Kids’ Activities – Frugal Novice
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Tiggly Shapes & Apps – Educational Fun for Your Littlest Ones

Note: I received a set of Tiggly shapes and a gift card to facilitate my review. All opinions in this post are honest and entirely those of myself and my family. 

Our boys, who are 5 & 7, love to play games on our iPad. And of course Brian and I like to get our fair share of game-playing in, too. But baby E, who’s almost 2, has been left out of all the iPad fun – until now, thanks to Tiggly shapes & apps.

Tiggly creates hands-on educational tools that work together with free Tiggly apps on the iPad to create an exciting learning experience that combines physical play and digital fun.

When we first pulled out the Shapes and our iPad, E just sat and held the shapes while she watched the animation of the app, but then she quickly realized she could interact with the app using the shapes and she had a blast playing.





Then our boys came in to see what she was doing, and they started playing along with her. It’s nice to have something all three kids can enjoy together.


About Tiggly Shapes:

  • Tiggly Shapes incudes a set of four easy-to-grip colorful shapes that are inspired by the classic wooden block. They’re easy for little hands to grip – E loved holding them, and she liked the bright colors, too.
  • Little ones place Tiggly Shapes on the iPad to make Tiggly apps come alive. Each Shape is specially designed to be safe for kids and iPad screens.
  • Tiggly Shapes helps little ones learn about shapes and fundamental geometry concepts, improve their language skills, and develop their motor skills, spatial thinking, and creativity – all while having fun!
  • Each set of Tiggly Shapes also includes a felt carrying pouch for easy storage and fun on the go.
  • Tiggly Shapes is great for toddlers age 18 months to 4 years old (I can attest to the fact that our 5 & 7 year old thought the apps were fun, too!).
  • Tiggly Shapes is compatible with all generations of the iPad and iPad mini.
  • Tiggly Shapes has a retail value of $29.95 and can be purchased online at
  • Tiggly Shapes includes three free TIggly apps designed by education experts and approved by parents. With their bright colors and fun games, little ones will have hours of fun while learning with Tiggly apps.


About Tiggly Apps:

  • Tiggly Stamp: Kids explore the seasons while creating their own scenes and stories. Parents and children can use the camera and voice recorder to save the fun tales they dream up.
  • Tiggly Safari: Children use Tiggly Shapes to create friendly animals from the jungle, farm, and sea.
  • Tiggly Draw: Time to use your imagination! Kids use their iPad as their canvas and Tiggly Shapes as their tools to craft their own works of art.

Stay connected:

  • Be sure to visit for the latest on Tiggly and to find tips and advice for parents on the Tiggly blog.
  • Friend Tiggly on Facebook at and follow Tiggly on Twitter @TigglyKids
  • Don’t forget, you can buy Tiggly online at!

Six Flags Pokemon Trainer Challenge

Note: I received Pokemon toys to thank me for my post. I was not compensated monetarily for the post, and all opinions are honest and are my own.



My boys LOVE Pokemon. Their favorite activity this summer has been taking Pokemon cards to day care and trading them with their friends.

Did you know Six Flags loves Pokemon, too?

Join Six Flags on Sunday, August 10 at 3 p.m. at participating Six Flags parks (Chicago, NJ, Dallas, Atlanta and LA) for the Pokémon Trainer Challenge and a chance to win FOUR Six Flags season passes PLUS a Pokémon toy prize pack!

Guests can visit the Pokémon Trainer Station tent* inside the park beginning at 11 a.m. for contest info and to sign up.  You can also practice your trainer skills, check out some of the hottest new Pokémon toys and take your photo with Ash!

At 2:45 p.m., 10 lucky guests** will be selected from the eligible contest entry forms to take the Pokémon Trainer Challenge for the chance to win four 2015 season passes to Six Flags, and over $250 worth of Pokémon toys!

Pokémon Trainer Challenge – Contest Details

Date: Sunday, August 10, 2014
Location: Next to the Pokémon Tent inside participating Six Flags parks
Schedule: 11:00 a.m. Pokémon Trainer Station tent opens
2:45 p.m. Contestant selection
3:00 p.m. Pokémon Trainer Challenge begins!

For more information on the Pokémon toys, check out is external)

*Tent locations vary by park. Additional details will be available inside the park on the event date.

**The contest is open to guests age 8 to 13 at the park on August 10. All guests must submit a contest entry form by 2:30 pm to be eligible for participation. Entry forms and contest rules are available at guest relations and at the Pokémon tent inside the park on August 10.

Entrant selection begins promptly at 2:45 p.m. and all guests must be present at the designated Pokémon tent at this time to for a chance to participate. The contest will take place at 3 p.m.

Participating Six Flags parks include:
Six Flags Magic Mountain
Six Flags Over Texas
Six Flags Great America
Six Flags Over Georgia
Six Flags Great Adventure

One prize will be awarded at each participating park. Click here for Official Rules.

Skylanders Premium Toy Line Eon’s Elite to Come this Fall!



My boys, who are 5 & nearly 7, love Skylanders. I mean, love Skylanders. All I’ve been hearing about for the past several weeks is how they can’t wait for Skylanders Trap Team to come out, and now I know I’ll be hearing a lot about Eon’s Elite, too.

Yesterday at San Diego Comic-Con plans were announced to  bring “Eon’s Elite,” a new set of premium toys, to Skylanders fans worldwide this fall. The limited edition Eon’s Elite will introduce eight must-have collectible versions of fan-favorite Skylanders characters, beginning with Spyro and Chop Chop.

The heroes  in the “Eon’s Elite” roster hail from the original Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure and have been carefully selected by Master Eon for displaying undaunted courage and commitment to defending all of Skylands.  Eon’s Elite features a never-before-seen decoration with a distinct, metallic finish and a golden base that sets them apart from other Skylanders toys.  Each of these special edition toys will be offered in premium foil packaging and also features a display case with a 3D lenticular background. Additionally, when played in-game, Eon’s Elite will be up to three times as powerful over other characters, which represents the biggest in-game boosts ever incorporated into a Skylanders toy to date.

“Eon’s Elite represents the most iconic characters from the original Skylanders game that started it all,” said Josh Taub, senior vice president of product marketing at Activision Publishing. “These eight toys are not only premium quality but also honor the characters’ strength, courage and commitment. We’re excited to extend our fans’ collections with this new line.”

Eon’s Elite characters will be available in limited quantities at GameStop and EB Games stores in North America, Australia and New Zealand, and select retailers in Europe this fall while supplies last.

And in case you’re not familiar with Trap Team, here’s a little about the upcoming game that will be launching in October (seriously, my boys can. not. wait.):

Launching in October, Skylanders Trap Team brings a ground-breaking innovation to the Skylanders franchise by reversing the magic of its signature Toys-To-Life play pattern to let kids bring life-to-toys for the first time. With Skylanders Trap Team, Portal Masters seek out and defeat the most wanted villains in all of Skylands, pulling them out of the game and into living rooms by capturing them in magical Traps. Players can then send villains back into the game where they play as them to fight for good. The game will include the Traptanium Portal, a new ring of magical energy that enables kids to not only bring their Skylanders to life, but also magically capture villains using the new Traps. Once they’ve defeated the villains, kids will be able to place a Trap into the new portal to capture them. They will also be able to hear the villains inside the Traps, an innovation that truly brings life to toys.  Skylanders Trap Team will be available on Xbox 360 and  Xbox One  video game and entertainment systems from Microsoft, PlayStation  3 and PlayStation  4 computer entertainment systems, Nintendo’s Wii  system, Nintendo’s Wii U  system, and a completely unique adventure available on the Nintendo 3DS  hand-held system.

Kindergarten Diploma – Free Printable!



I’m a sucker for memorabilia, so it made me a little sad when I realized our son’s school didn’t give out diplomas for “graduating” kindergarten. My mom still has mine hanging in the hall, and I love it! I decided to make a simple diploma for each of the kids in his class, and then I went to Dollar Tree and bought a frame for each of them. SO easy and inexpensive, and hopefully it’ll be something the kids are proud to receive.

In case you’re like me and would like to have diplomas for your child’s graduation, I’ve created a free printable for you to create your own. It’s a PDF file with text fields, so it should be easy for you to add your child’s name, the date, and the name of the school. There are five color options, too!  Just click here to download the PDF, and open it with Adobe Acrobat to edit the text.


#HealthyEssentials make every day Earth Day

Note: This post is part of the HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® 2014 program by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc. and The Motherhood, who sent me a box of products and compensated me for my time. All opinions are honest and are entirely my own.

Earth Day is this month, and it’s a great opportunity to talk with your kids about how we’re stewards of the resources around us; you can teach even the youngest of children about recycling – I know our boys both have learned about recycling at school and think it’s really cool when we repurpose items for crafts rather than throwing them away. Taking small steps for yourself and with your kids is an important move toward having more mindfulness overall about taking care of the Earth.

Another easy way to teach your kids about recycling is to buy products with recycled packaging, or with packaging that can be recycled. Johnson & Johnson Family of  Consumer Companies includes many brands with recycling-friendly packaging, so I can feel good not only knowing I’m buying products that work well for my family, but also that are good for the Earth. In fact, you can even find great Earth Day ideas on their Healthy Essentials site, along with great coupons and opportunities to save money on quality products – it’s easy to click and “clip” coupons for all sorts of essentials you need for your family.

On the Healthy Essentials site, you can also learn more about a great way to get involved and make a difference with their Donate a Photo app. Just download the app for your smart phone, and:

For every photo you share, Johnson & Johnson donates $1 to a cause you want to help – which does things like fix up a public park, get medicine for an infant, or help kids play sports safely. You choose the cause you want to help, Johnson & Johnson makes it happen.

You can donate one photo a day, every day. With a photo a day, you’ll make a difference by raising money and awareness for causes you care about. Share with your friends and you’ll help your causes meet their goals faster.

I know I’ll be sharing photos – I take a ton as it is, and it’s such an easy way to make a difference each and every day.

I hope you’ll take part in Earth Day this year – don’t forget, you can find tips and suggestions at the Healthy Essentials site to help get you started.

DIY “Message in a Bottle” Pirate Invitations

Note: I received items from to facilitate my craft/invitations. I was not compensated monetarily for my post. All opinions are honest and are my own.

Our middle son’s birthday is right around the corner – next week! – and he’s been excited about his party for a month or so now. He decided to have a pirate theme, and we immediately started looking for ideas on ways to make it special.

Of course, the first item on party prep is invitations, and as a graphic designer it’s always one of my favorite things to do. It’s a fun way to set the tone for your party, and it’s a great way to get creative without it taking too much time or costing too much money.

We went to to look for invitation and party favor ideas, and we found SO many great items perfect to go with our party theme… and we found awesome DIY message in a bottle kits that we just had to get for invitations.



I created a 4″x8″ invitation for us to roll up and put inside the bottles, along with one pirate coin.  The top of the invitation reads, “Ahoy Matey! Here lies one piece of pirate gold. The rest of the treasure is missing, & Captain Colin needs your help to find it!”



The bottles open easily from the bottom so you can stick whatever small items in them you’d like – you could do seashells, sand, or any other beach/nautical items that go along with your theme.



Here are the finished invitations – I used double-stick tape to adhere a label to the outside, and it reads:

Argh Matey! You’re invited

Open this bottle and you will find, a chance for adventure (the very fun kind)

We hope you can join us as we hunt treasure and play,

And help us to celebrate Colin’s 5th birthday!



The best part about these invitations? They’re SO inexpensive. We printed the invitations ourselves. Twelve bottles just cost $13.50, and it’s $5.00 for 144 coins (the rest of the coins are going in goody bags). Our son took the invitations to school and handed them out, so we didn’t even have to pay shipping.

Aren’t the invitations so fun? I can’t wait to show you the rest of the great party favors we found at Oriental Trading – be sure and keep an eye out for my post-birthday write-up coming in the next couple of weeks!

Free Printable: “Dino-Mite” Valentine’s Card Tags


My son C wanted something fun for his Valentines this year, and we decided to do something a little different than our standard cards – we sent his friends dinosaurs! I found these for $1 each at Walmart, but you can also often find bags of dinosaurs at the dollar store – and I found a batch of 72 dinosaurs for just $10 on Amazon. Either way, I’ve got an adorable tag ready for you to use along with the dinosaurs. I’m kind of in love with these!




Just click here to download a free printable PDF. The file has two pages. The first has 8 tags laid out. The second page has a repeating dinosaur pattern that looks really great printed on the back of the tags. We typed friends’ names on the tag, but I’ve left space on these for you to write in the names (and your child can write his or her name at the bottom of the tag, which is what we did).

Want another fun Valentine idea? Check out our free Pop Rocks Valentine printable

Free “You Rock” Valentine’s Printable for Pop Rocks


If you’re looking for an easy last-minute Valentine idea, look no further! Simply print out this adorable tag, fold it, and tape it to the top of a Pop Rocks bag. Voila! Here’s how cute ours turned out:


Just click here to download a free PDF file of the tag (just one single tag), or you can right-click and save the JPG below. If you’d like a whole sheet of the tags, click hereOh, and the hardest part for us was finding where to buy Pop Rocks (Target and Walmart had none!). We finally found them at Dollar Tree, where you can get a pack of 3 for $1. You can also find them online.



Need another Valentine idea? Why not use our Dino-Mite free Valentine printable?

You Can Win Big at Chuck E Cheese’s!

Note: We received guest passes to facilitate our trip to Chuck E Cheese’s. All opinions in this post are honest and are my own.


Our kids adore going to Chuck E Cheese’s, so they were thrilled when we told them we were going to meet some friends there this past weekend. They think the pizza is really good, and of course their favorite part is playing games and winning tickets.

Right now Chuck E Cheese’s is running a “Let the Good Times Rip!” in-store game where parents can get excited about winning prizes, too! To play, just peel off the game piece on your 18-ounce adult-size cup to see what you won. You could win a $5,000 Disney® Cruise Line Vacation, XBox One™ Console, Razor Crazy Cart™, PlayStation® 4 Console, Chuck E. Cheese’s gift cards, board games, tickets and more. This in-store game is going on now until March 31st so don’t miss out!



The kids had fun peeling off their game pieces to see what they won – we all got extra tickets, which is always a good thing!






Be sure and pop in to play the game before March 31 – don’t forget, every cup has a prize! And of course, while you’re there you and your family can get in some great quality time and good food.










Note: I participated in a Blog Blast program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Kidoodle.TV. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.


Kidoodle.TV is a great site – and app – to let kids pick entertainment in a safe environment that parents can choose specific settings for. Both the boys thought there were a TON of cool shows to pick from, and I loved the “Parents Room” where I could set what shows the boys are able to pick from. It’s great, too, because I could set profiles for each child, letting them see shows I feel are appropriate for their different ages.

Right now you can try Kidoodle.TV for FREE… and enter by December 31, 2013 to win 1 of 10 tablets or 1 of 10 Kidoodle.TV year-long subscriptions!
To enter the giveaway, go to Kidoodle.TV to sign up for a free trial. Follow the on-screen directions and submit!

Check out the Kidoodle.TV site, and follow Kidoodle on Twitter & Facebook, too!


WummelBox Puts Fun & Creativity At Your Fingertips!

Note: We received a WummelBox through Child’s Play Communications to facilitate our review. We were not compensated monetarily for our post. All opinions are honest and are our own.

Our boys have gotten more into arts and crafts as they’ve gotten older – which I love! We do a TON of coloring at our house, and one of my favorite things is to wake up in the morning and walk in the living room to find them both drawing in their sketchbooks. Of course, with how busy we are, we have a hard time putting the forethought into doing any sort of actual hands-on craft beyond drawing or painting. So, of course, I LOVE the idea behind WummelBox, a subscription service that delivers ready-to-make crafts right to your doorstep.

A few things to know about the company, first of all, that made me like them right off the bat:

  • The high-quality materials in the sets are eco-friendly! Each box includes materials like cork, sand and reforested wood. Even the box is re-useable, becoming a part of each craft!
  • Each craft is designed to be used not once but over and over again (e.g. a car, a cashbox, a windchime, etc.)!
  • Each high-quality WummelBox contains 3-4 themed-based projects (Nutrition, Sound, etc) and is designed to inspire children age 3-8 to learn and explore the world around them.
  • Straight from Berlin, projects are developed by experts, refined by parents andapproved by kids!
  • Each WummelBox contains everything needed to immediately begin crafting.

We got a box that focused on music, and for a FULL WEEK all I heard was, “When can we make our instruments?” They were thrilled that we got to work on them this weekend, and I have to admit I bribed them for good behavior at soccer games by promising we’d do our WummelBox when we got home.



The box itself is cute, with a print all over it. And, like I mentioned above, you even use the box as part of one of your crafts, so it’s not wasted – LOVE that (plus, moms, these boxes would be great for storing kids’ artwork and other papers, just FYI).



Everything is packed neatly in the box and is organized as separate crafts wrapped in tissue paper. As you can see the boys were eager to scope out what was inside, and C (on the left) was thrilled that there was a hedgehog (his favorite animal right now) on the instructions!




First we made a drum. This was SO easy for the kids to do, and they thought it was a blast. You can see how the instructions make it really clear what to do.




We also made chimes, which was a more time-consuming activity – I had to thread the string through the wooden bar and through each chime, which took me a good 10-15 minutes. Once they were done, though, I thought it was very cool how the chimes could attach to the box. And as you can see, J loved playing the chimes. We were quite a musical household on Saturday between the drum and the chimes!

Another fun activity in the box was a Sound Memory game – we put different items in film canisters (both the items and canisters were provided) and the idea of the game is to shake the containers and find matching pairs. VERY fun, and perfect for our kids’ age range (C just turned 4, and J will be 6 in August).

The WummelBox has a retail value of $35.95. You can get a box for as low as $19.95 if you sign up for a year’s subscription – or you can do a 3-month subscription for $24.95/month, or just get one box for $34.95. Regardless of what plan you pick, your kids will have a lot of fun when their package arrives!

If you want to try WummelBox, visit their site to find out more. I hope you and your kiddos have as much fun with this as we did!

FREE Downloadable “Monsters University” Activity Sheets!

Are you as excited for the Monsters University movie as we are? Brian and I have been huge fans of Monsters, Inc. since it first came out. And that scene at the end when Sully grins as he sees Boo’s face gets me every time. 

Monsters University will be our next family movie to all go see in the theater, and we can’t wait! To help us (and you) pass the time, Disney is letting me share some great downloadable activities.

Reminiscent of (but so much more fun than) the original pin the tail on the donkey, “Archie on the Loose” lets your kids try and put the Monsters University logo on the Fear Tech mascot (ah, classic college prank!) while blindfolded. Click the image below to download your free printable PDF!


This next activity sheet is one I know my boys will enjoy – you can create your own MU (Monsters University) ID badge! Just print out the PDF and let your little monsters draw their little monsters on the card, and voila! You’re good to go. Again, just click on the image below to download your free printable!


Note: Disney provided these activity sheets for me to share but I am not compensated in any way for doing so. I just wanted to spread the fun!