Crazy Fun Fall Themed Science Activities For Kids

Crazy Fun Fall Themed Science Activities For Kids

Fall is upon us and I am sooo excited about it!

One of my favorite things about fall is all of the fun activities there are to do! Especially when you have kids everything about fall seems so fun and magical. As the weather is getting colder it can be tricky to get outside to play, so I decided I would share some of my favorite fall themed science experiments for kids.

I love simple at home “science” projects because they make play fun and educational. I also love that a lot of these activities can be sensory activities as well. I’m always looking for ways that I can incorporate sensory activities into play, so I love using some of these science experiments to do that.

I love these fun science experiments because it’s a great way for your kids to learn and play at the same time! And just so y’all know we’re going to start making videos of fun science experiments that you can do with your kids, so keep an eye out on our YouTube channel!

So let’s get started! Here are some of my favorite fall themed science experiments!

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Dancing Popcorn Science Experiment

Alright so this activity is so much fun for your kids because they get to watch corn kernels “dance” or “hop” in the water.

For this experiment all you’ll need is:

  • A container for your “dancing corn” (I used a mason jar)
  • popcorn kernels (like these ones here)
  • About 2 cups of water
  • 2 T of Baking Soda
  • Small Plastic Cup of Vinegar (7ish tablespoons)

First, fill your container with water and stir in the baking soda until it is mostly dissolved. Then add the popcorn kernels to the container. Then you’re going to stir in the vinegar! There will be an “explosion” so do this project somewhere that you don’t mind getting a little bit messy!

The gas that’s created by the reaction of the baking soda and vinegar causes the popcorn kernels to move around in the container. Your kids will love watching the kernels “dance” around the container and it’s a great way for them to learn!

Pumpkin Slime Science Experiment

I am a huge fan of this one, not only because it’s a sensory activity, but also because it incorporates pumpkins too! This project is so easy! It’s basically just a twist on the classic oobleck science experiment by making the oobleck inside of a pumpkin.

Oobleck is what we call a non-Newtonian fluid, meaning that sometimes it behaves as a liquid and sometimes it behaves as a solid! Your kids will LOVE experimenting with this fun slime!

Here’s what you need:

  • A pumpkin
  • Cornstarch
  • Water
  • Orange food coloring (optional)

First, open your pumpkin from the top like you’re making a jack-o-lantern. Start to loosen the “pumpkin guts” by scraping the sides of the pumpkin with a large spoon.

At this point you have a couple of options…you can totally remove all of the pumpkin guts or you can leave some of them inside the pumpkin to be incorporated in with your oobleck. Personally, I would remove the guts because I’m not a huge fan of pumpkin guts, but you can do whatever you like.

Next you’re going to make your oobleck inside of your pumpkin! The basic oobleck recipe is one part water to two parts of cornstarch. I would start by doing 2 cups of cornstarch and 1 cup of water and then go from there. If it’s too liquidy add more cornstarch and vice versa.

If you want to add food coloring, slowly add a couple of drops into the mixture. Then you’re good to go! You’re kids will love playing with the oobleck and experimenting with when it’s a solid and when it’s a liquid!

Homemade Root Beer

I love making my own homemade root beer! This project is fun for kids because the dry ice used in the root beer creates “fog” that is perfect for Halloween. Your kids will love the root beer and the fog that this recipe creates!

Disclaimer here: Obviously, you don’t want to let your kids handle or be anywhere near dry ice. Dry ice can be dangerous, so this experiment definitely requires adult supervision! Make sure you wear gloves and handle the dry ice safely. Also keep in mind that you should buy the dry ice right before you plan to use it because it can evaporate pretty quickly if you don’t store it correctly!

Here’s the ingredients you need:

  • Large container (I always use a large pitcher)
  • 4 quarts of water
  • 2 cups of sugar (you can add more if you want it to be sweeter)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of root beer extract (depends on your taste preference, I’d start with two tablespoons and then go from there)
  • 1-2 pounds of broken up dry ice (the more dry ice you put in the longer it will bubble and create fog, but it also means longer prep time)

First off, you want to make this root beer in a well-ventilated area. Also make sure you don’t put a lid on the container you’re making the root beer in! The pressure can build up and cause it to explode!

Mix the water, sugar, and root beer extract together in the container. Carefully add in your pieces of dry ice and stir. Stir frequently so that the dry ice doesn’t stick. Serve once all of the dry ice has dissolved!

Trust me, your kids will love the fog and the yummy root beer! It’s perfect for Halloween (or any time of the year!)

Pumpkin Bowling

So I realize this isn’t exactly a science experiment, but it’s soooo fun so I had to include it! All you need is a couple of pumpkins and some “bowling pins.” For the bowling pins you can use empty soda bottles, toilet paper rolls, or paper towel rolls! I think using toilet paper and paper towel rolls is great because you can draw ghost faces on them to make this a fun spooky activity!

Once you have your pins, you’re ready to bowl! Your kids will love getting to bowl at home with a pumpkin!

Pro tip: If you wait until the day after Halloween you might be able to find pumpkins for a pretty steep discount! We feed pumpkins to our chickens, so we stock up the day after Halloween!

Pumpkin Volcano

Here’s another baking soda and vinegar science experiment! This time you’re going to make a volcano out of a pumpkin! This is a messy activity so I recommend that you do this outside if you can!

Here’s what to do:

First cut your pumpkin open from the top like you are making a jack-o-lantern. I recommend using a smaller pumpkin so you don’t have to use as much baking soda and vinegar! Next clean out all of the pumpkin guts! If your kids like playing with pumpkin guts this can also be an awesome sensory activity!

Fill your pumpkin about halfway full of vinegar, and add a couple of drops of liquid dish soap, and food coloring (optional). Then dump in some baking soda! You shouldn’t need too much baking soda to make it explode, but add more if it’s not “exploding” the way you want it to!

https://www.instagram.com/p/BaewImmgSLl/?tagged=volcanopumpkin

Since this project is a little messy, you can use these cleaning products from the Grove Collaborative. They’re great because they’re all natural and they’re delivered right to your doorstep. Handy right?

Start Your Grove Experience Today with a Home Bundle

Apple Volcano

This is the same activity as above, but using an apple instead! Using an apple is great if you don’t have a pumpkin on hand or if you want the resulting mess to be smaller (and easier to clean up!) Simply hollow our your apple using a knife or a spoon, fill it halfway with vinegar, add a couple drops of liquid dish soap, and then dump in your baking soda! Your kids will love the fun explosion that results! I recommend doing this activity on a cookie tray because it makes clean up super easy!

Toothpick and Marshmallow Towers

I love this activity because it’s a great challenge for your kids and allows them to think creatively. Using toothpicks and marshmallows challenge your kids to create a tower (or a haunted house!). You’ll be amazed with all of the creative structures that they come up with!

This is a great way for your kids to learn and play at the same time!

Are you excited for fall? What activities are you planning on doing with your kids? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

Genius After School Activities For Kids

Genius After School Activities For Kids

I know all moms dread hearing the phrase “Mom I’m bored” and honestly I’ve heard that phrase way too many times.

Back to school is great for me because I get 8 precious hours all to myself again! But once the kiddos get home, they want a snack, and then comes the dreaded “I’m bored mom.”

So I’ve come up with some activities that not only entertain my kids, but also keep them active (and away from video games!)

I’ve also noticed that kids tend to focus a lot better on their homework if they do a fun activity before starting into the huge pile of homework that they get everyday.

After a long day at school I think they need something fun (and active) to do before having to start into all their homework. (Am I the only who thinks that kids get way too much homework nowadays? They have so much homework, it’s crazy!)

One thing I also love about some of these activities is that they’re also educational! Many of them are science experiments and so your kids get to learn something new while also having some fun!

So here’s my list of my favorite after school activities for kids that will keep them entertained for hours!

Egg Float Test

So of course as a chicken mama this had to be the first activity on my list. The egg float test is a useful test for telling if your eggs are fresh.

You can watch the video below to learn how to do this experiment. Basically, if you place an egg in a glass of water and if it sinks to the bottom it’s fresh and if it doesn’t it’s an old egg!

While this test is great for figuring out if your eggs are still fresh, it can also be fun for kids to experiment. You can explain why the fresh eggs sink and why the old eggs don’t sink (if you don’t know why I have an entire article here all about the egg float test)

You can mix this experiment up by adding salt to one of the glasses. Add about 8-10 tablespoons of salt to a glass of water and stir until the salt dissolves. Once the salt has dissolved you can place an egg in the salt water and one egg in a glass of normal water.

The salt water egg will float to the top while the other egg will sink to the bottom! Fun right? It’s a fast and easy experiment for your kids.

 

[brid autoplay=”true” video=”453684″ player=”19074″ title=”Is Your Egg Good Or Bad The Fresh Chicken Egg Test In Action” duration=”97″ uploaddate=”2019-08-21 17:23:23″ thumbnailurl=”//cdn.brid.tv/live/partners/14575/thumb/453684_t_1566408194.png”]

Dissolving Egg Shells In Vinegar

This is another super easy activity that’s fun and educational for your kids. If you place raw eggs in white vinegar for 24-48 hours the shell dissolves leaving the membrane of your egg intact.

All you need to do is place several raw eggs in a container and cover them completely with white vinegar.

Put them in the fridge for 24 hours and then dump out the old vinegar and fill the container with fresh white vinegar.

Let the eggs sit in the refrigerator for another 24 hours and then the egg shells will be dissolved!

What’s left is the membrane of the egg enclosing the yolk. Your kids will love the “squishy” egg that results! It’s also fun because these “naked eggs” bounce! Don’t drop them too far or you’ll be dealing with a mess. And be careful with these eggs…the membrane isn’t super strong so they’re pretty easy to break…and they’ll make a HUGE mess if they do.

What’s great about this activity is that you can teach your kids about the “anatomy” of eggs. With the shell dissolved it’s easy to show your kids the membrane and the inside sections of your eggs.

You can learn more about what’s inside your eggs here and then teach your kids all about it with this fun experiment!

https://www.instagram.com/p/BleHfUjnZDz/?tagged=nakedegg

The Egg Drop

Ok this is the last egg themed activity, I promise! This activity is a classic…I’m pretty sure I did this one multiple times throughout my elementary school years. It’s probably best for older kids, maybe 8-9 years old and up.

The basic concept of this activity is to create a protective box for a raw egg that will protect it from breaking after a big fall.

It requires your kids to think creatively. They have to come up with a way to protect their egg from breaking.

Just provide them with some different materials that they can use to try and protect their egg. Anything will work: cardboard boxes, Styrofoam, packing peanuts, felt, wrapping paper, duct tape…your kids can use a variety of materials to protect their egg from the drop.

After your kids have created their own personal protection for their egg, then you have to test it out. I did this as a kid and we totally dropped our eggs off of the roof of our two story elementary school…and it was awesome. But you could just drop the eggs from anywhere (make sure it’s somewhere safe! and easy to clean!)

After you finish see what worked best in protecting the eggs from breaking. And then your kids can try again!

Solar Oven

This is a fun activity for your kids to learn more about heat from the sun and learn how to make their own solar oven! All you need is some tinfoil, plastic wrap, black paper, an old pizza box, and some newspaper!

You use the pizza box to create a small oven for your food! It’s pretty simple to make and your kids will think it’s awesome that they can cook food using the sun!

You can follow these step-by-step instructions on how to build a solar oven

After your oven is built you can start cooking food! Don’t cook anything that’s raw…there’s no guarantee that it will get completely done! I recommend that you choose a food item like nachos, or s’mores. Your kids will love the yummy snack, and they’ll be thrilled that they got to cook using the sun!

Rainbow Soap Foam

I love this activity! Soap foam is not only fun, but it’s a great sensory activity for kids.

One thing that’s really important to me is to incorporate sensory activities for my kids into their daily schedule. That’s why I love this rainbow soap foam and these outdoor decorations that double as sensory activities.

This foam is quick and easy to make and your kids will love being able to play in it. I recommend that you do this activity outside because it will get messy, but personally I think the fun is worth the mess:)

Recipe for rainbow soap foam here: Rainbow soap foam

Obstacle Course

I loved obstacle courses as a kid. I would set up elaborate courses with my siblings and we had so much fun! Obstacles courses are great for your kids because they’re fun and active! A fun indoor obstacle course is to create a maze with streamers through a hallway (see picture below!) Your kids will feel like they’re a spy trying to sneak through lasers and you’ll get a good laugh out of watching them try to get through!

https://www.instagram.com/p/BlbANUOnW34/?tagged=kidsobstaclecourse

Galaxy Jar

Um yes. This is awesome! I love these DIY galaxy jars! They’re fun to make and your kids will LOVE them!

Here’s the tutorial here: DIY Galaxy Jar Tutorial

Farm Themed Activities

Who doesn’t love farm activities? Check out this post here for a list of fun farm activities you can do with your kids. Making butter, old fashioned games etc. your kids will love these fun activities!

Ice Cream in a Bag

I’ve shared this recipe before, but I’ll share it again because I love it! You can make your own homemade ice cream using Ziploc bags!

This ice cream is SOOO fun to make and it is super simple too! You mix the ingredients together and then toss a bag around for 20 minutes. It’s great for a game of hot potato or catch and your kids will love getting to throw around the bag!

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredient

1 heaping T of instant pudding (in the flavor of your choice)

1 t vanilla

1/4 c of sugar

3/4 c. cream

1 cup milk

2 c rock salt

4 cups ice

Instructions:

You’ll need 2 qt sized Ziploc bags, 2 gallon sized Ziploc bags, duct tape, newspaper, and some plastic grocery bags.

In one of your qt sized Ziploc bags mix together pudding mix, vanilla, and sugar. You can choose the pudding mix of your choice! You can even experiment and mix flavors together. If you’re doing two different flavors just do a 1 ½ teaspoons of each flavor.

Close the bag (make sure it is closed tight!) and squish the ingredients together.

Next add cream and milk into the same ziploc bag and then squish all of the ingredients together again.

Place bag your qt sized bag into another qt sized bag (the extra bags are to stop the ingredients for leaking all over. If your kids are rough with this kind of stuff, add extra bags and newspaper for more protection)

Place bags inside of a gallon sized Ziploc bag. Place 2 cups of rock salt and 4 cups of ice in the gallon sized bag, spread equally on either side of your qt sized bags.

Place this bag into another gallon sized bag and begin to wrap with newspaper. I wrap it with at least 5 layers of newspaper and then tape it all together with duct tape. Then I wrap a couple grocery bags around the outside for extra protection and tape them down with duct tape.

Then comes the fun part! Toss the bag for about 15-20 minutes. Then your ice cream will be ready! If you unwrap it and it isn’t quite done, just wrap it up again and keep tossing it!

Before I open the last bag that has the ice cream in it, I recommend that you wash off the bag with cold water. This gets off any of the rocks salt that might have been on the bag and prevents you from having salty ice cream!

This makes a super fun and easy activity for your kids that they will absolutely love!

Well I hope you like some of these activity ideas for you kids! Which one was your favorite? What activities did you do as a kid that you loved? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

Children’s Book Read-and-Bake Series: Vanilla and Chocolate Shortbread Button Cookies for “Corduroy” by Don Freeman

Children’s Book Read-and-Bake Series: Vanilla and Chocolate Shortbread Button Cookies for “Corduroy” by Don Freeman

Vanilla and Chocolate Shortbread Button Cookies are as tasty as they are adorable!

These bite sized cookies have a buttery crunch that melts in your mouth and are ideal for snacking or adding on top of a favorite dessert.

Shortbread is a crisp, buttery, type of cookie that originated in Scotland. The main ingredient list is short and simple; butter, flour, and sugar.

 

Some shortbread recipes supplement the flour with corn starch which adds a melt-in-your-mouth texture. Flavorings, like vanilla or cocoa, can be also be added.

 

Vanilla and Chocolate Shortbread Button Cookies are a great choice when you want to bake ahead or for mailing. The flavor of these cookies gets even better after a few days. Stored in an airtight container at room temperature, shortbread cookies stay fresh for at least 2 weeks!

Shortbread Dough

Versatile shortbread dough can be baked in many forms.

  • Though no special pans are required, there are decorative shortbread pans that create wedges or bars embossed with lovely designs.
  • The dough can also be baked in a regular square or rectangular baking pan, then cut into bars.
  • Rolling the dough into a log for slice-and-bake cookies, allows you to store shortbread dough in the fridge and quickly bake fresh cookies as needed!
  • Individual cookies can be portioned with a scoop or rolled into balls.
  • For Vanilla and Chocolate Shortbread Button Cookies, the dough is rolled out and cut into shapes.

 

Read-and-Bake Book and Recipe

This month’s featured book, “Corduroy” by Don Freeman, is a childhood classic that is amazingly as popular today as when it was first published fifty years ago!

 

The original Corduroy book (there are also sequels and adaptations) tells the story of Corduroy, a stuffed toy bear, and Lisa, a little girl who loves him enough to spend all the money in her piggy bank to buy him.

 

At first, is seems that Corduroy is destined to remain on the store shelf. His overalls are missing a button and Lisa’s mother doesn’t want to spend money on a damaged toy.

 

At night, when the department store is empty, Corduroy has an adventure as he tries to find a replacement button without success.

 

Luckily, the next day Lisa returns and uses all of her piggy bank savings to buy Corduroy and bring him home, where she sews a new button on his overalls.

 

Vanilla and Chocolate Shortbread Button Cookies are the obvious cookie to link with this story! Make the cookies in several different shapes and sizes and let the kids decide which button Corduroy might have liked best.

To create a variety of button shapes, gather anything you have in the kitchen that might cutout a small shape. For my buttons, I used:

 

  • small cookie cutters: circle, square, daisy
  • small plastic medicine cup (the kind that often comes with cough syrup)
  • the bottoms of large and small piping tips

 

To make the Vanilla and Chocolate Shortbread Button Cookies roll the dough out to ¼” thickness between two sheets of parchment or wax paper. Use the small “cutters” to cut out the buttons.

 

Gently press a slightly smaller shape into the center of the cookie to create a rim on the button.

 

Make 2 or 4 thread holes at in the middle of each button using the blunt end of a wooden skewer.

 

Chilling the cutout cookies for 1 hour to overnight firms the dough so that the cookies will hold their shape in the oven.

 

Vanilla and Chocolate Shortbread Button Cookies are great for:

  • enjoying straight from the cookie jar
  • care packages and gift giving
  • sprinkled on pudding, fruit cups, and ice cream right before serving

 

Sharing “Corduroy” and Vanilla and Chocolate Shortbread Button Cookies is sure to cause lots of smiles!

Two other bear themed cookies that would also be fun to share with this book are:

Vanilla and Chocolate Shortbread Button Cookies

 

Servings: About 3 dozen 1 ½ inch cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, very soft, room temperature butter
  • ¾ cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup corn starch
  • Optional: Add 4 teaspoons of cocoa to make ½ of the dough chocolate

Directions:

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a large mixing bowl, stir butter, sugar, and vanilla until combined.
  • Add the flour and corn starch. Stir until dough forms. Knead a few times in the bowl until smooth.
  • For ½ batch chocolate dough: Divide the dough in half. Set one half aside and place the remaining half back in the mixing bowl.
  • Add cocoa and mix with a wooden spoon until the cocoa is incorporated evenly to form the chocolate dough.
  • Between two sheets of parchment paper, roll out each dough flavor to ¼”. If the dough is sticky, dust the dough lightly with flour (top and bottom) to prevent sticking.
  • Use a small circle cookie cutter to cut out each button. Use a smaller circle to impress a center ring on the button. Use a skewer to place 2 or 4 threading holes at the center of each cookie button.
  • Place the cut out cookies on the prepared baking sheet about an inch apart.
  • Refrigerate the cookies for at least an hour (up to 24 hours), until firm.
  • When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375° F.
  • Remove the cookies from the refrigerator and bake for about 10 minutes, until the edges of the cookies are beginning to become golden brown.
  • Allow the shortbread to cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks.
  • Double wrap small piles of button cookies in plastic wrap. Then place bundles snugly in an airtight container or zip lock bag for mailing.

Vanilla and Chocolate Shortbread Button Cookies

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, very soft, room temperature butter
  • ¾ cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup corn starch
  • Optional: 4 teaspoons cocoa to make ½ of the dough chocolate
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir butter, sugar and vanilla until combined.

  3. Add the flour and corn starch. Stir until dough forms. Knead a few times in the bowl until smooth.

  4. For ½ batch chocolate dough: Divide the dough in half. Set one half aside and place the remaining half back in the mixing bowl.

  5. Add cocoa and mix with a wooden spoon until the cocoa is incorporated evenly to form the chocolate dough.

  6. Between two sheets of parchment paper, roll out each dough flavor to ¼”. If the dough is sticky, dust the dough lightly with flour (top and bottom) to prevent sticking.

  7. Use a small circle cookie cutter to cut out each button. Use a smaller circle to impress a center ring on the button. Use a skewer to place 2 or 4 threading holes at the center of each cookie button.

  8. Place the cut out cookies on the prepared baking sheet about an inch apart.

  9. Refrigerate the cookies for at least an hour (up to 24 hours), until firm.

  10. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375° F.

  11. Remove the cookies from the refrigerator and bake for about 10 minutes, until the edges of the cookies are beginning to become golden brown.

  12. Allow the shortbread to cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

  13. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks.

  14. Double wrap small piles of button cookies in plastic wrap. Then place bundles snugly in an airtight container or zip lock bag for mailing.

BIO

Wendy Sondov is the recipe developer, baker, photographer, and care package creator for The Monday Box, the only care package recipe blog. All of the recipes on The Monday Box are for baked goods that travel well and stay fresh for a long time. Get recipes for home baked love sent straight to your inbox by signing up here!

DIY Outdoor Decorations that Double as Sensory Activities for Kids

DIY Outdoor Decorations that Double as Sensory Activities for Kids

I love outdoor decorations (Especially for the coop!) I think they’re so cute and fun!

 

I think that they really help to make any backyard feel more homey. I also love making outdoor decorations with the kiddos. I love anything my kids make because after awhile it becomes a fun keepsake!

 

I also try to incorporate sensory activities for my kids when I am doing crafts with them because both of my kids have autism. I think making decorations with your kids is a great way to decorate your yard and get in some amazing sensory activities all at the same time!
So here are 5 of my favorite DIY sensory activities/decorations that you can make for your yard!


Playdough cut outs


So personally I think playdough is on of the best sensory activities out there. And you can make so many fun things with it!

 

What I do is have my kids roll out the playdough flat (like you’re rolling out cookies) Then we use chicken shaped cookie cutters to cut out chicken shapes in the playdough! I then poke a small hole in the top of the playdough (make sure it goes all the way through!) and I then leave them out to dry for a couple of days.

 

After they’re completely dried I have my kids thread some twine through the hole in the top and we hang them in the backyard!

 

I’ve hung them outside of our chicken coop for a fun decoration, and I’ve also hung them in some of the trees in our backyard! It’s a super fun and easy decoration that you can make with your kids that is also a great sensory activity. Check out this awesome recipe for homemade playdough!


Sand foam decorated bucket


This is a super easy sensory activity/decoration that you can do with your kids! What I did is I used a regular sand bucket (you could also use a pretty pot) and had my kids decorate it, however they wanted to.

 

After they finished decorating we filled it with “sand foam” (check out the recipe here) Basically it’s just shaving cream mixed with sand and it makes an amazing sensory activity!

You can use spoons, or other toys if your kids don’t like to get messy. This stuff is so fun to play with! The texture of the sand and shaving cream together is really cool!


DIY Outdoor Quiet Area


I love having an area for my kids where they can go to have some alone time or just somewhere they can go and play. I think it’s important that there is somewhere my kids can go when they have a sensory overload or need a safe space.

 

I’ve seen a couple of amazing ideas online and I’m definitely going to have to try some of them out! I love that with all of these not only are you providing your kids with an area they can go to deal with sensory overloads, but they’re also really cute outdoor decorations.

 

I totally recommend that you have your kids help when you’re making an outdoor quiet area, so that they can be involved in creating the space that they think will be most beneficial to them.


This first outdoor quiet area is one of my favorites. It’s made out of pallet wood which is a huge bonus for me because we have tons of extra pallets lying around.

 

It’s pretty simple to make and after you finish you could have your kids help you decorate and add any sensory activities that they would like to! Check out the full instructions here.

 

Make sure that when you’re using pallets you know that they’re safe! I have an entire article about it that you can use as a guide to help you know if the pallets you are using are treated with chemicals.

 

I also love this DIY bean pole teepee! It’s super easy to create! You only need a couple of boards and some bean seeds are you’re good to go! Throughout the summer the beans will grow up the poles and create an awesome enclosed space for your kids to get away to!


This last outdoor space for kids is perfect for a reading nook! It’s small and could be filled with pillows, blankets, puzzles, books, or whatever your child loves the most!

 

You could also hang some sensory based activities around the playhouse for your kids to use if they needed to! Check out this AMAZING DIY tutorial for an outdoor reading nook here!


DIY outdoor sensory board

 


So I love sensory boards. I think they’re great for any kid and they keep my kids occupied while I get some me time:) This sensory board is made out of things from nature.

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BgW4DshjkO2/?tagged=sensoryboard

All you need to do is go outside with your kids and have them choose some nature items that they like the feel of (leaves, feathers, smooth rocks, sand, etc ). Then your just attach them to a board and you have a nature sensory board!

 

I also love this sensory board that incorporates lights, switches, and wheels! I think both of these would be a fun project to do with your kids and personally I think they add a fun touch to any backyard as a decoration.

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BiP8Zx2hOkH/?tagged=sensoryboard


Outdoor musical instruments

 

So I think outdoor musical instruments are a really fun way to incorporate different noises that your kids like into your backyard. And they add a unique type of decoration to your yard!


One of my favorite DIY musical instruments is a PVC Xylophone. This one is so easy and all you need are some spare PVC pipes in different sizes.

 

Kids love this because they can experiment with all of the different noises they can make when they blow into the different sized pipes. Here’s full instructions on how to make your own PVC pipe musical instrument.


I also love this DIY Music man project! It’s really easy and you can basically use any materials you have lying around your farm that make awesome noises when you play with them!

 

Basically it’s almost like a scarecrow made out of several different types of materials that make really awesome noises! This project is so easy and your kids will love helping your put this one together. Plus it doubles as a scarecrow for your garden! Bonus!

 

This last idea is one of my favorites. It’s a DIY outdoor music wall! I love that this wall incorporates different materials that are great for feeling as well as banging for making noise! Check out the full tutorial here.


What decorations do you have in your backyard that double as sensory activities? I would love to hear about them! Share your ideas with me in the comments below!

Amish Farmhouse Sugar Cookies with Raisins for “The Cow Loves Cookies”: Children’s Book Read-and-Bake Series

Amish Farmhouse Sugar Cookies with Raisins for “The Cow Loves Cookies”: Children’s Book Read-and-Bake Series

Recipes from Amish kitchens, passed down through generations, tend to combine simple ingredients into something simply delicious. Amish Farmhouse Sugar Cookies are a crunchy, melt-in-your-mouth treat made with just a few pantry staples.

 

Bake some to share and some to fill your own cookie jar!

 

 

Hi! I’m Wendy, the sprinkle loving, care package creating, baker at The Monday Box. My specialty is care package recipes for baked goods that travel well and stay fresh for a long time.

 

Of course, my recipes are just as delicious enjoyed at home!

 

I am excited to share some of my recipes here with you in a series of guest posts linking children’s picture books and baking!

 

When I started The Monday Box, 7 years ago, my son had just started college. I wanted to send him a care package filled with home baked love.

 

Honestly, he would have been just as delighted with commercial cookies, but baking and sharing was therapeutic for me. I benefited while creating, and my son benefited while munching.

 

However, I couldn’t find a resource for care package recipes. Most baking recipes don’t tell you how long a cookie or bar will stay fresh.

 

I decided to publish my own care package recipe resource and created The Monday Box.

 

 

At first, I published recipes with only college care packages in mind, but over the years my care package focus has expanded to include a variety of purposes.

 

As an enthusiastic member of Soldiers Angels Deployed Adoptions team, I send monthly themed military care packages, with baked goodies that match the theme, to my “adopted” service members. I document those care packages and share the recipes on The Monday Box.

 

This guest post series will focus on another care package connection, baking for children. Whether you are baking for your own children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, or friends, these book themed treats are sure to cause lots of smiles.

 

In each of my Read-and-Bake posts, I will:

  • Feature a children’s picture book to read with your little ones.
  • Summarize the book.
  • Provide a recipe for a baked treat that ties to the book.
  • Offer tips for sharing, mailing, and enjoying the books and baked goods.

 

 

This month’s featured book is “The Cow Loves Cookies” by Karma Wilson. Told in rhyme, the story follows the farmer as he feeds his many animals.

 

All of the animals eat normal farm animal food, except for the cow who loves cookies! The cow has a deal worked out with the farmer. The farmer provides the cookies, and the cow provides the milk!

 

The author doesn’t tell us specifically what kind of cookie the cow loves. (I think she probably loves all cookies.) Amish Farmhouse Sugar Cookies would definitely be a good choice.

 

The illustrations show the Farmer and the cow eating a speckled cookie. I thought about what the speckles could be and chose to make my cookies speckled with raisins.

 

Other options for speckles that would be delicious in Amish Farmhouse Sugar Cookies include:

  • Chocolate chips (milk, white, dark, or semi-sweet)
  • Butterscotch chips
  • Peanut Butter chips
  • Cranberries
  • Dried cherries or other dried fruit bits
  • Nuts

 

My suggestion is that you read this book to the wee ones in your life, then share some milk and cookies. Reading snuggled up together is optimal, but if distance makes that impossible, send a care package filled with Amish Farmhouse Sugar Cookies and have a story time video chat!

 

 

Does your family have a favorite picture book? Is there a book you would like to see featured? Let me know in the comments!

 

Amish Farmhouse Sugar Cookies with Raisins

Servings 24

 

Ingredients

  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tarter
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup raisins (plus extra for decorating)
  • ¾ cup large crystal white decorating sugar or brown turbinado sugar

 

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  •  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter, oil, and both sugars for about 3 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  • Mix in the eggs one at a time. Then mix in the vanilla.
  • Gradually add the dry ingredients until just combined. Overmixing will produce a less tender cookie.
  • Fold in the raisins.
  • Pour decorating sugar into a small shallow bowl.
  • Use a medium (2 tablespoon) scoop to portion the dough.
  • Roll each dough ball in decorating sugar.
  • Place coated dough balls 2” apart the prepared baking sheet.
  • Flatten each ball slightly with the palm of your hand. Add a few raisins on top of each cookie. The raisins will not stick well to the sugared surface until baked.
  • Bake for 8-9 minutes. Tops of cookies will not darken. Bottom edges of cookies will have just begun to turn golden brown. Do not overbake or the cookies will be dry.
  • Cool on baking sheet.
  • Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Amish Raisin Cookies

  • 4.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cream of tarter
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup raisins (plus extra for decorating)
  • 3/4 cup large crystal white decorating sugar or brown turbinado sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Set aside.

  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter, oil, and both sugars for about 3 minutes, until light and fluffy.

  4. Mix in the eggs one at a time. Then mix in the vanilla.

  5. Gradually add the dry ingredients until just combined. Overmixing will produce a less tender cookie.

  6. Fold in the raisins.

  7. Pour decorating sugar into a small shallow bowl.

  8. Use a medium (2 tablespoon) scoop to portion the dough.

  9. Roll each dough ball in decorating sugar.

  10. Place coated dough balls 2” apart the prepared baking sheet.

  11. Flatten each ball slightly with the palm of your hand. Add a few raisins on top of each cookie. The raisins will not stick well to the sugared surface until baked.

  12. Bake for 8-9 minutes. Tops of cookies will not darken. Bottom edges of cookies will have just begun to turn golden brown. Do not overbake or the cookies will be dry.

  13. Cool on baking sheet.

  14. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

BIO

Wendy Sondov is the recipe developer, baker, photographer, and care package creator for The Monday Box, the only care package recipe blog. All of the recipes on The Monday Box are for baked goods that travel well and stay fresh for a long time. Get recipes for home baked love sent straight to your inbox by signing up here!

 

These 10 Mess-Free Mother’s Day Gifts Are So Easy For Kids To Make!

These 10 Mess-Free Mother’s Day Gifts Are So Easy For Kids To Make!

So you want to have your kids make a cute craft for your mom for Mother’s Day. But you’re scared of the stress and the associated mess that comes from doing crafts with your kids. Yikes.

I totally understand. That’s why  I created this list of crafts your kids can make that are easy and (hopefully) mess free. But can anything with kids really be mess free? I’m not really sure. So here are some of my favorite “mess free” crafts that your kids can make for Mother’s Day.

Teacup Planter

Ok, so this idea is the cutest! I love the idea of using a teacup as an alternative to using a classic pot. This project would be simple and inexpensive. All you would need to do is head out to your local thrift store with you kids and let them choose out a teacup. Then let them choose a simple flower (i.e geranium, herbs, etc) to plant in the teacup. Check out this blog post here for more detailed instructions for this project!

 

Also check out this website that has more info on how to drill a hole in the bottom of your teacup to ensure proper drainage!

DIY Garden Markers

I love these simple garden markers! You could have your kids paint each of the spoons and then if they’re old enough have them draw each of the different vegetables.

 

Or if you’re going for an even simpler idea try these garden markers made with popsicle sticks. These markers are so easy, but super cute and fun!

And if you just want to avoid paint altogether (I know, it’s messy) you could make garden markers from rocks! Just head out to the backyard, pick out some rocks that are (fairly) flat on one side and have your kids write plant names on the rocks using a white paint marker. This is as easy as it gets folks and it looks really cute! There are some pictures here of some rock garden markers to give you ideas.

Printable Mother’s Day Book

 

This next idea is adorable. And it’s easy. Which is the best combination. It’s a printable Mother’s Day book! All you have to do is download the free pdf, print it off and have your kids fill in the blanks and draw pictures in the book. Here’s the link with more detailed instructions and the pdf (https://www.hellowonderful.co/post/KID-MADE-FREE-PRINTABLE-MOTHER—-S-DAY-BOOK/)

 

Garden Stepping Stones

I love garden stepping stones. I think they are so fun and add a nice touch to any garden. So these simple garden stones you can make with your kids are perfect! You just need quick dry cement, glass stones from the dollar store, and cereal boxes. You use the cereal boxes as the mold for the cement and then have your kids decorate each of the stones. Check out the full tutorial here  Disclaimer: I recommend you don’t let your kids pour the cement into the mold…that’s just asking for trouble and a huge mess.

 

Pressed Flower Bookmark

I love this cute pressed flower bookmark. It’s a great excuse to go out in nature and explore with your kids and it’s an easy craft for a Mother’s Day gift.

 

Mommy/Grandma Survival Kit

This  DIY Mommy/Grandma Survival Kit is an easy and fun gift for your kids to make. It’s just a mason jar filled with fun things any mom or grandma would need. You could let your kids choose what they want to fill the jar with and then have them decorate the jar how they want to.

 

Handmade You Are My Sunshine Card

Handmade cards are the best. Kids say the funniest things and I always get a laugh anytime my kids write me a card. This handmade card just requires some googly eyes, cardstock, and a cupcake liner.

String Heart Mother’s Day card

So I think Mother’s Day cards are the best. So here’s another one. This String Heart Mother’s Day card is simple and mess free!

 

DIY Flower Pens

Ok, so this one is a classic. So take advantage of how easy this gift is! All you need are some fake flowers, floral tape, and a pen. Basically all you need to do is glue the fake flower to the pen and then wrap the pen with floral tape! Check out this tutorial for more detailed instructions.

 

“Shhh Mommy’s Sleeping” door hanger

And last but not least a “Shhh Mommy’s Sleeping” door hanger. I need this. I’m probably going to have my kids make this for me tomorrow because it’s awesome. This door hanger is a super easy craft your kids can make to remind them not to disturb mom while she’s taking a nap. You’re welcome ladies.

 

Do you have more ideas of easy, mess-free kids crafts for Mother’s Day? Share them with me in the comments!