Jan 21, 2018

Winter Olympics Activities for Kids

The Winter Olympics in PyeongChang are a month away, and I know my family can't wait to watch. We spent the weekend skiing at Mammoth and it got me so excited for the upcoming games.

In the next couple of weeks, I'll be sharing some ideas for Olympic watch parties, including ideas for families and adults. Also make sure you're following my Winter Olympics for Kids Pinterest board to keep track of all the ideas and games. To get us started, here are some fun activities I've loved doing with my kids over the years that you can get a head start on.

DIY Olympic Torch

This is a fun one to do leading up to the Opening Ceremonies. The torch has already been on it's journey to PyeongChang for a while, and this is a great way to get kids looking forward to the games. Making your own torch is an awesome creative activity that's also a great opportunity to learn about how each games has it's own custom torch design, and how you would represent yourself or your own country! Check out more photos and the directions here.

Printable International Flag Garland Coloring Pages

This is another really great way to play that can also be educational. There are 12 different countries represented in this PDF, and I'm guessing not a lot of them are common in a lot of our kids' school books. This is a great way to opportunity to learn a few new things about some far away places. Once each flag is colored, cut them out, fold over the line, and use string or ribbon to hang them up in your home. Make this ahead of time as a decoration to get your house in the playful spirit for the games. (I also included a cheat sheet for the correct flag colors, so you don't have to Google the ones you are unsure of.) Print it here.

Put Yourself on the Podium

Did you imagine yourself on the podium when you were a kid? Did you ever want to grow up to be in the Olympics? Based on my current skiing skills, I wouldn't have quite made the team, but it's fun to imagine myself on those slopes! Draw yourself or your favorite athletes on the podium, or use this printable to track the medal count for your home country. Print your podium.

Play Opening Ceremony Bingo

We LOVE a silly bingo game around here and created one just for the 2018 Winter Olympics featuring athletes and advertisements we know we'll see, and in anticipation of some rumored surprises. There are seven different sheets, so nobody has to  have the exact same card. The Opening Ceremonies are so fun to watch, but can seem a little repetitive and long, so this mixes things up and makes you notice things you wouldn't otherwise. Print the PDF here.

A few more ideas for celebrating the Olympics with kids:
  • Create a team t-shirt for your family using craft paint or stamps.
  • Play games at home. Have a sled relay race, or use Nerf bows to compete in archery. 
  • Use recyclable materials to make coveted medals or ribbons, then construct a winners podium from boxes or plastic containers. 
  • Create keychains or bracelets using beads the colors of the Olympic rings.

Jan 12, 2018

Stuck Inside DIY Play Guide

TGIF, for real. I spent a whirlwind of a week in NYC, with three segments packed in. First on Tuesday, I dropped by Little Things and played charades on their show, Refresh. Then on Wednesday, I taped a segment at a brand new to me show, Harry! I had SO much fun, and hope I get to go back soon. Mark your calendars, it airs on January 23.

And then this morning on Today, I shared some simple DIY ideas to keep kids entertained when it's too cold to go outside. .

Snowman Breakfast 

Start the day on the right foot with a big snowman breakfast, complete with snowman waffles. Get the kids out of bed and have them help in the kitchen. For your waffle snowman, I recommend topping the waffles with vanilla yogurt, and decorating with raisins, sprinkles, blueberries, or whatever else gives your snowman some character.

Grab a few inexpensive clear mugs from the store and decorate them using markers or construction paper to create a happy Snowman face. Fill the mug with white hot chocolate or milk, topped with whipped cream!

One final snowman treat: three small powdered donuts skewered onto a straw, topped off with a fruit leather scarf, and a gum drop nose.

Ice Cream Snow Man

For a non-breakfast treat, make a snowman sundae! Use vanilla ice cream for his melting body, and a marshmallow for his head. Have the kid decorate their own snowman using icing, candies and licorice.

Laundry Basket Skeeball

Skeeball is one of my favorite arcade games, and I love this version you can set up for inside using a recycled box and some laundry baskets. Use ball pit balls or tennis balls, and decide on how many points each basket will be worth. Try moving the baskets around for special challenges.

Salt Crystal Snowflakes

Grab a few pipe cleaners and twist them into a snowflake shape. Tie your snowflake to a pencil and place it inside a large mason jar. Make sure the snowflake doesn't touch the sides of the jar. Then carefully fill the jar with Borax solution (3 tablespoons Borax per 1 cup water) until the snowflake is completely submerged.

Let your experiment sit over night. In the morning, you'll have "grown" a beautiful crystal snowflake!

Egg Carton Snowmen

I love crafts that use recyclables and simple craft items you likely have laying around the house. And you guessed it, we're using recycled egg cartons for these little guys. Make sure you keep three egg holders in a row when you cut up the carton (this is a good part of the activity for adults to do). Then have kids use googly eyes, pip cleaners, mini pom poms to dress up their own snowman.

Indoor Snowballs

Don't worry, we aren't gathering snow from outside and bringing it into the house. Instead, make indoor snowballs using white yarn and string! These are safe for an indoor snowball fight, and you won't end the afternoon with soggy boots.

Balloon Ping Pong

Always have balloons in your house. They are an easy way to keep kids entertained for hours. Take it up a level and make ping-pong paddles for them to swat at the balloon with. Kids can decorate their paper plates, too.

If you're looking for some non-DIY ideas for keeping kids active, check out my list here.

Good luck with the long weekend ya'll!

Jan 5, 2018

Indoor Active Play for Snow Days

Cities across the country have had quite a bit of snow lately. With snow days and long winter weekend in the forecast for the next few months, it can be hard to think about ways to keep kids active while they're stuck indoors... without turning the entire house upside.

I've found five awesome activities kids can do to keep them moving, and keep the chaos contained and the glass unbroken. I wish some of these were around when my boys were little...

Ultimate Fort Builder

This fort builder comes with 45 poles and 25 connectors that are easy for kids as young as four to put together. Your kids can literally build any shape fort they want. It even comes with a guide with some ideas and directions to get them started.

Playz Pop Up Playhouse and Ball Pit

Like a mini-version of the indoor playground, but this packs up for easy storage and is super easy to assemble. You can use each of the four pieces in different combinations, so it is bound to fit in your space in one way or another. Plus, you won't find any unidentifiable objects in this ball pit.

Inflatable AirFort

Leave the dining chairs at the table and build a fort with air instead. There's no bottom to this AirFort, so it's easy for kids to get in and out with no problems. Plus, it blows up in just seconds with a box fan and is big enough you can hide out in there, too.

5-in-1 Indoor Playground

Now this is something you're going to want to play with, too. Similar to how you might hang a pull-up bar in your doorway, the Gym1 Deluxe Indoor Playground is easy to assemble and install in any doorway, and it sturdy enough to hold 300 lbs. In includes a swing, rings, trapeze bar, climbing ladder, and swinging rope.

Indoor/Outdoor Air Pogo Jumper

My sons have taught me just how fun a pogo stick can be... outdoors. I love that this not only encourages indoor active play, it helps kids practice balance, endurance, and coordination. Plus, it lights up(!!) and has a coordinating app that will count your bounces.


Dec 26, 2017

Looking Back at 2017

My family L-O-V-E-S New Year's Eve. It's the perfect time to laugh about all the inside jokes from the past year, and look forward to all the adventures you'll have in the upcoming 365 days.

Last year I stopped by Hallmark Home & Family and shared one of our favorite family traditions– a family time capsule. (You can catch the clip here!)

This is an awesome activity you can do while you wait for the ball to drop. Pack the capsule with your best memories from the year—ticket stubs, photos, anything goes! Plus, I've updated my New Years Eve printable to help remind you of the best days of 2017. We love filling these out and reminiscing about the best and craziest things that happened.

Have younger ones? Check out these ideas for making the earlier hours just as exciting as midnight.

Cheers to 2018, ya'll!
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