Neighborhood Photo Scavenger Hunt

I love an activity that gets kids outside (and away from electronics), don't you? So, what could be more fun than a neighbourhood photo scavenger hunt? Today I am sharing a fun, printable scavenger hunt that is perfect for kids of all ages. It's a fun activity for a family, but it would be a fantastic group activity too.

To play, every kid (or team) needs a list and something to take pictures with. I gave my kids my phone, and this is what they came back with...

Cute, right? 

To download a copy of the list I used with my boys: click on the picture below, save it to your computer, and print it on an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet piece of paper.

OR... you can download a pdf version here.

I hope you enjoy this neighbourhood photo scavenger hunt with your family. It's a great activity for spring, summer, or fall.

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

How to make a PAPER SPINNER

Sometimes simple, old fashioned ideas are the best ones. These paper spinners are a perfect example. They are easy to make, and they are a lot of fun to play with. I remember making them when I was a child, and then I made them with my boys. It's a craft and a game... the perfect 2 for 1 idea!

To make a colourful spinner:

1) Cut two identical circles from a piece of heavy cardstock, and poke holes in the centre of the circles (about 1cm apart).

2) Use bright colours to colour the two cirles.

3) Use a glue stick to glue the insides the circles together... being careful to line up the holes.

4) Thread the piece of string through the holes and secure with a knot.

5) Hold the ends of the strings, twirl the circle, and watch the circle spin when you stop twirling.

Check out this video for a visual description of the instructions:

Isn't this a fun little activity? It really is a great craft for children of all ages. Tweens and teens will like it too!

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

First Day of School Photos... my favourite back to school tradition

When my oldest started school, I had him hold his "first day of Preschool" photo for a picture. The rest (as they say) is history. It has become an annual first day of school tradition for my boys to get a picture holding the picture from the first day of school the previous year. Here are our photos from this morning. We always start with a group a photo, and then they we do individual shots.

Here is my oldest, 13 years old and heading to Grade 9. I can't believe he is starting high school! I love his confidence, focus, and strong work ethic.

Here is my middle son, 12 years old and heading to Grade 7. I love his pleasant attitude, kind heart and outgoing personality.

And here is my "baby", 10 years old and heading to Grade 5. I love his sweetness, his quirky sense of humor, and his cuddles.

I am already missing my boys, but I can't wait to hear all about each of their days. I hope their classes are filled with friendship and fun.

Taking these photos on the first day of school really is my favourite back to school tradition. I am hoping that when my boys graduate from high school, we can look back at all their first day of school pictures and remember how special these days were.

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

You might also like these school lunch ideas... 

FREE First Day of School Chalkboard Sign

I have had a couple of people ask if I have a chalkboard sign for the first day of school that they can download. I never used these with my boys, but I thought I would design one for my lovely readers, and you can download it for free below.

To download and print the sign: click on the photo above, right-click, save it to your computer, and print it like a regular 8x10 photo.

You can use a photo editing software to the add the info before you print it, or you can use a Sharpie to write directly onto the picture. Just make sure you let the marker dry completely to avoid "smearing".

You could also place the photo in a frame and use a dry erase maker to write on the glass. This would allow you to reuse the photo prop each year. Clever, right?

Happy first day of school! I hope you like this free first day of school chalkboard sign.

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

First Day of School Buffet

The first day of school is big deal; and therefore, it deserves to be celebrated. It's a hectic day for everyone, but I love the idea of surprising kids with a simple after school "back to school" buffet. Today, I am sharing some fantastic ideas and free printable labels that will add to the fun.

The centerpiece of my simple first day of school buffet is this super-fun giant chocolate chip cookie(You can find the recipe for my soft and chewy cookie tart here.) The cookie tart is delicious plain, but for some added fun, you can use store bought icing to add a special message for your "smart cookies".

Sweet tarts are also a tasty treat, and they are perfect for the first day of school with a "Here's to a SWEET start to this school year!" tag.

And how cute are these gummy "book WORMS"?

And these packs of excel gum are a cute addition to a first day of school buffet with "I hope you had an EXCELlent day!" tags.

And teddy bear crackers are great in a jar with "It's going to be a BEARy good year!" tags.

Finally... it's fun to add a non-edible element to the first day of school celebrations. I love these silly and colorful dollar store glasses in a jar with a tag that says, "LOOKing forward to a great school year!" 

To download any of the tags I designed (below): click on the tag below, right-click, save it to your computer, and print it like a regular 4x6 photo.

See how cute the first day of school buffet looks when it all comes together?

My boys are going to love enjoying these treats when they get home from school, and I'm going to love hearing about their first day!

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

A Peek at Our Back to School Shopping Finds

Every parent knows that the end of summer means it's time to do some back to school shopping. As a mom of three boys, it's a struggle for me because my boys do NOT enjoy spending time in malls. So, for me, online shopping is my "go to", and finding clothing items my boys all like is key. For my hockey loving boys, Gongshow gear* is always a hit.

This year, I let my boys browse the Gongshow website, and they were each allowed to pick out a hat. They were also given the choice between one long sleeve shirt or two short sleeve shirts. Here's what they chose: 

My oldest is a huge fan of hoodies, so he chose this one with skate lace detailing. He also selected an "always game" hat.

My middle son loves black and grey, so I wasn't surprised that he chose this "clutch nation" hat. And he is in love with this light weight hoodie with skate lace detailing.

And my youngest (who is just happy to have clothes that aren't hand-me-downs) chose two t-shirts and this fantastic "t-diddy special" hat. It's the perfect outfit for taping his new hockey stick! 😊

As you can tell by the smiles on my boys' faces in these pictures, they are all really excited about their new clothes. The clothes are stylish and are high quality! I love that my boys were able to shop online (with super quick shipping), and none of us had to endure a trip to the mall. #WinWin

If you have hockey fans in your house, I highly recommend checking out the new Fall 2019 Gongshow line. Happy shopping!

 (aka East Coast Mommy)

*Disclosure - I was given GONGSHOW clothing for free in exchange for my honest review of the products. As always, the views expressed on this blog are 100% my own... and my boys genuinely love these items.

Cookie Jar Teacher Gifts... with free printable gift tags

I love the idea of kids making gifts for their teachers, don't you? What is better than a handmade gift and card from a child? This is a tasty alternative to candles and mugs! Keep reading because today I am sharing the recipe and instructions for making this adorable cookie mix in a jar.

1) You'll need to start with a clean 1L mason jars.

2) Then, you'll need to layer the ingredients below (patting down each layer before adding the next one):

First layer: 1 3/4 cups flour, 3/4 tsp baking soda, 3/4 teaspoon salt
Second layer: 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
Third layer: 1/2 white sugar
Fourth layer: 1 1/2 cups quality, semi-sweet chocolate chips

To make the process easy: use a wide-mouthed funnel to fill the jars, and make a tool to press down the layers. I attached a round piece of cardboard to the end of skewer and covered it all with tin foil.

3) Then, print off the cookie tag below, cut it to look like a tag, and attach it to the cookie jar with twine. 

To download the tag: click on the photo below, right-click, save it to your computer, and print.

Here is one that my son made. Isn't it cute?

And to make the gift a little extra special for your favourite teacher, you can attach a "A SWEET treat for a SWEET teacher!" tag.

To download the tag I designed: click on the photo below, right-click, save it to your computer, and print it like a regular 4X6 photo.

What teacher wouldn't love this adorable personalized treat?

This would be a fantastic teacher gift for the first day of school, last day of school or Christmas. Kids will love making it, and teachers will love receiving it! Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

Don't miss any of the fun....