Kids’ Activities – Frugal Novice
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Kids’ Activities

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.

WummelBox

 

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).

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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!

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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.

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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!

ArchieActivity

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!

MonsterID

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! 

Crayola’s Big Colorful Birthday Adventure

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Our boys LOVE to color. I bought them the Crayola tower of crayons a while back, and they have had a field day each filling pages of their own drawing pad. It’s so much fun seeing their creativity come out, and I can remember my own love of drawing and coloring first starting as a child. Crayola has been around for a long time impacting kids and helping them be creative!

 

To celebrate their 110th birthday, the 8 original crayons are throwing a birthday bash at the new fun-omenal Crayola Experience, the world’s only interactive Crayola family attraction. Right now, they’re out on a colorful adventure to spread the news, and you’re invited to join the fun!

How can you join in on the fun? You can FOLLOW the crayons on their adventure, LEARN more about each color and enter to WIN a trip for 4 to celebrate their birthday and the Grand Opening of the all new Crayola Experience this coming May, 2013!

Visit the Crayola Facebook page and click “enter now” for your chance to be first in line when the Crayola Experience reopens.

The new Crayola Experience features four floors of new interactive exhibits and one-of-a-kind attractions that will bring the magic of color and your child’s creativity to life! The winner will be among the first to experience the fun, along with a three- night, all-expenses paid stay. It’s an experience your kids will never forget – and neither will you!

Note: Crayola provided information for this post. I am receiving a pack of crayons as thanks for this post. I am not being compensated monetarily. 

Great Value Cookies Perfect for Holiday Baking Fun {Baking Party Pics!}

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Our kids LOVE to bake and decorate Christmas cookies, so I was really excited to share the fun of this tradition with some good friends this past weekend.  One of my friends, Jennifer, and I went to WalMart the weekend before to shop for supplies, and I really realized how far my money could go since I was buying Great Value products and saving money on each of them.

My sweet friend Kristi offered to host the party at her house, which was great since her kitchen is a lot wider and more open than ours is. We baked some Great Value cinnamon rolls, which were a great snack to enjoy. I don’t know about you, but cinnamon rolls are a big tradition for Christmas morning. I love the idea of making them from scratch (and have before) but we all know there’s a lot to be done Christmas morning, and it’s more important to spend time with your loved ones than to be in the kitchen. Great Value cinnamon rolls provide an easy, inexpensive, tasty alternative.

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Then we got down to the fun! We set up tons of toppings on the station Kristi put together, and Jennifer and I whipped up red & green buttercream icing to go along with the white (again – using Great Value products allowed me to make a TON of icing at a very reasonable cost)!

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They had a blast with the cookies. Since Great Value cookie dough is so affordable, I was able to buy a lot and provide plenty of canvases for our little cookie artists.

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And here are some of the masterpieces (the moms got gifted cookies in abundance, too)!

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Kristi-Cookies

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I got the kids colored aprons to wear and take home as party favors, and they humored the moms for a photo in them – aren’t they adorable?

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If you’re looking for some time to fit in a little more holiday fun, let Great Value cookie dough and cinnamon rolls become a part of your traditions. You’ll save money & time, and get quality, great-tasting items to share with your family.

Now, if you remember in my previous post, I promised another cookie recipe along with five of my favorite cookies… here goes!

Easy Orange-Cranberry Cookies

Perfect for the holidays… and SOOOO easy!

Ingredients:

  • One tube of Great Value sugar cookie dough
  • Zest of one large orange
  • 1 teaspoon of orange extract
  • 1 cup of dried cranberries
  • Decorative sugar (clear)

Directions:

  1. Open the tube of cookie dough and place into a large bowl. Let it sit out for 15 minutes or so, enough to soften and make it easier to add mix-ins.
  2. Add in the zest and orange extract, mixing well. Then add in the cranberries, making sure they’re evenly dispersed through the cookie dough.
  3. Roll the cookies into walnut-sized balls and sprinkle with decorative sugar. This is a larger size of sugar than granulated sugar, and it provides a nice sparkle and crunch to the cookie! Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.

And now…. five of my favorite cookies:

  1. Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies
  2. Eggless Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

  3. Oatmeal Cream Pies

  4. Pumpkin Cream Cheese Whoopie Pies

  5. Ranger Cookies

Note: I am participating in the Great Value program with The Motherhood. I have been compensated for my time.  All thoughts and opinions are honest and are my own.

How To: DIY Custom Snow Globes

There’s something almost magical about snow globes. I’ve loved them since childhood, and our kids love them now too. So I, of course, excitedly said yes when my friend Kristi asked if I’d want to make personalized snow globes with her. This is a perfect craft to do for kids (or with kids, if yours are a little older) – it’s creative, fun, and inexpensive.

Materials for this project are pretty simple:

  • A jar for each globe (you can use jars from your fridge that you’ve cleaned, or get mason jars for pretty cheap)
  • Hot glue gun
  • Water
  • Glitter
  • Photos, trimmed out and laminated
  • Any other additions you’d like – garland/tree branches, beads, etc.

  

Start by taking a photo of each child. For ours I tried to have a Christmas theme. C is wearing a Santa hat, J is holding our elf, Orville, and E has a little Lego Christmas tree propped in front of her. Then print your photos on plain old printer paper, trim out

the background, and laminate them. When you cut out the laminated image, make sure to leave extra around the photo so it stays sealed and water doesn’t reach your image.

I bought a sprig of garland at the craft store and we pulled pieces off to serve as the background for our photos. Kristi had some small gravel and we also had some green beads to hot glue around the feet to help secure the photo.

One note – make sure that you don’t glue anything too close to the edge of the lid – it’ll make it difficult to close the jar securely (and it really doesn’t show up very much at all, so don’t worry about needing to cover the whole thing).

Once you’ve finished securing everything to the lid, fill your jar with water and glitter, along with any other little items you’d like. For the girls, we used some more green beads, and for the boys we added some small Lego pieces. Make sure to not fill the jar ALL the way to the top, because you have to account for the items displacing a little of the liquid.

When we were looking for tips, we saw some people suggest using baby oil to slow the glitter down a bit. We tried this, and the glitter initially clumped together like big blobs in a lava lamp. I ended up rinsing all of mine out, and I think it works just fine with only water.

Once you’re happy with how your jars look, use hot glue to secure the lid. We put a bead around the edge, and then on the bottom, too – where the two parts of the lid meet. The bead of glue on the bottom also serves to keep the jars from sliding around as much, which is nice.

Here are the finished products – what do you think?

We’re going to add some ribbon around ours to hide the glue, but otherwise I think they’re pretty perfect! The kids really like them, too – well, the boys, anyway. :)

Easy-DIY-SnowGlobes-FrugalNovice

Your Kids Can Be Active And Learn, Too With the iBounce!

iBounceWe live in Texas, and although we’re known for our hot (HOT) summers, we get our fair share of cold weather too. When we have extreme weather, it can be hard for us to get out and let the kids get some much-needed activity. So we were thrilled to discover the iBounce trampoline, a great way for kids to burn off energy right inside your home!

JumpSport, makers of the award-winning iBounce children’s trampoline with tablet mount (fits, iPad, Kindle, Kindle Fire, Samsung and most other tablets), rolls out two new animated adventures for RompyRoo in Let The Games Begin and The Grand Finale! Both videos keep kids hopping as they develop balance and coordination while learning to listen carefully and follow directions. The JumpSport iBounce makes a great holiday gift for kids 2 to 5 years old.

The kid’s trampoline, packed with entertainment, has gotten gushing reviews from mom bloggers, consumers and (so far) eight industry honors this year, though it was only introduced at Toy Fair in February. Everyone agrees that the iBounce benefits preschool-aged kids by getting them off the couch/floor/bed and motivates them to exercise along with adorable animated character, RompyRoo. Learning numbers, colors and letters are all part of a brief, bouncy attention-grabbing session.

We love the stability that the handlebars on the trampoline offer, and we love that it is small enough to fit well in our house. The iPad stand is a nice feature, but we really like letting the kids watch the videos on our TV best of all. It’s great that they combine learning and activity all in one package. We’ve had the boys each bounce 100 times before bed, which helps them work on counting and burns off a little energy before they go to sleep. :) The trampoline is great quality and very sturdy, and the design is nice and bright and cheery. We love it!

Here you can see it in action a little – J is trying out the trampoline while watching the video on our TV:

This trampoline has won a LOT of awards already:

  • Spring 2012 National Parenting Center  Seal of Approval
  • Spring 2012 Parents’ Choice Foundation Award
  • 2012 Mom’s Choice Awards • Gold
  • 2012 Creative Child • Kids Product Of The Year
  • 2012 Dr. Toy’s Best Vacation Children’s Product
  • 2012 Tillywig Toy Awards • Top Fun Award Winner
  • 2012 Parent Tested Parent Approved
  • 2012 Family Review Center Seal of Approval

For information about the iBounce and its newest RompyRoo DVDs/downloadable videos, go to www.jumpsport.com/kids-trampoline.

If you’d like to purchase an iBounce for a special little one in your life this holiday season, you can find it on Amazon and other online retailers.

Note: We received this trampoline to facilitate our review. We were not compensated monetarily for this post. All opinions are honest and are our own.

Little Chefs: Big Fun! Check out Great New eBook from Chef Boyardee

Brian and I love to cook together – it’s always been something we’ve enjoyed, and now that the boys are getting old enough we love getting them involved in the kitchen too. So when I was offered the chance to be a part of the Chef Boyardee Little Chefs eBook, I knew we’d be a perfect fit!

My theme was Everyday Fun, and since it’s almost Halloween we had fun making “Boo Breakfast” pancakes and writing about ways to have fun for holidays and year-round. Here are some of our pancakes (this pic didn’t make it into the book):

And here are the boys ready to help me with ingredients (I think they did a LOT of taste-testing with the candy corn and chocolate chips!):

Be sure and check out our section of the book – you’ll even see a photo of our five-year-old, J, putting some Reddi-Whip on his pancakes.  But beyond our contribution you’ll find all sorts of fun tips, recipes, and ideas! So, be sure and take a look at the book and prepared to get inspired!

Note: I am participating in the Chef Boyardee Little Chefs program with The Motherhood. I have been compensated for my time.  All thoughts and opinions are honest and are my own.

Avengers Family Fun Night

Brian has always been a big comic book and superhero fan, so it only makes sense that our boys would be too. They haven’t seen any of the movies yet since they’re just 3 & 5, but you better believe they know who the Avengers are and can tell you their names. And they LOVE to play like they’re superheroes too – our five-year-old, J, likes to be Iron Man, and our three-year-old, C, especially likes Captain America.

Since we have small children at home we don’t make it to the theater as often, so we are especially excited for the release of the Avengers Blu-Ray/DVD/Graphic Novel Combo Pack from Walmart – #MarvelAvengersWMT – on Tuesday, September 25. Brian and I can’t wait to watch it! The boys are a little young for the movie but since they love Avengers so much we knew it’d be fun to have an Avengers Family Fun night to celebrate the movie’s upcoming release.

Before I went to buy things for our night, I downloaded the Avengers Augmented Reality App on my iPhone. I just went to the App Store and downloaded it (it’s free!).

I knew when I headed to Walmart that I wanted to get some fun Avengers toys that the boys could be creative with and play pretend. Right off the bat I went to the Lego sets, because that is such a fun family activity to build together. I found two sets – one featuring Captain America and one featuring Iron Man. Perfect, right? I also got them each an action figure, because what little boy doesn’t love those? I got some tiny figurines called Zerbos, some Pez dispensers, and to go with our MarketSide pizza for dinner I got them Avengers cups to drink out of. I really wanted the evening to be all about playing and fun! Here are some of my finds:

While I was at Walmart I had a lot of fun finding the trigger points and using the Avengers Augmented Reality App. Over by the toy section I found a DVD display featuring Avengers heroes. When I used the app with it, I was able to take a quiz telling me which Avenger I am. I loved how the graphics on the app really integrated with the display.

I was also so impressed with the MarketSide pizza display. For one thing, it’s just a lot of fun to have the characters on the pizza boxes – but the interactivity on the boxes with the app is SO cool! We tried ours at home and loved how the 3-D city popped up complete with Avengers zooming around. The pizza was huge and made a great – and fun – dinner option for the four of us. For more pics from my shopping trip, check out my Google+ story!

We also got the graphic novel that comes as a limited edition item in the Avengers combo pack – it is so nice! Like I mentioned, Brian is a big comic book fan and he was impressed. The boys loved looking at the pictures in the book too!

On our Family Fun Night we had a blast! We built the Lego sets, played Avengers with the action figures, enjoyed our MarketSide Captain America pizza, and had Pez from our Avengers dispensers for dessert – so fun!

Now that we’ve spent a lot of time playing Avengers with the boys I’m even more excited for the Avengers movie release and can’t wait to get the combo pack at Walmart! It will give Brian and I a fun date night in, for sure.

If you want to keep up with Avengers news, check out the Marvel site, “Like” them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter!

Note: I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This content has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and Marvel. All opinions in this post are honest and are my own or those of my family. #MarvelAvengersWMT #CBias #SocialFabric

Summer Fun 101 With Banana Boat

I’m extremely fair-skinned and have always been prone to sunburns, so sunscreen has always been an important element to me for outdoor activities. The boys seem to have inherited Brian’s skin tone more than mine – they’re more apt to tan than burn. But still, it’s important to us to keep our whole family’s skin safe when we’re having fun outside this summer.

Banana Boat, a long-respected name in sunscreen, ahs recently released their new Natural Reflect brand. These products are 100% naturally-sourced mineral sunscreens active with Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide – and they’re paraben-free. But not only are they natural, they’re also effective. They underwent extensive testing in seven real-life conditions – sun, pool water, ocean water, wind, sweat, sand, and 100 degree heat – to ensure sun protection.

Banana Boat is very focused on safe summer fun, and they’re running a 101 Days of Summer Play campaign. As part of this, we got to host an outdoor party and share Banana Boat with our friends! We decided to have a picnic at the park, and the Texas weather even cooperated with us – it was a mild 90-degree evening, rather than the 104 temps we had the previous weekend.

All the drinks – had to have plenty to stay cool!

Our friends’ daughter scoped out where she wanted to play first.

C enjoyed talking to his shadow… or the playground… or both. Regardless, he had a lot to say!

Banana Boat tote bag, filled with supplies.

Amanda and Rea had a conversation. :)

Baby Finley hangs out – literally – with her mom Kara!

Amanda and her family with their Banana Boat goodie bags, which included a full-size tube of sunscreen and a Banana Boat frisbee, along with a $1.00 off coupon.

Rea and her frisbee, which was almost as big as she is!

Visit Banana Boat’s Facebook page to take the 101 Days of Summer Play Pledge. For each pledge Banana Boat will donate one bottle of Natural Reflect lotion to The Hole In The Wall Gang Camp – a non-profit Summer camp and year round center serving children coping with cancer and other serious illnesses. Banana Boat has also teamed up with natural living expert Sara Snow. Head over to their Facebook page for her weekly activity suggestion, weekly prizes and a grand prize trip via their photo contest. And of course, don’t forget to visit the Banana Boat site for more information on all of their products.

Banana Boat wants you to have a chance to get in on all the summer fun, so I’m getting to host a giveaway for a Banana Boat goodie bag right here! This will end Saturday, June 23!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Banana Boat® Sun Care and received a party kit to facilitate my review, party kits to give to my guests, and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Chuggington Gets the Party Started

I am sure almost everyone could agree that it’s fun planning birthday parties for their kids – especially once they’re old enough to have opinions, get involved and get excited about it all! I know the boys start picking themes months in advance and they love going to the party store with us to shop for supplies.

If your kiddos are fans of trains like ours are, you’ll be interested to know that you can now find Chuggington party supplies! They have a whole line of products that help you out from start to finish – everything from invitations, to stickers for party favor bags, to thank you cards.

I know when I’m planning out decor for the boys’ parties, I like to pull out a few solid colors to use for items like table cloths, streamers and balloons, and then I pick a few items like plates, cups, napkins, etc. to bring in the character or theme.

Hallmark gets the party on track with dinner plates, dessert plates, lunch napkins, beverage napkins and more – $4.19/package or less, so they’re affordable, too.

 

Chuggington party supplies can be found at PartyCity.com and other retailers; you can also keep up with all the Chuggington fun on Facebook and Twitter, too! Lay the tracks for a traintastic party including your kids’ favorite Chuggers!

Note: I’m a Chuggington Conductor! I received the toys to facilitate my review, but was not compensated monetarily for my post. All opinions are honest and are those of myself and my family. 

Chuggington Takes the Fun Outdoors! {Giveaway}

If your kids are like mine and love Chuggington, you can now find great toys for them that are perfect for summer! We received another traintastic package that included bubble blowers and balls – two things that little boys absolutely adore – so it was a hit!

The bubble blowers are great because they work well for even little kids. We got the light-up Bubble Chugger that easily blows out a stream of bubbles (it is battery-operated). It retails for $8.99 and comes with a small bottle of bubbles and a bubble tray.

The Bubble Train Whistle is one that the kids blow through to both make a noise and produce bubbles. C has a hard time with typical bubble wands because he blows too hard for bubbles to even form, but this one worked great for him. It doesn’t hurt that you get to sound like a train while you’re at it – what little kid wouldn’t love that?  This whistle is $3.99 and also comes with bubbles and a bubble tray.

Along with the bubble blowers, we also got two small balls that are lightweight and covered with Chuggington artwork. They’re great for playing catch without worrying about anyone getting hurt if they get bonked in the head. :) The balls both retail for around $2.00-$2.50. As you can see, the boys couldn’t even hardly stand still for a photo with the balls – they were ready to bounce them!

One lucky reader will win their own package of fun outdoor Chuggington toys, including the two bubble blowers and two balls! This giveaway is open to all U.S. & Canadian residents ages 18+. Entries will be accepted until the end of the day (midnight Central) Thursday, May 31. By entering this giveaway you agree to the Official Rules.

Mandatory Entry: Comment on this post telling me what your favorite outdoor activity is to do with your kids!

(Only valid after the required entry has been completed)

Please leave a comment for each extra entry – if you blog about this giveaway and get 2 entries, for example, comment 2 times.

Note: I’m a Chuggington Conductor! I received the toys to facilitate my review, but was not compensated monetarily for my post. All opinions are honest and are those of myself and my family. The prize for the giveaway is also being provided.

Fun at Your Fingertips with BabbaCo

I wrote earlier about BabbaCo, a subscription company that delivers a box filled with kids’ activities and crafts each month. We got the chance to try one of the boxes for ourselves, and I’m excited to share our experience with you so you!

Each box has a theme, and this month’s was sun, moon and stars. I noticed right off the bat that BabbaCo uses QR codes, which are a great way to add interactive content. I just had to use the (free) scanner on my smartphone and I was instantly taken to online content!

The contents of the box are well-organized, and I was impressed with how much was included – a chart to document the phases of the moon along with binoculars, a paper mache kit with all the supplies (glue and everything) included, a star-themed wine stopper for mom & dad, a star-themed book, and an art activity to make your own constellation artwork using sun-sensitive paper and stickers.  The boys were really excited to look through the box, and we started off by reading the book.

Next we started the paper mache activity – like I mentioned, everything was all included so it was easy to get started!

The boys loved being hands-on. They tried blowing up the balloon but finally decided that was a task for me, but they both took squeezing glue out very seriously. J was especially excited to do this craft – he and C took turns squeezing the glue out and then he helped me get the paper strips ready to go.

We got our first layer finished, and then let it dry overnight to prepare for putting the next layer on. I did have to explain that this was a project that took some time to finish, because they were wanting an instant result at first!

All in all we were really impressed with the box! It was perfect for J, who fits within their target audience, but C enjoyed being a part of it all, and especially liked the book that was included.

As a parent, I felt like this was a good value for the money. The convenience of having all of the craft elements provided is pretty invaluable, and you’re not having to go out and buy a whole package of sun-sensitive paper, for instance – you get just what you need. That’s important to me since we don’t have a lot of storage space for housing a ton of craft items! It also saved me the time of putting together a themed series of projects that can really hammer home details about a topic by all being connected.

These boxes will be something I definitely keep in mind for gift ideas; so many kids now have SO many toys (we’re guilty of that too!) so this is something different that encourages quality time as a family, fosters creativity and allows for fun learning. You can order a subscription or just one box at BabbaCo.com!

Note: We received a BabbaCo box to facilitate our review. We were not compensated monetarily for this post. All opinions are honest and are those of myself and my family.