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.
Fall is quickly approaching and that means leaves will be changing. A great way for kids to learn about leaves and fall is through sensory play. This Leaf Cutting Sensory Bin is a fun activity to welcome fall and practice important skills.
Mila and I try to go on a walk every day; with Max and Toby too. This past weekend, there were so many leaves on the ground. Since she was in awe of them, Mila started picking them up.
My pockets were full when we got home!
Even though I had planned this activity for September, it sort of just happened naturally.
Once we got home, I emptied the leaves in our sensory bin, set out her resin letters, and hoped the child safe scissors would work!
That’s actually best part of this sensory bin… you probably have everything right on hand!
Child safe scissors
All I did was do the steps above and let Mila explore the leaves. I did have to remind her how to safely use the scissors a few times though.
Without prompting, she talked about the different colors of the leaves, their texture, and if they are crunchy or not. It brought up a lot of different conversations that I really enjoyed having with her. It’s so amazing to see her mind work.
If you have scissors that cut different shapes, I’d suggest using them. Mila loved seeing the different patterns.
I also love that there isn’t a ton of creativity or prep for this activity. She actually took her time and played with the leaves. It was great for me to clean up while she played.
Another huge suggest is to get resin letters!
She’s been playing with them during our activities for the last few months and is recognizing more letters. I really believe they’re helping her become more comfortable with them. She’s actually remembering what letters are in her name and her cousin, Isla’s name.
Again, check out Beags and Bubs, Danielle makes amazing custom sets. I actually have another on the way!
Do you think your child would like this activity? What activities do you use to talk about fall or the leaves changing with your young child? Let me know in the comments.
Mental health matters and talking about it at an early age is a great way to let kids know what’s going on in their head is important. Disney movies are a great way to talk about mental health with kids.
Just like every toddler household, Mila and I watch a lot of Disney. When we’re driving or talking at dinner, we talk about the message behind each movie.
No matter if it’s about grief, anxiety, or perseverance, Disney movies talk about it all.
Watching movies is also a fun way to practice self care. We usually watch a movie before bed to unwind. With any self care nights, there’s Disney movies playing too.
Disney movies and mental health just work.
Here are five of Mila’s favorite Disney movies with mental health messages I love.
Lucacame out this past summer and Mila watched it repeatedly for days. The biggest message in this movie is “Silenzio Bruno.” She’s wearing that in the picture in the beginning of the post.
Luca seems to have a lot of anxiety in the movie. His friend, Alberto, helps him push through this anxiety by saying “Silenzio Bruno.”
The way I’ve explained it is it means for the little voice in your head to be quiet. You shouldn’t doubt yourself or think you’re not going to succeed. Silence those negative voices and conquer your goals.
Mila and I say this to each other now. We’ve talked about big emotions and feeling worried. Whenever Mila is scared I tell her this and she usually tries whatever.
The movie also talks about friendship, being yourself, and loss. It’s a great movie for those big topics, but it’s also really good too.
I’m pretty sure Frozen is Mila’s favorite movie of all time. It’s one she can always watch and never get bored of.
Since we’ve watched it so many times, there’s a few themes that I talk about with Mila.
First, we talk about how people manage grief… of course in an age appropriate way. Elsa and Anna’s parents die early in the movie. Elsa has already shut herself off from the world (conceal, don’t feel) and Anna wanted to outwards process her grief.
We’ve talked about healthy actions to do when we feel sad and mention both of her favorite characters.
The second thing we talk about is her favorite song, “Let It Go.”
Anytime Mila is having big emotions at home, we sing “Let It Go.” Mostly because dancing and singing always makes her feel better, but I also love the words to it.
I don’t want Mila to ever feel held back by her emotions. If she can let them go and not let them hold her back, she can conquer the world.
Admittedly, I think Moana moves me more than it does Mila, but she loves the island life.
I love the part where Te Kā turns back to Te Fiti. It makes me cry every single time. For me, it shows how anger, grief, and disappointment can change a person. It gives them a tough exterior, but they’re always a person underneath it all.
Mila might not grasp all of that now, but we talk a lot about Moana and her Dad’s relationship.
Moana wants to leave the island and voyage, but her dad wants her to stay safe on the island. By the end of the movie, he lets her go, but it was a struggle.
With this, I tell Mila she can be anything she wants to be. I will never try to pressure her or hold her back.
Of course she tries to be funny and bring me her whole snack drawer to eat after these talks…
If you ever have a conversation about Mila and ask about Jensen, she will let you know that he’s her brother and that he died. It can come off as a little creepy, but I’ve always talked about Jensen and grief with her.
When we watched Onward, she understood that their dad died and he couldn’t ever fully come back. Even when his legs came back, he could never stay or be the person that the boys needed.
It, again, shows how Ian and Barley both handle their grief. There’s no right way to grieve, but it seems they both have grieved in healthy ways.
As she gets older, I’m also going to point out that grief is a journey. Ian and Barley literally take a road trip to help process their grief, but that’s what we do when we’re really grieving too. There’s bumps in the roads and roads you take that you shouldn’t. It’s all a part of grieving.
I hope Mila will continue loving this movie and learn more lessons the older she gets.
If you’re looking to talk about emotions, Inside Out is a perfect way to introduce kids to emotions personified.
We love Joy and Sadness. Their journey through the movie let’s us know it’s okay to feel however we need. You can’t always be happy or sad, there’s a good mix in it all.
The other journey in the movie is Riley’s. Riley and her parents have moved and it’s hard on her. Her story is perfect for talking to kids about big life changed and the emotions felt afterwards. Again, it shows that it’s okay to miss something and have those feelings attached. It’s also okay to let yourself make room for new memories and emotions as well.
Like I stated before, I just love how this movie gives each emotion a personality. It helps kids visualize their emotions and how they could handle them too.
This is just a short list of Disney movies that talk about mental health. There are so many more that we love and can have great talks about too.
The Princess and the Frog
I hope that you enjoy this list and can talk about these things with your child too. It’s an easy way to bring those talks up and dig deeper in what your little is thinking about.
What movies would you have added to this list? Or what are some ways you talk about mental health with your child?
September is Self-Care Month! Mila and I spent our first Sunday in September with a DIY Pumpkin Face Mask.
We love having spa nights and days at our house. It’s even more fun when we can make our own masks too. Since it’s almost fall and spooky season, I knew we had to incorporate pumpkins.
Pumpkin is SO good for your skin. It is full of vitamins, such as A, C, and E. There’s also antioxidants and beta-carotene packed in there as well. Obviously, I looked all that information up. All of that means that pumpkin helps reverse UV damage (perfect for after summer), improve skin texture, and increase collagen.
All things that make your skin happy!
The only four ingredients you need for this mask are…
To make the mask, just mix all of the ingredients together until it’s consistent. It didn’t take long to do at all.
Then, apply and leave the mask on for fifteen minutes.
Removal is easy. Just wash your face with water and pat your face dry. I actually used a washcloth to take it off of Mila’s face.
Before putting it on our faces, I left it on the counter to get to room temperature. I personally don’t like when masks are super cold on my face. We took a shower and did a hair mask and it felt nice on our skin.
I applied Mila’s mask with my finger and mine with a spoon. It worked way better with a spoon.
Mila loved seeing her face covered with the mask. She thought it looked silly, but didn’t touch her face for the whole fifteen minutes.
After taking the masks off, I could instantly tell a difference. Both of our faces felt so much softer. I can imagine doing pumpkin masks consistently would really help.
Maybe with all the pumpkin recipes and crafts planned, I’ll have extra laying around!
I’m actually so excited that September is Self Care Month. With Mila starting preschool and our routine changing once again, it’ll be nice to take the time this month to get back to us.
What type of DIY masks do you like making? If you have any suggestions, let me know in the comments.
Also, let me know what self care ideas you’re planning for this month!
When you have a little artist, walls and flat services are prone to getting drawn on. Since life is all about compromise, we transformed our front door into a DIY Chalkboard Paint Door.
It’s a really simple and fun switch. Plus, you’ll get the cutest drawings constantly.
So if you can remember, I posted a mom tip about how to get crayons off of walls and cabinets. There was also a permanent marker incident that took some time to get off.
The best solution for our family was giving Mila a space to create.
Since I wanted to paint my door black for a long time, it was the perfect reason to buy chalkboard paint!
You can buy chalkboard paint at any hardware store. There’s different colored chalkboard paint, I just preferred black. I know there’s a TON of different ways to make chalkboard paint all over the Internet too.
One suggestion I would make is to paint a base coat in whatever color you want your door.
Chalkboard paint is more expensive than regular paint. So, if you have a base color coat, you won’t need as much blackboard paint.
Always trying to save money!
I love that I’m able to celebrate Mila’s creativeness without losing my sanity with cleaning all the time.
If you don’t want to paint a whole door, you can easily frame off a piece of a wall to create the same effect too!
Would you create a blackboard space for your child? Or what’s your favorite way to encourage your child to be creative… minus the mess.
Looking for other ways to making parenting easy? Check out these mom hacks!