5 Simple Crafts and Activities for Tweens and Teens (and younger kids will love them too)

This week (as my family continues to social distance because of Covid 19), my boys and I made videos of the crafts that we did together. These activities and crafts are fantastic for older kids... but younger kids will love them too. I've included the links to our videos (with full instructions) below.

1) MONDAY we did two Simple science experiments. We made rainbows with Skittles and we used vinegar to make a bouncy egg

2) TUESDAY we did weaving using a toilet roll and popsicle sticks. My boys LOVED this craft, and spent hours making long scarves and snakes.

3) WEDNESDAY we made tassel bookmarks. My boys designed their own bookmarks, and we used yarn to add homemade yarn tassels to the tops.

4) THURSDAY we made God's eyes... a classic camp craft. We used popsicle sticks and yarn to make this super-cute and colourful ornaments.

You can find our God's eye video here

5) FRIDAY we made 3D handprints. We used paper and markers to create simple drawings. My kids thought the 3D effect was pretty cool.

You can find our 3D handprint video here.

If you are looking for simple crafts and activities to entertain your kids, I highly recommend giving one of these a try. It is often hard to find crafts that aren't to "babyish" for tweens and teens... and these five are sure to please kids of all ages.

If you give them a try, let me know how it goes. I'd love to hear your favourites!

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

Flexible Schedule... for kids social distancing

My boys are just coming off what was supposed to be their March break. We have been social distancing for a full week now, and I have been trying to keep things relaxed and fun for my boys. However, we are getting to a point where we all need a bit of structure. I decided to put together a flexible schedule that allowed my boys to pursue their individual interests and still have fun. Here's what I came up with:

I'm going to try this schedule for the next week, and we'll tweak it as we go.

Are you using a schedule at your house? If you want to use my social distancing scheduling, you can: click on the schedule above, right-click, save it to your computer, and print it like a regular 8x10 photo.

And... don't forget to look around the blog. Use the search bar to find lots of recipes, craft ideas, children's activities, etc...

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

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Simple MAGIC TRICKS that kids will love

Who doesn't love magic? And there is nothing more fun than a kid learning a magic trick and showing it to their friends and family. It's a great way for kids to learn about confidence and performing too. Today, I am sharing a few simple magic tricks that kids can master at almost any age.

Disappearing Toothpick - I love this simple trick. Kids hold a toothpick (and through slight of hand) it disappears and appears again. All you need is a toothpick, a piece of tape, and this video!

Magical coloured potion - With a few magic words, kids can turn clear liquid and white powder into a magical and colourful magic potion. Find the full instructions (and secret behind this trick) here.

Magic bag that doesn't leak - Younger kids will love this one because it is super easy. With a few magic words, you can poke holes in a bag of water... and not have any of the water leak out of the bag. Fun, right? Find the instructions here.

My boys loved these tricks when they were younger, and recently they have moved onto card tricks... which are also fun.

Do your kids like magic? I hope they give these simple magic tricks a try. Let me know how it goes!

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

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10 Things to Do With Kids... while social distancing from the rest of the world

Given recent events concerning the Coronavirus / Covid-19, and the increased emphasis on "social distancing", parents are being faced with the task of entertaining their children... and retaining their sanity. 😀 Today, I am sharing 10 things you can do with kids... while social distancing from the rest of the world.

1)  Have an indoor picnic - Make breakfast, lunch or dinner a little more fun by laying a blanket down on the kitchen floor and having an indoor picnic. It's a simple idea, but a good way to "change up" the regular mealtime routine.

2)  Read together - Check out your bookshelves or browse an online bookstore and pick out some new books. Then, cuddle up and read together.  

If you are looking for inspiration, I have a list of our 10 favorite picture books here and a list of some of our favourite books for older kids here

I even have a list of books for Moms here. It's important for kids to see their parents reading for pleasure too!

3)  Dress up - When my kids were younger, they loved to dress up as Harry PotterPiratesSpies and Jedi.  They are older now, but if we are stuck in the house for long periods of time, I bet I can totally sell them on a themed party!

4)  Bake something - My boys love baking and cooking together... and then eating the fruits of their labour.  I've been wanting to teach them more baking and cooking skills, and now seems like the perfect time.

Some of our current favorites are:  banana breadchocolate chip cookiespeanut butter cookies, and energy balls... but I'm looking forward to trying some new recipes with them.

5)  Make a craft, paint, learn a magic trick, do a science experiment, or play with play dough - EastCoastMommy.com is full of fun craft ideas, so take a look around.  You might also want to check out my "Activities and Crafts for Kids" Pinterest board here.

6) Have a puppet show - For the puppet theatre, use a spring loaded curtain rod and an old sheet in a doorway. The sheet works well because it already has an opening for a rod -- no sewing required. (You could also use a cardboard box for a theatre.) For puppets, print pictures off the internet onto cardstock, color them, cut them out, and attach popsicle sticks to the back.

7) Play games, take out the LEGO or build a puzzle - My boys love cards and board games, and I think playing games together is a great way to spend an afternoon.  If you want to make it extra special, you can check out some fun snack and decor ideas here.

8) Watch a movie - Put on some PJs, pop some popcorn, cuddle up on the couch, and watch your favorite family movie.  If you want to make it extra special, you can find some tips for throwing a movie party here.

9) Have an indoor concert, karoke party or dance contest - Isn't singing and dancing a great way to spend an afternoon... and burn off some energy?  If you are looking for some great music for younger kids, you can read about some of our favorites here.

10) Get outside - Is there anything better for kids than playing outside? (And if you should be fine if you are in your yard away from other people.)  

Depending on the weather where you are, you might want to check out some summer activities here and here or some winter activities here.

How are you coping with all the Coronavirus / Covid 19 precautions and protocols? I'm trying hard to keep my kids entertained... and not focused on the news. These are anxious times, and it's tough for kids of all ages to understand what is going on. I hope some of these ideas help you to help your kids manage their anxieties and have some fun.

Stay safe!

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

15 Plastic Easter Egg Filler Ideas

Everyone loves an Easter egg hunt, and it's even more fun when the colourful plastic eggs are filled with a variety of fun items. Today, I am sharing some of my favourite Easter egg filler ideas. I even have a few simple and unique DIY options.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something using one of my links, I will receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you).

1) Finger Puppets - You can likely find inexpensive finger puppets at the dollar store, or you can easily make your own using the simple instructions here.

2) Mini Pull Back Cars - My boys have always loved playing with cars and trucks, and these are adorable. They are inexpensive too. Click here to purchase.

3) Magic Jelly Beans - A little magic makes every holiday better and more fun. You can print this envelope for free here.

4) Play-doh - These little cans of Play-doh would be perfect for those larger plastic eggs, and after all the hunting, they'll keep the kids entertained. Click here to purchase.

5) Squishy Toys - Little squishy toys are really popular right now, and they are soooo cute. You can purchase them here.

6) Dinosaur Toys - Kids are always fascinated with dinosaurs, and these pre-filled eggs are sure to be a hit with little ones. Find the link to purchase here.

7) Stickers - Bright and colourful stickers make perfect Easter Egg fillers. You can find this adorable collection here.

8) Wind up Bunnies and Chicks - Nothing says "Easter" like bunnies and chicks, and these "wind up" versions are adorable. You can buy them here.

9) Pretend Jewelry - Imagine how fun it would be to open eggs filled with this 68 piece collection. You can see all the details and purchase all this pretend jewelry here.

10) Money - Coins are perfect for filling plastic eggs. My kids love collecting money on Easter morning.

11) Bubbles - Tiny containers of bubbles are perfect for filling plastic eggs, and Spring will be here soon! Find the link to purchase here.

12) Cute Crayons - You can recycle old crayons into new, fun shapes that fit into plastic eggs personally. Find the full "how to" here.

13) Toys and Trinkets - If you like variety, this collection of toys and trinkets is for you. Find the link to purchase these pre-filled eggs here.

14) Gift Certificates - I always love gift certificates for food and activities... but these special ones from the Easter Bunny are also fun for popping into a plastic egg. You can download them for free here.

15) Chocolate - Of course chocolate is always a staple on Easter morning, and chocolate eggs make perfect plastic Easter egg filler. There are lots of wonderful options, but I'm in love with the adorable Smartie Easter eggs you can find here.

Do you fill plastic eggs for an Easter egg hunt in your house? What are some of your favourite plastic Easter egg filler ideas? I hope my list has given you a few new ideas and a little Easter egg hunt inspiration!

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

How you can challenge yourself (and your kids) to learn something new

I am a big advocate of life-long learning... but sometimes it's a struggle to find the time to learn something new. So for March break, I decided to challenge my boys to learn something new, and I decided to challenge myself too. With some literary inspiration from DK Books*, my boys are going to learn to cook/bake a few things, and I am going to learn a bit of embroidery and knitting. You can read more about my "learn something new challenge" (and our book choices) below.

*Disclosure: I was given these books (at no cost) by DK books in exchange for my truthful review. I have also included Amazon links in this post. If you purchase one of these books using my link, I will receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you). Thank you!

My plan is to have each of my boys choose a recipe from the cookbooks I ordered for them, shop for the ingredients, and follow the recipe (with only a small amount of supervision from me). The boys can serve their creations to the family, and when they have all completed their recipes, they can choose something for me to make for them. Fun, right?

These are the two books I chose for my boys: 

1) Bake ItMore Than 150 Recipes for Kids from Simple Cookies to Creative Cakes! 

2) Kids' Fun and Healthy Cookbook Canadian Edition

I have been wanting to get my boys cooking more, and I think this "learn something new" challenge is a great way to do it.

I think my boys will enjoy following the recipes in these books (with their simple instructions and pictures).

These are the two books I chose for me.

1) The Knitting Book: Over 250 Step-by-Step Techniques
2) Embroidery: A Step-by-Step Guide to More than 200 Stitches

I have all four of our new books sitting on my coffee table, and as soon as we have the time, my boys and I are going to work on completing our challenges. I believe that you can learn new things at any age, don't you?

 (aka East Coast Mommy)

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