Real Solutions for Real Families Living Real Life

27 Fun Busy Bag Activities for 2 Year Olds to Keep Them Busy

I love the idea of busy bags! I first discovered the idea when my first daughter was a toddler and I was beginning to work on homeschooling her while I was working from home. And I needed lots of ideas for fun activities for toddlers.

Busy bags offer fun and simple activities that are mostly focused on learning and motor skills and happily keep little ones busy for at least 15-20 minutes. And that’s light years for moms with toddlers!

Here is a list of fun and easy busy bags that are perfect for your 2-year-old. This means the pieces aren’t too small, they’re easy and engaging for toddlers to do, and they don’t contain stuff that’ll ruin your house when you’re not looking.

You’re welcome for that last one!

How to Make Your Own Busy Bags the Cheap and Easy Way

The first step is finding your bags. Many moms use reusable pencil holders. Here’s a multicolored pack of 24.

You can also just use durable slide locking Ziploc bags like these. Honestly, that’s what I use because they’re cheaper and bigger. They just don’t look at cute as the colorful ones.

busy bags activities for 2 year olds

Then you’ll want to search lists like this one and find a few busy bags you want to make. Create a list of supplies. Try to first use what you have on hand first and also look at the clearance area inside most craft stores.

Once you have your supplies, it’s time for the fun to begin! You can also allow your older kids to make the busy bags, if you have older kids. If not, put your toddler to bed and turn on your favorite Netflix show and start crafting.

This may be weird to you but I don’t like making my busy bags in front of my toddler. I love showing them when it’s all done. I don’t want to spoil the magic. But obviously do what works for you.

Finally, if you make a whole batch you’ll want to store them somewhere that keeps them from getting damaged. You can store in a drawer or a plastic bin that’s just for busy bags.

Pro mom tip: Do NOT store them with your toddler’s regular toys or in a place they can reach them on their own.

For one, you want them to be special every time you present them. This honestly keeps them playing so much longer. And two, you don’t want to walk in the room to see all your carefully crafted busy bag items all dumped into one glorious pile!

Talk about mom meltdown.

Now let’s get to all the fun.

27 Busy Bag Activities for 2 Year Olds

I’ve divided the busy bag ideas into categories so you can easily find the type of activity you want to work on first.

Looking for simple activities to keep your toddler busy and learning? This list of busy bags for 2 year olds will keep your little one busy and happy! #toddlers #activities

Fine Motor Skills Activities

No Sew Button Snake – Twitchetts

Crazy Straws – Powerful Mothering

Popsicle Stick Drop – Adventures and Play

Wooden Animal Lacing – Little Lifelong Learners

Pool Noodle Lacing – Planet of the Apels

Puzzle and Matching Activities

Super Hero Mix and Match Puzzle – School Time Snippets

Shapes Matching – Plain Vanilla Mom

Ladybug Number Match Up – Coffee and Crayons

Winter Counting Puzzle – Life Over CS

Memory Game with Lids – Powerful Mothering

Felt Counting Chain – Glued to My Crafts Blog

Alphabet Match Up – Learning 4 Kids

Crocodile Counting Match – Reading Confetti

Shapes, Letters, and Colors Recognition

Pom pom Color Egg Carton Sort – The Stay at Home Mom Survival Guide

Rainbow Sorting – Learning and Exploring Through Play

Fish for Shapes – Little Family Fun

Q Tip Counting Trays – Mama Jenn

Colored Stick to Clothes Pin Matching – Teach Me Mommy

Egg Carton Color Sort – The Imagination Tree

Alphabet Tracing Sheets – Money Saving Mom

Letter Spoon Match Up – Organized Jewish Home

Shape Sorting Ice Cube Tray – Mess for Less

Just Plain Fun Activities

Felt Tic Tac Toe Game – Childhood 101

Little Red Riding Hood Finger Puppets – Easy Peasy and Fun

Travel Felt Board – Mama Smiles

I Spy Peekaboo Bag – Childhood 101

Pipe Cleaner Lacing Game – Parents

If you’re also looking for quality online activities, check out these YouTube learning channels for kids!

The Best YouTube Kids Channels You Won’t Feel Guilty About Letting Your Kids Watch

YouTube Kids is something kid’s dreams are made of, or at least I think it is of my toddler’s dreams. But it can also be what parent’s nightmares are made of because of all the mom guilt that seems to come into play with screen time.

YouTube content for kids wasn’t a thing when my girls were little so YouTube kids really took me by surprise with my toddler son this time around.

Best YouTube Kids Channels

I’m not even entirely sure how he got introduced to YouTube Kids… probably sitting next to his older sisters’ watching slime videos.

He first became obsessed when he watched his first Blippi video. I was super leery of this strange guy wearing an orange hat and bowtie and acting like a kid himself. PeeWee Herman came to mind.

But I starting watching with him and actually came to like the guy as he actually shared educational content. He’s basically lightyears better than watching useless toy reviews and unboxing videos.

Helpful Screen Time Guidelines

So where do I stand with my kids watching YouTube Kids channels?

I personally feel that screen time is screen time. I say that to mean, anytime your kid is looking at a screen, chances are, they aren’t doing healthy kids activities like reading a book, doing something hands-on, or getting physical exercise.

So, screen time in my house is limited in time and type… and those above mentioned things-to-do are strongly encouraged. As for how much time my kids get really depends on the day and whether we’re on a school break.

Or whether I need a break for that matter! 

You know what’s too much for your child, but no more than an hour a day is a good benchmark. Trust your own judgment as a parent.

As for the type of content they can watch or play on their device, I do my best to stick to educational. Not always. Some of his favorite shows and channels aren’t my favorite but I treat them like ice cream… sparingly.

Here’s a list of good YouTube channels and content that won’t leave you feeling guilty:

YouTube Kids Channels for Toddlers:

Super Simple Songs – This channel is full of cute, ear wormy, type of songs like Baby Shark but also has fun original educational content also.

Subscribers: 12 Million

Mother Goose Club – This channel is made up of adults and cute kids who dress up and create popular nursery rhymes and other fun children’s songs.

Subscribers: 4.9 Million

Sesame Street – Yes, our favorite monsters are on YouTube Kids. They’ve created shorts from their best episodes and also feature lots of learning videos. Their newest creation is a brand new animated series, Esme and Roy which is adorable.

Subscribers: 4.7 Million

PBS Kids – This channel doesn’t have original YouTube content but they do feature episodes of their shows like Daniel Tigers Neighborhood, Odd Squad, Pinkalicious, and Wild Kratts.

Subscribers: 553k

Blippi Blippi is fun and entertaining for toddlers and preschoolers but he also does do a good job of making his videos educational. My son loves Blippi and actually has learned quite a few things. He even asked for lettuce on his sandwich yesterday because Blippi did it!

Subscribers: 3.1 Million

YouTube Kids Channels for School Aged Kids:

National Geographic Kids – This channel is wonderful if you have a kid who loves animals or the outdoors. There are tons of videos about fascinating animals and their environments. They also really fun video series like weird but true, Sam’s zookeeper, the Best Job, and Awesome 8.

Subscribers: 179k

TED-Ed – From the creators of the TED Talk videos we all love to watch comes a channel that all parents and kids will love TED-Ed. This channel answers all the questions we’ve ever asked in life… and then some. The creators craft visually stimulating videos to answer these questions in a very edutaining way.

Subscribers: 8.2 Million

Sick Science! – If your child loves science, making slime, or doing experiments they’ll really enjoy this channel with Steve Spangler demonstrating the fun and power of science.

Subscribers: 570,000

Simple Kids Crafts – If you have a kid who loves crafts and making cute furniture for her dolls, she’ll love all the cuteness on this channel.

Subscribers: 500k

Nerdy Nummies – This channel is so fun and is perfect for your little baker. Rosanna is so charming as she teaches viewers how to make yummy nummies that are a kid’s dream!

Subscribers: 10 Million

YouTube Kids Channels for Tweens and Teens

Minute Physics – This breaks down complicated physics concepts into easy to understand stick animations. With all the superhero movies and shows, kids are being introduced to physics terms and these videos will help them understand things like dark matter and quantum tunneling.

Subscribers: 4.5 Million

Mike Loves Science AKA ComaNiddy – If your kid loves hip hop music and science than this channel is a match made in heaven. Mike loves science, hence the name, and he creates videos to teach scientific concepts with lyrical rhymes to help kids enjoy and remember them.

Subscribers: 18K

Cartooning 4 Kids – If you have an artistic kid who loves to draw like I do this channel is a great and fun place to help them hone their drawing skills.

Subscribers: 1.3 Million

Do you have any screen time tips? Please share them in the comments below!

When you do allow screen time in your home, these educational and fun YouTube Kids Channels won't leave you feeling guilty! #kidsandparenting #parenting

22+ of the Coolest Must-Have Baby Stuff You’ve Probably Never Seen!

must have baby products

It seems like every year that passes, someone invents a baby gadget that I wish I had years before when my kids were babies!

There are also many inventions that are unnecessary, a waste of money, and totally prey on new parents’ emotions. But that’s not the focus of this post!

must have baby products

This post is full of the coolest, must-have baby stuff that we all wish we had “back in the day.” If you’re a new mom or a mom of little ones, you’re going to go nuts over these products!

Take a deep breath and stay calm. When deciding which one you have to have just tell yourself… you deserve it.

Baby Related Posts:

The Ultimate Baby Essentials List for the Minimalist Mom on a Budget

51 Adorable Gift Ideas for Toddlers and Babies that Aren’t Junk

27 Creative Pregnancy Announcement Ideas You’ll Want to Steal!

If you’re still in “mom-to-be” status, don’t forget your baby shower registry! Amazon has the largest registry on the planet and allows you to easily add any of these cool products to your registry without searching through retailers!

And you get a FREE sign up welcome box too!

The Coolest Baby Stuff You’ve Probably Never Seen!

1 – Free Hand Baby Bottle Holder

I know every mama has experienced feeding her baby and needing a free hand at the same time! We’ve tried every trick to prop up that bottle but nothing ever works.

This amazing bottle holder is a real problem solver and it almost makes me want another baby… almost.

 

Get this amazing product here!

And if you’re constantly looking for ways to prop up your baby’s bottle in the car, this car seat bottle holder is an answer to your prayers! Check it out here!

2 – First Years 4 in 1 Remote Bottle Warmer

The reason this bottle warmer is on my must-have list is that when my middle daughter was a baby, she would drink at least 3 bottles every night!

And our bedroom was upstairs so I pre-bottled her milk every evening and stored them in a cold pack on my nightstand. And when she started to get hungry, I would get my trusty coffee mug and fill it with hot water from the bathtub and nest her bottle inside to warm up.

This wasn’t the most effective way to heat up her bottles quickly at all. This warmer actually stores your bottles inside and warms the bottles in seconds! I would have jumped at this warmer back then.

Get this amazing product here!

3 – The Toddler Bathtime Dam

This product is genius! And not only does it holds your little one in place, but it also saves gallons of water every single bath!

It easily snaps in place each bathtime and takes up very little space. In fact, it takes up way less space than those large infant tubs! The best part is, you can use this long after your baby grows out of the baby stage!

Check this out this product here!

4 – QuickZip Crib Sheet Set

I remember changing crib sheets and the nightmare experience it was every time. These amazing sheets actually zip on and off easily without the need to remove the mattress from the crib or wreck your back!

These crib sheets are simply revolutionary!

Check out this product here!

5 – Cocoon Cam Plus – Baby Monitor with Breathing Monitoring

There are many baby monitor on the market that have helpful features that give parents that much needed peace of mind when their baby is sleeping.

However, this monitor takes the cake and actually monitors your infant’s breathing! This technology is revolutionary and the best part is it doesn’t require you to attach or stick anything to your baby like many monitors still do.

Get this amazing product here!

6 – Steel Odor Locking Diaper Pail

Remember the Diaper Genie? I had one with my first daughter and it was horrible! The plastic tub soaked up all the stink and never gave it up.

This stainless steel diaper pail keeps stacking up the awards, acclaim, and parent praise. It’s super easy to use and never holds on to the stick.

Grab this product here!

6 – Gripebelt Colic and Upset Stomach Swaddling Belt

If you’ve ever had a fussy or colicky baby, it’s really hard for mom and dad and baby too. But this adorable little belt actually works to lightly cradle your infant’s belly which is often the source of the fussiness.

It makes them feel safe and held and also has fun toys for baby to touch and hold.

Get the swaddling belt here!

60 Strong and Cool Baby Names with Powerful Meanings

7 – Forehead and Ear Thermometer

This ear and forehead thermometer actually works and is highly recommended by other moms like you! There’s no need to take your baby’s temperature rectally anymore. Especially, as they grow older and strongly object.

This makes the process painless, easy, and accurate!

Get this amazing thermometer here!

8 – The SkinSoother Baby Essential for Dry Skin

If your baby suffers from uncomfortable and even painful eczema, cradle cap, or other forms of dry skin this all natural silicone skin soother will bring sweet relief to your new baby.

Simply rub in on their wet skin and watch the irritation wash away. My daughter experienced bad eczema as a baby so this really would have been very helpful!

Get your skin soother here!

9 – Wash. It. Later. Soak and Save Bags

If you’ve ever experienced a diaper blowout, you know how disgusting and overwhelming it can be. My daughter had a blowout in the car seat while stuck in traffic heading to our hotel in Orlando.

I had to change her in the hotel bathroom and wasn’t prepared at all. I ended up washing her with wet paper towels and then wrapping her naked little body in more dry paper towels to carry her through the lobby. Itridiculousulous and only something I can laugh about now!

I luckily had a washing machine in our hotel. However, this isn’t the case most of the time and too often we’ve all just thrown away cute outfits because they were too soiled to keep. Until…

These cool bags allow you to throw those gross poop and pee covered items in their sealable plastic bags. Just add water and one of their detergent pods and seal up for later.

The detergent starts working on the stains and the water keeps the stains from setting until you can get home!

Get these amazing bags here!

10 – Boon Fast Bottle Warmer

I know this is a second bottle warmer on my list. But if you just need a bottle warmer without storage, this warmer will quickly become your bestie.

This bottle warmer may seem like a luxury item but when your newborn is hungry at 3 am and loves her milk warm, you do not want to have to heat up a bottle the old-fashioned way.

This bottle warmer heats up bottles and baby food safely in just over one minute!

Check out this bottle warmer here!

11 – BoogieBulb Baby Nasal Aspirator

This amazing nasal suction bulb is the first and only bulb that can be taken apart and cleaned! I’ve tried those new nasal suction aspirators that you suck through a tube, and they didn’t work for me.

I love a good bulb aspirator, however, they can get really nasty because you can’t easily clean them. Now you can!

Check it out here!

12 – RaZbaby Keep-It-Kleen Pacifier

If your baby loves a good binky, you may want to give this one a try. It actually has a soft covering attached to the pacifier itself.

This prevents it from picking up gross stuff along the way. This makes storage super easy too!

Get this cool pacifier here!

13 – Accu-Dose Pacifier Baby Medicine Dispenser

Getting a baby or toddler to take medicine can sometimes feel like a Game of Thrones episode. At least it was for my littlest baby!

This dosing pacifier makes the process super easy! It won’t change the flavor, but it’s certainly an easy way to give your baby their medicine.

Mom Tip: When my son was a baby he HATED taking any medicine and at the time was sick and had several bad tasting medicines to take at once. An ER nurse shared their hospital hack:

Add a little cherry flavor syrup after you’ve measured out the medication. It works every time!


Get your medicine dispenser here!

14 – Silicone Soft-Tip Training Spoon for Baby Led Weaning

As your little baby grows into a big baby, it’s time for the fun world of self-feeding! And whether you decide to go the route of baby led weaning, or stay the traditional course, these fun spoons will be your go-to!

The super soft and flexible silicon make scooping easier for baby and the unique shape help keep the food on the spoon and into their mouth. This totally reduces melt-downs. I mean, it’s really frustrating when you can’t get all that yummy food in your mouth!

Get this amazing spoon here!

15 – Squooshi Reusable Food Pouch

I LOVE these adorable reusable pouches! We moms all love how food pouches are unbelievably convenient for feeding your babies, toddlers, and kids. In fact, I’d love to feed all my kids’ meals from a pouch! But those store-bought pouches are just so dang expensive.

And Squooshi doesn’t make the DIY filling process complicated at all! You simply fill the super-sealed pouches from the bottom and quickly seal them up. They clean up beautifully and can be used again and again.

Plus, they’re super cute so your kids will love them! And you’re saving tons of money, so that’s a total win-win.

Get your reusable pouches here!

16 – Haakaa Silicone Breastfeeding Manual Breast Pump

This manual breast pump is running fast to the front of the line of the many breast pumps on the market. Many moms actually favor this and other manual breast pumps over the electric pumps.

I wish I knew this when I was pumping years ago!

This breast pump is winning praise from breastfeeding moms because of its efficiency in pumping breastmilk quick and easy with its seemly one-piece design. Yes, no parts!

This makes it perfect for on-the-go, at work, and at home pumping.

Get this amazing breast pump here!

25 Romantically Beautiful Baby Girl Names with Strong & Powerful Meanings

17 – Itzy Ritzy Nursing Happens Infinity Breastfeeding Scarf

This breastfeeding scarf is so cute and actually doesn’t look like a breastfeeding cover! The fabric is soft and breathable and easily moves to create many stylish looks.

And when it’s time to nurse, you won’t feel like you’re covering your baby with a blanket.

Get this adorable breastfeeding scarf here!

18 – Ju-Ju-Be Be Pumped Breast Pump Bag

Of course, I could resist adding this super cute breast pump bag with the match nursing scarf above! Pumping bags have been the last of the mom stuff to get a splash of style!

And a splash of style you get with this breast pump bag from Ju-Ju-Be. It’s both cute and very functional for making pumping at work and on the go so much easier!

Get this stylish pumping bag here!

19 – Boppy Newborn Lounger

I have a confession to make… I never used my Boppy Pillows for breastfeeding. They always made the BEST newborn loungers!

And now Boppy has recreated their amazing breastfeeding into a pillow made for lounging your new baby. These are literally must-have pillows for putting your baby down at a moment’s notice and still keeping them close.

I used mine when I was nursing or pumping to keep my baby close and happy when my arms weren’t available for snuggling.

Get this baby lounger here!

Comotomo Baby Bottles

These bottles are gaining in serious popularity among new moms! Moms swear that they ease gas and discomfort and are the closest to the breast when switching baby back and forth from breast to bottle.

Just a quick warning when buying ANY bottles. Just buy a very small amount and make sure your baby loves them first. And then go back and buy more!

Get this hugely popular bottles here!


Every year new amazing products for mom and baby come on the market, and I swear I wish I’d thought of them! But at least we can be thankful that someone (usually moms) have the smarts and guts to create these gems!

Let us know in the comments below which product is blowing your mind right now!

This list of the coolest, must have baby stuff will blow your mom mind! Be ready to be amazed! #babies #pregnancy #parenting

4 Brilliant Ways to Plan Your Christmas on a Budget and Really Enjoy it!

How to Prevent overspending on gifts

Trying to simultaneously save money while spending money on gifts during the holidays is something we all struggle with at Christmas time… if you’re not prepared!

Money can be a touchy subject. And the term “Christmas on a Budget” can make a girl cringe.

But the truth is, most of us end up spending way more money during the holidays than we actually planned for. And wake up with buyer’s remorse and a credit hangover on December 26th!

How to Prevent overspending on gifts

I’ve got some tips to help you spend your money in a way that feels good, with no buyer’s remorse this year!

Let’s talk about the gifts for your kids. Do you remember what gifts you gave them last year? Do they remember what gifts you gave them last year?

And, is the gift still being used and bringing joy today?

Some of you may say yes to this (and that’s awesome), but most will say no. Most often, the gifts we buy our children for Christmas bring temporary holiday excitement that ends up on the floor of their room or at the bottom of the toy bin.

Some Great Gift Ideas:

3 of the Best Meaningful Christmas Gifts You Can Give Your Kids

31 Cheap Stocking Stuffers for Kids and Teens That Don’t Suck!

51 Adorable Stocking Stuffers for Toddlers and Babies that Aren’t Junk

The 15 Best Learning Toys for Toddlers to Buy in 2019

Start Your Christmas on a Budget the Right Way

To help avoid that, I’ll walk you through a short exercise.

Answer this question about your children:

What feelings are you trying to give your child by providing them a gift? If the answer doesn’t come to mind quickly, try writing it out.  When your child is opening presents, what are you hoping to see in their cute little face?

What feeling are you trying to give yourself, by providing them a gift? Again, if the answer doesn’t come to mind quickly, try writing it out.  What will drive that warm, fuzzy appreciation you may be looking for?

Once you know the answer to what feeling you’re trying to create, then you can really pay attention to the gifts you buy.

You can be conscious of your intent and decide if you want to spend the extra money or if a different gift is a better and longer lasting option.

Related: The Secret to Enjoying a Stree-Free Christmas with Kids

The Secret to Buy Lasting and Meaningful Gifts

For years, I would try to get all kinds of small gifts for my son, so he would have a lot of packages to open on Christmas morning. Then I realized how much effort, brain power and wasted money I was putting into those gifts. 

He was delighted the moment he opened them. Sadly though, within one month, the items were old news.

The feeling I was trying to give my son and myself was abundance. I wanted him to feel like he was rich with presents, and that I was able to provide that for him.

Nothing wrong with that, right?

But now, I have a very different approach. I do want my son to feel abundance, but instead of trying to teach him that with too many senseless gifts, I work on teaching him (and myself) this lesson throughout the year.

And for Christmas, my family decided to do something different and it surprisingly worked much better and was more enjoyable for everyone than the old way!

My husband and I buy him one nice gift (something he talks about for longer than five seconds after seeing the Target toy ad!), one smaller gift, and usually some pajamas!

Santa gets him one nice gift as well and leaves a few small items in his stocking. It’s simple, but it works for us. It’s important to decide what works for you and your family.

I recommend repeating the exercise above for your partner or anyone else you spend a fair amount of money on for gifts.

Creating Your Spending Plan

Moving on from individual gift buying, let’s take a look at the whole picture of holiday spending. The best way to keep yourself on track with your holiday spending (after you’ve set your gift buying intentions), is with a budget or let’s call it a “spending plan.”

Some people panic at the word budget, for many reasons.  Some don’t like to feel limited, and for them, setting a budget feels constricting. Others may not have a ton of money to spend during the holidays but are going to spend it anyway, and having a budget brings money issues to the forefront of your mind.

Remember, you’re trying to avoid holiday buyer’s remorse. You know you’ll be spending some money, so doing a little planning will go a long way.

It doesn’t have to take hours and should be very simple. I’m a huge fan of Microsoft Excel and keep my finances in spreadsheets.

Not everyone is crazy like me, and you might find that a piece of paper will work just fine. There are also great paper planners for tracking and several budget apps for your smartphone. Use whatever works for you – ultimately, what you’d actually use.

Related: 11 Easy Money-Saving Hacks for Families That’ll Inspire You to Keep Saving

Christmas on a Budget Tips for Success

This is a great time to have a conversation with your partner, so you can both be on the same page about holiday spending. When I talk about holiday finances in advance with my husband, it can help prevent financial arguments later.

And remember, a budget is just a guide, and it’s okay to have some flexibility with it.

Here are some optional budget categories, to help get you started:

  • Charity or religious donations
  • Holiday meals and beverages
  • Decorations (Christmas tree, lights, candles etc.)
  • Travel
  • Traditions (for example, my family goes to zoo lights every year)
  • Holiday clothes/picture outfits
  • Gifts (partner, kids, close relatives, work gift exchanges, kid gift exchanges, service provider gifts/tips, teachers, etc.)
  • Christmas cards and postage

Once you put some dollar figures in place, you can tally up your total and decide where you want to increase or decrease your spending.

Having a total for all your holiday spending in one place can be a real shocker!

If you’ve never budgeted for the holidays before, you might be quite shocked at how much you typically spend. I manage our family finances, and I will never forget my husband’s reaction several years ago when he realized just how much we spend during the holidays.

Funny enough, we didn’t desire to change much about the budget, but it was a real eye-opener him. “It adds up so fast!” And he seriously says this every year now!

Once you have a budget, you can make notes as you spend. If you do this a few minutes at a time during the holidays, you are far less likely to lose track.

You may not remember to record every single purchase, and you may not spend exactly the budgeted amount, but there won’t be any big surprises when the credit card bill arrives in January!

Spending just a small amount of time in advance to review your holiday spending and to get clear with what your intentions are for gift buying – you can save yourself stress, money and time! 


Nikki is a life coach for moms and is SUPER passionate about helping busy moms move from feeling overwhelmed, guilty, and stressed, to creating lives that are fulfilling and happy. You can find her on her amazing blog nikkiberkel.com. You can also grab her very helpful book The Busy Mom’s Holiday Guide here.

 

 


Get the best tips for having a Christmas on a budget for kids that everyone really enjoys! #kidsandparenting #parenting #parentingtips #christmas

Enjoying your Christmas on a budget even with kids isn't impossible! Get these brilliant tips to get your started... it's NOT too late. #christmas #kidsandparenting

250+ Super Fun Activities for Kids to Learn and Play at Home

fun activities for kids

Keeping kids and toddlers entertained so you can have breaks throughout the day to get things done is necessary for your sanity as a mom. Enter, fun activities for kids and toddlers!

This ultimate list of fun activities for kids will give you endless inspiration and ideas to keep your little ones happy, entertained, and best of all – learning.

These activities also encourage your child to play independently. And that’s good news because that means you won’t need to be their playmate all the time and they’ll be more excited to dive into non-screen activities too.

The Ultimate List of Fun Activities for Kids and Toddlers

fun activities for kids

Fun Activities for Kids to Beat the Boredom

There’s no phrase spoken more frequently out of the mouth of kids than, “I’m bored.” Since TV and video games aren’t the best options for keeping kids busy and entertained every single day, we need easy fun activities for kids we pull out of our mom bag of tricks at a moment’s notice.

The following are tons of activity ideas designed to keep your kids happy and busy when you need a break or need to tire them out before bedtime!

10 Toddler Activities for Your Crazy Active Kid – Get the full list here!

44 Activities to Tire Your Kids Out Before Bedtime – Get the full list here!

Free Activities When You Need to Get Out of the House – Get the full list of outdoor activities here!

50 Easy, No-Prep Activities for Kids – Get all the ideas here!

107 Fun Activities to Survive the Summer! – Get all the fun ideas here!

Learning Activities for Kids

learning activities for toddlers

Learning is a huge component of healthy toddler development and there are many simple ways to instill learning in your toddler’s day.

Pom Pom Activities to Develop Fine Motor Skills – Get the Tutorials Here. 

Fun Activities to Develop Fine Motor Skills in Toddlers and Preschoolers – Get all the Activities here!

Cute Color Matching Wheel – Get the tutorial here!

Fun Activities for Kids During the Holidays

Fall inspired crafts for kids

I love the holidays because not only is there a greater focus on time off and fun with family, there are so many opportunities for fun activities and crafts to learn and celebrate each holiday.

The following posts share great ideas to celebrate the holidays through crafts, activities, and fun!

14 Fun Fall-Inspired Craft Ideas for Kids – Get all the tutorials here! 

Painting Pumpkins with your Kids – Get the tutorial here!

Thanksgiving Crafts for 2-Year-Olds – Get the full list of tutorials here!

Mess-Free Fall Inspired Painting Project for Babies and Toddlers – Get the tutorial here!

14 Adorable Christmas Christmas Crafts for Kids – Get all the Crafts here! 

Arts and Craft Projects for Kids

arts and crafts projects for kids

Practicing the arts in any form with kids builds creativity and helps develop a lifelong love of learning. There are many forms of art outside of traditional painting and drawing such as dancing, singing and playing musical instruments.

All art is fun for kids and makes for the perfect activities for kids! Here are a few great artistic activities your kids will love!

4 Easy Kids Crafts Made From Everyday Household Items – Get the full list here!

Easy Ways to Introduce Music to Kids – Read the full post here!

Fun DIY Games for Kids

On days when boredom is calling your kiddos, having a few fun games on hand can magically remove mundane and bring in the fun. These fun games only use household items and promise endless entertainment.

Exploding Rainbows Game using Craft Sticks – Get the game here!

Snowman Bowling Game with Cute Snowman Printable – Get the game here!


Let us know your favorite games and activities in the comments below!

These non-screen time fun activities for kids will keep your children entertained so you can have a break! Plus, they'll be learning too. #kidsandparenting #parenting #activities #kids

Kids crying bored all the time? Try these super fun boredom busting activities for kids and toddlers! #activities #kids

Secrets to Having a Stress-Free Christmas with Kids in 2018!

the secret to stress free Christmas

Let’s face it, the holidays can be a recipe for stress and exhaustion. Which is really a shame since the holiday season is supposed to be a magical time filled with fun, family, and rest.

But all too often we let life get the best of us and the holidays catch us off guard year after year.

Stop doing that! It’s not too late to plan and enjoy a stress-free Christmas this year!

the secret to stress free Christmas

How is that possible with all the things to make, cook, buy… and let’s not forget about the “people” stress. You know, family coming in from out of town and you getting absolutely zero alone time.

I’m a strong introvert, so that zaps my energy the fastest!

This is your ultimate stress-free Christmas guide. You’ll learn everything about how to prepare, save, shop, and even travel over the holidays!

If you’re planning to travel for the holidays you’ll want to check out this Holiday Travel Guide that shares little-known travel tips for long road trips!

How to Prepare for Christmas Early

There are many things we need to “prepare” to maximize our joy over the holidays. We need to prepare our money because November and December are huge spending months. We do NOT want to go into debt buying gifts this year!

Easy Ways to Save Money for Christmas

Why You Should be Using Amazon Prime for Christmas!

In addition to saving money (which we all need to be doing more intentionally), you can start by making more money too.

Yep! You can get creative on ways to increase your income over the holidays and never touch your savings or a single credit card.

22 Fun and Creative Work at Home Jobs for Moms

Work at Home Mom Success: Run Your Business, Home and Family with Ease

Getting Your Home Ready for the Holidays

Now it’s time to prepare your home! Getting your house clean and decluttered before the busyness of the holidays is here will help you so much to kick back and enjoy your Christmas!

The No-Brainer Way to Declutter Your Home Fast!

The Secret to Get Your Kids into the Habit of Doing Housework

preparing your home for Christmas

How to Enjoy the Holidays without Stress

One of the best ways to actually enjoy the holidays instead of stressing through to the New Year is to make your enjoyment intentional!

Yes, decide right now that you’re going to have fun on purpose. You do that by making a plan and deciding what things your family will do to relax and enjoy your Christmas.

This list of Family Christmas Traditions is a wonderful place to start planning your holiday activities.

You can also have fun by documenting your family’s Christmas with a fun Family Christmas pajama Photo Shoot!

Here’s a warning about traditions though. If your family is doing something just because it’s a tradition but you spend your time dragging everyone around… stop doing it. Commit to only doing traditions that are truly fun for your family and bring you closer together.

Planning and Shopping for Christmas

You want to start by creating your Christmas budget first. You don’t want to ruin your 2019 by going into massive debt for Christmas. Big mistake!

Once you know how much you want to spend, you can start your shopping plan.

Remember, you don’t have to buy store-bought gifts for everyone in your extended family. You can make homemade gifts, go on a trip or see a fun show together, or even do a family Christmas photo shoot.

Here are some great ideas for gifts and stocking stuffers!

51 Stocking Suffers for Babies and Toddlers that aren’t Junk

31 Cheap Stocking Stuffers Kids and Teens that Don’t Suck!

The Best Learning Toys for Toddlers

Christmas Tips and Tricks

1 – Put your Christmas lights on a timer

2 – Invest in an automatic Christmas tree waterer

3 – Pay someone else to put up your Christmas lights


4 – Use elegant table wear instead of the real thing.

This beautiful table setting for 25 is close to the real thing and will reduce a ton of stress and labor. Plus, they are extremely affordable!

5 – Use gift bags instead of wrapping every gift. I’ve been doing this for years and it’s such a stress-free tip. It doesn’t mean I don’t wrap any gifts, but my pretty gift bags far outweigh the wrapped ones!

Let me know your very best tips for a stress-free Christmas in the comments below!

The Best Car Games for Kids and Toddlers to Survive Long Road Trips

best car toys for toddlers

If you’re planning a long road trip or even traveling on an airplane and you have a toddler or young kids, you need to be prepared! There are three things you won’t be able to live without on your trip – snacks, things to soothe your little one, and games to entertain them.

In this post, you’ll get all the best games and small toys that work like magic to keep your kids happy, occupied and entertained on a long trip.

best car toys for toddlers

I used many of these toys on my family’s 18-hour road trip to Michigan over a year and a half ago. Honestly, other than the grueling hours of driving in the mountains, the trip was very enjoyable.

At the time, my kids were 18 months, 7 years old, and 10 years old.

There weren’t endless crying sessions or even fighting with my three kiddos. I think my husband and I had the hardest time with our backs giving us trouble. But that’s a whole other issue!

But first, this toddler car seat tray is amazing! And can help give your toddler and sturdy place to play, eat snacks, and read books without everything falling to the floor. This one is a must-have!

I’ve separated the toys into a toddler list and a kids list for slightly older children.

Now on to the list…

Toddler Games to Survive a Road Trip

Bizzy Buckle Toy – We all know how much toddlers love pushing, buckling, and tinkering with things. This soft busy pillow will keep your little one occupied with endless buckling and unbuckling!

Wooden Montessori Lacing Toys – These cute little learning lacing toys will keep your little one learning while they weave the worms in and through the fruit and cheese. The worms are attached so no losing parts!

Travel AquaDoodle Pad – This is one toy that my little guy used a ton on our trip and I can’t say enough about it! They feel like their making a mess, but it’s only water. That’s a total win-win!

Fisher-Price Boppin’ Activity Bugs – This is a great distraction toy and is like the toddler version of whack-a-mole! 

Melissa & Doug On the Go Water Wow Books – These 3 little boards allow your toddler to write their letters, numbers, and draw animals with markers filled with only water!

Related: The Best Learning Toys for Toddlers to Buy in 2019!

Young Kids Games to Survive a Road Trip

Melissa & Doug Flip to Win Travel Memory Game – This is a great game to keep brain fatigue from setting in while in the car. They can keep learning and playing!

Crayola Pip-Squeaks Markers & Paper Set – Your budding artist can continue creating in the car or on the plane! And everything stays neatly in place in the carrying case. 

Mickey Mouse Magnetic Zoo – These adorable Mickey Mouse activity cards allow kids to move the magnetic pieces around to create play scenes over and over again. 

Fun Tape Activity Book – This book comes with easy tear tape to create fun pictures throughout the pages!

Connect 4 Travel Game – This game is so fun and bringing it on a road trip is sure to keep the fun going if you have more than one kid, of course!

Kanoodle Brain Twisting Solitaire Game – This game is full of over 200 mind-bending puzzles in a single travel case! 

Spot It! On The Road – This fun card game can be played with the whole family! Plus, there are 5 games in one!

Related: The Best Cheap Stocking Stuffers for Kids that Don’t Suck!

Other Items to Pack on Your Trip

In order to keep the peace and the joy flowing on your road trip, you need to have more than amazing games. Here’s a list of must-have’s in your car to keep the kiddos quiet and happy!

Healthy Snacks are a must on a road trip of any length.

Here are a few of my kid’s favorite healthy snacks to add in your backseat.



Simply drop them in a giant tote bag and let them have at it when they’re hungry. You’ll be saving a ton of money on fast food stops and you won’t feel guilty for letting them eat junk food.

If you want to save even more money, try making all your snacks ahead at home and packing them in a large lunchbox or cooler. Here are some easy lunches and snack ideas to try!

Travel sized toiletries are also a must for cleaning on the go.

On your road trip, you’ll likely see many restrooms and experience many gross emergencies in your car needing these supplies.

I strongly recommend you pack a large pack of kid-safe anti-bacterial wipes, a few rolls of toilet paper, and a large bottle of hand sanitizer.

Books and Magazines are perfect for keeping kids entertained and learning.

I remember reading during very long car rides as a kid and my books were my best friend! Sure, those were the days before tablets and smartphones, but I’d like to believe that my books would still be my favorite.

Here’s a list of great books that will keep your kid happy and quiet but also learning about kindness, compassion, friendship, and diversity. Those are all great things!


What did we miss? Add your best travel tips and tricks in the comments below!

Planning a roadtrip for the holidays this year? If you've got kids you need this list of the best car toys for kids! Keep the peace and enjoy your trip. #kidsandparenting #parenting #parentingtips #kids #holidays #christmas #thanksgivingTraveling for the holidays? You need these travel road trip tips and the best car toys to keep kids happy and entertained in the car! #kidsandparenting #parenting #parentingtips #roadtripWant the secret to keeping kids happy and quiet on long road trips? These packing tips and car toys for kids are everything you need this travel season! #kidsandparenting #parenting

21 Epic Family Christmas Pictures You Just Have to Try this Christmas

family Christmas pictures

One of the best things about Christmas is the perfect excuse to take family Christmas pictures. But don’t settle for boring family Christmas photos!

These epic photo shoots will give you endless inspiration to create your own magical family Christmas pictures to remember forever. Just bring your smile, your patience, and your sense of humor. Especially if kids will be anywhere in your pictures!

family Christmas pictures

Here are a few tips to make your photo sessions so much better! And if you don’t plan to hire a photographer, no worries! Use these tips to take your own Christmas pictures at home.

Finally, the first thing you’re probably racking your brain about is what you’re going to wear. Family Christmas pajamas are so much fun for your family photos. Check out the best matching Christmas pajamas sets here!

If you’re more into wearing “regular clothes”, this simple style guide will help you get started to looking great.

Related: 16 Magical Christmas Family Traditions to Make Lasting Memories with your Kids

Family Christmas Pictures Wearing Christmas Pajamas

 

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Want your own Family Christmas Pajamas? Check these out!

Family Christmas Pictures Featuring Just the Kids

 

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Related: 31 Cheap Stocking Stuffers for Kids and Teens that Don’t Suck

Family Christmas Pictures By the Tree

 

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Related: 51 Stocking Stuffers for Toddlers and Babies that Aren’t Junk

Outdoor Family Christmas Pictures

 

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Hilarious Christmas Pictures

 

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Non-Christmasy Pictures

 

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Please feel free to click on any of these Instagram profiles and follow the ones you love! Let me know your favorites in the comments below!

It's almost Christmas card season and you want to be ready with the best family Christmas pictures! Get tons of inspiration from these epic Christmas photos. #kidsandparenting #christmas #family #holidays #parenting #kids

17 Family Christmas Pajamas – Perfect for the Whole Family

family christmas pajamas

Family Christmas pajamas are gaining in popularity in recent years. And just like the “ugly sweater” phenomenon doesn’t seem to be slowing down, matching Christmas family pajamas aren’t either.

I believe this is because it really takes the family Christmas card to the next level. And with social media platforms like Instagram, using photos to share our happiest moments isn’t going away.

And why should it? I love seeing families nestled together in front of the fire or Christmas tree. Even if that’s not their everyday reality… they’re still fun to enjoy!

Here are some great Christmas pajama sets you can buy for your family to take Christmas family pictures or to just enjoy opening gifts while matching.

These PJ’s totally bring out the Christmas spirit!

The Best Family Christmas Pajamas

family christmas pajamas

Christmas Lights Christmas Pajamas

Buy your set here!

Red Christmas Tree Pajamas

Check out this set here!

Red and Gray Dear Santa Pajamas

Check out this set here! 

Gray and White Polar Bear Pajamas

Check out this set here!

Related: 16 Family Christmas Traditions that’s Make Magical Memories with your Kids

Let it Snow Pajamas

Buy your set here! 

Green Button Up Snoopy Pajamas

Check out this set here! 

Green Striped “What the Elf” Pajamas

Check out this set here! 

Red Snowman Pajamas

Check out this set here!

Related: 51 Adorable Stocking Stuffers for Toddlers and Babies that Aren’t Junk

Red Striped Elf Pajamas

Grab your set here! 

Red Santa Pajamas

Check out this set here! 

Royal Blue Snowflakes Pajamas

Check out this set here!

Blue Penguin Pajamas

Check out this set here!

Reindeer Red Plaid Pajamas


Grab your set here! 

Christmas Tree Onesie Pajamas

Check out this set here! 

Red and White Warm and Cozy Pajamas

Check out this set here! 

Mama, Papa, and Baby Bear Pajamas

Check out this set here! 

Santa Merry Christmas Pajamas

Check out this set here!

Christmas Tree Delivery Pajamas

Check out this set here! 

We absolutely love these family Christmas pajama sets! Let me know when one is your favorite in the comments below.

These family christmas pajamas are perfect for your entire family. Bringing the joy back into the Holidays. #christmas #family #christmas #kidsandparenting #parenting

31 Cheap Stocking Stuffers for Kids and Teens That Don’t Suck!

stocking stuffers for kids and teens

I’ll be really honest, when I was a kid for some reason my stocking was my favorite part of the Christmas morning experience. It was something about pulling so many presents out of a single stocking. It was really magical to me!

As a mom though, stockings became a struggle for me and I hated buying things that seemed like junk just so I could throw it in their stockings at the last minute.

stocking stuffers for kids and teens

Not cool. So I got more intentional last Christmas in an effort to give my kids the same magical experience I had growing up.

My gift expedition was actually a lot of fun and I want to share with you many of the big hits and many more stocking stuffer ideas for kids. These stocking stuffer ideas will NOT be junk and may end up being your kids’ favorite toys this Christmas.

And the best part is… they are all under $10 each! I mean, stocking stuffers are supposed to be cheap.

Here we go!

Related: 16 Magical Christmas Family Traditions to Make Lasting Memories with your Kids

Stocking Stuffers for Kids

Girl Journal – This cool journal for girls is the perfect way to help your daughter stay connected to her hopes, dreams, and anything else!

Boy Journal – This cool journal for boys encourages bravery and allows them a secret place to write their fears, dreams, and plans.

Crayola Color Bath Dropz – Bathtime suddenly got more exciting with colorful, fizzy bath dropz! Just drop a tablet in your baby’s bath water and watch the magic happen. 

Mr. Sketch Scented Markers Mr. Sketch markers are always an easy hit with all kids. And this 12 pack will give your little artist endless color combos.

Related: 51 Adorable Stocking Stuffers for Toddlers and Babies that Aren’t Junk

Vintage Mirrored Aviator Sunglasses – These super stylish aviator sunglasses will score you serious points for Christmas. 

Kanoodle Brain Twisting Solitaire GameThis tiny game set offers kids over 200 brain-teasing puzzles in one compact little kit. Your kids will be using their brains and happily off their electronics for hours! This may be the best gift yet!

Superhero Cape – If you have a little superhero in your house like mine, this cute little cape and mask set is perfect. No more using all the blankets in the house! Available in many colors too.

Munchkin Fishin’ Bath Toy – This fishing bath toy is wonderful for developing hand-eye coordination in younger kids. Plus, it’s really fun to fish!

Mattel Games Blink – From the makers of Uno, this new card game promises to be the world’s fastest game! Plus, it’s a non-screen activity! 

LED Star Projector – Turn your kid’s room into their own planetarium with this LED star projector!

Projectables NightlightsThese cool nightlights aren’t any ordinary nightlight. These project your child’s favorite TV or movie characters right on their ceiling, wall, or floor. The soft light comes on automatically at dusk and turns off at dawn.

LOL Suprise Bling Series – We couldn’t resist adding one of the year’s hottest toys to our list. These small LOL mystery balls promise to bring a smile to your little kiddo this Christmas.

Marvel Themed Socks – Marvel is the hottest right now and these cool socks will be a great stocking stuffer for your little Marvel fan.

Christmas Themed Fuzzy Socks – Christmas morning isn’t complete without soft, fuzzy Christmas socks!

Braided Leather Unicorn Bracelet – This adorable leather bracelet is a great gift for your little fashion and jewelry lover! Plus, there are many colors and designs to choose from.

Whimsical Bracelet Hair Ties – These colorful bracelet style elastic hair ties are so cute for the little girl who loves getting her hair done.

Kids Junior Aviator Classic Sunglasses – These cool aviator style sunglasses are perfect for your fashionable kid. Plus, they come with their own zippered protective case. 

Cream Scented Unicorn Squishy – My kids are crazy able squishies and this slow-rising unicorn squishy is super cute. 

Scented Galaxy Slime – This scented, stress relieving slime is galaxy colored and comes in a 2-pack egg container.

Kinetic Sand, 3lbs Beach SandKinetic sand is very cool and giving kids their own 3 lbs of sand is a fun stocking stuffer. 

Melissa & Doug Scratch Art Rainbow Mini Notes – These mini rainbow notes pack allow kids to create notes and doodles in rainbow-colored writing. 

American Girl BooksThe Care and Keeping of You book is all about growing up and going through puberty. A Smart Girl’s Guide: Drama, Rumors & Secrets is about growing up and navigating relationships. 

Winter Wonderland Color by Number Book – Kids will love these color by number pages with a fun Christmas theme. 


Earbuds with Macaroon Case – These adorable earbuds will easily be a stocking stuffer favorite!

Silly Donut Knee High Socks – Your little girl will love these silly and fashionable knee-high socks. There are many colors and styles.

Leather headphones cord keepers – These cool little cord keepers will keep headphones and other cords from getting tangled. Plus, they come in lots of cool colors.

Great Kids and Teen Books

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Hello Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

These stocking stuffer ideas are sure to give you some great inspiration for your own stockings! Let us to your favorite ideas in the comments below!

Looking for stocking stuffer ideas for your baby or toddler? Check them out here! 

Get these cool stocking stuffer ideas for kids and teens in time for Christmas. Christmas gift ideas for kids! #kidsandparenting #parenting #christmas #holidays #kidsThese cool stocking stuffer ideas for kids promise to be winners. Plus, they're all under $10! #kidsandparenting #parenting #parentingtips #momadvice #kids #christmas #holidays