Fun DIY Gift Sets for Kids

I love putting in the time and effort to find the perfect gift for the people I love. My gift guide has a few items on it for kids (you'll find a little something for everyone on it, so check it out if you need help with your holiday shopping) but I wanted to put together some suggestions for cool, DIY gift sets the little ones in your life are sure to love. Most kids love receiving toys vs educational tools but if you can sneakily combine the two, both the recipients and their parents will be thrilled.

For the Budding Engineer

Encourage their interest in STEM with Learning Resources Playground Engineering & Design.

Finish your gift for the young engineer in your life with a Top Secret notebook where they can keep track of their projects.

For the Aspiring Artist

Craft supplies are always a huge hit in our house (except glitter, don't even get me started on the glitter).

The GoldieBlox Craft-Struction Box encourages tinkering with STEM-based crafts. It's definitely not for the younger crowd but if you've got an elementary school-aged kiddo on your list, this set is golden.

Or build your own kit with fun, colourful craft items like Smart Paper Edger Scissors in different cutting patterns, 

and 500 sheets of colourful construction paper to cut with those fun scissors (why do kids love cutting stuff so much? I don't get it),

and the only acceptable kind of glitter: glitter glue (allll the glitter glue. Seriously, I kind of want this set for myself).

Find a container that has multiple small compartments and fill them with bits and bobs: buttons, sequins, pompoms, googly eyes, whatever you can find that someone could potentially glue onto paper. 

For Your Tiny Scientist

Grady loves "doing science" and I am not science-y. At all. I have as much fun with his science stuff as he does is what I'm saying. It's pure magic for both of us.

Get in the mood to experiment with a great book. Ada Twist, Scientist is written by the same author as Rosie Revere, Engineer and is a great story to encourage curiosity. Pair it with Ada's Twist's Big Project Book for Stellar Scientists for maximum fun.

It's never too early to start promoting safety. Every scientist needs to protect their eyes with safety googles. These kid-sized safety goggles look like the type grownup scientists wear. 

Liquid droppers in kid-friendly sizes are an essential part of science experiments. Set a kid up with the droppers, some plastic beakers, and water coloured with simple food colouring

Jumbo tweezers are excellent for examining items under a giant magnifying glass, or go high-tech with the Zoomy Handheld Digital Microscope.

For Wee Beauticians

My girl Tairalyn put together a DIY Hair Salon for her daughter's birthday because she's a creative genius. 

{image source: littlemissmama.com}

{image source: littlemissmama.com}

Throw a spray bottle, detangling brush, wide-tooth comb, handheld mirror, and assorted hair flair in a bucket and you're good to go. Just leave the round brushes to the professionals or someone might lose their bangs (shout out to nine-year-old Hillary who had to cut one out of her hair and walked around with a half-inch long fuzz fringe for months). 

{image source: miasmoccs.com

{image source: miasmoccs.com

For Little Handymen and Handywomen

Safety first! Safety goggles, a kid-sized hard hat, and high visibility gear (that doubles as a warm fleece or raincoat) send the message to your little worker that safety is paramount. 

{image source: lilworkersafety.ca

{image source: lilworkersafety.ca

{image source: lilworkersafety.ca}

{image source: lilworkersafety.ca}

A few fun items that encourage learning like a toy tape measure, mini traffic cones, and toolbench will set your little one up for hours of imaginative play.

For the Future Doctor

Who's got a little one fascinated with how bodies work? Learning Resources has a great Pretend and Play Doctor Set that is actually beneficial for parents too if you want to explain doctor's procedures before you take your little one to an appointment.  

Or build your own Boo Boo Clinic like Jen at Mama Papa Bubba did for her daughter.

The First Human Body Encyclopedia makes anatomy accessible for the elementary school crowd. Pair it with the Human Body Model for a visual learning aid.

And if you've recently found yourself in the "where do babies come from?" conversation, What Makes a Baby is a great book for explaining the birds and the bees to little people. Bonus points for being inclusive and mindful that there are different ways to make a baby.

For Mini Animal Lovers

My friend Andrea had a pet adoption-themed birthday party for her daughter and I love the idea of putting together a similar gift. 

This Pretend & Play Animal Hospital is great for little ones to familiarize themselves with the workings of a veterinarian's office. 

When they're ready to actually be the animal doctor, this costume and a stuffed animal to love are the perfect gift for future vets. 

Do you have a go-to DIY gift for kids? Share it in the comments! 

Disclosure: Some links are affiliate links, which means I make a small percentage of the sale if you buy through my link. Affiliate links are a bonus for me but don't influence my opinions. I've not been compensated or paid to include any items in this gift guide. 

Tiny Happy Tuesday: 19

It's Tiny Happy Tuesday on a Wednesday! Don't @ me. 

What is Tiny Happy Tuesday?

Tiny Happy Tuesday is a prompt to stop, drop, and think of all the good stuff (no matter how minuscule) that adds up to one wonderful life. 

  • I've made quite a few bloggy friends over the last decade (I KNOW) of blogging. Some of my closest friends are people I've never met in person before, or people I met online first and went on to meet in real life later. Over the last week, I've witnessed the beauty of online friendships, and what can happen when a group of women band together to support one of their own. Feelings fell out my eye holes a lot this week is what I'm saying. 
  • I've had the opportunity to celebrate my friends a lot lately. New families, new jobs, baby stuff, travel stuff, big dreams, big goals - my friends are killing it and I'm so happy to be cheering them on from the sidelines. 
  • Since Poppy was a tiny, furious newborn, we've had a special song for her to soothe the rage. It's called "Poppy Doodle" and is sung to the tune of "Oh My Darling Clementine" ("Poppy Doodle, Poppy Doodle, Poppy Doodle, Doodle Bug, Poppy Doodle, Poppy Doodle, Poppy Doodle, Doodle Bug." Look, we're not trying to win a Grammy Award over here, we're trying to single something soothing and repetitive to make the tiny one stop yelling at us.) Anyway. Lately Poppy has started singing "Poppy Doodle" except it comes out sound like "Hot Potato" or sometimes "Hoppy Doo Doo" and you guys, it's disgustingly twee. You've never seen anything cuter. Trust me.

Want to join me? I'd love for you to grab my graphic and join the Facebook group, and share in the fun (don't forget to use the hashtag: #TinyHappyTuesday so I can follow along!).

Reclaiming Date Night with HelloFresh

I've told you how convenient I find HelloFresh, and how it's made weeknight dinners less stressful and angsty. It's great for busy people, it makes mealtimes less complicated, HelloFresh is a kitchen hero. But it's a bit of a date night hero too. 

Shawn and I don't get out much. We're in that season of life where tiny humans demand a lot of time and focus, and we've got our own things going on at the same time. When we do manage to get out of the house together, without kids, we're usually seeing friends (to, you know, try to hold on to the last shred of our social life). 

HelloFresh is great for creating an at-home date night, no babysitter required.

I suspect it's because all the prep work is done for us, but for some reason, HelloFresh meals feel more luxurious than what we normally cook (even though the ingredients and techniques aren't exotic or even particularly fancy). Last week we plonked the kids in front of a movie and together we prepared Ginger Beef Noodles with Carrots and Bok Choy.

IMG_8429.JPG

The recipes are simple to follow, and because the ingredients in HelloFresh boxes are all pre-measured, it's easy to relax and cook casually, instead of being anxious about your partner's (lack of) chopping speed or trying to find the mothercussin' measuring cup (spoiler alert: it's sitting in the sink, dirty. Always. I'm convinced it is never clean.)

Our meal tasted like restaurant-quality, albeit more nutritious because we were able to control the salt content, and was more convenient than takeout because no one had to put on pants to answer the door. We didn't have to worry about finding childcare, we didn't bicker over who was going to be the designated driver, and we got to tuck the kids in and kiss them goodnight before continuing our date with cocktails and Netflix. Date night in flannel pyjamas. I highly recommend it. 

Yes, I miss the fun of dressing up and wearing shoes that are too high and lipstick that is too red. I miss grabbing a drink in the lounge and perusing a menu and eating food that isn't prepared by me. I'm not saying HelloFresh replaces the fun of a good night out. I'm saying it's a great alternative when real life is a bit limiting. I don't have the ability to go on fabulous dates with my husband every weekend but I do crave the connection that comes from intentionally focusing some time and energy on the person I love. HelloFresh gives me the opportunity to nurture that connection without feeling like I'm adding one more thing on top of everything else I'm trying to do. 

{Disclosure: I received product in exchange for this review; all opinions stated are my own.}

Meal Plan 11/13/2017 - 11/17/2017

The food battle (that I refuse to fight) continues. Grady's refusal to try new foods is slowly sucking all the fun out of cooking. I'm dreading mealtimes. This meal plan is forced and miserable is what I'm saying.

mealplan.jpg

Monday: Breakfast for dinner (aka: I give up). Buttermilk pancakes, bacon, cheesy scrambled eggs, fresh fruit. 

Tuesday: Chicken enchiladas. 

Wednesday: HelloFresh

Thursday: HelloFresh

Friday: HelloFresh

What are you eating this week?