunky toddler crayons (see separate post)

Anything that is practical and either usable or edible. Any candy I buy will be bought in bulk to reduce packaging.

Stay away from the mult-pack of plastic junky lootbag stuff (ie. sunglasses that break before they are out of the packaging, whistles, etc.) Most moms are tossing that stuff out before the end of the day cause they're broken or annoying.

Also including in the Loot Bag a Thank You Card made from cutting various artworks (that Sophie has done lately) into little folded cards. Inside is a simple "Thank you for coming to my Birthday Party, love Sophie"

~ Tablecloths that I already own rather than the one-time use plastic version. Or if I feel creative, I could take a bed sheet that isn't in our bedroom's colour scheme anymore and add some felt flowers or butterflys or circles to dress it up.
~ Happy Birthday Banner that I'll be using for a few years. (see separate post for more detail)
~ Pictures of friends & family from Sophie's 1st birthday party and perhaps some from the day she was born.
~ Paper Garlands from colourful flyers & catalogues.
~ Birthday Crown - make from felt and decorate with puff paint & glitter. Let them use this for years to come (even a picture with it for sweet 16 would be great memories!)

Gifts: Im going to somehow (have to think of the best way to word it on the invites) ask my friends for gently-used toys or books. My daughter will be two and won't care if it's a used toy, we love second hand stuff. This will save lots of packaging (it's amazing how much plastic & cardboard one toy comes packed in). Also asking for gifts to be wrapped in newspaper, flyers, pre-used gift bags or fabric!

Still looking into other ideas to help keep it green...

Wooden Spoon Puppets

Wooden Spoons make great puppets. I saw this in a magazine for a Birthday Party activity.

As each guest arrived, they got to make a puppet by decorating a wooden spoon with googly eyes, fabric scraps, markers, yarn etc. Then the kids put on a puppet show and took their puppet home with them. Great rainy day craft too :-)

When we get around to making these I'll post some pictures!

Keep your Sanity at Birthday Parties

Keep it simple!

Have party last 2 - 3 hours maximum.

Eat sweets in last half hour

Have back up indoor activities planned if having an outdoor party

Letting kids do a craft as you wait for everyone to arrive keeps things organized.

Pick a theme and run with it.

Google for ideas, invites, recipes, and everything thing else on the internet

Give your camera to someone else to take pictures, you may be to busy to remember the important shots

Have another adult (or older child) to help you if needed

Poster Paint Tips

My parenting magazine recommended storing Non-Toxic Poster Paint in baby food jars. Adding a squirt of dishwashing detergent helps take out future paint stains.

Fun & Unusual paint brushes could be toothbrushes, sponges, plastic scrubber, Qtip, etc.

Im Bored Jar

Saw or read this idea somewhere of writing out various activities onto small pieces of papers and putting them in a small jar. When your child comes whining "Im Booored!", they pick out an activity from the jar. Maybe things like Create a Storybook, Draw a picture for a relative, Make Cookies, etc.

For a toddler version, I figure it would be more of an "Im Stressed" jar for me when my childs getting into everything she shouldn't because she's bored. Hers would have various activities like Make a Cave, Craft Ideas, Sink Play, etc.

Bath Toys when staying at someone's house

Don't pack bath toys if you're staying over at someones house. You can probably raid their cupboards and find some neat stuff. (basically the same stuff I like to have my daughter use for playing in the sink full of bubbles)

Such as:
Measuring Cups
Measuring Spoons
different sizes of tupperware

Create some bubble fun with homemade bubble solution and the above kitchen items!

If it's something they don't normally get to play with then they would probably be intrigued.

ALSO: Shaving Cream! Spray some on the bathtub wall and let them draw!

Toddler Snack Mixes

I like to make little containers of snack mixes to keep in my purse for long waits, appt's, etc.

The items vary depending on what's in the cupboard.
A little of this and a little of that!

  • Teddy Grahams
  • Fruit Loops
  • Cheerios
  • Raisens
  • Pretzels
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Craisens
  • Corn Pops
  • Chex
  • Cheese Nips
  • Animal Crackers
  • Smarties
  • Pretty much any small cereal, cracker or candy.

Get Outside!

Weather is starting to get nice this past week so we spent lots of time outside. I dug out her sand toys and we used them in the driveway (too much snow in the yard still).

We picked up sticks, leaves, rocks and played in puddles.

I set up a lawn chair and enjoyed the sunshine while she got dirty and had fun.

What's a little extra laundry if it keeps her happy and from emptying the dishwasher of dirty dishes

(that's her latest thing - thank goodness for my husband who recommended a piece of duck tape over the lock)

Sorting Fun with Pasta

We had some fun this afternoon with different pasta shapes. I put them in a muffin tin and she transferred them into a bowl. I also gave her a spoon to scoop them up.

She needed supervision though cause she was always trying to eat them.

Im thinking that in the next few months she might get into sorting the shapes from the bowl into the muffin tin compartments.

I put the pasta into a ziploc bag for the next time we do this activity.

We'll see if this can keep her occupied while I cook supper and keep her from hanging off my legs :-)

Playdough Tools from around the house

Here are some tools we like for playing with Playdough.

  • Garlic Press

  • Potato Masher

  • Cookie Cutters

  • Rolling Pin (Im going to find a small dowel and make a mini rolling pin for her)

  • Dip Spreader (not sure the actual name but it's not sharp but could be used to cut the playdough)

  • Juicer piece (I never use this and she likes the shape in makes in the dough)

  • Toddler Fork (nice blunt ends but makes indentations in the dough)


If using edible playdough, have the accessories edible too! Give the child a plate with a few of each of the following (or whatever is in the pantry):

cheerios - coconut

pretzel sticks - fruit loops

raisens - goldfish crackers

This could be what it takes to complete their masterpiece to perfection and then eat it all up :-)

recipe: http://123mytoddlerandme.blogspot.com/2009/04/edible-peanut-butter-playdough-recipe.html


Make Snacks or Meals Fun & Interesting

These ideas could be for a regular day, keep boredom away on snowy or rainy days, or use at a Birthday Party!

Serve in different containers.
- A muffin tin
- Ice Cube Tray!
- Veggie sticks in a cup – squirt of ranch dressing in the bottom to dip
- Snacks in a mug are easier for a small child to hang on to and seem unique
- Think 'outside the box', there's all kinds of containers in the house you could use probably.

Colour Themed Snack (Serve food of one colour) For example, a red snack would be strawberries, raspberry juice, bread with strawberry cream cheese

Coloured Bread:
If you use a bread machine or bake from scratch, you can always add some fruit colouring into the dough ingredients to make a neat green bread (or whatever colour)

Make different shapes or animals with the snack:
**Pizza is great for making faces with the toppings (For a snack version, serve Pizza Toast)
**Ants on a log is classic (Celery with cheese whiz & raisens)
**Pancakes are easy to make into shapes – Mickey Mouse is a regular one. You can always use chocolate chips or fruit slices to enhance details.

Peanut Butter Toast with their initial on it made from raisens (Could also be done with Cheeze Whiz Toast & bacon or ham

Cut sandwiches with Cookie Cutters to create neat shapes. Make the sandwich after the bread is cut and then use the crusts for stuffing or bread pudding or dry out and pulse in food processor for bread crumbs.

Location: Why always be at the table?
Have a picnic on the livingroom floor on a blanket or table cloth.
Take the snack outside for a picnic
Set up a tent in livingroom or basement and enjoy snack inside
Make your dining table into a cave (throw large blanket or tablecloth on that hangs over sides) and dine inside
Head to the park and sit at a picnic table

Backwards Day: Have pizza (leftover) for breakfast and pancakes for supper. Not a new idea but telling the kids its a backwards day gets them all excited.

Maybe even claiming that supper is Snack Time for one night.


Some Ideas for Popsicle Stick Crafts

Sorry for not having instructions, I figured the pictures were pretty self explanatory :-)

Easter at our house this year

Im looking forward to our Easter festivities. Sophie is 21m and I think will enjoy what's in store for her.

Friday we are going to decorate some hard boiled eggs with markers and perhaps do some easter colouring pages to put up around the house. See the Paint w/ Water she's done so far - Momma's little artist :-)
(crazy amount of snow still on our deck eh?)

Here's our Egg Results:
We used tadoodles (so very messy, wear a smock!) and highlighters. I recommend containing everything in something to keep the eggs from rolling away. They turned out really good! A lot of the decoration on them came from her painting her hands and then when she grabbed an egg a lot of the paint got on the egg. Oh well, it worked :-)

Saturday we're going to Grandma & Grandpa's and also taking a trip to a nearby sheep farm where they have a special easter weekend letting all the kids see the goats, ducks, lambs, etc. Ive never gone and am quite excited.

Sunday we'll have a bit of a egg hunt and she'll get a basket of gifts:

I got everything from the dollar store, so probably spent $5. I'll put animal crackers, fruit loops, and a bit of chocolate in her plastic eggs.

Ive also set aside (two weeks ago or so) a few books with a Spring/Easter theme to read lots:

Should be a fun weekend :-)


Some Craft Ideas:

Rock Painting: Go for a walk and find a large smooth rock to paint. Varnish after to retain the artwork.
Small rocks great for paperweight gifts.
Larger rocks great for deck ornaments or door stop.

Found a great website with craft ideas & printables:

Little Notebooks: I like to stack 4 pages together (coloured paper looks neater – sometime alternating the coloured with white). Fold in half and staple a few times along folded edge. That gives you one larger notebook or cut in half for two smaller ones. A great place for special pictures.

I keep a few in my rainy day box and one in my purse for those long waits (such as a doctor’s office). Ive also added these to a craft theme birthday gift and written the child's name on the front.

Contact Paper Collages: This stuff is amazing for projects.
Perhaps a nature walk results in many treasures, lay them on a piece of contact paper and cover with another. Or have them cut pictures from a catalogue or magazine and stick to Contact Paper. It could also be a project with regular craft items like glitter, ribbons, tissue paper, feathers, etc. Perhaps using up the leftover wrap & ribbons from a birthday or Christmas!

Binoculars: 2 Toilet Paper Rolls, Glue or Tape.
Pretty simple. Have kids decorate with stickers or markers. Could also hole punch a hole in each and tie a string on for them to hang around their neck.

Tamborine: Have little artist draw on the back of a paper plate. Fold in half with drawing on outside. Staple along edge (adding dried rice or beans before completely sealing)

Bean Bags: Make your own bean bags by sewing squares of fabric filled with dried beans. Simple! For a no-sew version, glue felt squares filled with dried beans. Great for using up fabric scraps.

(I keep mine in a drawstring bag - I think it was from Crown Royal years ago)

Bean Bag Toss: Cut a hole in a shoe box lid. Cover box & lid with paper. Let child decorate with stickers, markers, etc. Now they have something to try to toss their bean bags into!

Tissue Paper Painting: Dilute Glue with Water in small cup. If child is old enough, allow them to cut strips & squares from tissue paper, otherwise you should do it. Now let them paint the glue over the tissue onto any craft object such as: wooden items like box or birdhouse, bottom of clear glass plate, metal or cardboard can (new pencil holder or storage for tea bags, small toys, etc.!), paper plate etc.

Stained glass: 2 pieces of Contact paper with torn bits of tissue paper sandwiched between. Cut into special shape (ie. Egg for Easter, a star, heart) and punch a hole in top to hang in window.

Papertowel Drawings: Markers & Papertowel, their artwork takes on a watercolour affect or if they draw in the lines of the papertowel it would look like a quilt.
(I taped it to a placemat to keep it from sliding around on her - next time I think I'll have her wear a bib too!)

Great Website: http://www.theideabox.com/ with lots of different ideas, activities, etc.

Some Boredom Busters

Create a Cave! Bed sheet over the table with some pillows underneath. Good place for playing, snack time, and reading

Reading Books – instead of just reading the book, I would read the page and then ask her to point out objects ‘where’s the mommy’ etc. Now she’s got that down pat so I ask ‘where Mommy’s hat’ for a little more complicated question for her. Also, if the book is on animals, ‘where’s the cow’, and ‘what does cow say’ etc.
It helps each book take a little longer to go through because otherwise she’ll have me read a dozen of her little books in one sitting

Musical Band – I have my child's musical toys sorted into one bin. A shaker, mega blocks piano, fisher price guitar etc. Pull them all out and have a jam session!

Toy Library – If you have one in your area, sign out toys (works like a library) for your child to have something new to play with for awhile.

Kitchen Chalkboard – saw an idea somewhere about hanging a small chalkboard on the side of your kitchen island or lower cupboards. This is at their height and they can draw while you’re cooking or cleaning.

Homemade Finger Paint Recipe

Found these great & simple recipes for homemade fingerpaint:
(I suggest having them wear one of your old shirts - this will completely cover their outfit or using a smock)

1 cup Flour
1 cup Water
1 tsp Salt
Food Colouring

Stir up and let them at the paper!
(This one is quite goopy/slimey which is half the fun!)

Muffin tin works great for having many small doses of colour - also try a foam egg carton or ice cube tray!

Kool-Aid Finger Paint:
2 Cups Flour
2 pkgs. Unsweetened Kool-Aid
1/2 Cup Salt
3 Cups Boiling water
3 Tbsp. Oil
Mix wet ingrediants into dry. *Kids will like watching it magically change colour!


Her Play Album

One of the things that interests my daughter a lot these days is photos of friends & family. I had created it a year ago because many of her family members live far away and she doesn't see them often.
This album is just for her use, my albums of her are not yet trusted in her hands :-)

I used a simple 4x6 album that holds about 30 photos. I put in photos of her toys, our cat, a wedding picture, our house, and various photos Ive taken over her lifetime of friends & family.

This would be great for learning sign language as well if you used pictures like milk, bottle, bath, sleep, mommy, daddy, etc.
This comes with us when on road trips or flying as it holds her attention for more than 2mins.

Simple Matching Game

I made some matching games for my toddler although at this point she just likes to look at them and I ask "where's the kitty?" etc.

Using Word, I found various clip art and pasted them on the sheet. Two of each shape/animal. I then printed it off and cut them into squares. Simple!
One I made using shapes of different colours and then another with pictures of items she can say the words of (kitty, doggie, milk, cookies, etc.) I also used the laminator at work (ssh! don't tell) and laminated all my little squares to get a bit of use out them.
Easy to bring with you on travels in a small ziploc bag.

Creating a Tickle Trunk

Remember Mr. Dress Up? I was a huge fan and am going to create a Tickle Trunk for my daughter who is just starting to enjoy dressing up.

Items Needed:
  • A Trunk - perhaps a basket w/ lid or rubbermaid bin

  • Adult Clothing such as scarves, ties, vests, hats, gloves

  • Items from Halloween (purchase after the holiday for a great discount!) like Hats, Tiaras, Masks, Wands, Wings, etc.

  • Costume Jewellery - I found some great necklaces at the dollar store with big colourful wooden beads on an elastic necklace

  • Purses

I think I'll have to check out a second hand store at our next trip to the city, Im sure there would be all kinds of neat things there!

Activities to Keep a Toddler Busy

My place of employment has announced a two month shutdown. This has upset many employees but for me & my spouse, it's a blessing in disguise! We'll get to spend some much needed quality time with our little girl. So now I need to find ideas to keep her busy & entertained, that means a list! Yay!

Hopefully we'll be able to take trips to our local Toy Library to see other Moms & kids and maybe spring will show up soon so we can head to the park! But for all the other days, this is my compilation of ideas:

  • Dancing - she loves when we put on music and dance around the house

  • Crafts: Paint w/ Water, Colouring, Painting

  • Finger Painting with Pudding OR Yoghurt - yummy!
  • Playdough - regular or homemade (see recipes)

  • A sink full of bubbles and some tools (sieve, spoon, measuring spoons & cups, funnel, towels, smock)

  • Balloons - inflate a couple and toss around
  • Spray bottle of water & a dishcloth - help mommy clean the house! (I clean my windows with water and a special microfiber cloth. She gets to help and it is actually helping the windows get clean)
  • Toy Wash - basin of soapy water (on a big towel), a scrub brush and some plastic toys. Fun for her & gets her toys cleaned up!

  • Shaving Cream Fun: Fill a large ziploc bag with shaving cream foam. Add a few drops of food colouring. Seal & tape. Let child mix & manipulate. Later at bathtime, clip off the corner of the bag and they can have fun squirting in in the tub and drawing pictures in it.

  • Greeting Card Puzzles: Using a few used greeting cards, cut out a square in each picture. Now the child needs to figure out which square fits with which greeting card.

  • Flashlights in a dark room

  • Indoor Sand Box: Tub of oatmeal or Rice (uncooked of course!). Play with it using small cars, spoons, funnels, etc.
  • Sorting Laundry into same colours, matching socks, etc.

  • Nature Hike - wonder around with a pail, picking up leaves & rocks & such. Perhaps making a collage later at home.

  • Build a Fort - couch cushions, blankets, chairs, etc.

  • Homemade Paint w/ Water using contruction paper & paint brush dipped in water

  • Works of Art created and then mailed to family members
Im also going to try to put away some toys that she doesn't play with and then perhaps rotate them in a months time with others she's growing bored of.

There's also trips to the library, grocery store, swimming pool in a nearby town, playdates with friends, visits to Grandparents, and going for walks.

Do you have some more ideas for me??


Airplane Travel with a Toddler - Items to Pack

We recently took a trip to Mexico with our 18m daughter. I worried and worried about how she would be on the flight and where we were staying. She amazed us all at how great she was but I think it was partially due to my organization and preplanning of what to bring for her.

This is what worked for us:

  • Gift Wrapped stuff (even if the items aren’t new)

  • Small animals in a zippered wallet

  • Books

  • Stickers & sticker book

  • Crayons and small notepad

  • Fingerpuppets

  • Magnetic Sketch Pad

  • Paint with Water book and qtips.

  • Stacking Cups (this was great for bathtime, beach, or airplane)

  • Small Baby w/ blanket & bottle

  • Lots of snacks in various baggies & containers

  • Play Cell Phone

  • At our destination I also purchased some cheap sand toys which I left there since they take up precious space and are easily replaced.

The trick is to have many things and don't bring them all out at once. Some items were in my carry on and others were in the suitcase to be played with later.

Here's some of our items we took -->

A month before our travels, I put away some of her favourite toys & books so that it would be fun for her to see them again.

I also set aside a number of books and couple toys to play with on the car ride to the airport (we have a five hour drive to get to a major airport) as I didn't want to dig out the plane ride toys and have them lose their appeal.

Since we were travelling with my parents, I also asked them to pack a small item or two in their carryons. This was fun for her to discover what Grandma & Grandpa had in their jacket pocket or purse.

* Be careful with small toys on the plane as they are easily dropped and then rolling down several seats ahead. I didn't let her play with anything that I would be upset at her losing.

On a previous flight with her (at 10m), she was in the dropping-game stage. I tied ribbons on to her toys that we would use on the plane so that I could hold on to them while she played (such as her phone, rattle, etc.)

Other Needed Items:

  • Soother (brought a spare as well) with soother clip to keep from dropping on icky floor

  • Small blanket for naps

  • Sippy Cup with water

  • Spare outfit for her

  • A ziploc with diapers, cream, change mat, hand sanitizer and extra baggies (you don't want to bring the whole diaper bag to that cramped washroom)

  • Wetwipes

  • Anything you couldn't live without if luggage was lost - for us that was her sheepskin as that is what she sleeps on and is her comfort items.

(funny how my carryon used to be filled with all my stuff but now may have one item of mine)

Items I packed but didn't need (on this particular trip):
Toddler Harness - her legs weren't strong enough to walk for long periods and wasn't yet in the streaking-away stage.

Stroller - we brought an umbrella stroller but didn't need it. We brought a Hiking Backpack for her which got lots of use but wasn't sure if the stroller might be needed sometimes as well. I don't think we used it at all other than in the airport.

and of course packed more clothes than needed as she spent her days in a swim suit or diaper and washed a few items along the way.

It was a great memorable vacation. She had so much fun playing in the sand & water, can't wait for summer to come!

The Loot Bag

Oh the dreaded loot bag. I was very disappointed in the loot bags I gave out at my daughter's last birthday. I had given no pre-thought into what to give so I went with a variety of cheap plastic stuff. I spent a lot and could have given some neat items for the same amount or less. I don't believe that loot bags need to cost more than the present, they are meant as a thank you token in my opinion. So here's some ideas:

Content Ideas:
-Homemade chunky crayons – melt paperless crayons in small muffin tins
-Joke Book
-Cookie decorated with child’s name
-Homemade Playdough or Store Bought
-Activity Booklets & Crayons (purchased or print out pages from internet and staple together)
-"A scoop of Hugs and Kisses for you". Laundry Scoop filled with Hershey kisses wrapped in cellophane & ribbon
-Something made by the Birthday Child as a thank you to her friend
-Bean Bags
-Homemade bookmark
-Notebook & fancy Pen
-Bubbles & Wand
-Hair Accessories
-Candy or Homemade Goodies (ie. rice krispie squares)

Activity from Party that results in a Take Home Item:
-Scavenger Hunt/Treasure Hunt
-Picture Frame
-Superhero Cape & Foam Mask


-Make a candy necklace (licorice string, lifesavers)
-Craft Kit – large Ziploc bag with stickers, construction paper, ribbon, glue stick, printed out colouring pages etc.
-Dry cookie mix with instructions of wet ingredients, cookie cutters, cookie decorations

The Actual Loot Bag:
-Drawstring Bag
-Lunch kit
-Paper Bag decorated
-Canvas Bag
-Clay Pots (decorated by child) w/ baggie of dirt & seed packet
-Sand Pails w/ sidewalk chalk, shovel, etc.
-Small cellophane bag tied to a helium balloon
-Small Jar decorated (with decoupaged pictures on inside of jar)

-Party Popper (like Christmas Crackers)
-Tea Cup filled with cookies, wrapped in cellophane
-Small Box (decorated by child) filled with gold chocolate coins and a flashlight (this would be cool for a Pirate or Rainbow Party)
-Helium Balloon with a baggie of candy tied to it.
-Dress Up bag – purse with scarf, necklace, hat

And of course:

Be sure to have a couple extra in case a sibling or extra friend comes over. If there's extra then the birthday child gets one too!

Dollar Stores are wonderful for creating your loot bag but think outside the box. Don't necessarily only check the party section ;-)


Birthday Party Ideas

Location: Your house is great but it can get overwhelming with a few toddlers plus parents in it. In our town, we could rent the library basement, school gym, or church basement. But other locations could be a park or beach.

Invites: Im all for making your own invites and not buying premade (although that is what I did last year) Using Word and some easy clipart you could make some really fancy invitations. Or use it as a craft project a couple weeks before the party and have your child draw multiple pictures. For my daughter who is just a scribbler at this point, I would have her scribble on 8 1/2 x 11 paper and then cut that into four invites.

Then just write the party details over the drawing with a dark marker. There are also websites with free printable invitations, google it!


*Name Tag - have each kid decorate a name tag when they arrive. Or just draw a picture and they get to wear it.
*Dance Party

*Charades, Simon Says
*Hook up Video Camera to TV
and let kids see themselves dance & pose
*Story Telling with a book based on birthday theme
*Treasure Hunt (picture clues)
*Watermelon Seed Spitting
*Bean Bag Toss
*Cupcake Decorating
*Bucket of Dirt
water with plastic frogs, bugs, etc hidden inside. Kids have 1m to grab all they can
*Spin the bottle – for who’s gift gets opened

Party Themes:
*Talent Show
with facepainting, bean bag toss, ring toss etc.
*Arts & Crafts Show – fingerpaints, foot painting, crafts, etc. Clothesline for artwork display
*‘Green’ Birthday –gently used toy/book as gift, recycled invitations, Pot w/seed&soil as lootbag, Gifts wrapped in newspaper or reused bag, regular dishes & fabric napkins.
*Costume Party
*Spa Party
w/ nail painting, face masks, pink grapefruit pop in wine glass
*Pirate Party – treasure hunt, eye patch, bandana
*Cooking Party –Invites on recipe cards, Aprons (to decorate), printed out recipes, everyone make a pizza, Red & White tablecloths, Decorate cupcakes or cookies
*Fear Factor - 'spin the wheel' to decide who eats what - mashed avocado, sardines, pickled eggs, etc.
*Pajama (or sleepover) Party – movies, popcorn, etc.

Crafts (double as Giveaways):
*Picture Frames
*Loot Bags
*Superhero Masks – provide each child with small cape
*Decorate Notebooks
*Paint a clay pot (later add a baggie of soil & seed packet for giveaway)
*Wooden Box to paint or decorate
*Doorknob Hangers to paint or decorate
*Playdough – small dowels as rolling pins, cookie cutters, etc.
*Jewellry – bracelets, necklaces, etc.
*Homemade Soap –hide small token inside
*Candy Necklaces – licorice rope with lifesavers, gummy rings, etc.

*Necklaces (made from salt dough) - make them ahead of time and then the kids can paint them. http://123mytoddlerandme.blogspot.com/2009/08/salt-dough-recipe.html

*Tie-Dye t-shirts or pillowcases

*Mini piƱata made of brown paper bag decorated with tissue garlands.


*Loads of balloons everywhere!

*Happy Birthday Banner - reuse year after year

*Put out a few pictures from previous birthdays. Perhaps using pictures to create a special place mat for the birthday child (put pictures on construction paper and laminate)

*Jello cups with gummy fruit inside
*Edible playdough with decorations such as pretzels, smarties, raisens, *etc.
*Chocolate Pudding with gummy worms
*Finger foods a must :-)

Check out these neat sites:

Recipes for Paint, Playdough, and FUN!

1 T. vinegar
1 T. baking soda
Stir for 1 minute and add:

Food coloring
4T. cornstarch
1T. corn syrup

2 c. white glue

1 1/2 c. water
Stir in separate bowl: 1/3 c. water and 1 T. Borax
Add Borax mixture to glue mixture and mix with hands. It will take a bit. This becomes like Silly Putty and will even take imprints from newsprint!

1 c. peanut butter

1 c. dried milk
1/2 T. honey
Knead together well. Good dough for small children as it's good to eat too! Store airtight.

2T. white glue (glue all type)

food coloring
1T. liquid starch
Pour glue into a small bowl. Mix in food coloring of choice. Cover with liquid starch. . .pulling away the sides of the glue. DO NOT STIR! Let this sit for 5 mins. Squeeze out the starch and knead until the right consistency.

1 package Koolaid (the kind where you add the sugar yourself)
1 cup flour
1/4 cup salt
1 tbsp oil
1/2 tbsp alum/cream of tartar
1/2 cup hot water
Dissolve everything except the flour in the HOT water. It has to be hot to dissolve all that salt. Then add the flour, mix, and knead. Resist the temptation to add a little more flour because it's too sticky just keep kneading.

3c Water 4T Cornstarch

Food Colouring Ziploc Bag

Boil water. In separate bowl, add cold water to cornstarch to make a paste. Slowly add to boiling water. Cook and stir until thick. Add food colouring and allow to cool. Pour into Ziploc bag and seal.
OR: non-cooking alternatives are Ketchup, Mustard, Relish, Hair Gel, Lotion, Shaving Cream etc.

Put into bowl: 1 Box Cornstarch
Add just enough water to be able to stir. Add in food colouring

Face Paint:
1/8 C. Baby Lotion
1/4 Tsp Powdered Tempera paint
1 Squirt liquid Dishwashing Soap
Mix Up. *test small amount to be sure of no reactions* Remove with soap & water

Bubble Mix:
1/2 cup Water
1/2 cup Liquid Detergent
1 Tblsp Cooking Oil

PUFF Paint:
Mix equal parts of FLOUR, SALT, & WATER. Add food colouring or Tempura Paint to colour. Put into a squeeze bottle and paint away. Drawing will puff as it dries.

Rainy Day Activity Box

Last weekend I was needing a unique birthday gift for a little 4yr old that loves crafts. I grew up with a Rainy Day Activity Box that always seemed so special & exciting when I actually got to use it. Ive started one for my daughter but it was fun putting one together for an older child.

My first stop was at the dollar store where I got the box (the big christmas cookie tins are also great and they do double duty for playing with magnets), puzzle, craft items, and some small figurines.

Key is to only bring this out when it's absolutely needed! It'll lose its appeal if it can always be used.

Here are the items I put in it and a few others that I think would be neat to have.

  1. Jigsaw Puzzle

  2. Mini colouring books

  3. Sticker Book

  4. Unique Craft Items & list of ideas for them **since I picked up a package of multi-coloured large popsicle sticks as one of my craft items, I googled project ideas for them. I pasted the pictures on a small page and added it into the box

  5. Items to decorate (ie. wooden box, plaque, claypot, etc.)

  6. Print outs from Internet: Bingo Game, Matching or Memory Game, Mazes **there is such an abundance of free printables on the internet**

  7. Recipes for play activity items like playdough & goop *see separate post for recipes*

  8. Small cars or figurines

  9. List of activity ideas (ie. Finger painting, charades, sink of bubbles, instructions for creating a candy necklace etc.)

  10. Balloons

  11. Magnifying Glass

  12. Pretty much anything that the child enjoys but rarely gets to play with. For my daughter, the added interest is if it doesn't look like it's something she's allowed to play with.

Here's my daughters currently - it'll change & expand as she grows:

The tin was left from christmas cookies, I need to find her some more magnets. Ive got a couple wooden items for her to colour and then give as gifts. There's fingerpuppets, stickers, playdoh, pipecleans, popsicles sticks and ideas of what to use them for. I also have some blank white labels that I figure she could colour and make her own stickers.

Please leave comments with other ideas!

Baby and Toddler Easter Snack & Activity Ideas

My daughter is 21m this Easter and I am so looking forward to it! Ive been researching different activites that she can enjoy this year and years to come. Im hoping to make some traditions that she (and future siblings) will remember fondly.

These are just some ideas, she certainly won't be getting all of it!

- Egg Hunt
with picture clues (or just scattered around living room this year)

- Lunch inside plastic eggs (cubed cheese, ham strips, pickle slices, crackers, etc.)
don’t let them hide these!
- Colouring Pages - many on the internet to print off

- Pre-cut Egg Shapes from paper to decorate or colour

- Colour or Decorate hard-boiled eggs (crayons, markers, stickers, etc.) Egg salad for lunch tomorrow!

- Bunny Story Time – bunny & other Easter themed books

- Duck, Duck, Goose

- Paper Mache (watery glue & newspaper) a Balloon & Paint to create a neat Easter Egg (use pinata style if desired)

(do a few days in advance to allow the glue to dry and hype the kids up for Easter!)

- Printables – Mazes, matching games, etc. **See my sidebar on favourite websites that have printables**

Check out for some great ideas: http://www.dltk-holidays.com/easter/index.html

- String Egg Decoration- Inflate a balloon. Soak long pieces of string or yarn in glue. Wrap sticky string around the balloon. Allow to dry. If using white string, paint it once dry. Pop the balloon & hang up as a decoration.

Options: Sprinkle with glitter! - Do several small balloons, each in a different string colour. Put in a basket once dry and balloon popped.

- Sugar Cookies in Easter Shapes
- Bunny Cracker Snack
- Bunny Cake
- Carrots (of course!)

- Jello Jigglers in Easter Shapes

- Cut sandwiches with cookie cutters into easter shapes

Plastic Egg Fillers:
- Cheerios/Fruit Loops/Lucky Charms etc.
- Stickers
- Hair barrettes
- Animal Crackers
- Goldfish Crackers
- Teddy Grahams
- Fruit Snacks

Basket Fillers:
- Chocolate
- Book i got two cute board books from the dollar store, one on ducks and one on bunnies!
- Candy
- Sunglasses
- Stuffed Toy
- Sidewalk Chalk
- Colouring Book/Pages & Crayons
- Outdoor Toy like skipping rope, football, etc.
- Plastic Eggs with something from above list

Action Songs:
- Sleeping Bunny
- Little Bunny Foo Foo

The Start of my Blog!

Well, Ive always loved making lists and am constantly 'googling' items to compile my lists and thought 'hey! maybe I could join the blogging billions for a place to keep all my lists and allow others the benefits of them!' so here I start...