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Over 15 adorable and simple Easter crafts for toddlers! These are so perfect for little hands to make. If you’re looking for crafts for toddlers to do leading up to Easter, look no further!

Easter is such a special holiday, but I feel like it’s often overlooked.

Yes, we hide Easter eggs and fill Easter baskets, but besides that, how many of us do Easter activities with our toddlers in the weeks leading up to Easter?

My kids always love doing crafts with me, and now that my youngest is two, we’ve been trying to find activities and crafts that he can participate in. I thought it would be fun to roundup a bunch of Easter crafts for toddlers for any other mamas looking for crafts easy enough for their toddlers to make, too!

And as is normal in a roundup, please click through before pinning the picture, because these are not my pictures and the ladies who came up with these ideas worked hard on them!

Paper Plate Easter Bunny via The Best Ideas for Kids

Easter Dot Activity Printables via The Resourceful Mama

Pom Pom Chicks via Crafty Morning

Fork-Painted Chicks via Crafty Morning

Wet Chalk Tape Resist Easter Egg via Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas

Footprint Carrots via One Krieger Chick

3D Puffy Paint Easter Eggs via A Little Pinch of Perfect

Cotton Ball Bunny Picture via Easy Peasy and Fun

Egg Splatter Painting via Hands on as We Grow

Bubble Wrap Easter Eggs via The Chaos and The Clutter

Loofa Painting Chick via Meaningful Mama

Easter Bunny Ears via All Kids Network

Paper Easter Egg Decorating via Alice and Amelia

Potato-Stamped Easter Eggs via The Best Ideas for Kids

Bunny Handprints via Crafty Morning

Watercolor Dipped Eggs via Hello, Wonderful

Easter Egg Suncatchers via The Artful Parent

I’ve already done one of these with my kids last week when my oldest had spring break, and I’m sure we’ll do several more in the weeks leading up to Easter! I hope this list of amazing ideas helps inspire you to be creative and have fun with your toddler! Happy Easter, mamas!

The post Easter Crafts for Toddlers appeared first on Life With My Littles.

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Looking for non-candy ideas to fill your toddler’s Easter eggs? Here’s a helpful list of more than 15 non-candy Easter egg fillers for toddlers!

This post contains affiliate links.

One thing that always makes me feel like such a mom is filling Easter eggs.

I love sitting on my bed after my kids go to sleep with a few dozen plastic eggs, filling them with treats and goodies, while sneaking a few jelly beans for myself (I mean really, how can you not?).

One thing we quickly discovered with our first child was that you can’t fill every single Easter egg with candy. Jelly beans make toddlers CRAZY. Yes, they are delicious (I mean we already established that I sneak them myself), but they are pure sugar!

So over the last few years, we’ve tried to fill our Easter eggs with non-candy Easter egg fillers, especially when our kids are little. It takes a little more creativity, but Easter morning can still be a lot of fun with less sugar!

This year, Little R is two, and I know he’s going to have so much fun hunting for eggs. I thought it would be fun to put together a list of some non-candy Easter egg fillers for toddlers, since that’s what’s been on my mind recently (and I’m sure on the mind of lots of other parents)!

Also, if you have older kids and younger kids and want to make sure they get certain eggs, try filling different colored eggs for each child! A genius idea from Sew Many Ways

Alright, here are 18 non-candy Easter egg fillers for toddlers:

1. Socks

Yes! Socks! You can put a pair in an egg, or even put each sock in different eggs!

2. Fruit snacks

Open a pack of fruit snacks and split them between a few eggs!

3. Stickers

Sparkly stickers, foil stickers, a roll of stickers, or even one sticker per egg. What toddler doesn’t love stickers?!

4. Finger puppets

My kids have all loved the little finger puppets we got when my oldest was born! They’re so fun, and I love seeing them on tiny toddler fingers, too!

5. Small animal or dinosaur figurines

We have a few of these and my kids love getting them out to play. They’re also great to use in sensory bins or for water play (here’s an easy idea from Busy Toddler).

6. Goldfish crackers

I actually saw some fun spring Goldfish crackers out right now, and I am definitely going to put some of these in my toddler’s eggs! You can also get some of the other flavors like Vanilla Cupcake or S’Mores for a special treat!

7. Mini Playdoh

I sort of hate Playdoh, but my kids love it. So when I’m in a really good mood, I let them play. And these tiny Playdoh tubs are perfect for Easter eggs!

8. Chalk

Another thing I’m not a huge fan of, but I’ll let my kids play with when I’m in a good mood! Kids LOVE chalk! And these would fit perfectly into an Easter egg!

9. Color Bath Dropz

All of my kids love these, but especially my toddler! Just plop one into the tub and they turn the water a different color!

10. Magnetic letters

You could easily just do a whole set of Easter eggs filled with magnetic letters! And you can use them for so many activities (like this!)! 

11. Mini bubbles

What toddler doesn’t love bubbles? Just make sure they don’t open them by themselves!

12. Hair bows

Little hair bows fit perfectly into plastic Easter eggs, and you could even give your toddler some to match her Easter dress! We love bows from Rylee Dee’s Boutique

13. Bath toys

These squeaky bath toys from Kidelle are so tiny and cute and would fit great in an Easter egg!

14. Self-inking stamps

Remember cute little stamps like these growing up? I used to love them! They would make such a fun Easter egg filler for toddlers!

15. Cheerios

If you don’t have time to run to the store before you have to fill eggs, but you still want to give your toddler something fun on Easter morning!

16. Bracelet

I love squishy toddler wrists wearing bracelets! We have a few from Little Pretties and they are absolutely gorgeous!

17. Bowtie or tie

Another cute idea for your toddler’s Easter church outfit! 

18. Band-aids.

Basically glorified stickers, but little kids LOVE the ones with characters!

Easter is such a fun holiday to celebrate with toddlers, even if they don’t completely understand why we’re celebrating it. Hopefully this list of non-candy Easter egg fillers for toddlers helped give you some ideas, and if you have any more, let me know in the comments! Happy Easter! 

The post Non-Candy Easter Egg Fillers for Toddlers appeared first on Life With My Littles.

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Visiting Minneapolis with toddlers and wondering if the Mall of America is worth going to? It is! Here are ten things to do at the Mall of America with toddlers (besides shopping!), plus a helpful tip on where to park if you’re bringing a stroller!

One thing we love doing here in Minneapolis is visiting the Mall of America. Once you go, all other malls seem inferior.

In case you didn’t know, the Mall of America is the biggest mall in the United States. It has three floors all the way around (with a fourth floor in part of it), over 500 stores, over 50 dining options, a theme park, an aquarium, and tons of fun events. It’s easily one of our favorite things to do in the Twin Cities.

Since we go so often, I thought it would be fun to put together a post all about things to do at the Mall of America with toddlers. You might think that taking your toddler to the mall wouldn’t be super fun, but the Mall of America is no ordinary mall. There’s seriously TONS for toddlers to do (besides riding around in the stroller or shopping!), and it’s the perfect place to go on snowy, rainy, or super hot days when you just want to stay inside! 

Also, a quick tip, if you park on the fourth floor, there aren’t any stairs to go from the parking garage to the mall. On the second, third, and fifth floors you have to go up or down a small set of stairs to get into the mall, and with strollers, that’s no good. So park on the fourth floor of the parking garage and you’ll be golden!

Here are ten things to do at the Mall of America with toddlers:

1. Play at the LEGO tables outside the LEGO store. As if the LEGO store wasn’t fun enough, they also have a few tables set up outside the store (between the store and Nickelodeon Universe) with benches around them and a bunch of LEGO bricks to play with. And there’s even DUPLO tables! So whether your toddler is younger or older, this is a fun place to rest and let them play for a while.

2. Paw Patrol Playground. I’ll admit this is not my favorite thing at the mall, but I’m including it because it is something to do. A few months ago they opened up a big Paw Patrol playground inside Nickelodeon Universe. It costs 6 tickets to get in for 20 minutes (which is $7.20). Going on Toddler Tuesday (see #6) is the best way to do it. If you go when it’s busy keep an eye on your little one because it can get kind of rowdy. We have been twice and our toddler loves it!

3. Build-A-Bear Workshop. What little kid doesn’t love picking out their own stuffed animal!? We went last year when my son was about 18-months-old and he had so much fun. He picked out a Chewbacca bear (of course) and loved carrying it around and giving it hugs. This is a good place to go if you have grandparents in town and they want to get your toddler a gift!

4. The Crayola Experience. This is more fun for older kids, but they do have a few things that my toddler enjoyed. They have a playground for younger kids, a light show room where they can color on whiteboards and run around on an interactive floor, a little area where you can use chalk or dry-erase markers and color on everything, and several other places where toddlers can color. They can probably do almost everything with a little assistance. It’s a fun place to visit!

5. Sea Life Aquarium. We just did this for the first time yesterday. It’s not a huge aquarium, but it’s perfect for toddlers! Lots of fish, sharks, turtles, jellyfish, and seahorses to look at! 

6. Toddler Tuesdays. If you’re going to take your toddler to the Mall of America, try and go on a Tuesday. Every Tuesday, the mall hosts “Toddler Tuesday” where kids can meet their favorite characters, do arts and crafts, and get discounted wristbands for Nickelodeon Universe ($12.99 for 5 hours valid on certain rides). They can also eat free with the purchase of an adult meal at more than 10 restaurants around the mall. Seriously, Tuesdays are the day to go with your toddler. 

7. Disney Store events. The Disney Store often has events that are fun for toddlers to go to. In October they have Halloween parties where kids can participate in a parade and a sing-along. You can see what events they have coming up here. They’re a lot of fun! 

8. Nickelodeon Universe. Besides the Paw Patrol Playground, Nickelodeon Universe has a lot of rides that toddlers can do. They have several rides that you have to be 36 or 39″ to ride without an adult, and then a lot that toddlers can ride as long as they have a chaperone. Plus, if you’re a required chaperone (meaning your child has to have an adult) you don’t have to pay for yourself! 

9. Treat stores! The Mall of America has several candy stores, chocolate stores, ice cream stores, bakeries, and even an edible cookie dough store! If your toddler has been good (or you need something sweet to distract them with), go get them a treat! We love the candy store It’s Sugar, and the edible cookie dough at Dough Dough is delicious! 

10. Train table inside Barnes and Noble. If you just want a quick break or a way for your toddler to get out some energy, take them to Barnes and Noble and let them play with the train table in the children’s section. All of my kids have always loved playing there, and it gives you a chance to just sit and rest!

And even though this post is focused on toddlers, there are also a few other things that are fun at the Mall of America that bigger kids will like. There’s a mini golf course, a blacklight mini golf course, a mirror maze, Flyover America (a flying ride), 5D Extreme Attraction, the American Girl store, and they’re putting in a virtual reality attraction that’s going to feature Star Wars (my kids are excited for that one!). 

The Mall of America is tons of fun for any age, and that absolutely includes toddlers. Don’t skip over it because you think there won’t be anything for your littles to do there! There are lots of fun things to do at the Mall of America with toddlers, and if you plan a trip, I hope you have a great time! Maybe we’ll see you there!

The post Things to Do at the Mall of America with Toddlers appeared first on Life With My Littles.

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Not sure what to expect when your toddler goes to speech therapy? Here’s a helpful post written by a mama who took her one-year-old son and saw a huge improvement! Whether you’re trying to decide if speech therapy is the right option for your child, if it’s worth the investment (those sessions aren’t cheap), or have already decided and just want to know what it will be like, this post will hopefully give you a little insight! 

We recently finished up a few months of speech therapy with our toddler, and the difference that it made for him (and us!) was like night and day. 

Prior to going, I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know how long it was going to last, what the sessions would be like, or if it would even help. 

I thought it would be helpful for other mamas in similar situations to read a post all about what to expect when your toddler goes to speech therapy. Whether you’re trying to decide if speech therapy is the right option for your child, if it’s worth the investment (those sessions aren’t cheap), or have already decided and just want to know what it will be like, this post will hopefully give you a little insight! 

Why We Decided To Get Our Son Evaluated

It wasn’t until our youngest son was over 18-months-old and still only saying “mama” and “dada” that we started worrying. We didn’t know how far behind he was, but we knew that our older kids were both saying way more by his age. Our pediatrician said to keep an eye on it and we’d reassess at his 2-year appointment.

But by 20-months we decided that we needed to get him evaluated. Our youngest son said five words (with “mama” and “dada” being used the most), got frustrated and cried when we didn’t understand him, and never repeated sounds when we tried to help him learn new words. It was hard for all of us and very different than what we had experienced with our first two kids.

I had a friend point out that he may have a hearing problem, but we weren’t worried about that because he followed directions and could point to things when we asked him where they were. We figured it was more a problem with his vocalizations than anything else.

Together we decided that it was better to get our son evaluated and have it be nothing than miss it and have it become a bigger problem later on. So we called around and made an appointment.

The Speech Evaluation

I brought my 21-month-old son to a speech language pathologist at a local Minnesota Children’s Rehab clinic for an evaluation last October. I had no idea what to expect, but was eager to get our son the help we thought he needed.

We met the speech therapist and went into a small room with two chairs and several toys. I filled out a little survey that asked questions about my son’s ability to listen, respond, and express himself. While I was answering the questions the therapist played with my son. She tried to get him to repeat things and watched how he behaved.

When I finished the questionnaire, the speech therapist added up all my answers and told me that our son was just a few points away from being below average. She said that speech therapy would help him with his expressive language and that it probably wouldn’t be a big speed bump for him. She wasn’t able to tell me how long he would need to go to therapy, but she did say that it wouldn’t be a long-term thing.

Grateful to have a plan in place, we scheduled our first appointment and headed home.

What the Sessions Were Like

I started taking my son to therapy every week. His first appointment was at the beginning of November. We went into a room that was similar to the one he’d been evaluated in, I sat in a chair to the side, and the therapist would play with my son.

She played cars with him, they fed pretend food to different animals together, they played with Mr. Potato Head, and lots of other simple toys. The thing that made the difference was that she would speak very clearly and try to get him to repeat certain things. With the cars, she repeated the word “go” every time they’d go down the track. With the food, she repeated the word “eat” every time my son would feed the animals. And with Mr. Potato Head, she repeated the word “push” every time they pushed in one of his pieces.

At the end of the session, the therapist got out some flashcards and would try and get my son to repeat the sounds on the cards: a picture of a dog panting with an “h” sound, a picture of a boat with a “b” sound. They started with consonants and then moved on to vowels.

At first my son was quiet and would only occasionally look at me and say “mama” during the sessions. But eventually he began to repeat the words the therapist was saying. Words with consonants at the beginning were easier for him to say than words with vowels, but he was improving.

Every session was the same. We’d come into the same room, my son would sit in a chair by the therapist with a little table on top for his toys, and I would sit to the side and just watch. They’d play with several different toys, they’d practice some of the flash cards, and then we’d go home. I know it sounds crazy, but after just a few sessions, my son was starting to talk more.

How We Practiced at Home

One thing that I loved about the speech therapist who worked with my son was that she gave us copies of the flash cards to take home and practice. We practiced them every day before nap time and bed time. At first he didn’t cooperate, but eventually, he had them all memorized and would say the sounds before I did.

I also tried to do a lot of repetition when we were playing together, just like in the sessions. When we’d get a new toy I’d say what it was (“car”) several times while we were playing it. Sometimes he’d repeat the word, and sometimes he wouldn’t. I tried to use a lot of the same words that he practiced at therapy, too.

Another thing we did at home was I wouldn’t give him something unless he repeated the word first. For example, I made him say “please” or “more” or whatever the thing was (like “milk” or whatever) before I gave it to him. It took a while for him to figure out that he wasn’t getting things unless he talked, but once he did he started talking a lot more.

Why We Stopped Going

At the beginning of January, we made the decision to stop going to speech therapy. It was a tough decision, but there were two things that helped us make up our minds.

First, our sessions were not cheap. Some people may qualify for speech therapy through their school district, but we didn’t go that route, and even with our insurance, we were paying about $150 per session. 

Second, our toddler was doing so well, learning lots of new words, and was repeating sounds and words that we worked on. He was a lot less frustrated at home (and so were we!) because he could communicate what he wanted most of the time. It made a huge difference. We decided we could continue doing what he was doing in his sessions at home, so we didn’t need to keep taking him.

When we talked to the speech therapist, she was on board with us finishing up, too. She had also noticed a big improvement in our son’s expressive language, and told us that if we ever had any questions or had any problems in the future, to give her a call. We had one last session, and our son was done.

How It’s Going Now

Going to speech therapy for even just a few months made such a big difference in our son’s life. He says tons of words and has even started saying two and three word phrases (like “where Daddy?” or “want milk”). We still go through his flashcards sometimes, and we’re still aware of how we talk to him during playtime. I want to try and keep implementing what we learned in his sessions so that he continues to improve and keep talking.

I know that not every kid “graduates” from speech therapy in just a few months, but our son did. Going to speech therapy was a game changer for him, and we had such a good experience with it. 

If you’re trying to decide if you toddler should go to speech therapy, talk to your pediatrician. And if you disagree with what they said (like if they tell you just to keep an eye on it and you’re still worried), it’s okay to go get your child evaluated! You know your child and can probably tell if something’s wrong, especially if you have older kids who may have been talking earlier or more. 

And if you’re thinking about or preparing for speech therapy, hopefully now you know a little more of what to expect when your toddler goes to speech therapy. 

And if you have any questions, feel free to comment and ask! I’d love to answer any questions about our experience! It was great!

Good luck!

The post What to Expect When Your Toddler Goes to Speech Therapy appeared first on Life With My Littles.

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Tired of ripped, crumbled, or missing pages from your LEGO building instructions? Here’s an easy tutorial and video to help you save and protect your LEGO building instructions for hours and hours of play!

This post is sponsored by LEGO. This post contains affiliate links. 

My oldest son got his first LEGO DUPLO set when he turned one-year-old, and ever since then, we’ve been a LEGO family. In the last five years, we’ve amassed quite the collection of both LEGO DUPLO sets and regular LEGO sets. My kids all love building their own creations (even my two-year-old!), but they also love building and re-building all the different sets they’ve collected. Unfortunately, paper instructions get pretty beat up when you have three young kids flipping through them all the time.  Pages tear, rip completely out, get wet, and even get lost or thrown in the trash. And when that happens, it makes building those sets incredibly difficult (and sometimes impossible!).

Sure, we’ve tried taping our LEGO building instructions, but several of them were so beat-up that even after taping them several times and in several places they weren’t holding together. Plus, they could still rip. It got to the point that every time my kids asked me to build one of their sets with them, I’d say no because I didn’t want to spend the time trying to find missing pages or guessing what bricks came next.

Then about three months ago, I figured out a way to save, restore, and protect all of our LEGO instruction booklets. I took my youngest son to his very first speech therapy appointment, and while we were in the waiting room, he brought me a book. Each page had been laminated individually and the book was bound by a few binder rings.

LIGHTBULB.

I went home, grabbed my laminator and the most beat-up LEGO building instructions I could find (which happened to be my daughter’s LEGO DUPLO Sofia the First Royal Castle set) and got busy. I found the missing pages online, printed them, and restored the instruction set to a condition even better than when it was brand new!

I immediately set to laminating as many instruction booklets as I could. It took a few days, but it was absolutely worth it. Now I don’t worry about my kids destroying their LEGO instructions and we can start and finish building every set we have! Honestly, I can’t believe I haven’t seen this anywhere else, because it’s so smart! (And I’m only half taking credit for this idea because the therapists’ office inspired me to do it. Someone over there is a straight up genius.)

Today, I want to share with you exactly how to save and protect your LEGO building instructions (and how I saved and protected my peace of mind!). It’s really easy, although labor and time-intensive, but it’s so worth doing.

video

I’ll be using sets from The LEGO Movie 2, which, if you’ve been living under a rock, comes out Friday! We went to an advanced screening last weekend and you guys, IT IS SO GOOD. You have to see it! These sets are Emmet’s Builder Box (for ages 5+) and Emmet and Benny’s ‘Build and Fix’ Workshop (for ages 4+).

All you need to get the job done are

First, GENTLY tear apart your building instructions on the fold. I know, it seems wrong, but it must be done. Make sure you keep them in order and remove the staples carefully. I accidentally laminated a page with a staple still in it and it got all messed up.

Next, arrange two pages at the top left and bottom left of a laminating pouch. Leave a tiny bit of room along the edges and be precise because otherwise when you cut out your pages, you’ll have to cut four sides instead of two (see below).

Gently and while holding the bottom of the laminating pouch feed your pouch into the laminator. Hold it until both pages are in the laminator (otherwise the second one might shift around).

Cut along the edges and place in a stack IN ORDER until you’ve done the whole booklet.

Once your whole set is laminated and cut out, punch a hole in the top left corner of each page. Be aware when you punch the holes not to cover up any important details (like how many of a certain brick to use). Do it in the same place for each page.

Feed a binder ring through all the pages, close it up, and you’re done!

You now have a waterproof, tear-proof, childproof set of LEGO building instructions for hours and hours and HOURS of fun!

A few quick notes:

  • I did try doing a ring on both the top and bottom left of one set of instructions, but it was harder for my kids to flip through. It’s up to you, but we decided to keep it simple with just one ring per instruction booklet.
  • If any of your booklets are missing pages or pieces or the pages you do have are so torn you can’t get them to lay flat, search on the LEGO website for the instructions and print out new pages. Make sure you print the front and the back, and make sure they’re the same size as the original pages that you have on hand. Cut them out, glue them back to back, and you’ve got a quick replacement page!

In the few months since I did this with my kids’ LEGO instructions, my kids build their sets (and I help!) way more often. I’ve been doing it with the new sets they’ve gotten, too, just as a preventative measure, and I have no regrets about tearing them apart and laminating them. I used to keep their instructions in their closet where they couldn’t destroy them any more, but now they have them in a box in their room so they can have them whenever they want. Now, everything truly is awesome (see what I did there!?).

Now if I could just figure out a way to organize all their LEGO bricks, am I right!?

Have fun saving and protecting your LEGO instruction books, and make sure you go see The LEGO Movie 2, out Friday!

The post How to Save and Protect Your LEGO Building Instructions appeared first on Life With My Littles.

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This post contains affiliate links.

All month long I’ve shared posts about Christmas featuring gifts, matching pajamas, stockings, and Christmas cards. I’ve talked about several different ways to make Christmas special for your family, but I’ve missed one key thing: Christ. Christmas is all about celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He is the reason for the season and He should be the focus of all that we do. Yes, Santa and Christmas trees and gifts are fun, but if we aren’t careful, the true meaning of Christmas can easily get lost on our kids.

Today I want to share ways to help you teach kids the true meaning of Christmas. These ideas range from simple and quick to needing a little planning, but they all help put the focus of Christmas back on Jesus Christ.

1. Make a birthday cake for Jesus. One of my kids’ favorite ways to celebrate Christmas is making Jesus a birthday cake! I let them help and it usually doesn’t turn out super pretty, but it’s a small way to help them remember that Christmas is the day we celebrate Jesus’ bithday!

2. Participate in a giving tree. I recently heard this called a “Jesus gift,” and I thought that was a great way to put it. Before buying gifts for family members or friends, pick a gift off of a giving tree (we’ve seen them at church, my son’s school, the gym, and the mall) and get your kids involved in picking out a gift for someone in need. Talk to them about why you’re doing it, how you’re helping someone, and let them have a say in what you buy for the person you pick.

3. Participate in a service project. Even something as simple as putting together care packages, tying blankets, or coloring pictures for residents in nursing homes. Service doesn’t have to be complicated, and it can be very memorable for kids when they are able to see the faces of the people they’re helping. Make sure you remember to tell them about why you are doing service and the kind of service Jesus did while He was on earth, too.

4. Watch Bible videos about the nativity. A few years ago, our church put out a series of incredible, touching videos based on the life of Jesus Christ. We like to watch the ones focused on the nativity at this time of year. There are nine here that span from when the angel told Mary about Christ to the wise men coming to bring gifts to Jesus. Seeing real people act out the stories is a lot more meaningful than watching cartoons about it.

5. Display kid-friendly nativity sets. When our oldest was a baby, my father-in-law got him this Fisher-Price Little People nativity and five years later, it’s still a big hit. My kids love setting up all the different pieces, and it’s fun to see the reverence they give baby Jesus, even though it’s just a toy. We also have a little block set with nativity characters mod-podged on, as well as a nativity that someone cut out, laminated, and glued magnets onto the back (it’s on our fridge and the kids love that one, too). There are so many great kid-friendly ways to display the nativity, and it’s fun having a few that I don’t mind them playing with!

6. Listen to Christmas hymns. Yes, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” is a great song, but listening to Christmas hymns is a lot better way to teach kids the true meaning of Christmas! Find a radio station on Amazon music that plays Christmas hymns, or even one on your local radio. My favorite song is “Angels We Have Heard on High” (because I always thought it said “in ex-Chelsea’s deo), but ones like “Silent Night” or “Away in a Manger” are a little easier to teach kids!

7. Read a Christmas book. Over the years we’ve collected a lot of Christmas books, and my favorites are the ones that teach my kids the true meaning of Christmas. My friend Susannah put together a great list of books, and I also love the book “Celebrating a Christ-Centered Christmas.”

8. Act out or read the nativity story. If you have enough kids and/or several stuffed animals or babies or Barbies, acting out the nativity story is a great way to get your kids to pay attention. If you don’t, just read it from the Bible! Sit down and read the whole thing (Luke 1 and 2) or even just a few verses (Luke 2:1-20). You can even give your kids different parts of a nativity to set up when they hear it mentioned in the story. That way they’ll pay attention better!

9. Give gifts to neighbors and friends. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but a nice plate of cookies, some homemade caramels (that’s what we do!), or even just a handwritten card saying “Merry Christmas” are all great ways to reach out to neighbors you might not normally talk to. Tell your kids that Jesus wanted us to be kind to everyone, and by giving a small gift to neighbors and friends, you’re showing your love for them!

10. Fill up an empty manger with straw each time you do some kind of service. I recently heard about this, and thought it was such a great Christ-centered Christmas tradition. You start with an empty manger (like this), and then each time you or someone in your family performs a service or does something kind (like making a family member’s bed, listening to Mom or Dad the first time, or picking up toys) they get to put a piece of straw into the manger. The idea is that you fill the manger with straw and make baby Jesus as comfortable as possible before Christmas comes. Even little kids can feel the excitement and love that comes from doing service when they get to put a piece of straw in!

11. Anything from the #LightTheWorld campaign. For the last few years, my church’s Christmas campaign has been called “Light The World.” Jesus Christ, also called the Light of the World, spent much of His ministry caring for individuals, one by one. The idea behind the campaign is that we follow His example and find ways to share our time, love, and resources with those in need. This year December is broken up into four weeks (Light The World, Light Your Community, Light Your Family, and Light Your Faith) and there’s even a free printable calendar with ideas of things you can do to help Light The World. Last year, there was a different theme each day so you could Light The World 25 ways in 25 days (that free printable calendar is here). Even if you’re not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it’s a great resource to help teach your kids the true meaning of Christmas!

12. Light an Advent candle and read a scripture each night. In college I took a class about ways different religions practice their beliefs in their homes, and one thing we learned about were Advent candles. They’re a special way to count down the days until Christmas, and it can be made even more special if you have a scripture to read each time you burn your candle. There are lots of different suggestions of scriptures to read each night (just search “Advent scripture readings”), but what really matters is that you are setting aside time each day to focus on Christ and his miraculous birth. Plus, lighting a candle always gets a kid’s attention!

The true meaning of Christmas can easily be forgotten with all we have going on and how commercial Christmas has become. But there are lots of simple, special ways that we can teach our kids the true meaning of Christmas. Try one (or two) of these ways, and the true meaning of Christmas won’t be missed by your kids!

Merry Christmas, mamas!

The post Teaching Kids the True Meaning of Christmas appeared first on Life With My Littles.

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One of my family’s longest-running Christmas traditions is to open special Christmas pajamas on Christmas Eve. When we had kids, we decided to keep the tradition going. Each year our kids have had matching Christmas pajamas, and it has been so much fun. They love it, we love it, and it makes Christmas morning even more special.

If matching Christmas pajamas are your jam, too, then today’s post is for you! I’m sharing where to buy matching Christmas pajamas! Make sure you get them soon so your family can match on Christmas morning, too!

1. Carters. Not only do I love Carters because they seem to always be having sales on their clothes, but they also have super cute Christmas pajamas for kids! We got our kids’ matching Christmas pajamas (pictured above) from Carters this year, and when I showed them to them, they were all so excited. They have sets like these or sleepers, and they go all the way up to size 14. A few of their styles are even available in adult sizes (like this one and this one). And make sure you sign up for their Rewarding Moments program because you can get coupons (like 15% off or 20% off!).

2. Old Navy. Old Navy always has cute Christmas pajamas, too. We’ve had a hard time in the past finding ones that are for the whole family, but when I checked their site this year it looks like they’ve expanded their options and have matching family ones (rather than just matching kid ones). When we got Christmas pajamas here a few years ago, we got coordinating girl and boy ones that were the same style but just different colors, and our kids loved those!

3. Target. We got our kids’ pajamas from Target last year from the Burts Bees Baby line, and they were more traditional, but still really cute. This year they’ve got several different styles for the whole family (including Harry Potter Christmas pajamas and Mickey Mouse Christmas pajamas). If you want to get some for the whole family and want to see them in person first, Target is a great place to look!

4. Gap. Two years ago we got the kids matching Christmas pajamas from Gap, and they are still some of my favorites they’ve ever had. They have a few family sets (including flannel ones) but be ready to pay a little bit more. They also have some cute Star Wars matching Christmas pajamas for kids, and I almost got those for the kids this year. There are options to coordinate but with slightly different styles, or you can full on match with identical prints and styles.

5. Hanna Andersson. I’ve never bought pajamas from here, but I LOVE all the different styles and patterns they have, and I’ve heard great things, too. There are TONS of family pajamas, so if you’re having a hard time finding ones you like, check here! They have Disney Christmas pajamas, generic winter pajamas, superhero pajamas, Grinch pajamas, Star Wars pajamas, I mean seriously there is something for everyone. Hanna Andersson basically are my dream pajamas. Hopefully one day we’ll get these, because I really do love them!

6. PatPat. A very affordable place for matching Christmas pajamas for the whole family is PatPat. It’s a daily deal site, and they have tons of different festive pajamas. I think these ones are super cute, and so are these. I haven’t ever shopped here before, but the wide variety of matching Christmas pajamas is hard to beat!

Hopefully you now know where to buy matching Christmas pajamas, because I linked a TON of great options! Matching Christmas pajamas is one of my favorite traditions, and I hope that I’ve been able to help you find some that are perfect for your family, too! Merry Christmas!

The post Where to Buy Matching Christmas Pajamas appeared first on Life With My Littles.

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This year we’ve decided we’re putting our feet down. Every year our kids get way too many toys, play with them for a few weeks, and then they get stuffed in the closet never to see the light of day again. It’s frustrating, creates clutter, and is a big waste of money. So this year, my husband and I have decided that our kids can each get one toy from Santa, and that’s it. NO. MORE. TOYS.

And as great as that sounds, you (or our family members!) might be wondering, “Well, what else can you get a kid for Christmas?” I’m glad you asked, because today I’m sharing TONS of great ideas. There are so many other options besides toys, and honestly, each of the things on this list would still make our kids happy to receive!

1. Clothes. That’s pretty broad, so I’ll be more specific. Nice school clothes (especially pants because kids are somehow always getting holes in their pants), pajamas, shoes, or cute matching sibling outfits. Some of my favorite small shops are Lulu and Roo (the CUTEST little matching outfits), Taylor Joelle (if you have a little girl, you’ll love them!), and Sweet N Swag (moccasins for $20!).

2. Experiences. Tickets (to things like Disney on Ice, sporting events, bowling, trampoline parks, or other things you don’t normally get to go to that your kids would enjoy), a gift card to a paint-your-own pottery shop, a one time pass or membership (to a zoo, children’s museum, or aquarium), or even a vacation to Disneyland (use code “LITTLES” for $10 off your package with the amazing Disneyland deal company Get Away Today).

3. A sleeping bag. My kids LOVE using their sleeping bags. Even if you don’t go camping very often (or ever), they’re handy to have on hand!

4. A backpack. If your child isn’t in school yet, a little backpack is such a fun gift! My two older kids both have little Mackenzie backpacks from Pottery Barn Kids and they love them.

5. Books. What parent would say no to their child getting books? We’ve been really enjoying beginning reading books (like these Star Wars beginning readers and these Cars Step Into Reading books. 5 Minute Stories books are always good, too!

6. Coloring books or art supplies. My kids LOVE coloring and doing art, and we run out of paint and construction paper and supplies pretty often. Crayons are a good gift (they break all the time!), as well as stickers, washable paints, googly eyes, or pipe cleaners.

7. Science kits. Depending on the age of your child, a science kit would be a fun, educational gift for your child! You can get a book with different experiments or a kit with everything you need for one or two experiments. Either way, you’re encouraging learning and showing kids how fun science is!

8. Accessories. My kids love wearing accessories. For girls that can include bows, headbands, earrings, or bracelets, and for boys, belts, hats, and ties are always winners!

9. Fun socks. Last year my mother-in-law got the kids the twelve days of socks for Christmas, and my kids LOVED every pair. They wore them throughout the year! What little kid doesn’t love socks with their favorite characters or fun designs on them!?

10. Subscription boxes. I actually haven’t ever tried any of these personally, but I did a little research and read great reviews on these four subscription boxes. Kids love getting mail, and when they get mail that helps them learn and grow, parents are happy, too! Check out Amazon STEM Club, Girls Can! Crate, Kiwi Crate, or Koala Crate.

11. Classes or a season of lessons. Kids’ cooking classes, a kids’ art class, dance lessons, basketball lessons, pretty much any kind of class or lesson you could take. They can be expensive and it’s an awesome gift idea that won’t even clutter up your home!

12. Kid-sized suitcase. One of my daughter’s favorite things she’s ever gotten is a Sofia the First suitcase. We got it from our Disney Preschool Playdate last year, but she LOVES it. It’s come in handy on so many trips. If you’re a family who travels (on planes or on the road), a kid-sized suitcase is a perfect gift!

13. Magazine subscription. This year my mom got my two oldest each a magazine subscription. They’ve loved getting them in the mail and flipping through them each time we get a new issue. There are lots of fun magazines for kids (like Highlights or Preschool Friends).

14. Games. We’re a game family, so we love getting games. We recently realized that we don’t have a ton of kid games, so this is one that’s at the top of our kids’ lists! Games like Trouble, Sorry!, UNO, or Life Junior are all perfect for kids!

15. A butterfly kit. Does anyone else remember doing these in school? My son’s kindergarten class actually did one this fall and it brought back memories from when I was little! And guess what? You can buy a kit on Amazon!

16. New hooded bath towel or robe. This is maybe a little shameful to admit, but my kids have been using the same towels for at least 4 years now. My oldest son has one I made him when he was about 6 months, and same for my daughter. Little R is still using the hooded shark baby towel we bought. But new ones would be such a great gift! And you’d always know which towel went to which kid!

17. Fubbles. Normally I hate bubbles (so sticky, always spilling, a giant mess), but at my youngest son’s speech therapy appointment a few weeks ago I discovered Fubbles. They’re basically spillproof bubbles and whoever invented them is a GENIUS.

18. A piggy bank. Target always has adorable character piggy banks, and Amazon has cute traditional ones. Kids love storing their coins and bills from Grandma and Grandpa in them!

19. Fishing/gardening/camping supplies just for them. I know that covers a lot of things, but depending on what type of outdoor things your family likes, it can be different. My kids LOVE having their own fishing poles and gardening gloves and tools. Plus it helps them learn new skills early!

20. Umbrella. My kids always complain about my umbrella not reaching them when it rains, and I know they’d love getting their very own little umbrellas.

21. A scooter. One of my kids’ favorite gifts was this Micro Mini Kick scooter. The older two actually both have one and they are probably one of the most used gifts they’ve ever gotten! They’re especially fun for kids who can’t ride a bike yet, but still want to ride something outside!

22. A helmet. Going along with a scooter, a helmet is a great gift! They can be kind of expensive so gifting them to a child is actually pretty helpful!

23. A bike. Bikes are also great gifts for kids! My oldest got this Lightning McQueen bike when he was 3 and loved it until he grew out of it this summer. We’ve got it in the attic for our youngest to use when he’s a little bigger!

24. A basketball hoop. Whether it’s a real one in your driveway or a little plastic indoor hoop (our kids love this Fisher Price one), a basketball hoop is a great, long-lasting gift that will grow with your child!

Hopefully those 24 non-toy gift ideas for kids will help you out this Christmas (or for birthdays, or whenever else your child might be receiving a gift!). I know I’m forwarding this post to my family members!

The post Non-Toy Gift Ideas for Kids appeared first on Life With My Littles.

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We’ve been looking forward to Christmas for months (hasn’t everybody!?), and now that we’re less than two months away, I’ve started putting together ideas of fun things we can do that my toddler can do with us. I’ve always loved the giant seasonal bucket lists I’ve seen on Pinterest, so I thought it would be fun to turn our list into a giant poster so we could mark off each activity! I want to make sure that our youngest gets to participate in the Christmas magic this year (he turns 2 in January!), so all of these ideas are ones you should be able to do with a toddler! It’s a Christmas bucket list for toddlers!!

And as if that wasn’t good enough, I’ve included a link to download the print in a big enough file that you can print it and make a giant poster, too! Ours is 24×36″ and we printed it at Office Depot for $19. Super easy, and it’s fun to have a visual display of all the fun things we’ve done and have yet to do! Here’s what we included on our Christmas bucket list for toddlers:

1. Decorate cookies. One of my favorite things growing up, and I love doing this each year with my kids. Yes, it will get messy when toddlers are involved, but it’s fun!

2. Deliver cookies. Of course if you’re going to make and decorate them, you can’t keep them all for yourself, right? Plus, this is an easy way to get your toddler involved in some Christmas service!

3. Visit Santa. Always an adventure with a toddler. Even if they cry, I still love doing it!

4. Drive around and look at Christmas lights. My family always did this on Christmas Even growing up, and it’s another easy thing to do with a toddler.

5. Eat a candy cane. Yes, they’ll get sticky, but it’s a classic!

6. Get or make a keepsake ornament. Another tradition I’ve carried on with my kids is getting a special keepsake Christmas ornament every year. Toddlers can pick them out, too!

7. Take a Christmas picture. This can be in a Christmas outfit, with Christmas lights, in a present, by the tree, or in Christmas pajamas. If you need some inspiration you can check out this post of ideas (and yes, I know those are baby pictures, but you can make them work for toddlers, too!).

8. Decorate a gingerbread house. It won’t be pretty, but it’s the memory that counts!

9. Make a snow angel. You’ll probably have to move their arms and legs for them if they’re on the younger side of toddlerhood, but think of how cute their tiny imprint in the snow will be!

10. Build a snowman. And by build a snowman, I mean you build a snowman and show it to your toddler so they can knock it down.

11. Watch a Christmas show. I’d recommend something short (like Rudolph!) since movies can be too long for some toddlers.

12. Drink warm chocolate milk. AKA, toddler hot chocolate.

13. Help decorate the Christmas tree. We have shatterproof ornaments and ribbon hangers so we don’t have to worry about smashed ornaments or metal hangers poking eyes! (For tips on babyproofing your tree, check out this post)

14. Dance to Christmas music. What toddler doesn’t love a dance party?

15. Pick out a toy for a child in need. This might be a little hard for them since they might want it themselves, but find a giving tree or something and let your toddler choose a toy for the child you’re helping. Kids pick up on more than we think, and it’s never too early to teach them about service.

16. Act out the Christmas story in the Bible. This is fun for toddlers because it helps them get more involved in the story than just reading it in Luke! Plus, they get to dress up and may even get to make animal sounds!

17. Go sledding. Every little kid should go sledding during the winter at least once! It doesn’t have to be down a big hill, and even if they cry, their face going down will be priceless!

18. Color a Christmas picture. Or more accurately, scribble a Christmas picture.

19. Send a Christmas card. Help your little one make a card for Grandma or an aunt or uncle. Even if it’s just a scribbly mess or something small, they’ll love it.

20. Make a Christmas craft. There are so many fun ideas from creative people on the internet (here are a few). I guarantee you can find one with supplies you already have that your toddler will love!

21. Build a fort. Who doesn’t love a fort? Perfect for a cold, snowy day!

22. Read a Christmas book. If you don’t have any yourself, try checking one out from the library!

23. Play with Christmas playdough. I’m not a big playdough fan, but there are some really fun sounding homemade varieties that would be perfect for Christmas! You could even try doing a festive playdough mat with your child.

24. Go look at Christmas lights at the zoo. If you don’t have a zoo close by, find a local park or garden that decorates. We’ve always been able to find places that do Christmas light displays everywhere we’ve lived!

25. Ride a Christmas train. We did a Polar Express train ride when our oldest son was 20 months and he thought it was about the best thing ever. Plus we got to meet Santa and we all got hot chocolate and a cookie!

26. Make marshmallow snowmen. One of my favorite holiday memories of my daughter was when we did this and she had just turned two. She took about 30 minutes to eat hers after she made it! We usually do Twizzlers Pull n’ Peel for the scarves, mini chocolate chips for the eyes, mouths, and buttons, orange Tic-Tacs for the noses, and OREOs and Rolos for the hats!

27. Make and eat snow ice cream. Ever tried making ice cream out of snow? It’s super fun and super delicious!

To download your free giant printable Christmas bucket list for toddlers, click here! This is only for personal use. AKA, don’t sell it (or I’ll hunt you down).

We’re so excited to start checking things off this Christmas bucket list for toddlers. I think my favorite part about it is that we can do a few in a day or even skip a few days! I tried to pick things that were pretty manageable for a toddler and that weren’t too intense. Yes, there are a few things on here that cost money, but there are just a few so hopefully that’s cool with you (if not, go find yourself another free printable Christmas bucket list for toddlers!). When we hang it up for good and start checking things off I’ll be sharing on my Instagram, so make sure you’re following along! Merry Christmas!

The post Giant Printable Christmas Bucket List for Toddlers appeared first on Life With My Littles.

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This post is sponsored by Pampers. I am a proud member of the Pampers Baby Board.

It’s no secret that I love Pampers diapers. I haven’t been shy in telling you guys how much we love them, even since our oldest was a baby. In the last year, Pampers has come out with a new line of diapers and wipes (Pampers Pure) and made some pretty amazing changes to their existing lines of diapers (Baby Dry and Cruisers). You know a company really cares about the product they put out there and the people they’re serving when they’re improving diapers that are already the best on the market!

Pampers Swaddlers have been the first diapers each of my babies have worn. They’re absorbent, fit snugly and don’t leak, they’re super soft, and with that yellow indicator line, they’re perfect for new parents! No wonder Pampers is the #1 choice of hospitals, nurses and parents (including me!).

And guess what! Pampers Swaddlers are the latest line to get an upgrade. They’re now softer and more comfortable than ever, and that’s a big deal! Every parent wants their baby to be surrounded by comfort and love from the moment they’re born, and nothing touches a baby’s skin more than diapers. Think about it! They wear diapers nearly 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! So don’t you want their diaper to be as soft as possible? YES!

Baby skin is so sensitive and soft. And even as a toddler, our youngest still has the softest skin in our family. As a parent, you of course want a diaper that’s going to be just as soft and gentle so it won’t harm or irritate their skin. Having a soft diaper absolutely matters, so I am thrilled that a diaper I already thought was soft and perfect for babies (or toddlers, in our case!) is now 2x softer, offering the softest comfort and best protection ever! They’re seriously blankie soft, and they gently wrap your baby in Pampers’ best blanket-like softness. There’s a reason they’re called Swaddlers, mamas!

You’ll know your’e getting the new Swaddlers by the Blankie Soft Heart Quilts picture on the package. They no longer have Sesame Street characters on them (which my kids never got into, so fine by me!), and instead they have cute new designs!

What do they mean by “heart quilts?” Well, look at the inside of the diapers! This absorbent layer is made of breathable mesh and patterned with heart quilts! Pampers Swaddlers still have up to 12 hours of protection with their unique Air Channels that allow air to reach your baby’s skin, helping keep them dry and comfortable.

So how does it work? Well the top sheet is dual-layered! The outside resists liquid and the inside draws liquid inside. Basically, this special sheet absorbs wetness and then keeps it inside, keeping your baby’s bum dry! They literally pull wetness and mess away from the skin. These new Swaddlers keep your baby’s bum virtually 100 percent dry. How amazing is that?

I even tested it by pouring water on top and then feeling it, and then pouring some more on top and feeling it again. Guys, it really does work! I could tell the diaper was wet, but my hand didn’t get wet when I touched it. It was amazing! No more worrying about irritation from a wet diaper! Which also means that your baby will sleep longer and wake up happier. Even if your baby pees at night, they’ll still wake up feeling dry! Hooray!

Babies should feel swaddled in love with every touch, and that includes the touch of their diaper. Thanks to Pampers and their team of hardworking innovators, you never have to sacrifice softness for protection!

The post Swaddling Your Baby in Comfort with Pampers Swaddlers appeared first on Life With My Littles.

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