Posts Tagged ‘children’s activities’

Best Outside Toys for Baby

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Best Outside Toys for BabyWith summer in full swing, it’s time to get outside! My little girl loves to be outside and practically begs to put her shoes on after nap time. Little ones enjoy the fresh air, and it’s a great way to go on new adventures with your baby or toddler. Here are my five favorite outside toys that will excite and engage your little one.

5. Push Toys and Shopping Carts

Any toy that baby can push along the sidewalk or your driveway is a must. My daughter has a Target red shopping cart. We take her Teddy and babies for walks quite frequently. These toys are also great for babies just mastering walking. Have a little one who adores Daddy? Play toys like little lawnmowers and bubble poppers are tons of fun.

4. Balls, Non-Toxic Chalk, and Bubbles

These are the easiest toys. Consider buying some of these cheap amusements and keeping them in a storage container. Then, when you head out to play, just bring the container. Any large ball that baby can throw or roll is easy fun. Bubbles seem to be a hit for all little kids. Purchase individual bubbles or even a bubble machine, if your income allows. Sidewalk chalk is something we have yet to try, but I know lots of little ones who enjoy it. Non-toxic chalk is safe for baby, smells great, and even is edible. (Just in case your little one is teething.)

3. Cozy Coupes

These fun cars are a classic outside toy.  The best thing about them is they are timeless and easy to personalize. I purchased one for my daughter used and not in the best condition. My husband and I have taken on the project of making her a Minnie Mouse cozy coupe.  Her car is now pink and black, complete with polka dots and personalized license plates. These are a fun toy for little ones to play with alone or you can push them along, too.

2. Sand boxes

Many sand boxes come with lids to keep the sand safe from the weather. Consider investing in a bucket and shovel and let your little one explore the sand. They will love the texture and excitement of digging and burying small toys.

1. Water tables

While we don’t have one of these, yet, I know they are a huge hit for many young toddlers and older babies. Water tables provide endless fun with different water activities and are easy for several children to play with at once.

So, mommas, what are your favorite outside toys? It doesn’t matter what you play with, just get outside and enjoy your summer!

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of one and one on the way. She would rather be outside than inside any day!


Messy Outdoor Fun

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

Messy outdoor funWarm weather is here and there is nothing more fun than spending time playing outdoors with your baby. Outdoor activities are a fun excuse to strip your baby down to his diaper, soak up the vitamin D and get messy!

Sensory activities provide extra stimulation for your baby, allowing them to use their senses connecting smell, touch, hearing, sight and so much more while building neurological pathways and having fun. Plus, studies show that baby can build her immune system just by getting a little dirty now and then.

First of all, you don’t need a fancy sand or water table to create a sensory table. All you need are a few shallow, large plastic bins. I like using the ones sold for under-the-bed storage. They’re large enough for more than one child to play and shallow enough for your child to get in there and get messy while playing on the floor.

Here are some of my favorite ideas for hours of outdoor fun using things other than sand and water, which kids also love!

Slimy worms box. All you need is a few boxes of the cheapest pasta you can find, cook it up so it’s not too mushy and dump it into a bin once it’s cooled down. Use lots of different shapes of pasta and mix in some long spaghetti to make it more fun. If baby is still gumming everything you can add some vegetable-based food coloring to it to make it more fun. If they’re past that stage and you’re OK with a little bit of a mess, you can add some non-toxic finger paint to it, or let your child do it.

Dumping and Pouring. You can use a variety of things for this one: beans, raw pasta, rice, corn, oats–whatever you can find. Get together a variety of different-sized containers and let them explore pouring and dumping and learning about volume.

Ice castles. With a few disposable tin foil baking molds (think loaf pans, cake pans, casseroles) you can make great blocks for building castles. Pour some water mixed with food coloring into the molds, freeze overnight and you’ve got yourself some great melting blocks to build an ice castle.

Body Painting. Tape a large piece of paper to the floor and get out the finger paints. Look around for some different things you can use for painting (leaves, grass, rocks, marbles, anything really), pour some paint onto a tray and encourage your baby to use all the different supplies as well as their hands, feet or elbows.

Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor focused on nutrition and green living strategies. She works with women in all stages of motherhood, from mothers struggling with conception, through pregnancy, lactation and beyond to ensure the best health and nutrition for both mother and baby.





Homemade Playdough Recipe

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011


Fun with Playdough!

I don’t know about you, but if I give my kids a pile of playdough they will be happy and busy for a LONG time. I find myself suggesting playdough during times they need a calming activity or during times I need to be productive such as preparing dinner. And with colder temperatures on the horizon, having some ideas for indoor activities is helpful.

Making your own playdough is super easy and fun, not to mention a lot cheaper than buying it. My kids enjoy helping me make playdough, especially deciding what color to make it. Here’s a recipe I have been using for a few years now with really good results and takes about 10 minutes to make:

3 cups of flour
1.5 cups of salt
3 cups of water
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon Cream of Tarter
2 packs of Kool-Aid (for color and a fun scent) or several drops of food coloring.

Adding ingredients together


We put all ingredients in a pot off the stove top. Then we transfer the pot to the stove at medium –low heat and stir almost continuously at first. Once it has formed a ‘paste’, I stir it less frequently. I know the first few times I made playdough at about this point I thought ‘gee, I must have done something wrong…this is way too goopy’. However after about 5 minutes of cooking it will look like traditional playdough. When you remove it from the pot it will be pretty hot initially so allow it to cool for a while before children handle it. Playdough stores well in a plastic ziplock bag.

Mixing on the stove top


A few additional tips:
• At first I was using expensive organic oils and organic whole wheat pastry flour when making playdough because that’s what we had in the house. Now I buy cheaper playdough making ingredients in bulk at Costco. Cream of Tartar can be expensive but if you find a place that sells bulk spices it is likely to be cheaper than purchasing a jar of it from the spice aisle at the grocery store.

• I have an old pot and wooden spatula designated just for playdough making. You could purchase these inexpensively from a thrift store. Of course it’s fine to use your everyday pot since all the ingredients are edible. I store all our playdough making supplies together in the pantry for quick access.

• Anything can be a playdough toy. Thrift stores are a good place to pick up random kitchen utensils to use with playdough. Cookie cutters and rubber stamps work well with playdough too.

• Art materials such as glitter, sequins, pipe cleaners, etc. are fun to mix with playdough. Giving kids birthday candles to use with playdough is a nice prop for pretend birthday-caking making.

• Cutting playdough is a fun, easy, and safe way to introduce kids to using scissors.

• You can encourage older kids to make their name out of playdough

• Homemade playdough paired with some fun accessories makes a nice and inexpensive birthday gift. I usually include an index card of the recipe as well.

Learning through play is a kid's favorite way!

I think I love playdough so much because it is a sensory-based activity that naturally incorporates mathematical concepts for children to explore. I would love to hear about your adventures with playdough! What fun things do you do with playdough at your house?