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?
The play took place at Dover High School‘s auditorium. It provided comfy seats, a decently sized stage, and an overall nice atmosphere.
I will say… Mila and I did get lost finding the restrooms though.. oops!
We met Mila’s dance friend, her sister, and mom there. The girls were SO excited to see Ariel. The potential of meeting here was in the air. All they had to do was watch one of their favorite stories unfold in front of their eyes.
Since it was there first play, we explained how they worked. The lights would dim when they play would start. We had to stay quiet while the lights were dim and they were on stage. Clap after the songs. No eating and drinking while we were watching.
The first time they saw Ariel was like magic. Every time she left the stage, they wondered where she went!
It was so cute seeing their excitement and hearing their little chatter. Thankfully the people in front of us didn’t mind toddler talk and their seats being touched.
Honestly, hearing all the kids in the theatre made it extra adorable.
The play would be in two parts with an intermission in between. I’d say the break was definitely needed with two three year olds.
Although I won’t give too much away about the play (you know the story), the intermission took place right after Ariel lost her voice. Hopefully if you go the next two nights, this can help you plan for your littles.
During intermission, the girls took some pictures, ate a snack, and got some of Ariels treasures!
Her treasures were some mermaid inspired merchandise. Mila got a necklace, ring, lipgloss, tattoo, and shell. They also had crowns, keychains, and so much more.
One really cool option was writing a note to a cast member. Mila and the girls chose to write their note to Ariel!
During the second part of the play, the girls were getting tired. Somehow knowing they were about to meet their favorite mermaids kept them awake.
Honestly, I was so impressed by the play. It’s the first local one I’ve been to in a couple years. The actors were amazing. I laughed so many times throughout the entire thing. Sebastian had me laughing out loud every time he was in stage! The music and singing amazed me too. On top of that, the props and costumes were on point too.
It was just such a great play.
As they play ended, the girls knew it was time to meet all of their favorite characters. It was so interesting watching Mila interact with different characters.
She ran up to King Triton and gave him a big hug. On our way home, she told me, “Ariel’s daddy is so cute!” No wonder why she ran up to him then! When she saw Sebastian, she had to go talk to him too.
I mean, just look at their costumes!
Then, she saw Ursula. Mila refused to even stand beside her. I absolutely loved her costume, makeup, and performance. It’s quite comical that Mila wanted nothing to do with her. She knows she’s ‘evil’ in the movie.
The girls met other cast members and took their pictures. Mila also did not want a picture with Flounder or Prince Eric. I found this perplexing because she loves watching them.
While we were meeting with other characters, Ariel snuck in the room.
Mila was so giddy and just happy to see her.
The actress was so patient and gave each child time to talk. I think that’s such an important thing to do when portraying a Disney princess. It’s a huge deal for kids and she understood that.
I wish I could tell her thank you again!
The night was absolutely beautiful. We got to spend it with great friends watching an amazing performance! The added bonus of meeting Mila’s favorite characters just made it sweeter.
This activity was pretty simple to set up. The hardest part was getting the sprinkler in the hose.
All I did was setup the sprinkler (which wasn’t that hard at all), grab the items for the sensory bin, place them in, and fill up the bin with water. That’s all!
Before I let her play with the bin, we read a book. I believe reading books everyday is so crucial for a child’s development. They’re able to expand their vocabulary with every new word they here and start becoming familiar with sight words.
For this activity, we read That’s Not My Mermaid from the Usborne series.
It was a fun stepping stone to get her describing the differences of our mermaids during the activity. Plus, Usborne books are so educational. We love this series and find different ways to learn from it each time.
I would recommend the That’s Not My series to anyone!
After we read the book, I showed Mila her sensory bin and let her do whatever she wanted with it.
She went wild!
Between the water, the mermaids, and the sprinkler, she thought it was the best activity. I loved the way she reacted to it all. It’s always so much fun to see her growth through play.
I’d love to say I watched her the entire time, but she played with this activity for two hours. Yes. You read that right THREE HOURS.
For some reason, she really just thought this was a blast. We did different educational activities like talking about the resin letters and talking about the differences in the mermaids. She also loved pretending and making up stories about them.
At one point, Mila even got into the sensory tray to try to play with them more.
Eventually, after three hours, Mila was finally done with this activity and playing with the the hose. I was amazed that she was so engaged. It allowed me to wash the dishes, change the laundry, and tidy up. Of course, I kept checking on her, but it was hot!
Honestly, it makes me so happy to see how much she loves to play, use her imagination, and be outside. If creating simple activities helps, I’ll keep doing just that.
What are some of your favorite ways to beat the heat waves? Do you stay inside or like to play with or in water too?
Make sure to check out these other water inspired play ideas too!
April shower bring May flowers. To celebrate just that, we’re welcoming May with our very own DIY Fairy-Tale Garden.
Mila is obsessed with fairy gardens. My parent’s neighbor has the little fairy figurines in their garden and Mila goes to play with them every day. I figured she should have one of her very own since she likes them so much.
Since we love our fairytales, I thought a little spin on the idea would be fun for Mila’s imagination.
One day after work, we went to our local Lowe’s and picked out flowers that made her smile. She loves pink and purple so all the flowers are just that. I also encouraged her to pick some non-flowering plants as well.
I also purchased filling snd too soil at Lowes’s. At our dollar store, Mila picked out a princess castle to place in her fairytale garden.
Then we started digging.
I most definitely should have taken before pictures, but we were too excited to start.
We picked the tree in our backyard to make the fairytale garden. It has a few hosta and wildflowers already there, so we left them. We did clean up the area by taken out the weeds.
The area also needed built up. We used a ton of fill dirt and top soil so our plants and flowers could thrive.
One word of advice for all toddler parents is to buy your toddler their own little shovel. Mila had so much fun digging holes and helping along the way.
She also found rocks to lead up the the castle. We’re going to try and get more to put around the circle too.
We brought out plastic toys that won’t be impacted by the weather out. Mila was also gifted a gnome set to place here too. It’s going to be a mixture of all things magical.
Just like a fairytale.
I’m so excited to see how the garden and Mila’s imagination grows this summer. We are constantly outside, so I know this little area will be well loved. She’s even already showed it off to her friend who lives close.
With a little hard work, there will be a summer full of fun.
Some key items we needed to make our fairytale garden were these:
I made this printable for Mila and she used it as a matching sheet for the animals she found. You’re more than welcome to download and print to use. We used a full sheet of paper, but they can easily be made into half sheets.
I make sure to challenge Mila in saying all of the animals full names. Her favorite to say is hippopotamus and it’s just as cute to hear her say it too.
Next time, I’ll have to make a water animal hunt. It could be a really cool sensory bin!
All you have to do for this activity is have your toddler cover their eyes or go into another room. Then hide all the animals around a single room or your house. We did just one room to make it a little easier for Mila. You can hide at whatever difficulty rating you think would be best for your toddler.
Then, have your toddler put the printable in the middle of the room. Instruct them to find the different animals and match them to the paper.
After they find everything, have them tell you what animal is which.
At this point, they may want to hide their animals for you. Mila had a blast at hiding her animals for me. It was fun watching her try to keep her hiding places a secret.
This is an activity that can last for a while.
It might be good to find out your toddler’s hiding spots. Especially if you’re missing markets, crayons, and scissors! You learn as much about your toddler as they do about safari animals.
If you do this activity, let me know in the comments!
Before you go, check out these other indoor activities you can do with your kids.
If you hadn’t guessed it already, today is Waffle Day. To celebrate, Mila and I of course ate, you guessed it, waffles! She also did a fun activity that we thought you’d love too!
Mila is obsessed with numbers, which is wonderful. She can count to fourteen all by herself. But… letters… they’re not her thing yet. The only ones she likes are m, i, l, a. I’m sure you get why. To help her get excited about them, we got to play with out food again.
For this activity, we got to combine making brunch, learning letters, and eating. Yum!
You might be wondering… why waffles and why letters? The squares in waffles make GREAT place holders. Plus, it’s fun too.
To start this activity, make your preferred waffle recipe and cook one wafffle.
While this is cooking, get a small bowl of blueberries or chocolate chips ready. Then, make sure to have out a whiteboard and marker or a piece of paper and pencil.
Once the waffle is done, let it cool down a little bit and then place it in front of your child. Draw a letter on your white board or paper. Then instruct them to write the letter with the blueberries or chocolate chips on the waffle. They might need a little help at first!
While you’re cooking, you can keep writing different letters for them to try. Make sure to say the letters out loud and connect them to something they know. I started with Mila’s ‘letters.’
Just keep in mind, your little one might eat their tools!
This was such a fun activity that can be anytime you’re enjoying waffles. It teaches them their letters and challenges them how to create letters too! Plus, they’ll be using their fine motor skills too! Just an overall educational and interesting activity.
If you liked this activity, let me know in the comments! Have you ever used food to learn?
While you’re at it, check out the fun other bloggers had with Waffle Day!
I had a lot of things planned for Mila and I to do today. Of course, she had an agenda of her own when we woke up.
She ran straight to her closet and picked out a dress. Not unusual if you know Mila, but…
This is the dress she chose. Today she is Princess Mila.
I brushed her hair all out and put her in a little ‘crown.’ We found the most perfect princess shoes. Then, we put it all together and she wanted to take pictures with her ‘beast.’
So, we did just that.
My biggest tips for moms is things don’t go exactly as planned. Just try to roll with it.
It might not be what you wanted, but these unexpected moments can be just as wonderful. You never know when you’ll have the beauty and a beast in your house. Or a fire fighter, police officer, chef, or dance teacher.
Embrace these moments. They go too quick.
What’s your child been pretending they are lately?
Kids have amazing imaginations and Mila is no different. She loves to pretend, which makes me happy that she’s so creative and playful.
Sometimes though… she takes it to the next level.
Her favorite thing to pretend to be is a dog. Normal, right? Every kid goes through this stage. It’s fine. But, every morning as of lately, she goes and gets Cookie Crisp and says it’s her dog food. I fill up her bowl and she’ll eat it all.
That’s one way to get your toddler to eat!
Then, she took it one step further. After asking for a bowl of milk, I figured she’d just put her ‘dog food’ in there. Nope. She had to make me laugh and do this.
Today was absolutely BEAUTIFUL outside. We had sunshine and warmish weather this morning and afternoon. Mila and I were outside for like three hours and I feel so refreshed. We try to get outside for a little bit every day, but it’s just different when it’s perfect out.
Since it was so nice outside and I needed to get some things done, I knew I had to get Mila doing an activity. We had brunch, the she free played in the yard while I started on my homework this week. It’s like she has this alarm in her head when I get my laptop out. As soon as I started typing, she ran over to me and sat in my lap. It happens and I can’t be mad at her cute face. I asked her to go rake the leaves back in the pile and I’d get a sentence or two done and she was yelling at me.
I was looking around at what I could distract her with and all I could see was her water table, which I would 100% recommend to anyone. The big thing with getting the water table is she would have water everywhere and it’s not that warm out.
But I know water works; especially with Mila.
I went inside my house and went to get a big tub from my storage container to put water in. Then, I filled it up like a quarter of the way and had her pick up all the balls in our yard. To make it fun, I put Dawn dish soap in there to make bubbles. She loves swishing water around to make them bigger so that was a hit. I also got different cups/containers, utensils, and her bath baby.
With all the parenting blogs and instagram accounts I follow, they all recommend using tongs to promote fine motor skills. I finally got Mila do use them and she was picking up all the balls. She played with just the tongs for like thirty minutes. When she was over that, I told her to give her baby a bath and to make sure all the balls were squeaky clean. She was occupied for about an hour, which gave me plenty of time to write my discussion board posts and replies. j
Water works! I think it’s so cool how interested toddlers, and kids in general, are so into playing with water. Mila will fill up a cup and empty it in the bath for such a long time. Anytime she’s grump, I’ll put her in the bath or put a towel under a tub so she can play inside when it isn’t nice out.
After playing and cleaning everything up, Mila was ready for her ‘nack’ (snack), watched Moana, and is still napping. I’d say it was a pretty successful morning and afternoon playing in the water.
Yeah, my ‘mom tip’ might be pretty weak, but being under lockdown can feel overwhelming for parents and that thirty minutes to an hour can truly make it or break it. Although we did it as an outdoor activity, don’t be afraid to bring it indoors. I’m feeling a lot less stressed today with some me time and checking items off my to do list today.
And I just love sharing how Mila’s growing with you all. If any activities help you as well, then it’s even better.
I hope you guys are keeping sane throughout this madness! As always, if you have any fun toddler activities, I’d love to hear and try them out!