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5 Indoor Winter Activities for Kids

5 Indoor Winter Activities for Kids

Cabin fever is brutal during the winter, but having some super fun indoor winter activities for kids on standby can help a mom out in a pinch.

I literally just spent this entire day feeling like I was losing my damn mind. I had kids crying, whining, watching too much TV, snacking nonstop, and just being all around pains in the ass. I’m in desperate need of some indoor winter activities for kids.

So I sat down and made a list of 8 things I can do with the kids to help with this cabin fever, and get them out of my hair for at least a few precious moments.

When the weather is decent, I usually bundle them up for a walk or just let them roam our backyard. If I’m feeling adventurous we will go for a hike, the local park, or maybe even a museum. But lately, the weather is so wet and chilly that I just want to stay bundled up inside my nice warm home.

Indoor activities it is then!

One big piece of advice I have though… prepare ahead of time. Don’t just pin this article to come back to later, because chances are when you actually NEED an activity you’ll be too frazzled and annoyed to do it with any joy.

Instead of waiting until the kids are climbing the walls to get things prepped, do it now! Like today, or this week. Then you’ll have all the activities ready to go.

Indoor Snowball Fight

This is seriously fun. It makes you feel like a little kid again.

You can either DIY some snowballs by making pom-poms out of yarn, or you can get fancy and order a kit off of Amazon.

But basically it’s just a bunch of snowballs made of soft materials safe to toss around indoors.

I made pom-pom snowballs, and while the making of them is a little tedious, it was definitely worth it! Using a pom-pom making I got for cheap off of Amazon made it a little easier and faster, but you can do it with just your hands or a piece of cardboard too.

Once done, just divvy up the balls and go at it!

Wet-on-Wet Watercolor Painting

I had never done this type of painting until I found it while researching Waldorf education, where it is über popular.

You just take some watercolor paper, soak it in water for about 10 minutes, then lay it flat on a painting board and go to town with painting.

I like to just give my kids 1-3 colors at a time, and I only give them primary colors (blue, red, yellow). By limiting the color choice they have, they will naturally learn how just a few colors can blend together to make many other colors! So fun.

Even my 2-year-olds paint with us and have been since about 18-20ish months. For them, I just give them each one color to play with.

When you put watercolor on wet paper is moves around and makes cool patterns. Easy and fun.

I love this tutorial from Sundays with Sarah on YouTube.

Bake or Cook Together

Even if your kids are still pretty small they can help in the kitchen.

My 5-year-old can make popcorn from scratch in the air popper, toast for herself and her brothers with butter and honey, and she even cuts up fruit herself.

The 2-year-olds have started learning to cut with safe crinkle cutters. Their skills are pretty rough, but it’s a start.

Winter is such a great time for baking because the warm oven heats up the house and the scents are so cozy and welcoming. Talk about embracing some hygge this winter. This is an essential indoor activity for kids.

My favorite things to make with my kids are pancakes and cookies, though I want to start baking bread with them and even churning out own butter in small churns.

Build a Fort

I still vividly remember gathering up all the blankets from my home when I was a kid and building my own personal fort during one, particularly snowy winter season.

Just like with the indoor pillow fight, this simple activity is fun for parents too. How long has it been since you made a fort?

I know for me, it had been years until I remembered this time-honored tradition and showed my daughter how to do it.

You can go old fashioned and just grab whatever is around the house, or you can get all fancy with a fort making kit from Amazon. Another option to really splurge is to invest in some giant playsilks you can use.

Create Sensory Bins

My kids love love love sensory bins. I mean, who wouldn’t?

I went over all the details on sensory bins in this post, but to cut to the chase, you fill a bin or box with some sort of filler like rice, oatmeal, beans. Then you add in various items and let the kids go to town with their hands or tools like scoopers.

For example, around Halloween I created sensory bins filled with rice and bunch of skulls, bats, and pumpkins I got at the dollar store.

They will keep kids entertained for soooo long, but one piece of warning… they get messy. So have the vacuum on hand.

What do you think, mama? Will you try one of these? Which of these indoor winter activities for kids makes your must-do list? Share in the comments.

28 Best Mom Hacks that Real Moms Swear By

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Stomach Bug? Try a Smoothie for Flu that’s Toddler Approved

Stomach Bug? Try a Smoothie for Flu that’s Toddler Approved

Need to get some nutrition in your little one ASAP when they have a stomach bug? Try a smoothie for flu that is delicious AND nutritious.

A few years ago, when my daughter who was then a toddler had the stomach flu, I jotted down this post to give other moms some ideas of what to feed their sick little ones. This smoothie for flu symptoms worked really well for my daughter then and might help you get through this flu season.

(Just a quick heads up that this post contains affiliate links, meaning if you purchase something I recommend then I get a small commission at no extra cost to you.)

Fair warning. This post may get a little gross. But I’ve come to realize that is one thing motherhood is… gross.

Yes, there are those beautiful moments of cradling your sleeping child and feeling like everything in the world is right.

Then, there are the times you’re cleaning poop out of your bed.

Today, we’re talking about the latter. 

We are currently on day six of my toddler, Carolyn’s, first real stomach bug. Thankfully we have had no vomiting (fingers crossed it stays that way).

However, I’ve been up to my elbows in the nastiest poop with which I’ve had the pleasure of coming in contact. I keep expecting it to pass, and I haven’t been super concerned because she shows no signs of dehydration. Besides the occasional crankiness, she’s mostly been her normal self.

But I’ve reached the point where I feel I need to do something to help.

Google is my number one mommy tool (besides calling a doc when it warrants it). Unfortunately I got a ton of conflicting information on toddler tummy troubles.

What do you feed a child with a stomach virus?

The most recurring advice was to follow the B.R.A.T. diet for them. That stands for bananas, rice, applesauce and toast.

Supposedly these are easiest for an upset stomach to digest. Then, I read that this diet is too restrictive and that there’s not a lot of evidence that it helps at all, or parents stick with it too long. In fact, some sources pointed said it is better to try to give your kid a more rounded diet to keep them well-fed, making it easier for them to recover from the illness. 

So, what’s a mommy to do?

Well I decided to kind of combine all this into a pretty simple strategy.

First, keep pushing the fluids on her. If breastfeeding, that’s a great way to get fluids and nutrition to babies and toddlers, but water is also awesome.

Then I’ve come up with this smoothie concoction that includes some of the B.R.A.T. foods, probiotics, and some supplemental nutrition.

Of course, if your kid is sick, don’t just take my advice but call your pediatrician, please!

Smoothie for flu symptoms

Honestly, I totally eyeballed the ingredients, but I will try to give you an idea of measurements as well as why I chose each ingredient.

Once you have your ingredients, just throw them in the blender and liquefy! 

1 Banana – This is recommended as part of the B.R.A.T. diet

1/2 cup organic vanilla greek yogurt – You could really use any kind of yogurt you like, but this is our favorite. I added this because she loves yogurt and because it contains probiotics to help with digestion.

1/2 cup applesauce – Another food recommended in the B.R.A.T. diet

1/2 cup of white grape juice – I saw this recommended as an alternative to sports drinks or Pedialyte to help with hydration. 

1 tbsp Green Vibrance – There are a ton of different products you can use like this, but this is the brand I like and have been using for years. It’s basically green drink in a powder, lots of superfoods in powder form. I add this to give her a little extra something in her diet. 

Let me know how you and your little one like this recipe for a smoothie for flu in the comments below!

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Steal These Gift Ideas. My Kids Christmas List This Year.

Steal These Gift Ideas. My Kids Christmas List This Year.

Feeling overwhelmed with filling out your kids Christmas list this year? Use my list for my 2-year-olds and 5-year-old as inspiration

Despite my best attempts to keep things to a minimum when writing my kids Christmas list, I went a little overboard with Christmas the last two years. When you’re a parent, it’s easy to overspend on your kids Christmas list.

If you have the resources, then go ahead and stack those presents ceiling high for Christmas morning if that gives you and your kids the most magical day.

But for me, I have been working hard at cultivating a minimalist lifestyle that involves minimal waste and also learning to live with less. I’ve been learning that abundance sometimes is born out of restriction and making do with less.

For example, my kids have been playing with the same core group of toys everyday for over a year now. I occasionally swap some of them out, but for the most part, they are good with what they have and do not NEED any more toys.

I’m no Grinch though. There will be toys under the tree, but I’ve done my best to be thoughtful about the process. So I’ll share that thought process behind my kids Christmas list this year.

My attempts at the four Christmas gifts idea

By now you might have heard of the four Chirstmas gifts rule?

It’s super easy to learn and remember. Each child receives four gifts, and they are:

  • Something they want
  • Something they need
  • Something to wear
  • Something to read

This rule is über popular among the minimalist mom community. The rhyming scheme gives it some fun and flair. It’s practical but still fun. It’s enough for children to get that good old fashioned Christmas morning experience without breaking the bank.

Following this rule was my goal for this Christmas, and I both succeeded AND failed at it.

I did keep our kids Christmas list down to mostly 4 items per child, and then 2 items that they all share. BUT I didn’t follow the cute rhyming scheme.

Instead, each kid got 3 toys and 1 item to wear.

I did cheat a little and I also got them all one of the same gift, and one gift for them all to share.

So, what were the items I chose for our kids? Here’s a rundown.

For my 5-year-old daughter

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

This is one of the gifts my daughter requested for Christmas, and so it had to go on the kids Christmas list. We went to Disney World this year, and so Mickey is still on the brain. She love imaginative play and playing pretend. I know she’ll use this not just to play pretend with Mickey, but all of her little toys. She likes to mix and match all her favorites. 

Catboy Cup

I got this super cool PJ Masks cup for my daughter last year and it broke! But for a $6 plastic cup, I didn’t expect longevity. So I decided to replace it this year because she loved it so much. 

Elsa Shoes

My daughter fell in love with these at Target and quickly added them to her Christmas list. This and the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse are the only two items she actually asked for this year. She’s easily pleased. For her birthday she literally only asked for one thing, and I complied! Why heap stuff on them they didn’t even ask for?

Our Generation Doll

almost sprung for the American Girl doll, but the one I really wanted for my daughter was like $200 and I just couldn’t bit the bullet on that one. So instead I opted for this much more affordable doll from Target that still looks like my daughter with curly hair and dark brown eyes. She did NOT ask for a doll, but I wanted to choose something for her that would be a surprise. Plus, she loves dolls in general, but doesn’t have one of this style.

For my 2-year-old boys

Animals

My boys looove animals. I had bought them a bucket of a bunch of them, but they turned out to be pretty low quality with the paint not even really put on properly. So I decided to get them some higher quality animals for Christmas. This was a must-have kids Christmas list item for our 2-year-olds. I decided on the farm animals and safari set.

Stacking Toys

I try to keep any new toys I get for the little ones to be as educational as possible, but still super fun. So I decided to get them some new and more advanced stacking toys that will challenge them but still be totally fun. The bottom one is extra awesome as it spins, plus they love rockets!

A Doll

After I got my daughter her doll I realized I needed one more item for the boys. So I figured I’d just get them a doll too, and  I was so excited to find this adorable little guy for each of them! I think he’s the perfect doll for little boys.  A week or so ago I was reading them a book about babies and they loved pretending to feed the little baby in the book, so I think these will be a big hit for them!

Rain suits

A friend of mine has Oaki these rain suits for her boys, and I think they are so perfect for outside play when the weather isn’t the best. I decided months ago to add them to our kids Christmas list. You can use them when its wet and rainy, or bundle up underneath and use them as a waterproof later in the snow! I got them a size up so they will last a long time and have plenty of room for bundled layers.

For ALL the kids

Melissa and Doug Easel

My kids all love to draw, color, and play with letters. So these easels were a no brainer for the kids Christmas list when I saw them on sale on Amazon. I got one for each of them so there will be no fighting! (though somehow I’m sure they’ll manage to)

Train Table

This was the big splurge on the kids Christmas list this year! Last year we also got them all one large item to share, which was a kitchen. This year the train table seemed the best call, and something all three kids could get use out of. I’m super excited to see if they love it!

What do you think of our kids Christmas list this year? What’s on your list? Let me know below in the comments!

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3 Keys to Create a Daily Routine with Kids for Less Stress

3 Keys to Create a Daily Routine with Kids for Less Stress

I used to fly by the seat of my pants. No schedule, no rhythm, no routine. But when I switched to a consistent daily routine with kids, my life got so much easier.

Any seasoned mom will tell you a daily routine with kids is really important. I had a somewhat loose routine that I followed when it was just me and my firstborn, but it wasn’t until my twins reached toddlerhood that the need for a consistent daily routine was clear.

The thing is, the routine wasn’t just for the kids, it was actually mostly for me as a way to keep my sanity intact with three wildlings 4 and under running amuck.

I was so stressed out.

I felt like I was untethered. Like I was just being blown about by the winds of parenting without any structure to my life.

We had kind of loose rhythms that we followed. Basically we woke up, napped, and went to bed about the same time every day. But besides that? It was all up in the air.

Sure, the scheduled activities like swim class or ballet class were consistent, but even something as simple as dinnertime varied from day-to-day.

Before having kids, the idea of a schedule or daily routine seemed so confining and boring! I even kind of made fun of the idea in my mind when I first had a kid. I thought those moms who had strict schedules were kind of… well… over the top. It all just seemed so unnecessary.

Whenever I tried to implement a more consistent routine, my daughter, the consummate free spirit, would throw a fit, and I let that deter me. I just went with the flow and the path of least resistance.

Sometimes that works in motherhood, and other times you have to just push through your child’s resistance because on the other side is a much happier life for the entire family.

My current daily routine with kids is still pretty fresh, and I’m still working to flesh out what works the best for us as well as continue to add new pieces to test them. But after some initial rebellion over a more structured day, we have settled into a much more peaceful existence. (As much as that is possible with two 2-year-olds and a 4-year-old. Thoughts and prayers are welcome. lol.)

The Daily Routine with Kids that’s Working for Us Now.

The first thing to note about our daily routine. I do not put times on our routine. This is for a few reasons.

Each day we might have a slightly different schedule due to different activities, appointments or lessons that we have scheduled outside the home. So instead of having different schedules or routines based on what we are doing which day, I just have the daily routine with kids set up in a way that allows us to just cut an element short or skip it entirely if need be.

I think of our routine in three main blocks. The morning, afternoon, and evening. For the most part, each block begins with a meal, except breakfast which begins with the normal waking up tasks like brushing teeth and getting dressed.

My kids love food, and making sure they have full bellies ensures the next parts of the routine go smoothly and aren’t interrupted by too many snack requests.

I also incorporate small circle times and lessons for my kids. We “homeschool.” I put that in quotes because my kids aren’t in school yet. My eldest won’t be in kindergarten until next year, but I wanted to begin to instill the habits we will need for homeschooling now.

Without further ado, here is our daily routine:

  • Wake up
  • Get dressed
  • Brush teeth
  • Have breakfast
  • Daily list of chores/lessons (really basic list for my older child)
  • Circle time, reading time, and any lessons/crafts/projects we are working on
  • Playtime
  • Snack
  • Naptime
  • Lunch
  • Outdoor Play/Walk
  • Snack
  • Playtime
  • Dinner
  • Get ready for bed
  • Relaxing play (no TV’s, quiet time)
  • Small snack if they need it
  • Bedtime for Twins (daughter usually plays for about an hour longer than the twins before going to bed)

3 keys to keep in mind when creating your routine.

Let’s get into the three things that are most important to creating a daily routine with kids that will actually be helpful and not stressful. In the past, I’ve tried to implement routines that just turned into a hot mess, and other times it was like a charm.

These three keys will help you craft and implement a rhythm in your day that gives a sense of calm and peace that is kind of magical if you can nail this daily routine with kids.

1. Follow your child’s/children’s lead

This is so important! The biggest reason for my attempts at having a routine or schedule before this was because I was basically imposing a pseudo-arbitrary routine on my kid/s that didn’t really fit for them.

Whenever I try to force too much onto my kids and pull them outside of their natures it doesn’t work out well.

The ideal way to structure your day is to be super observant of your children. Watch for their cues. Are there times when they get extra cranky? Is it because they are hungry? Tired? Overstimulated?

That is why I focus on creating rhythms and routines instead of schedules.

I try to see what my kids are naturally doing and maybe just nudge them here and there.

I also love following the Waldorf idea of thinking of your day as in and out-breaths. Children (and adults too) need time to be calm, chill, relaxed, introspective, thoughtful, creative, and then time to blow off steam, play, run, jump, sing, and dance.

The daily routines should reflex the natural in and out-breaths of the child/ren, and yourself.

2. Consistency + Flexibility

I can be so tempting to backslide into chaos.

Truly creating new habits and routines can be really hard at first, especially for tiny ones who don’t even really grasp the concept of times and schedules yet.

Being consistent is so important when you first start implementing a daily routine with kids.

As much as kids might be independent and want to do things the way they want without being told by a grown-up, they actually thrive with some amount of structure and routine.

When my daughter asks what day it is and I answer “Friday,” she then asks, “But what does that mean?

She doesn’t yet associate days of the week with specific activities. Instead, she knows that certain activities follow others. So she might not know that she has swim on Mondays, music on Tuesdays, and ballet on Wednesday, but she does know that the day after swim is music and the day after that is ballet.

See what I mean?

This is why routines are so important. They give kids cues about what happens next in their lives so the transition between things on the agenda can be smoother.

Ironically the other aspect of creating your daily routine with kids is to also be flexible.

First, they’re kids. Meltdowns happen, colds happen, shit (literally) happens.

But also you want to give them the space to explore. So if for example, my kids are deep into some amazing playtime then I am more than willing to delay the next step in the routine as long as possible. Or if my kids are just miserable one day and we need a change of pace, I’ll swap playtime for a walk or a trip to the local petting zoo to get some new energy going.

I don’t stick to the routine no matter what just because it’s the routine.

The routine is there to provide some structure, and in general, you want to be consistent, but you also have to look at what it’s happening in front of you at the time and make a game-time decision sometimes.

3. Don’t forget your own needs too

When I crafted my first routine with the kids, it was our morning routine, and I made the decision that I would do it with my own needs in mind first.

So often we put our own self-care on the backburner because well… #momminainteasy. But if you can actually put your self-care into your daily routine with kids, it will ensure that you are taken care of too.

My morning routine (and daily routine) is constantly evolving, but in all iterations, I ensure the first thing I do (assuming there’s not a diaper explosion or sibling fight happening) is something for myself.

For example, when I wake up in the morning now, I get myself dressed, teeth brushed and ready for the day. Then I get all the kids downstairs, take my vitamins, drink a big glass of water, and get water on the stove to make my tea.

Once those basic necessities are done for myself, I then tend to the children barring any emergencies that might come up. Most time though, the kids are happy to play quietly first thing in the morning while I take care of myself.

Before I would spend all day in pajamas and if we needed to leave the house for something I would just throw on clothes quickly and do one of those superfast tooth brushings while dumping some coffee in a to-go mug. If I didn’t take care of myself first, it wouldn’t get done or just barely get done.

I have taken this approach with our entire schedule too.

Within the big routine, I shared above are tiny routines. I used to just throw together something for the kids to eat at mealtimes and let them chow down while I catch up on my email or some other not so important task.

Our new routine is that I actually fix myself a plate and sit down and eat with my kids. Not only does this help them focus on their meals more, but it’s also a real break for me. I get to sit down and have a yummy (and hot!) meal with my kids. It’s super rewarded and nourishing to my soul.

So please please please. Don’t ONLY think of the kids. Make sure you are taking your own needs and priorities into account when crafting your daily routine with kids.

Creating a daily routine with kids can ease a lot of the stress that comes along with momlife, but it should be done in a thoughtful way that works for you and your children.

I’ve seen tons of posts on Pinterest with various moms claiming to have the perfect daily routine for kids that will work every time. But I’m just gonna say I don’t buy it. All kids are different, all families are different, and all moms are different.

Some kids are cranky AF if they don’t get to sleep by 7pm, and others are happy to party all night. Some kids still take two naps a day and some are taking none. Some moms like to go out and extroverted, and some would rather just be homebodies chilling with the kids.

Do what works for your family.

These keys should help you create a daily routine with kids that DOES work for you, and honors the needs of you and your kids too.

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How to Survive Disney World with Toddlers

How to Survive Disney World with Toddlers

Some people might think I’m a few bricks short of a load for deciding to go to Disney World with Toddlers. That’s toddlers plural, not a single toddler, but somehow I made the trek with my twin toddlers and preschooler, and we survived! (and loved it)

Before I just hopped in the car and headed to Florida, I did some serious planning to help ease the stress of Disney World with toddlers. But inevitably, there were some stumbling blocks along the way. Learn from my mistakes so you don’t run into the same pitfalls.

These are my favorite tips that I found in both the planning process and ALSO learned the hard way.

 

Stick to Your Routine

You are already going to be contending with a lot on a big vacation, whether that’s at Disney World with toddlers or even a simple trip to the local zoo. So do your best to make sure your kids are well-fed and well-rested, which means stick to their routines and schedules as much as possible.

The toughest part of toddler routines is that as they grow and develop their routine or schedule might a bit out of whack already, but do your best.

My twins follow the rough routine of waking up around 6 am then we play, eat, play some more, perhaps run errands or go out for a play date, and then nap happens around 11 am. By 2 pm they are back up and ready to eat then play, play, play before dinner time around 5 pm and bedtime at 7 pm.

I was sure to schedule as much as I could during the time periods throughout the day that I knew they would be the happiest, which is first thing in the morning and about an hour after their nap.

I did push their schedules and routines around a little bit when absolutely necessary, but we did our best and it helped a ton. We had very few meltdowns from the toddlers. (the preschooler is another story)

While we took the toddlers back to our room for naps and quiet time in the afternoon, you can also plan for stroller naps if that works for you. Traveling Mom has some great tips on getting your kids to nap at Disney World.

 

Go Early and Late to Beat the Heat and the Crowds

There are two major drawbacks to Disney World with toddlers, or even just as an adult.

Heat and crowds!

The best way to beat both is to get to the parks as early as possible, and then be there later in the day too.

When we were there in September it was so hot! I mean ridiculously hot, as in 97 degrees. After just a few minutes outside, I was dripping literally with sweat. I have never in my life sweated as much as I did that week.

My kids and I all get super hot and red really easily. So my plan was to keep us out of the heat as much as humanly possible without sacrificing our awesome time.

Beyond working around the kids’ routines, I also scheduled our time at the parks and events so that we were out during the coolest periods of the day, the morning and evening.

My toddlers already wake up super early, at 6 am and sometimes even earlier. So I just made sure to get everyone up and ready at that time so we could start our day right away.

Besides being a bit cooler, there are also lower crowds first thing in the morning. Getting there at “rope drop” or close to it will help you get in some park time before the heaviest crowds.

It seems like around 10 am – 11 am is when more people start showing up.

We tried to be out of the parks by around noon so we could spend those hot and crowded hours back at the room resting, napping, or swimming in the pool.

Then around dinner time, we would head back to the parks when the heat wasn’t quite so oppressive.

Know What to Pack (and What NOT to Pack)

Real quick, before we get into what to pack, let’s make sure you’re packing them into the right stroller. (and yes you absolutely need a stroller if you have toddlers)

Not ALL strollers are allowed at Disney. According to the most recent rules as this post goes live “strollers should be no larger than 31” (79 cm) wide and 52” (132cm) long when measured across the widest and longest points.” (be sure to double-check the Disney website before you in case this changes)

All wagon strollers are prohibited no matter the size.

Smoking and vaping are also NOT allowed in any of the parks, and only in designated areas outside the gates.

Disney also does not allow loose ice or dry ice in the parks. If you need to keep anything cool, use cool packs. I love these little penguin packs that fit perfecting into most diaper bag cooler areas.

So what should you pack? This will depend a little on what your kids’ needs are, but here is what we packed.

In the diaper bag:

  • Diapers (duh)
  • Wipes in the side wipe pouch, plus an extra pack in the big compartment
  • One change of clothes for each kid
  • Children’s Tylenol
  • Bug Spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Rain cover for stroller
  • Umbrella
  • A small blanket to lay on the ground for parade
  • Hand sanitizer and Wet Ones
  • A bag of little toys like these to keep kids entertained in lines or at restaurants
  • Bubbles also to keep kids entertained as needed
  • Glow sticks in a failed attempt to keep them from wanting light-up souvenir toys
  • A phone charger
  • Body glide to prevent chaffing (no thigh gap problems…)

We also packed a small cooler bag (like those lunch-sized ones), and in there I kept a few reusable snack bags of goldfish or other crackers, one granola bar per kid, and then also a few yogurt tubes per kid. We were on the dining plan so I didn’t need a ton of food for the kids, but definitely something for in a pinch.

Snacks are always key to surviving anywhere, but especially Disney World with toddlers.

I also had a little tote that I stuck our baby carriers in. Although we had the stroller, sometimes a grumpy toddler needed to be carried, so we had our trusty Tulas just in case.

 

Be Flexible and Don’t Stress

This was the hardest thing for me at the beginning of our trip. I spent months and months planning this “perfect” family vacation, not to mention spent a small fortune. So I was a little too attached to making sure we did ALL THE THINGS.

But of course, all the things didn’t happen. And you know what? We had an awesome time, and sometimes it worked for the better!

Like when we missed a fastpass (this is like a free pass to skip the line on a ride), but instead ran into Aladdin fulfilling my daughter’s dream of meeting him!

Or how instead of pushing my family to get up at the crack of dawn to hit Toy Story without any lines, we scrapped those plans to sleep in and instead get last-minute reservations for a character brunch that turned out to be one of our favs! Sometimes the things that go “wrong” are the best part.

There were some super unsavory mishaps, like my one toddler literally puking in the stroller every single day except for one! He has a weak gag reflex and stomach… the poor kid is just a puker. The heat and all the yummy treats just pushed him over the edge no matter how much we tried to prevent it. By midway through the trip all we could do was laugh and pull out the extra wipes.

Know Where the Baby Care Centers Are

These are hidden gems and must-know for going to Disney World with toddlers! In all of the parks, they have a baby care center.

Inside there are rooms with high chairs, rocking chairs, TV’s with movies playing, a kitchen, bathroom, changing tables, and necessities for purchase like diapers or formula if you run out. It’s also a great place to pump if you need to, and of course you can nurse anywhere in the park, but if you want privacy, this is the place to do it!

Oh, and did I mention they are air-conditioned? It’s like HEAVEN after the heat outside.

My husband took the twins here while I was with my daughter getting her princess makeover, and it was super easy for him to tend to not just one, but two toddlers there. Then we also found ourselves there after more than one puke incident.

The best and most important tip is to just enjoy. There will be a few meltdowns and things will not go exactly as planned, but that’s ok. That’s life. Have fun.

The truth is that it was an exhausting, but amazing trip. We made memories we will never forget, and somehow we survived Disney World with toddlers.

What about you? Any tips? Share them below in the comments!

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Things to Do With Toddlers to Beat Boredom

Things to Do With Toddlers to Beat Boredom

Running out of ideas of things to do with toddlers? Sometimes we get into a slump as kids grow and need to come up with new activities for toddlers as they grow.

These toddler and mom-approved things to do with toddlers at home will stimulate their developing bodies and brains so they will learn as they play (and mama can get a bit of peace too). Though we can’t vouch for the cleanliness of each activity… some of them might get a bit messy.

Sensory Bins

I have to admit, I was a little skeptical about these. I didn’t know if they would really hold my toddlers’ attention too long, but these babies are ingenious. Plus they are super awesome for baby and toddler development.

Most of our kids engage in plenty of sensory play by doing things like playing in sandbox or water table. Sensory bins are a way to bring the same concept inside and a fun thing to do with toddlers.

What is a sensory bin?

It’s a container you fill with materials and objects to stimulate your child’s senses, and many times the contents of the bin are a specific theme.

What do you fill a sensory bin with?

Basically, anything that is safe and fun for the child. You can get as creative as you want. Typically though, it is filled with a material like sand, rice, small rocks, beads, or some sort of fine material kids can scoop and run through their hands.

Once the box is filled with something like sand or rocks, you add other objects, usually with a theme, to add contrast and interest to the bin.

So, for example, you might start with sand and then add seashells and other nautical themed objects like a mermaid or ocean diver for kids to play within the sand.

Since this is a sensory box, you can also go the extra mile and add scents to the bin with something like child-friendly like a few drops of essential oils (lavender is usually a safe bet, but do your own research).

Why is sensory play important for development?

The senses are how we explore our world and learn, and this is even more true for babies and toddlers who are just starting to tune in to the world around them. According to experts, it can help build nerve connections in the brain, encourage motor skills, encourage problem-solving, and more!

Playsilks

Just like sensory bins, it took me seeing to believing in these incredibly simple toys. A lot of the homeschool and at-home preschool blogs and YouTube channels I watch recommend playsilks, but I just didn’t know if they’d be worth the investment and one of the things to do with toddlers we would love.

Playsilks that are actually made out of silk can get super pricey. So I decided to start out with a cheaper fabric to see if they were used before diving into a bigger investment. I now know they are totally worth the money, and I’ll be getting my kids real silk playsilks in more sizes, colors, and patterns for Christmas.

What are playsilks and how do you use them?

They are just pieces of fabric, generally silk, in a variety of colors and patterns.

Kids of all ages can play with them, and their uses will vary depending on the age and development of the children. My twin toddlers use them to play peekabo, or just run around letting them blow behind them like a kite, enjoying the feel of them.

My 4-year-old daughter will wear them as a cape, a baby blanket, and many children use them to create scenes for pretend play.

Go Outside

This is going to include a few ideas about what to do outside with the kids. I take them out basically any chance I can. Not only is the fresh air great for them, but it’s awesome for my well-being a mood too.

So many of us are vitamin D deficient because of where we live and not getting into the sun enough, since sunlight exposure is one of the ways we get our daily dose of vitamin D. Getting outdoors can be super helpful in ensuring that we are getting plenty, which can prevent tons of things, even depression.

Here are the ways I get my kids outside, besides just playing in the backyard.

Gardening

This goes hand-in-hand with the sensory play, but I have my kids help me with gardening as much as I can. My 4-year-old helps pull weeds, and while my twin toddlers don’t help, they still “help.”

Everyone gets a little exercise plus sun, and our landscaping looks a bit better plus we now have a small container vegetable garden!

Hiking

Shortly after I had my daughter, I found Hike it Baby, which is an amazing group to get you and the kids out of the house and into nature.

We try to get out to one hike or shorter walk a week, though sometimes we got a few times a week and then can’t make one for a month at a time. When we aren’t able to get out to the hikes, we at least all load up in the stroller and do a good family walk to two around our neighborhood.

(See below for my fav strollers for walking.)

Go Swimming

This is mostly just a summer activity, but you don’t need a pool to get some outdoor splashtime in. Unless you live in a huge city, chances are you can find a creek in your area that is suitable for your kids to do some wading.

My little Max likes to plop down at the edge of the creek and play with rocks. Most of the time I do this with our hiking group, but sometimes the hubby and I strap the twins on in our baby carriers and head out as a family to our favorite local swimming hole.

Cooking

My kids love to help with cooking. I wrote all about teaching your kids to cook here, and I can’t recommend it enough. There is a way to get all ages involved, even if it means it takes longer and is a bit messier.

There are so many benefits to teaching kids to cook, and the memories you have by your successful and failed attempts together are priceless.

Read to your toddlers

This sounds like such an obvious recommendation. We are inundated with the mandate to read to our kids, but the truth is that we didn’t for a long time.

Yeah, that makes me sound like a terrible mom, but the truth is that my kids just weren’t that interested. My daughter has only now that she is 4 years old became more interested in sitting down and reading a book together. She mostly just liked roughly turning pages without even looking at the pictures as a toddler.

So to be honest, it didn’t cross my mind for a while that my twins might be different. But oh boy they are different.

From about 18 months old they have been OBSESSED with books. And they are actively engaged in them, not just randomly flipping pages and trying to destroy them as my daughter did. So when I need to find things to do with toddlers, this is one of my go-to’s to pass a bit of time.

I wish I would have made more of a point of reading to them a little earlier because of their obvious fascination with books, but I don’t regret NOT reading to my daughter more. She is quite precocious with her language and is already teaching herself to read. It just wasn’t her thing, while it IS my twin’s thing.

So this is a friendly reminder to give the reading to your kids another shot if they previously didn’t enjoy it. You never know.

Open the Kitchen Cabinets

My kids, like most kids, play with the most random stuff.

They love to pull out the tupperware lids and run around playing peekabo with them. My one twin had a month when he was completely enraptured by the butterfly cookie cutter he found in one lower cabinet.

The world is fascinating to a baby just starting to explore. What we find to be mundane is magic to them.

So go ahead and let their imaginations run wild with whatever safe random stuff you have around your house. Let them dive into a junk drawer or that baking drawer you never get around to using because you just end up making boxed stuff anyway.

One on hand, toddlers are hard to keep entertained for too long, but if you find the right activities, they will stay focused and have fun for hours!

Test out these things to do with toddlers, and let us know if they helped!

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28 Best Mom Hacks that Real Moms Swear By

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