15 Ways to Have Fun with Sidewalk Chalk


Sidewalk chalk is the Swiss Army knife of summer, and when the days get longer, there’s no better tool we’d rather have in our pockets. From straightforward to seriously creative, we’ve got an idea that will turn your sidewalk into hours of fun. Read on for our favorite ways to make your mark (and then erase it).

photo: S. Massey

1. It’s picture perfect! Draw a backdrop for an awesome picture! Bonus point for scenes where they’re flying or underwater. Need inspiration? See the amazing chalk creations we found around the globe, here.

2. Make silly silhouettes. Trace each other with chalk. And then fill in the details for a fun self-portrait.

3. Calling all crafty kids! It’s easy to make your own sidewalk chalk! See our tutorial, here.

photo: Charlie F. via Flickr

4. Your sidewalk’s got game. Make a life-sized game board of their favorite game (Chutes & Ladders, Candy Land, checkers, etc.) and let your little gamers be the game pieces.

5. Let chalk hold court. Draw a makeshift tennis or basketball court, and let them practice their swings and dribbles like Princess Pinky Girl did.

6. Get wet. Hose down the driveway and let them experiment with chalk on a wet surface. They’ll love the new effect.

photo: B-Inspired Mama

7. Be city planners for a day. Make a sidewalk chalk town and roadway. Look for inspiration at B-Inspired Mama.

8. Do some trolling. Turn the patches of grass growing through cracks in the driveway into the hair for your own pet trolls. Just add a body and let the fun begin!

9. Chalk that’s to dye for. Need to freshen up your look? Turn sidewalk chalk into hair chalk in a few easy steps. Find out how at One Creative Housewife.

photo: The Tip Toe Fairy

10. Go 3-D. Tired of a two-dimensional driveway? Turn your sidewalk chalk into foam paint. The Tip Toe Fairy shows you how, here!

11. Get ’em ready for Toyko 2020. Measure out a long jump board, mark each milestone, and start training for the Olympics.

photo: Project Nursery

12. Make chalk pops. Make sidewalk chalk on a stick (they look like real treats!), then turn the kids loose to design a masterpiece. See how Project Nursery does it, here.

13. Create your own put-put. Draw a mini golf course and use a hockey puck or rock and a stick to play a round!

photo: Sissi de Kroon via Flickr

14. Decorate the walkway. An ode to the Wizard of Oz’s Yellow Brick Road—only with more color.

15. Make it glow. You can make a batch of your own glow-in-the-dark chalk, like Coffee Cups and Crayons.

How do you rock your sidewalk chalk? Tell us in the comments section below!

— Shelley Massey

 

 

 

 



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Fun and Easy Paper Bag Crafts for Kids


Need a few crafts in your arsenal in response to the “I’m bored” chant you’re bound to hear this summer? It doesn’t get simpler than a paper bag and these five crafts are inexpensive, clever and just time-consuming enough to stave off the summer doldrums. Scroll down to get started.

photo: Sophies World 

1. Easy-Peasy Kite
Save this craft from Sophie’s World for a windy day! The best part is that the kids can decorate it however they want whether it’s with markers, feathers, streamers, or stickers. They will be thrilled to see their creation floating in the wind for all the world to see.

 

photo: Easy Preschool Crafts for Kids 

2. Fish on the Fly
While the last craft soars in the sky, this craft from Easy Preschool Crafts for Kids swims in the sea! It smiles, it swims, it’s simple and it’s sparkly! Grab some markets, glitter, glue, and any other fun additions you have lying around your craft box to decorate your fish. What more could a kid ask for?

photo: Creative Jewish Mom

3. Simple Apple Tree
This craft involves a little bit of twist and a little bit of curl. And remember there are many fruits out there that you can jazz the branches up with. Maybe add a bird or a squirrel or two! Check out Creative Jewish Mom for the full low down on how to twist, curl, and create this fun paper bag craft.

photo: Fun Family Crafts

4. Funky Birds 
Your kiddos will love these friendly bird puppets from Fun Family Crafts because they are colorful and exotic. You will love them because they are easy! Plus: who doesn’t like feathers?

5. No-Heat Fireplace
This warm fireplace from Crafts by Amanda is a homey addition to a doll house or a kid’s room to make them feel like real grownups (without the fire hazard, of course!). It will be fun for the little ones to search out sticks in the woods or at your local park for their very own mini fire place! Thanks to Crafts by Amanda for this awesome idea!

 

Have you tired any of these cute paper bag crafts? Tell us in a comment below. 

—Parham B.

featured photo: Mark J. Sebastian via flickr

 



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Smell Items for Sensory Play


Do some seriously easy lifting while engaging the kids in sensory play with a few scents that you probably have in your own cupboard. It can be as easy as opening a bottle or crushing a bit of fruit in a cup. Ask the kiddos to close their eyes and try and guess what they are smelling. You can even wave a little scent under your baby’s nose.

Here are a few ideas for common fragrant items to try:

Cinnamon

Vanilla

Strawberries

Baby lotion or shampoo

Your favorite perfume (or an essential oil like lavender)

Fresh grass

Crushed leaves

Dryer sheets

Coffee Beans

Sidewalk after rain

Tea

Bananas

Fresh flowers

Toast

Shaving cream

Curry powder

Different rooms: keep their eyes closed and see if they can tell what room they are in

Fresh cut citrus

What is your favorite smell? Tell us in the comments below. 

—Amber Guetebier

 

photo: Dennis Wong via flickr

 

 



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8 Hacks to Prevent Kid Messes


When it comes to your sidekick, it’s not so much the places that she’ll go, but oh, the places she’ll spill. But don’t worry: prevention is key and we’ve got some simple tricks to help prevent some major melts (onto the couch). Click through the flipbook to get a jump on spills, splatters, drips and more. with these simple tricks that are designed to keep kids clean.

No Drip, No Mess

For your crew, popsicles are an outside-only deal. But even then, the sticky fingers, faces and bellies they leave behind are practically bath-worthy. Try using a cupcake liner to catch those inevitable drips, and leave bath time till the end of the day.

photo: Allison Sutcliffe

 

Do you have a preventative hack to add to this list? Leave it in a comment.

 —Allison Sutcliffe



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July 4th Patriotic, Kid-Friendly Craft Ideas


Fireworks, barbecue and lots of red, white and blue—it just might be the most wonderful time of the year. Get your kids into the 4th of July spirit by making one of these awesome patriotic crafts. From starry shoes to an Uncle Sam get-up, we’ve got enough ideas to keep the littles entertained for days. Click through the slideshow below to get started

Which 4th of July craft will you try with your little ones?

— Aimee Della Bitta & Lauren Hill



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How to Make a Fairy Garden


Your little one is no stranger to enchantments: from peering under rocks to fashioning wings and wands, the kingdom of the fairy is a magical place perfect for budding imaginations. What better way than to combine a love of the fae with a little small-scale gardening, of the little people, by the little people and for the little people! Read on for our tips to make your own.

photo: Sara Olsher

What You Need

A garden pot. Preferably one that is wide and/or bowl shaped so you have more room for all the tiny things, but any pot will do. And potting soil.

Plants. You can use annuals like lobelia, violets, or marigolds or use succulents/sedum other dwarf ground covers. If you want to get elaborate, get some bonsai trees. If your garden is going to be indoor-only, look for teeny-tiny house plants, which you can pick up at a garden center for only a few dollars. Be sure and water the plants when you bring them home, before planting.

Shortcut: no plants or place to really grow them? Try a little florist’s moss for a woodland effect without the woods!

fairy gardenphoto: Susy Morris via flickr 

Little Things. Here’s where you can get creative. Decorate your fairy garden with little items found or created. Pinecones trees, stick teepees, stones for benches or garden paths all give the fairy garden an au naturel feeling. Many nurseries are now carrying miniature “fairy house” items but you can scour your own toy boxes for the just right accessory: a petite teacup could become a fountain or reflection pool, little flags from hors d’oeuvres designate fairy territory, large marbles become garden globes. We love this popsicle stick house (and table and chair set) over at DIY Family. Also try aquarium stores for tiny castles and similar structures. And don’t forget LEGOs! 

fairy gardenphoto: Patrick Standish via flickr 

Create Your Fairy Kingdom

Fill your pot with soil. If you have any larger “structural” items such as a tiny house, put that in place before you plant. Designate an area where you will put your garden path. Most of the smaller items can be added after or in some cases on top of the plants.

Make sure your plants have been watered but aren’t still soaking wet.

Tip: Lay out your plants and larger garden decor in the pattern you’d like before you remove the plants from their pots. That way you can rearrange them a bit before you decide exactly where they’ll go.

fairy garden photo: Selena N.B.H. via flickr

Plant your plants with enough space in between them for them to grow. As a rule of thumb, plant the largest plant you have first (i.e. the bonsai tree) and anything that might trail over or creep a bit closer to the edge of the pot. Before you accessorize, be sure you are happy with the placement of your plants. You can move them a bit after planting if necessary, but it’s best to avoid this too much as it will traumatize the plants and they may not thrive.

Tip: If you aren’t using live plants, you still need to create an elevated surface in your pot. If you prefer to skip the dirt, you could try using small pebbles to create a relatively flat surface on which to create your garden.

Now place in an area where fairies are sure to visit: garden, deck, porch, bedroom windowsill or dresser near a window.

Have you ever made a fairy garden? Share your pics with us on Instagram with the tag #redtricycle. 

—Amber Guetebier

Feature photo: Marcy Leigh via flickr



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11 Festive and Fun 4th of July Decorations for Kids


When it comes to the 4th of July, riding in the kiddie parade is as much of a tradition as the big firework show at the end of the day. With a little imagination and a few supplies, you can deck out your kids’ wagons, bikes, and trikes for the biggest and best birthday bash of the year. Get inspired with the fun and creative ideas we’ve gathered below.

photo: Jeff Youngstrom via Flickr

1. Use Your Helmet
We get it. Finding the time to whip up a parade float is the last thing on your to-do list. So, let your kid’s helmet do all the decor work while he rolls through the parade route. It’ll take you almost no time at all.

photo: la fattina via Flickr

2. A Pie for the Parade
Get yourself a plastic kiddie pool, balloons, brown paper, and a wagon, and you’ve got yourself a slice of Mom’s apple pie. Sweet!

photo: Baker County Tourism via Flickr

3. Take Flight
Send your little patriot soaring with an adorable airplane float. This version is made out of plywood, paint, rope, and stickers, but we’re betting a cardboard box will do the trick.

photo: Larry Tenney via Flickr

4. Sparkly All-Stars
Your older kids will love to be the all-stars of the Independence Day Parade. They can walk or ride their bikes!

babyfloat_daniellehampton_kiddieparade_fourthofjuly_national_redtricyclephoto: Danielle Hampton via Sometimes Sweet

5. A Ride for the Tiny Tots
You’ve got tiny tots along for the ride this year. Keep it simple with a red wagon, a few flags, and some star garlands. We love the way Danielle of Sometimes Sweet doubled up on adorable with two tiny passengers.

powerwheelsfloat_jimthephotographer_kiddieparade_fourthofjuly_national_redtricyclephoto: Jim, the Photographer via Flickr

6. The Power Parade
It’s time to charge up the Power Wheels and drape it with party decor. It’ll take you all of five minutes, and you won’t have to pull anything (Make sure the battery is fully charged!).

redrocketfloat_megancooley_kiddieparade_fourthofjuly_national_redtricyclephoto: Megan Cooley

7. Take a Rocket Ride
Blast off! How about a rocket ride for the kiddie parade? Megan of Penny Carnival snapped a picture of her niece riding shotgun to the moon. You’ll need cardboard, tissue paper, a wagon, fringe, and some prep time.

ladyliberty_jimthephotog_kiddieparade_fourthofjuly_national_redtricyclephoto: Jim, the Photographer via Flickr

8. Lady Liberty
This impressive float caught our eye. After all, it wouldn’t be the 4th without Lady Liberty!

sailboat_robohara_kiddieparade_fourthofjuly_national_redtricyclephoto: Rob O’Hara via Robohara

9. A Sweet Sailboat
From sea to shining sea! Rob O’Hara, of Robohara, and his hearty crew won “Most Patriotic” for their clever play on the American tribute song at the annual Freedom Fest in Yukon, Ok. The little sailors aboard helped with the stars and stripes using paint and colored duct tape. Head over to Robohara for the details.

firetruckfloat_sarahzimmerman_kiddieparade_fourthofJuly_national_redtricyclephoto: Sarah Zimmerman via Repeat Crafter Me

10. A Firetruck for the Fireworks
Firetrucks are a parade staple. How cute will your little one look in her very own red ride? Give the kids a pom-pom or two, and it’s time to celebrate! Find out how to make your own over at Repeat Crafter Me.

hotdogfloat_jimthephotographer_kiddieparade_fourthofjuly_national_redtricyclephoto: Jim, the Photographer via Flickr

11. The Food Float
This festive kiddo decided to bring the food to the parade route, and we can’t think of a better way to say “let’s get this party started!”

Will your family be in the parade this year? Share with us in a Comment below!

— Gabby Cullen

 



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Creative Building Block Ideas for Kids


We love LEGO bricks, they love LEGO bricks, but sometimes you want your budding builders to try something new. Getting creative with at-home or easy-to-find materials can be just as easy as LEGO and we promise, just as fun. So ditch the blocks, just for the day, and get busy with marshmallows, cardboard and more. Read on for our 9 favorite ways think outside the blocks.

photo: Modern Parents Messy Kids

1. Use Your Extra Newspapers
Got a stack of newspapers lying around, ready to be recycled? Don’t toss them yet! This genius idea from Modern Parents Messy Kids uses rolled-up newspaper to create geometric forts. Drape a blanket over the top and it’s an instant hideout. Get the super-easy instructions here.

photo: Hungry Happenings

2. Graham Cracker Houses
It’s the holiday season, which means gingerbread houses are in abundance. Break out the graham crackers and let your little architects have a yummy good time with this adorable (and delicious!) idea, courtesy of Hungry Happenings.

shoebox blocksphoto: the stay-at-home-mom survival guide

3. Shoebox Blocks
Here’s a great excuse to buy more shoes: Turns out, shoeboxes make great DIY jumbo building blocks! All you need is a little wrapping paper, tape, and a big batch of boxes. Get the details from the stay-at-home-mom survival guide.

kids with giant lincoln logsphoto: Bob Scroggins at Instructables

4. Build a Log Cabin…without the Logs
Lincoln Logs are great and all, but it would take a whole lot of them to make something big enough to climb inside and get cozy. Why not jumbo-size your logs with this project, courtesy of Bob Scroggins at Instructables. Note: Mom and Dad are going to have to get in on the building; these giant cardboard logs (made from old carpet tubes) require a few hours of prep time—and a saw—to make.

Kids-Made-DIY-Toys-Building-Blocks-from-Recyclables-at-B-Inspired-Mama photo:  B-inspired Mama

5. One Man’s Trash Is a Little Builder’s Treasures
Turn your boxes, toilet paper rolls, and cans into building blocks— then recycle them when your kids are done building. Get the scoop from B-Inspired Mama.

photo: Melissa Heckscher

6. Cardboard Cut-Out Construction
Love cardboard box projects but don’t love the space the boxes take up in your house/yard/ garage? This project from Inner Child Fun uses only the flat sides of boxes to let your kids create three dimensional structures. That means, when all is said and built, you can stow all your building materials easily in a closet. Get the details here.

toothpick sculpturesphoto: The Artful Parent

7. Toothpick Towers
Got a box of toothpicks? Stick them into a marshmallow or gum drop, or cheese cube—you get the idea—and get ready to make skyscrapers. Get some inspiration from artist and author Jean Van’t Hul at The Artful Parent

Parental note: If your tots are too small for toothpicks, you can do the same thing with pretzel sticks. Get some examples here.

photo: Melissa Hecksher 

8. Sponge It Up
Who says your little builders have to give it a rest when they’re in the tub? A few packs of colorful sponges and your kids have a new set of water-friendly blocks. Whether in the bath or out — these super-soft shapes are especially good for little ones who love to throw their stuff at unsuspecting siblings. Mother-of-two, Valerie Deneen, shares some tips at Inner Child Fun.

cardboard-petstorephoto: Billy Brown via Youtube

9. Cardboard, Cardboard, Cardboard! 
What’s better than a cardboard box? A cardboard rocketship! Or elevator car! Or stuffed animal hotel (see the super-cool building featured above, with the kitty)! Get your boxes together and find all the ambitious building plans here.

Will you try any of these creative building materials? Share in a comment below.

—Melissa Heckscher

featured photo: Mitch via flickr 



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7 Creative Ways to Use Your (Pool) Noodle


Summer means reinventing the same old, same old into hours of new-to-you play. Take your trusty pool noodle, for example. It travels with you from pool to beach, to backyard and back. But did you know it also makes a great hobbyhorse or bubble blower? Read on for more ideas on how to transform this dollar store classic into your tot’s favorite new toy.

photo: Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails 

1. Launch Pom-Poms
Go the distance with a pool noodle shooter. Get the need-to-know details to make your own from Jaime over at Frogs Snails and Puppy Dog Tails. Then, set up a target shooting range in the backyard for hours of outdoor play. Take aim!

photo: Skip to My Lou

2. Blow Bubbles
Whether you upcycle your own star or flower-shaped noodles or buy them pre-cut from the craft store, your kidlet will love blowing bubbles through them. And the best part? That you can make wands for the whole neighborhood. Skip to My Lou is where you’ll find out how to make this cute summer supply.

photo: mama papa bubba

3. Make a Marble Run
The race is on down this simple marble run dreamed up by Jen over at Mama Papa Bubba. Set it up on a sunny day and kick back while your little ones play, play, play. Psst…cars race well on this track too.

photo: Casual Claire

4. Assemble a Water Wall
After sprinkler dashes and plenty of time wading in the kiddie pool, your mini-me can change it up but still keep cool on a sunny day playing at her pool noodle water wall. We love the idea of mounting one on a moveable pegboard like Claire from Casual Claire does. But, if you don’t have pegboard on hand a fence works just as well. Splash away, all!

photo: Ever Never Again

5. Shoot Some Hoops
Indoors or out, these quick-to-assemble basketball hoops are just the right size for your sidekick to practice lay-ups and three-pointers, or to play a quick game of H-O-R-S-E with a sibling. Ever Never Again is where you’ll get the tips you need to set them up at your place. She shoots, she scores!

photo: Molly Moon Crafts

6. Ride a Hobbyhorse
Giddy-up, little pardner! Saddle up this cute hobbyhorse for hours of outdoor imaginative play. Find out how to make one yourself at Molly Moon Crafts. Trust us, it’s easier than you think! Hi ho, away!

 photo: Mommy’s Block Party

7. Run Through the Sprinkler
Turn your pool noodle into the best kiddie pool accessory in town, by converting it into an overhead sprinkler. Ondria at Mommy’s Block Party can walk you through the process. It’s like a trip to the splash pad, without leaving the house. Sounds like the perfect summer pace to us!

What’s your favorite way to reuse pool noodles? Have you tried any of these? Tell us about it in a comment.

— Allison Sutcliffe



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