Candy Cane Hunt

Candy Cane Hunt Image.png

The weather was so pretty yesterday! The mild temperatures and bright blue skies were calling us outside. How could we resist! Normally the children have the best time dreaming up all kinds of pretend play while I rake endless piles of leaves but I wanted to do a little something extra for fun. We picked up a box of candy canes on our grocery run Sunday night and I pulled them out to play a fun game we’ve played for a couple years now- Candy Cane Hunt!

IMG_7386.jpg

It’s sort of a twist on the Easter egg hunt tradition. Instead of hiding eggs I hide candy canes throughout the yard, hanging on low tree branches, or toys. The girls had a blast finding as many as they could! My little man was content to break open and eat the first one he saw. :)

IMG_7393.jpg

This is such a cozy time of year. The house is so warm and inviting to stay snuggled up but we’ve wanted to get out more. Soak up the Winter sunshine and expend all the energy we can. If you’re looking for a fun way to get out and play this would be such a fun idea! Normally I’ll go out and hide the candy canes while they nap and then it’s a super fun surprise when they wake up!

How are you getting out to play lately? Or what are your favorite holiday games? I always love hearing your ideas too!

new ll logo.jpg

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway

giveaway promo.png

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! If you know me you know I l-o-v-e Christmas time! You know what else I love? Sending out happy mail! I have so enjoyed your friendships and support in this little space and I’m thrilled to share I’ve partnered up with some of my most favorite small businesses to bring you 12 Days of giveaways.

Starting on Monday, for the next 12 week days I’ll share a different giveaway each day. I’m so excited to introduce you to some of my favorite tools, resources, and treasures! Best of all I’ll get to send them to 12 winners to get to enjoy them in person! Be on the look out for daily postings! There’s no limit so feel free to enter them all. All giveaways end on Wednedsay, December 12 and packages will ship out the following day! Hopefully they’ll arrive in time for Christmas! How super fun is that!?

Here are some of the great treasures you’ll find in the giveaways:

_2007369 2.jpg

Color + Kindness: A-Z Bible Truth Cards

four books on white background.jpg

Tales of Buttercup Grove: a full set of books

image1.jpeg

Crafty Lia: a handmade crayon roll

CharacterofGod_large.jpg
KidsCardsBundle3_large.jpg

Daily Grace Co: Children’s Study + a FULL set of their scripture cards & conversation cards.

….plus 8 others coming your way soon!

Be sure to follow me @little.learner on Instagram to participate and win!

JOY Filled Family Christmas

JOY filled Christmas card cover.png

Thanksgiving is a little over a WEEK away and Christmas is just around the corner! Who’s excited!? I know we are!

I’ve been sharing on my Instagram about our JOY-Filled Family Christmas and wanted to elaborate on it a little more here! While I am a giant fan of all things crafty and creative I recognize that the holidays are so full that there are days I barely catch my breath much less pull out our “make things” box. :) Instead of adding pressure to do, go, make, or feel stressed I wanted to encourage you this holiday season! The JOY-Filled Family Christmas set is a tool to use as you spend time just being together as a family. And what better way than by pointing your family back to the very reason for the season!

IMG_6221.JPG

The cards encourage families to begin by singing! Music, however “joyful” the noise :) may be is a perfect way to begin the time together. Each card has a suggested Christmas carol to sing. As we get a little closer to December I’ll be sharing my Christmas carol playlist- some of my favorite renditions of the songs both old and new! :)

In my little family this year we’ll continue to read the Jesus Storybook Bible. This is how we begin most days but in December we’ll have a special focus on the story of Jesus’ birth. I’ve had such a longing in my heart to invite my children in to the inspired scripture of the Holy Bible. I want them to hear God’s word directly from Him and so I was inspired to create a reading plan for the holidays. I included the background to the Christmas story and broke it down in to manageable sections to read with little ones.

To follow up with the reading the cards have one question. This can be a launching pad for further discussion or there’s full freedom to let the questions rest rhetorically in the minds of your family members.

As you finish the time together you’ll find a simple prayer of praise on the last section of the card.

IMG_6263.JPG
IMG_6264.JPG

The thoughts and ideas of little ones are incredible! Setting aside time each day throughout the holiday hustle and bustle is a worthwhile investment in the hearts of your littles. Consider joining us for the JOY-Filled Family Christmas! There is absolutely no prep and only takes a few minutes each day, but it’s a beautiful way to slow down and point your family to the true hope and joy that Christmas brings! God promises in scripture that His word is powerful and effective (Isaiah 55:11.)  What a joy to see the power of scripture in our hearts and homes! May this Christmas be the sweetest one of all! 

JOY FILLED CHRISTMAS POST.jpg

Great Gifts for Christmas - Two Year Olds

Great Gifts for Two Year Olds.jpg

Last week I started a series of post on gifts for our little loves. It's the most wonderful time of year again and to help make this holiday season just a little easier for you I've collected ideas on great gifts for babies up through preschool age. So many of the gifts I shared last week would suit well for a younger two year old as well. In this post I'm sharing just 6 ideas for toys that help develop creativity, spark imagination, and are just plain fun for the terrific two year old in your life! 

 

doctor kit.jpg

First up is the Fisher Price Medical Kit. Pretend and Role play begins around 2 years old. This adorable set is perfect to take real life experience and pair it with fun. Everyone visits the doctor for their well check ups. Sometimes those visits come with a negative stigma. Why not help encourage the heart of your little with a medical bag of fun? Our Sadie had a number of doctor/specialist visits early in her life and continues to today. One way we helped alleviate her fears was to play check up at home. From checking her sister's temperature to listening to little brother's heartbeat the doctor kit was a big hit. (We even brought it with us on a check up once to help ease her nervousness!) In addition it, "helps little ones develop healthy habits and sharing skills while giving imagination a big boost." Whether your little loves the doctors office or not this 7 piece set is sure to be a whole lot of fun! Cost: a little over $12

Fisher Price Medical Kit

fingerpaint.jpg

This one needs little explanation. What two year old doesn't love a little messy fun!? Paint that you can do with your hands- why not? This kit comes with three tubes of washable color (red, yellow, and blue) and 10 sheets of large sized paper specifically designed to work with finger paint. Read: paint doesn't seep through! :) Washability is always a big factor when I choose paint for the children to play with here as I imagine it is for you. I'm happy to report we have never had a problem washing out any of Crayola's washable paints. It's easily removed from fingers, nail beds, clothes, workspaces, etc. Cost: $9

In addition to this set, I highly recommend IKEA's roll of white paper if you happen to live near one you can hop over to. 

Crayola My First Finger Paints

mega bloks.jpg

Mega Bloks are probably one of the very best ways to support developing creativity and make for perfect open ended play. Dream up, build, or take apart any creation you can think of! Little developing fingers and hands get great practice with hand-eye coordination using Mega Bloks. This is another toy to grow with your child. He/she will enjoy it for years to come as their maturity and creativity grows. For less than $15 you get 80 large sized, easily to build with blocks. The packaging is durable for reusability too! Hello after Christmas organization! Mega bloks are all interchangeable within the brand so should you decide to get more they will all work together! Cost: $14.92

Classic Mega Bloks

board book.jpg

Board books are really perfect for any age but I especially love them for two year olds because they can survive the crib. :) Around 2 we start leaving a board book or two in bed with our children to look through and enjoy should they wake early or as they are preparing to nap. Board books stand up to the test of little fingers tearing, toss, or banging on them. They also play a role in developing that love for reading and learning we all desire for in our children.  [I have, however, lost a few to the washing machine R.I.P. so you definitely want to grab them out of the crib sheet before tossing it into the machine and save yourself the disappointment.] Cost: $7-$15

Little Blue Truck Board Book

tea set.jpg

This one I have to say has been a HUGE hit in our house! Even for Rutledge (1) and Macie Jane (4) but especially  Sadie (2). There are plenty of times where she pretends the pot is for coffee and she enjoys her morning "coffee" (AKA an empty cup) with me. The cake comes in 4 pieces for practicing stacking. The teapot has three different levels of play and sings 7 different songs. But most importantly for Mom and Dad- it has an off switch and volume control. One of the kids' favorite feature is it's real pouring sounds when they tilt the teapot! A great gift for the tea party animal in your life. Cost: $20

Fisher Price Laugh and Learn

Smart Stages Tea Set

cleaning set.jpg

I saved my very most favorite for last! You really can't go wrong with anything from Melissa & Doug, but this one takes the cake in our family this year! It's 6 pieces of pretend play- from sweeping to dusting or moping your little is sure to have fun while "helping" around the house. Again, role/pretend play begins at this stage of development and how many times do we hear our little loves ask, "I help?" Wouldn't it be great to say "Yes!" I also love how this toy is made of durable wood and comes with it's own storage rack for easy access and clean up. :) The price really isn't too bad either considering the type of sturdy construction this toy is made with. Cost: $25

Melissa & Doug Let's Play House

There you have it! My favorite toys for two year olds! What does your two year old love? Anything I missed? Sharing is caring- let me know your thoughts! :) 

Great Gifts for Two Year Olds.jpg

Great Gifts for Christmas - One Year Olds

Great Gifts for One Year Olds.jpg

It's the most wonderful time of the year! It's hard to believe Christmas is right around the corner already. I honestly feel like I blink in October and, POOF! it's January. This year I'm determined not to get behind so I'm starting early and in case you are too, I'm sharing a few gift ideas over the next week or so to help shop for those little loves in your life- whether it's your child, niece, nephew, neighbor, or best friend's family these toy are sure to be a hit! I'm starting with the youngest first. These are 1 year old approved, tried, and tested true. I included (non-affiliate) links for your convenience. :) 

foam letters.jpg

Bath toys have always been a hit in our house. Our little ones take A LOT of baths. (Anyone else's children love to run sticky fingers through their hair?!) These foam letters/numbers were all three of our crew's favorite. They stick to the tub/shower walls when wet AND they stick to little tummy too- lots of laughs there! :) They wipe off and are easy to keep clean. Additionally they come a a great price! 36 pieces for less than $6. These would also make a great stocking stuffer. 

Munchkin Letters and Numbers Bath Toys

bouncing dino.jpg

This one my aunt and uncle actually have and my cute crew go crazy over it! This adorable and hilarious dino bounces balls from it's wiggly belly and back. All three laugh so much trying to catch the bouncing balls and put them back in the dino before they bounce right out again. This toy is so great for one year olds as they continue to develop grasping skills, hand-eye coordination, and problem solving. It's durable and battery operated. 

Double Poppin' Dino

plush baby.jpg

Baby's first Dolly! Plush baby dolls are great gifts for one year olds! They help encourage that nurturing spirit with in your little one and a great for mimicking or role playing if your family happens to be expanding in the future. Added bonus, plush dolls are machine washable! So when your little love is so attached to her baby that she can't imagine going to lunch without it and subsequently gets covered in Chick Fil A sauce, you can easily toss the dolly into the washing machine and she comes out good as gold! #momwin

Snuggle Up Doll

press and go worm.jpg

This one is a gender neutral hit! Boy or girl the little love in your life will have a ball pressing and chasing this colorful bug! What a fun way to learn cause and effect too! Your little love learns when you press him he goes and goes and goes! If you have a newer one year old in your life the press and go worm encourages crawling and walking as your little tries to catch/find the worm! It works by spring action so no batteries are needed. [Macie Jane got this as a one year old and now Rutledge enjoys it 4 years later!]

Press N Go Inchworm

push car.jpg

What is it about cars that kids just love them so much?! Both girls liked cars but my Rutledge especially loves them! Maybe there's something in the DNA of a boy that a love of cars is ingrained? Either way, little ones are sure to love this classic toy! There are over 400 reviews of this toy on Amazon and the biggest stand out was durability. Someone even used the word "indestructible." If you have a busy boy you know what value an indestructible toy has. It's great for little hands to grasp and roll along the floor or an outdoor area. 

Kid O Go Car Early Learning Push and Pull Toy

shape sorter.jpg

This one, unquestionably, is my most favorite- probably mostly because of nostalgia. How many of us had a shape sorter toy as a child. You don't need a whole lot of explanation on how educational this toy is and how much your little will enjoy it. This is another toy that makes for great practice problem solving. Additionally, this toy will grow with your child providing opportunity for conversations on color and shape recognition. Also, this toy is it's own container! Play with and store the components all in one place! Added Bonus: This toy is great on the Christmas budget at less than $8! 

Brilliant Basics Baby's First Blocks

What are your favorite toys for one year olds? Anything on your list that I missed?! We're always on the hunt for great gifts too! Check back in a few days for a new post on Great Gifts for Christmas- Two Year Olds!  Merry Merry! 

Great Gifts for One Year Olds.jpg