Halloween crafts and activities do not have to be complex. My preschooler’s favorite Halloween Craft are these Googly Eyed Monsters! Not only did she have a spook-tacular time making them, she loves making sure everyone sees them when they come in our home.
The best part about these monsters, you only really need to go buy googly eyes. Everything else are pretty common household items.
To set up this craft for Mila, I cut some squares from old cardboard boxes. We love to upcycle and reuse items. If we can make memories by doing that, I’m all for it!
Then, I put out the colors of paint she wanted to use. I tried to persuade her to use more Halloween colors. She insisted on blue though, but I think it turned out super cute even though it’s not a traditional color.
I let her free paint and do whatever she wanted. They didn’t start off as monsters, just as big blobs.
If you have older kids, they’ll be able to do this next part on their own. I went in and drew outlines of monsters with her blobs. She might be able to do it now, but I just follow her interest and patience level with these types of activities. There’s no right or wrong ways to outline them. Just let their artwork speak to you!
When the monsters were finished and dried, Mila put the eyes where she wanted them to be. Let your child pick out how many eyes and the eye color they think they need. It’s so cute to see how they end up seeing their monsters.
Then, you can hot glue a pipe cleaner on the back of the cardboard pieces to hand them. This is an optional step, but I love it.
I love this little progression picture. This activity came out so adorable and I’ll definitely be hanging these up throughout future Halloweens. At first, Mila was afraid of some of her pictures. Now she thinks they’re cute. She’s really getting in the spooky mood!
Another day, another fall activity! Today’s play is a Pumpkin Washing Sensory Bin.
We love sensory play for so many reasons. To summarize all of its benefits, it helps children’s brains in a ton of ways! It also gives me a minute to do a chore or task that needs done around the house too.
Now that it’s spooky season, I’m finally letting Mila pick pumpkins from our pumpkin patch on the side of our house. It led straight to this activity.
Before we paint or decorate these pumpkins, I thought they needed to be cleaned off. Instead of me just doing it, I thought it would be so much fun for Mila… and I was right. All I had to do was set up this station.
The only thing I told Mila was that the pumpkins needed cleaning and she could use more water and soap if she needed.
Let’s just say… she went to work right away!
This activity is so simple and Mila had came up with a big story of why they needed washed. She pretended they came from a different farm and not just outside our home. I always love listening to how her mind works.
That’s what makes sensory play so fun for everyone.
I actually left this activity out for the next day and she kept on playing. Lets hope painting or carving pumpkins goes this smoothly too.
Do you paint or carve pumpkins?
I’ve done both, but I’m thinking Mila may like painting more than carving this year. I’ll keep you all updated when it happens!
Another week, another activity box! This week’s activity box theme: FARM!
The last two weeks, Mila and her class have been learning about farms. To extend her learning about it, I thought some farm themed activities while she’s at home and when she’s off on Fridays would be fun!
This theme is also a ton of fun because we live in a rural area where a lot of people have farms and farm animals. We can go to different ones and actually see them. It was also a great time because we were just at our county fair where we saw all of the students’ farm animals and 4H projects that they worked so hard on. It was a way to be active while learning too!
Since we can’t go back to the fair or a barn every day, this activity box was perfect for her learning.
There’s a ton more activities you can do too, this just was easy for her to take to her grandma’s house on her day off.
I hope you love everything that’s inside. Let me know if you have other suggestions.
I’ll never stop saying this: WE LOVE BOOKS!
Books help kids discover and learn about the world around them when they can’t get out and see it. Plus, it helps teach them lessons too.
These books are all ones that we’ve read so many times. I think Mila’s favorite is the farm sound. She’s had it since she’s been really little and it helped her learn different farm animal sounds. She also loves the Peek-a-Who and can even read it to me… more like look at the pictures and remember what it said.
We also love the Usborne “That’s Not My…” series and have almost all the farm animals. Sandra Boynton books are a big hit with Mila and this one always makes her laugh.
Lately, Mila has been obsessed with sheep, so The Sheep Who Hatched an Egg has been a new book that we’ve gotten. It’s a really cute book about sheep’s hair and caring about others. I’m unsure how super farm related it is, but Mila’s obsessed!
Painting and play dough are our two go to activities in our house. Mila loves them both and plays with them for a long time.
The farm animal ‘paint with water’ activity book from Melissa and Doug is a huge hit. There’s 20 different animal scenes that are perfect for learning about the farm! I also love that there’s paint on the top of every single page. It came with a brush too! All you need to do is a have a little cup of water and they’re good to go! Mila loves to paint, so I limit how many pages she does at one time!
I always include play dough in Mila’s activity boxes. They help her use her imagination in play and allows her to make shapes with her hands. I thought she might use the different colors to make animals, grass, and maybe just a farm scene. Who knows what she’ll create!
Matching Game and Threading
These two activities are Mila’s favorites!
The first are the threading boards. We got these from Mila’s preschool sale and they’re a blast to work with. It’s helped Mila’s coordination and motor skills. Plus, the scenes are so cute. There are a ton of threading activities that you can find on Amazon as well. This set (not pictured) is so cute and from Melissa and Doug!
Mila’s other FAVORITE game is the ‘grab it’ game. Essentially, you fill the red thing with the scare crow up with chips that have animals in it. When it’s your turn, you grab a chip and see if it matches to your board (the green barn). The first to fill their board up wins.
This game is so educational for us. Not only does it help with matching and animal recognition, it’s taught Mila to take turns and we practice animal sounds too. I found this game at Aldi, but you could make one too. Personally, I would use matching cards with farm animals and then have each player grab them from the deck. Essentially it would be the same thing.
Some of the other items that are in her box was her sheep that her great grandmother made, resin letters (of course), and a quick piggy clean up activity.
You could add any stuffed farm animal and multiple ones. At this stage, they really get into pretend play and it’s so cute to see.
As always, I’ll suggest to get a set of resin letters from Beags and Bubs. They’re the best!
The quick piggy clean up activity is a hit and doesn’t take too long to make at all. All you have to do is print out or draw a piggy. Then, put it in a ziplock baggy. When it’s in there, you just use black or brown markers to make the pig ‘dirty.’ Then, instruct your kiddo to clean the pig with a paper towel or sponge. They can also make the piggy dirty by drawing on it too.
I wanted to share two things Mila has done in preschool that I think would be a fun addition to this box as well. They’ve done a TON of other activities, but I thought these were just the cutest!
First is a story that Mila told her teachers and they wrote down. I actually love capturing her stories and recording them. It allows kids to be creative and see the importance of their words. Also, it’ll be so cute and funny to read when she gets older too!
I think she did a pretty good job!
This next activity was something that Mila talked nonstop about.
It’s a cut out of a big with brown paint. So, they got the pig dirty. I’m unsure what type of paint they used, but if I were to do this, I would probably put a drop of dish soap in the paint and mix it. This way it helps with clean up! Plus, what toddler doesn’t like getting dirty!
I hope you loved all these activities and items.
Let me know in the comments how you felt about this activity box! It was a lot of fun putting it together and watching her interact with it.
This weekend, Mila and her friends were transformed from their fabulous, preschool selves to beautiful princesses. Atwood Lake Park hosted Princess in the Park for area girls and it was a fairytale for everyone involved.
Naturally, Mila took the afternoon napping and getting ready for the event.
There were two sessions for it, but we went to the later one at 5:30. Thankfully that nap came in handy. To get her ready, she got her hair curled, put a little bit of makeup one, and was dressed in her favorite princess dress.
She was too excited to take pictures before we left, even though she made me and my parents dress up for the occasion.
It only made sense since we were going to be in the presence of a ton of princesses!
When we got there, the girls were divided into four groups: red, purple, silver, and blue (or maybe pink, we weren’t in that group). You could tell their group by the necklaces they gave them when they were registered. Mila was in the purple group, so that’s the timeline of the night I’ll be following.
There were four different princess activity stations: craft, carriage ride, story and snack time, and nail and hand painting.
The first station Mila went to was the crafting one. Here, all the princesses decorated a frame and a princess wand. Mila absolutely LOVED the wand and it turned out so cute. She held it most of the night and pretended to have magic powers too.
They had all the craft supplies ready for us. There were wooden skewers, stickers, ribbons, stars, and the frame. I think Mila tried to put everything on her wand. It turned out adorable.
It seemed like all the other princesses enjoyed their craft too!
After craft time was the carriage ride.
Cinderella brought her magical carriage with her beautiful horses for all the little princesses to ride. Of course she joined in too! They had six girls at a time join Cinderella and they took a carriage ride around the Atwood Lake Park. It took about fifteen minutes, but it probably seemed a lot quicker for the little ones.
Honestly, this part was just as magical for the parents as it was the kids. The carriage was breathtaking and I hope it made Mila feel so special. Her smile was radiating.
When the carriage ride was over, the other half of the group of kids went on and Mila’s got to meet Mrs. Ohio from 2011. Her name is Mrs. Melanie Miller and she did amazing with the little ones. Mila was so happy to meet another real life princess for the night!
She instantly wanted to give her a hug and sit and talk with her. I think Mila was a little awe-struck because she didn’t say a lot, but kept looking at Mrs. Miller and her crowns. I think she loved her sparkly dress too. They discussed how their favorite letter was “M” and how Mila should always follow her dreams. It was so adorable. Mrs. Miller also gave Mila an autographed picture that she talked about and showed us on the way home.
Mrs. Ohio, if you are reading this, thank you so much for being patient and so caring. It truly made an impact on our girls. I know Mila enjoyed meeting and talking with you.
Next it was story and snack time!
They had cupcakes there for the kids to ice and decorate. Although they didn’t have tea, they had apple juice that were perfect for princesses.
As the kids decorated their cupcakes and ate them, a man (whose name I didn’t catch) read a story to the kids. He let them name the princess and unicorn. Mila came up with the name Aveena for the princess and another girl names the unicorn Sedine. They really gave him tricky names to remember. It was pretty comical.
It was a really cute story and gave the kids time to calm down after all the carriage and Mrs. Ohio excitement.
I love watching Mila decorate her cupcake too! She gets better at it every time.
The next and last station was the nail and hand painting. Although a lot of girls sat and got theirs done, Mila had other plans. She’s not the “let’s get our nails painted” princess. Instead, she decided to play.
Since my parents went with us, she had my dad play on the playground with her. They had so much fun on the equipment and the swings.
It also was nice that she got to get really tired before we left!
I love watching her play and interact with other kids and her grandpa. I swear every time I look at her it looks like she’s grown up more. It’s one of the most bittersweet feelings that all parents (I think) feel.
After the last station, we could leave. Instead though, Mila got to meet up with her friends. They, again, went to see Mrs. Ohio and took pictures with her. It was so cute watching them listen to her and wanting to see her crowns. I swear us parents looked like the paparazzi taking a ton of pictures. It was just so exciting.
The princesses took more pictures and played for some time after too. I loved seeing them all dressed up. They’re usually beautiful, but they looked extra cute all dressed up.
I am so thankful for everyone at Atwood Lake Park and the princesses that made this happen. Mila and the rest of their kids really enjoyed themselves. I know she will be talking about this event for days, especially when we go and print pictures out!
Since we live in such a small, tight community, it’s amazing to get our kids together and interacting. It’s truly special and amazing.
If you live local, what are some events you’re looking forward to this fall? If you don’t live local, what are some fall events that you think Mila and I should do? Let me know in the comments.
Tim Burton is one of my favorite creative minds. So, we have some activities around this particular book and I want to introduce Mila to some of his movies this season too. Room on the Broom is fun for Mila at this age because she tries to follow along and does a great job! I have an activity for this too!
Our newest Halloween book is All Hallows’ Eve in Salem by Kristian James. I found it on Instagram and knew I needed to get it for Mila. The characters are adorable and I already want to plan a trip to Salem for Mila and I!
I promise, you’ll want to get this book for your kids too!
For this activity box, I didn’t use worksheets from Mila’s normal preschool workbooks. There’s none quite that spooky. I did find some cute worksheets that are perfect for the preschool and toddler level, coloring pages, and stickers!
I found the foam stickers and sticker book at Joann’s Fabrics, but this pack is cute from Amazon.
Stickers can be used for telling stories, counting, or making collages. Your child will lead you.
The little coloring page was also from Joann’s!
I found two printables that will have multiple uses. They’re both so cute and Mila really liked how they both looked.
The monster letters are from The Letter Vee. They’re so adorable and I’ll have Mila color them in first, then practice letter recognition with her resin letters.
I also had to print out this Halloween Countdown from Celebration Stylist! They have SO many cute Halloween printables. The Boo Banner hanging over the activity box is from them too! Plus a few other things that you’ll see in October posts.
Anyways, this countdown can be used as a countdown or to practice counting in general. I’m sure Mila will be using her stickers to do the countdown!
Potion Kit and Ghost Friends
You’ve definitely seen this fizzy ball before! They’re seriously such a hit with Mila. This month, we’ll be using them to make a witch’s potion. She loves using her ladle with our new bowl, so I’m excited for her.
I’m doing a post about a different witch’s potion next month too.
Mila and I also made these little stuffed ghosts out of an old sweatshirt. We had a lot of fun with them and Mila liked drawing their faces (not pictured). It was so easy to do! I’ll post a video or blog about how to do this too!
These are just some fun ways for Mila to play and pretend. It’s always nice to have a little brain break.
As always, we love using resin letters in all of our activity boxes. I cannot wait to show you my new set from Beags and Bubs. It’s in the mail right now, but they’re ADORABLE!
Not pictured in this post were face masks. I decided to add them in there because masks are associated with Halloween snd the characters on the packaging are our Halloween costumes. Plus, anytime I can make time for Mila to practice self care, I do!
There were also crayons, markers, and some other tools to play with the play doh too.
This is probably my favorite activity box so far. I love letting her discover different holidays. This can easily be converted and customized to more boy themed too. All of the elements are perfect for both boys and girls though!
I can’t wait to start doing more spooky crafts and activities and share them all with you.
What are some of your favorite Halloween activities to do? Or what are your favorite Halloween books you enjoy reading this time of year? Let me know both in the comments.
When Mila started preschool, I knew there would be questions about our family unit. She knows her brother died and can obviously see she doesn’t have a dad.
I’ve been preparing myself for questions, but I never thought she might have thought he died.
For the last year and a half, I’ve let her know it’s her and I against the world. That it’s okay to just have a mom. All families are different. Some have just one parent: mom or dad. Some have two: a mom and dad, two moms, two dads.
She seems to understand and tells me she is happy. If you talk to her, you can see that too.
BUT, no matter how happy or how much love she has, there’s still a missing piece in her life.
“Mom, is my dad dead?”
“No, he’s not dead. Why do you ask that?”
“At preschool, I told my friends I didn’t have a daddy, just a mommy, and someone asked if he died.Like Jensen.”
“He didn’t die. It’s just you and I. When you get older, I’ll tell you more about him. Promise.”
Then she gives me a hug and let’s me hold her for a while. I don’t know if she cried because I couldn’t look. When she let go, she told me she loved me and went along her way.
I can’t tell you all the emotions that conversation made me feel.
If I could have screamed, I would. There was so much anger and sadness in me, on top of wanting to protect Mila from the world, from her dad.
It honestly makes sense that she thought that. She knows she has a brother that’s not here anymore. Jensen died and whew not here. She doesn’t have a dad, so in her head it makes sense he died too.
I’ll never understand how one person is okay with leaving a little girl, their flesh and blood, with so many questions… especially in the most impressionable years of her life. Okay with never knowing her or wanting her to succeed. Okay with not keeping her safe: emotionally, socially, and physically. Okay with her wondering if he died. Not that I even want him or his family involved with her, it’s still unfair to Mila not to know and wonder if he just died.
Sometimes I think that would have been an easier explanation for her. Death would make more sense than just being an abusive, neglectful, and cruel person to a child.
I don’t even understand it, how could a three year old?
It was one of those times as a parent when I had to separate my feelings and just had to focus on Mila. She needs to know that no matter what, her mom will always be there for her.
Being a single parent is hard. There’s so many questions I know Mila will have in the future that will feel like a hurdle when we get there.
This was just one of those times.
The next few days after the big question, she seemed a little down. I tried to make those days special and read books to her about different types of families. We also made a little book of our family to show her how many people love her.
I can’t change the fact that Mila’s dad is a terrible person who’s abandoned her. What I can help is how she views the world and her situation.
She is the most special girl. No one can ever take that away from her.
Usually I ask for advice or a question at the end of every blog post. I know Mila and I’d situation is unique, but if you have any book recommendations about single parent families, positive and helpful suggestions, or other resources that would help, please let me know.
Ahoy there mateys! If you’re looking to celebrate pirates or how they talk, your toddler or young child love this Pirate Sensory Treasure Hunt.
Recently, Mila has been watching Jake and the Neverland Pirates. She loves all the adventure and when they find treasure. What little kid wouldn’t want to live on a boat and find coins buried in the sand?
I think she is still obsessed with mermaids too and the ocean reminds her of them!
Anyways, I thought it would be fun to bring the buried treasure to Mila… with some sensory elements mixed in too. Let’s just say this little activity was a hit.
Here’s all you’ll need:
Other little pirate/ocean toys or stickers
I actually used my resin seek and find from Beags and Bubs as Mila’s treasure map. So, some of the items in the seek and find, I put in the bin. It was another cute way to use it!
To assemble this bin you’ll first need to put the items in the bin.
I probably could have added more coins and probably will next time. It just depends on how long you want this play to last. By the way, the ‘pearls’ were under the seashell!
Then, add rice for the sand and blue kinetic sand as water. I put the fish and mermaid under the ‘water.’
Personally, I put the kinetic sand down first. It helped me cover the fish first. BUT, the rice is way easier to spread than the kinetic sand, so it was just easier to do it this way.
After it was set up, I got out some pirate accessories and resin letters to set it up for her.
She had fun finding all of the treasure. It was so cute to watch her just dive in there. I think the hardest thing to find were the coins. They moved around in the rice.
After she did find everything, she prepped it for me to find things!
It was fun to play along with her.
Then, she used the bin for some pretend play while she warched Jake! Anytime she extends play makes the work behind it well worth it!
I personally love this bin and can see us doing more treasure hunts in the future. Mila’s down every time she gets to put money in her piggy bank.
Do your kids like pirates? What are some ways you’ve used them in your play? Let me know in the comments.
Mila loves to dance and with that comes LOUD music. I swear if anyone walks by our house they’d either hear true crime podcasts (I can’t get enough) or club music. There’s really no in between.
Sometimes though, I get overwhelmed by noise or just sensory things in general. One of my biggest tips for parents is to get wireless headphones for your kiddos.
Not only were these headphones SUPER cute, Mila loved them and even asks to wear them on her own sometimes. I love that I can take the sound break that I need without having to take music away from her. Especially since that’s her favorite way to play.
She’s already figured out how to control the volume and how to skip songs. It’s quite amazing.
It’s also nice when I want to listen to my true crime podcasts that I can put them on while she’s dancing to Disney songs or her dance music through her headphones. We both get to be happy listening to that day’s choices.
Funny story… Mila was jamming with her headphones in her playroom one day and it was time to eat. Instead of yelling or having to go in there to get her, all I had to do was shut off her music from my phone. She came to me wondering why her music turned off, but was happy when she saw dinner was ready.
We live for the little things!
These particular headphones are just so cute. Mila loves the little kitty cat on the side and that it lights up. Plus, they’re pink and purple; two of her favorite colors. She had to call people to show them on FaceTime when she first put them on.
They’re also super soft and don’t hurt her ears.
So if you’re desperate for a break from their favorite show (I’m talking about Mickey Mouse Clubhouse) or just want some quiet time to yourself… definitely get some wireless headphones for your toddlers.
It’s almost fall, so that means it’s time for autumn themed play. This week, we made pumpkin spice play dough.
Not only does it smell amazing, it’s a ton of fun to play with… for kids and adults!
One BIG thing about this recipe is that it makes a lot of play dough. I was actually really surprised with how much there was after I made it. Honestly, I would suggest cutting this recipe in half. Unless you want to gift some to others!
The best part of this DIY play dough is that it’s only four ingredients and you don’t even need to cook it like other recipes.
2 cups of flour
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
Dash of pumpkin spice
It’s crazy that you can make good smelling play dough with only four ingredients… really only three main ones if you don’t want it to smell like pumpkin spice.
Mila helped make everything! We measured out all of the ingredients and she helped pour everything in. At first we started stirring it with a fork, then it got too thick and we had to start mixing it with our hands.
For the pumpkin spice, we poured a lot more than a dash. We poured it in until we could smell it!
She ended up playing with it for a long time. I think play dough really calms her. It’s also fun to watch her do pretend play with play dough. Another way you can challenge your toddler or preschooler to play with play dough is to have them make different shapes. It’s fun to watch them try to figure out how to make the shape with their hands.
To store this play dough, just keep it in an air tight container in the refrigerator. Mines in a ziplock baggie with all the air pushed out.
Before Mila plays with it, I just have it on the counter to warm up a little bit.
I’ve been trying to take more videos, but I’m forgetting to take pictures… oops. Thankfully I can share them on here.
It’s fun to watch the memories live instead of just pictures. I’ll try to do both!
I can’t wait to see all the times Mila plays with the play dough throughout the season. If we think of more fun ways to play, I’ll share them here with you.
Have you ever made play dough before? What’s your favorite type to make?
Preschoolers can be picky eaters… especially when they’re not home. Believe me, Mila can be one of them! During these first few weeks, I’ve found these 5 tips to help a preschooler eat their lunch at school.
1. Pick out a lunchbox they love.
Before preschool started, Mila never had to pack a lunch to go anywhere… besides when we went to picnics. I wanted her to be excited about lunchtime and knew that getting a lunchbox she loved would help.
We made it a special day to go pick her lunchbox. I didn’t really limit her to what she could or could not choose, but I’m so happy with the one she got too!
She picked a kids portioned Bentgo Box. It’s her favorite colors: pink and purple. It’s perfect!
Before she even went to her first day, she was eating out of her lunchbox. This helped her know how to open and close the box, get used to the portion sizes, and the opportunity to ask me questions about it. Any time I can take the uncertainty of something away from her, the better!
Here’s a few lunchboxes that I thought were amazing options too:
One of my biggest fears with Mila eating lunch at school is that she just won’t eat anything.
While packing her lunch, I let her help me pick out everything. Just by being able to have a choice in her favorite foods, she gets excited for lunch the next day. I make sure to add dessert in addition to healthy options.
When I know my favorite food is going to be served, I get way more excited to eat. There’s no difference for kids either.
Some of Mila’s favorite foods are:
Any type of cookie or brownie (LOL)
3. Make food fun.
No matter how many favorite foods you add in your child’s lunchbox, their food can seem more enticing when you make it fun!
If your child is a sandwich eater, cutting them in different shapes can encourage your child to eat. I’ve been trying to cut shapes out with a knife, but it’s a lot easier if you use a cookie or sandwich cutter. There’s a ton of different options on Amazon you can easily find.
Other items that you might like to get to make their food fun are cartoon toothpicks and reusable bags.
Cartoon toothpicks are adorable. There are some eye toothpicks, so it looks like your food is looking at you. There’s also different types of animals and objects that your child will have fun identifying and seeing every day.
We love reusable bags here! I’ve bought ones with different sayings and images on it that Mila enjoys using.
Another option to make food fun is to have a themed lunchbox… princesses, dinosaurs, space. The options are seriously endless. There are so many cute ideas that you can find on Pinterest or just on the internet in general. I cannot wait to show you some of the ideas I have for Halloween week!
If you’re interested in looking some of items I talked about, I linked them here.
One way I like to stay close to Mila is to write her a little note for lunch time.
Obviously, she’s only three and cannot read yet. Instead of writing words, I draw her hearts. We’ve always talked about how hearts mean love, so she immediately recognizes that. I know it makes her smile to see some love from mom and it lets her know that I’m thinking about her as well!
I love this idea for kids who might be having a hard time transitioning into school as well. A little note from home can really turn a child’s day around.
5. Check to see what works.
Sometimes, you can try all the advice above… and your child still doesn’t eat their lunch. It can be frustrating and worrying.
Believe me, I know!
Here’s a little story… since preschool started, Mila has only had one day where she hasn’t ate her lunch. It was packed with her favorite things, but there was one item she wasn’t so sure about. It made her not want to eat the entire lunch! Honestly, it worried me, but it was a good reminder to listen and really take in what your child says.
The next day, I literally had her tell me what she wanted and then added food I knew she loved too.
Just as everything with parenting, we have to learn what works best for our kid. Check in with them and let your child lead the way. They know their body and how they are at school. Especially when they have guidance from great parents like you.
I hope some of these tips help your child eat at lunch time!
As parents, it’s hard not to be proud of your child’s courage to go to school and to blossom into their person they’re becoming. Lunches are one way parents can show that pride and help them succeed in their day.
In the comments, let me know if you have any other suggestions on how to help other parents with their child’s lunches.