10 Crafts to Make with Your Toddler

Recently I shared how much fun Aden and I have playing together. We also love to do crafts. With littles of toddler age, it’s important to find crafts that are fun and keep their attention (harder than you’d think!), yet encourage learning and creativity! It sounds complicated, but once you get into the crazy world of crafts, you’ll find that the possibilities are endless. It’s always fun to get our imaginations going as parents too.

10 Crafts to Make with Your Toddler

Have you been on my Pinterest lately? I’m all about finding new crafts to try. Here are some of my faves you might want to give a try!

1. DIY Crown – Parents can create crown templates and lay out all the supplies for kids to paste onto their very own crown. Think colored paper, stickers and crayons. Aden loved this one!

2. Paper Plate Caterpillar – It’s amazing how much you can do with a simple paper plate! Cut out the caterpillar and let them run wild with decorations.

3. Potato Stamping – You create the stamp from a potato, and they create their own work of art with the different shapes.

4. Toddler Mural – Create no-mess workstation for your child to create works of art again and again.

5. Popsicle Stick Frames – This craft is something mommas can easily whip up and attach photos to for personal home décor, but it’s even more special if your kids can help paint or decorate the popsicle sticks.

6. Ocean Themed Crafts – It’s always nice when a craft also offers up a sneaky lesson! Create ocean creatures while teaching toddlers about sea life.

7. Paper Popsicles – These popsicles are so cute for summer! Cut out popsicle shapes from cardstock and create paper embellishments for little ones to add to each one. Once your done, you can display them on the fridge or string them together for a summer garland.

8. Shape Sorting Activity – Create different shapes and colors from paper to make color sorting game to play afterward.

9. Cupcake Factory – Similar to the popsicle idea, you can do the cutting beforehand and sort all the pieces for your child to make paper cupcakes with. Then you can both decorate them together.

10. Nature Paintbrushes – This is a really fun and original idea that can involve the whole fam. Go out in search of sticks and leaves. Then you can create “paintbrushes” from your findings and kids can use them to paint pictures!

What crafty things have you made with your kids lately? Stay tuned for some DIY projects of our own!

Xx,
Tamera

Teaching Little Ones Creativity

Did you guys see my post about Aden’s new hobby? It’s been interesting to say the least! All this talk of my little man growing up has me thinking about children and how they learn to be creative. Countless studies have shown that encouraging creative thinking in children leads them to success – even though that creativity comes in so many forms. Arts and crafts or the infamous battle of left brain vs. right brain might come to mind when I say creativity, but that’s not what I mean.

Teaching Kids Creativity

In adult life, there is rarely one answer to a solution, and often it takes multiple attempts (AKA, multiple failures) to get there. Logical and analytical thinking is very important, but creativity is what gets you to pick up and try again, and think outside the box when you have a really tough dilemma at hand. It’s a pretty important skill to have and so many famous innovators throughout history were so successful due to their ability to exercise it!

If kids have room to explore these concepts at their own level – like dreaming up unconventional ideas (kids will blow you away with that one!) or letting their imagination run free, they’ll realize there are many ways to learn and be better primed to take on “real world” challenges by coming up with more original ideas. Sure, their world is yours now, but one day they’ll be out there making their own decisions and changing the world in their own unique way.

So how can you let your little ones know that something as abstract as creativity is welcome? It’s really all about the small gestures: being patient when they try different solutions to a problem on for size, engaging in their ideas and unique interests and supporting their curiosity. And of course getting enough family time. This is so easy, right? We know how intelligent our babies are and how much potential they have, so of course we’ll support them. But with children – really at any age – needless to say, they can be tough to read. So the best way to nurture their creative brains, might just be to make sure you’re open to the possibilities.

Have any funny stories of your kids being creative and clever? I love hearing your stories!

Xx,
Tamera

Family Activities to Encourage Learning

Just like finding sneaky ways to get kids to eat, sometimes successfully teaching little ones a skill or lesson means incorporating it into a game. With really young children, learning is so important to their development because their constantly soaking in all of the information that surrounds them. Whether you really try to teach them or not, those babies are learning! That’s why we love to be active as a family – we can make sure giving Aden (and now we have two minds to mold! Lol) all he needs. Even just the simplest activities make children feel loved and give them a sense of belonging, which is one of the most important things you can do as a parent. These activities do just that, and they are oh so simple.

Family Activities that Encourage Learning

Make a terrarium. Bring the outside in by building a terrarium together. This is a great way to instill an appreciation for nature in young children. It’s a three step process that involves going out and foraging for plants (or having a family outing to the local nursery), building the perfect home for them and then maintaining the contents. Even if kids haven’t reached school age yet, they’ll learn the responsibility that comes with caring for a living organism. Bonus, if you’ve been on Etsy or West Elm lately, you know how popular they are as home décor – even the kids’ version!

Treasure hunt. Create a super simple treasure hunt in or around the house or a local park, depending on the weather. (I’ve mentioned a nature scavenger hunt as a great summer activity before.) Treasure hunts are interactive and help them think critically, not to mention they’re the ultimate cure for boredom. Be sure to keep it simple for little ones and a little more complex for those already in school. Even just hiding an object around the house and giving them clues can create an active afternoon. Games like I Spy with your surroundings work too.

Camping. As we head into fall, camping may not be on the brain, but if you live in an area with beautiful parks or lakes, it’s great activity at any age – something we’ve thought about for when the kids are older. Not only does it create memories that last a lifetime (does anyone ever forget a time they slept under the stars?!) but it opens the door to SO many lessons, from helping pitch a tent to meal prep to non-tech ways of finding entertainment. It also gives you a chance to bond in a way you never would at home.

Museum trips. Museums still have that stigma of being a stuffy first date activity, but if you’ve ever been to a kids’ museum, you know it’s simply NOT the case. They’re chockfull of developmental activities that kids will have a blast with, and they can get quite busy – meaning lots of opportunities for building their social skills and learning to play well with others. This can easily evolve into natural history, planetariums and art museums, to name a few, all that generally have a variety of interactive exhibits.

On the town. Creating a day or night out complete with lunch or dinner, a farmers market visit and/or even the grocery store may seem like a mom is just asking for *stress* (believe me, with an infant and a toddler, I know what you’re thinking), but there’s something very rewarding about having your child by your side during these everyday events. As a parent I am the ultimate role model, so I know that they’re learning from my actions. When Aden sees how Adam or I make even the tiniest interactions, he’s getting to know how to behave and make connections himself. This can really help kids get comfortable in a safe and secure environment.

Hope this inspires some good ol’ family time, everyone!

Xx,
Tamera

PHOTO: KATEE GRACE PHOTOGRAPHY

Healthy On The Go Snack Ideas

Today’s post is by Agatha, the founder of Yummy Spoonfuls. This month, she’s sharing her favorite on-the-go snack ideas that your little ones will go crazy for. 

Nutrition-packed snacks fill in the gaps between meals, and ensure that kids of all ages gets all of the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, essential fats, protein and fiber needed for developing brains and bodies. This makes snack time a big part of their lives, especially since some have as much as three snacks a day.

‘Snack food’ is not just about nutrition, it is a great opportunity to help train our kids palette when they are younger to enjoy a wide variety of healthy flavors. Those foods that they might not eat on the table they sometimes will eat on the go. There’s a whole world of deliciousness out there just waiting to be tried! When my boys were younger every weekend we would try a different fruit and vegetable from all over the world that we could find at our farmers market. Those of you following me on social media see videos of my kids eating raw veggies, including okra, like candy. Here is what has worked for us… and a few of our all time favorite snacks that are perfect on the go:

Healthy On The Go Snacks

My #1 rule when it comes to snacks: Avoid calorie-dense, low-nutrient foods such as desserts, sugary, overly-processed and salty package snacks. Instead, I turn to fresh fruits, vegetables, homemade bake goods like muffins, chips, breads, etc. that are sweetened with raw honey and fruits. I know this doesn’t sound very convenient but trust me, healthy snacks take just a little preparation and the payoff lasts a lifetime.

(If you are totally not into homemade snacks make sure you look for some that are high in protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber, but relatively lower in calories, total fat, saturated fat (no trans fat), sugar and sodium. And read labels and fine print.)

Our Favorite On The Go Snacks:

Raw-licious veggies. Raw vegetables provide variety, like romaine lettuce leaves, cucumbers, carrots, cauliflower, zucchini ribbons, broccoli etc. If your kids are into dips you can make an easy plain yogurt dip with a pinch of sea salt. (Steam veggies for the younger kids like asparagus tips, sweet potato, squash chunks, whole green beans, broccoli florets, etc.)

Fruity snacks. Raw organic fruits, dried fruits, fruit leather, and frozen purees can all be pre-packed and ready for on the go snacks.

Homemade/baked goodies. Muffins sweetened with fruits and veggies and packed with nutrient dense seeds like flax, hemp and chia. Tortillas filled with nutritious goodies, whole grain cookies, toast, granola bars, protein bars, popcorn balls, roasted nuts, boiled eggs, avocado/nut butters/homemade jams on toast, etc.

Dairy or non-dairy yogurt. Watch out for flavored yogurt and milk, though—even organic brands often contain loads of sugar. Buy plain yogurt and sweeten you’re your own fresh fruits and/or raw honey.

Remember you can never go wrong with nature’s best snacks: fresh fruits and vegetables made at home or baked at home can be made into an on the go snack. The possibilities are endless. Explore with your kids and always remember that quality matters. Check back later when we’ll share our favorite wholesome snack here on TameraMowry.com!

Love and light,
Agatha
www.yummyspoonfuls.com

3 Ways To Get Kids To Eat

You don’t have to necessarily have a picky eater on your hands to struggle getting your little ones to eat their fruits and veggies and other healthy meals. I don’t know how or why, but children figure out early on that if it’s good for you, it must not taste good, and they stay away! Lol. Over the past couple years I’ve developed methods for when Aden’s feeling stubborn, and I totally plan to use these tips on Ariah when necessary!

3 Ways To Get Kids To Eat

Give them a choice. Most kids (okay, people!) will choose a cookie over a banana in a heartbeat. But if there’s two different healthy options in front of them, there’s a good chance they’ll forget about any alternative they can’t see and just focus on the task at hand: making a choice. Giving children a choice allows them to feel more in control of the situation, and even like they’re helping with the meal planning and prep.

Get sneaky with ingredients. Obviously the first method isn’t always going to work – who hasn’t dealt with kids who flat out refuse to eat certain things? Luckily sometimes it only has to look like a favorite dish to be kid-approved. This little trick is perfect for those meals that are healthier versions of family faves, like the sweet potato pancakes from my most coveted kids’ cookbook, Deceptively Delicious. Having a cookbook on hand really helps in those panicky, “He won’t eat anything” moments, but over time you’ll find which healthy ingredients you can get away with sneaking in, no questions asked.

Go in as a family. Kids are smart; it’s a blessing and a curse! If they don’t see the broccoli being eaten off your plate, they won’t be touching theirs. If they see you hitting the cupboards during every TV commercial, they’ll assume that’s just a good way to pass the time. You don’t have to wage an all-out war on sugar (it really depends on your personal diet), but in general setting a positive example not only helps kids form good habits, it keeps moms and dads in check with their health goals too. There are a lot of reasons parents want to set a good example, and this one is especially rewarding.

Got any sneaky tricks to share when it comes to kids’ diets? Let me know!

Xx,
Tamera

6 Summer Family Activities to Get You Outdoors

For Adam and I, summer means new opportunities for playing and learning with Aden, as well as lots of “firsts”. We had an amazing time at Lake Tahoe recently, which made me grateful for those moments together. Of course, having an entire day or weekend together can sometimes be hard to come by, with work, errands, and to-do lists piling up. The three of us love simply going on an evening walk, but with the weather so nice, it’s fun to get out and be more active when we can. If you feel the same, keep this list of creative play ideas handy to build off of when you and your little ones are itching to get outdoors…It’s quite the mix!

Summer activities

6 summer family activities

  • Sports Themed Afternoon – Choose a sport(s) and turn the backyard or park into a playing field. Continue the theme by preparing some creative sports-themed snacks in your favorite team’s colors and helping the kids choose “uniforms” for a local team—or let them make up their own team to play on.
  • Volunteer Day – With so many organizations that could use a few helping hands, it’s easy to find a local cause that will make a difference and be fun for the kiddos. In addition to providing volunteer resources, Nature.org has a section dedicated to helping kids simply get out and explore natural habitats to help them cultivate a love of nature. From there, families can learn which local beaches, trails, and habitats need help with clean up or planting, and plan a day to volunteer.
  • Nature Scavenger Hunt – Scavenger hunts are very customizable to your little one’s interests. Try a scavenger hunt that includes learning about different species of plants or insects in your neighborhood.
  • Make Art Outside – Use sidewalk chalk (or flour, like this tutorial) to create a work of art as a family. Afterward, wash it away in order to clean up and splash around in the hose or sprinkler.
  • Backyard Camping – This is a great activity to start in the evening, so it’s especially helpful for parents who work during the day and want to spend time with the kids at night. It also helps beat the heat of a hot house. Create a campsite with sleeping bags, tents, and s’mores. If you don’t have a backyard, consider checking campsites near you—a lot of cities have camping surprisingly close, whether it’s on the shore of a local lake or near a hiking trail; it doesn’t have to be complete wilderness for fun.
  • Outdoor Movie Night – Pinterest is such great inspiration for kids’ activities—parents are getting so creative! Do a search for outdoor movies and you’ll find countless themes and ideas to create the perfect night-in with the fam, without actually being inside.

Do any of these family activities inspire you? How do you spend a summer weekend with your little ones?

Xx,
Tamera