themed thursday: road trip activities & games! (part 3)

keeping kids content, quite and busy is an important part of the SANITY piece for parents road tripping with kids. it is super important to plan ahead a bit and to know what kinds of activities will keep your kids happy, especially for those long hauls!

we don’t have DVD players in our car (by choice) and don’t have tablets, so we rely on the kids to entertain themselves and each other.


FELT GAMES: 

  • felt boards are super fun and a wonderful way to get the kids’ imaginations going. they are basically story boards for kids to create worlds with, where all sorts of adventures can take place.


MAGNET BOARDS:

  • last year i used cookie sheets as the board, this year i stumbled upon these adorable magnet boards at chapters. they come with magnets, but we will bring along our super, awesome 3D dinosaur magnets, which you can learn how to make HERE.
  • i also found a bag of magnet letters at value village for 99 cents.

these are the magnets i made last year for a road trip. kids LOVED them and they are still in circulation!
we made other magnets as well, which are still in use on our fridge! CLICK HERE and it will take you to how to make these awesome toys!


SCAVENGER HUNT:

  • i love the idea of pictorial scavenger hunts. since my kids will be 3 and 5 years old, they won’t be able to read a long list of words. but, one with pictures is right up their alley! here’s one by the bird feed NYC, which is great, so i will use their concept, but will gear the lists towards our trip more, using specific road signs i know we will see, wildlife, sites and things. the kids can work together, which i love!
[ source ]


SONGS:

  • what’s a road trip without family sing-a-longs? here’s a few that my boys really love, “old mcdonald had a farm“, “ABC“, “the wheels on the bus“, “the ants go marching“, “
  • we do also have a stack of CD’s, MP3’s and sirius radio to choose from for when we need to give our vocal chords a rest. i love to mix it up as well, playing classical, bluegrass or top 40, but sometimes it’s also good to just drive in silence.


GAMES:

  • my kids, especially bear, loves to play eye-spy when in the car. we still play the colour instead of the spelling version of the game! counting games are also great! sometimes we just count all the red cars we see, or all the transport trucks and so on.
  • other classic faves are (found HERE at MSN): 20 questions, license plate bingo, word chain and more!
  • older kids may like mad-libs.

TOYS TO PACK:
  • each boy brings his fave stuffed animal.
  • we bring about 10 books and just cycle through them. sometimes along the way i will buy a new book as a souvenir for the kids. 
  • markers, paper, colouring books, activity books and a few stickers.
  • small toys like cars, animals, people so the kids can create little imaginary worlds.
  • buckets n’ shovels.
  • deck of cards, UNO, other small travel sized games.


here’s what our dudes looked like last summer on our trip to the canadian maritimes. each had a plastic basket for toys at arms reach, a bin of books in the middle and it worked great. 

OTHER TIPS:

  • and parents, don’t forget to pack some extra creativity, flexibility and patience. keeping kids peaceful in the back can be tricky at times, and sometimes when the volume of the screaming increases, it’s worth it to stop and get out for a bit. i realize this makes the trip longer, but that’s where being flexible comes into play.
  • on our longer stretches of driving, we actually would start after dinner. kids would play, have stories and would eventually fall asleep and we would drive until midnight or so. until we found a motel. it was a great way to make good time!
  • before getting in the car to drive we made sure the kids had a chance to run some beans out. whether at a motel or camp site. and we made sure the first leg of driving was short, as it’s not a very fun way to start the day. but, truth be told, maintaining any real schedule was impossible. all bedtimes and nap times flew out the window and we just had to let the kids sleep when they were tired!

SAFE DRIVING! SAFE TRAVELLING! HAVE FUN!
what are some of your family’s favourite songs and games to play?


xo, mama lola

how to build fairy houses!

fairies are wonderful, magical creatures that live in the corners of gardens, under the roots of trees and through-out the woods. they rarely come out when us humans are around, but many children have shared stories of sightings.

there is no right way to build a fairy house.it’s all about exploring the land and environment surrounding you, using interesting pieces of nature to build the fairies safe, cozy places to rest. it is vital to remember not to kill anything living when making a fairy house; so do not break branches off of living trees or tear living moss from a rock. use items that are already dead.

fairy house from make happy
fairy and gnome house by my garden diaries
home for the faeries by juise
fairy house kit from mom fluential
fairy house from make happy
miniature gardening is a real trend from mr. brown thumb 
list of things you need to build a fairy house from list plan it

which one is your favourite?
enjoy your fairy house building projects! they are a great way to connect with the natural world and children

xo, mama lola

wind catcher craft!

look at this fantastic wind catcher dear hubby received from lion for his earth day birthday back in april!

wind catcher, nature crafts

here’s how we made it!
i found the idea HERE at inspiration laboratories. first, the kids and i went on a nature hike by the river in search of natural treasure we could use on the catchers. i let lion pick and choose his own items and we gathered lots, because i figured more was funner and it gave us room to make mistakes or get even more creative!

at home we let the treasures dry out a bit before we set to work.

i tied up two sticks in the middle to make the X for hanging the other items from. lion painted his natural objects as carefully as any almost three year old would! even poppy wanted in on the painting action!

wind catcher, nature crafts, painting bark

then i tied up the painted treasures to the  X with string and voila!
dude could not have been prouder and dear hubby was quite impressed with this beautiful gift!

happy crafting and wind catching!

xo, mama lola

salt cookies for all occasions!

a few years ago the kids were hooked on baking and painting salt cookies. after the millionth batch, i kinda went on a salt cookie strike, and we discovered lots of other projects to get excited about. 


the other day i decided to quickly whip up some salt cookies and re-introduce the fun of them to the boys. salt cookies are ridiculously easy to make. (i found a recipe here at fly though our window.)

INGREDIENTS/ INSTRUCTIONS: 
1. preheat you over to 200F.

 
2. mix the ingredients together and roll out onto to a clean surface. make sure you add some flour to prevent the dough from sticking to your surface or rolling pin.
 



3. bake cookies on parchment paper for about an hour to two hours. let them cool thoroughly before painting. also, make sure if you want to be able to hang your salt cookies that you make holes in them BEFORE you bake them. 


this activity kept the kids very focused for a long time. bear was very meticulous with his painting and would paint one side, let it dry and then paint the other side, so as not to smudge any of the paint. it was pretty sweet.

salt cookies are the perfect craft for any occasion, for a gift any person and a wonderful activity for anyone at any age!



xo, mama lola

birthday invitations :: a DIY craft

 

bear is turning the big five-o-roonie in a few weeks!!!
valentine’s day to be exact.


and what almost-five-year-old doesn’t want to have a birthday party with their friends?! of course i went on pinterest looking for birthday invitation ideas, but nothing sprang out at me. so, bear and i designed our own little invitations. so cute, perfect project for him to help with and easy enough for that it didn’t turn into some all consuming time sucker! 


here’s how we made ’em!

MATERIALS:

colourful paper or card stock
scissors
pencil
glue 
markers, sparkle pens, whatever really.

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. choose a picture of the birthday prince or princess. get copies made.
2. decide on the colour, size and shape of party hats. once i made one that was the right size, i traced it and cut out the rest of the party hats from the card stock.
3. decorate party hats. bear did the decorating and he loved it. we kept it simple, but you could add pompoms or glitter or whatever, really!
4. glue the decorated party hats on to the heads. let dry.
5. then i loosely traced the backs of the photo heads, cut the traced heads out of card stock and glued them on to the backs of the photo’s. this way we could write on regular paper, than the slippery photo paper.


have fun making your own invitations!


still can’t believe he’s going to be 5!!!!
what?!
i’ll be writing my sappy post about being this guys mama closer to the big day.




xo, mama lola

silly spoons :: a craft

bear, my older guy, gets a magazine in the mail once a month, CHIRP. it’s totally cute, age appropriate and makes his day when he receives in the mail.

one of the activities in the january edition, is something called, SILLY SPOONS. it’s a super fun and super creative activity, that both the boys enjoyed doing.



the spoon is the base for your character or animal. you can embellish it as much or as little as you like. my kids refused a lot of help, so they’re spoons are simpler than the ones pictured in the magazine. we used all sorts materials for this project like markers, pompoms, duct tape, yarn, decorative flowers, googly eyes, pipe cleaners and lotsa, lotsa glue!

and, voila. silly spoons for silly times.


they are a bit fragile, but the boys were thrilled with how they turned out and really, that’s what matters most! 

add a link if you do this craft!

xo, mama lola

discover the fun of discovery bottles!

my bear got some homework for this past holiday season. he was to make a “discovery bottle” and then was to share his bottle with the class during their “show & share” time. it was an assignment that he completed with the help of dear hubby and lion, too. lion actually made his own little discovery bottle.


for his bottle bear included some balsam and cedar branches, shells and crab legs from the various beaches out east collected during our road trip, acorns and chestnuts from central park collected from our trip to NYC, some beads and lots of glitter for good measure. it’s a super fast and as easy or difficult project as you make it.

the boys collected a bunch of items to put inside the bottle, popped them inside, filled the bottle with water leaving a little space for air, so the bottle can flipped and the items can easily move around. finally, dear hubby hot glued the lid on ensuring no leaks or other messy disasters!


pinterest is full of various ideas for this project. you can use all sorts of ingredients n your bottle. water, beads, sand, toys, yarn, food colouring etc etc. we got the idea of using tree branched from the website “teach preschool”.


have you ever made on of these? what did you put inside?

xo, mama lola

simple and fun road trip activities for kids!

here are some of the funny and crafty activities i made or purchased for the boys for our upcoming road trip out east to the maritimes. the ideas are universal and not at all unique, but as usual i was inspired by pinterest. here’s a pretty extravagant activity board by one mama, which is beautiful, but way too elaborate for me. so i toned things down A LOT and made these two different activity boards.

felt peeps n’ animals on a felt board
i took a piece of cardboard and just started hot glue-gunning the felt on. i cut the green into a hilly landscape and the blues into skies. i tried to be meticulous when gluing so that the kids wouldn’t find a corner or loose felt to start picking at. i found some felt people from a thrift store, so i made them some summer clothes. 


then i headed to micheal’s and found a ready-made felt board for only $4 (regularly $14-$20), so i bought one themed “under the sea”. cute, eh?


magnets & magnet board
i went to the dollar store and bought two small cookie sheets. then i bought a sheet magnet, fancy stickers and then headed home. 


dear hubby and i spent a couple episodes of “mad about you” sticking the stickers onto the magnet sheet and then carefully cutting them out. 


we also glued some wee dino’s onto the magnet sheets to make some 3D magnets as well. i think they turned out really well!!! RRrrroarrRR!


dollar $tore junk
i am not a huge supporter of dollar store junk, but i have to admit for this road trip that place was kind of a toy haven. i don’t want to pack precious sentimental toys, in case they get lost or destroyed on the trip, so i stocked up on funny, cheap crap instead. the kids are going to be so thrilled; anything new is always fun for a bit. i also bought some glow wands, which will be exciting at bedtime when it’s dark.


i did also purchase some more wholesome activity books to round out the junk. i chose two kumon books for bear and some simple colour/ stickering books for lion. they both love their activity books, and bear especially will be kept busy by them for long periods of time.

now, it’s time to go pack some more!

have you made any fun travel activities for your kids?

xo, mama lola

lion’s birthday par-teh!

we had a small and simple birthday party for lion’s second birthday. we invited everyone to join us at a local park, next to the river and a playground. 
it was perfect. 
we found a picnic table next some big ol’ shady trees and set up our party.
there were carrot cake and chocolate lion cupcakes.

rainbow fruit kabobs.


beautiful handmade pinwheels made by dear hubby. inspiration from HERE.

balloons for all the kids to take home!


colourful bunting flags quickly sewn up by your truly. see instructions HERE.


we had flowers from our backyard.


drinks sitting in a bucket of ice.


signing happy birthday and paljon onnea!


we ate all the goodies with goodie friends!


and lion was spoiled with lots of wonderful new toys and gifts!

and, lion was the recipient of lots of special birthday hugs and kisses!


lion’s birthday was a success! it wasn’t nearly as emotional as i had suspected, although i did have a few good sobs in the days leading up his birthday. and, as usual, i got a lump in my throat when singing paljon onnea; i am such a sop sometimes!

xo, mama lola

a how to :: birthday bunting flags.

for my sweet lion’s second birthday party, i decided to whip up some bunting flags last minute. i have some old sheets i have purchasednand collected over the years for just such a quick project. 


i cut the flags with my pinking sheers, not worrying too much about size or symmetry, as the flags will be outdoor decorations. 
then i just pinned the flags to the bias tape, sewed then together with my machine with a zig-zag stich and voila, they were done!



happy, colourful decorations, perfect for a two year olds park birthday! if you used more care and different fabric you could make them for weddings, or any fancy occasion, not just birthday parties. see, like HERE.



don’t they look lovely?
i love that i can reuse them and only spent $1.54 on the biased tape; way cheaper and eco friendlier than streamers!

xo, mama lola
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