Top 5 for Under 5 …or 6 or 7…

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I was asked to speak to some moms of young children at the Salvation Army Moms and Tots Camp, this year. I’ve been going to the camp the past couple years and my kids and I love it. So, I wanted to share some ideas that are really helpful and fun, that are inexpensive and also do-able. Here’s my top 5 list of things I’ve done with my kids, and I think your kids would love too, and they won’t break the bank!

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#5 –Cardboard Box Houses

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We built a great life-size gingerbread house out of old boxes. My kids loved it, I found the boxes on kijiji for free, and we folded it up and stored it flat to play with the next Christmas. It was awesome. See how we did it here. I can think of lots of other ideas you could do with this… build a house, a take-out ice-cream shop, a doctors office…the possibilities are endless!

#4 –Fairy Gardens

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This is one of my favourite projects -ever! We bought dollar store bird houses and turned them into the sweetest fairy houses with paint and glitter. We made gardens in pots and added some fun accessories. See how we did it all here.



#3 –Ice-cube Games

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We had so much fun doing our Valentine’s Day hunt with red, heart shaped ice-cubes.


We hid them all over the backyard and the kids had a ball finding them.


So this summer, I thought we’d try some ice-cube fun again!

We had a great time with this summer treasure hunt. I froze layers of coloured water, with shells. The kids had a great time using warm water to melt their treasures free! See all the details here.


We did water “painting” and stamping and playing with coloured ice-cubes too. This activity is lots of fun, and costs nothing but the time involved in making ice. And I promise, your kids will love it!

#2 –Felt Food

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I am in love with felt food. I think I love it more than my kids do! I’ve even started making it for friends birthdays. It’s time consuming but easy and inexpensive. We started out with cookies and cupcakes, see all the details and instructions here.


See our cookie counting game and tea bags here.


And at Christmas, we made Christmas cookies here.



#1 –Muffin Tin Meals


My number one, favourite thing to do with my kids lately is muffin tin meals. I’ve been inspired by Michelle at Muffin Tin Mom Here’s her explanation of muffin tin meals: “What is the purpose for Muffin Tin Meals? Serving a meal in a muffin tin to kids has many benefits including: breaking up the lunchtime routine, serving foods in smaller more manageable portions for little mouths and introducing them to new foods in a fun and interesting way! It’s a win for you: They eat. It’s a win for them: It’s fun.”

Check out some the Muffin Tin Meals I’ve done with my kids here.

The greatest thing about MTM’s is that it works! My kids are always excited to have a MTM, and it has helped a lot in getting them to eat a wider variety of foods at one meal, and trying new foods. It’s amazing how putting things on a cute toothpick really gets their interest. I’ve also been inspired by Cute Food for Kids, and Bento Lunch. The muffin tin meals have been great for my preschooler, but I’m definitely feeling inspired to try some of the bento box ideas for my second grader.

Here’s our latest muffin tin meal, which I’ve linked up to the Muffin Tin Monday link party, head over and be inspired by lots of other Muffin Tin Meals. Our theme was orange.

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We had butterscotch pudding, little orange segments, water in an orange cup, carrot sticks, and mac and cheese with a mini orange fork.

At the workshop, I was also able to share a few storage ideas for all those picks, cupcake liners, and cookie cutters. As well as a couple themed Muffin Tin Meals as examples.

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Here’s a fish theme, with shell pasta, carrot and dip “fishing rods”, vanilla yogurt turned into “water” with a drop of blue food colouring, apple boats in blueberry water, and fish crackers.

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I also made a teddy bear themed MTM, to inspire.

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There was teddy bear bread and jam with candy eyes, a bear paw cookie, strawberry apple sauce with sprinkles, the other two of the three bears; Swiss cheese with food writer details, a bear shaped hard boiled egg, and banana and blueberries on teddy bear picks.

After showing all the moms some of these fun ideas, I wanted them to be able to go home and try it, so I made some great take-home MTM kits. Everyone was given a 6-muffin tin, and a goodie bag with sprinkles, cupcake wrappers, assorted toothpicks, a crazy straw, mini fork, and a sandwich cutter!

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I had a great time sharing a few simple, fun, and inexpensive ideas with moms from camp, and I hope maybe I’ve given you a new idea or two too, because especially when you have little kids, life should be a party…at least some days!

This post is linked up at Blue Cricket Design.

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  1. I bet they love the kids! I really love all your ideas!

  2. What a bunch of fabulous ideas. And what a great idea to create little kits for the other moms!

  3. Wow, what lucky mums getting those great kits! Those are some great inspiration-tins, too!

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