Monday, November 27, 2017

50 Hottest Presents of 2017

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Christmas shopping has begun! There are so many great gifts out there for kids. But how do you decide what to purchase for them? So many different factors come into play... What are they interested in? What is most educational? What can they get use out of for a few years? All this being said, I've put together this list of the 50 hottest gifts for kids this year (in my opinion, lol). 

(This post contains Affiliate links. I make a small percentage to keep this site running when you purchase. More here.)

To keep it easy to read, I've broken down these hot gifts into different categories. Keep reading and maybe you'll find an item or two that would suit a kiddo in your life.
Set up house outside with the Step2 Neat and Tidy playhouse. My daughter has it and loves it!
The Plasmacar offers endless fun for a variety of ages.
Develop your soccer player's skills with the Adidas Microcoach Training Smart Soccer Ball.
My son soooo wants a Razor Flashrider 360 ever since trying out his friend's.

Find out how far your little princess will go with this Moana dress-up costume.
Let your kiddo shop til they drop with this fun shopping cart.
Encourage your future doctor with this play medical set.
Or maybe you have a future vet that would love this VTech Care for Me learning carrier.
I actually ordered this Disney princess dress up trunk for my little girl. Very versatile!
Every kiddo should have a play kitchen! This Step2 Heart of the Home center is ideal.
Set up some fun imaginative play with the Melissa & Doug cardboard ice cream truck.
Expand and supplement that play with this fun pretend ice cream set.

Start an annual tradition with the 2017 Holiday Barbie.
Everyone is talking about the Luvabella doll this year. Get yours here!
Give those Barbies and your kiddo a surprise new home with the Barbie dream house.
Or let them take a trip in this awesome Barbie camper.
If you don't have the room/finances, get the 3 story Barbie doll house that we have. It's kid tough.
Also at our home is the Barbie food truck. A much loved toy!
Let your little one play mommy with the new Baby Alive Sweet Tears.
Welcome a new baby doll home with this darling baby doll furniture set.
Encourage your kiddo to explore veterinary science with the Barvie Pet Care Center.
Enjoy some magical play with the Enchantimals Garden Magic play set.


The Rollercoaster Challenge Game uses logic and fun to create hours of entertainment.
Develop vocabulary and creative thinking skills with the Word on the Street game.
There's just something to the Hearing Things game that seems like it would be a hoot for family fun.
Yeti in My Spaghetti is an older game, but it's silly and fun and guaranteed to produce laughs.
The kids are getting the No Thumbs Challenge game this year. How could I resist it?

Have fun while playing with this Leapfrog Picnic Basket your toddler/preschooler.
Let them create their own indoor garden with this glow and grow terrarium set.
This Star Wars Droid Inventor kit is a definite for a young inventor.
This 4m Magnet Science is a great tool for mini-scientists.

Let your little scientist have hands-on fun building electrical circuits with the Snap Circuits Jr kit.
Let their imagination run free with this Picasso tiles building set.
Build forts, ships, and other creations with Gigi Blocks.
Let them create  roller coaster for a motorized cart using the K'nex Thrill Rides kit.

How far will imaginative play go with this Moana Island Adventure set?
Let your kiddo build their own Arrendale playground with the Lego Frozen Playground.
Explore women in science with the Lego Women of NASA set.
There might be "something there" to this Lego Princess Belle's Enchanted Castle set.
Bring out an inner architect with the Lego Modular Modern Home set.
The Lego Boost Toolbox can teach kids coding while having fun building.
This 1100+ piece BB8 Lego set is a builder's dream.

Have fun with the classic Play-doh Fun Factory.
Cook up some fun with the new Play-doh Kitchen Creations Oven.
Bring Play-doh creations to life with the Play-doh Touch to Shape Studio.
Have hours of open-ended fun with the Play-Doh Super Molding Mania set.

Keep your train enthusiast busy for hours with this train table.
Get the latest in Hot Wheels fun with the Criss Cross Crash Track set.
Have glow in the dark fun with the Mindscope LED Laser Twister Tracks set.
Entertain your Shopkins fans with the latest Cutie Cars.
Have you started your holiday shopping yet? Are any of the items on this list part of your purchases? I'd love to hear what products are hot ticket items for you this holiday.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Forest Animal Snowy Shadow Match Game and A Song for Snow Review & Giveaway

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We recently got a chance to review the new book Hoot and Peep: A Song for Snow. Penguin Books sent us a free copy to check out. The kids loved it! My three year old wants to read it almost every night. So I thought I'd create a fun learning activity based on the book for her (and you!). See below to download your free version of it. And make sure you enter to win your own copy of this book!

(This post includes affiliate links. Please see here for details.)
Hoot and Peep: A Song for Snow is a darling book that captures a young owl's first winter. From the publisher:

It's Peep's first winter, and it's going to snow very, very soon. Peep has so many questions for her older brother Hoot: Does snow drop, ploppety splop, like the rain's song? Does it scrinkle scrattle like falling leaves? But Hoot can't remember snow very well. The one thing he knows for sure is that it is worth waiting for.

But Peep doesn't have his patience, and as she flies around the gorgeous wintery Paris skies, she tries her best to make up her own snow song. But once those first flakes start to fall, Peep realizes just how wise her older brother really is for waiting...and just who she wants to cuddle up to when the snow starts to really sing.

With all the wonder and the joy of a first snowfall, this tender follow-up to Hoot and Peep is certainly worth waiting for, too.

My preschooler loved this story, so to further explore the book, I created a match-up game for children where they match images related to the book with an outline of the image. After downloading the game using the link below, all you have to do is print, cut, and play. You may want to laminate for durability.

Want to get a copy of Hoot and Peep: A Song for Snow for your young reader? Enter this giveaway before buying your own copy. You'll enter to win your own copy of the book plus a few extra goodies from me!
To enter, use the Rafflecopter entry below.  Contest is limited to U.S. only. Entries close on November 21st at 12 am. Winner will be announced by midnight on May 22nd.
Check out these other great posts on this fun, new book here:
Art Coloring Sheet at Thoughts from a Highly Caffeinated Mind

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of A Song for Snow via Penguin Books. All opinions are mine. The received a copy of A Song for Snow in exchange for an honest review. Giveaway items are supplied by publisher.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

November Photo Prompts for Moms: Moments Matter

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I've fallen off the wagon again....Stopped focusing on the small parts of our days that make them wonderful. Life has been crazy, so instead I've been in survival mode. Can you relate? Do you ever feel like you're missing the little things that make being a family so amazing? The Moments Matter monthly photo challenge can help with that. In previous months, it's helped me  to focus more on the details of our days. I  hope that other mommas can get the same rewards I've found with it. Often, I've found the photo prompts lead me to look for moments in our day that match the challenge. Other days it gives me a great boost to create an activity that suits the day's theme. That's the beauty of this project... it allows us to focus more intently on ourselves, our family, or just life in general.
There are several ways you can join me in this project:
  • Use the photo prompts to capture moments in your day that fit them.  Join me on Instagram and share them or keep them for just you and your family to enjoy.
  • Use the topics to hone your photography skills.
  • You can also use the prompts as inspiration for activities for you to do with your children. 
  • If you can’t participate every day, no worries.  Just post when the prompts speak to you and relate to the moments in your day.
  • Share whatever photos you like with the tag #momentsmatter to share the special moments in your day.
  Here are the photo prompts for this month: 
Don't forget to use the hashtag #momentsmatter when you share!  See you on Instagram!

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The Very Hungry Pumpkin Thanksgiving Felt Board Activity

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It's Thanksgiving time! One book that I've always found to engage preschoolers' favorite books is Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar. So I wrote this fun Thanksgiving felt board story that invokes the same storyline with a Thanksgiving theme. It's a great way to help preschoolers practice colors and have fun through a new rendition of a familiar story. 

The idea behind this interactive felt board story is that a hungry pumpkin goes around eating various foods, which then turn him different colors. The pumpkin gets worried. At the end, he finally eats a food that turns him into something he is happy and comfortable with. A few years ago, I presented this at our local library for a storytime for 20+ children. It was a hit!

Below you can find images of how to present this activity individually, or in small or large groups, as well as a link to download the script and images for this activity.

The story goes like this....
"One Sunday morning the warm sun came up and -pop!- out of the ground came a tiny and very hungry pumpkin.  He started to look for some food..."

As the days progress, the hungry pumpkin eats a variety of food that turns him many different colors. And he isn't happy with the results....
Each day, the pumpkin is upset at the results of what he's eaten. It isn't until the last day that the pumpkin finally finds a food to eat that makes him feel right...
But something didn't feel quite right. So he went looking for something to help him feel a little bit better. He nibbled on a turkey leg. And then he said, "Oh me, oh my!" he began to sigh.  "I'm a piece of pumpkin pie!"

Click the link below to download 

 If you love this activity and want to do it next Halloween, check out the jack-o-lantern version.

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