Monday, July 16, 2018

Paper Plate Frog for Summer Crafting

During summer, kids are anxious to go outdoors to observe nature. Most children have seen a frog picture in books, but have they seen a real frog in its habitat? Your child will flip over this fun frog craft made with simple materials at home. It can even be manipulated like a puppet so the kiddos can make plenty of “ribbit” sounds with their frog project. Frogs are a perfect theme to get the youngsters thinking of the outdoors and participating in frog-acting games like leap frog and lily pad leapers. You’ll all have a hoppin’ good time!
  • Paper plate
  • Green paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Construction paper
  • Cotton balls or pom-poms
  • Heavy-duty glue
  • Wiggly eyes (optional)

Step 1 – Prepare your work area for messy art. Your child will be painting and gluing with this craft, so spread newspapers on the table and floor. Wearing a smock or adult tee shirt will help protect your child’s clothing.
Step 2 – Invite your child to paint both sides of a paper plate (the paper kind, not a foam one) with green paint. Set this aside to dry.
Step 3 –In the meantime, draw and cut out four green legs from construction paper and a red forked tongue. Cutting on the lines of these shapes help to develop scissor skills in young children. The very youngest may need your help.
Step 4 – When the paper plate is dry, fold it in half. This makes the frog’s head/face and mouth.
Step 5 – Glue the four legs inside the folded area – one on each side and two at the bottom. Glue a red tongue inside the mouth.
Step 6 – On top of the folded plate is the frog’s head and face. Find two cotton balls or pom-poms and glue these as the frog’s eyeballs. You can then glue on round wiggly eyes in the middle of the balls or as a variation use a hole punch and make two small black circles from construction paper.
Step 7 – After all the parts are dry, the frog puppet is now ready to manipulate. Your child can use his hand to hold the frog puppet and move the mouth to open and close.
Think about using this frog puppet to enhance songs, rhymes, and just to imitate “froggie” sounds. As the saying goes, “It’s fun to be green if you know what I mean!”
Until next week,
Happy Parenting,
Tania :)
Photo courtesy of Tania Cowling, all rights reserved 

Monday, July 2, 2018

Ice Cream Cone Craft for Summer

Summer is the perfect time to discuss all the dairy products you eat and enjoy. Your children may even want to say “thank you” to the cows for all the good dairy foods we eat, including ice cream. What child (and adults) doesn't love ice cream?  As part of this seasonal celebration make this simple cut and paste craft with your family. Build an ice cream cone along with the toppings for a cool and refreshing craft.

  • Heavy-duty paper or card stock
  • Construction paper
  • Safety scissors
  • Pencil
  • Brown marker
  • Glue
  • Candy sprinkles
  • Sliced nuts

Step 1 – Prepare your work surface for cutting and pasting with this project. Newspaper on the tabletop and on the floor will work well to catch drips and excess candy sprinkles. Clean up will be a breeze if you prepare ahead of time.
Step 2 – Draw a cone shape on light brown construction paper. It’s a triangle shape. If you don’t have the paper, try using a piece of a paper grocery bag. Set this aside.
Step 3 – Next, invite your child to choose the colors for the ice cream scoops. Talk about the different flavors of ice cream and the colors they possess. Draw semi-circle shapes and cut at least two scoops. You may want a triple decker-cone with three scoops.
Step 4 – With all the shapes drawn and cut out, start building your ice cream cone. Begin by gluing the cone shape at the bottom of your background sheet of heavy-duty construction paper or card stock.
Step 5 – Next, glue on each ice cream scoop, having the bottom the largest and each additional scoop just a tad smaller.
Step 6 – Take a brown marker and draw criss-cross lines across the triangle so it looks like a real waffle-type ice cream cone.
Step 7 – Now comes the fun part. – it’s time to glue on the candy sprinkles and sliced nuts. Let your child choose among what you have in the kitchen pantry to decorate their ice cream. Spread on glue and shake the sprinkles on top. Once it dries, you can shake off the excess in the garbage can or onto a sheet of newspaper that can be discarded.
Praise your child for his efforts on making this yummy ice cream cone craft for summer fun. Make this a teachable moment by discussing all the other dairy products you use in your home. And why not create an edible ice cream delight to enjoy with your child today? So cool and yummy!
Happy Parenting,
Tania :)

Photo courtesy of Tania Cowling, all rights reserved
Originally published on Holidays Helper, Peku Publications 

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Diploma Craft for Your Little Graduate

Whether your child is graduating from preschool or kindergarten, it’s time for big dreams and next steps. A diploma is the official certificate that your youngster has made it to the next level of education – it’s a notable memory. This craft is not a true diploma, but a chance for your little graduate to draw and color a self-portrait and present it in diploma style. There are a couple ways to create this project, so choose your art mediums and let’s get started.
  • White copy paper
  • Crayons, markers, or watercolors
  • Thin ribbon
  • Computer (optional)
  • Paintbrush (optional)

Step 1 – This craft is not really messy, but you may want to cover your tabletop with newspaper. Young children sometimes color outside the lines and may mark your table on accident.
Step 2 – On a clean sheet of white copy paper your child will color a picture of a graduate. This can be a printed black line copy made with your computer or a self-portrait created by your child.  There are websites that offer coloring pages for graduation (see below). These are only two of the many coloring pages sites you can find online.  For a more creative project, have your kiddo draw and color a self-portrait of him or her on graduation day, wearing a gown and mortarboard graduation cap.
Step 3 – Invite the child to use crayons, markers, or even paint with watercolors. Let this page dry thoroughly before the next step.
Step 4 – Carefully roll the paper into a small circular tube.
Step 5 – Tie the diploma roll with a length of thin ribbon. Any color is acceptable, or you could use the shade that coordinates with your school’s colors.
Step 6 – Role-play and present this diploma craft to your child in a mock commencement ceremony.
A couple websites with graduate coloring sheets:
Congratulations to your child, Happy Parenting,
Photo courtesy of Tania Cowling, all rights reserved

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Umbrella Art for Rainy Days

During spring rain showers occur frequently. We sure have had our share in Florida lately. As you discuss rainy weather with your youngsters, talk about what they wear while walking in the drizzling precipitation. While the kiddos answer raincoats and boots, talk about umbrellas as well. This cut, paste, and print craft design envisions a child hiding behind a big umbrella and all you can see is the child’s rain boots. After they finish cutting and gluing all the pieces, bring out some blue paint for some raindrop printing. What fun!
  • Card stock or construction paper
  • Fancy paper, such as gift wrap or scrapbook paper
  • Black construction paper
  • Blue poster paint
  • Paper plate
  • School glue
  • Safety scissors
  • Black marker

Step 1 – Cover your work surfaces with newspaper to prevent marring your furniture or messing your floor with glue and paint. You may want to dress your child in a paint smock to protect clothing.
Step 2 – Choose a fancy paper for the umbrella. Think about stripes, dots, or a cute design that can be found on gift wrap or scrapbook paper.
Step 3 – With a pencil or marker, draw a large umbrella (about 8-inches in diameter) onto the print paper. Invite your child to cut on the lines to create this shape. Very young children may need your help with this step.
Step 4 – Draw and cut out a pair of rain boots from black construction paper.
Step 5 – Take the umbrella and boots and have your child glue them onto a background page. It’s best to use a pastel color where the upcoming raindrops will show up nicely.
Step 6 – Mom may want to take a black marker and draw lines (to the points) making this umbrella look real on the page.
Step 7 – After the shapes have dried, it’s time to create raindrops.  Place a dollop of blue poster paint onto a small paper plate. Show your child how to dip his pointer finger into the paint and make a print on the paper plate for practice. After he gets the hang of this technique, have him make numerous raindrop prints randomly on the page around the umbrella.
Praise your youngster for her artwork and hang it in the house where all the family can see it. Talk about how an umbrella can protect a person from getting wet during rain showers. Crafting can be a time of bonding and there are many teachable moments while you work together.
If you like what you see, please subscribe to this blog. Are you looking for a specific craft? Product review? Parenting tips? Shoot me an email to: and I will try to help you in future posts.

Until next time. Happy Parenting.

Photo courtesy of Tania Cowling, all rights reserved

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Rainy Days and Mondays: Toys Kids Enjoy

As summer vacation rolls in, so does the rain and heat. There are just some days where your kids can’t go outdoors and play. The kiddos then get bored and can’t think of what to do next. So, this is the time to keep some new toys in your arsenal for fun. Here are a few of my favorite new top finds.

If you are looking for some experiment-type activities that also integrates STEM learning check out these two kits from Horizon Group USA. I like this type play that become teachable moments. 

Discovery Quick Sand
MSRP: $5.00
Age Recommendation: 6+
Experiment with non-Newtonian fluids by creating your own Quick Sand! Make swirling, slimy sand that glows in the dark. Real quicksand in nature acts as a liquid when it is agitated, which causes you to sink. With your homemade quicksand, solid objects will slowly get swallowed up! Try placing a small object on your quicksand and watch it sink.
Available at Michaels, Bed Bath & Beyond
Discovery Rainbow Putty
MSRP: $5.00
Age Recommendation:  6+
Product Description: Experiment with polymers and create your own Rainbow Putty! Polymers are long strings of molecules, and they all act differently. Some can be hard, some slimy and runny, and others rubbery and bouncy. Your Rainbow Putty is a bouncy polymer. Make, bounce, and stretch your putty! Combine as many colors as you like to make rainbow swirl!
Available at Michaels, Bed Bath & Beyond

For the younger kids, VTech provides fun toys that teach skills. If you have an animal lover, like my Matthew, check out this toy.

GearZooz™ GearBuddies Lion & Mouse™
               Go for a friendly spin with the GearZooz™ GearBuddies Lion & Mouse™.
               Kids can connect the Smart Gear™ mouse and turn the handle to watch the gears spin. Placing the mouse on the lion’s back triggers fun phrases and stories. They can also turn the handle gear to hear a melody, then turn the handle faster and faster to speed up the melody.
               Press the light-up button to hear fun stories, or roll the lion to hear playful sing-along songs.
               Then, mix and match with other GearZooz™ playsets (sold separately) for more gear-rific fun!
                Ages 1½ - 4 years, $9.99

And last in my arsenal is from LeapFrog.

Tad's Fridge Phonics™
               Make learning the alphabet exciting with Tad’s Fridge Phonics™!
               This interactive toy introduces children to the letters of the alphabet and the sounds they make, helps build vocabulary and exercises fine motor skills.
               Kids can place one of the 26 musical letter tiles into the letter slot and press down for three modes of play that reinforce letter names, phonics and word skills.
               Three frames can be customized with personal photos and images for a unique, personalized play experience. And, with its magnetic base, it’s great for fridge play in the kitchen.
               Age 2 years+, $19.99

These are only a few of the many toys these companies provide. Check out their websites for more options.

Keep the summer fun (indoors and out) -- Happy Parenting,

I want to thank these companies for the opportunity to review their toys. I was not paid or coached to write this blog post. The information about the products was provided and these are my own opinions.

Photos courtesy of Tania Cowling, all rights reserved.
Graphics by  CC0 Creative Commons

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Dr. Jacobs Naturals -- Natural Soaps for the Family

Today, I would like to discuss the importance of going natural. I personally do not like chemicals of any kind. I don’t want to ingest them, smell them, or put them on my body. Remember your skin is the largest organ of the body and keeping it safe from chemicals is of utmost importance.

I recently had the opportunity to try Dr. Jacobs Naturals. I was given three castile soap products and I have to say, “I’m in love”! I found these soap products easy to use; they rinse off clean, and smell great. I’m also not a big fragrance person, but these products have light, desirable scents made with natural essential oils. A plus!

I enjoyed the Almond Honey for my daily routine – my favorite. BUT, the Peppermint gave me an invigorating lift in the morning. Dr. Jacobs Naturals also sells bar soaps (which some people prefer). I had the opportunity to test the Coco Loco Limeade (so fresh). These bars are also gentle castile soap, but with a loofah exfoliating experience.

Here is a list of what I like about Dr. Jacobs Naturals:
  • 100% natural ingredients; no preservatives or coloring
  • No synthetic fragrances
  • Non GMO
  • Paraben and Sulfate free
  • Gluten free (a must for people with Celiac disease)
  • No palm oil

The soaps are multipurpose; can be used as a body wash, shampoo, and even a shaving product. It can be used on the face and body.
  • Aloe Vera and vitamin E for moisture
  • Includes Shea butter
  • PETA approved
  • Vegan and Cruelty Free
  • Made in the USA

The products are packaged in attractive dispensers, some with easy to use pumps. There are a variety of scents to choose from. Check out this WEBSITE for more information and ordering.  

Trust me – you will love these products for the entire family. It feels good to do something healthy for the body and the environment.

Until next time – Happy Parenting,
I want to thank Dr. Jacobs Naturals for the opportunity to try their products. I was not paid or coached to write this blog post. The information about the products was provided and these are my own opinions.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

It’s Finally Time for Some Outdoor Play

Spring has finally come and the weather is now conducive for outdoor play.  It’s time for the kids to put down those digital games (not that they don’t have merit) and grab a toy to exercise those gross motor muscles on terra firma.
I’d like to introduce you to a couple toys from SwimWays (Aerobie). I’m sure your children will enjoy these games with friends and family.
Aerobie Pro Ring™

         For exhilarating flying disc games, the thin design of this flying ring allows the disc to travel longer distances and it features soft edges for comfortable catches.
      The open center allows each player to personalize their throwing and catching style – catch the edge with your hand or use the center to catch it with your arm or foot.
                This flying disc was used to set a Guinness World Record for the farthest throw, an amazing 1,333 feet (406 meters)!
                Aerobie Pro Ring measures 13 inches in diameter.
                Available in assorted colors and sold individually.
                Recommended Age: 12+
                MSRP: $9.99
Availability: Dick’s Sporting Goods,  REI, Academy, Olympia Sports, Amazon, Big 5, Meijer, Fred Meyer, Hobby Lobby, Scheels, and Dunham’s Sports

COOP Scatter Dodgeball™

        A fun twist on the classic game of dodgeball, each player begins with two wristbands of the same color.  At the beginning of each round, players form a circle around the dodgeball while one player rolls the dice. Any player who is wearing a wristband that matches the color face-up on the dice is the thrower and may pick up the dodgeball while the other players scatter.
                As the other players scatter, the thrower attempts to hit them with the dodgeball.  Players that get hit must surrender a wristband to the thrower. If the targeted player catches the ball, the thrower must surrender a wristband. 
                The first person to collect all the wristbands wins!
                Two to six players can play the game
        Each set includes: 1 foam dice, 1 dodgeball (durable, sting proof ball), 12 wristbands (2 of each color) and game instructions
                Recommended Age: 5+
                MSRP: $19.99
                Availability: Target, Amazon

Take a peek at these new spring/summer toys. I’m sure your kids will enjoy them.
Until next time! Happy Parenting,

I want to thank SwimWays Toys for the opportunity to view their products. I was not paid or coached to write this blog post. The information about the products was provided and these are my own opinions.

Photos courtesy of Tania Cowling and SwimWays, all rights reserved

Monday, April 9, 2018

Beat the Heat in the Pool With SwimWays Products

Yes, I know most of you are still battling snow and cold, but some of us (me in Florida) are beginning to envision fun in the sun. Everyone will enjoy this weather soon. Think about this---

Your kids can quench the “sizzle” of summer with water. So, whether you have a big swimming pool or wading pool; your kids can spend hours of fun and “beat the heat” this season. These wet and wild toys will make your outdoor time a splash hit!
SwimWays puts the FUN back in water toys and swim gear for kids! The company’s innovative water toys, ranging from water-activated transforming toys to licensed toys featuring kids’ favorite characters, will keep kids entertained all summer long. Here are a couple products to consider.

Featuring an all-new style, SquiDivers are soft and flexible learn to swim dive toys that wiggle and jiggle their way to the bottom of the pool, landing nose down. The soft, flexible tentacles float upright making these brightly-colored dive toys easy for kids to see and grab. Finger holes allow kids to place on finger tips for in or out of the pool fun

Great for every day swimming fun, for practicing underwater dive and retrieve skills during swim training practice, and as a pool party activity! New characters include shark, ray and fish.
Three SquiDivers are included in each pack. Recommended Age: 5+ MSRP: $7.99
Availability: Toys “R” Us (new style) and Target (current style) 

Funny Face Swim Goggles™  
Kids will love to express their personality at  the pool with these selfie-ready novelty swimming goggles, which add some fun to swim lessons and kids pool parties. The goggles feature an easy-button adjustable head strap, leak-resistant design and soft construction for a comfortable fit.

Available in 3 styles, sold separately: stars and stripes, soccer balls and butterflies. Recommended Age: 3+ MSRP: $7.99
Availability: Academy and
And while the big kids are playing in the pool, your baby can enjoy the water while safe in this fun product:

Baby Spring Float Activity Center™  

The Baby Spring Float Activity Center features an interactive play station with a rotating octopus character that holds 6 baby toys - squeaker fish, stacking rings, fish teether, and soft touch star.

Additional features include a removable sun canopy with UPF 50+ sun protection, see-through mesh sides on the canopy so baby can always be seen, fabric-covered inflation and a soft mesh seat with secure leg holes for durability and comfort, a wide base, child safety valves, and dual air chambers.

The float folds flat into three compact circles and a carry tote is included for easy portability Recommended Age: 9-24 months MSRP: $29.99 Availability: Toys R Us, Target, Amazon

I want to thank SwimWays Toys for the opportunity to view their products. I was not paid or coached to write this blog post. The information about the products was provided and these are my own opinions.

Photos courtesy of Tania Cowling and SwimWays, all rights reserved