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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16 Surprising Things to Do with Ice (It’s Not Just for Cocktails!)


Summer is sizzling but we’ve got a few chill tricks up our sleeves when it comes to beating the heat and entertaining the kids. Your secret weapon? Ice. Yep, good old frozen water. From ways to spike your mocktails to sensory play that melts away, read on for 16 refreshing ways to re-think the clink.

photo: Angie Six via flickr 

Eat & Drink

1. Making iced coffee? Make some iced coffee cubes! Freeze a little leftover coffee in a tray and the next time you are making yourself a cool, chilled coffee drink use these instead of regular ice. Your drink won’t end up weak and watery.

2. Ditto for iced tea. Splash a little iced tea or lemonade into an ice cube tray for a great way to chill your tea without watering it down.

3. Get spriggy with it. Toss in a sprig of lemon thyme or mint for a the perfect splash of herby-goodness in your cocktail, mocktail or cold water.

photo: einladung_zum_essen via pixabay

4. Fruity fresh! Freeze raspberries, blueberries or pomegranate seeds into your ice cubes for a special twist on water or lemonade. The blueberry ones are perfect for teething babies.

5. Fancy pants. Use edible flowers frozen in ice and serve the single most fancy glass of water on the block. Delicate violets, nasturtiums, lavender, calendula and even dianthus or carnations work perfectly.

6. Leftover rules. Use leftover juice from canned peaches or pineapple to make tiny popsicles that will also add a spike of sweetness to your tea or sparkling water.

7. Shine. If you happen to have edible glitter around you can swirl some into the water after you’ve filled the cube trays; or try adding a couple of sprinkles.

photo: silviarita via pixabay

8. When it doubt, make popsicles. You can make these in an ice cube tray or a popsicle mold, or even a paper cup with a popsicle stick in the center (you’ll want to add the stick about half-way through the freezing process). Here are our favorite recipes for you to try this summer!

9. Keep it simple. Serve your drinks in an extra frosty glass. Just run water over the cup and place in freezer for a few minutes. Instant-frosty mug!

photo: Cliff Johnson via flickr

Play


10. Shapey things
. These days you can find ice cube trays (or use candy molds) in all kinds of shapes and sizes, including LEGO bricks, dinosaurs and more. Freeze them in different colors and lay them out on a tray for adorable play that will make you melt.

11. Smells n”ice.” Who knew you could use ice for a scent-sensory experiment, using classic items from your spice rack? Check out how Lemon and Lime Adventures did it, and then set up your own version.

12. Ice science. A proper experiment really doesn’t get much simpler than a muffin tin with ice and a few key ingredients, designed to see what makes ice melt the fastest. The Chaos and the Clutter has an easy tutorial you can follow so you can literally execute this cool project in less than ten minutes.

photo: Adam Tuttle via flickr

13. Painter’s palette. Use food coloring to tint the water in the tray different colors and make colored ice cubes. Once they’re frozen, let the kiddos paint with their new icy watercolors! You can also throw these colored cubes into the bath or kiddie pool for some extrasensory excitement.

14. Excavation station. Take a few toys, like small cars, rubber duckies, even LEGO minifigs and freeze them in water. Use a nice tall container to get a tower or a big bowl. You add a few toys, let the water freeze a bit, then stash in a a couple more to get a well-balanced icicle. You can equip them with a butter knife, plastic knife or spoon or a stick to begin the scraping. For younger kids, let them just go free-hand. We love this bejewled rainbow version from Fun at Home with Kids

15. Frozen IRL. Make a big batch or buy a bag of ice cubes and get stacking. Using a bit of water to help them stick, race against the clock as you stack and form an ice castle fit for Elsa. Got a few Frozen-themed toys around the house? Get them in on the fun! Make ice beds, ice chairs, ice tables, walls and more.

16. Chill, baby! Looking for cute sensory play for your smallest set? Check out these awesome frozen sensory bags that are safer for babies but still keep them stimulated and cool on a hot day!

Got any cool ideas for ice play or sensory treats? Tell us in a comment below! 

—Amber Guetebier



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Here’s How to Be a Mermaid


Few places are as iconic as Weeki Wachee Springs in Florida, where live mermaid performances have been regular entertainment since 1947. So it makes perfect sense that it would also be home to a mermaid camp! The 2-day experience teaches your little fishies what it’s like to be a Weeki Wachee mermaid performer: think grace and ballet moves, or underwater dancing! The sessions take place in 15-feet of water (totally supervised) and children also learn what it takes to put on a show: at the end of camp family gets to watch their little mermaid perform what they’ve learned—kids perform “dry” in the underwater theater.  It’s like theater camp meets ballet meets aquatic acrobats. The Weeki Wachee park also offers other cool features, like a wildlife cruise and on-site dining as well as plenty of other outdoor adventures. And for aspiring mermaid grown-ups, there’s even a camp for adults 30 and up!

Good to know: This camp requires kids to be very comfortable in water so if you can’t get them out of the pool, this is the one for them! Also, the camp sells out quickly so you can plan your vaycay around it for next year: classes take place April-August.

Ages: 7-10 or 11-14
Cost: $300
Where: Weeki Wachee Springs State Park
6131 Commercial Way
Spring Hill, Fl
Online: weekiwachee.com

 

photo courtesy Weeki Wachee Springs State Park



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Top Camping Tips and Hacks for Parents


When it comes to pitching a tent in the woods, throw in a few 10 and under campers, and it’s a whole new bag of tricks. There are all sorts of head-scratching issues: puzzling sleep situations, food prep problems, and dealing with So. Much. Gear. Thankfully, with these clever camping hacks, fresh air adventures with your pint-sized explorers can be relaxing and fun (we swear!). Scroll down to see all them all.

photo: Matador

1. Pack tiny towels.
This microfiber towel not only fits in the palm of your hand, but it’s quick-drying and super absorbent, too, which makes for easy cleanup. You can throw it in your pocket or clip it to your day pack. Here’s a great version for under $20.  

photo: The KarenD via Flickr

2. Stack your spices. 
Use small, stackable plastic containers for spices. That way, you won’t have to drag your entire rack along for the trip.

photo: Guy Sie via Flickr

3. Bring duct tape.
If there’s one thing that can get you out of the woods, it’s duct tape. Use it as an emergency band-aid, tent patch, flashlight holder and much more.

photo: Hilary Perkins via Flickr

4. Power up!
Make a batch (or two) of energy bites. They’re compact, full of protein that’ll keep little bellies full while out hiking, and most of them don’t require refrigeration. Need a little inspiration? Check out our favorite recipes here.

photo: RoseMarie Massaro via Home Confetti

5. Use your six-pack.
After stashing your bottles in the ice chest, save that six-pack holder to use as a utensil organizer. It folds up and packs away with ease, and you can even get crafty and cover with a fun pattern to add a little decor to your campsite. Find the tutorial over at
Home Confetti.

photo: Wonderlane via Flickr

6. Tell bugs to buzz off.
Toss a little bundle of sage into the campfire. It’ll keep the mosquitos at bay.

photo and idea credit: A Little Campy

7. Make way for baby.
Create an instantly baby-friendly floor by laying down a set of foam tiles. Your little one’s knees will thank you.

camping-hack-crescent-rollphoto and idea credit: Instructables

8. Get creative at the campfire. 
Wrap crescent rolls around a barkless Y-shaped stick and cooking it over a fire. Big kids will love to get in on this “baking” action, too. Head over to Instructables to find out more.

Make-single-use-soap-leaves-from-a-bar-of-soap-and-a-vegetable-peelerphoto and idea credit: My Honeys Place

9. Make clean up easy.
Make single-use soap leaves by running a vegetable peeler along a bar of antibacterial soap. Bonus: In a pinch, you can also rub one of the soap leaves on a mosquito bite to relieve the itchiness.

Camping-Organizer-450x600photo and idea credit: Starling Travel

10. Stay organized.
Save yourself serious kitchen hassle by stashing the family’s camping must-haves in a shoe organizer.

camping-hack-tent-stakesphoto credit: Brian Green

11. Protect your gear (and little fingers).
You can create a safe place to store tent stakes with a single piece of cardboard. Head over to Brian Green for the details. 

toilet-paper-hackphoto and idea credit: Home Talk

12. Keep TP dry.
Simply slip a roll into an empty and clean coffee can with a lid. It’s so genius—we can’t believe we didn’t think of this first.

doritos-kindling-camping-fire-starterphoto and idea credit: The Qi Ranger

13. An old go-to snack is now your go-to fire starter.
Research shows that the chemicals in the Doritos flavor powder teamed with the oils in the chips creates the perfect combo for combustion.

Did we leave any amazing camping with kids hacks off of this list? Tell us about them in the comments section below.

—Gabby Cullen & Ayren Jackson-Cannady



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13 Independence Day Treats Your Baby (and Entire Family) Will Love


Looking for a festive Fourth of July dish that even your even the littlest patriots can enjoy? While there’s plenty of red, white and blue desserts out there, we’ve curated a list of treats that are kid-friendly (i.e. no booze or caffeine) and simple enough you can almost make them with one baby on your hip. Click through the gallery to choose a treat that even your baby can smash into his mouth.

Very Berry Cheesecake-Squares

A spicy gingersnap crust pairs with raspberry-sweetened cream cheese in these decadent dessert squares. They’re served chilled so they’ll help your child keep cool even at a hot outdoor BBQ. Head to Put on Your Cake Pants for the recipe.

Photo: Put on Your Cake Pants

 

What’s your littles’ favorite festive treat? Tell us in a comment below.

— Eva Ingvarson Cerise



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Best National Parks for Families


Sandstone cliffs, slot canyons and animal wildlife are all part of the wonder of Zion National Park in Utah. You’ll want to give yourselves plenty of time at this scenic destination to take it all in.

Things to See and Do: Try a kid-friendly hike, like The Grotto Trail, Weeping Rock Trail or the Emerald Pool trail. While at the Emerald Pool trail, be sure to check out the gorgeous waterfall views. For a fun way for families to learn more about Zion together, head over to the Nature Center. Daily from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day, youth programs specifically for children and families are offered, and last 30-45 minutes, so they’re just the right length for your mini explorers.

Tips and When to Go: Zion National Park is open year-round. Some services or facilities may have limited hours at various parts of the year.

Online: nps.gov/zion/index.htm

photo: Alexander C. Kafka via Flickr



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Easy to Make Patriotic 4th of July Food Ideas


Ready to make your July 4th menu extra fun and festive? We’ve searched from sea to shining sea for the best red, white and blue recipes—from a wowza watermelon cake to refreshing salads and playful popsicles. Flip through the photo gallery below for Independence Day dishes that are sure to impress.

4th of July Cake

We’re gaga for this uber-creative cake! It’s colorful, fruit-ful, and doesn’t require any fancy cake pans—really! Now that’s what we call a show-stopping July 4th dessert! Find out how to carve your own country over at Jacks & Kate.

photo: Jacks & Kate

Which one of these colorful dishes will you make this year? Share feedback in the Comments below!

— Abigail Matsumoto



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8 Ways to Keep a Routine When You Don’t Have One


It’s summa-summa-summatime, and the living is easy—but sometimes not having a schedule can be hard! After all, little ones thrive on routine, even if they try to tell you otherwise. We’ve gathered a few tips on maintaining a sense of routine during these lazy months that’ll manage expectations, keep everyone rested, and rally excitement for the next adventure. Scroll down to see them all. 

photo: Leslie Science & Nature Center via Flickr

1. Sit Down to Family Dinners
You’ve read the research—and seen the joy when your toddler offers you a bite of her pre-chewed chicken nuggets: sharing a meal is a great way to squeeze in family bonding time! Even if the rest of the day’s events are unpredictable, your kids will probably eagerly anticipate a regular sit-down meal together (at least once every weekday at the same ballpark time). Check out some of our favorite recipes fit for summer here, and dig in together!

2. Try to Keep Regular Bedtimes
At least a few nights each week, consider passing on the late-night movie and guide your kids to bed at their regular bedtime. Preserve the same bedtime routine, too—and reap the benefits of well-rested kids the next morning. Don’t have a bedtime routine? Check out these favorite tips from our editors!

3. Set Reading Goals
Instead of “required reading,” have each of your tiny bookworms create summer reading goals—for example, a set number of books they’ll read each week, or a certain number of books parents will read to/with the kiddos! This ultimate book list can give you some guidance during your next family trek to the local library.

4. Have a Lunch Date
If family dinners are hard, invite your kids on a lunch date! Have a set lunch time and create a weekly “menu” that will create a natural (and delicious) break during the middle of the day. Mix it up and try one of these lunch ideas that isn’t a sandwich!

photo: Amber Strocel via Flickr

5. Make Each Day a Theme
Create a fun calendar of themed days: Playground Thursday, Swimming Saturday, Library Monday, etc. Ask your kids to offer suggestions so that they feel invested in their weekly adventures! You could also try weekly themes, such as Art Week or Animal Week like this parent did!

6. Make a Summer Bucket List
Have each kid list to-dos for their Summer Bucket List. Write them on slips of paper and stick them in a jar, then take one or two out at the beginning of each week. Here are 50 ideas to get you started!

7. Have Daily Quiet Time
Even if your kids aren’t napping anymore, build in an hour or two of quiet time each day to rejuvenate those little bodies. Make quiet time an event they’ll look forward to with these great activity books!

8. Create a Chore Chart
Summer doesn’t mean the house has to turn upside-down! Create a list of chores, assign tasks, and whistle (or crank up that Pandora Taylor Swift station) while you work! Take a peek at our favorite chore charts that make doing laundry a little less painful.

How do you keep a routine during the summer months? Share with us in a Comment below!

— Katie Brown

 

 



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