Easy DIY Teepee for Toddlers

Easy DIY Teepee for Toddlers

DIY Teepee for Toddlers

When my wife said she wanted to get our son a teepee for his room I thought it was a great idea. I remember as a kid always wanting to build a fort. Couch cushions, chairs, sheets, and any other household item that would give makeshift cover for my imaginary world to open up. Having a space to call my own, even at such a young age, seemed important. He would love it! Yep. I thought a teepee was a great idea until I saw the price tag! Are you kidding me? A hundred dollars for a piece of canvas and some sticks? I think those were my exact words to my wife too. She just rolled her eyes and said she thought it would be great for our son and didn’t know why I was being difficult. I quickly responded well, heck I could make a teepee for a lot less than $100! “Oh yeah?” she said. And that was the moment I realized what I had gotten myself into. Off to the home improvement store we went!

So here it is, my step-by-step guide to making your own no-sew teepee for less than $34.00. That’s right! I actually got it right this time and kind of proved the wife wrong. Or did I prove her, right? I think she got what she wanted either way and I’m a proud Daddy for being able to pull through on this.

DIY Teepee for Toddlers

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What you’ll need:

  • Canvas Drop Cloth 5 ft. 9 in. x 8 ft. 9 in. 10 oz.
  • 4 Pieces of 11/16″ Quarter Round Molding – found at any home improvement store
  • Rope or Twine – I used cotton cooking twine we already had
  • Safety Pins

Optional:

This project was relatively easy once I figured out the placement of the quarter round and how I wanted to drape the drop cloth. After cutting down the eight-foot quarter round pieces to about six feet I made a square with the quarter round and figured out the height where I wanted to secure it with the twine.

It helps to have an extra pair of hands for this part. Wrap the twine multiple times around and under the quarter round until secure. Cut the end of the twine and fasten with a knot at the back.

DIY Teepee for Toddlers

Unfold the drop cloth and drape around the teepee frame until you are happy with the placement. Fasten the drop cloth at the top of the teepee with safety pins until secure. I used two heavy-duty safety pins.

DIY Teepee for Toddlers

That’s it! Teepee complete.

DIY Teepee for Toddlers

As an added touch you can decorate the teepee with white lights. I grouped a string of white lights together with twist ties and hung them inside the teepee to look like a chandelier.

DIY Teepee for Toddlers

This also acts as a reading light. I pulled the plug end of the lights through the top of the teepee and down the back side out of view to an outlet.

To make the inside area comfier, we added a new dog bed as a floor pillow and covered it with a blanket.

DIY Teepee for Toddlers

The blanket was actually the comforter to my son’s crib set that we never used. At least now it serves a purpose and it fits in with the rest of his room decor.

DIY Teepee for Toddlers

I also added some throw pillows that my wife found at Target, another blanket and a stuffed octopus he already had.

DIY Teepee for Toddlers

The best part about doing any project is the reveal when you get to see the reaction. It’s even better when it’s your kid! We told my son we were working on a surprise for him while he spent the whole day at his grandma’s. When he came home and we told him to come see what Daddy made for him the look of amazement on his face was priceless! His first words were “Whoah! That’s so cool! Look at my teepee Daddy!”

DIY Teepee for Toddlers

DIY Teepee for Toddlers

DIY Teepee for Toddlers

DIY Teepee for Toddlers

Easy DIY Teepee for Toddlers

He loved it! I consider this project a “win”!

If you’re not convinced and would rather buy a teepee, here are some cool options.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Have you tried a DIY teepee for your child? Please share below. I’d love to hear from you!

Cheers,

Craft Daddy

four-leaf clover handpainting

Four-leaf Clover Handprint Painting

Quick and Easy Four-leaf Clover Painting Activity

With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, I’ve been trying to do a couple of holiday-related projects with my son like the pb&j leprechaun sandwich you see below. He has a bit of the Irish in him from his mom’s side of the family so it’s only fitting that he knows what a four-leaf clover is.

leprechaun four-leaf clover handpainting

Back to the four-leaf clover painting. As you can imagine the project is pretty simple. The only supplies you need are green paint, heavy white paper, a gold Sharpie, and a sponge brush to spread the paint on his hand.

four-leaf clover handpainting

*This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.

Here’s what we used:

Brody really enjoyed having the paint rubbed all over his hand and then making his handprint on the paper.

four-leaf clover handpainting

The whole process only takes about ten minutes, which is great considering he has the attention span of a flea.

four-leaf clover handpainting

After the four handprints were finished the stem was painted to complete the clover.

four-leaf clover handpainting

My wife added the ’Brody 2017’ and ‘Lucky’ in gold Sharpie. She’ll argue this point, but her writing is much nicer than mine.

four-leaf clover handpainting

After the masterpiece finished drying we added it to a freshly painted frame.

four-leaf clover handpainting

DIY Kinetic Sand

My son has been home sick 2½ days this week and we’ve had rainy weather to boot! The poor thing was getting a little stir crazy so I wanted to do a fun activity to entertain him. He only had a little cold but I didn’t want to take him out too much as he could be contagious and I didn’t want him to get worse with the wet weather. I found this easy recipe for kinetic sand from sugaraunts.com and doubled it so we would have more sand to play with. The best part is this sand is made with only three ingredients! Here’s an easy way to make kinetic-like sand for your kids.

*This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Play Sand – 4 cups
  • Shaving Cream – 12oz total
  • Baking Soda – 16oz
  • Plastic bin

I purchased all the ingredients at the dollar store but you can pretty much get them anywhere. I had leftover sand from the Sand Footprint Art we did a while back that I had bought from the home improvement store.
Clothing & Accessories

My toddler assistant helped me measure out the four cups of sand and put it in the plastic bin.

DIY Kinetic Sand

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I then mixed the entire box of baking soda into the sand thoroughly.

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I prepared the play area in my son’s room by using an old sheet to help contain the impending mess. It had been raining for days so there was no way we were going outside for this activity. We settled in and my assistant shook the shaving cream bottle vigorously before I helped him spray it on the sand in the plastic bin.

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diy-kinetic-sand-8This was a fun way to help him with his motor skills as using a spray can was a new concept for him. Actually, the only other spray can my little guy was familiar with up until this point was whipped cream. One night Grandma showed him what whipped cream was and how to eat it out of his hand (he didn’t like the idea of it being sprayed directly into his mouth). He still has so much to learn! 😉

Clothing & Accessories

So once you spray about 6oz of shaving cream into the bin you can start mixing the shaving cream and sand with your hands.

diy-kinetic-sand-9My little one was a bit hesitant to mix the sand with his hands until I stuck my hands in and helped him.

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That’s when the fun really started! We would stick our hands in at the same time and squish the sand while making funny sounds and silly faces at each other.

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The sand was a bit sticky at first but slowly turned into what kinetic sand feels like. Moldable but not wet would be the best way to describe it. It was a really interesting texture.

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picmonkey-collage-2We had a lot of fun mixing the sand together and saved it in a plastic container to play with at a later date. Next time we’ll break out some sand tools to mold shapes. I kept the remaining 6oz of shaving cream to add to the sand in case it dries out in between uses. I know that the texture definitely changed from start to end when we were playing with it. It seemed to get a little bit stiffer as it dried out to where it felt more like damp sand than kinetic sand.

This was definitely a great way to lift my son’s spirits after being stuck in the house for a few days. We had a great time with the sand and even with clean-up afterwards. We quickly hosed the sand off in the yard right before bath time to avoid putting sand down the drain.

I’m looking forward to using the sand again and seeing if it feels the same or if it dried out. Have you made kinetic sand for your kids? Tell me about your experience below. I’d love to hear from you!

 

Cheers!

~ James

Pinecone Birdfeeder

Pinecone Bird Feeders

It’s officially Fall and you know what that means? Nothing. Absolutely nothing if you live in South Florida. It means summer is over and Halloween is fast approaching but aside from that, there’s no change. No trees changing from green to red and gold. No fallen leaves on the ground. No chilly weather that deserves sweaters & boots. That doesn’t mean Floridians won’t rock the sweaters & boots. It’s just that there’s no deserving weather change for it. Florida fall is typically like the rest of the year but maybe a little less hot. This year I was excited for fall to teach my son about the seasons and to do typical autumn activities.

Today I’m sharing with you an easy peasy activity that anyone can do! Seriously! We are making pinecone bird feeders! This was awesome to do with my son. First, we gathered a bunch of pinecones together. We went to a park that I knew had pinecones all over the place. My son loved running around to collect the pinecones and put them in the bag. Each time he found another treasure he exclaimed “pinecone!” with a huge smile. We got more than enough pinecones to use for the bird feeders and other fall crafts.

*This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Pinecones (surprise!)
  • Peanut Butter
  • Birdseed
  • String, Twine, or Fishing Line
  • Plastic Container for Birdseed
  • Spoon & Dish to scoop out Peanut Butter for the project

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We came home, got our materials ready and got situated on the back porch. We decided which pinecones to use and I tied a string to the top. I left enough string on the end to tie to a tree branch when we were done.

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I prepared the birdseed in a plastic container large enough to roll the pine cones in.

img_7818ConnectedCamps.comMy son inspected the birdseed thoroughly to make sure it was of the best quality! 😉 He just couldn’t help it.

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I then scooped enough peanut butter into a small dish for the pinecones we were using. I didn’t want to spoon out peanut butter, spread it on the pinecone and then put the spoon back in the peanut butter jar again. Yuck! I don’t know about you but I don’t care for pinecone flavored peanut butter. 😉 Once we had enough peanut butter, I requested the help of my toddler assistant to spread the peanut butter all over the pinecone.

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He enjoyed this part because he kept ‘accidentally’ getting peanut butter on his fingers and licking it off. My son, unlike me, enjoys the taste of pinecone flavored peanut butter apparently.

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When we were done with the peanut butter I asked my pint-sized helper to roll the pinecones in the birdseed.

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He liked to help smoosh the birdseed into the pinecone even more with his fingers. Lots of fun textures here!

Rent LEGO Sets with Netbricks

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When we were all done, my son picked the very best spot for us to hang the pinecone bird feeder! We watched it spin around for a few minutes and my son yelled out “BIRDIES!” in an effort to call our feathered friends to the dinner table.

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I told my son we would check on the bird feeder in the morning and see if there were any birdies having breakfast. His eyes lit up at the thought. We really enjoyed this activity and it was super simple. The time we spent together collecting the pinecones, putting the pinecone bird feeders together and looking for birds was awesome. It’s something he talks about a lot. Pinecones? Outside? Birdies? Food? His curiosity is wonderful and it really is the little things in life that make it all worth it. I’m looking forward to making more pinecone activities this fall and sharing them with you. If you can’t get ahold of pinecones for this project, toilet paper or paper towel rolls will work too.

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Have you made a pinecone bird feeder with your kids? Please share below. I’d love to hear from you!

~ James

Tactical Dad Kickstarter

Tactical Dad Kickstarter Campaign

*The post is sponsored by Tactical Dad Packs. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Being a new dad not only comes with great joy and responsibility but also stuff. Lots of stuff! And for this stuff you need a carrier of sorts to tote said stuff from one place to another. These diaper bag ‘carriers’ typically come in pastel colors, polka dots, flowers, and frills; none of which I wish to carry. My wife was thoughtful enough to put a backpack diaper bag on our baby registry for me. This backpack diaper bag was super practical & didn’t make me feel like skipping when I carried it. Don’t get me wrong, skipping isn’t a bad thing but there’s a time & a place for it. Ya know?

Tactical Dad Kickstarter
Source: Tactical Dad Kickstarter

So this being said you could imagine how excited & interested I was when Tactical Dad reached out to me and asked me to share their Tactical Dad Kickstarter campaign! For those of you that don’t know (the shame!), Tactical Dad came out with this very cool D.O.D.D. (Dad on Diaper Duty) Pack. It’s very similar in dimensions to the bag I toted which gave me plenty of room for all the necessities. This bag looks way different from the diaper bag I had, though. The Tactical Dad Pack was made out of necessity & badassery looking very much like a military pack! I can imagine any dad in possession of this diaper pack being able to take on the enemy AND that dirty diaper. This diaper bag is so cool you’ll WANT to carry it!

Tactical Dad Kickstarter
Source: Tactical Dad Kickstarter

The exciting news from Tactical Dad’s Kickstarter campaign is the addition of a baby carrier that connects to the front of the diaper bag! So you have your adorable baby on your chest facing outwards and your Tactical bag on your back holding all of your essentials. Daddy MacGyver mode complete & ready to take on anything. Well, anything except teething. No one’s ever ready to take that on! Geesh! Can anyone say 2-year molars? Teething is just pure parenting hell!

Tactical Dad Kickstarter
Source: Tactical Dad Kickstarter

At least with this baby carrier, there’s no need to deal with the never-ending wrap like other baby carriers. We tried using one of those once and my wife decided to return it after I almost tied myself in a knot! That’s all I need is a puzzle while trying to put my baby in a carrier. What were they thinking? Tactical Dad got it right though with this quick release carrier. No fumbling or knot tying, just getting the job done. The way it should be.

So check out the Kickstarter campaign for Tactical Dad & their new baby carrier addition. A definite must for every new dad!

You can also check out the Tactical Dad website. You’ll be glad you did!

Cheers!

~ James

**I received compensation from Tactical Dad Packs in the form of a free D.O.D.D. (Dad on Diaper Duty) Pack for sharing this post. Thank you, Tactical Dad! I can’t wait to use my pack!

Sand Footprint Art

Sand Footprint Art

Summertime means hotter weather and it also means summer break for the kiddos! Growing up in south Florida, I spent most of my summer breaks boogie boarding, hanging out at the beach, or fishing from the beach. My son also loves going to the beach and playing in the sand. In an effort to preserve our summer, as well as our son still being little, we decided to do a sand footprint art project. We found a great tutorial from Paging Fun Mums but opted to do something a little smaller. What better way to encapsulate our little boy’s footprint than in the sand for all eternity.

Sand Footprint Art

*This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.

Here’s what we used:

  • 4×6 frame – found at Kohl’s
  • 50lb bag of Sakrete Natural Play Sand (We’ll use the rest of the sand for future projects.)
  • Dap – Plaster of Paris
  • Design Matter – Clear Finish, Gloss
  • Blue Painters Tape
  • Small paintbrush
  • Small seashells
  • Super glue
  • Piece of cardboard (Used for leveling the sand and plaster)
  • Flat surface you don’t mind getting messy (Cardboard from the recycle bin or anything that won’t allow the plaster to seep through if spilled.)


Sand Footprint Art

After preparing your work area take apart the frame.

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You can put the glass to the side for disposal later because you won’t be using it. Place the backing of the frame back-end facing down and place the front of the frame on top forming a makeshift box.

Sand Footprint Art Sand Footprint Art
Now you’re ready for the sand. Place enough sand into the frame to get an impression of your kiddos foot. Make sure to not pack the sand into the space. You want it spread out evenly, but you don’t want it so packed in that you can’t get a good impression. Cut the piece of cardboard to your desired size to fit inside the frame. Use the cardboard to rake the sand into the corners and sides, making sure to not press down too hard.

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The object is to make sure the sand not only becomes a flat surface but also fully covers every nook and cranny. Now comes the difficult part. Grab your little artist in the making and carefully place their foot in the sand pressing down enough to gain a bit of depth to the print.

Sand Footprint Art

Sand Footprint ArtSave up to 38% or more on Tampa Bay’s 5 best attractions at CityPASS.com - Shop Now!It took a couple tries before we were satisfied with the footprint. If you’re not satisfied with the first attempt, start over from the beginning. Once you’re happy with the outcome it’s time for the plaster. We mixed two cups of plaster to one cup of water. Slowly pour the plaster into the frame starting in a corner being careful to not pour too much causing it to overflow as I did. Oops!

Sand Footprint Art

Once satisfied with your pour use the cardboard to carefully smooth out the plaster making sure to completely fill in the open space without putting too much pressure which could possibly irritate the imprint below.

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Wipe up any plaster spillage with a damp cloth. There was more than enough plaster to cover the area and would probably work in a 5×7 frame as well. Now the hard part is done. Let the frame sit overnight. Once completely dry carefully lift the frame up from the table separating it from the frame backing. Using the paintbrush carefully brush away the remaining sand to discover your very own footprint in the sand. Make sure not to brush too hard as you don’t want to brush away the sand that is partially embedded in the plaster.

Sand Footprint Art

The frame we used did not come ready to hang so we purchased the quick fix you see below. All you’ll need is a hammer and one of the hangers from the pack. Also, notice how smooth the back of the project ends up after drying.

Sand Footprint Art

Once satisfied, you can leave the piece as it is or you can add small shells using superglue.

Sand Footprint Art

Finally use the painters tape to completely cover the frame before spraying with the sealant.

Sand Footprint ArtSand 16Spray the sand from 12-15 inches away, making sure to cover all areas with a quick swipe of the sealant. Let dry for a few minutes and repeat two more times or as stated on the can. We really love how it turned out and we’re looking forward to doing more footprint sand art projects in the future.

Sand Footprint Art

Have you tried something like this with your kids? What was the outcome? Please share in the comments below.

Thanks for stopping by!

~ James
Free Week of Healthy Kids Inc Meal Planner

Easy fireworks painting for kids

Easy Fireworks Painting for Kids

Here’s a fun 4th of July activity to do with your kids this weekend. My toddler loves to paint, color, and draw (outside the lines, of course!) as most kids do. I wanted to find something creative to do with him for the 4th of July and thought something to do with fireworks would be perfect. I found this great idea from ‘Learning 4 Kids’ and couldn’t wait to give it a try.

Growing up I had the best time celebrating the 4th of July with my Dad and Papa mostly because of one thing. Fireworks! Yes, this is the holiday to commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence but it is also to celebrate our freedom to blow stuff up! Right? Or maybe that’s just me.

My Dad and Papa lived next door to each other and I remember them throwing firecrackers and shooting bottle rockets over the fence at each other, screaming and laughing hysterically. Granted this was back in the good ol’ days when you played outside until it was dark, drank water from the hose and rode your bike all over town. Nowadays my Dad and Papa probably would have the cops called on them and been arrested for disorderly conduct. To me, fireworks always make me think of those fun, family times together and bring a smile to my face. I can’t wait to share the joys of watching (and eventually lighting) fireworks with my son one day. Although I have promised my wife to be much more careful than my Dad and Papa were back in the day.

This was such a fun art project in preparation for the 4th of July holiday weekend with my (almost) 2-year-old.

*This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.

All you need to get started is:

Steps:

  • Cut the toilet paper or paper towel tubes down to the center in strips a little less than ¼” wide.

Easy fireworks painting for kids

  • Repeat on all paper tubes you are using.

Easy fireworks painting for kids

  • Pour each paint color onto a paper plate for easy application. We used red, white, and blue.

Easy fireworks painting for kids

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  • Gently “stamp” your paper tube in the paint until all strips are covered.

Easy fireworks painting for kids

  • Stamp the tube onto your construction paper in multiple areas to create the firework. This was my son’s favorite step and he got really carried away with it! Just to be on the safe side we used an old white sheet to cover the table, which as you can see below was a great idea. Even with him on my lap, it was near impossible to control his every move.

Easy fireworks painting for kidsEasy fireworks painting for kids

  • Change colors/tubes & stamp again until you’ve reached the desired effect.

Easy fireworks painting for kids

This couldn’t have been an easier project and the outcome turned out to be pretty cool.

Easy fireworks painting for kids

After we created the firework masterpieces, I tried to explain to my son that we would see lots of fireworks over the weekend. I told him they would make loud “kaboom” sounds and have so many pretty colors, just like his paintings. He was so happy about the idea, but still confused at the same time so I showed him a few videos on YouTube. His face lit up when he saw the fireworks bursting along to music in the videos. He would look wide-eyed at the video & then point to his paintings while shouting “Fah-wurk! Fah-wurk!”. Hopefully, this will be a nice introduction to this holiday’s loud spectacle. Last year he was too small to understand or even be afraid of the explosive sounds. This year I’m hoping he enjoys the beauty and excitement of the fireworks like I did as a young boy and still do to this day.

Easy fireworks painting for kids

Have you tried something like this with your kids? What was the outcome? Please share in the comments below.

Shredded Paper Sensory Bin

Shredded Paper Sensory Bin

My wife and I both work from home and spend a lot of time in our home office. Because of this, we produce a decent amount of paper that not only needs to be recycled but also shredded. One typical afternoon I picked our son up from school and brought him into the office to see his mama. I walked out and came back to find that our son had discovered the bag of shredded paper and had begun to make it ‘snow’ in the office. It was a hilarious sight to behold. My wife sitting there with a huge smile on her face while our son threw shredded paper anywhere he could think; himself, my wife, the dog. Absolutely everything took a hit. The only downfall was the clean-up, but it did give me the idea for an easy sensory bin.

Shredded Paper Sensory Bin

*This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.

Here’s what we used:

  • Plastic Bin – Wal-Mart
  • Hand Digger – You can find something very similar here.
  • Plastic Shovel & Rake
  • Tweezers – You can find them here.
  • Lots of shredded paper

We chose a rainy Florida afternoon to officially try out the shredded paper sensory bin. After piling the paper and tools into the bin we placed them on the floor of our son’s room. It didn’t take long before the fun began.

Shredded Paper Sensory BinOur munchkin started slowly using the tools to dig around in the paper. That quickly turned into an excited toddler tornado.

Shredded Paper Sensory BinHe started by putting the tools down and throwing shredded paper into the air.

Shredded Paper Sensory BinHe ran over to my wife and threw shredded paper on her while we tried to slow him down with calls of, “keep the shreddings in one place,” to no avail.

Shredded Paper Sensory BinHe threw paper on me, his toys, and himself. Anything that he thought needed a little extra something got a couple of handfuls of shredded paper.

Shredded Paper Sensory BinHe closed out the craziness by dumping the rest of it on his own head. It was certainly a sight to see.

Shredded Paper Sensory BinHe had such an absolute blast making the biggest mess he could muster.

Shredded Paper Sensory BinThe whole ordeal only encompassed 15-30 minutes, but boy was it worth it to see him have such a great time!

Shredded Paper Sensory BinThe clean up fell to me as my wife and son quickly cleared out of the disaster area to get ready for dinner. A quick run through with the broom and vacuum made quick work of the paper. A clean up I will gladly endure every single time!

Have you tried something like this with your kids? What was the outcome? Please share in the comments below.