Posted by: ad65shorty | August 18, 2014

Happy National Cupcake Day!

It’s National Cupcake Day!! It’s our last day of summer; I think we’re due for a special treat. A cupcake will be perfect! In honor of the day, I thought I’d share a couple of our favorite cupcakes! (click on the pictures for the recipe)

Rainbow Cupcakes

Cupcake Ice Cream Cones

Heart in a Cupcake

Posted by: ad65shorty | July 28, 2014

Stories for Snuggling: Rosie Sprout’s Time to Shine

We discovered this book earlier this summer when I used it for a summer camp I taught. A great book about staying true to yourself while being kind to others.

Rosie Sprout’s Time to Shine by Allison Wortche


Violet is the best; everyone agrees. Except Rosie. When the class plants pea plants, Violet knows her plant will be the tallest. One day, Rosie notices Violet’s plant has some green peeking out so she covers it with dirt when no one is looking. She soon finds out that Violet has the chicken pox and makes the choice to be a good friend to Violet by taking care of her plant while she’s gone.

This is a great book to help children learn that they’re special how they are and that everyone can make a difference in this world and have their own time to shine.

Enrichment Activity:

We decorated flower pots and planted our own flower seeds (instead of peas).


Posted by: ad65shorty | July 11, 2014

Birthday Ideas: Scientist Party

My daughter is very creative. She is frequently in the kitchen creating masterpieces with art materials or kitchen foods. So when she requested a “scientist party” for her friend birthday party this year, I wasn’t surprised. This party was so much fun to plan and to do!! The party itself was very interactive. The trick is to have a plan and to keep the kids moving from one activity to the next with little downtime. (PS I don’t have a ton of pictures because there wasn’t any time to take any. I didn’t even have time to take any beforehand of the set-up. I’ll try to do the activities with my own kids again this summer and snap pictures then.) And please note, I’m a very simple mom. I don’t decorate. I’m frugal. I make it fun, but don’t go overboard!

Beforehand: To plan, I pretty much went through my teaching files and scoured the internet and looked up science experiments for kids. We then made a long list of experiments my daughter might want to do. When we got down to finalizing the party, I had her choose the experiments she wanted to do the most and we did most of those. We also selected some we could let the kids take-home.

Invitations: I found some cute science clipart online (see below), uploaded it into Word, added words, and printed it off on cardstock. I don’t have a picture of it, but here are the pictures of the clipart my daughter and I chose. I also mentioned in the invite to wear clothes that could get dirty.

Set-up: As mentioned previously, planning is crucial for this type of party. I went through every experiment thoroughly the night before, and laid everything for each experiment in groups on my table. I’m a little OCD so I actually laid them all out in the order we would be doing them. I also had my whole outline with experiment procedures/recipes nearby that I referred to often during the party. We did this party outside. I covered the tables with a cheap plastic tablecloth and put down a ground cover. We set up “stations” for each kid (we made a spot for each child coming). I didn’t assign their spots; we let them choose when they arrived. But we put out as many materials as we could at each spot. I also had little take-home trays prepared labeled with their names that they could put their things in as we finished them to take home (more on that later). Be sure to have lots of paper towels on hand and a large garbage can nearby.

Party: For this part, I’m just going to list the time-frame, use lots of links/recipes and possibly throw in a couple of pictures, and share any hints. This party should have lasted at least 2 hours. We were fighting for time so we limited it to an hour and 1/2, which means I had to cut some activities. And I have fast transitions… I would highly recommend a second set of hands. It would have been nice to have had a third adult helping, as well.

10:00-10:10 Opening (I always have an opening activity to keep the kids entertained while we wait for the others to arrive)

The mad scientists!

The mad scientists!

Get dressed in science gear (lab coats, glasses, and notebooks): We decided to have the kids dress as scientists to add to the ambiance (it also protected their normal clothes a bit). The first thing they did when they arrived was put on their scientist clothes. Because these were 6- and 7-year-olds for the most part, I bought cheap large and extra-large boy’s crew neck t-shirts to use as their lab coats. I cut them straight up the middle. I found some Harry Potter type glasses at my party store to use as their nerdy science glasses. And I made a label for each kid: “Dr. (name).” I also provided a cheap notebook and pen for writing down their observations. They thought it was the greatest! So simple. So cheap.


The only picture I got! Playing with polka-dot slime.

Play with polka dot slime: Slime with pom-poms mixed in.

M&M Experiment: Fill a small cup with water. Put a couple of M&Ms in face-up. Let sit for awhile. Eventually the M on each piece of candy will rise to the top.

Jelly Beads: These are like small plastic beads. You put some in a cup of water, and let them sit for hours. As they soak up the water, they grow. They’ll be marble size when complete but still jiggly, not hard. We left ours at our spots and watched them grow throughout the party. So exciting!! The kids got to take these home in their cups with lids. The fun thing about these is that when you’re done, you can let the beads dry, and then do it again. The link above will take you to Amazon, where you can order some. If you’re local, we don’t mind sharing some we already have (we ordered a pack of like 4000). Let me know!


10:10-10:20 Presents (I always do presents at the end, but we did them right off this year because we had some friends who had to leave early. I took pictures of my daughter with each friend with the gift to use for thank-you cards. Yes, I make my children write thank-you’s. My picture quality is terrible.)

10:20-11:10 Science projects (Please note: We did not get to every activity, and some of the activities were really rushed. I would plan at least an extra 1/2 hour, if not more.)


Borax crystals

1. Borax crystals: An activity they prepped and then got to take home to see the full effect.

2. Magic Milk: Pour a small amount of whole milk into a shallow dish. Put drops of food coloring all around the milk. Do not mix or blend. Dip the end of a toothpick in dish soap and gently touch the tip into the food coloring. It naturally swirls! Do it again and again until it starts to turn brown.


Rainbow in a jar. My top layer is falling… Ahhh…

3. Rainbow in a jar: Earlier this year, I did this experiment with my son’s 3rd Grade class for St. Patrick’s Day and taught a little lesson on density. My daughter thought it was so cool, she wanted her friends to see. This one I did myself and had the kids help pour the items in.

4. Homemade bouncy balls: This was one okay. Lots of fun and kind of messy. But it turned out to be more like silly putty than bouncy balls. The balls do bounce though, and the kids thought they were cool.

5. Tornado in a jar: Another one the kids watched. This one would be cool for them each to do.

6. Erupting sidewalk paint: So much fun! My kids love sidewalk paint. This time, you mix it a tad differently, let the kids decorate your driveway, then give them squirt bottles with vinegar, and their pictures bubble up. I would recommend mixing the paint with the kids or doing this one near the beginning, otherwise the cornstarch will settle and it won’t work.

7. Lava lamp: We did ours in disposable water bottles. I gave each kid a couple of Alka Seltzer tablets and let them break them in to smaller pieces and experiment. They then got to take these home.


Flubber or Gak. I love the bright red!

8. Flubber or Gak: So fun! This makes a lot so you could cut the recipe down or have the kids share.


Vinegar eruption

9. Vinegar Rainbow eruptions: Probably my favorite experiment! We loved it so much we did it over and over after the party was over! Very messy! We put down paper towels for the party. Lots of paper towels. Afterwards, we did it on my driveway. It did stain the driveway, but it washed off in the rain.

11:10-11:20 Cake: She requested cupcakes. I didn’t do anything fancy, like test tubes or anything because she doesn’t know what those are. Just cupcakes.

Ice cream in a bag. The kids ate theirs from their bags, no bowls needed.

11:20-11:30 Ice cream in a bag

Take Home Favors: The fabulous thing about this party is that you don’t need too much extra. They took home their jelly beads, their flubber/gak, their crystals, their bouncy ball, their lava lamps, their ice cream in a bag, and their science gear. We also provided each child with a small container of Oobleck and a small bag of candy. I bought some cheap trays at the Dollar Store and labeled each with their names that they put their stuff in throughout the party. I bought gift boxes because it was 12 for a dollar, and that’s all I needed. They were floppy, but good enough for the car ride home. You could buy those disposable tin dinner trays, as well, which would be more sturdy. When parents came, they just had to pick up their tray with everything on it and go.

Honestly, this party was busy, high energy, and very interactive, but it was so much fun! I would do it again in a heartbeat.

For more birthday ideas, go here. I’m hoping to get some others we’ve done up soon!

Posted by: ad65shorty | July 7, 2014

Local Fun: Beach in Herriman

Did you know there are beaches in landlocked Utah?! There are a couple I’ve learned about through the years. We’ve been to a couple and have some on our list to try.

Last week, my neighbor told me about a beach in Herriman that I wasn’t aware of. Well, of course, we had to check it out! It’s called the Blackridge Reservoir and is open to the community (it’s FREE!).

It only took us about 15 minutes to get there. Score! I was surprised that yes, it’s a real beach (I don’t know what I was expecting). It’s a man-made reservoir with sand on one side and rocks on the other. It’s a decent size and so pretty with the mountains in the background. You won’t find fine sand or sea shells like you find in California or Florida, but it’s still a sandy beach for the kids to play on! They thought it was the greatest!


We unloaded everything by the curb, then I went to park while they took everything down near the water, which was a short walk. There was plenty of room to spread our stuff out, and the kids immediately got in the water and started building sand castles shortly after. The water was shallow near the sand (great for toddlers or those who can’t swim). There was a nice playground (no picture–sorry), although the slides were pretty hot for my little one. It was nice for the kids to be able to run back and forth while staying in my view. They have clean bathrooms with running water and they are close. There are no lifeguards on duty (not that I expected there to be) so you’ll need to keep an eye on your kids.


Some hints:

Get there early (I think it opens at 7:30). We got there mid-morning; it was busy but not crazy. After lunch it was really busy; kids all over; and it would have been hard to find parking.

Bring beach toys: water and sand. Be sure to label everything with your name because everyone has the same things! People had rafts for floating on the lake and kayaks.

Bring an umbrella or something for shade. There are a couple of pavilions, but it’s more fun to be on the beach than sitting on a bench.

Of course, bring lots of water and snacks, and expect to stay all afternoon!

I would also recommend bringing a second adult, if possible. We went with friends. It was nice to be able to take a bathroom break with one child and not have to worry about the others drowning while I was gone, or having to drag all the kids to the bathroom. It was also nice because I was able to drop them all off at the beach and go find parking (no dragging kids and gear through the parking lot!).

We spent a couple of hours there, just enjoying being “at the beach.” My kids loved telling everyone they met that day that they had gone to the beach! We will definitely be going back!

Address: 15000 S. Ashland Ridge Dr. Herriman

Other beaches:

There’s one in Spanish Fork that’s been on my list to try out for a couple of years.

There’s one in Pleasant Grove that my friends gave a great review on. We’ve been here. Fun!

And my mom just told me they are building one in Springville near Hobble Creek Canyon.

Yay for beaches in Utah!

Posted by: ad65shorty | July 1, 2014

Patriotic Breakfast Idea


Isn’t this so fun?! Every year, my sister-in-law invites us over for a 4th of July breakfast. Last year, she had all the fixings to make these cute flag french toasts. Of course, you could just pile everything on top and it would still be pretty, but I loved the flag idea. So simple. So fun! And so yummy!

Posted by: ad65shorty | May 28, 2014

Summer Bucket List

Just wanted you to know my Summer Bucket List is up again! Need an idea for something fun to do with your kids this summer? There are ideas for crafts, treats, field trips, and links to other great sites. Be sure to check it out!! I’ll be updating it through the next couple of weeks, so be sure to check back!

What are you doing fun this summer?!

Posted by: ad65shorty | May 8, 2014

Mother’s Day Ideas

We are participating in the National Screen-Free Week (which has been amazing, by the way) so I’ll just share some favorite Mother’s Day ideas from the past.

Decorated Hot Pads


Photo cube

Recipe holder

Canvas painting (This is our plan this year. I haven’t decided if we’re going to do handprint hearts or footprint butterflies. I’ll post a picture when it’s complete!)


Posted by: ad65shorty | May 2, 2014

Toddler Craft: Tissue Paper Bird


This cute little bird was so fun for spring! My toddler loved the project, and the mess was minimal! He showed everyone who came to our house and carried the bird around everywhere with him until I hung it up to display (at which point, he was very upset with me).


paper plate (I chose a small one)

paint (optional)

tissue or crepe paper

glue (I liked Elmer’s for this project)

other craft supplies, like googly eyes, construction paper, feathers, and pipe cleaners


1. Paint the paper plate with a thin layer of paint that matches your tissue paper. This is optional, but helps fill in the gaps your toddler misses. I painted mine light blue with the intent of using light blue tissue paper, but he really wanted to use the dark blue tissue paper instead. Ah, well! It’s still cute!

2. Cut the tissue or crepe paper into small squares. Help your toddler crumple the pieces into balls. They love this!

3. Put some glue on the paper plate. Push the tissue paper balls onto the plate.


I let my toddler do the glue. He did a great job; only missed the plate once. And he thought it was the coolest thing!

4. Decorate. Here’s what we used:

Googly eyes (My toddler said, after putting the eyes on, “Aww… So cute!”) Can you tell they’re different sizes, too?! I love it!

Orange paper cut into a triangle for a beak.

Orange pipe cleaners, shaped to look like bird feet. My son helped me attach these on the back with tape.

Blue feathers. Once again, taped on the back.

Obviously, you can use any color: a yellow chick or red cardinal or black bird or a colorful parrot. We chose to make ours a blue bird. Ack! So cute!!


Posted by: ad65shorty | April 30, 2014

Service Idea for May Day for Kids

Tomorrow is May Day! Here is a tradition we love:

The history of May Day began many years ago. I won’t go into all of that, but if you’re interested, you can find it online. Here’s a great link:  For the sake of today, May Day is simply a way to celebrate summer, friendship, and new beginnings.

May Day is always celebrated with lots of flowers–the May Pole, May Day baskets, garlands, wreaths, etc. One May Day tradition is making a May Day basket to let your friends know you’re thinking of them. We don’t do a full basket, but a couple of flowers tied with a ribbon (carnations are cheap). I also like to leave a little note that says something like, “Thinking of you. Happy May Day!” Leave your flowers on your friend’s doorstep, ring the bell, run, and hide! What a great way to brighten someone’s day!!

I got into this simple tradition from a dear teacher friend years ago. She would send home one flower with each student. Their homework that night was to find someone who needed some brightening, and to leave the flower anonymously on their doorstep. The next day they would report what they did. I loved it and incorporated the idea into my own classroom each year.

My own kids really enjoy this simple activity! And what a great way to teach your children about service!

My son delivering a flower on May Day in the past!

Posted by: ad65shorty | April 28, 2014

100 Activities to do with Children at Home


This past weekend, I was asked to help at a church function and do a booth on activities to do with children at home (no field trip ideas). I enlisted the help of some friends, and together, we came up with 100 ideas! These are simple, low-budget, not Pinterest-worthy ideas; stuff that any mom can do with things she has at home and with little planning. I thought I’d share the list here. Maybe you can find some great ideas! Thanx again, Natalie and Lauren!

Note: If you’d like the hard copy with cute font and clipart, please contact me.

Arts & Crafts:

* Playdough (our favorite recipe below)

* Painting: Use materials around the house for something different, ie cars, forks, fingers, sponges, even bubble wrap!

* Make collages: Cut pictures out of magazines, crumple tissue paper into balls and glue on paper.

* Make a sand, rice, or bean “table” (you can put it in a Tupperware).  For less mess, use in the kitchen and put a cookie sheet below it.  Put small toys in it for your child to find/play with, as well as ladles and cups. Add fun holiday items, too! (To color noodles or rice, put in a large Ziplock. Add a small amount of rubbing alcohol and food coloring. Shake and spread around. Dump out, and lay on paper towels placed on cookie sheets to dry overnight.)

* Paint with other materials besides paint: shaving cream, pudding, Karo syrup dyed with food coloring.

* Get out the stickers! This is a great toddler activity.

* Trace cookie cutters onto paper. Let your child create a picture with it by coloring in the shapes and adding features and landscapes.

* Sponge paint. This makes great wrapping paper for friends or grandparents!

* Make cards—just because! Deliver them to preschool friends or widows, or mail to long-distant family members.

* Bend a TP roll into various shapes (hearts, circles for snowmen or flowers), dip the end in paint, and “stamp” on paper.

* Tear art: Rip up pieces of colored paper and glue on paper. Toddlers love this!

* Rock art: Paint some rocks, then put in your garden for decoration. Rocks painted as bugs look really cute!

* Open-ended art projects. I love to get out a bunch of art materials, tell them to make something, (ie a penguin), and let them create!

* Collect recyclables for a couple of days.  Put them all out and create something with them.

* Use stamps.

* You can buy small wooden figures at Walmart or Hobby Lobby for cheap. Let your kids paint them.

* Simple crafts related to holidays, such as snowmen made out of cotton balls and buttons.

* Letter animals to teach young kids the alphabet.

* We love printable coloring pages and worksheets, etc.

* Watercolor. Put the paper on cookie sheets to contain any mess. Sometimes I use a white crayon to write hidden messages on the paper… they love that. Another fun watercolor activity is crayon resist, where they draw a picture with crayons and then watercolor over it. When it dries, the crayon will show.

* Draw with white crayons on black paper. I know that sounds silly, but it is like a special thing we do. How often do you think to bring out some black paper? You can also use dark blue paper, and other crayons that are lighter colors. Great for snow pictures.

* Cardboard boxes, of any size. Need I say more?!

* Coffee Filters. They are great for snowflakes, butterflies, or just to color on. A fun activity is to color them with markers in various colors, then spray with water. The colors will bleed together. Then you can turn them into butterflies or colorful snowflakes or flowers.

* “Color Wonder” books and markers are great for toddlers.

* Make “oobleck.” Mix equal parts of cornstarch and water (ie 1 cup cornstarch, 1 cup water). Messy! So this is a good one to do outside.

* Make necklaces out of beads, Fruit Loops, or Cheerios.

* Make masks or headbands. Paper plates are good for this!

* We love to walk around Hobby Lobby, choose a craft for the day, and bring it home to work on together.

* Sometimes I surprise my kids with new markers or colored pencils. Window markers are also fun!

Fun in the Kitchen:

* Make kitchen time fun. My 2 year old loves utensils so I let him unload the silverware. Give kids measuring cups and turn on the water really low and let them fill and dump. Let them stack spice containers.

* Bake a special treat together.

* Have a tea-party with finger foods and lemonade. Dress up fancy for more fun! Even boys enjoy this!

* Make indoor s’mores over the stove.

* Have a surprise lunch; something different than the norm. Serve it in a muffin tin, cut your sandwiches into shapes using cookie cutters, or have an indoor picnic and invite your stuffed animals.

* Dump some flour on a cookie sheet and drive cars through it.

* In the winter, I’ll bring our sandbox inside by putting some sand and simple sand toys in a bin on the kitchen floor. For less mess, put a sheet down.

* Bring snow inside! Sometimes it’s just too cold for the little ones to go outside. Bring a bowl of snow inside and let them play on a cookie sheet until it melts. You can even freeze a snowman in the freezer to enjoy later.

* Make shaped pancakes for breakfast. My dad made us letter pancakes every Saturday growing up! (the first letter of our first names.) Such a fun memory!

Physical Activities:

* Have a dance party in your living room. Make musical instruments, like shakers or drums. Attach ribbons to a shower ring and let your child swing them around as they dance. Introduce your children to all genres of music, not just children’s music. Play Freeze Dance: Dance while the music is playing. Stop it. Freeze until the music starts again.

* Build a fort.

* Do yoga together.

* Play hide-and-seek.

* Have a pillow fight or indoor “snowball” fight (use rolled up socks).

* Build an obstacle course with pillows, couch cushions, and blankets and crawl around it.

* Shoot/throw balls into a laundry basket.

* Play charades.

* Build a train with chairs. Invite stuffed animals to go on an adventure!

* Give your child a “boat” ride in a laundry basket. Laundry baskets also make great “race cars.”

* Act out the scripture stories. Use props and simple costumes!

* Musical chairs. We put our mini arm chairs back to back and put on fun music.

* Jumping on the beds. I know it’s unconventional but we love it! It gets wiggles out, and does no harm. Sometimes we make a slide with a mattress, leaving one end up on the frame and the other on the floor.

* When daddy is home, they play “Pillow Bam:” Basically he throws pillows and they dodge.

* Jump from the mark. Make a line with masking tape and get out a tape measure to see who can jump the farthest.

* Pillow pile: Throw all the cushions of the couch, cover with a few blankets, and let the kids jump on the pile for a while. We do this almost daily at our house right now.

* Use blocks to build a fort (we use Megablocks because we have a million). Then fill the fort with army men (You can buy some at the dollar store). Then use a bouncy ball or small soft ball/toy to try and knock the army men down. Hours of fun!

* Make stilts out of tin cans: Poke holes near the top, string some sturdy string through, and let your kids walk on them.

Outside Activities:

* Go on a nature hunt. Bring a bucket to collect items in. Look for signs of fall or spring.

* Go to the park and play with your child. Swing on the swings, chase them around the park, hop over the “hot lava,” go down the slides in trains or bring some cars and send them down.

* Draw with sidewalk chalk.  Trace bodies, play hopscotch, draw a garden, or a city for toys cars.  Use for practicing ABCs or spelling words.

* Go on a picnic together, even if it’s in your own yard.

* Watch clouds and point out pictures in them.

* Hunt for 4-leaf clovers.

* Make sidewalk paint (recipe below). Toddlers like to paint the sidewalk, rocks, trees, etc with just water.

* Bubbles. For something different, add food coloring to the bubble solution and blow on paper.

* Gardening! My kids get out their little shovels and help me pull weeds. They like to harvest things themselves, and are very useful for things like beans, tomatoes, and peas.

* Play Freeze Dance in the sprinkler (dance in the sprinkler, turn the hose off and FREEZE).

* Fill a water bottle with colored water and spray the snow.

* Go puddle jumping after a rain storm. Get wet with your kids.

* Fly a kite.

* Collect wildflowers. Make a bouquet and deliver to someone who needs a smile.

 Educational Ideas:

* For school age children, hang sight words on the wall.  Call one out, and they slap it with a fly swatter. Great for learning letters, too.

* Do a science experiment together.  I love this website (Steve Spangler Science) for amazing ideas mostly done with kitchen materials:

* Make “mini” books: Staple small blank pages together to make a book. Let your child write/draw their own story. They love when you use shapes (like bunnies for Easter, pumpkins for Halloween, etc.) for the book.

* Do puzzles together. Puzzles with knobs are good for toddlers. Preschoolers can start to learn floor/jigsaw puzzles. School-age children like puzzles with more pieces.

* Most important: read with every child you have EVERY single day. Even babies like to sit in your lap and flip the pages or look at the pictures. Don’t read every word when they’re little, just talk about what you see. Huge for language/reading skills. Don’t worry if you’re re-reading the same book every day; it’s just important that they’re being exposed to literature. And re-reading helps with early literacy skills. Sometimes I assign the older kids to read to the younger when I need help. Read fiction and non-fiction books.

 Pretend Play:

* Pretend to be an animal and move like it does: Snake, penguin, bunny, even worms!

* My kids love to play “Noah’s Ark:” We gather our stuffed animals into sets of two, and put them in our ark (laundry basket). They then climb in, and I push them around the room like they’re on the water.

* Make a petting zoo with stuffed animals.

* Make believe with your child. Put on dress-ups, climb in the “boat,” hunt for treasure, let your child do your hair.

* Have a dress-up play date: Invite a friend(s) over in their dress-up clothes: Super hero, princess, favorite costume, pirate. Do this at another time besides Halloween.

* Puppets: Make your own or buy/borrow some. Simple puppets can be made with paper and a popsicle stick. Make your own scenery by using a large tri-fold board, cut out a rectangle, and decorate. You can even add curtains! Videotape your child’s puppet show, then watch it on TV together.

* My kids love to play “library.”

* Make a pretend grocery store. Provide a basket, play money, and cash register, if you have one.

* Play leap frog. Or pretend to be frogs. Tape green circles made from construction paper on the floor and have your child hop from lily pad to lily pad like a frog.  (To make it educational, put a number on each pad and have them jump in order.)

* Pretend to be a penguin. Waddle, slide on your tummy, and put a ball between to your feet like an egg.

* Use the holidays for inspiration. Pretend to be the Easter Bunny or Santa’s elves, or set up a pretend pumpkin patch.


* Play I spy. Use funny glasses or a telescope made from a TP roll (attach colored cellophane on the end for more fun).

* My kids love to take a bubble bath in the middle of the day!

* Watch a movie together. Put away the phone and iPad and snuggle together with pillows and blankets. Make a fun snack to enjoy.

* Build with blocks. Add cars, army men, or small toy animals or dolls.

* Cut some PVC pipe, prop it up, and roll marbles down it.

* Paint nails together.

* Send your children on a treasure hunt with clues.

* Board and card games, like Monopoly, Guess Who, Nertz, Uno. They love learning a new game and catch on quick!

* Use an old shelf or board as a car ramp. We have an old shelf from a broken bookshelf that we lean against the couch and then we have races down the ramp. It’s just something different than the toy ramps.

* Play “Find the ____” We have a few snakes that we use to hide. One person hides and the others try to find them. Even little ones can do this. Easter Eggs are great for this too!

* Are you passionate about something? Share it with your children! If you like photography, help them see the beauty you see and let them hold your camera and take pictures.  Do you like to exercise?  Go on hikes together or do Zumba together.  Do you like to paint or cook?  Teach them your secrets.  If you love yard work, let them tag along and dig in the garden and plant with you.  You may have to scale it down a bit, but when you’re passionate, they’ll be excited, too!


Playdough (soft and keeps for a long time, needs no refrigeration)

1 cup flour

¼ cup salt

2 tsp cream of tartar

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 cup water

Food coloring

Put all ingredients in a pan on the stove (for more vibrant color, wait on the food coloring). Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent sticking or burning. When it forms a big lump in the middle of the pan, remove from heat. Knead for one minute. (Add the food coloring now, if you waited, and knead it in. The color might get on your hands so wear gloves.) Let cool. Store in an airtight container (I like Ziplock bags). No need to refrigerate.


Sidewalk Paint


Food coloring


Muffin tin (I like mini tins)

Paintbrushes (We use one per color)

You need equal parts of cornstarch and water. I do 2 teaspoons per cup holder in my mini tin and add just a couple more drops of water. Add food coloring. I do about 4 drops for each one. For white, don’t add food coloring. Take outside and decorate! You may need to rinse the brushes off with water occasionally, as the cornstarch seems to accumulate on the brush. Rinse off with your hose, sprinklers, or let the rain do it!

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