15 Ways To Play With Glow Sticks

15 fun and unique ways to play with glow sticks year round!  So many great ideas!

When I think about the things that remind me of summer, I can’t help but have glow sticks come to my mind.  What is it about glow sticks that make them so much fun?  Maybe it’s that they glow in the dark.  Or it could be that just wearing them makes you smile.  Whatever the case, I really don’t think you are ever too old to enjoy them with your family and friends, so today I’m sharing a round up of my favorite glow stick activities!

This post contains affiliate links which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.  Thank you for your support!

As you scroll through, you’ll find that many of these activities can be done both indoors and outdoors which makes it easy to enjoy glow in the dark glow stick fun year round!  A word of caution: If you have little ones who like to put things in their mouth, please be careful.  The packaging says that adult supervision is recommended and that glow sticks are for ages 3+.

*To visit the original source, click on the link below the picture.

15 fun and unique ways to play with glow sticks year round!  So many great ideas!
Gold in the Dark Lawn Bowling  |  Growing A Jeweled Rose

15 fun and unique ways to play with glow sticks year round!  So many great ideas!
 Glow in the Dark Wiffle Ball  |  A Few Shortcuts

15 fun and unique ways to play with glow sticks year round!  So many great ideas!
Ring Toss  |  Sugar Bee Crafts

15 fun and unique ways to play with glow sticks year round!  So many great ideas!
 Tic-Tac-Toe  |  Make and Takes

15 fun and unique ways to play with glow sticks year round!  So many great ideas!
 Glow Jars/Fairy Jars  |  The Gold Jellybean

15 fun and unique ways to play with glow sticks year round!  So many great ideas!

15 fun and unique ways to play with glow sticks year round!  So many great ideas!
 Word Art  |  Smile and Wave

15 fun and unique ways to play with glow sticks year round!  So many great ideas!
 Glow in the Dark Drinks  |  Mommy Savers

Corn Hole  Tape glow sticks around the hole and at the sides, top and bottom so you can keep playing at night!

Red Light, Green Light  Remember this game as a kid?  Just grab a red and green glow stick and let the kids play this childhood favorite after it gets dark by having your child hold up the glow stick to indicate stop and go.

Dance Party  We’ve done this with our kids in the wintertime in our basement, but how fun would this be at your next BBQ or watching fireworks!

Glow Sticks in the Pool  Keep the fun going at your pool party by throwing some glow sticks in!  This would be fun to do in a kiddie pool as well on those hot summer nights (just keep a close eye out!).

15 fun and unique ways to play with glow sticks year round!  So many great ideas!
original source: unknown

Freeze Tag  Another favorite kid game!  Have your kids wear glow sticks around their necks, wrists and ankles so they can see each other and let the fun begin.

Capture the Flag One team wears one color and the other team wears another so you know who’s who.

Bath time  Another fun activity you can do year round with your kiddos.  They’ll love playing with their glow sticks in the bath tub!  (We’ve also done glow in the dark bath paint using a black light and it’s so much fun!  You can find the post here.)

What other activities have you done with glow sticks?

8 Colorful Hands On Activities for Kids

Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!

If your kids are anything like mine, they are very hands-on.  They love to do whatever I’m doing, whether it’s gardening, baking, crafting, building, etc.  This is why I try to come up with activities that they can do most, or all of it, by themselves.  It’s exciting for them to create something and it builds autonomy which is an important skill as they get older and need to figure out problems for themselves.  Over the last couple of years since my kids were old enough to appreciate and enjoy it, I’ve done a handful of really fun and colorful activities.  These are tried and true and my kids ask to do them over and over again.

Elephant Toothpaste
We did this activity last summer and my kids went crazy over it!  The reaction is pretty amazing and we’ll definitely be doing it again soon.

Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!

Color Explosions
This activity is super simple and you probably already have the ingredients on hand!  You can do this one over and over again for really inexpensive.

Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!

Glow in the Dark Bath Paint
This is a great activity to do with your kids once your sure they won’t try and eat everything they can get their hands on.  A black light and glow in the dark paint make this activity great for those days when you’re stuck inside.

Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!

Dancing Rice
Using basic ingredients, you can do a little science experiment with your kids and show them how air bubbles carry the rice up to the top of a glass, making them look like they’re dancing.

Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!

Homemade Gak
Gak is one of those really fun things to play with no matter your age!  We did this one as a family activity one night and everyone got in on it.

Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!

Homemade Bouncy Ball
This activity was one of the first posts I did on my blog and I still get people coming back to it.  It makes for a fun afternoon activity at home or preschool activity.

Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!

Water Beads
If you’ve never heard of water beads, you are missing out!  We pull these out once every few months or so and the kids will play with them forever.  They are really inexpensive and you get hours of fun!

Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!

3 Ways to Paint with a Toddler or Preschooler
One of my most popular kid activities post!  If you have toddlers or preschoolers, this one is for you.  I’ve included 3 different ways you can let your preschooler or toddler paint (adult supervision still required of course).

Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!

And there you have it!  I hope you have fun trying these activities out with your kids!

The Best App for Organizing Kids Artwork and Schoolwork

Learn more about the best app for organizing and managing your kids artwork and schoolwork

When I was in 9th grade, my mom brought out a box of my old school papers, pictures I had drawn as a young child, lists of my first words and favorite foods to eat at different ages and so on.  She apologetically told me that she’d tried to keep as much as she could but couldn’t hold onto everything and hoped I was okay with what she’d held onto.  I opened a box and it was like a walk down memory lane, except I didn’t have memories of everything in the box.  I tried to organize everything by age and then school year but my mom couldn’t remember all the dates and could only give me approximate time frames.  If I was lucky, I found a year or even a full date written on the back.  All those pictures and school assignments are now in a scrapbook of mine that I started on shortly after receiving this box of memories and I continued to add to it as the years progressed.  Now I have kids of my own and I find myself wanting to keep every single picture they draw or art project they make, but let’s be real: there is no way I can physically hold onto everything.  So what’s the solution?  I’ll tell you: it’s called Keepy.

I received a subscription from Keepy to try it out and share my experience with you.  As always, all opinions are 100% mine.  This post contains affiliate links.


What is Keepy?

Learn more about the best app for organizing and managing your kids artwork and schoolwork

Keepy is an app you can download onto your phone (or other iOS or Kindle device) that is basically a way to keep track of all your kids art projects, drawings and even schoolwork.  By creating an account for each child, you can easily organize each picture or video you take.  You can then invite family or friends to view the pictures/videos you save and they are the only ones who have access it to.  No more group texts every time you want to show off how creative or smart your child is–just save the picture and anyone on your list will get an email about the new Keepy you’ve saved and they can view it on their own time frame.  (You can also choose to send it to a specific person rather than everyone.)  Another awesome thing about Keepy is that you can add descriptions, crop, rotate and even add video of your child talking about the project, drawing, artwork or schoolwork.

My Experience with Keepy

I have to tell you that I was so excited to learn about this app.  I had already started taking pictures of my daughter’s preschool crafts that she brought home last year and tried to organize them into a folder in another app, but it was annoying and time consuming, plus I didn’t think everyone I was friends with would care about seeing them.  I continued taking pictures, hoping to find another solution.  When I was approached about trying out Keepy, my answer was a huge “YES!”  I actually had this pile of papers in my kitchen that I’d been meaning to take pictures of so I grabbed that and got started.

Setting up the app was really easy.  I downloaded it from the Google Play Store and right off the bat, I received prompts on how to set everything up.  (I have an Android but it’s also available for iOS and Kindle.)  As part of my collaboration with Keepy, they provided me with an unlimited account which meant that I could download and save as many pictures as I want in a month for up to a year, at which point I would need to either renew or continue with a monthly or basic (free) account.  I set up accounts for both of my kids and started adding “fans” which are the people I want to share my Keepys with.  (If I want to add my husband to the account as a parent, he can also add photos or videos to the account!)

Learn more about the best app for organizing and managing your kids artwork and schoolwork

Then I took pictures of each item I wanted to save, cropped and rotated them (if needed), wrote a description about the project and saved it under the right kid.  A few days after downloading the app, my daughter brought me a picture she’d drawn and started telling me a story about it.  After she was done I told her I wanted to record her telling the story again, so I grabbed my phone, took a picture of her drawing, and recorded a video of her talking about the picture.  (They have it set up so that it uses the forward facing camera and kids can see themselves talk.)  It was a really fun and cute way to save that little memory and there’s no way I could have captured that simply in words in a description of the picture.

Learn more about the best app for organizing and managing your kids artwork and schoolwork

Each time I take pictures on my phone, I receive a prompt from the app asking if I want to organize the photos.  This is great because I have the best of intentions of saving pictures in the right place, but forget so the reminder is really helpful.  I can always go back and edit the description or add a video which means I have flexibility and don’t have to do everything right then.

Another great feature of Keepy is that you can save videos as well as pictures.  You can organize everything into different folders, tag which child(ren) are in it and share it the same way you do with pictures!  Seriously, I’ve been blown away at how versatile and robust this app is!

So far, I’ve loved using this app and it’s ease of use, flexibility and range of features have been a huge motivator for me to continue using it.  I did have a couple of questions as I started using the app and when I emailed their support, they got back to me really quickly which I greatly appreciated.  They were helpful and my issues were resolved quickly and efficiently.

Learn more about the best app for organizing and managing your kids artwork and schoolwork

Now What?

So you’ve decided you want to get a handle on managing and organizing your kids artwork and schoolwork.  Good for you! *wink*  Click on this link HERE to download it on your phone (or other iOS or Kindle device).  You can try out a basic account with no strings attached and see how you like it.  Each account has a password you can set up so you can access the app from different devices.

With a basic account, you can upload up to 5 photos/videos per month.  If you want to do more than that, you can upgrade to a monthly account for $2.99/mo, or a yearly account for $9.99/yr.  Both will give you the ability to upload unlimited photos/videos.

If you want to have something more tangible to give as a gift (Mother’s Day or Father’s day anyone?) or keep at home, you do have the option to print out an 8×8 photobook of your Keepys.

I hope my experience with Keepy has motivated you to check it out, use it and feel like you can still keep your child’s memories without feeling like you have to keep every. single. paper. *wink*

What feature of Keepy appeals most to you?

Mermaid/Under the Sea Party

Everything you need for a fun and simple under the sea or mermaid birthday party!

For my daughter’s 5th birthday, she wanted a mermaid party.  Originally she had asked for a mermaid beach party but when I reminded her that mermaids live in the ocean, she came up with the idea to change it to a mermaid/under the sea party. *wink*  I had her help me look through Pinterest and pinned any ideas she liked to my party ideas board.  It was fun to have her help me plan it out and be involved but it also made me a little sad because it means she is growing up.

This post contains affiliate links which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional charge to you.

I started by making a list of the different aspects of the party: invitations, games, activities, food and decor.  I made the invitations on my computer and printed them out at home.  I kept it pretty simple in terms of the games: fishing for prizes and pin the tail on the whale.  Our craft/activity was to decorate little “treasure boxes” with stickers, jewels and crayons/markers.  The food was one of my favorite parts to plan (details below).  And while I had the best of intentions when it came to decorations, I was also going through my miscarriage that same week and so I had to cut down.  You can find a breakdown of each aspect of the party below.  Feel free to use any of these ideas!

Invitations

Invitation for a mermaid or under the sea birthday party

I made the invitations using my computer and some wording I adapted from an invite idea I saw on Pinterest.  It said: Come for a dive!  Our little mermaid (child’s name) is turning 5!  I found a silhouette of a mermaid tail online which I saved and inserted into the word program I used.  Then I printed it out on white cardstock and cut it down to size with the name of the child who was invited on top.

Games

Fishing for Prizes
I went to the Dollar Tree and bought a variety of things for the kids to “fish” for: stickers, necklaces, rings, paddle boards and tops.  I also found a pack of two mini plastic buckets that were the perfect size.  Both my kids have little fishing rods with plastic hooks on the end that latch so we used one of those and attached the handle of the bucket that way.  We have a half wall leading down to our stairs so I just went on the other size with the prizes while my husband helped the kids go fishing.  Because we had boys and girls at the party, I made sure to ask who was fishing and gave prizes accordingly.

Pin the Tail on the Whale
While at the Dollar Tree picking up prizes, I also grabbed a couple pieces of blue posterboard.  On one, I drew a large whale shape, including the tail, then I cut it all out.  I drew a line across the part of the tail I wanted the kids to “pin”, cut it off and used that piece as a template for all the other tails.  I wrote the names of each child on the tail beforehand to save time.  We blindfolded each child and turned them around the number of times that matched their age, pointed them in the right direction and then let them go.

Everything you need for a fun and simple under the sea or mermaid birthday party!

Craft/Activity

I had hoped to find some inexpensive treasure chests the kids could decorate, but the closest I could find was some paper mache boxes from Hobby Lobby that cost $.50 a piece.  I had grabbed a variety of stickers and adhesive foam shapes from the Dollar Tree and cut them up and put them in containers that I spaced between the kids.  We also pulled out the markers and crayons and let them go to town.  (Make sure you (or the child) write the name on the box.)  We encouraged them to put their fishing prizes in their treasure boxes to try and keep everything together.

Everything you need for a fun and simple under the sea or mermaid birthday party!

Everything you need for a fun and simple under the sea or mermaid birthday party!

Everything you need for a fun and simple under the sea or mermaid birthday party!

Decorations

Decorations were pretty minimal.  I had dreams of crepe paper and balloons and cut outs of fish and sea shells all over but it just didn’t happen.  Instead, I found these little tissue paper pom poms at (where else?) the Dollar Tree and strung a couple of those above the table where we had the food.  Aaanndd…that was it.  Haha.  I didn’t worry about it too much and I don’t think a bunch of 4-5 year olds really cared either.

Food

Ah, yes.  What is a party without food?  There are at least a million food ideas for an under the sea or mermaid party on Pinterest and they are pretty amazing!  Basically, I picked out a few that I liked and knew would be simple and stuck with those.

Cupcakes  I made vanilla cupcakes with a yummy vanilla buttercream frosting.  I colored it using the Neon food coloring which turned out to be the perfect shade of blue.  I piped it on and then placed a seashell made from melted candy wafers on top.  (I found the mold at Hobby Lobby for $2.)  I sprinkled some crushed up graham cracker on top to look like sand and placed one little “pearl” (chocolate candy) on top.  They turned out so cute!

Everything you need for a fun and simple under the sea or mermaid birthday party!

Everything you need for a fun and simple under the sea or mermaid birthday party!

Oyster Cookies  I used vanilla wafer cookies, the same buttercream frosting I used for the cupcakes and another chocolate pearl to make the oyster cookies.

Everything you need for a fun and simple under the sea or mermaid birthday party!

Mermaid Tail Rice Krispie Treats  I used the individually wrapped store bought Rice Krispie Treats for this.  I cut kabob sticks in half and poked them into the treats.  I melted more candy wafers in a tall container and then dipped the treats about 1/2 to 2/3 into it before placing it on wax paper to cool.  I made the seashells by printing out a template on my printer and placing wax paper over the top, then piping more melted candy wafers it on top of the shape.  (A word to the wise: let the melted wafers cool a bit in the piping bag before trying to trace the template.  If it is too hot, it will just run out the tip in a blob.  Ask me how I know…)

Everything you need for a fun and simple under the sea or mermaid birthday party!

Blue Raspberry Kool-Aid  Self explanatory. *wink*

Goldfish Crackers  I totally forgot to set these out and probably would have been a good balance to all the sugar, but it is what it is.

(Most of the kids took their treats home on paper plates from my favorite store for party stuff: the Dollar Tree.)

Find Toys, Games, Arts, and Crafts For Only $1 Each! Shop Today!

Afterwards, we opened presents and then parents were coming to pick up their kids!  The entire party lasted about an hour and a half with 10 kids.  My daughter loved it and kept telling everyone about her mermaid party.

Do you like doing themed parties?  What have been your favorite (to throw or attend)?

The ULTIMATE All Things Valentines Round Up

The ULTIMATE round up of all things Valentines!

Less than two weeks ago, an idea popped into my head.  It went something along the lines of, “Holy crap!  Valentine’s Day is going to be here in a month!  I need some new ideas, yummy recipes, crafts, printables, beauty… I need all things Valentines!”  I hopped on a few Facebook groups and asked my blogging friends to submit their Valentines posts for what I hoped would be an ultimate Valentines round up.  I didn’t just want crafts or recipes.  I wanted something where I could find a ton of different ideas centered around Valentines all in one place.  And that, my friends, is how this post came into being.

When I was in first grade, I had a crush on a boy named Mikey.  Turns out, Mikey had a crush on me too.  And when Valentines Day came around and all the kids were putting cards into each others homemade boxes, I was waiting for one special card.  On the bus ride home, I shuffled through the cards and candy until I found it.  It was a Barbie Valentine that said, “You’re cool!” on the front.  But on the back it said, “Your cheeks are like roses, your eyes are like the sea, and I think you are meant for me!”  My little 7 year old heart felt like it was going to explode and I kept that card in my treasure box for the rest of the year.

I love the fun and excitement that accompanies this holiday.  I love decorating my house with hearts in every shade of pink and red and leaving love notes for my kids and husband.  I’ve heard some people criticize the idea of Valentines Day and point out that we should be doing fun, sweet, thoughtful or romantic things for those we love all year round and not let everything rest on a single day of the year.  I don’t disagree with this perspective, however, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with trying a little harder to show your love to those you care about on Valentines Day or the days leading up to it.

And with that in mind, I give you the ULTIMATE All Things Valentines Round Up!  You’ll find recipes, crafts, kid activities, date night ideas, printables, beauty and gift ideas from over 35 different blogs.  They are sharing their best ideas with you and I hope you find something new and fun to celebrate your Valentines Day with the ones you love.

NOTE: All links/images are used with permission from the original source.  To view the original post, click on the corresponding link below the image. (Images and links are viewed left to right, top to bottom.)

Printables
Included in this section you will find all kinds of printable valentines and printables to display in your home. 

The ULTIMATE round up of all things Valentines!

Don’t Burst My Bubble  |  Housewife Eclectic
Pop Goes My Heart  |  Housewife Eclectic
You Make My Heart Pop  |  Tastefully Frugal
Valentine Pick Up Lines Love Notes  |  Marriage & Family Strong
You’re A Catch  |  Tastefully Frugal
Cutie Valentine  |  Tastefully Frugal
I’m Stuck On You  |  Tastefully Frugal
Smart Cookie Valentine  |  Your Everyday Family
The ULTIMATE round up of all things Valentines!
Harry Potter Printable Valentines  |  The Quiet Grove
Tic Tac Toe Valentine Card  |  Craftivity Designs
Mermaid Printable Valentines  |  The Quiet Grove
Super Hero Printable Valentines  |  The Quiet Grove
Valentines Candy Bar Wrapper  |  The Quiet Grove
5 Free Valentines Day Printable Cards  |  My Circus, My Monkeys
The ULTIMATE round up of all things Valentines!
Free Valentines Printables Round Up  |  Sunshine & Munchkins
Crafts/DIY
So many fun and creative ways to get your crafty on!

The ULTIMATE round up of all things Valentines!

Love Frame with Scrabble Tiles  |  Home Crafts by Ali
Shabby Chic Love Mason Jars  |  Tastefully Frugal
Scrapbook Paper Valentine Wreath  |  Home Crafts by Ali
Valentines Day Doilie Banner  |  Your Everyday Family
The ULTIMATE round up of all things Valentines!
DIY Wine Cork Trivet  |  Aileen Cooks
Simple DIY Hearts Sweater  |  She Wore Stars
DIY Valentines Rag Wreath  |  Sunshine & Munchkins
Decor
Looking for some decor inspiration?  These ladies have got you covered!

The ULTIMATE round up of all things Valentines!

Valentines Decorating On A Budget  |  Tastefully Frugal
Kids Activities
There are so many fun ways to get the kids in on the Valentines Day celebration.  Check out the links below for activities for many ages.

The ULTIMATE round up of all things Valentines!

Valentines Box  |  A Beautiful Life
Valentines Day Popcorn Cones  |  Adie and Aden
Valentines Party for Kids  |  Sparkle Shiny Love

The ULTIMATE round up of all things Valentines!

Brain Building Valentines Activities  |  ILS Learning Corner
You Have My Heart  |  Espresso Ever After
Love Note Envelopes  |  Sunshine & Munchkins

Recipes
What is Valentines without some yummy sweets?!  I’m pretty sure I need to make all of these!

The ULTIMATE round up of all things Valentines!

Homemade Italian Cream Soda  |  Housewife Eclectic
Sweetheart Fruit Tart  |  Your Everyday Family
Valentines Day Ombre Sweet Treat  |  Tastefully Frugal
Fun Valentines Day Kid Treats  |  Sandy a la Mode
Chocolate Nutella Croissants  |  The Quiet Grove

The ULTIMATE round up of all things Valentines!

Valentines Sandwich Cookies  |  Recipe for a Sweet Life
How To Make French Macarons  |  Glitter, Inc
Sugar Cut Out Cookies  |  Glitter, Inc
Egg In A Heart Valentines Day Breakfast  |  Espresso Ever After
White Chocolate Covered Oreos  |  Sunshine & Munchkins
Valentines Day Fruit Kabobs  |  A Sparkle of Genius
The ULTIMATE round up of all things Valentines!
Valentines Day Popcorn Treat  |  Crazy Life with Littles
Beauty
Get inspired with these lovely ladies and use their fashion knowledge to your advantage.

The ULTIMATE round up of all things Valentines!

Valentines Outfit On A Budget  |  Sparkle Shiny Love
Easy Valentines Day Manicure  |  Posh In Progress

Gift Ideas
Gifts are a thoughtful way to say you care about someone.  Find some unique ideas in the links below!

The ULTIMATE round up of all things Valentines!

Baby Girl Valentines Gift Guide  |  Kelsey Diane Blog
Valentines Day Books for Kids  |  Kelsey Diane Blog
Why Gifts Matter On Valentines Day  |  Only Girl 4 Boyz
Valentines Gifts for Him  |  Kelsey Diane Blog

Date Night Ideas
Of course, one of the highlights of Valentines Day is the date night that comes along with it.  Whether you celebrate at home or out on the town, these ideas are sure to get you excited and in a romantic mood. *wink* 
The ULTIMATE round up of all things Valentines!
24 Ways To Show Your Spouse You Love and Care  |  A Fresh Start On A Budget
50 Inexpensive Date Ideas  |  A Fresh Start On A Budget
Phew!  Can you even believe all the great ideas packed into this post?  I hope that no matter what, you were able to find a little fun and inspiration to celebrate your Valentines Day!

Mommy Style Monday: Water Beads

Water beads are a fun, simple and inexpensive activity for younger children and there are so many ways to play with them!

There is something about January that I really dislike.  If my daughter’s birthday wasn’t during this month, I would be totally fine to just get rid of it all together.  I’m not sure where you live, but here in Utah we tend to get a lot of cold, overcast, snowy, rainy, slushy days in the winter.  My kids live for the outdoors, so wintertime is hard on them (and me).  I am a warm weather, sunshine loving person and can get a little bit of seasonal depression during this time of year.  I’ve found that staying busy is a big help and trying to rotate through a variety of activities helps my kids from going too stir crazy. *wink*

This post contains affiliate links which means if you click on the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.  Thank you for your support!

Last year, I saw a friend of mine post some pictures on Facebook of her kids playing with water beads.  I’d never heard of them before but they looked awesome and just the thing to keep my kids entertained.  I found some on Amazon for cheap and threw them in with whatever else I happened to already have in my cart.  (Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this!)

When they came in the mail, I was shocked at how small they were!  They are literally these hard, tiny little beads that came in about 12 different colors.

Water beads are a fun, simple and inexpensive activity for younger children and there are so many ways to play with them!

I grabbed some bins I already had from the dollar store that I purchased when I did my post on 3 ways to paint with toddlers and preschoolers (another great way to keep kids entertained!) and grabbed about 15 or so beads from 4 of the bags and put them in one bin and put about the same amount of 4 different colors in the second bin.  I added some warm water to each bin, filling it about halfway and left them to do their thing.

Water beads are a fun, simple and inexpensive activity for younger children and there are so many ways to play with them!

I was totally amazed when I looked at the beads about 10 minutes later and they were already growing.  Rather than feeling hard, they had started to soften a bit around the outside and they looked a little bit blurry.   (No, that’s not your vision playing tricks on you.  This picture is what they actually look like.)

Water beads are a fun, simple and inexpensive activity for younger children and there are so many ways to play with them!

10 minutes after that, they were even bigger and looking a little bumpy.  I showed my kids and they were equally impressed.  Both of them wanted to start playing with the beads right away, so I let them for a little bit.

Water beads are a fun, simple and inexpensive activity for younger children and there are so many ways to play with them!

Since I wasn’t sure how long it would take for the beads to grow to their full size, I left them in the bins overnight.  The next morning, the water was halfway gone and the beads were each about 1/2″ in diameter.

To set up for our activity, I got some extra bath towels and folded them in half, draping some off the edge of the table.  Then I put the bins of beads in front of my kids and let them go to town!  I gave them some measuring cups and bowls to play with as well.  They loved it!  They measured and poured and bounced the beads for a good 45 minutes.  Their clothes got a little wet but the towels did soak up most of the water.  And I have to admit that I had fun putting my hands in the bins and rolling the beads around.  They are so soft and slippery and squishy!

Water beads are a fun, simple and inexpensive activity for younger children and there are so many ways to play with them!

Water beads are a fun, simple and inexpensive activity for younger children and there are so many ways to play with them!

Water beads are a fun, simple and inexpensive activity for younger children and there are so many ways to play with them!

Water beads are a fun, simple and inexpensive activity for younger children and there are so many ways to play with them!

If you happen to have a light table, these beads would be a lot of fun to play with in a clear container on top of one.  If you don’t have one, you can make your own.  (Check out this tutorial from The Artful Parent.  The same post has tons of ways you can play with water beads!)

A word of caution for those of you with small children: watch them carefully and if they are prone to putting things in their mouths, this might not be the right activity for them.  We got these about a year ago when my kids were 4 and 2 and now they are almost 5 and 3.  You know your kids best.

One of the great things about water beads is that you can keep using them.  We had ours out for about a week and I just added a little bit of water to keep them plump.  After that long, the kids lost interest and the bins were just taking up space on my counter.  When you’re done with them, grab a towel and pour the beads onto it.  The towels will slowly start to soak up the water from the beads and after a couple days they will have shrunk down and dried out.  As they dry out and become smaller, I like to separate them into piles by color.  (I am a little OCD and just putting all the beads together in one bag would drive me nuts!)  I kept the original bags they came in and just put them back in there when I was confident they were completely dry.

If you’re looking for more fun indoor ideas for your kids, check out the links below for more ideas from some super creative moms!

 Kiana  |  Glitter & Donuts
Madeline  |  CaseyLand
Rachel  |  Tutus and Heels
Noelia  |  You Can Call Me Noe
Michelle  |  The Mumsy Blog
Kahana  |  A Beautiful Life
Monica  |  It’s All About

Mommy Style Monday: Favorite Children’s Books

Hello and happy Monday!  I have to tell you that while the fact that it’s Monday doesn’t necessarily excite me, the fact that last week is finally over does!  I had a super crazy busy week and about half way through it, my body forced me to slow down a bit by giving me a nice little cough.  Super annoying, but it’s felt nice to rest up a bit and get geared up for another week.

Today, I’ve teamed up with 7 other mommy bloggers and we’re all sharing our favorite children’s books with you!  One of my earliest memories about books was when I was about 5 years old and I was towing my little red wagon home from the library with my mom stacked high with books.  We went back every week because I literally devoured every book multiple times and got bored with them and wanted new ones.  I know for a fact that my love of reading came from my mom.  She read me books all the time and always had them available for me.  I memorized them before I knew how to read and when I finally learned to read, I kept on reading.  I was always getting in trouble for staying up too late reading on school nights.  So many of my memories with my family revolve around books and reading.

When I was pregnant with my first child, I knew that I wanted books to be a big part of her life as well.  I started collecting them before she was born and have continued to buy new ones.  What started as a little basket near her bed has turned into a bookcase crammed full of books.  I had to add more boy themed books when little brother was born but most of the books we have appeal to both of them.  We now go to the library every couple of weeks to get a new stack of books to read and it’s through this activity that I’ve found some of my favorites.

Each night before we go to bed we read a book as well as before nap time, but it’s not uncommon for me to find my kids “reading” in their room together or hauling a stack of books out into the front room for me to read to them throughout the day.  I love that my kids love books.  My kids are (almost) 5 and (almost) 3 so their comprehension is pretty good.  I share a combination of books that teach something and ones that are silly.  Below I’m sharing some of my current favorites.

This post contains affiliate links which if you click on and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Plant a Kiss by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
I grabbed this book from the library’s board book section about six months back because the title caught my attention.  It’s about Little Miss who plants a kiss and watches it grow into something beautiful that she wants to share with others.  The book is so sweet and simple in the way that it makes love a tangible thing and begins to help kids understand that sharing love helps it to grow.  We’ve checked this book out multiple times since then and I finally decided to buy it for my daughter for Christmas because she loves it so much.

How Do Dinosaurs series by Jane Yolen
The How Do Dinosaurs series is so fun!  I honestly wish we owned all the books in the series (there are over 20).  I actually did a review on it a while back because I loved it so much.  Each book answers a question, such as, How Do Dinosaurs Go To Sleep?, How Do Dinosaurs Play With Their Friends?, How Do Dinosaurs Clean Their Room? and so on.  They all teach something different about manners or routines in a way that gets kids laughing.  If your kids love dinosaurs, these books are a must have.  The illustrator (Mark Teague) draws pictures of real dinosaurs with their names next to them which makes learning even more fun.

Little Critter books by Mercer Mayer
A while back my mom was going through some of her books and came across her collection of Little Critter books that we had as kids.  She divided them up between my sister and I and they have become some of my kids favorite books to read.  Each one is from the perspective of Little Critter and they all deal with something that kids struggle with, such as a babysitter, moving, feelings, etc.  We’ve picked up additional ones from the library and my kids love them.

Sandra Boynton books
The first book I bought by Sandra Boynton was the Belly Button Book.  The title made me laugh, especially because I know how intrigued kids can be by belly buttons.  Currently I own close to 15 of her books because they are just so darn cute!  Some of them teach simple things like colors, animal sounds and counting, while others are just silly.  One thing I really like is that they are all short so reading a couple before naps or bedtime isn’t a big deal.  I’ve read each of them so many times that I’ve got them memorized and my daughter even has a couple of them memorized as well.  They are all board books which makes them nice and durable for little hands.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
My daughter has started to grow out of this book, but my son still loves it.  The Very Hungry Caterpillar is fun and simple, with holes in each of the foods the caterpillar eats.  Both my kids love the last page where he “turns into a beautiful butterfly”.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr and Eric Carle
Our poor copy of Brown Bear, Brown Bear has been taped back together more than any other children’s book we own.  The repetitiveness of Brown Bear is fun for the kids and it also helps them learn their colors.  My daughter learned how to “read” (aka memorize) this book when she was about two and she would sit in her room and read it to herself daily.  Now, she “reads” it to her brother.

If you’d like to check out the some more children’s books, be sure to click on the link of each blog below.

Kiana  |  Glitter & Donuts
Madeline  |  CaseyLand
Monica  |  It’s All About
Rachel  |  Tutus and Heels
Cayli  |  Nightchayde
Chelsea  |  Naturally Chels