10 {Simple} Easter Crafts for Kids

Easter is the perfect time for crafting with little ones, so today I am sharing 10 Easy and Inexpensive {Easter} crafts for kids.  The first few projects are mine, but the rest are from some other great blogs.  I hope you take some time to check them out.

Click on the title of each project to read the full tutorial.

1) Tissue Box Bunny Baskets  by East Coast Mommy

2) Dollar Store Egg Garland by East Coast Mommy

3) Toilet Roll Napkin Rings by East Coast Mommy

4) Bunny Puppet by East Coast Mommy

5) Toilet Roll Bunnies by East Coast Mommy

6) Easy Paper Baskets by East Coast Mommy

7)  Bunny Mask with Template by East Coast Mommy

8) Fancy Shaker Eggs by Mama Smiles

9) Easter Chick Cards by Red Ted Art

10)Easter Wreath by Happy Hooligans (made from a cereal box)

or Easter Wreath by East Coast Mommy (made from a paper plate)

With these 10 fabulous Easter crafts, it will be easy to find a fun Easter project for you and your little one.  

Happy Easter, and happy crafting!

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

Paper EASTER Baskets... with free printable templates

If you are looking for a simple craft to do with your kids for Easter, look no further.  It doesn't get any easier than this one  -- paper Easter baskets with pipe cleaner handles.

To make one of these adorable baskets, print the template onto a piece of cardstock, and have the kids cut along the solid lines.  (I have created a free down-loadable template that you can find here.)

Next, fold along the dotted lines and staple the sides of the basket in place (per below).

To finish, have the kids decorate with stickers, and add a pipe cleaner handle.  (We braided three together so that it was extra strong and pretty.)

That's it!  Add some Easter grass, and the DIY Easter baskets are ready to be filled with eggs. Cute, right?

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

 You can find more easy and inexpensive Easter crafts, recipes and ideas here.

{Review and Giveaway} - The Looneyspoons Collection

CONTEST CLOSED - Winner is comment #48  "My favorite cookbook is the Companies coming cookbooks , so many great ideas in the collection, Cher MacInnis"

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by Janet and Greta Podleski - the authors of the bestselling cookbook The Looneyspoons Collection.  They offered to send me a copy of their book to review, and if I liked it, they would send me a copy to give you {my awesome readers} (a $34.95 value).

So... today I let the boys pick out something to make.  They chose the "Cookies for Rookies". 

I put the boys to work, and the recipe was super-easy. 

And, more importantly, the cookies were delicious.

Ready for a chance to win this fun book (which includes catchy titles, delicious recipes, and interesting nutrition tips)??? 

Comment (below) letting me know the name of your favorite cookbook.  Just leave your answer (and email address if you aren't logged in) before Wednesday, April 4, 2012.

Good luck!

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

PS (To learn more about Janet & Greta Podleski and their great cookbooks, you can visit their facebook page here.)

Rules {I am a mom... I can't help it}:
  1. The winner of the contest will be chosen by the Random Number Generator.
  2. To enter the contest, you must leave me a comment telling me the name of your favorite cookbook.  Contest is open to Canadian and US residents only.
  3. This contest is not being hosted or sanctioned in any way by facebook.
  4. Contest closes on April 4, 2012 at 11:59pm.
  5. Prize will be accepted as awarded.
  6. Winners will be contacted via email and will have 48 hours to respond.  After 48 hours the prize will be forfeited, and another winner will be selected.

Please note:  I was provided with this product (free of charge) for reviewing purposes only.  No monetary compensation was received, and all opinions are 100% my own.

5 {Disney} Vacation Tips

Our family went to Disney for March break.  We decided to only spend two days at parks -- one day at Magic Kingdom and one day at Hollywood Studios.  I think {given the age of the boys and our budget} two days was enough... but we made the most of our two days.

In case any of you are planning a trip, here are a few helpful hints:

 1)  Be Prepared
A day at a Disney Park is going to be a long day, so make sure you bring everything you are going to need.  I suggest:  a stroller, a backpack, water, sandwiches, snacks, sunglasses, sunhats, sweaters (for when it cools off in the evenings), sneakers, sunscreen, and {of course} a camera.

2)  Set Priorities
If you are only planning to spend one day at a park, it is going to be a long day, and you are not going to see everything.  It is important to do some research and find out the "must dos" for everyone in the family.  Look at the rides, shows, and parades.  I feel like we saw/did everything we wanted to {both days}.  It was exhausting, but it was a whole lot of fun!

3)  Have a Plan
To make the most of a trip to a Disney Park, you need to be efficient and have a plan.  Before we left, we made a list of all the "fast pass rides" and the "non-fast pass rides" that were popular.  These are the ones we did first.  We also made a schedule of the shows and parades we didn't want to miss and worked around them.  *(Click here for some additional details on rides/attractions we really enjoyed.)   

Make sure you arrive at parades and shows early to get a good seat.

4)  Pay Attention to Details
I am a true believer that the small things make a big difference.  I made the boys special t-shirtsMickey Mouse ears, and personalized autograph books.  {Fun, right?  Click the links for full tutorials.

I also highly recommend getting Mickey Mouse shaped ice cream while you are at the parks.  What is more fun than ice cream?  Ice cream shaped like Mickey {of course}!

5)  Have Fun!
This one is kind of obvious, but definitely the most important.  Don't forget that the whole point of the vacation is to have fun.  Take lots of pictures, and make lots of memories.

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

*Note: You can find tips for our 2014 trip to Disney here.

Our Disney Trip {2 day park plan}

We recently spent one day at Disney {The Magic Kingdom} and one day at Hollywood Studios.  We thought both parks would be great for our boys {ages 6, 4, and 2}... and we were right.  :-)

Here is a brief summary of the highlights of our days:

Day 1 (Monday):  Hollywood Studios

7:45am - We arrived at the park because we had booked a breakfast with the characters from Disney Jr. at 8:15 (which gives you early access to the park).  This was definitely a highlight for our boys and totally worth the money!

9:00am - We sent one person from our group to "fast pass" Toy Story Mania while we got ready to leave the breakfast.

After the breakfast, we headed straight for "Jedi Training Camp" sign up.  If you have a child between 4 and 12 who likes Star Wars, you definitely need to do this.  (When we signed up, they gave us a time of 1:50pm to return for the camp.)

Next, we headed straight for the Voyage of the Little Mermaid Theatre (which is lovely and magical), and after it was over, we headed back to Toy Story Mania to redeem our fast pass and get our pictures taken with Buzz and WoodyIf you can, send someone for a Fast Pass for Star Tours while you are waiting in line to see the characters.

At this point, you should just assess the time of day and make a plan for what you want to do next.  Make sure you use your fast passes, and try to make time for the following:
  • Muppet Vision 3D
  • Disney Jr. Live Show (featuring characters from Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Handy Manny, Mickey Mouse Club House, and Little Einstein)
  • Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun Parade
  • Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show (featuring Lightening McQueen)
  • The Tower of Terror (if your little ones are brave and over 40" - my two oldest did it and loved it)
  • The American Idol Experience (where singers try to win a ticket to the front of the line at a real American Idol Audition)
... and, if you have girls, you will probably want to see Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage.  We didn't have time to fit it in, but you could always skip Jedi Training Camp or the Cars Stunt Show if you think your children would prefer it.

And you MUST end your day with the Fantasmic! nighttime spectacluar.  Seating opens up 90 minutes prior to the show, so you will need to be there very early.... but it is soooo worth it.  While watching, my 2 year old said, "This place really is magic, isn't it Mommy?"  Isn't that what it is all about?  :-)

Day 2 (Wednesday):  The Magic Kingdom

Again, it is important to arrive early to the park.  It takes awhile to process people through, and if you are at the gate when it opens, you can do a "countdown" with the characters (which is lots of fun!)

With The Magic Kingdom, it is really important to use your Fast Passes.  We used the first ones for Peter Pan's Flight, and for Town Square Mickey (where you can meet Mickey and Minnie, get their autographs and have your picture taken).  I also suggest using your Fast Passes for:
  • Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin
  • Splash Mountain
  • Jungle Cruise
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
The other "must do" rides with big wait times (and no fast passes) are:
  • It's a Small World
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Mickey's PhilharMagic
  • Space Mountain (if your child is brave and older... the height restriction is 44", but I thought it was a little rough for my tall four year old) 
And, you definitely won't want to miss:
  • Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade (only one time each day)
  • Main Street Electrical Parade
  • Nighttime light show and fireworks (complete with tinker bell flying down from the castle)
You will likely have time for some more rides/attractions/character meet and greets, but focus on the most important ones first.

Whatever you decide to do, I am sure you and your children will feel the "magic" of the Magic Kingdom.  I know we did!  :-)


Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

PS (Click here for 5 MUST READ Disney Tips that will help you get the most out of your Disney park visits.)

* If you haven't already "liked" me on facebook, I would love to have you join me here.

No-Sew {Disney} T-Shirts

My three boys went to Disney, and two of their cousins came with us.  So... with five boys {six and under} going to Disney, I knew they needed matching shirts.  Matching shirts look adorable, they let other people know that you are a group, and they make it easier to keep track of everyone.  Clever and cute!  :-)

I have yet to figure out how to use my sewing machine, so I knew the shirts had to be "no sew".  I headed to Walmart, and I picked up some Heat n Bond (iron on adhesive), some $5 t-shirts, and some matching fabric scraps.

First, I used a Mickey Silhouette (from one of the boy's coloring books) as a template.  I traced the shape onto the Heat n Bond and cut it out.

Then, I used the same template to cut the shape out of the fabric.

From there, I just followed the instructions on the package.  

The shirts turned out really sweet, and the boys were thrilled, but I did find they weren't very durable (i.e. They didn't survive washing.)  It may have been "user error", but to be safe, if you want them to last more than a day, you might want to try sewing them on.  

(Or... as suggested by one of my readers... seal the edges with fabric paint.  Such a great idea!


Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

** If you haven't already "liked" me on facebook, I would love to have you join me here.

Tooth Taxis {out of old film canisters}

Here's an easy and inexpensive idea I got my from sister {who teaches Grade One} -- a "Tooth Taxi" made out of an old film canister. 

My oldest son has just started loosing teeth, and it is serious business to a six year old.  A lost tooth could be a total catastrophe!

So... why not use a cute sticker to turn a regular film canister into a tooth taxi?  This is a perfect way to get a tiny tooth home safely.  :-)

I even made a bunch and sent them to my son's First Grade Teacher to have "on hand" for her students.

So clever.  Thanks for the idea, little sister!

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

Disney Craft {Personalized Autograph Books}

We went to Disney World for March break, and we decided to treat the boys to a "Breakfast with the Characters".  So... when I saw some adorable autograph books at Craftomaniac, I knew I had to do a version for my boys {and their cousins who came with us}.

I don't have a fancy craft cutter, so I tried to keep things simple. 

Here's what I did: 

1)  I downloaded a Mickey Mouse silhouette and traced it onto a piece of cardstock.  I also cut a two squares of cardstock (one for the front cover and one for the back cover) and a letter (initial) in a contrasting color.

2)  I taped the silhouettes and letters in place (using double sided tape) and had the front and back covers laminated at a business supply store.

3)  I cut about 15 pieces of blank paper (for each book) and used a hole punch to put holes in the tops of the pages and the covers.  Then, I secured everything in place with key rings.

4)  Finally, I added some cute ribbon so the boys could hang the books around their necks.

The personalized books were a huge success, and the boys had a great time getting autographs from all their new Disney friends.  :-)

I think Mickey liked them too.  :-)

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

** If you haven't already "liked" me on facebook, I would love to have you join me here.

Dollar Store Easter Garland

Here is another quick and easy Easter projects to do with the kids.... a Dollar Store Easter Garland.  It's the perfect Easter craft for toddlers and preschoolers... but older kids will love it too.

Just get some foam eggs from the dollar store, some glue, and whatever embellishments you have lying around in your craft drawer.

Then, let the kids decorate the eggs however they want.

When the glue has had a chance to dry completely, string the eggs together to form a garland.  Easy and totally cute!  :-)


Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

** If you haven't already "liked" me on facebook, I would love to have you join me here.

Easter Napkin Rings {made from paper towel tubes}

If you are hosting Easter dinner this year, you are going to love this little project... Easter napkin rings made from empty paper towel tubes. It's a wonderful way to get kids involved in Easter preparations.

Wouldn't your little one be proud to set the table with something they created?  Here is how easy they are to make:

First, cut paper toilet paper tube into 1 ½” rings, and have the kids paint them. 

Then, decorate with any embellishments you choose.  We used stickers from the dollar store to keep things simple.

To finish, cover the rings with Modge Podge or glue.  (This will make them stiff and keep the stickers in place.) 

Add an Easter napkin and you are ready for guests! 

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)
** If you haven't already "liked" me on facebook, I would love to have you join me here.

Sing with Me

Lately, I have been reading a lot about the importance of music to the cognitive development of children.  It has been proven to help children with coordination, learning to read, and self-esteem.  I couldn't agree more.

My oldest two rocking out before the youngest "band member" was born

Music has always been a big part of the lives my my boys.  Despite the fact that I can't carry a tune to save my life {seriously!}, we are always singing, listening to music, and dancing around the kitchen.  {And in case you are wondering... my dancing is not very good either.  lol}

I don't think it matters what you listen to, but in case you are looking for musical inspiration, I thought I would share a few of our favorites here (in no particular order):

1)  Disney Music - We have a great Disney compilation CD, but the music from the Lion King is our favorite.  These songs are always catchy and fun to sing along with.

2)  Music by Kathy Reid-Naiman - You may not know the name, but her songs are great.  If you want to add a few new songs to your iPod, look her up on iTunes.  We really like:  "It's a Beautiful Day", "The Truck Song", and "Sleeping Bunnies".

3)  Raffi - I am partial to Raffi because I grew up listening to him, but my boys like him too.  The funny/silly scenarios in "Down by the Bay" always manage to bring a smile to their little faces, and "I Wonder if I am Growing" always brings a tear to my eye.  :-)

4)  Personalized CDs - We have a couple of different versions of these "put your child's name in the songs" CDs, and my boys still enjoy them.  I also think they make good baby gifts.

5)  Sesame Street - We have the "Sesame Street Platinum" CD.  It is a great CD with lots of songs that moms and dads will remember from their childhood.  Who doesn't love "Rubber Ducky" and "C is for Cookie"???

We also love: Sharon, Lois and Bram, our Kindermusik CD, The Wiggles and many more.

I hope you feel inspired to sing and dance.  Don't worry if you aren't very good... your kids won't care.  :-)

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

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