Monday, November 15, 2010

Special Savings for Big Apple Circus in NYC

If you'll be in the NYC area with your kids over the holidays, you're probably looking for ways to keep the family busy. From now until January 9, 2011, the Big Apple Circus will be at Lincoln Center with its new show, Dance On! In its big top, under which all seats are no more than 50 feet from the ring, you'll see monocyclists, lasso twirlers, a chorus line of 12 miniature horses and more. When you book your tickets, be sure to use this special discount code for saving up to $25 off of each ticket! 

To purchase discounted tickets to the Big Apple Circus:
  • By Phone: Call 888-541-3750 and mention code MOMMY11 
Special Savings for Big Apple Circus in NYCSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Story Time and Kids' Club From Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble offers two different story-time options. One, you can head to various Barnes & Noble locations for in-store story times. Many locations hold story time at 11 a.m. on both Tuesdays and Saturdays, but be sure to check your specific location for times. There will be a special Thanksgiving story time on Saturday (Nov. 20, 2010). Or, you can go to their website for a book read aloud by authors and celebrities. There's a new book read each month. This month, it's The Mitten by Jan Brett (who also reads it). Next month's story will be online on Dec. 7, 2010.

While you're on the site, check out the B&N Kids' Club. Some cool stuff you'll get:
  •  30% off list price on any one kids' book or toy 
  • $5 reward for every $100 you spend on kids’ stuff online and in stores 
  • Free cupcake from the cafĂ© for children's birthdays 
  • Free digital book created by your child on
Story Time and Kids' Club From Barnes & NobleSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Using TV (and TiVo) for Good

I often feel guilty when I let A watch TV while I work or clean. But sometimes you just need some help! I do only let her watch the educational options where at least her little brain can do some work. On these shows, there are often opportunities to reinforce things your kids are learning--whether that's while watching, that you have been teaching, or that they've learned in daycare or school. For instance, if the show is asking your child to tell the character to choose the correct path to go or the green ball from a group of objects, if you have TiVo or another DVR system, you can pause the show to give your child a bit longer to answer appropriately. You can also pause to ask your own questions. Maybe an animal pops up. You can pause and ask what the animal is and what sound it makes. If there are multiple of an item, have him count them. And don't forget, you can then rewind the show or segment to go over the lessons again.
Using TV (and TiVo) for GoodSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Monday, November 1, 2010

FREE Christmas Song Downloads

Download Christmas songs for your kids to dance and sing to--for FREE! The VeggieTales' The Incredible Shrinking Christmas Tree is available for free download on Amazon. You can download the whole album or individual tracks--and don't forget, you can sample each song before downloading. Get it soon; I doubt it will be available for long. Could make for entertainment while you're trying to shop! The album includes 16 songs (both new and old favorites):

"O Christmas Tree"
"Puppy Love"
"The Friendly Beasts"
"Jingle Ka-Ching"
"Battling Kings"
"Silent Night"
"Christmas Sizzle Boy"
"Candy Cane Blues"
"Was He a Boy Like Me"
"What My Father Did on Christmas Eve"
"Caroling Melody"
"What Child Is This / The First Noel"
"Hark The Herald Angels Sing / Angels We Have Heard on High"
"Joy to the World""
"For Unto Us A Child Is Born"
"It’s About Love"

Thanks, Baby Good Buys!
FREE Christmas Song DownloadsSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Great Values on Toys

If you're looking for toys that will be worth your money (especially as the holidays approach), check out the lists this week on Baby Cheapskate. Angie posts the "most loved" toys for five age groups. Today's group is for babies 5-12 months. And if you find deals on any of these (or have a personal experience with any), post a comment so others can benefit too. For instance, A got the Playskool Busy Ball Popper for her first birthday. However, she didn't start enjoying it until about 18 months (all the noise was a bit too much). However, she got the LeapFrog Learn & Groove table for her first Christmas and the Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Learning Home for her first birthday and loved them both from day one (and still does).
Great Values on ToysSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Free Packs of Origami Paper

While most little kids can't do origami, you can still take advantage of origami paper and all its fun colors! Use it for other crafts or for an art project for their rooms. You can get a pack for FREE (AND free shipping) from Everything in Paper Crafting--50 sheets total in three different sizes. All they ask is that if you want more, you purchase from them. But no obligation or other sign ups necessary!

How will you use yours?
Free Packs of Origami PaperSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Monday, October 4, 2010

FREE Small Photo Book (Great Tool to Help Little Hands Learn!)

Through Wednesday (Oct. 6, 2010), you can get a FREE purse photo book from Walgreens (4.5"x6" with 20 pages). Use it to show off your beautiful monkies, or it could even make a great item for teaching your baby. Include photos of loved ones so she can learn their names--especially those she doesn't see often. Or include photos of items around your house to teach the words for each item, their colors, ABCs or numbers. For instance, take photos of common objects found around your house such as a chair, lamp, toy, and dog. To get the book free, use the code FOREVER at checkout ($2.99 shipping applies).
FREE Small Photo Book (Great Tool to Help Little Hands Learn!)SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Customize a Coloring Book

Little kids love to color (as evidenced by the scribbles on your walls). To help keep their creativity on paper, give them pictures that capture their interests. With all the coloring pages available online, it's easy to create the perfect, customized coloring book for your little one. Go with one whole theme (for instance, ABCs, or mix it up with some Little Mermaid, favorite animals and some shapes. Check out these links for some popular options for toddlers and preschoolers: 
You have several options for putting the coloring book together.Whichever option you take, start by printing out 20 pages or so, which gives your child options to choose from (sometimes they want that perfect subject to color!).
  1. Punch three holes along the left side and put into a paper folder with brads. This makes for a book feel but with flexibility so it's easy to put into your bag (great for restaurants and waiting rooms). You can also have your child decorate the outside with stickers.
  2. If you want durability, stick the pages into plastic sleeves in a 1/2-inch binder. This gives the option of either taking the pages out and coloring with crayons, OR leave them in the sleeves and color with dry-erase markers! 
  3. Punch three holes along the left side of the pages. Then add a construction-paper front and back; pull pieces of yarn through each hole and tie. 
  4. Of course, the simplest route is just to staple them all together along the left side. Maybe add a blank "cover" your child can decorate.
Customize a Coloring BookSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fun at a Discount: Family Deal Sites

We're always looking for good deals on things to do with the little ones. Lately I've gotten into using various discount sites, and we've found some great deals on food and activities (at least 50% off). For instance, we got half-price tickets to the children's museum (saving those for a cold winter day!). So far, I've come across two sites specifically geared toward families:

Mamapedia Sweet Deal - includes deals for the following cities: Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, L.A., Miami, New York, Phoenix, Portland, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle and St. Louis. When you make a purchase, 5% of it goes to the school or preschool of your choice.

Famgrab (click at the top to change the city) - includes deals for the following cities (all in the South): Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Louisville, Miami, Nashville, Orlando, Raleigh-Durham, San Antonio, St. Louis and Tampa. With Famgrab, 10% of the site's profits go to a different charity each month.

Each site has a different deal each day; if a certain number of deals are not sold (but you buy one), your credit card is not charged but the deal is also defunct. This seems to rarely happen. Usually there's plenty of interest in a deal--especially if it's a good one!

  • Be sure to check on the expiration dates. Sometimes you know you won't make it to a certain location before your discount expires. 
  • Sign up to receive the daily deals in your e-mail. That way, you don't have to remember to check the site.
  • If you find a deal you like, buy it! Remember, it won't last past the day and it may not last that long if it sells out first (many of the deals on these sites don't have a maximum number of deals, but it never hurts to be sure you have yours).
  • Always carefully read all of the details to a deal. Some may have restrictions you can't work with. (However, generally, they're easy to use.)
  • Keep other cities' sites in mind for when you'll be traveling. Then you can buy before you go as they come up and enjoy the discount when you're on vacation!
Know of any other family-deal sites?
Fun at a Discount: Family Deal SitesSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Build a Bear...or Not...for Fun

The weather has been unbearably hot, and recently we were looking for something inside to do--but we had to get out of the house. At the time, Build-A-Bear Workshop was having a good sale, so we headed to the mall for a bear-making session. Figured it'd be a treat for A, and with the sale, it wouldn't be too costly.

Once we got there, A was definitely more into the accessories than the actual animals. We looked at each animal option, and while she got excited about a couple for a few seconds, overall she just wanted to check the place out. We even tried to talk her into choosing one (which isn't normal for us!), but she was just enjoying the experience. So we watched a few being made, checked out the clothes, and pretended to talk on a cell phone or two, and off we went. Money still in our pockets. So needless to say, if you, too, have a 2 year old, you might consider heading to Build-A-Bear just for the atmosphere! If the child's any older, you'll probably have to buy something. ;) So if you want to make a purchase, print this $5 off $25 purchase coupon on for some savings. Just choose the "gifts" category to access the coupon.
Build a Bear...or Not...for FunSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Monday, September 20, 2010

Animal Magazine Made for Little Kids

Most little kids love animals--acting like them (as in my little monkey!) and learning about them. I just discovered a magazine just for little ones on that topic. National Geographic Little Kids is targeted to kids ages 3 to 6. I haven't yet seen an actual copy, so I can't say what the content is like, but they do have a website also for that age group (and with a mag subscription link, of course). It has various animal-themed activities such as interactive games (connect the dots, puzzles, etc.), masks to print out, coloring pages and science experiments (though the experiments aren't animal themed!).

If I have a chance to get to the newsstand and check an issue out, I'll post a review.
Animal Magazine Made for Little KidsSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Recordable Storybooks

Hallmark now offers recordable storybooks. I'm interested to try them out. It looks like you just record yourself (or whoever--could even be your child) reading the story, and once you're happy with your recording, you can save it so it won't be deleted (even with a battery change). There are 12 different books to choose from, including some for the holidays. This could be a great keepsake for years to come, whether for your children or your grandchildren. They'll love being able to hear your voice whenever they like! Check out the website for ideas on how to use them and which stores have the books available for purchase ($29.95 each).

Here's a list of the books available:
All the Ways I Love You
Bright & Beautiful
Frosty the Snowman
Hey Diddle, Diddle
I Love You, Grandma
My Grandpa & Me
My Little Princess
The Night Before Christmas
Thank You, God, For Everything
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
The Very First Christmas
We're Not Scared of Anything

If you've purchased one and used it, let us know what you think!
Recordable StorybooksSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Thomas Fun at Toys R Us

If your kids love Thomas the Train, you might want to head to Toys R Us this Saturday (September 11, 2010). Stores are having a Thomas Play Date from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. with giveaways, story time and coloring activities.
Thomas Fun at Toys R UsSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Monday, August 16, 2010

Put Your Child in His Favorite Show

The four of us took a trip to the library over the weekend. Thought A might be getting to the age to enjoy seeing all the books (she wants to read EVERYthing lately). We chose several and read a few. Then we also picked a few DVDs. She loves "Arthur," so we took one home. In the end commercials, there was one for Kideo, which puts your child's photo in an episode of certain kid shows. I checked out their site (not knowing if they were even still in business since this video came out). Come to find out, they don't only offer "Arthur" versions, but others as well. Here's a full list:
  • Dora and Diego
  • Precious Moments
  • Spider-Man
  • Arthur
  • Care Bears
  • Baby Genius
  • Barney
  • Gregory

I think most little kids would get a kick out of seeing themselves on TV. Could be a special treat. The Dora selection has one with a birthday theme, which could make a great gift. You can upload your child's photo on the website to get a preview. They're $29.99 each (must say, I was hoping for cheaper...yet I'm still considering one as a potential Christmas gift).
Put Your Child in His Favorite ShowSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Monday, July 26, 2010

Make Your Own Foam Letters for the Tub

As one of the many bath-toy options, you can buy foam letters for sticking to the tub. All it takes is getting them wet. But instead of buying pre-made letters, make your own! Not only can you create exactly the letters you want, but it's a lot cheaper to do yourself. For the record, the wet foam will stick to the fridge too, but of course it will fall off once dry. But, hey, that could be an activity to keep them busy while you make dinner, at least!

To make the letters, just buy some sheets of craft foam (I bought a multi-pack of 4x6 colored sheets at a dollar store) and cut out whatever letters you want. Of course you could also cut out shapes, numbers, or even animals.
Make Your Own Foam Letters for the TubSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Friday, July 23, 2010

$1 Each for Popcorn and Drink at AMC Theatres on Sunday!

If you're taking the kids to the movies this weekend, plan to go on Sunday (July 25, 2010) at an AMC Theatre and you can get popcorn and a drink for $1 each...ANY size! Just provide your e-mail address to print the coupon.
$1 Each for Popcorn and Drink at AMC Theatres on Sunday!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Kid-Customize Some Pottery

Do you have a budding Picasso on your hands? Or even just a toddler who likes to draw on whatever she can find? A and I went to a pottery shop a few weeks ago to make some gifts. Basically, the shop provides various pieces you can choose from (all varying prices), and then you are set free to choose colors and paint it however you wish. At this particular spot, the price of the piece includes the paint and the firing of the pottery. We chose a couple of tiles to use as either a wall plaque or coaster. After we picked some paint colors, I let A go to town painting however she liked. We then topped that off with her handprint (and wrote her name and the date). She did get disinterested every now and then so she'd go play with some toys the shop had available. It certainly took longer to do than it would have sans a 2 year old (we were there about two hours), but she had a great time. And knowing she basically did it all by herself, the gift meant more too.

You can even do this with babies. Of course, you'd have to do the initial painting, but you could certainly paint up their little feet or hands and press them onto your piece. We had several babies with us when we went and they all made their marks--plus, all the mommies had some time to talk.

Once our masterpieces were complete, we left them at the shop so they could be fired. We returned a week later to pick them up. The little monkey immediately remembered that was her creation (and her hand)!
Kid-Customize Some PotterySocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Monday, July 12, 2010

Free Baby Sign Language Resources

Interested in teaching your baby sign language? When you sign up for the free Sign2Me Spotlight Newsletter, you'll receive a baby sing language chart, an American Sign Language alphabet chart (with illustrations) and an MP3 song. The e-newsletter itself includes sign demonstrations, tips, coupons, etc.

Signing can be a great way to bond and communicate with your infant. It can become key if your child has a hearing problem. It opens up a whole new world to them! I only taught A a few signs when she was a baby, but I'm planning to do more with T.

Thanks, Money Saving Mom!
Free Baby Sign Language ResourcesSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Easy Planting: Seeds in Match Tips

My little monkey planted an herb garden and some tomato seeds with my mom a month or so ago. Now they have plants! While you can certainly go the traditional seed or seedling route, I just discovered a fun and very easy way for your kids to plant their own garden...even without your help. The Matchstick Garden Book of Seeds contains 10 matches with tips that include seeds. All you have to do is stick the matches seed-end down into the dirt. Choose from herbs, Italian herbs, mixed greens or wildflowers. You can find them for $3 each or less. These could be great in goody bags--especially if the party had a garden or flower theme.

Where to Buy:
Olive Barn
Pop Deluxe
Easy Planting: Seeds in Match TipsSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Free Sesame Street Webzine for Download

If your child loves Sesame Street, check out the free monthly webzine! Just download all or part of the latest issue in its PDF format and let your little one play and learn. Each issue has a different theme, and the current one is safari animals. You'll find various activities, from coloring pages to finding hidden objects to making animal sounds. 

Thanks, Freebies 4 Mom!
Free Sesame Street Webzine for DownloadSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

I'm Back!

Thanks for sticking with me! I didn't mean to take such a long break from blogging, but it's amazing how quickly time passes when you have two little ones to work around! I'm hoping/planning to get back to a regular routine (but do please excuse any lapses!).

As always, if you have any events, products or activities to share, just let me know. In the meantime, here's a pic of the newest family member ("T"):
I'm Back!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Friday, June 11, 2010

Free First Episodes of Nick and Disney Shows has a post about free first episodes of various Nickelodeon and Disney Channel TV shows you can download from iTunes for a limited time (appears it's until Monday, June 14, 2010). Most are shows for older kids (such as Hannah Montana), but there is at least Dora the Explorer. Check it out, if you're interested.
Free First Episodes of Nick and Disney ShowsSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Posting/baby Update

Just FYI, I may be missing for a bit. I apologize for the lack of posts lately. New baby could come any day! Trying to get things done while taking it easy. Posting will be back to normal soon!
Posting/baby UpdateSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Code for FREE 8x8 Photobook from Shutterfly

While this isn't technically an activity for the kids, it's one ABOUT the kids, and maybe they could help pick a few of their favorite, I know you guys love free goodies related to your kids! Shutterfly has a code out for a FREE 8x8 photobook for Father's Day (of course, you could give it to anyone, including yourself)--a $29.99 value. The deal includes 20 pages; you can add more for an additional fee. Just enter MAYBOOK as the promo code. Expires May 26, 2010 (I personally wish it could last until the new baby gets here!)
Code for FREE 8x8 Photobook from ShutterflySocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Free Crafts on Saturdays at Lakeshore Learning Stores

For your kids 3 and up, check out the free craft workshops at all Lakeshore Learning stores. They're held every Saturday from 11-3 p.m. The East Brunswick and New Hyde Park locations also have craft time every Sunday at the same hours.

Here's a roundup of the crafts for the next month:

May 22: Tear-Art Tambourine
May 29: Tic-Tac-Toe Board
June 5: Summer Sunglasses
June 12: Portable Storage Pouch
June 19: Notepad Holder
June 26: Summer Fruit Baskets
Free Crafts on Saturdays at Lakeshore Learning StoresSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Monday, May 17, 2010

Happy Birthday, Little Monkey!

Happy birthday to my little monkey! She's 2 today! We bought her this playhouse and so far, she loves it. It's a good size for her and keeps her entertained.

At her party on Saturday, we put several things on the deck for her and her 18-month-old friend to play with. We set up a kiddie pool, sand table, a small slide on the deck, and then had a small ball pit and the playhouse in the yard. I think they would have stayed out there all day if we'd let them!
Happy Birthday, Little Monkey!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Kids Eat Free at IKEA This Weekend

Starting tomorrow (May 14, 2010) and going through Sunday, kids eat free at Ikea. You get your choice of three kids' items in a meal. A great deal! Be sure your location is participating.
Kids Eat Free at IKEA This WeekendSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Make Your Own Toddler Skee-Ball Game

I just saw this on an e-mail from Babycenter. It's a fun idea--and easy! Make a Skee-Ball game for your toddler. Just take an empty diaper box (or any cardboard box) and glue various containers to it, one above the other. You could use empty formula, coffee or oatmeal canisters. Make sure the hole isn't too small on each or your child may get frustrated. To add an educational element, you could assign amounts to certain spots (for instance, 1-4), which your kids then identify and even add up. If you make them different colors, they can aim for certain ones, or you can go over what they landed in.
Make Your Own Toddler Skee-Ball GameSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Monday, May 10, 2010

LAST DAY of Giveaway!

If you haven't entered already, make sure to do so before noon! Good luck!
LAST DAY of Giveaway!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

I hope you all have a great day tomorrow (or a whole weekend!). If you're debating where to have your family treat you, check out my posts on Means to Eat for some food deals and freebies (including free TCBY and great lunch/dinner deals)--many of which are for both today and tomorrow.

And don't forget to enter the I Spy Bag giveaway! Ends on Monday at noon EDT. 
Happy Mother's Day!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I Spy Bags from Emmie's Designs: Review and GIVEAWAY!

As I was browsing recently, the I Spy Bags from Emmie's Designs caught my attention. These bags are intended as fun (and even somewhat educational) toys for small children. They include small trinkets, which are hidden within rice and all viewed through a large plastic window. Each bag also includes removable cards with written lists and images of the hidden items. Searching for the items can be entertaining in and of itself, but you could also make it game. For instance, ask, "Where is the pink star?," then your child's search begins!

Emmie was kind enough to send a sample for A to try out. Admittedly, she used it as a bean bag at first, throwing it across the room. But she'll often find it and sit for at least a few minutes while hunting for finds. Preschoolers would have a bit more of an attention span to actually hunt for all of the items. And it seems even babies would enjoy the bags, squishing them and seeing what pops up. The bags are made with very soft, fun fabrics (I was quite amazed at their softness, actually) and seem well stitched so nothing escapes. The only area that might eventually become an issue is where the bag was stitched shut after being filled. However, even in that spot, I think it would take a lot of wear and tear to break through.

Since it's such a fun item, I wanted to give one away, and Emmie was happy to help! The winner will get the opportunity to choose her favorite I Spy Bag design from the Emmie's Designs collection. Be sure to check out the selection--designs for boys, girls and unisex!

CONGRATULATIONS! The winner of the I Spy Bag is Meej (meej1028@)! Be sure to contact me by Thursday at 11 p.m. to claim your prize! 

I Spy Bags from Emmie's Designs: Review and GIVEAWAY!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Easily Find Places to Take the Kids With Mom Maps

Just found a website for finding fun spots for spending time with your kids! Mom Maps helps you locate places for family fun around your area. You'll can search for parks, playgrounds, restaurants, museums, indoor play areas and infant spots. You can also add your own spots as you discover them.

Here's a list cities they cover as of now (looks like more will be added soon. Hoping for Atlanta!):

West Coast: San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, Seattle, Portland, Hawaii
Midwest: Albuquerque, Salt Lake City, Boise, Cincinnati, Chicago, St. Louis, Milwaukee
East Coast: Philadelphia, New York City, Washington D.C.
South: Dallas, New Orleans, Raleigh, Jacksonville, Charlotte

If you have an iPhone, you can download the Mom Maps app (shown in image).
Easily Find Places to Take the Kids With Mom MapsSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Monday, May 3, 2010

$1 Items for Outdoor Playtime

I was just at Target and found some fun outdoor stuff for kids in the dollar section (you know, the area right inside the front doors near the registers). Little Monkey's 2nd birthday is coming up and we'll have some outdoor activities, so figured I'd pick up a few fun items the kids can play with (and of course A can keep to enjoy later). Here's what I found:
  • sidewalk chalk (a multipack of large pieces in various colors)
  • bucket with shovel
  • plastic rake, spade and shovel set for the sandbox
  • beach ball
  • small, bright-colored tin buckets for take-home treats

Plus, they have some kids' gardening items such as shovels and spades and mini pots with seeds. I'm sure there was more I'm now forgetting. Check it out if you're looking for ways to entertain your kids while they're outdoors this summer!
$1 Items for Outdoor PlaytimeSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Monday, April 26, 2010

Extra Savings Off Sale Items at

Now through Friday, you can get an extra 20% off sale items at No coupon code needed; the extra discount will appear once you have items in your cart.You'll find riding toys, Little People sets, building sets, software, character items and more.
Extra Savings Off Sale Items at Fisher-Price.comSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Cheerios Necklace: A Snack and Activity in One

Moms of older babies, toddlers and preschoolers often have plenty of Cheerios around. Turn them into a learning activity (but still a treat). For older kids, use a piece of string or non-flavored dental floss (they're floppy so harder to string); for the younger set, use pipe cleaners, which are stiffer. Tie or loop the first Cheerio to the end of the string so it acts as a stopper and won't allow the rest to fall off. Have your child string the rest of the Cheerios on to create a necklace or bracelet (or just slip them back off once they're tired of the activity. Stringing items will help develop their hand-eye coordination and give them a snack! You can use any o-shaped cereal and any flavor (fruit-flavored would give great color--plus, another color-learning opportunity). Some have larger holes, so see which works best for your child.

And if you'll be needing a new box of Cheerios soon, sign up for $4 in coupons!
Cheerios Necklace: A Snack and Activity in OneSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Free Pretzel Today! And Free Ice Cream on Thursday

Take the kiddos for a FREE pretzel today at Pretzel Time or Pretzelmaker! can get a free low-fat ice ice cream with flavor shot at Carvel on Thursday.
Free Pretzel Today! And Free Ice Cream on ThursdaySocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Free Hat and Activity Sheets at the Disney Store for Earth Day

If you take in six plastic bottles or aluminum cans to a Disney Store location tomorrow (Thursday, April 22, 2010), you'll get a FREE Friends for Change or OCEANS branded eco-friendly hat (while supplies last). The hats themselves are made from recycled plastic bottles.

You can also pick up OCEANS themed activity sheets. Your kids will learn about various bodies of water and how to keep trash out of them.

Thanks, Coupon Cravings!
Free Hat and Activity Sheets at the Disney Store for Earth DaySocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Discovery Channel Store Toy Clearance--And Extra Savings!

The Discovery Channel Store is having a toy clearance right now. AND you can apply the code TOYS for an extra 15% off! With the addition of the code, you could save up to 75%. It's only good for a week, so if you want to take advantage, do so now!

Thanks, Baby Cheapskate!
Discovery Channel Store Toy Clearance--And Extra Savings!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Update....and Better Stuff to Come!

Wow...I don't know how it's been a week since I last posted. Well, actually, I do. Lots has been going on. Got diagnosed with gestational diabetes, so having to take some time to adjust to the new "schedule." Spending most of my time planning what I'm going to eat for the day, eating it, checking blood sugar, and recording things. Plus, half the time my results make no sense to me, which is a little frustrating. Good thing there's a follow up on Friday! I've also been trying to get the house reorganized for the baby and A's new toddler room set up. Both are still works in progress, but at least there has been some progress! And then there's work. But that's standard.

I just wanted you all to know I'm still around, just having to make some adjustments. I'll be posting with more substance very soon (and I have a giveaway to post! )--hopefully later today or tomorrow. Hang in there with me. :)

But also, I'll be posting some Tax Day food freebies today and tomorrow on my other blog, Means to Eat. Be sure to check them out to save some money while dining with your little ones! OK..time for (another) meal-plan snack!
Update....and Better Stuff to Come!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Special Help in the Garden

Now that winter is finally deciding to leave (at leave in most places), it's time to start gardening. Whether you've already done your planting or not, there are multiple ways to get your young kids involved in the process, whether you're gardening with flowers or vegetables. I know A (22 months) is already glad to help out with the weeding and digging in the dirt!

If you're planting vegetables from seed packets, show your child the image on the seed packet and have him tell you what it is. If he's not yet talking (or at least not enough to get out vegetable names), lay out the packets and have him point to whatever veggie you say. For instance, you could say, "Let's plant the carrot seeds. Where's the carrot?" Then show him how to dig the hole and plant the seeds. Plus, you can have him help dig, pat the dirt down, or sprinkle with water from a watering can.

You child can also draw place markers for the plants. If she's a little older, she can draw the actual vegetables in an index card that you then put onto a craft stick to put into the ground. Otherwise, you could print out black and white drawings of each and have your little one color them.

Once your garden has developed, have your child help pick the vegetables, telling him what it is as you go and even counting them. You can also tell him the color or have him name it (same would work for flowers that have bloomed). Remind him these came from those tiny seeds you planted.

Not only will they have fun with all of this interaction, it will make them more likely to try eating the foods!
Special Help in the GardenSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter! Have a wonderful day with your family today. I'll be off doing the same. See you tomorrow! And look forward to a giveaway next week!
Happy Easter!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Free Easter Craft at Michaels This Saturday

At many Michaels stores this Saturday from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., you and your child can decorate an Easter pail for free. Not all stores participate, so be sure to call yours first.

What Easter crafts have you done with your children this week?
Free Easter Craft at Michaels This SaturdaySocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Egg Decoration and Play for Easter--Little Monkey-Style

Toddlers and preschoolers can have a blast decorating eggs. And while you can certain go the traditional dyeing route, you might prefer a few less messy options if the kids are going to help. And of course, make sure you hard boil these first. Otherwise, you're in for a MAJOR mess.

Set out a variety of colors of crayons and/or washable markers. You'll want to make sure the eggs aren't wet first; otherwise, the color won't stick. An even "cleaner" option is to put out a pile of stickers or foam stickers (you may need to help them peel to access the adhesive) to stick onto their eggs. Circles, flowers, rabbits or favorite characters will be a hit.

Once you have your beautiful eggs, you can always hide them in the yard (keep it simple to keep their interest). Or, especially with dyed eggs and infants, you can put the eggs back into the carton and help your baby sort them by color. Playing a game of "roll the egg" is another activity to try. Instead of rolling a ball, roll the egg. They're a great size for little hands to grab; plus, the little bit off wobbling action the egg has as it rolls will be entertaining!
Egg Decoration and Play for Easter--Little Monkey-StyleSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Monday, March 29, 2010

Bowl Without the Alley...or Buying a Set of Pins

Your toddler or preschooler probably loves knocking things over. And you've probably seen (or maybe even have) one of those toy bowling sets. A bit pricey for what it is (in my opinion). However, you can easily make your own, and I bet your set will end up cuter than any you could buy. Plus, this can be an indoor or outdoor game; a great option for a warm spring day!

To make your own bowling set, start collecting empty 2-liter plastic bottles for the pins (to make a full set, you'll need a total of 10). Rinse them out well once the drink is gone. Then you can do any of several things to make up your set of pins. Here are some ideas:
  • Leave the labels on if you like the "ad effect"!
  • Remove the labels and have clear pins.
  • Remove the labels and then have your child add decorations like stickers or foam shapes with adhesive backing.
  • With clear pins, you can even put things inside for added drama (and, if you fill it up enough, an extra challenge for knocking them over). Try colored beads, pom-poms, colored sand, glitter, bells, colored tissue paper (for color and a textured look) and old buttons. Just be sure you the lid is on tightly so you don't have any accidents or give kids access to choking hazards.
Now all you need is a rubber ball to roll at them. Then let the kids have at it!
Bowl Without the Alley...or Buying a Set of PinsSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Friday, March 26, 2010

FREE Potty Training DVD With Games & Songs's been a LONG week! (Posting had to take a bit of a backseat, unfortunately). Still much more to do this weekend, but somehow it seems better knowing it's the weekend!

We're in the beginning stages of potty training, and I got an e-mail this morning from Huggies about a FREE DVD you can order from them that includes games and songs. Of course, who knows if they really make a difference, but figure we'll see if it inspires some potty time! If you want to give it a shot too, head to the site.
FREE Potty Training DVD With Games & SongsSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Top Items for Toddler Easter Baskets

Easter baskets are obviously lost on babies. They don't get either the concept or the stuff. Of course, that generally doesn't stop us from giving them one! If you're making one up, you can always include things like board books, a cuddly doll, a package of teething biscuits, a rattle, maybe a new pacifier or bottle. Even just some plastic eggs with Cheerios inside. A had lots of fun with the plastic eggs themselves last year.

Once they're toddlers, even if they don't really "get it," they at least know the basket is filled with fun stuff! Here are some idea of things to include:
  • Hard-boiled eggs, plain or dyed (A loves these and they're better for her than candy eggs!) 
  • Small books
  • A stuffed bunny, duck or chick (maybe one that moves or makes noises)
  • Plastic eggs filled with raisins, Raisinets or Craisins
  • Small bag of fruit snacks
  • Small package of Goldfish crackers
  • A sweet treat (pastel marshmallows or a small piece of chocolate)
  • A page of stickers
What have you included in Easter baskets for your toddlers? Leave a comment to let us know!
    Top Items for Toddler Easter BasketsSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

    Sunday, March 21, 2010

    Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry's!

    If you and the kiddos need a snack break on Tuesday (celebrating spring could be your excuse), head to Ben & Jerry's for a free cone! (12-8 p.m., Tuesday only). I just wish I knew a time to suggest to go when it might be less crowded...anyone have any tips?
    Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry's!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

    Thursday, March 18, 2010

    Not Your Typical Lullaby Music

    If you're sick of the usual baby lullabies (or you're just a big fan of a rock band), check out these CDs (Rockabye Baby) of rock songs turned into instrumental lullabies. You can hear a sample of each on the site (in fact, if you click on the album, you can hear a sample of each song). I must say, some I heard were quite good; others, not so sure. But see what you think! A few of the artists: U2, The Beatles, Radiohead, Journey, Guns N' Roses, Queen, Nine Inch Nails (quite the variety). $16.98 each.
    Not Your Typical Lullaby MusicSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

    Wednesday, March 17, 2010

    Happy St. Patrick's Day!

    If you missed it, check out this previous post for a fun game to play with your toddler in celebration of St. Patrick's Day.

    What all are you doing to celebrate the day with your kids? Green snacks? Hunting for four-leaf clovers in the back yard? Leave a comment, or if you have a post about your St. Patrick's Day plans, feel free to leave a link.
    Happy St. Patrick's Day!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

    Tuesday, March 16, 2010

    Morgan's Wonderland: A Special Place for Kids With Special Needs

    You may or may not have heard about Morgan's Wonderland--The World's First Ultra Accessible Family Fun Park. It's a new theme park in San Antonio, Texas, created especially for kids with special needs, taking their needs and wants for fun into account. Of course kids without special needs would enjoy it as well.

    There are TONS of things to do--even for little ones! The Butterfly Playground was designed especially for people with cognitive and physical disabilities. The ramps are even wide enough for two wheelchairs to pass each other (it's a big deal that's there's even a ramp at all!). Swing sets include both traditional and adaptive swings (including wheelchair swings). Sensory Village is made up of themed spaces within a "town." Here kids can shop for groceries, visit an auto/fix-it shop or stable, and more. The goal of this town is to provide imaginative play along with sensory stimulation, which is often key for those with special needs. To further encourage sensory development, there's also a Music Garden with various instruments to play. And don't forget the adaptive racetrack, train, carousel and sand area, complete with diggers for kids who can't get down into the sand themselves. And it doesn't end there; you'll also find a gymnasium, amphitheater, food courts and more. Check out the site for full details.

    Here's what you need to know before you go:
    • Admission: Visitors with special needs and kids 0-3: FREE; persons accompanying someone with special needs: $5; general admission: $15
    • All guests must pre-register (to make the entry process easier)
    • When you arrive, you'll receive special wristbands IDing your group's members (the park is big on safety and security!)
    • For the vision and hearing impaired: Braille signage, 3-D scale models and rest areas for service animals
    • Most areas are shaded and water misters are located throughout the park
    Morgan's Wonderland officially opens on April 10, 2010.
    Morgan's Wonderland: A Special Place for Kids With Special NeedsSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

    Sunday, March 14, 2010

    Target: Printable Coupons for Toys, Games and More!

    Target's website has some great store coupons up right now on kids' toys and games (a mix of items for younger and older kids). Great to use when the products are on sale--and even better when you find a manufacturer coupon to use too! Here's a roundup of what's available:

    • $3 off select Hasbro games
    • $3 off select Disney DVD or Blu-Ray Disc
    • $10 off Schwinn bike
    • $5 off select Lego toys
    • $5 off select Fisher-Price Thomas & Friends items
    • $5 off LeapFrog purchase of $30 or more
    • $5 off Hot Wheels purchase of $25 or more
    Plus, there are coupons for kids' apparel (Circo, Cherokee, Hanes, Gerber), diapers and kids' snacks.
    Target: Printable Coupons for Toys, Games and More!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

    Friday, March 12, 2010

    Baby Shower at Babies R Us Tomorrow for Expectant Moms (and those they love!)

    If you're expecting, consider going to the Super Baby Shower tomorrow (12-3 p.m.) at Babies R Us locations. Get more details via a link on the Busy Little Monkey facebook fan page. Looks like there'll be savings and giveaways. If you've been in the past, let us know how it was.
    Baby Shower at Babies R Us Tomorrow for Expectant Moms (and those they love!)SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

    WaterWheel Play Table Deal

    I'm determined not to give up on the idea that nice, warm weather is coming soon! Because of that, I've started looking into outdoor play stuff for A. We're finishing up renovating our deck, and between that and the back yard, we have lots of room for fun this spring and summer. In my search, I found a Step2 WaterWheel Play Table for $35 with free shipping, which some of you might be interested in. If you've seen it cheaper (at a store or online with free shipping), let me know. It's definitely the best outdoor toy deal on the Step2 site right now.

    What outdoor toys do your kids love? What do you plan to buy for the summer?
    WaterWheel Play Table DealSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend