Cowboy Fun

My boys love dressing up and using their imaginations... so a few weeks ago, we had a Cowboy Day.  These ideas would also be great for a simple DIY Cowboy Party.

We started by making some "Wanted" posters.  I used my computer to make simple posters using pictures of the boys.  If you were having a cowboy party, you could make posters using photos of all the party guests.

You can leave the posters "as is", or you an make them look older by ripping the edges, crumpling them up, dipping them in tea, and allowing them to dry completely.

We had some cowboy hats from the dollar store in our dress up box, but the boys wanted some cowboy belts, so we got creative with some old cereal boxes.

I cut out belts and buckles from a cereal box, and the boys used crayons and markers to decorate them.  I taped the pieces together, and added slits on the ends so that the boys could easily put the belts on themselves.

We had a great day... and seriously.... don't my boys make the cutest cowboys?

I think this would be a great theme for a simple DIY birthday party.  Doesn't everyone love pretending to be a cowboy?

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

Spring Craft for Preschoolers

Need an easy Spring craft that is sure to brighten your day?  This simple paper plate wreath is a perfect craft for Toddlers, Preschoolers, and School-age children.  My four year old made this one all by himself....

I cut the centre from a paper plate, cut some squares from pastel coloured tissue paper... and handed the supplies over to my four year old.  He used glue to attach the crumpled up pieces of tissue paper and the flowers, and the result was an adorable Spring wreath.  Isn't it the cutest?

Would your little one like this simple Spring Wreath craft?  I love how bright and cheerful it is!

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

Alphabet Crafts - Letter F

Earlier this week, my four year old and I had some fun with the letter F.  We made a "feelings" Face craft, and we did a little letter F printing practice.

This craft is really fun because it is double-sided -- one side is a happy face, and one side is a sad face.

To make the craft:

1)  Have the child draw a happy face on one paper plate, and a sad face on another paper plate.  (We used googly eyes and a button nose, but this is optional.)
2)  Tape a craft stick to the back of one of the plates.
3)  Use a stapler to attach the two plates together.

That's it! Cute, right?

After our craft, we did a little printing practice. If you want to practice printing the letter F with your little one, you can right-click on the picture below, save it to your computer, and print it.


And if you are looking for more letter F crafts...

You could make this adorable letter F fox.

You could also make this funny frog face with a noisemaker tongue.

Or you could decorate a letter F for fall with some crunched up pieces of tissue paper and glue.

Fun, right? Next up... the letter "G"! :-)

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

Find more alphabet crafts here.

Easy Indoor Games

What's more fun than a simple craft?  What about a craft that you can play with long after the crayons are put away?

Today, I am sharing two fun indoor games that kids can make. You can find all the fun details over at CBC Parents.

Check them out and let me know which one is your favorite.

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

St.Patrick's Day Fun

Just wanted to take a minute to wish you all a very Happy St. Patrick's Day... and fill you in how we are celebrating today.

Last night, before we went to bed, the boys set their leprechaun trap.  We do this annually, and every year they come up with a new plan.  (It is serious business trying to catch a leprechaun!)

Then, this morning they checked the trap.  They didn't catch a leprechaun, but they came really close.  The leprechaun was in such a panic to escape that he dropped lots of gold bars and coins. 

Fun, right?  I also set the table (last night) for a special St.Patrick's Day breakfast this morning.

It was an exciting morning, but the older boys are now at school.  When they get home, we'll make some rainbow necklaces and have shamrock pancakes for supper.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  How are you celebrating?

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

10 SIMPLE March Break Activities

March break activities don't need to be elaborate to be a fun.  You just need a plan and a little creativity.  Here are 10 simple March break activities that are easy, inexpensive, and guaranteed to create treasured memories.

1)  Have a floor picnic - Make lunch a little more fun by laying a blanket down on the kitchen floor.  My boys love a floor picnic!

2)  Read some stories - Head to the library, pick out some new books, and cuddle up and read together.  If you are looking for inspiration, we have a list of our 10 favorite picture books here.

3)  Dress up - Around here, we love dressing up as Harry Potter, Pirates, Spies and Jedi, but I am sure your little ones have their own favorites.  Is there anything more fun than "pretend play"?

4)  Bake something - My boys love baking together... and then eating the fruits of their labour.  Some of our favorites are:  banana bread, chocolate chip cookies, and peanut butter cookies.

5)  Make a craft, paint, or play with play dough - This blog 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 - My boys love cards and board games, and I think it 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.  You might also want to invite some friends over for a half sleepover.  You can find all the fun details here.

9) Have an indoor concert or dance party - 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 kids, you can read about some of our favorites here.

10) Get outside - Is there anything better for kids than playing outside?  Depending on the weather where you are, you might want to check out some summer activities here and here or some winter activities here.

What are some of your favorite March break activities?  This week, I am focussing on keeping the activities simple and enjoying this time with my boys.

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

Announcing Disney

At the end of the month, we are taking our boys to Disney.  We have been keeping it a secret (until now), but my husband and I wanted to tell them a month ahead so that we had 30 day to build excitement.  Here is how we told our boys, "We're going to Disney!"

We started by telling our boys that we had a little "family movie night" surprise for them, and we gave them 3 paper bags containing clues.

Bag #1 contained a bathing suit.
Bag #2 contained a picture of their cousins (who will be accompanying us on the trip).
Bag #3 contained a toy airplane.

Then, after a few guesses, the boys opened a big bag filled with Disney stickers, Disney tattoos, balloons, and a Disney Countdown (which you can read about here).

The boys and I are super-excited about our trip, and every day the anticipation is building. 

Have you ever surprised your little ones with a family vacation?  How did you break the news?

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

Simple St.Patrick's Day Decor and Treat

I don't go overboard for St. Patrick's Day, but our family does like to do a few simple things to celebrate.  Today I am sharing the easy rainbow cupcakes I made with my boys last week.  I am also sharing my fun rainbow streamer St. Patrick's Day decor.

To make the cupcakes, my four year added frosting, marshmallow clouds, and candy rainbows (from the dollar store).  Aren't they adorable?

Then, after we made the cupcakes, the older boys and I made a fun "rainbow" garland for our kitchen window.  My six year old cut all the streamers, and I tied them at the top.  I just love how cheerful it is!

Do you do anything fun to celebrate St.Patrick's Day?  We still have time for a project or two, so I'd love to hear your ideas.

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

PS (In case you are new to my blog... click here for some of my favorite St. Patrick's ideas from last year.)

Disney Countdown

My husband and I are taking the boys to Florida in April, and we thought it would be fun to build anticipation with a "Countdown to Disney".  This countdown is super-cute, and it is easy and inexpensive to make.

Here's how I made our Disney countdown (per the photo tutorial below):

1)  I started with inexpensive pipe insulation (from the home improvement store), and I taped the ends together with lots of duct tape.  I also stuck a craft stick in the middle before taping to make it a little stronger.  (Note:  The weight of the paper chain caused the insulation to bend slightly, so I think next time I might try reinforcing the foam with an old wire hanger... but if you don't mind not having a perfect circle, this isn't necessary)

2)  I wrapped the insulation with black yarn... securing it with hot glue periodically.

3)  I cut two circles from foam core (from the dollar store) using an x-acto knife.

4)  I wrapped the circles with black yarn... securing it with hot glue periodically.

5)  I attached the two smaller circles to the larger circle using hot glue and yarn.

6)  I cut card stock (in yellow, red, and white) into strips that were two inches wide.

7)  I glued two buttons onto the top strip, and then looped the remaining strips to make a chain.

I love our Disney countdown, and my boys are enjoying ripping the links off each day.  I am too!  :-)

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

Snowman Goodie Bag {with free printable}

My six year old recently went to a birthday party, and came home with a "snowman parts" treat bag.  I have seen similar ideas on Pinterest, and I knew I had to design my own version.  Here's what I came up with...

Isn't it cute?  My bag includes:  three marshmallows, two Skittles, two pretzel sticks, a piece of candy corn, and six mini chocolate chips.

I especially like the adorable tag I designed.  You can download the 4X6 version of the tag {for free} by right clicking on the picture below, saving it to your computer, and printing it like a normal photo.

I think this is a great idea for a loot bag, but it would be fun as a class treat or a special snack at home.  Would your little ones enjoy this "snowman parts" goodie bag?

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

Alphabet Crafts - Letter E

Yesterday my four year old and I had some fun with the letter E. We made an Elephant mask, and we did a little letter E printing practice.

To make the elephant mask (per the photo below):

1)  Get the pieces ready for painting.  Draw two elephant ears on a piece of white paper, cut a strip from white card stock, and cut two eye-holes in a paper plate.

2)  Have the child paint all the pieces grey, and allow them to dry completely.  (I didn't have grey paint, so I mixed black and white... which my four year old thought was really fun.)

3)  Have the child cut out the ears and fold the trunk like an accordion.  Add a pink "snout" to the end of the trunk, and tape or glue the trunk in place.

4)  Tape or glue the ears in place, and add a craft stick to the back (to allow the child to hold the mask).

That's it! Cute, right?

After our craft, we did a little printing practice. If you want to practice printing the letter E with your little one, you can right-click on the picture below, save it to your computer, and print it.

If you are looking for other letter E crafts, you might want to try decorating an "E" with eyeballs.

Turning an "E" into an elephant is fun too.

Or you can make this adorable "egg" craft. Rip up a paper bag and glue the pieces onto a sheet of paper to make a nest. Then add a couple of eggs. If you cut one of the eggs in half, you can add a picture of your child hatching out of the egg. 

Fun, right? Next up... the letter "F"! :-)

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

Find more alphabet crafts here.

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