Boredom Buster: Scavenger Hunt

Boredom Buster DIY Scavenger Hunt Idea

Did Daylight Saving Time hit you like a ton of bricks? I was a little excited because the kids have been waking up a little too early for me the past few weeks and I thought “now when they way up at “6:45″ the clock will now read 7:45.” Nope, Sunday morning they woke when the clock said 7:15. Even earlier! DST is, however the perfect example of short term pain=long term gain. There isn’t much better than daylight lasting until 7:30 and those long after dinner walks before it gets dark! So I will suffer through these early mornings for the reward of evening walks!

It was warm weather around here last week (Thursday hit 76!). We have been spending lots of time outside on the swing set and going on neighborhood walks to wear the kids out in hopes they take great naps! Chickadee usually prefers to ride her “wiggle” (aka plasma car) or balance bike and Sprout likes his Red Flyer tricycle. However, sometimes I have them walk. We are so lucky that our neighborhood had great sidewalks and slow driving neighbors so the kids can run up and down with only the worry of a scraped knee. 

Scavenger Hunt List

I decided to jazz up one of our walks last week, by having Chickadee bring along a scavenger hunt. She LOVES scavenger hunts when we are on long car trips. I usually find them on a blog, print them off, and attach to a clipboard to keep in our car activity bag. Now that she is forward facing she loves spotting all the items on the BINGO board, so I knew she would love hunting on our afternoon walk.

Going on a Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt

Chickadee helped me come up with the items we were looking for. I wrote both the word and drew a picture so it was easy for her to “read” (she is 3). She grabbed a crayon and checked items off her scavenger hunt list as I pushed Sprout in the stroller. It was fun adding a little extra something to our walk and I have a feeling it will become one of her favorite warm afternoon activities. Afternoon walks are the perfect boredom buster and with the scavenger hunt added on, it’s fun for everyone!

St. Patrick’s Day Rainbow Necklace

Saint Patrick's Day Rainbow Necklace

Yall, March is here!!! Bring on Spring. I am ready for the flowers to start blooming, flip flops to be my shoe of choice, and long evening walks where it’s still light outside! And St. Patrick’s Day is coming. I’ve never been one to really LOVE the holiday, but it is the day when sparks first flew between III and I almost 11 years ago so I guess it holds a little place in my heart!

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I wanted to share a fun little necklace the kids and I made yesterday. It was raining here (I don’t love that part of March) and so we needed some indoor fun! Well, the kids saw it as fun…I saw it as a great way to work on fine motor skills, color recognition, and patterns. The teacher in me, just never goes away!

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Supplies: Fruit Loops, String (I used baker’s twine), tape, six bowls

First, I had the kids sort the colors to match the coordinating bowl. This was great for Sprout (almost 2) who knows his colors but can always use the reinforcements & the bowl matching aspect was great too! 

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Next, I cut a long piece of baker’s twine and wrapped a piece of packing tape around one end to keep the string from fraying and to make a stiff point for the kids to thread through the center of the Fruit Loop. Tie a couple of knots, making one thick knot on the other end to keep the Fruit Loops from slipping off.

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For Chickadee (who is 3) I drew out a pattern that I wanted her to follow (the rainbow order ROYGBIV = red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple) as she strung on the Fruit Loops. We have just started working on patterns, so this was great practice. 

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Once they are finished tie off the end and let them show off their St. Patrick’s Day necklace creations.

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And of course, now it’s time to eat it. They should be rewarded for their hard work, right! My kids loved this activity and are already asking to make another necklace tomorrow! Well, at least Chickadee…Sprout just wants to eat some more Fruit Loops. 

Happy almost Saint Patrick’s Day!

Rice Bin – Toddler Sensory Play

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There have been some colder and rainy days the past few weeks. (Definitely not today..today it’s beautiful, 70 degrees and sunny!) And I have found a great activity that entertains my two toddlers for HOURS! In my personal mom opinion everyone needs a rice bin. 

I’m not sure why I waited so long. We have a sand table, a water table…Chickadee does tons of other sensory activities including finger painting and play-doh. But this was both Sprout and Chickadee’s FIRST rice bin. And it was magic. 

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Materials: a big bag of uncooked rice, a bin/tupperware of some sort, spoons, funnels, tongs, animals, buttons, bowls, etc. 

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There isn’t much too it. Pour in the rice, anything you might want to hide for your little to find, and start playing. Let them explore, dig, pour, use their imagination. Try and stop yourself from freaking out that there may be rice both inside and outside the bin! Our only rule is “No throwing the rice.” It’s easy to clean up. PROMISE. I use a plastic table cloth underneath the kids since we usually play when we can’t take it outside. That along with a little sweeping made clean up easy.

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If you feel the need to add more structure, you could add objects and then include a picture list for you kids to find certain things. Tongs are great when searching because they really strengthen their hands and develop find motor skills. 

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Embrace the magic of the rice bin. Embrace the imagination. Embrace the great sensory play & how it will develop find motor skills. And it doesn’t hurt to also embrace the 30 free minutes of independent play time it give you.

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Want other engaging activities for your toddler? Check out these ideas as well (Click on the picture to be taken to the page)!

One Pan Garlic Crusted Chicken & Veggies

One Pan Garlic Crusted Chicken and Veggies

We had such a fun Valentines Day loving on each other & treating ourselves to some good heart shaped food (chicken biscuits, sandwiches, pizza) & a few sweets (cookie cake!). That means the rest of the week will be filled with healthier choices to make up for the damage. I know that healthy can sometimes be hard because a lot of the time healthy means more expensive and more time consuming, but I want to share with you a recipe today that debunks that thought! (This meal takes cost about $10 and took about 45 minutes start to finish!) I try to do these “one pan” meals at least once a week. It makes for easy cooking and quick clean up! I make sure and put at least one thing on the pan that I know the kids really enjoy so that even if they aren’t feeling the whole pan, what they choose to fill up on is still good for them. 

Cooked Chicken and Vegetables

This week we are eating garlic crusted chicken strips with sweet potatoes and green beans. Sprout can eat his weight in sweet potatoes and Chickadee is always up for chicken (I suppose it’s quite an appropriate nickname for her0. 

This recipe fed our family of four….we ate it all (probably had one extra chicken strip that could have been left over but III rarely lets food go unfinished unless it’s enough to be true leftovers)!

One Pan Chicken Dinner

You’ll need 1 package (about 6-8) of chicken strips, 1 sweet potato, and a solid double palm full of fresh green beans. You’ll need to peel, slice, and dice the sweet potato and snap the stringy ends off the green beans. For the chicken pour one bowl of olive oil and a tablespoon of minced garlic and in the other bowl add Italian bread crumbs.

Garlic Breadcrumb Dip

Dip the chicken in the olive oil/garlic mixture first, then coat in bread crumbs before placing on a pan covered with parchment paper. The sweet potatoes and green beans will go on the other half of the pan. Toss them in olive oil and garlic salt. 

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This chicken and veggie combination is packed with flavor. I love the taste and the ease of these one pan or one pot dinners! I am actually making another one later this week with pork tenderloin I’ll share with you soon. 

Delicious and Easy One Pan Chicken and Veggie Dinner

Garlic Crusted Chicken and Veggie Dinner
Serves 3
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Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 6-8 chicken strips
  2. Olive Oil
  3. 1 tbsp minced garlic
  4. 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  5. 1 sweet potato
  6. 1/3 lb of fresh green beans
  7. Garlic Salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a large sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a shallow bowl pour about 1/4 cup of olive oil and add 1 tablespoon of minced garlic (2-3 cloves). In a second shallow bowl pour 1/2 cup of Italian breadcrumbs. Dip chicken strips first in oilve oil mixture and then in the breadcrumbs making sure to coat both sides well. Line down one side of the baking sheet. Sprinkle the top with extra basil if you would like!
  3. Peel, slice and dice the sweet potato and snap the ends off the green beans. Place on the other half of the baking sheet. Toss in oilve oil and sprinkle generously with garlic salt.
  4. Roast in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, turning the chicken and tossing the veggies about half way through until chicken is golden brown and veggies are roasted. Remove from the oven and serve warm!
A Step In The Journey http://astepinthejourney.com/

Penguin Heart Art Activity

Two posts in one week. I’m killing it now folks! Let’s see if I can keep up this pace for awhile. We are in full on Valentine mode over here. Chickadee is in preschool, so for the first time ever I get to be on the mom and get to create Valentines with my little one to send into school. I gave Chickadee several options (shovels, mini cereal boxes, play-doh, and homemade heart crayons). She chose the homemade heart crayons for her classmates, but asked that we make dinosaurs instead of hearts (she has been talking about the for the letter D at school)…so that is what our plan is for tomorrow! I’ll make sure and drop by Instagram and Facebook to let you know how they turn out.

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Sticking with the preschool theme, a few weeks ago they were talking about the letter P and doing a lot of penguin activities. Yall should see her waddle! Well she came home sharing all about penguins and her art projects and asked if Sprout could do a penguin art project too. She wanted him to be part of the fun. I of course said yes! We grabbed some construction paper, glue sticks, scissors, and crayons and got to work. Here is what we came up with (I obviously did most of the cutting but Chickadee glued things in place)…then they both wanted to color their penguins and although it doesn’t make our penguins “Pinterest Perfect” I wouldn’t have them any other way!

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Making this penguin is quite simple really. Here is a little guide to get you started! 

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I hope everyone has a great weekend!