Car Bingo

car bingo

We just got back from our family vacation.  We had a six hour car drive each way and I knew the kids would spend most of that time watching dvd’s.  I decided to make car bingo for them to play just in case they got board with the movies.

I was pleasantly surprised that the kids loved playing it.  I played with my seven year old daughter while my 4 year old son helped us look for the items.  It was fun and got them looking out the window at the scenery.  I was so glad they got to see some of our drive instead of staring at the tv screen the whole time.

I laminated the cards and we used dry erase markers to mark the squares as we saw the items.

Here are the cards we used.  There is a pdf version of the cards as well as an excel file in case you want to edit them.

Car Bingo

Play Mats

play mat 2 play mat 1

I found these cute little ocean and space figurines at the craft store Michaels.  They had many different themes such as birds and horses, but I thought my boys would like these the best.  I made the play mat they are on by searching for themed wallpaper on the internet and then printing them off.  I found a scene for each side, put them back to back to make them two sided, and laminated them.  My boys got them for Easter and loved them.  They are nice because they don’t take up a lot of space and you can take them with you when you go out to eat etc.  I’ve seen a lot of cute figurines like packs of plastic bugs and green army guys at the dollar store that would be fun too.  They make fun and inexpensive gifts for children.

Wii Mats

wii mat

My kids got a wii for Christmas.  They love it and it gets them moving.  As they play, they start moving closer and closer to the tv.  I was afraid they were going to put the remote right through the screen.  So, I put down these carpet squares and told them to stay on their mats.  Hopefully it will keep our kids and our tv from getting hurt!

Growth Chart

growth chart 2 growth chart 1

I saw a growth chart recently online that I loved.  I have been meaning to make one for my kids for a few years but never knew how I wanted to do it.  This was the perfect solution.  Amy at www.amyscreativevinyl.com made the vinyl for the growth chart like the one I saw online.  I LOVE IT!!!  I got an 8″x8′ board at Lowes and had them cut it to 7′.  I just found out that Lowes will cut your boards for you!  Then I painted it an off white color, sanded the edges lightly, applied a thin coat of stain, and applied the vinyl.  When I grew up, we marked our heights on the back of a door.  When we moved we had to leave it behind.  Having the growth chart on the board is great because it looks cute enough to leave out as a decoration, or if you want to put it out of sight it will easily fit into a closet, and it can go with you if you move!

Multi-Purpose Toys

multi purpose toys

These are the best children’s toys ever!  I bought them on sale several years ago.  While bathing my daughter one day I became very frustrated with all the bath toys she was playing with.  They all had small holes that trapped water inside and every time she squeezed them, black gunk squirted out!  I got the set of beach toys out and they have remained in our bathtub ever since.  There are buckets, shovels, cars, and boats etc. included in the set.  They love them.  Last winter I had another bright idea.  My kids wanted to play out in the snow but I didn’t want to join them in the cold.  So, I grabbed the beach/bath toys and set them out on the deck in the snow.  They loved scooping up snow and molding it into shapes.  I laid a towel down for them to sit on so they stayed dry.  We have also taken these toys to the beach and they loved them there too.  We’ve had them five years and all three kids play with them daily.  I’ve also put them through the washer and the dishwasher several times to clean them with no problems.  So, the next time you need children’s toys that are inexpensive, hold up great, and are multipurpose- go buy a sturdy set of beach toys.

Racetrack

race track

We have two sons who spend the majority of their days rolling, ramping, and racing their many cars all over the house.  We found the perfect racetrack for them.  It is a piece of vinyl soffit found at any home improvement store in the siding section for about $12.  It has three lanes and bends slightly to give the perfect incline.  It’s 12″ wide and 12′ long and can be placed anywhere.  My boys have had it on our outside front steps, our stairs inside, and leaned up against our couch.  They have had so much fun sending their cars down the track and watching them race down.  The best part is that it is thin so can be stored anywhere, it’s very inexpensive, and it keeps the boys busy for hours!

Kids Lunch Choices

food choices

I thought this would be a good post since school is about to start next week.  Last year my daughter started kindergarten.  I packed her lunch each day but she rarely ever ate it.  I realized that I needed to start giving her choices and let her decide what she would like to pack in her lunch.  I made a key ring full of choices.  Each category is a different color.  Now, she goes through and orders her meal each day.  She knows she has to pick one blue, one green, and one yellow.  Then, the rest are up to her.  This system worked very well for us.

Blue-main dish
Green-vegetable
Red-fruit
Purple-side dish
Brown-dip or sauce
Orange-treat
Yellow-drink

You can download the cards and then print them on paper or cardstock.  I printed them on paper and then laminated them using Jumbo Card Size 2-15/16″x4-1/8″ laminating pouches from www.oregonlam.com.  I punched a hole and put them on a ring.

You can download the cards and the photoshop template here:

Food Choices Template

Food Choices pdf

Muffin Tin Meals

muffin tin meal

I read about “Muffin Tin Mondays” on the blog http://sycamorestirrings.blogspot.com/.  Each Monday this woman (and several moms who have joined the trend) serves her children lunch from a muffin tin.  I tried it and my kids love it!  I use a mini muffin tin that holds a dozen muffins.  In each spot I put a different food.  In the above photo I have food like peanut butter, crackers, ham, green peppers, carrots, spinach leaves, cheese, raisons etc.  I also took a cookie cutter and cut a butterfly out of bread.  My kids got to decorate their butterfly and then eat it.  They loved it so much I bought more cookie cutters.  We now have a circle they can make a face from, a girl, a boy, and a bear (build a bear!).  They love it and I do too because I don’t have to cook anything.  I just toss in different things from the cabinet and fridge.

Puppet Theater

puppet theatre

For Christmas I made my kids a puppet theater.  I saw several very expensive versions in catalogs and decided to make one myself.  I bought inexpensive fabric and sewed it together like a curtain.  You do not have to be good at sewing to make this.  Believe me because I am not a good sewer!  All you need to do is sew a straight line.  Fold the fabric over at the top and sew two straight lines where a curtain rod can fit through.  Fold the bottom up and sew a straight line for the hem.  Use an adjustable spring curtain rod and it will fit in any doorway.

Waitress Kit

waitress kit

For my daughter’s birthday this year I made her a waitress kit.  It was very inexpensive and she loves it!  We already had most of the items for the kit at home.  All I had to do was buy a few items at the dollar store and make her menus which cost less than $5!  I gathered the apron and fake food that we already had.  I made her a menu with words and pictures of the food in the kit.  I put the pictures on so her little brother can play too.  I also put prices for each food item so she can learn about money.  I made a smaller version of the menu that she can use to take our order on.  I laminated them both and gave her a dry erase marker to use on the order card.  I purchased fake money from the dollar store and the tote that the kit is kept in.  The lid of the tote doubles as the serving tray.

Here’s a copy of the menu and order pad.  They are both two sided.

Waitress Kit