Category: Activity

Encourage Your Little Picasso With the First Impressions Complete Art Studio Set for Kids

Posted on Jul 28, 2014 by No Comments

If you have a little artist in the house, the First Impressions Complete Art Studio Set for Kids contains everything he or she will need to turn your refrigerator into a gallery full of masterpieces!

The set, which was a silver winner in the 2014 National Parenting Publications Awards,  includes:

  • 24 watercolors
  • 24 colored pencils
  • 15 oil pastels
  • 10 water based markers
  • 2 plastic trays for color mixing
  • 1 paint brush
  • 1 pencil sharpener
  • 1 eraser

Since this is a toy for children, the supplies are obviously not professional quality. However, I think they are above average for a child’s art set.

I was particularly impressed by the watercolors. There is a wide range of shades for a child to paint with and the paints themselves are richly pigmented. The addition of the oil pastels is also a nice touch, although it would have been nice if the set included a blending tool for working with these.

kids copyThe silver storage case is quite sturdy and attractive. The panels on each side are clear, but your child can decorate the case with paper or stickers if desired.

The plastic trays that hold the art supplies aren’t secured to the case, so you may want to tape or glue them in place before letting your child draw, paint, or color. Before I used double sided tape to keep the trays in place, they fell out every time my son opened the case.

For on-the-go fun, there is room to add about 20 sheets of 8 ½ x 11 paper inside the case and still keep it closed securely. (Once the initial art supplies are all gone, the case itself could be reused as a handy storage container for drawing paper or your child’s finished works of art.)

You can purchase the First Impressions Complete Art Studio Set for Kids on the Jerry’s Ararama website. Jerry’s Artarama is a national retailer of art materials and craft supplies based in Raleigh, N.C., with 15 physical locations throughout the United States and an online store that offers as much as 75 percent off traditional retail on products from the industry’s leading art manufacturers. The site has a wide range of art supplies for children in its Intro to Art section.

Disclaimer: Product samples were provided by the manufacturer for the purpose of preparing this review.

Photo credit: Jerry’s Artarama

Origami Lucky Star Maker Encourages Your Child’s Creativity

Posted on Jul 25, 2014 by No Comments

If you have a crafty child who enjoys origami, the Alex Toys Lucky Star Maker is sure to provide hours of entertainment.

Origami lucky stars are tiny puffy stars that are traditionally used as symbol of good luck in Japanese culture. However, the Lucky Star Maker does not actually make these small stars for your child. It’s a device for shaping the finished star evenly.

Your child needs to fold the strip of paper into a pentagon shape before placing it in the Lucky Star Maker. There are several online video tutorials that explain how to do this or you can view my How to Make Origami Lucky Stars tutorial at About Origami.

Once folded, the paper pentagon shape is placed inside the Lucky Star Maker. Then, when your child pulls down on the star lever, the gadget pushes the sides of the pentagon into the distinctive puffy star shape. (If your child releases the lever quickly, he or she can send the finished star “shooting” across the room!)

downloadSince pushing in the sides of the paper to form an even origami star is the hardest part of the project, the Alex Toys Lucky Star Maker is a must-have for anyone who is planning to make a large quantity of stars.

Origami lucky stars are often used to fill glass jars or other see-through containers as party decorations, but shaping several hundred stars by hand can be a tiresome task for even the most dedicated paper folder.

The Alex Toys Lucky Star Maker comes with 60 strips of paper in an assortment of colors to help your child get started making origami stars. When the paper strips are gone, you can buy additional pre cut strips or use a paper trimmer to make your own refill packs. The strips are 1/2 inch wide and 14 inches long, but they could be cut from 12 inch squares of scrapbook paper if needed.

Photo credit: Amazon

Link Round-up: RVing, Rice Krispies Dinosaur Bones, Snacks, and More

Posted on Jul 24, 2014 by 1 Comment

Today’s link round-up has reasons to go RVing, a Rice Krispies dinosaur bones activity and snack, recipes, and more.

Confessions of an Overworked Mom taught us how to make a decoupaged metal watering can.

Chocolate Covered Katie showed us how to make chocolate peanut butter buckeye brownies.

Crystal & Co. gave us eight reasons to go RVing.

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The Suburban Soapbox showed us how to make blueberry mojito popsicles.

The Partiologist showed us how to make Rice Krispies dinosaur bones.

Domestic Mommyhood taught us how to make funnel cake bites.

The It Mom shared a recipe for watermelon feta pineapple skewers.

Photo credit: Confessions of an Overworked Mom and The Suburban Soapbox

Link Round-up: Campfire Quesadillas, DIY Jewelry, Upcycling, and More

Posted on Jul 22, 2014 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up has campfire quesadillas, a jewelry DIY, an upcycle blue jeans bowl, and more.

The Suburban Soapbox shared a recipe for campfire quesadillas.

The Partiologist shared tips for hosting a 70s theme party.

Domestic Mommyhood showed us how to make an upcycled blue jeans bowl.

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A Beautiful Mess showed us how to make a simple beaded necklace.

Raining Hot Coupons showed us how to make a strawberry cheesecake smoothie.

Create Craft Love shared some inspiration for a homework station.

Meet the Dubiens showed us how to make your own tutus with minimal sewing.

Photo credit: The Suburban Soapbox and A Beautiful Mess

Link Round-up: Seashell Fish Craft, Gift Idea, Summer Hair and Makeup, and More

Posted on Jul 17, 2014 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up has a seashell fish craft, a gift idea, summer hair and makeup tips, and lots of delicious recipes.

Crafts by Amanda showed us how to make tropical fish out of seashells.

The Pin Junkie taught us how to make copycat Outshine strawberry popsicles.

Dieter’s Downfall taught us how to grill apricots to perfection.

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Simply Kelly Designs showed us a creative way to give money with a glass block bank.

Three in Three shared a stuffed ranch burger recipe that looks incredible.

Pint-Sized Baker offered a recipe for mint chocolate ice cream sandwiches.

Hello Little Home shared easy hair and makeup tips for summer.

Photo credit: Crafts by Amanda and Simply Kelly Designs

Teamson Castle Encourages Imaginative Play

Posted on Jul 16, 2014 by No Comments

Who doesn’t love castles? Whether your child is pretending to be a princess waiting for her prince, a king and queen talking to their subjects, or a knight slaying a dragon, this hand carry castle play set from Teamson is sure to be a hit.

The hand painted castle is made from wood to ensure long lasting fun. When closed and locked, the castle can easily be moved from room to room. When open, the castle has three separate rooms for various forms of pretend play.

A collection of wooden figures and accessories is included, complete with a royal family, knights, a dragon, cannon, and a ladder for daring rescues or escapes!

As a plus for Mom and Dad, the castle is designed to be easy to assemble with no tools required. I appreciate that Teamson has figured out that there’s nothing more annoying than having an impatient child waiting to play with a new toy that’s impossible to assemble!

The castle is recommended for children from 36 months to 9 years. I think this would have been something my son would have loved during preschool and kindergarten. By first and second grade, however, he had moved away from the wooden figures to playing with Fisher Price Imaginext play sets.

The Teamson hand carry castle can be purchased on Amazon with free two-day shipping for Prime members. Visit the Teamson website to view more children’s furniture and pretend play toys from the company.

What do you think of Teamson’s hand carry castle? Is this something your child would enjoy playing with?

Photo credit: Amazon

Link Round-up: Sweet Rolls, Tie-Dye, Calm Toddlers, and More

Posted on Jul 15, 2014 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up has cherry limeade sweet rolls, a tie-dye how-to, tips for a calmer toddler, and more.

It Bakes Me Happy shared a recipe for cherry limeade sweet rolls.

Army Wife to Suburban Life showed us how to make a cute princess bird ring (think Snow White!).

Sand in My Toes shared seven tips for a calmer toddler.

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Crafts by Amanda taught us how to make a sunshine ombre shibori tie-dye top.

Delineate Your Dwelling taught us how to make a prisma wall décor knock-off like the ones sold in stores for a lot more money.

Seasoned Homemaker told us how to make homemade bug spray.

Beautify showed us how to make a duct tape beach or pool bag.

Photo credit: It Bakes Me Happy and Crafts by Amanda

Teamson’s Monster Mansion Is the Perfect Home for Monster High Dolls

Posted on Jul 14, 2014 by No Comments

Are you looking for a unique dollhouse for a special little girl? If so, this Monster Mansion from Teamson certainly fits the bill.

The Teamson Monster Mansion has an open faced front to make playtime easy and convenient. There are three stories and four bedrooms, offering plenty of playtime opportunities. A chic pink and black table, chair, bed, and coffin are included with the dollhouse purchase.

The dollhouse is designed to fit Monster High dolls perfectly, even though it’s not a Monster High branded product.

The Monster Mansion is made of wood and designed to be easy to assemble. Purchasers say the dollhouse is very sturdy and attractive looking in a child’s room. It’s recommended for kids ages 36 months to 10 years, so I think it’s something a young girl would get quite a bit of use from before passing it down to a younger sibling.

I didn’t have a dollhouse as a child because I was never really into the look of traditional dolls. If I was a young girl today, however, I’d be thrilled to have a dollhouse like this. Even if your daughter doesn’t own many Monster High dolls, the Teamson Monster Mansion is much more distinctive looking than other dollhouses on the market.

The Teamson Monster Mansion can be purchased on Amazon with free two-day shipping for Prime members. Visit the Teamson website to view more children’s furniture and pretend play toys from the company.

What do you think of Teamson’s Monster Mansion wooden dollhouse?

Photo credit: Amazon

Mooshka Tots Are the Perfect Huggable Friends for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Posted on Jul 14, 2014 by No Comments

If you’re looking for a sweet new dolly for your toddler or preschooler, Mooshka Tots fit the bill. According to the Mooshka story, one day a group of paper friends joined hands. Through the power of friendship, they were magically transformed into sweet, huggable little girls.

Mooshka Tots are soft fabric dolls that are machine washable so your daughter can drag them around all day long without worrying about spills or stains. Each Mooshka Tots doll measures 9 ½ inches tall and has Velcro hands so it can hold hands with other dolls in the collection. There are six Tots dolls in all: Kella, Aneta, Misha, Zana, Karia, and Deava.

The Mooska Toys dolls come with a matching baby finger puppet, a paper doll chain, and a free ebook download available on the iTunes App Store. The dolls are packaged in cute decorated shoe boxes that can be reused to store your daughter’s tiny treasures.

Moosha Tots dolls are recommended for children ages two to five years.

When I was looking for a gift for my niece, these dolls caught my eye because they reminded me of the soft cloth dolls I had as a child. I like that the dolls are designed to look like real girls, although you could argue that they need to do a better job of representing different skin tones within the product line.

The free ebook and the included finger puppet baby are also nice touches, since they encourage little girls to read and use their imaginations while playing.  These additions also make it easier for Mom, Dad, or older siblings to be involved in playtime, too.

What do you think of the Mooshka Tots dolls?

Photo credit: Mooshka