Friday, October 29, 2010

Last minute Halloween game ideas...

image via Blissfully Domestic

If you're needing some games for tomorrow (like me), here's some quick and easy ideas to make the day fun for your kids:

Ghost Hunt (idea came from my awesome friend, Eva)
Wrap small suckers in tissue paper and draw a ghost face on the top. Stick the suckers into your grass outside in random places and have your kids race to see who can find the most ghosts!

Mummy Wrap (Kids fun and games)
Pair up and race to see who can wrap their partner in toilet paper the fastest. Once they are wrapped, they have to break out of the toilet paper and wrap the other partner. First pair to be done, wins!

Bobbing for Ghouls (Kids fun and games)
Fill a large tub with water and fill it with marshmallows. Cut a bunch of straws in half and have your toddler suck through the straw to try and pick up the marshmallow.

Of course there's Monster Freeze where you dance to crazy Halloween songs and freeze when the music stops. And Pin the Tail on the Cat or Pin the Face on the Pumpkin which are pretty self-explanatory. And I'm off to bed!

Happy Halloween, once again. Be safe.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Halloween Treats for kids

The best part of Halloween are the treats!
Here's some fun ideas to do with your kids:

This "witchy pudding cup" idea came from my friend, Liz, who is doing a "Halloweek" where she makes a fun Halloween treat for her boys each day. Check out her fun ideas for the week.
Here's how she did it:
She mixed green food coloring into a vanilla pudding cup, placed black licorice and chocolate wafers on top followed by a sugar cone with more black licorice tied around the top. Don't forget to draw the witch's face on the cup!

This next idea is called Banana Ghosts and it's from the Family Fun website. I can't wait to try it! You cut a banana in half and place popsicle sticks in the bottom of both pieces, then freeze them for about 3 hours. Melt 1.5 oz white chocolate in the microwave for about 1 minute and spread onto banana halves. Use mini chocolate chips or currants for eyes and mouth.

These pumpkin pie-sicles make me very hungry! (same site as previous idea)
Cut a butter-nut squash into quarters and cook until tender. Scoop into bowl and add maple syrup, light cream, and pumpkin pie spice. Mash and mix until creamy and pour into popsicle mold.

AND...I recently held a Pampered Chef party where my host, Laura, made these tasty little witches...
The head is a marshmallow, the hair is green-dyed coconut, the bottom of the hat is a chocolate wafer with a Reeses and a Hershey's kiss attached with frosting. And the little eyes and nose are mini chocolate chips. So cute!

I'm a big fan of tomato soup and this simple idea makes it creepy enough to serve on Halloween. You mix 1 Tbsp of milk with 3 Tbsp of sour cream and put it into a condiment bottle. Draw several circles inside of one another and use a toothpick to create a web design.

Happy happy Halloween!

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Halloween Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers: Spider Races

This activity idea came from my mother-in-law, who uses this game every Halloween with the grandkids. Here's how you make the spiders:

black fuzzy balls
black thread
googly eyes
tacky glue

You just use a needle to push the black thread through the fuzzy ball.
My mother-in-law made her own eyes with paper and glued them on.
(these pics are from last year...that's why the kids are dressed up)
Line the kids up on a table or on the floor and give each of them a straw and one spider.
They have to blow their spider along the table or floor and see who can make it to the finish line the fastest!
I thought you could also use the orange fuzzy balls and have a mini-pumpkin race.
Happy Halloween--we're getting so close!

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Good Design, Kids in Mind

Kirsten from 6th Street Design did a series called "Good Design, Kids in Mind" where she interviewed design-minded moms about the challenges of maintaining a nice house while raising little ones. Everyday I identify little things about our lives that have changed since we've had kids and a BIG one is the tidiness of our home. These ideas make it seem a little more possible.

My favorite suggestion was getting your kids into the habit of cleaning up before bedtime so you and your spouse can enjoy a clean space that evening and the next morning before things get crazy again. That and the reminder about the "magic" of magic erasers. Enjoy!

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Halloween Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers: Mr. Pumpkin Head

We decided to have some fun with our pumpkins and dress them up with scary and funny faces. This was a quick and easy activity (my favorite) and my daughter could change the faces all day long if she wanted to.

sticky felt
black foam paper



One of our pumpkins was big enough to have a couple of faces!
With the little one, we decided to make a bat pumpkin. We cut the pieces (above) out of black foam paper and taped them onto toothpicks that we stuck into the pumpkin.
(You could also paint your entire pumpkin black to really pull off the "bat" look.
Make sure you use acrylic paint, not tempera.




Happy Halloween!
(More Halloween games/recipes/activity ideas to come. Stay tuned.)
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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Halloween Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers: Spooky House

We took this project on as a family and it turned out to be less high-maintenance than I thought. An official spooky house! I'm sure you pros are out there...those of you who have done this before, but here's my simple "beginner's" formula for a successful spooky house:

Graham crackers
black & white frosting
candy corns (and pumpkins)
marsh mellow ghosts





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Halloween cards

Maybe you're throwing a caramel apple party and need some invitations?
Just want to wish the grandparents a Happy Halloween?
Or just need to entertain your toddler today with a fun Halloween activity...
These cards are for you. Have fun and be creative!






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Thursday, October 7, 2010

How to Keep your Kids Happy on an Airplane

When I flew to Oregon to visit my Dad, I have to admit I was slightly TERRIFIED to be on an airplane with two crazies under the age of 3. I prepared as well as I could and then held my breath. On the first flight, the stewardess stopped and asked me how on earth I was surviving. In the midst of my spilled water and soggy pretzels, I showed her my secret weapons that made the trip bearable. She said she was getting ready to take a trip with her 1 1/2 year old and needed some ideas. So here they are:

My three year old loved Melissa and Doug's coloring pad so I found this sticker book to keep both girls busy on the plane. They put the stickers on the back of the previous page, so I didn't even need to bring paper. Stickers are a fantastic distraction for both toddlers and preschoolers. Great tool.

Next up is the Leap Frog Tag Reading System. This one is more of an investment (~$35) but even my 1 1/2 year old enjoys it. You have specific books that go with the pen and then the pen reads them to your toddler. There's games on each page and all they have to do is touch the pen to the pictures. The only downside was that the pen was difficult to hear on the plane, but it still helped.

Never underestimate the power of a coloring book. Crayons are safe and do not stain. However, if your 1 1/2 year old has the same addiction as mine does, some will get ingested. So try THIS:

If you haven't already converted, these little packets are wonderful. And those markers can be swiped across your clothes a hundred times and not stain a thing. Love these.

Again, mess free. Need I say more?

Other tips:
Bring suckers (Dum-dums are the smallest). I know they can get messy, but it helps keep your toddler's ears from aching on the flight. For little ones, you can use a pacifier and/or a bottle during take-off and landing.

Only order water. (You know it's going to spill.)

Let others help you and don't feel bad for being the slow one in the security line. I try not to allow myself to feel rushed (like when my youngest rubbed banana all over her cute outfit and my three year old refused to walk b/c she wanted to be in the stroller and they had to totally tear apart my diaper bag in security to make sure I wasn't a crazed pregnant terrorist). Take your sweet time.

Pack the LIGHTEST carry-on bag you can stand. You'll be grateful.

Snacks, snacks, snacks. Pack non-messy ones like pretzels, crackers, apples (not red delicious--those stain), cheese sticks, fruit snacks, etc.

Be patient. So so patient. The flight WILL end. Good luck!
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Monday, October 4, 2010

Teaching your Preschooler about Seasons

To celebrate the change of seasons, we cut out pictures that represented the four seasons and talked about what changes take place and what activities we do in each season. I acted out activities such as swimming, building a snowman, and planting flowers while Hazel held up the correct picture.
We watched Signing Time's "My Favorite Season" and learned the signs for the four seasons as well as "hot," "cold," "warm," and "cool." "Four Seasons" by Judy Caplan Ginsburgh is a great song to help your toddler remember this lesson.

Here's a reminder for how to make a snowflake.





Happy Fall!
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Saturday, October 2, 2010

General Conference

In my church, there's a General Conference that takes place twice a year where our prophet and his apostles speak to the entire church. When you are little, four hours of listening to someone speaking on TV can stretch on for an eternity. So here's what my three year old did to pass the time today (while still staying somewhat focused on the prophet...)

Using these magazines, she cut out pictures and pasted them into her "General Conference" book. It actually kept her busy for two hours. Lovely project. They can do any of Jesus Christ or things that remind them to do good things. It's bound to work for at least part of conference and keep them focused on a positive topic.

(Oh yeah, and she was wearing her bumble bee Halloween costume which just made the day that much more exciting.)

Let me know your conference ideas!
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Counting Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers: Roll the Dice

If you hurry, Target has this giant pair of dice for $2.50 in their bargain bins. It was a perfect tool for practicing our numbers.


I showed my three year old how to roll the dice and count the dots.
Then I showed her how to write that number on our white board.
(p.s. dry erase STAINS clothing. That's why my kids are naked.)
Hurry to Target!
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