Blog post category: Seasonal

19 Easy DIY Valentine’s Cards for Kids

Hey, we’ve all been there — buying cheap store-bought Valentines at the drugstore the night before the big exchange at school. 😮  Do what you gotta do, mama!  However, just in case you’re feeling aspirational this year 😉, we’ve scoured the web and rounded up our favorite DIY Valentine’s card ideas for kids — with an emphasis on the easy and/or candy-free (however, we did make exceptions for a few candy ideas that were simply too cute to resist!).   Most of these would work great for not only for classmates and teachers, but also family members (e.g. Dad or Grandma)!

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Making the Most of Winter Break with the Kids

Doing a stay-cation this winter break?  The thought of a week or two at home with the kids need not instill fear in your heart.  With a little bit of planning, you can take advantage of the great opportunity the break affords to spend some great quality time together as a family!  Here are some ideas for making the most of your time together — keep it handy and pull it out over the break whenever you need some inspiration!

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16 Easy DIY Kids’ Halloween Costumes

16 Easy DIY Baby Toddler Kid Halloween Costumes | Great ideas for maximum cuteness in a cinch! | TotScoop

The arrival of fall brings lots of great things: new seasonal decor, cozy layers, hot cider Netflix nights, and, of course, Halloween! Not much is more delightful than seeing your little one all dressed up in spooky cuteness, but figuring out the perfect costume and just how to make it can be quite a challenge for a busy parent. That’s why we put together this list of easy, DIY Halloween costumes for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers that maximize cuteness and can be made in a cinch.

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Last Call For Stocking Stuffers Via Amazon Prime!

For the procrastinators out there — time to get clicking!  It’s the last day to order stocking stuffers (or anything else) for free via Amazon Prime!  (Because those USPS and UPS employees really need more packages to deliver this week, right?)

For our full list of stocking stuffer ideas, see here.

And here’s a visual showcase of our favorites from our list for babies & toddlers/preschoolders — all screened for availability for 2-day delivery via Amazon Prime (as of this morning)!

CONTENTS:

Babies

HABA triangles
B. One Two Squeeze Blocks Boon Water Bugs Floating Bath Toys with Net Folkmanis Mini Monkey Finger Puppet Hape - Little Dump Truck Hohner 4 Piece Baby Band Lifefactory Multi Sensory Silicone Teether

Manhattan Toy Skwish
B. Fun Keys
Oball

Open the Barn Door

Plan Toy Stacking Ring

Raffi The Singable Songs Collection

Sassy Ring O' Links

Skip Hop Treetop Friends Stroller Toy

Wooden Egg Shaker

Zutano Unisex-Baby Newborn Cozie Fleece Bootie

Toddlers and Preschoolers

Animal Face Masks Babiators sunglasses Bubbles

Crayola 48 Count Sidewalk Chalk Crayola Bathtub Crayons

Djeco : Wooden Magnet Play Set, Alphabet Letters

Faber-Castell - Beeswax Crayons in Storage Case

Hero Arts Ink and Stamp Set, Sea Life

Hohner Kids Toddler Music Band

Hot Wheels 9-Car Gift Pack

Kid O Go Car Klean Kanteen Kid's Stainless Steel Bottle with 3.0 Sport Cap

Melissa & Doug 20 Animal Magnets in a Box Melissa & Doug Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles in a Box

My First Early-Learning Sticker Books Play-Doh Party Bag Dough Slinky Original Plastic Slinky Jr. Red & Green Holiday Gift Set Bundle Assortment

Sugarbooger Silverware Set

Tegu Pocket Pouch

Wikki Stix Rainbow Pak

Wonder Stars Super Kit

Gift Guide for Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers

Gift Guide for Babies, Toddlers, & Preschoolers

Note: Check out the latest (2016) version of this gift guide here!

Looking for the perfect holiday or birthday gift for your little one, a grandchild, or a family friend?  Here are our curated lists of age-appropriate gifts that are proven hits.

If you’re planning on buying a toy, see also our Buying Guide: Baby Toys & Books for info on buying safe/non-toxic toys.

0-6 months

6-12 months

1 year olds

2 year olds

3-4 year olds

All ages

  • Clothing: For a classic holiday gift, how about some snuggly jammies?  Our top picks are the organic sleepers and two-pieces from Hanna Andersson — they’re  fantastic quality and last forever!  The rest of the year, nice pieces from top brands like Baby Gap, Mini Boden, Tea Collection, etc. are always Mom favorites.
  • Looking for something handmade? Check out our top picks for baby goodies on Etsy
  • Experiential gifts: Trip to a local farm or zoo; hike at a local trail or park; a train or bus adventure; or an afternoon of art, cooking, or some other creative activity with gift giver (see also our Pinterest board for great baby & kid activity ideas)
  • Free and fun: Don’t forget the big cardboard boxes and discarded wrapping paper that all those presents come in!

Any other favorite gift ideas for little ones? Let us know in the comments!

Note: All featured products and brands are editorially selected by our editors; we do not accept compensation in exchange for coverage.  This post does contain affiliate links, meaning we may receive a small proportion of any purchases you make after clicking on them (at no cost to you); thanks for your support!  See our full Editorial Policy & Affiliate Disclosure here.

Best Advent Calendars 2015

Can you believe it’s that time of year again??  Here are our picks for the best kid-friendly advent calendars of 2015.

bellazahn modern quilted advent calendars

bellazahn santa over town

These gorgeous modern advent calendars from bellazahn on Etsy are nothing short of quilted masterpieces.  A variety of scenes are available (our favorites include a classic Christmas tree, Santa flying over a village, and Christmas stockings), and all feature pockets for treats.  They’re on the pricey side ($50-60), but you’ll be able to enjoy them for years.  Note that these ship from New Zealand.

GoldTinselShop muslin bags

GoldTinselShop muslin bags

These festive muslin bags ($45) from GoldTinselShop on Etsy are decorated with colorful holiday-themed prints and are perfect for holding little treats.  Order by 11/23 for 12/1 delivery.

vintagemodernmix advent boxes

vintagemodernmix advent boxes

These versatile little (2″x2″) advent boxes ($29) are decorated with vintage-inspired prints and can be stacked into a pyramid, lined up on your mantel, or adhered to a backing for a more traditional-style advent calendar.  Cuteness!

TheButtercupHouse magnetic tins

TheButtercupHouse tins

These little (2.5in. diameter) advent tins ($45) from TheButtercupHouse on Etsy feature cute modern Christmas images and are perfectly sized for tiny treats.  They’re also magnetic, so will provide hours of fun refrigerator play as well.

LEGO advent calendars

LEGO Star Wars advent calendar 2015

If you’ve got a little LEGO fan in your life — accept no substitute for one of the 2015 LEGO advent calendars.  There are three flavors this year: City (item #60099, $30), Friends ($30), and Star Wars (item #75097; $40).  All three have already sold out at LEGO.com ($29-39), but you can still get them (albeit usually at a premium) on Amazon (City is selling for $46 at time of writing; Star Wars is going for $61; and Friends is blissfully still available at retail price).

Pottery Barn Kids Telluride Advent Calendar

PBK Telluride Advent Calendar

PBK is also offering a nice version of the classic Christmas tree advent calendar ($69, sale $55) this year.

Eric Carle’s Dream Snow Pop-Up Advent Calendar

Eric Carle's Dream Snow Pop-Up Advent Calendar

If you don’t relish the concept of having to fill up 25 tiny treat pockets, perhaps the Eric Carle advent calendar ($10 at Amazon) is more your speed.  This marvel of paper engineering features a central tree and Santa figure (from Eric Carle’s book Dream Snow) and flaps that lift up to reveal a new decoration to add to the scene each day.

Starbucks Advent Calendar 2015

Starbucks advent calendar 2015

We also can’t help but mention the Starbucks Advent Calendar ($45, sale price $31).  This year’s incarnation features reusable tin globe-shaped ornaments that come pre-filled with chocolate and peppermint bark.  This mom couldn’t resist buying it this morning on a coffee run, and it’s actually pretty nice.  I’m thinking of turning our full-size tree into a life size advent calendar tree using these ornaments this year.   The package also includes a $5 Starbucks gift card.  The Starbucks calendar is available online as well as at local stores.


Find another advent calendar that you absolutely love?  Please share in the comments!

Happy countdown to the holidays, everyone!

Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Babies and Toddlers

Stocking stuffer ideas for babies & toddlers | TotScoop

Here are some great stocking stuffer ideas for babies and toddlers (NO CANDY OR DISPOSABLE JUNK!).  All links updated 12/2015!

Also don’t miss our main gift ideas for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers!!

Baby stocking stuffers

  1. Personalized Xmas ornament (there are some cute ones on Etsy)
  2. Personalized book with name and/or photos of family members (see AmazonPint Size Productions, and Pinhole Press, and ISeeMe for some good options )
  3. Small age-appropriate toys: High-contrast toys, rattle/grasping toy (e.g. linksOball, HABA, Plan Toys), soft hanging toy (e.g. Lamaze or Skip Hop), activity toy (e.g. Skwish or Winkel), large blocks (e.g. Infantino or B Toys), stacking/nesting toys (e.g. nesting cups or stacking rings), first vehicle (e.g. wooden car), electronic toys (e.g. fake keys), stroller/car seat toys, etc.
  4. Teething ring/toy (e.g. Sophie)
  5. Small plush toys or hand/finger puppets (Folkmanis is a wonderful high-quality puppet brand)
  6. Bath toys (e.g. Boon has lots of cute, small, non-toxic ones)
  7. Musical toys (e.g. Take Along Tunes)
  8. Musical instruments: shaker eggs or maracas, tambourine, small drum, etc. (for a full set, see nice starter set here)
  9. Bubbles
  10. Baby music CD (Baby Einstein, Raffi, etc.)
  11. Small soft or board book (Open the Barn Door is a perfect stocking-size board book; see also our top general book picks for 0-6 mo. and 6-12 mo.)
  12. Lovey/blankie
  13. Hat, mittens, socks or booties
  14. BabyLegs
  15. Snacks, e.g. puffs or yogurt melts

Toddler stocking stuffers

  1. Personalized Xmas ornament (here are some on Etsy)
  2. Personalized book with name and/or photos of family members (see AmazonPint Size Productions, and Pinhole Press, and ISeeMe for some good options )
  3. Small toys: Toy car (e.g. Kid O, Hot Wheels), or train set component (e.g. Thomas, Brio), mini block & building sets (e.g. Tegu, LEGO Duplo, Playmobil 1.2.3), action figures/figurines (e.g. Little People, Anamalz, first dolls)
  4. Small plush toys or hand/finger puppets (Folkmanis is a wonderful high-quality puppet brand)
  5. Mini jigsaw puzzles (12-48 pieces)
  6. Magnets (letters/numbers, farm/animals, vehicles/construction, etc.)
  7. Art supplies (e.g. crayons, large colored pencilsfingerpaints)
  8. Play-doh or modeling clay
  9. Wikki sticks
  10. Stamp set
  11. Sidewalk chalk
  12. Travel art board (e.g. AquaDoodle, Travel Doodler, Water WOW, etc.)
  13. Bath toy (e.g. foam letters/numbers) or bath crayons
  14. Sticker/coloring activity book (the Dover and My Little World series are perfect for stocking stuffers)
  15. Stickers
  16. Bubbles
  17. Slinky
  18. Glow-in-the-dark stars
  19. Dress-up item (e.g. hat/crown/tiara, wand/sword, animal face masks, etc.)
  20. Board book (see our top general book picks for 1-year-olds and 2-year-olds)
  21. Novelty band-aids
  22. Sunglasses
  23. Hair ties or barrettes
  24. Kids’ music CD (e.g. Raffi)
  25. Kids’ movie DVD
  26. Musical instruments: rhythm sticks, small drum, etc. (nice toddler set here)
  27. Fun t-shirt
  28. Winter hat/gloves/ear muffs
  29. Fun socks
  30. Slippers
  31. Snacks (e.g. yogurt melts, Annie’s fruit snacks, fruit pouch, crackers, etc.)
  32. Flavored milk or juice box
  33. Sippy cup or water bottle
  34. Travel silverware set

What did we miss?  Let us know in the comments!

Note: All featured products and brands are editorially selected by our editors; we do not accept compensation in exchange for coverage.  This post does contain affiliate links, meaning we may receive a small proportion of any purchases you make after clicking on them (at no cost to you); thanks for your support!  See our full Editorial Policy & Affiliate Disclosure here.