Rock collection storage box for kids

I love it when Danika expresses curiosity about something new. I love watching her discover the world around her. So naturally, I want to encourage her curiosity any way I can. You never know when something seemingly small might become a lifelong passion!Rock collection storage box for kids - Smocks & Shops

A couple of weekends ago, we were doing some yard work (Spring finally reared its head) and she went bananas when she found a particular tiny pebble. She must have lost – and found that pebble a dozen times that weekend. I thought, surely we could find better storage than pockets. Then I remembered the small plastic compartmentalized boxes I got from the dollar store I originally meant to use to organize my (messy and random) bead stash. Looking at it, it screamed “make me pretty” and I knew exactly what we needed to use. Washi tape! I think I’m more impressed with how it turned out than she is, but she loves that she has a cool little box to store whatever other tiny treasure she’ll find in the garden.

 

What you need:

  1. Plastic box with compartments – From hardware section of the dollar store
  2. Washi tape – Got mine from here, here and Target (when it was open)
  3. Mod Podge – From anywhere, like on Amazon here
  4. Krylon spray finish – From Amazon
  5. Rock collection – Danika’s collection started with a couple she found outside that she really liked went bananas over and this fun crystal mining discovery kit (I love that it comes with tiny magnifying glass). This weekend I’ll be giving her a simple Chakra kit I picked up from a local New Age shop, much like this one here

Rock collection storage box for kids - Smocks & Shops

How to:

  1. Before inviting your child to join you, I suggest pre-cutting the washi tape. I pre-cut a bunch of different pieces of washi and stuck them along the edge of the table we were sitting at. Danika could just grab whichever piece she wanted, at her pace and not have to wait for me to be done cutting (she sticks faster than I cut, lol).
  2. Once she was done applying as many pieces as she wanted all over the outside of the box, on both sides and the edges, she abandoned me to go play, which was fine. The next part was for mommies and daddies only anyway…
  3. Because not all washi tape stays stuck, I covered the box with a coat of Mod Podge to make sure nothing pealed up. I’ve written before (here) how I really don’t like how even though Mod Podge claims to be a finish, the surface stays sticky. Even after “curing” for a week. So here again, I top-coated the whole outside of the box with the Krylon spray. Be sure to spray outside or in a well ventilated space (the box will also smell at first but it goes away after 2 days).
  4. If you have a little plastic magnifying glass, you can create a little holder by drilling two tiny holes on the top of the box and passing elastic cord through it. I capped it off with a couple of glass beads I had in my stash.

Rock collection storage box for kids - Smocks & Shops

Don’t you just LOVE Washi tape? The colours and patterns remind me of candy wrappers. And I love how because the box is transparent, we see the tape through all sides. So pretty.

Washi tape for rock collection storage box for kids - Smocks & Shops

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Wooden animal silhouettes mobile

Danika and I have been working on this project for a while now. I found some really great Etsy Shops who make really sweet mobiles that use wood, beads and felt (like this one and this one from Australia and this one in the UK). Drawing inspiration from these, I decided to try to make one with the help of my little partner, to decorate her room.

Danika painted these animal silhouettes herself using acrylics and finishing them with glitter glue. Then I strung them up using felt balls I had left over from this project and glass beads I already had on hand. All I needed to buy were dowels and fishing line, which I found at my local dollar store.

Animal mobile supplies

What you need:

  1. Dowels – From dollar store
  2. Wooden animal silhouettes – From this great Etsy shop: Arks and Animals
  3. Crafts acrylics and glitter glue – I used colours that were part of my daughter’s bedroom colour scheme
  4. Glass and crimp beads – I had these in my stash already but Michael’s, DeSerres and Walmart have good selections
  5. Felt balls – From this other great Etsy shop: Honey Canada
  6. Fishing line – From the dollar store (I don’t fish ;)
  7. Threading needle (not pictured) – This is specifically for the felt balls. They’re dense so a needle is required to pass the fishing line through them
  8. Mod Podge (not pictured) – If you don’t have any already, Michael’s, DeSerres and Walmart sell some

How to:

  1. Paint or let your child paint the animal silhouettes on both sides. I selected the colours my daughter could use and just let her apply and mix the colours to her heart’s content. We finished them by smearing glitter glue all over them.
  2. Cut sections of fishing line.
  3. On a table, lay out the order in which you want to string the felt balls and beads for each line (it will be easier to sting them up if this is done first). Don’t forget to add a crimp bead between each.Two completed sections of the mobile
  4. Tie some fishing line in the middle of the dowel that will be your first level. This will be to hang your mobile from the ceiling.
  5. Attach two of your completed lines on both ends of the first level dowel.
  6. Join the two dowels with a smaller section of fishing line. I put beads and felt balls on ours, but you can leave it plain.
  7. Attach the last two lines on each end of your second level dowel.
  8. Find a spot you can hang your mobile temporarily so you can “dry” fit it. I used my chandelier in the dining room but a knob on an upper kitchen cabinet would probably work too."Dry" fitting the first level of the animal silhouette mobile"Dry" fitting the first level of the animal silhouette mobile
  9. Once hung, you’ll notice that your mobile is probably a little lop sided. This can be fixed by moving the heavier lines toward the centres and the lighter ones towards the extremities of the dowels. Keep adjusting until the dowels are horizontal.
  10. Hang from the ceiling and trim excess fishing line. You may have to readjust them a little again. To make sure the lines stay put, dip a brush into some Mod Podge and “paint” a thick coat right on top of the dowels where the lines are tied.

Here’s the final version, hanging by the window in Danika’s room. I love how it sparkles when the light catches the beads and how it rotates.

DIY mobile of wooden animal silhouettes for child's room. A collaborative project - Smocks & Shops

I have a second one to make for my youngest. She has woodland animal silhouettes :)

27 non-candy Easter egg stuffer ideas for pre-schoolers

Truth be told, I’m always scouting for small toys and accessories that would make great age-appropriate stocking stuffers at Christmas, Easter egg stuffers and road trip supplies. I store them in a box in the basement until the right time comes. I buy these throughout the year to take advantage of sales (especially liquidations) and impromptu visits to our local dollar store that odly enough, yields some pretty cool and unexpected finds.

When scouting for small toys or if you want to give a few different ones, the idea is to think outside the “packaging” so-to-speak: You don’t have to use every piece of the puzzle (unless it’s part of the Easter Egg hunt game), or all the beads, or all the glow-in-the-dark stars… Open the packaging and just put a couple of the pieces in the eggs. Once the hunt is over, bring out the rest of the packages. We keep all tiny toys in a small cardboard suitcases that the girls love carrying around.

Here’s a collection of items my eldest daughter (now 3) received last year (and still plays with) and some new ones she will find in her Easter eggs this year*.

EasterEggStuffers_numbers

  1. Coloured hair elastics – From the dollar store
  2. Peppa Pig characters – From eBay and Amazon (In Canada, Peppa Pig sets aren’t sold at Toys R Us but you can find them in the US)
  3. Easter version of the Barrel of Monkeys game but with bunnies – From the dollar store
  4. Plus-Plus connecting pieces to make 3D & 2D objects  – Modern Karibou (purchased during a sale) but also on Amazon
  5. Holztiger wooden bunny – From Ava’s Appletree in Toronto (I got a few from this shop because they had the best online selection in Canada)
  6. Piggy Paint 3D nail art – purchased on Well.ca on sale after Christmas but I have also seen them on Amazon
  7. Glitter for crafts – Michael’s or dollar store
  8. Lottie Doll outfit – These are a fav in our house. Purchased a couple of outfits in a toy store closeout sale but I have also seen them on Amazon
  9. Fairytale Finger tattoos – purchased during a closeout sale of a local toy store but also saw them on Amazon
  10. Vintage Strawberry Shortcake figurines – From my own collection – my mom had the forethought to stash many of our cool toys – but I have seen many on Etsy
  11. My daughter has a couple of finger puppet sets – We love this Etsy shop Stay Awake and Play I think they make the best and cutest felt finger puppets
  12. Bracelet and necklace set (on an elastic) – purchased during a closeout sale of a local toy store but have seen them in many toys shops near the cash
  13. Zipper charms – From Gap kids (saw them at the cash)
  14. Bubble Guppies Puzzle – From dollar store but any you think your child will like, which has pieces small enough to fit into eggs will be perfect
  15. Play-Doh – dollar store
  16. Little felt doll – handmade by moi
  17. EOS lip balm – From any drug store. My daughter *loves* lip balms but the shape of these ones are, I find, the best for her little hands. She can open and close it herself easily
  18. Kiss Naturals lip balm making kit – I’ve been waiting until my daughter was old enough to give her this set. I know she will love making these and gifting her friends with her creations
  19. Charlie and Lola peg people – My daughter *loves* Chartlie and Lola but finding merchandise on this side of the ocean is futile. I turned to Etsy and found Tiny Clementine who makes these adorable miniatures
  20. Schleich figurines – I’m a huge believer in teaching my girls what animals really look like, instead of the cute cartoon-look other figurines take on. These are a bit of an investment, yes, but I have also found tons of used ones online (Kijiji for us in Canada or eBay). I trust Schleich because they have been around for decades and I’m not worried when my little one puts the figurines in her mouth either.
  21. Djeco wooden patisserie set – purchased during a closeout sale of a local toy store but saw them on Amazon too
  22. Wind-up hopping bunny – Have seen them in many toy stores near the cash area
  23. Wooden beads – from Michael’s – Came in a bucket!
  24. Felt sea creatures for magnet fishing game – handmade by moi
  25. Mini Slinky – From the dollar store
  26. Wind-up flipping lady bug – Have seen them in many toy stores near the cash area
  27. Glow in the dark stars – My eldest already has a “gallaxy” spiralling above her bed. These ones will be for my youngest. Got them at Michael’s. What I love is that during the day they recharge with daylight and as the night progresses, they glow less and less so it’s not a distraction for Zzzzzs

So there you have it. What are some chocolate and candy-less options you are including in your kids’ Easter eggs?

Easter egg stuffer ideas

 

* This post contains some affiliate links to Amazon and Well.ca.