9 Simple Ways To Celebrate Earth Day With Your Toddler!

kids running through tulips, celebrate earth day with your toddler
9 Ways To Celebrate Earth Day With Your Toddler

Earth Day is Sunday, April 22nd! Kids have an innate love of nature, and helping them learn to be stewards of our planet is such an easy thing to do! There are of course so many scheduled events, check out your city’s homepage or your local neighborhood association for events to sign up for. If a scheduled event doesn’t work for your family though, there are still so many ways you can celebrate Earth Day with your toddler! Get started this Earth Day with these 9 simple and fun ways to celebrate earth day as a family.

Read more

A Visual Packing List For Toddlers

Affiliate links are included in this post, thank you for helping support our content!

We are deep in the throes of ‘three-ness’ around here. Lots of big emotions and a burgeoning independent streak. I once read a quote about how terrible it is that just as our kids are starting to truly grow into their own personalities (what a wonderful thing!) we call it the ‘Terrible Two’s’ or another equally derogatory name. I’m not saying it isn’t hair pulling-ly challenging, that I don’t want often want to scream/lock myself in my room with my coffee and never come out… but I’m trying to see it in another way as well, and I hope this Visual Packing List for Toddlers is a step in the right direction!

Toddler packing backpack
All packed and ready to go!

Read more

Adventures In Baby Backpacking Part II

Backpacking with baby

We are fortunate here in the Bay Area to have so many beautiful backpacking spots with short hikes in! I took the opportunity to take the little (then 8 month old) baby backpacking for her second trip when some coworkers planned a trip to Point Reyes National Seashore. There were some key differences between baby backpacking with a mostly immobile 5 month old and a crawling, drooling 8 month old. In this post I’ll share what I learned and some things I wish I had done differently!

beach footprints
Beautiful ‘Private’ Beach at Coast Camp

Read more

Family Camping Checklist!

family camping checklist

family camping checklist

In our pre-kid days my husband and I would often head out last minute for a camping adventure. Checklists? Ha! This wasn’t to say that we didn’t forget things… like maybe the tent poles once upon a time… but we were adults and pretty flexible. Fast forward to our first time car camping with a kid? SO. MUCH. STUFF! We went a bit overboard. Now that I’ve created this family camping checklist, though, we have everything we need without hauling any extra gear, free download below!

morning campsite campfire
Photo Cred: Daniel Nainggolan-unsplash

What do we need for family camping?

A little preface to this list: There is a ‘hassle to comfort’ ratio that is different for everybody. Do what you will be comfortable with! This is especially true with kids. Potty training? If packing a plastic potty will make you sleep better then by all means strap that thing to the top of your car. Does your kid have a blankie/toy/book they can’t live without? Take it! I encourage you to be very selective on the toy type items you bring, but you know what works for your kid. I specifically left a few ‘fill in the blank’ spots on the kids portion of the family camping checklist for you to fill out these things. You will be surprised with how little your kids need when they have the novelty of eating, cooking and sleeping outside to keep them entertained. Not to mention the stars and campfire to watch in the evening.

family camping checklist Roasting Marshmallows
Photo by Daiga Ellaby-unsplash

Sleeping

I hear so many people say they would love to go camping with their kids but are worried about the sleep situation. My biggest advice is this: You are camping to relax! So be flexible with your schedule. Let them stay up late to roast marshmallows and join in the campfire stories. Schedule in time during the day when you can take a family nap if needed. That way you can all get a break if nighttime wasn’t as restful as you had hoped. My daughter has always slept well while camping, although she tends to take longer to go to sleep. The combination of fresh air and slow pace of camping tends to set the right tone for a restful night for kids. Add in the personal nighttime items from the Family Camping Kids Checklist as well as your usual nighttime routines and you should be in good shape!

skillet campfire eggs
Food tastes better outside!

Cooking

There is a whole other checklist for your kitchen. Again this is very dependent on your style, foodie or mac n cheese campers will need very different things. For an exhaustive kitchen checklist check out REI’s Camp Kitchen List. I’ve put in the basics into my Family Camping Checklist so that even if you don’t have all the tools of home, you have the tools you need to make most simple meals.

The Family Camping Checklist!

So without further ado, here is the checklist! I printed mine out and laminated it (huge nerd alert haha:) so that I can use a dry erase marker and reuse the checklist. If you have a pre-reader in the house, get them participating in the packing with our Visual Packing List for Toddlers!

Family Camping Checklist

family camping checklist, tents, outdoors, sleeping bags
Get your family out there with everything you need!

Happy Camping and be sure to follow us on Facebook for upcoming posts on our favorite family camping gear, activities and more!

Make Your Own Spring Nest!

natural material DIY nest

Happy (cold) first day of spring! We had a brief break in the rain and put together this spring nest toddler activity to combine some outdoor exploration with some quiet indoor play. Bonus, it uses just the materials you have in your yard and kitchen!

natural nest materials
A fun backyard search for materials!

Activity:

We were inspired by an activity from this book (which is awesome!) where you put materials out in bowls and observe which ones birds choose to use in their nests. Unfortunately the birds didn’t cooperate… and a three year olds attention span isn’t well suited to patient scientific observation;) So we decided to make our own nest! This is the perfect springtime activity, and I love that it incorporates outdoor exploration with some quiet indoor play. We wandered around in the backyard and chose flowers, leaves and twigs while talking about what might make a good nest. I made sure to grab some long twigs that I knew we could weave together, but also let her choose anything that caught her eye.

Materials:

  • Leaves, twigs and flowers
  • Egg (I had some early easter confetti eggs I found for $2 at, Target which were a fun addition, but you could use any type of egg you have on hand)
  • Scissors/clippers for twigs (make sure to get some green/live ones so that they are flexible)
  • Feathers/cotton balls etc
  • Twine, yarn or string
  • Pipe cleaners/chenille sticks would also work great for holding the nest together
bird nest toddler activity
The beginnings of a nest!

How To:

We simply worked together to twist the sticks, tie pieces together with the twine and weave pieces in and out. E was more interested in playing with the string and exploring the different materials than actually building:) Our spring nest didn’t turn out quite as ‘nesty’ as I was anticipating, but we did have a good conversation about springtime, different types of homes etc. It’s also a good chance to explore which materials work for weaving and which break. We used this tray, which is my new BFF for activities bc it contains the mess (as much as toddler messes can be contained;)

spring nest toddler activity
Confetti egg, in our spring nest!

If you’re looking for more natural material ideas for warmer weather, keep an eye out for more posts on creating a backyard playground. In the meantime you can setup your own Easy Mud Kitchen which offers so many options for free play outside! Have fun making your own spring nests:)

Mud, Bubbles, Paint: A recipe for an (easy!) messy playdate

mud, bubbles, paint, messy playdate

If you are like my husband and cringe at the thought of a ‘messy’ anything, fear not! While the littles did need a thorough bath after this messy playdate, the actual setup/cleanup is fairly simple (I wouldn’t have done it otherwise;) 

*This post contains affiliate links, thanks for helping support this site at no extra cost to you!*

paint in muffin tin
Splatter Painting!

Read more

Babes In The Woods: Take your baby backpacking!

Backpacking with baby! A step by step guide

Please note I have included affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you.) This helps cover the cost of running the site. I will only link to products I use and love myself. Thank you for your support!

 

Before having children I was adamant that I wouldn’t let parenthood take away from doing the things I loved. I liked the idea of ‘adding’ the baby in to the things I already enjoyed doing, Hiking, backpacking, visiting local breweries. While my rosy idea of just bringing the kid along hasn’t always panned out (I go to bed before 9pm more often than I would like to admit;) bringing my daughter backpacking at 5 months old was a great experience! If you are on the fence, I encourage you to take your baby backpacking!

backpacking baby
Cozy baby ready to backpack!

(This post is specifically for the 0-1yo, check back soon for posts on toddler backpacking!)

Read more

New Life For An Old Bouquet! Flower Painting

hand dipping flowers in paint and painting on paper

Please note I have included affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you.) This helps cover the cost of running the site. I will only link to products I use and love myself. Thank you for your support!

I always feel guilty throwing out an old bouquet, which means the flowers usually languish on the dining table until they are really sad looking… (Although the filter I used on this picture makes them look amazing still, just goes to show you can’t believe everything you see on the internet haha!) In the interest of giving these flowers one last burst of life before I composted them, we used the wilting blooms in this mornings flower painting art project.

flower painting
Flower Painting With Toddlers

Read more

The Most Peaceful Hour Of The Day : A Simple Playdough Recipe

SImple Playdough Recipe

Please note I have included affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you.) This helps cover the cost of running the site. I will only link to products I use and love myself. Thank you for your support!

 

I swear it happens. every. time… I run out of activities to occupy the little but have zero energy to engage in creative play. I notice our playdough is looking a little… creature from the black lagoon-ish. We whip up a new batch of this simple playdough together in 5 minutes and Voila! The tiny human is occupied squishing and shaping the dough for at least an hour. A GLORIOUS. PEACEFUL. HOUR.

Read more

The Easiest Outdoor Play Kitchen

mud play kitchen out of fence boards and cinderblocks
Please note I have included affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you.) This helps cover the cost of running the site. I will only link to products I use and love myself. Thank you for your support!

 

outdoor play kitchen mud
Simplest outdoor play kitchen for hours of fun!

IMAGE

Mud pies, mud lemonade, mudsicles, mud patties, mud muffins… HOURS my daughter has spent playing with this outdoor play kitchen. The best part? It took 5 minutes and $0 to put together.

Read more