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DIY Bowling Game

by Michelle on November 11, 2013
category: 1 – 3 year (toddler),Fun time & Toys

As fall begins, many families are facing colder weather. This means we all need new ways to entertain the children inside on these cold or wet days.  Art activities are fantastic, but sometimes it is fun to be able to get some gross motor movement in! An easy indoor activity is bowling! Using items you have on hand, you should be able to have a set quickly. A hallway works the best for the bowling lane so that there is confined area to roll the ball in. Make sure you get any items off the floor that would get in the way of the game!

Where to Begin:

The first step will be to find bottles to use as your pins. I often have empty water bottles in the recycling, so that is an easy way to start! Using water bottles also saves the step of having to clean out the sticky soda or juice  DIY Bowling Game from the bottle. A traditional bowling game has 11 pins, but that can be too many for a small child. Starting with 6 is a good way to introduce children to bowling. A ball also needs to be found to knock the pins down with. It needs to have a little weight behind it to knock the pins down.

 The pins can be decorated or left as they are. A fun way to decorate them is to squirt a small amount of paint into the bottles, add a tablespoon or so of water and shake it together to coat the inside of the bottle. When it is coated, the excess paint can be poured out and the bottles need to dry overnight. An even more simple idea is to just wrap the outsides in a piece of scrapbook paper. This can also be an activity where each child gets to decorate pins themselves! Each pin doesn’t need to match, so it can be fun!

We have found we like the pins to have some weight to them. This can be achieved by adding some rice or beans to the bottle. The amount will really depend on the skill set of children you are playing with. The great thing about the bottles is that you can empty out or add more filler as you play. They can be left empty as well. Water can also be used to add a little weight to the bottom.  Also, the weight of the pins may have to change depending on the ball that is used. A lighter ball will need lighter pins to be able to knock the pins over.

No matter what size bottles you use, or how you decorate, this activity will be a lot of fun for children. It really is a fun game to play with toddlers! Smaller kids are really fascinated with cause and effect. And this game allows them to safely test out those actions without breaking anything! Just make sure to  show your toddler how to roll underhand! This is also a great game to learn about taking turns.

Enjoy your bowling set!

Written By: Gena W., The Mom Crowd Contributor


Planning Smart for Toddler Activities

by Richel on July 8, 2013
category: 1 – 3 year (toddler),Fun time & Toys

Planning activities for toddlers is great way to help your child learn new skills and expand on current ones.  Since your child is learning through a combination of methods, from the exploring of the world around him with his hands to more complex things like problem-solving.  Toddlers embrace it all when they learn.

Every learning experience, is built on other learning, and now, with so much accumulated knowledge as a base, he is growing and understanding more and more everyday.  Think of each new skill as the base for the next one to be learned.

Mom Jogging with baby

Toddlers Embrace the World Around Them

Appreciate that toddler love to discover new things! Who could have imagined that toddlers learn in so many different ways! When you are exploring what activities for toddlers you want to do it important to know that primarily, your toddler learns by:

Find ways to engage a child’s sense. When he feels wind blow through the open car window,  when she compares the texture of the carpet to the texture of a favorite blanket, your toddler is categorizing his experiences in ways that help him make sense of the world around him.

The world is full of things that engage and inspire his senses so have fun and expand upon that.


Seeing A Show With The Whole Family

by Tina on November 8, 2012
category: Fun time & Toys

An average night of entertainment consists of watching television or movies, for most. While this is suitable for average nights, it is not very special. If you are looking for something more interesting to do, choose something that will create good memories and that the whole family can enjoy; consider seeing a theatrical performance.

The days of theater are not past but are alive and well. There are numerous shows across the globe every day and night attracting enthusiastic crowds. Here are a few tips for planning a night of theater.

Find a Show

Look online or in your local paper for future shows. In your paper, listings will probably be in the entertainment or arts/culture section. Online, search for your city and use keywords such as, “musicals,” or “live theater.”

One of the most popular shows right now is the musical Wicked. Wicked contains a few familiar characters from the Wizard of Oz but takes a much different and intriguing spin. It describes how the wicked witch of the west got her start and explores her early interactions with Glinda, the good witch of the north. This particular show is suitable for adults and children alike and has an amazing music score. Many people like it so much that they see it more than once.

Book Your Tickets Early

You should order your tickets early to get the best choices in seating. Some popular shows, such as Wicked, sell out quickly. To order your tickets online, search for your area. For example, if you are in Baltimore, just search for Wicked Baltimore tickets and several ticket broker sites will show up.

When you are placing your order, you will get to look at a seating chart. The best seats will be higher priced than other seats, but you can still get decent seats on a budget, if you buy them early enough.

Make a Night of it

Think about making the whole night special by dressing up and going out to dinner before the show. Take the kids to a place they love and watch their excitement grow as the evening progresses. The first time, you could even leave it as a surprise until you have arrived at the theater. If everyone enjoys it, you could even make this a family tradition monthly or around holidays or birthdays.

The best thing about a live performance is that it is much more active than television or a movie. Yes, you are still sitting and viewing as a passive participant, but the sounds of the orchestra, the sweat on the actor’s brow, the action taking place in the here in now right in front of you is unlike any other experience.

Another wonderful thing about the theater is every performance is different. You could go to see Wicked or another show several times and each time it would be unique.

Catching a live show will be an amazing experience for your children that they will never forget, especially if the show is something they want to see. Some little boys might not admit to wanting to see a show, but if you go see something they can get excited about it may peak their interest in music, art, and theater in a way TV never will.

Hobbies for the Mind and Soul

by Tina on November 6, 2012
category: Fun time & Toys

Many people today make a habit of including regular physical exercise in their daily routine to keep their body fit and healthy. Although physical exercise is always an excellent use of time, you should also aim to include plenty of stimulating mental exercise in your daily life. You can easily incorporate mental workouts through a new hobby, from learning a new instrument to completing a craft project.

Embrace Your Musical Side When you pick up a musical instrument, you can tap into your innovative side and create your own music. However, before you can start impressing your family and forming your own band, you need to learn how to play. If starting a band seems like a fun idea to you, begin your training with basic piano lessons. Learning to play an instrument will give you an excellent outlet for your rhythmic soul after you leave your job each evening.

Manage Your Own Ecosystem For amateur scientists who enjoy nature and biology, a miniature ecosystem can provide excellent intellectual stimulation. Individuals who prefer the world of the ocean can start up their own saltwater fish tank, complete with stunning corals and playful fish. For those that prefer a desert climate, a terrarium housing toads and turtles makes an excellent choice. This hobby will require you to learn a little about your miniature ecosystem and how to keep your inhabitants alive.

Learn a New Language Even if you don’t intend to leave the country in the near future, learning a language can give you an electrifying experience. For added fun, choose a language from a country that you would love to visit someday. As you learn a country’s language, you can learn more about the culture of that nation. You can spice up this idea by learning how to cook native dishes for your friends and family.

Handcrafted Projects Making something new with your hands is a great way to stimulate your senses and your brain. You don’t have to buy a fancy sewing machine to make your own cool e-reader case. Just get a sewing needle, a few pieces of fabric, matching thread and your imagination to create a functional accessory for your daily life. Other fun crafting projects include making jewelry and pottery.

After getting home from work or putting your children to bed, don’t settle for a boring evening in front of the television. Instead, try out a new hobby to give your brain the exercise it needs to thrive.

What I Learned From Last Summer’s Vacation – How to Have an Incredible Vacation On the Cheap

by Tina on October 22, 2012
category: Fun time & Toys

Last summer, I took one of the most interesting vacation trips I could ever go on. I took an RV trip with the kids from Phoenix to San Francisco. . As a full-time writer, I have the distinct advantage of being able to work from any location. So one day in late May, I called my parents up and asked to borrow one of their two used class B motorhomes. I explained my idea, “Yes, Mom, I plan on taking my two kids on the road for the summer, stopping here and there and getting to know the country.”

At first, they thought I was a little crazy, a single mother with a somewhat limited income, on a road trip in a large RV with two kids. Was I crazy? Well, I admit, at first I was a little scared, after all the biggest vehicle I had ever driven was a van. However, I was determined to spend some quality time with my kids, and do it in an inexpensive way.

The Trip

We started off at about 5 a.m. at the beginning of June. Our destination? The Grand Canyon of course! It was only three hours away, but the kids had only been to Phoenix, so it was a great opportunity to see the Grand Canyon. We stayed at Trailer Village, an RV campground located on the South Rim of the canyon. We had planned to only stay overnight but ended up staying a few days. We spent a day rafting down the river, another walking along the trails in the early morning and evening. Other than that we just spent some time being together, playing in the pool and talking.

Las Vegas

Las Vegas was our next destination. While I knew the kids couldn’t spend time at the casinos, I also knew there were many other things available there. I planned out our trip so that we could stay at the Circus Circus RV park. The kids enjoyed the lights, the action, street vendors and shows. During the day, we toured some of the most fabulous hotels along the strip including, the Venice, the Eiffel Tower hotel, and the Excalibur. I had only planned on spending a night here, but we ended up spending the better part of a week. We took in a cirque du Soleil Show, went to the Ethel M Chocolate factory and to the Red Rock Canyon just outside of Las Vegas.

What Trip Would Be Complete Without a Visit to Disneyland?

Our next destination was Los Angeles. We stayed at several locations in this wonderful city. There is just so much to see. Our first stop was Hollywood Blvd. and then Universal Studios, but we also visited Venice beach, Santa Monica and Long Beach before heading over to Anaheim, Disneyland and then down to the San Diego Zoo.

Along the California Coast

Our trip continued up the California coastline driving along scenic highway 1. When we saw something that interested us; we would stop, play, eat out or fix something in our temporary home and enjoy our time together. We saw interesting state parks, theme parks, towns and communities. We met other RV’ers, just out having a good time like us, some actually adopting the lifestyle full time, then we made our final destination of San Francisco.

San Francisco Area

While in San Francisco, we visited family and stayed in the California Delta, an area full of waterways; meaning there were lots of RV parks, camping, skiing, rafting and boating. San Francisco is only about an hour from the Delta, so we made several day trips to the city by taking the Bart train. Needless to say, the rest of our vacation was spent languishing about, relaxing in our RV and enjoying ourselves. It was truly the best family vacation we have ever been on (inexpensive too).

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