Memorial Day Sand Play


It’s Memorial Day weekend, the traditional start to summer for many.  While it’s a great time to get together for family cook-outs and a swim in the pool, Memorial Day is really about so much more than that.

It’s a time to remember all the servicemen who have died.  This week I pulled out some of my husband’s old army men to help explain that sacrifice to the kids.


Memorial Day sand play


My husband has a HUGE collection of army men from when he was younger.  And while I wanted to explain that sometimes our military men and women don’t make it home to their families, I also didn’t want to get too involved it the details of war.  (I have a very sensitive 6 year-old.)

So, I skipped using the fallen soldiers he had in his collection, but I did choose to include the soldier carrying the stretcher for the wounded.  He was able to put soldiers on it and pull them around, but in his world, the soldiers always came back.  That’s the beauty of childhood.


army men sand play for Memorial Day



He may not grasp the finality of a soldier dying; honestly, I don’t want him to just yet.  I want him to hang on to that childhood innocence a little longer.

But getting the soldiers out, and letting him recreate battles in his small world was a good introduction to what Memorial Day really is about.  

teaching about Memorial Day



Looking for other patriotic ideas?

Check out our patriotic sensory play and American flag craft!

What Dads REALLY Want for Father’s Day


Father’s Day is coming up, and let’s face it, most dads don’t really need (or want) another store-bought tie.   So what is it that Dad really wants?  

I’ve spent the past few days asking just that.


what dads REALLY want for Father's Day -- real dads answer


These 12 women asked the men in their lives what they’d like this year for Father’s Day, and this is what they said.


A Father’s Day gift that goes with a favorite hobby is always a big hit!

“Car parts for his classic cars” — Kori,  Just Another Mom

“More Olympic weights” – Ashlyn, Lifting Lucy

“A new pot to brew his homemade beer” — Anonymous

Guns Don’t Kill People. Dads with Pretty Daughters Do t-shirt” (He’s a competition shooter.) — There’s Just One Mommy 

“He goes on a mancation golf tip right before Father’s Day every year so that is his gift.” — Kristin

“New propane fish/turkey fryer. But I’m also getting him a Qalo silicone wedding band. He’s mentioned wanting one a few times before to replace his silver band. Since he’s a firefighter, they just came out with a thin red line one, so I’m going to surprise him with that.” — Kimberly


Even dads like a little pampering.

“A day to sleep in and a massage (his crew is currently working 7 day/60+ hour weeks)” — Leanne, The Transplanted Southerner 

“A professional massage and a new feather pillow because I, the awful homemaker, ruined his old one by putting it through the wash (oops!)” — Karissa, The Crunchy Chronicles 


Guys of all ages like fun electronics.

“The one thing I really want is the MLB App on Amazon Fire.” — Melissa, Fireflies and Mudpies

Lock N’ load Gun alarm clock —  Paula, What Is That I Need It!

Fitbit Charge HR Wireless Activity Wristband — Nicole

“Bose Solo TV sound system” — Monica


And don’t forget a handmade Father’s Day card from the kids! Those homemade cards are precious mementos dads actually keep.

Sea Animals Party Game


Maybe you’re planning your own community “summer camp,” or maybe you’re just looking for an outdoor party game the kids can play this summer.  Whatever the occasion, this simple sea animal party game will have them cheering each other on!

kids outdoor party game:  Save the Sea Animals!


You will need:

  • 1 large plastic tub, kiddie pool, or storage container
  • Collection of small plastic sea animals
  • Sand buckets and shovels (1 bucket and shovel for each team)
  • Can of shaving cream
  • Water

To Play the Game:

Place plastic sea animals into your plastic tub.

Fill container part way with water, making sure to at least cover the animals.

Spray shaving cream on top.

Divide kids into teams, making sure each team has a plastic sand bucket and shovel.

Line the teams up behind the buckets.  (We had our buckets about 12 feet away from the plastic tub of animals.)

Tell the players that it is their job to save the sea animals from the pollution (shaving cream).  They must use the shovel to scoop up the animals and carry them back to their bucket.

summer outdoor party game

Once their turn is complete, they are to pass the shovel to the next person in line.

Continue play until all the animals are saved.

The team with the most animals in their bucket, wins!

fun summer kids game

(For younger children, you could just finish with, “Yeah!  we saved all the animals!” and not announce a winner.)


Want to increase the challenge?

  • Have players wear an inner tube around their waist or arm floats when its their turn.  Or, for older children, you could use a pair of swim flippers.
  • Use different sized animals.  It’s hard to get more than one large animal on the shovel at a time!
  • Toss in a handful of seashells with the animals.  The shaving cream makes it hard to see what you’re really scooping up.
  • Tell players they must keep one arm behind their back when it’s their turn.
  • If players drop a sea animal, don’t let them pick it back up.


Simple Shell Art for Kids


Last weekend we celebrated my son’s 6th birthday.  I had planned several games for our ocean-themed party, but at the last minute I threw together this simple shell craft.


simple shell craft for kids


Several years ago my husband’s aunt gave us a huge box of white seashells for the kids to craft with.  I had actually forgotten about them until I started spring cleaning this year.  I decided the birthday party was the perfect time to pull them out.

I spread out a variety of shells for the kids to choose from.  I also brought out my favorite collection of Sharpie markers.


easy shell craft idea


The only direction I game them was to use the markers to decorate the shells however they wanted to.

Pretty soon we had shells decorated with Minecraft characters, tigers, rainbows, camouflage…all as different and unique as the kids who were decorating them!


fun shell craft for kids


Every child at the party decorated 3-4 shells.

I never expected this simple craft would be such a huge hit!  In fact, my daughter begged to do it again several times that week.


And, if you’re worried about clean-up, it’s a breeze if you use this tip to remove permanent marker from little fingers and table tops.


Want to take this craft a bit further?

Get out googly eyes for kids to add on, or try adding arms/legs to characters using pipe cleaners.

Most importantly, have fun crafting with the kids!