Pretend Tea Party with Natural Items

Set up a pretend tea party play in the backyard where the kids can make a mess, use their imaginations, and get creative exploring items found in nature.

Remember how much fun it was to play “tea party” was when you were little?  Pouring and measuring and serving cups of “tea” to your friends and parents, or to your dolls and teddy bears?  I always find that kids are happiest when they’re engaged in pretend play, and the hooligans always seem to have the most fun with non-toys – undefined items and “loose parts” that can be anything they want them to be.  Items like this spark the imagination and foster creativity.

Pretend Tea Party Play Idea

For our tea party today, I gathered up a bunch of natural items that we keep on hand for learning and play.  Toddlers and preschoolers love exploring items found in nature, so in our backyard play area we always have baskets and buckets filled with stones, sticks, pinecones, shells and artificial flowers. The children play with these items almost every day in our sandbox and playhouse.

pinecones and stones in a bowl

I realize that artificial flowers aren’t “natural” items but the hooligans love them.  We use them in many of our activities, and they seemed like a perfect colourful addition to our theme today.

pretend tea party with stones, shells and pinecones

I set our 6 dollar thrift shop table in the middle of the yard, and topped it with a set of cheery plastic bowls, plates and cups that we use for outdoor play.

Then, I set out several more bowls and baskets filled with our natural elements.  It all looked very inviting!

Tea time!

backyard tea party play

The girls spent ages exploring all the goodies on the table, and dishing up bowls of “soup” and “drinks” for each other.

backyard tea party activity

Crunchy, pokey pinecones, smooth beach stones and sea shells were the perfect ingredients today.


Of course they thought to add in a few extras of their own: grass and leaves from around the lawn and garden.

toddler tea party with items from nature

There are no fancy toys required for this kind of play.  Just happy kids, busy hands and a child’s imagination. If you ask the me that’s the best kind of play of all. And I do think the hooligans would agree.


 Looking for more imaginative outdoor play ideas for your kids?  Check out:

Fairy Mud

2-Ingredient Cloud Dough

2-Ingredient Ghost Mud

Sensory Coffee Shop

Fairy Soup



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25+preschool activities by 25 bloggers, 10 printables, 50 links to activities not featured in the book all for $8.99!

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10 Fun Fall Activities for Kids to Do in the Backyard

Ah, Fall!  It’s almost here!  Those crisp, clear sunny days.  The vibrant colours.  The crunch of leaves underfoot.  We love playing outdoors in the fall!  We’ve done some exceptionally fun fall activities right at home in our own backyard.  There’s so much to see and learn and explore at this time of year.  New colours and textures and treasures from the fields and gardens.  Fall really is one of my favourite seasons for being outdoors with the kids.

Today, I’d love to share 10 of my favourite fall activities for kids to do in the backyard.  Give some of them a try at home with your kids this year, and let me know how much fun you had with them!  Additionally, if you have any favourite outdoor fall activities that you do with your kids, drop me a line in the comments!  I’d love to try them here with the hooligans!

10 fall activities for kids to do outside

10 Fun Fall Activities for the Backyard

Each of the activities described contains a clickable link that will take you to the detailed blog post.

 backyard leaf maze and labyrinth activities

Rake up a leaf maze or leaf labyrinth!


corn kernels, fun sensory activity for fall

Pick up some decorative corn cobs for sensory play! This fine-motor activity keeps the hooligans busy for days on end!


fall sensory bin activity for kids

Set up a fall sensory bin using found items and thrift-shop materials.


fall nature activity on a mirror

Fall play on a mirror!  An display of autumn dollar store items is doubly interesting to explore when set up on a mirrored surface.


fine motor chestnut activity for preschoolers

Collect a big bucket of chestnuts.  Kids LOVE shelling them, and then using them for sensory play.


corn and chestnut run activity for fall

A corn and chestnut run will keep little ones entertained for hours!


kids sliding into pile of fall leaves

Make a leaf slide!


Fall sensory activity on a mirror

Set up an invitation to play with sensory materials on a mirror under a canopy of leaves or the clear, blue sky.

dissecting sunflowers in the fall

Explore a variety of harvest items.  The hooligans love dissecting sunflowers!


fall nature table

A nature table laden with gourds, candles, pinecones, bark and other natural element provides loads of discovery and learning.


There are so many inexpensive ways for your children to explore the wonders of fall right at home, in your own backyard!  Let us know if you try any of these!


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25+preschool activities by 25 bloggers, 10 printables, 50 links to activities not featured in the book all for $8.99!

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3-5 Playful Preschool 3-book


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18 Free {or almost free} Cool Features to Add to Your Backyard Play Space

Can you create a magical, exciting and engaging outdoor play space for your child for a few dollars?  You bet you can!  You don’t need oodles of space or fancy toys and equipment to have the best backyard on the block.

My daycare hooligans will attest to the fact that it’s the simple things that kids love best!  Good, old-fashioned, simple activities and play set-ups that spark the imagination,  foster creativity, challenge their physical abilities and engage their minds and their senses.

Today, I’m sharing 18 simple, super-cool and FREE (or almost free) features to add to your backyard play space.  All of these ideas are simple to set up, the materials are easy to come by, and I promise, if you look hard enough, you can probably create the coolest back yard around for no more than a few bucks!

18 free things to add to a backyard play space

** Some of these activities have click-able links that will take you to the full post with instructions and details.   Others are simply photographs to inspire you.

18 super-cool, fun, free things to add to your backyard play space

Mobile Mud Pit

mud pit in a wheelbarrow

Want a mud-pit without sacrificing your lawn?  Click here to check out our mobile mud-pit!  Easy set up, easy clean up, and you can tuck it away at the end of the day.

Play Logs

play logs for the backyard play space

If you know anyone who’s having a tree cut down, see if you can score some play logs!   They’re one of the most versatile and popular features in our backyard.  Click here to see ours in action, and to find out more about them.

Pool Noodle Abacus


A backyard “abacus” is simple to make and provides lots of fun and learning. The toddlers love this one.  Click here to learn more about our pool noodle abacus.

Re-purpose an old white board

white board in the backyard

Got a white board that’s too marked up to use anymore?  Move it outdoors!  The hooligans got a couple of seasons of outdoor art out of this white board that was headed for the trash.  Here, we’re painting with mud. *photo only/no link

Backyard Balance Beam


A few scrap pieces of wood make a perfect balance beam for a budding, young gymnast.  It provides hours of pretend play and exercise and I can tuck it out of the way at the end of the day. Click here to see more of our outdoor balancing activities for toddlers and preschoolers.

A Rope and a Bucket

bucket and a rope backyard activity

Without question, this is one of the absolute best things I’ve ever added to a backyard play area.  The hooligans play with this contraption year round.  I love that it’s not only great for strengthening little muscles, it also fosters team work, critical thinking and co-operation.  See how I rigged up our Bucket Contraption here.

Homemade Water Wall

water wall activity

I made this water wall out of recyclables 4 years ago, and the hooligans are still playing with it.  It’s provided them with hours and hours of fun and learning over the years.  See how I made our water wall here.

Tire Swing

horizonal tire swing

Our tire swing is another one of the most loved features in our back yard.  An old tire, hung horizontally is perfect for one or for a bunch of kids to gather on.   If your vehicle is due for new tires – perfect!  If not, check with a local garage or service station.  They may happily donate one to your backyard project. *photo only/no link

Kid’s Clothesline

kid's clothesline

I rigged up this simple clothesline years ago.  Secured tightly so it’s not a safety concern, it’s just at the right height for the hooligans to use.   Our clothesline provides lots of opportunity for pretend play, and it’s great for teaching life skills, and developing co-ordination and fine-motor skills.  Read more about our clothesline activities here.

Rocks and Stones

rocks for open-ended outdoor play

We’ve picked up loads of rocks and stones and even pebbles at the beach over the years.  The children always have access to the rocks and stones in the yard, and they play with them daily.  They’re kind of our backyard version of the building block – completely open-ended, they can be whatever the hooligans want them to be.  See 10 ways that we use our stones and rocks here.

Sand Wall


Much like the water wall, our sand wall is also made entirely out of scraps and recyclables. It’s positioned in our sandbox, and it’s provided loads of entertainment over the years.  Read about our sandbox and sand wall here.

Artificial Flowers

artificial flowers for play in the backyard

Pick up a bunch of artificial flowers at the dollar store or at a thrift shop.  Ours played with every single day.  The kids hold “weddings”, they decorate the playhouse with them, they “plant” them in the sandbox.  Not a day passes that these don’t get used in some creative manner.  Check out one of my favourite artificial flower activities here.



Water tables are awesome, but there was no way I was going to spend big money to get one when you can make your own so easily.  I pull one of these together almost every day when the weather is nice.  A storage bin set a top a bench or patio table or even an overturned (larger) storage container are all you need for all your water and sensory activities.  If you don’t have storage containers, no worries – a child’s wagon also doubles as a water table for a group of kids to gather around.  *photo only/no link

Backyard Tight Rope

Back Yard Tight Rope

Best thing ever!  This is right up there with the tire swing and the rope and bucket contraption.  We’ve had this in our yard for 3 years, and the hooligans use it every single day, all year long even when the snow practically buries the bottom rope.  It’s just the best for co-ordination and gross-motor development.  I’m not kidding when I say our tightrope has provided hundreds of hours of fun for kids from ages 1-7 over the years.  Read all about it, and see how to make your own here.

Hoses and Funnels

Hose and funnel run through chain link fence

A couple of old pool hoses (or vacuum hoses) pushed through a chain link fence provide hours of fun and learning.  Pop a funnel (or the top section of a water bottle) into the top each hose, and little ones will be kept occupied and entertained for ages.  Read all about our hose and funnel runs here.

Thrift Shop Coffee Table

used coffee table as activity table

One of the best but least expensive investments I ever made for my daycare was this thrift shop coffee table.  I got it for 6 dollars, at a second-hand shop a couple of years ago, and we use it every day.  In summer, it’s our backyard activity table, in winter it’s our art table in the craft room.  Big enough for a crowd to gather around and water and paint spills don’t matter at all.  See it in action here.

DIY Water Slide

DIY water slide

For the price of an inexpensive camping tarp, you can give your kids a whole day of wet, water, slippy-slidey fun! !  We’ve been doing this for years here in my daycare, and the kids never tire of it.  See how to make your own waterside here.

Add “running water” to your outdoor play space

water jug in the play yard

And lastly, my super-inexpensive way to add a source of running water to your child’s backyard play area.  A camping jug!  Theyr’e in abundance at the second hand-stores around here, so if you don’t have one of your own, you can probably scoop up a used one for a couple of bucks!  See some of the ways we use ours here.

And there you have it, 18 inexpensive, super-fun, super-cool things you can add to your outdoor play space this summer!  Your kids (and your neighbours’ kids) will love you for it!


Get the 3-5 Playful Preschool e-Book!

25+preschool activities by 25 bloggers, 10 printables, 50 links to activities not featured in the book all for $8.99!

Download your copy today:

3-5 Playful Preschool 3-book


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Sidewalk Chalk and Water Painting Activity

Kids can create unique “watercolour images” with sidewalk chalk and water!

We’re huge fans of sidewalk chalk here.  We always have a bucket of chalk stashed just outside our front door. It’s our go-to activity when we’re waiting for daycare drop-off and pickups, when we want to get creative, or when we only have a few minutes to spare.  The hooligans love using chalk in the traditional way of course, but over the years, I’ve come up with some fun and creative ways to use our chalk too!  Here’s our most recent outdoor art activity.  It’s super-simple to set up and do, and the results are really pretty!

sidewalk chalk and water activity

4 simple materials for sidewalk chalk painting:

  • sidewalk chalk
  • water
  • large paint brush

Creating outdoor art with sidewalk chalk and water:

We often do our chalk activities out in the driveway, but honestly, our favourite place to play with chalk is on the patio stones in front of our front porch.  The stones are all different sizes, and each one provides the perfect canvas for individual chalk paintings.  That’s where we set our activity up today.

To create our chalk and water paintings, we simply decorated the individual patio stones with our chalk.  We drew all kinds of different designs using lots of colours.  For each drawing, we tried to cover as much of the patio stone as we could.

Then, we floated water across our drawings using a large paint brush.  This is a great way to use those old paint-brushes that are too scruffy to use for home-decorating projects anymore.

child painting with water over sidewalk chalk drawing

This resulted in the chalk blurring together to create a lovely, soft, water-colour effect.

The toddlers and preschoolers really enjoyed the process because hey, what toddler or preschooler doesn’t love painting with water.  I’ll tell you though – I totally loved the process too, so I think it would appeal to kids of all ages.  I created quite a few images of my own.

Check it out:

First,  my chalk drawing:

painting over sidewalk chalk with water

Now, look at how the water blurs and softens the chalk lines and colours.

Wet sidewalk chalk painting

creating watercolour images with chalk and water

Isn’t that cool?

Our wet chalk painting was perfect for making hand-print art!

making handprints in wet sidewalk chalk

What an easy, fun way for kids to get creative with sidewalk chalk!

wet sidewalk chalk rainboe

For more outdoor art activities, check out:

Sensory Art

Painting with Shaving Cream

Window Art with Foam Shapes

Painting the Snow

Homemade Sidewalk Paint


Get the 3-5 Playful Preschool e-Book!

25+preschool activities by 25 bloggers, 10 printables, 50 links to activities not featured in the book all for $8.99!

Download your copy today:

3-5 Playful Preschool 3-book


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Backyard Tightrope

If you’re looking for an amazing (and free!) addition for your backyard play space, a backyard tightrope is da bomb!  Our tightrope is, hands down, one of the most popular stations in our yard.  Kids of all ages – from 1 right through to 7 absolutely love this thing!
The kids use it all year round.  Even when they’re bundled up in snow-suits!   Head on over to Kids Activities blog to find out how to make a simple tightrope for your own backyard.  simple backyard tight rope for kids


Get the 3-5 Playful Preschool e-Book!

25+preschool activities by 25 bloggers, 10 printables, 50 links to activities not featured in the book all for $8.99!

Download your copy today:

3-5 Playful Preschool 3-book


Follow the Hooligans on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter!


Homemade Bubble Blower

How to make bubbles and a bubble wand at home…

Bubbles, bubbles, who loves bubbles? And who loves it when you can’t find the bubble wands? Or when the kids knock over the bubble mix within minutes of playing with it? Yeah, well, those are the downsides to bubble blowing, but fear not, Mama! I’ve got a couple of solutions for you! The first being this easiest-ever homemade bubble blower made from a cardboard kitchen tube!  We just love repurposing our cardboard rolls!  Don’t you?


easiest-ever homemade bubble blower


We love blowing bubbles here.  Remember our giant homemade bubbles? Oh yeah!  Well, the hooligans wanted to blow bubbles the other day, but I couldn’t remember where I’d stashed the bubble stuff at the end of the season last year.  That didn’t stop us.  We set out to make some homemade bubble blowers out of common kitchen items.  This one is simply a cardboard kitchen roll!  And our bubble mixture?  About 2 tbsp of straight dish soap!

Hey, don’t laugh. Not only did our cardboard bubble blower work, it worked REALLY WELL! And check out our straw and coffee-filter bubble pipe! It was great too!

So how did we “make” our homemade bubble blower?

Simple!  Grab a cardboard kitchen roll and a bottle of dish soap!


cardboard tube and dawn dish soap


What kind of cardboard roll works best?

We started off with a paper towel roll, but it got soggy fairly quickly.  It will do in a pinch though!

What we found worked best was the sturdy cardboard roll that holds aluminum foil or cling wrap.  It held up very well.

Using dish soap as bubble mix:

To blow our bubbles, I simply poured a couple of tbsp of Blue Dawn Original (un-concentrated) Dish Soap into the bottom of a shallow bowl.

We dipped the end of the tube in, and blew, and wow!  It totally worked!

Just go slow with the dipping, and try not to work up too much of a froth in your bowl.  Too much foam will prevent your detergent from working.  Just dip, hold, lift.  No swishing or tapping up and down with the cardboard roll, okay?


bubbles blown with cardboard tube


Do you have to use Dawn Dish Soap?

I would imagine any dish soap would work, but I don’t know for sure.  We used Dawn because it’s what we use when we make our Giant Bubble Mix.  That stuff makes the best and biggest bubbles EVER so I figured it would work for this.

You’ll start to play around with your technique when it comes to flicking the wand to release your bubbles off the end of the wand.

I also found if you puff into the tube making “puh” sounds: “puh-puh-puh-puh-puh”, you’ll make a series of bubbles, one after another, after another, after another.

It was pretty cool!

And easy enough for the preschooler to get the hang of quickly!


child blowing bubble with cardboard tube


cardboard tube bubble blower

The toddler much preferred to chase the bubbles around. :)
child chasing bubbles


Want to see another super-cool and easy homemade bubble blower?  Check out the bubble snakes over at Housing a Forest.

Get the 3-5 Playful Preschool e-Book!

25+preschool activities by 25 bloggers, 10 printables, 50 links to activities not featured in the book all for $8.99!

Download your copy today:

3-5 Playful Preschool 3-book


Follow the Hooligans on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter!


Simple Homemade Bubble Pipe

A Homemade Bubble Pipe made from a straw and a coffee filter! Pair it up with some dish detergent straight out of the bottle, and blowing bubbles just got a whole lot cheaper and easier!

Blowing bubbles is one of those classic childhood activities that never gets old!  Normally, every spring I whip up a batch of our  Giant Bubble Mix, and we spend the day making the biggest bubbles you could ever imagine. Today our weather was perfect for bubble blowing!  Overcast skies and high humidity.  I didn’t have any bubble solution on hand though.  I certainly hadn’t made any, and I couldn’t even find a jug of dollar store bubble mix.  What to do, what to do…


Homemade Bubble Pipe


Well, I’ll tell you what we did.  We got out the dish soap and a few household items and started experimenting.  And we discovered that we could make some pretty fine bubbles with things we had around the house.

This is one of the homemade bubble blowers that we had the most fun with!

Homemade Bubble Pipe:


blowing bubbles through a straw and coffee filter


It’s a homemade bubble pipe! Remember bubble pipes?  I never quite understood their purpose when I was a kid.  I thought a bubble should take flight and float up and away over the roof-tops.  Not so with the bubble pipe.  What was up with that?   Recently I saw these amazing bubble snakes over at Housing a Forest, and it all made sense!

And so today, I decided we’d see if we could make a bubble pipe one with some stuff we had on hand.

To make your homemade bubble pipe, you’ll need:

dawn dish detergent, drinking straw, coffee filter, tape


  • drinking straw
  • coffee filter
  • tape

To make your bubble pipe, simply tear off a small piece of the coffee filter.  Not a big piece at all.  You know the size of a square of toilet paper?  Probably about a quarter of that size.

Place that piece of coffee filter over the end of the straw and twist the loose stuff snugly around the straw.

Wrap a piece of tape around it a couple of times to hold everything in place.

Using straight dish soap as bubble solution:

I’ve heard for years that when you’re making bubble solution Blue Dawn Original (NON-Concentrated) dish soap is the best brand to use, so I figured if any detergent was going to work as a bubble mix straight out of the bottle, it would be this one.  Guess what!  It was GREAT!

I poured 1-2 tablespoons into a shallow bowl.  Just enough to make a small puddle for the girls to dip the end of their bubble pipes in.

Bubble solution tip:

The trick here, as with all bubble mixtures, is to try to avoid rapidly stirring or swishing soap.  That will create a lot of foam and froth, and you’ll have problems blowing any bubbles.  You want to keep the detergent as close to its normal, liquid state as possible.  I just kept encouraging the girls to dip their straws in and out of the soap slowly and gently.

Check it out!  I was so amazed at how well these bubble pipes worked!  We were actually able to gently transfer our bubble blobs to a solid surface and then we’d blow another string of bubbles and gently transfer it on to the first blob.  We’d repeat again and again, and we ended up making some decent bubble structures!

toddler using homemade bubble pipe


Not bad for a straw and a coffee filter, is it?

And now you know, when you’re in a pinch, that you don’t need bubble solution and a store-bought bubble wand!  You can make your own bubble-fun with a few simple things that you already have on hand!

Stay tuned!  The next homemade bubble blower I’ll be sharing requires only ONE common household item!

Get the 3-5 Playful Preschool e-Book!

25+preschool activities by 25 bloggers, 10 printables, 50 links to activities not featured in the book all for $8.99!

Download your copy today:

3-5 Playful Preschool 3-book


Follow the Hooligans on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter!


10+ Stone Activities for Kids

10+ stone activities for kids: ways to add stones and rocks to your child’s play space for fun and learning.

Kids just love playing with stones, don’t they?  One of our favourite annual treks is a hike on the beach where we collect a bunch of new stones and rocks to replenish our collection at home.  We load up our pails, cloth bags and our pockets and we haul our our new stones home.  Over the weeks and months to come, they’ll find their way into almost every little corner of our yard and home, and they’ll be played with daily in so many different ways.


10 Stone Activities for Kids:

 Here are 10 of our favourite, simple stone activities here in my home daycare.


 Letter stones

letter stones

Letter Stones – I painted uppercase and lowercase letters, with acrylic paints, on small flat beach stones.  When the paint was dry, I gave them a quick coat of spray varnish to weather-proof them.   Younger children can explore the letters through play, while older children can form sight words with them.


Water Displacement Activity

rocks and bucket of water

Water Displacement Activity:  The hooligans love to drop the small, round stones into a jar of water so we did this fun water displacement experiment so they could see just what happens to the level of the water when you add rocks to it.

Activity Bins


Activity and Sensory Bins:  Rocks make a great addition to a sensory bin or activity bin.  Check out our Dinosaur Activity Bin and our Deep Blue Sea Bin to see what I mean.


Chocolate Box Rocks

chocolate box filled with stones

Chocolate Box Rocks: Fill an empty chocolate box with a variety of small colourful stones.  Toddlers will have fun simply putting the stones in and out of the box, and older children can pay closer attention to the shapes of the stones, trying to match them with a similar shaped space in the box.

Stacking and Building

playing with Rocks on the deck

Stacking larger beach rocks: We always have a stack of larger beach rocks piled up in one corner of our back deck.  The hooligans play with these daily.  Most often they stack the rocks, but they also love scrubbing them with toothbrushes and soapy water, or simply “painting” the rocks with a paintbrush dipped in water.

Story Stones

small collection of story stones

Story Stones:  Story stones are lots of fun!  I had a blast making them, and the hooligans love playing with them.  They are wonderful story-telling prompts.  A child reaches into the basket, draws out a stone, and must use whatever is on the stone in a sentence i.e. “I was riding a blue elephant“, and either they or another child draws another stone and continues, “when I saw a dog playing with a red ball“.  We have a collection of about 50-60 story stones, so it’s a new game every time we play.  You can see how I made our story stones here.

Stones in the Outdoor Kitchen

stones in the sandbox

In the Sandbox:  There’s always a batch of stone-something-or-other being cooked up in the the sandbox or on the play logs.  You just HAVE to have stones and rocks in an outdoor kitchen!

Domino Stones

domino stones

Domino Stones:  Little ones have fun counting the dots and making matches, while older kids can actually play a game of dominoes. Make your dots by dipping the end of a paintbrush handle in black acrylic paint and press it to an oblong beach stone.  When the paint is dry, finish with a coat of spray varnish or polish with a bit of bee’s wax.

Number Stones

number stones

Number Stones:  These stones have numbers on one side and corresponding dots on the other side.  Much like the letter stones, I painted these with acrylics, and gave them a spray of clear coat varnish when the paint had dried.

Painting Rocks

painting a rock blue

Painting Rocks: Painting rocks with colourful paint is always fun!  We’re working on a special project in this photo.  I’ll be sharing the finished results with you in the very near future!

Tea Party with Loose Parts

pouding stones into plastic bowl

Tea Party with loose parts: Often we just mix up a bunch of loose parts – stones, pinecones, shells, artificial flowers etc., and we have a little tea party.  It’s a simple activity, but there’s lots of opportunity for exploration, fun and learning in even the simplest of activities.

And you might like these stone activities from a few fellow kid-bloggers:

Five Little Ducks by Red Ted Art

Shape & Colour Rocks by Fun-a-day

Pebble Puzzle by Strasilo



Get the 3-5 Playful Preschool e-Book!

25+preschool activities by 25 bloggers, 10 printables, 50 links to activities not featured in the book all for $6.99 until May 25, 2014. Price increases to $8.99 after the 25th. Download your copy today:

3-5 Playful Preschool 3-book

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Homemade Twirling Ribbon Sticks

On a whim yesterday, I made a couple of homemade twirling ribbon sticks for the girls, and they had a wonderful time running and spinning around the yard, watching their ribbons dance in the wind!

Twirling ribbon?  Ribbon stick?  Twirling ribbon stick?  I’m not exactly sure what they’re called, but they were so easy to make! They’re great for pretend play, princess dress-up and fairy activities!

We were outside, making our Pringles can windsock, and the girls were fascinated by the way the ribbons danced and fluttered on the breeze.

They were having such a great time shrieking and squealing and chasing those ribbons around, it occurred to me they might have a lot of fun with some actual twirling ribbon sticks.

I had no supplies with me other than the ribbons we were working with, so these ribbon sticks are basic.  REALLY basic.  They took all of 5 minutes to make.

Homemade Twirling Ribbons

Ready to see how I made these awesome Twirling Ribbon Sticks?

  • Stick
  • Ribbon
  • Scissors

That’s it, that’s all. Pretty easy, huh?


I grabbed a couple of sticks out of the garden, snapped them to about 10 inches in length, and the girls picked out their ribbons.

I probably tied about 5 ribbons to each stick and each ribbon was different in width and weight.  No need to have everything matchy-matchy here.

I tied the ribbons to one end of the sick, and knotted them a few times to secure them. Then I handed them over to the toddlers.


The were amazing!  The girls danced and spun and jumped and twirled, they fell down, they hopped up, and they ran around and around in the yard.

What’s so great about twirling a ribbon?

Our twirling ribbon sticks help develop a number a skills:

  • gross motor skills (large arm movements)
  • balance (spinning while twirling the ribbon stick)
  • exercise (running around waving ribbon stick in the air)
  • co-ordination (moving stick in a way that makes ribbons flutter)



What a beautiful and fun way to stretch and exercise those little muscles.



Looking for more easy, cheap and awesome backyard play ideas?

Bucket and Rope Pulley System

Back Yard Tight Rope

Easy, Homemade Water Wall

Portable Mud-Pit

Pretend Play Coffee Shop

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Wet Sidewalk Chalk Activity for Kids

Add a “dipping cup” to your sidewalk chalk activities and instantly create creamy-smooth, vibrant works of art in the driveway!

We LOVE drawing with wet sidewalk chalk!  Anyone else feel the same?   I think drawing with wet chalk is so much better than drawing with dry chalk.  It’s a whole different experience!  Dry chalk is, well…. dry,  and umm… chalky.  The feel of it on my hand and that hollow clinking sound it makes kind of give me the heebie jeebies.  Wet chalk however…  Ahhh, wet sidewalk chalk is  creamy and  vibrant.  It goes on so slick and smooth.  I love it!

Wet Sidewalk Chalk Activity

We only ever used to have wet chalk when we left it out in the rain, but now I just go ahead and add water to our chalk activities, either with the garden hose or with individual “dipping cups” like you see here.

For our wet sidewalk chalk activity, you’ll need:

  • sidewalk chalk
  • plastic containers or cups
  • Jug of warm water (for re-fills)

I like to use yogurt pots for our dipping cups.  They fit nicely a little hand, and they hold the perfect amount of water for this activity.

wet sidewalk chalk soaking in water

No need to pre-soak your chalk;  just dip and draw!

Fill your dipping cups with water, and pop a stick of chalk into each cup.  Have the kids participate here because you may hear some fizzing.

The chalk will absorb water quickly.  It will be ready to draw with in a couple of minutes.

When the chalk starts looking dark, you’re ready!

wet sidewalk chalk art on patio stones

Go forth and create!

Isn’t it amazing?  The coverage is amazing and the colours are so vibrant.

finished wet chalk drawing

Of course when it all dries, the colours don’t remain as vibrant, but the thick coverage is still there so your art will really stand out!

So, what do you think?  Will you add some water to your next chalk activity?




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