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.
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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! 😉

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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!

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.

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  • Repeat on all paper tubes you are using.

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

Easy fireworks painting for kids

Cooper & Kid Cooper Kit Subscription Box for Dads And Kids

  • 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.

Fun Pancake Art for Kids (and Dads) – Mickey Mouse

Mickey Mouse, pancakes, craft daddy blog, daddy

Fun Pancake Art for Kids (and Dads)

Do you want to feel like Dad (or Mom) of the year? Well, this probably won’t win you the parent of the year award, but it will definitely make your kiddo smile. That’s pretty much the same thing, isn’t it? That smile that makes the worst day just wither away. Yep, that’s the one! Anyway, I was talking to a friend and he mentioned making Mickey Mouse pancakes for his daughter. Intrigued, I asked him what he was talking about. Do they have Mickey Mouse pancakes I’m unaware of? His daughter is just a few months older than my son and they are both Ga-Ga for Mickey! You know you’re the parent of a toddler when you can sing all the words to the Hot Dog Dance! My buddy explained that he simply uses a squeeze bottle to “draw” designs & shapes when cooking pancakes for his daughter. Hearing how simple it sounded, I just had to give it a try. No need to call Toodles, this is so easy even Goofy could do it!

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

All you need is (your Mouskatools):

Wilton Regular Melting Decorating Squeeze Bottle. I have also seen these at Michael’s and Wal-Mart.

-Your favorite pancake mix.

-Cooking Spray.

-A Funnel.

Mickey Mouse, pancakes, craft daddy blog, daddyPrepare the pancake mix according to the package instructions and pour it into the squeeze bottle using a funnel. Place a large pan on the stove and turn the heat on medium-low. After a few minutes, splash a bit of water in the pan with your fingers to test if it’s hot enough. If you hear a sizzle, you’re ready to cook. Don’t forget to spray the pan with a light coat of the cooking spray. I started with a Mickey Mouse face that I found on Google. I drew it in the pan to the best of my ability and surprisingly enough, it wasn’t half bad. Make sure to wait about 30 seconds before you fill in the outline with more batter so it has a chance to brown.Mickey Mouse, pancakes, craft daddy blog, daddy Let that cook until the little bubbles in the pancake mix begin to form and ‘pop’. That’s something I remember my Dad doing when he would make us pancakes for breakfast when I was a child. Mickey Mouse, pancakes, craft daddy blog, daddyAfter what seemed like an eternity, but was in actuality only a minute, I flipped the pancake over to let the other side cook. Your pancakes should be a nice golden brown with the Mickey Mouse outline dark enough to make out who it is. Now, of course, I didn’t get it right the first time. As they say, practice makes perfect and it’s not like your pancakes are going to go to waste just because your first few portrayals of Mickey were less than desirable. After about 15 pancakes, I finally had the outline down to what I thought was a relatively decent representation of Mickey Mouse.Pancake Art

Steps:

-Draw the outline as steady as possible with the squeeze bottle.

-Let the outline cook for about 30 seconds.

-Fill in the outline with more batter.

-Cook until the batter bubbles begin to ‘pop.’

-Flip over and cook the other side until cooked evenly to a golden brown.

-Serve to your kiddo while singing and doing the Hot Dog Dance! “Hot Dog, Hot Dog, Hot Diggity Dog!” Now that will be stuck in your head all day! You’re welcome! 🙂Mickey Mouse, pancakes, craft daddy blog, daddy

When I put the plate of Mickey Mouse pancakes in front of my munchkin, he was elated! He started pointing to Mickey and bouncing up and down with excitement. Funny enough, I was worried for a minute that he might not eat the pancakes because he loves Mickey so much! Luckily, he takes after his Dad and hasn’t met a pancake he doesn’t like. He actually ate more pancakes than usual. He even started hitting his Mom up for her pancakes so I had to bring him another plate.Mickey Mouse, pancakes, craft daddy blog, daddy

This was a fantastic idea, that could not have been easier. I’m no artist, but I think I did okay for my first attempt. It will certainly become a Daddy tradition in our house. I can’t wait to try out more characters. The possibilities are pretty much endless. For example, you can spell out names or Happy Birthday if you want to. Just remember to write it backward so the phrase is facing the right way once you flip the pancake. Maybe practice on a piece of paper first so you have something to reference. If your kids are older, you can have them request certain characters or images on their pancakes to make it a bit more challenging. You could make a guessing game out of it and try to stump them with your artistic abilities or in my case the lack thereof. Or better yet, have your kids give it a try to make pancake faces of their own. This could also be a great opportunity to teach your children about cooking safety while helping in the kitchen.

If you’re looking for more pancake design ideas, here’s a book that lists step-by-step instructions written by a single Dad.

Big Daddy Pancakes – Zoo Animal & Holiday Edition

You can also click below to get the Kindle edition of this book by another creative Dad.

OMG Pancakes!: 75 Cool Creations Your Kids Will Love to Eat

I can’t wait to try these designs out! Of course, you’ll see my artistic creations in future posts.

Have you made pancake shapes before? How was your experience with it? Please share your comments and pictures below. I’d love to see what you come up with. Thanks for stopping by! See ya real soon!