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Moulin Roty Shadow Puppets Shake Up The Night

Darkness, a flashlight, a set of Moulin Roty Nighttime Shadow puppets and your imagination is all you need to shake up your night.  These laser cut shapes are attached wooden dowels and are used to cast intricate shadows onto a wall or other surface.  Bedtime stories have never been so much fun!  The Les Petit Merveilles line of shadow puppets includes several sets:

Turn out the lights, cozy up and prepare for the show!  Storytelling will never be the same again!  These shadow puppet sets sell for around $20 each.

Bedtime stories may never be the same thanks to Moulin Roty, the 40-year-old French toy company, that is casting a light on its Les Petit Merveilles line of Nighttime Shadow Puppets. Instead of reading from a storybook, parents and children use these majestic puppet sets with themes of Castles, Paris, Circus and Dinosaurs to create magical tales for sweet dreams! My client is Magicforest, a wonderful toy importer based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, which is celebrating its 10th year of business this year.

If you have ever made hand shadows on the wall or have seen shadows cast by a flashlight on a camping tent wall then you already have an idea of how shadow puppets work. Different than hand puppets or TV muppets, these intriguing works of art entice storytelling, hand coordination and serve as an outlet to express feelings. The Paris Shadows ($21) set shows the Eiffel Tower, airplane, moon and sleepwalker. The 9-piece Castle Shadows ($18.50) include a dragon, a fairy, royalty and a witch! If dinos are more your style, the Dinosaur Shadows ($18.50) pack of 10 puppets feature a stegosaurus, brachiosaurus and more prehistoric shapes!

Credit: MySweetMuffin

Sleepover Fun for Kids

Not sure how to keep kids busy at sleepovers? Check out the activities below that will keep them entertained for hours:

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Credit: Parenting

-       Beauty Makeover: Girls will love having a spa day. Let them paint their nails and do each other’s hair and makeup – limit the makeup to lip-gloss, eyeshadow and blush so that they can do it themselves. Once their makeovers are complete, take a photo-shoot of everyone’s makeovers and end the night with a relaxing facial mask. You can either purchase one or make your own by mixing a quarter of an avocado with one-tablespoon of plain yogurt. Spread the mixture onto their face with a sponge and wash the mask off after 15 minutes.

-       Foil Fashion Show: The object of the game is to create the best outfit out of aluminum foil. This game can be played individually or in teams, depending on how many players you have. Give each person 1 or 2 rolls of aluminum foil and let them create tops, pants, dresses and even accessories like belts, sunglasses and hats.

-       M&M Relay: This fun game is an energy-burning activity ideal for sleepovers. To play, fill two plastic bowls with equal amounts of M&Ms, set each one on a chair and place two small empty bowls on two other chairs about 10 or 15 feet away. Split the kids into two teams and give each player a straw. When the game starts, the first two kids run to the candy-filled bowl, pick up one M&M with their straw and run to their designated empty bowl to drop it off. The kids rotate players until all the M&Ms are gone. After the game is over let the kids use the M&Ms as toppings for an ice cream sundae.

-       Balloon Volleyball: This is simple yet tiring activity that kids will have a blast doing. Have players bat a balloon back and forth using all parts of their bodies, while keeping if from hitting the ground. To increase the difficulty, add more balloons for players to keep airborne.

Cooperative Board Games Keep the Peace & Encourage Team Work

Credit: Peaceable Kingdom

Tired of board games that leave your little ones in tears?  Peaceable Kingdom has created a line of fun cooperative games where all of the players come together to achieve a common goal.  They work together instead of against each other so no one feels left out.  Playing together and sharing decision making experiences helps children build self-esteem, learn to share, practice cooperation and learn to work as a team.  The games are similar to traditional board games with spinners, cards, moving tokens and strategizing.  All Peaceable Kingdom board games are made using sustainable materials including recycled paper, soy-based inks and corn-based plastics. The current line up of cooperative games includes:

  • Hoot Owl Hoot
  • Sunny Day Pond
  • The Great Cheese Chase
  • Buzz!
  • What’s it?
  • Stack UP
  • Say the Word
  • Noodle Speedoodle

Say goodbye to difficult games that cause stress and hello to fun games that build great social skills!

Indoor Activities for Rainy Days

Don’t let rainy weather dampen your kiddo’s spirits – with ideas below, being cooped up indoors isn’t so bad.

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Credit: www.kidsvancouver.com

Camp Inside: Who says camping has to be outdoors? Whether you want to set up a small tent or use sheets to build your own fort, kids will love having their own little space to play in. Deck it out with pillows, blankets and sleeping bags and your kids will have a blast playing board games, reading books or telling stories in their own private area.

Indoor Treasure Hunt: A hunt for treasure will most definitely keep your youngsters entertained. Make a set of clues for every player and try rhyming them for fun. Make each clue lead to the next one and, finally, to the treasure—it can be a stuffed animal, movie or chocolate coins. Seal the clues in envelopes and mark them with a clue number to help the treasure hunters keep track.

Rainy Day Tea Party: Have some fun dressing up with your little ones for a fancy “tea” party. Set the table with nice china, make tea for you and hot chocolate or apple cider for kids and egg or chicken salad sandwiches—use cookie cutters to make them fun shapes. Let your kids decide the guest list, which may include their favorite dolls and furry friends.

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Credit: Real Simple

Mini-Marshmallow Popping Contest: In this  homemade game, kids send marshmallows soaring with little balloon-catapults. To make them, knot the end of a balloon and snip off ½ inch from the top. Stretch the balloon over the cutoff end of a paper cup so that the knot is in the center (you’ll need to hold the balloon in place when you “pop” or secure it with a rubber band). Place a mini marshmallow into the cup so it fits snugly in the knotted center of the balloon and aim the cup, pull the knot back, release and send the marshmallow soaring. See who can pop marshmallows the farthest or get the most into a bowl.

Kid-Friendly Easter Activities

With Easter just a couple of weeks away, it’s time to start planning how you’re going to spend it. Check out the ideas listed below for some fun activities to make Easter a bit more exciting this year:

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Credit: Spoonful

-       Easter Bunny Photo Craft:  Turn your child’s face into a funny, framed art project with this Easter bunny photo craft. To make it, you’ll first need a mini frame – you can purchase one or cut it out of cardstock. Make ears by cutting a square of felt, folding it in half and cutting 2 ear shapes at the same time – do the same for the pink inner-ear part. Leave a bit of space at the bottom of the ears so you can attach them to the back of the frame. Then make the nose by cutting a small triangle shape of felt and glue three pom-poms on to it. Finish the frame by cutting a square for the teeth and gluing the teeth and pom-pom triangle to the bottom of the frame.

-       Treasure Hunt: What would Easter be without the traditional Easter Egg Hunt? Make the hunt a bit more interesting by hiding your youngster’s basket, too with this Easter Treasure Hunt. Start by numbering plastic eggs that hold clues leading to their basket. Hide the basket, then write a clue to its location, place it inside egg number 6 and hide it. Write the clue to the hiding place of egg number 6, and place it in egg number 5, and so on. Start the hunt by giving your child the first clue in egg number 1 when they get up Easter morning.

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Credit: Parenting

-       Easter Bunny Sock Puppet: This sock puppet craft is not only fun to make – you’re kiddos will also have a blast playing with their creations after. To make it, begin make a cut from the toe of a crew sock all the way to the beginning of the heel – make sure you cut through the center of the foot section so that you have two equal-sized ears. Turn the sock inside-out and use a whip stitch to stich the ears together. Then turn the socks right-side out, cut a nose out of pink felt and glue it on with tacky glue. Use felt, wiggly eyes or buttons for eyes and glue or stitch them into place.

Happy (Almost) April Fool’s Day

Not sure how to prank your kids this April Fool’s Day? Check out the ideas we’ve collected below for some fun practical jokes to play on your kiddos – or any unsuspecting victims:

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Credit: Parenting

-       Got Milk?: Put a few drops of food coloring in a solid container of milk and watch their puzzled faces when they pour their morning cereal.  

-       Mouse Malfunction: This one is perfect for older kids that check their computers often. Stick a piece of tape over the tracking ball on their computer mouse, it prevents it from working and they won’t understand why.

-       If The Shoe Fits: Stuff bunched up toilet paper into your victim’s shoes – they will wonder why their shoes suddenly don’t fit.

-       Chain Reaction: Sneak into their underwear drawer and safety pin all of their undies so that when they pull out one, all of them will come out behind it.

-       Veggie Chips: Carefully open the bottom of a single-serving chips bag and dump out the chips. Fill the bag with baby carrots instead and reseal the bottom of the bag with double-sided tape. Your kids will be shocked and confused when they go for a snack.

-       Backwards Dinner: Throw your kids for a loop by making a backwards dinner. Bake meatloaf in a 12-cup muffin tin and frost them with mashed potatoes for a “cupcakes” dinner – if you want to go all out add food coloring to the spuds. Then for desert, toast strips of pound cake for a dessert of “French fries” and top it off with red frosting for ketchup.

Stamp Into Spring: Embossed Easter Cookies

easterCredit: Williams-Sonoma

Little bakers will delight in making Easter cookies with this easy-to-use stamp set.  The spring loaded stamp comes with three different decorated egg designs that emboss each egg-shaped cookie as it’s precisely cut out.  The stainless steel construction slices cleanly through the cookie dough while the stamp leaves behind decorative details that are fun to embellish with icing and sugars.  To use, just press firmly into your rolled out dough to cut the edges, then depress the spring to release the embossed shapes.  You’ll love the fine detail that this specialty stamp offers.  The Easter Stamp Cookie Cutter Set from Williams-Sonoma retails for around $10.

 

Get Crafty: Easter Egg Chalk Decorating

Credit: Williams-Sonoma

Forego smelly vinegar and traditional Easter egg dye this year in favor of the much more trendy chalkboard style decorating.  The Williams-Sonoma Chalkboard Easter Egg Decorating Kit comes with everything you need to transform your eggs into mini chalkboards creating one-of-a-kind works of art.  The chalkboard base paint comes in light blue, pink and black, all of which make a beautiful background for the blue, white, yellow and lavender chalk you’ll be writing and drawing your designs on with.  The kit also includes an egg blower to hollow out the egg shells, a paintbrush and egg tray.  Get ready to celebrate spring in style!  The Chalkboard Easter Egg Decorating kit retails for around $13.

 

 

 

 

Heartwarming Art by Phyllis Harris

Credit: Phyllis Harris

Phyllis Harris is a children’s book illustrator who has drawn illustrations for over 35 picture books.  Her passion is to create art that inspires hope, love and the innocence of childhood.  Her artwork is also available to brighten the walls of your child’s room or nursery.  Each print is created from a hand drawn & mixed media colored original illustration and printed on museum quality fine art paper with archival inks.  Most of her pieces are customizable with preferred hair color and more.  Her whimsical and nostalgic designs are delightful while evoking a joyful heart.  Chose your favorite piece in a variety of sizes to grace the walls of your home.  Phyllis Harris Designs art starts at just $20.

 

 

Yum Yum Bubblegum! Children’s Toothpaste That is Safe to Swallow

Credit iherb

I’m a cautious and sometimes overprotective parent.  I worry about things some might consider silly, like what might happen if my kids swallow too much toothpaste. Oral hygiene is important.  We are only given one set of permanent teeth so it’s vital that we teach our children how to care for them from an early age.  Since I’ve always been worried about my kids swallowing toothpaste I use a very small amount. When I found out that Branam All Natural Xylitol Toothpaste is safe to swallow I felt a sense of relief.  Now I can use the proper amount of toothpaste and not have to worry!  There are other benefits too!:

  • Recommended by dentists, pediatricians, and pharmacists
  • Made in the USA
  • Enriched Xylitol formulation
  • No SLS
  • All natural ingredients

The highly concentrated Xylitol formula cleans teeth and helps remove plaque. Zylitol is a natural alternative to sugar that was approved by the FDA in 1963.  It’s found in most plant material including fruits and vegetables.  It has special “powers” that eat the sugar bugs that cause cavities.  My kids loved hearing about this new “magic” toothpaste.  It comes in some great flavors too like Yum Yum Bubblegum and Go Go Grape.  It doesn’t contain fluoride, the main ingredient that makes most toothpaste unsafe to swallow.  This type of toothpaste can be introduced once your child has gotten the hang of spitting.  In the meantime, why not abandon your worries and try Branam Xylitol Toothpaste instead?