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Monthly Archives: December 2011

  • Make the New Year Bright

    Light up your family's new year with a kid-friendly craft project: make-your-own lanterns. We've found three different styles that range from simple to messy to a little more advanced. Just follow the links to get started on your own light-up-the-night extravaganza!

    The simple ones are classic paper bag lanterns. You don't need much more than some bags and a few household tools. Kids can draw shapes for grown-ups to cut out: it's sort of like carving a pumpkin.

    Balloon lanterns are messy fun. Start with a balloon, add tissue paper and lots (and lots!) of glue.

    For the older kids, tin can lanterns offer a satisfying project. The light holes are created with a hammer and nails, for a look that's sophisticated but easy to accomplish.

    Whichever you and your family choose, these lanterns offer the perfect way to brighten up 2012. Happy New Year to all!

  • Happy Noon Year!

    This event's name has to go down as one of the cleverest ever.

    Noon Year's Eve celebrations are held all across the country for little ones who couldn't possibly stay up till midnight no matter how desperately they want to. About 20 of them, usually the ones at zoos, are sponsored by Radio Disney, but many more are independent events that share the marvelous moniker.

    We're fans of the event at the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana, California, which puts science in the celebration--as in how to make a canister pop like a champagne cork.

    The highlight of these events is usually the noon ball drop, treated with (nearly) the same pomp, circumstance, and countdown as the one in Times Square. In fact, it's such a big deal that the Children's Museum of Denver has a ball drop every hour on the hour between 10AM and 3PM. The Phoenix Zoo has sparkling cider for the toast, and the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo features a ball that sometimes doubles as a toy for the elephants (really!).

    What better way to let the kids celebrate and still get them to bed at a reasonable hour?

    Happy Noon Year!!

  • Snow Much Fun!

    Winter can be a kid's paradise, especially if it's covered in snow.

    Our favorite way to enjoy the snow is sledding. So this year, we're eager to try out this mini luge, with high hopes that the kids really will feel like Olympian lugers while shooshing down the hillside.

    This classic toboggan is appealing, too--maybe not for shooshing, but definitely for attempting to recreate a Currier & Ives type feel in our own backyard.

    But do not overlook the wow potential in a pair of kid-sized snowshoes. It's a pretty cool feeling to walk atop the snow instead of sinking into it all the way up to your knees, especially when you're only a few feet tall to begin with! Snowpaws leave hilarious prints (freak out your neighbors!) and these Denalis will make any kid feel like Sir Edmund Hillary himself (once you've explained who that is).

    Talk about walking in a winter wonderland!

  • Darling Dreidels

    Between sundown December 20 and sundown December 28, children everywhere will be spinning dreidels and holding their breath as they await the outcome. Why not make things even more fun with a brand-new dreidel?

    This one, made out of Legos and available on etsy, is the perfect example of an "I could totally do that myself" item that, when it comes right down to it, isn't actually so easy to do (or maybe that's just us). Watch your favorite Lego-lover's eyes light up at this one.

    Speaking of things we could do ourselves--here's a make-your-own dreidel that really does fit that bill. Just pop the pieces out and stack 'em up.

    Finally, here's an interesting mash-up: it's a wooden space-age dreidel. Take one part metal sculpture and one part classic wooden toy and here's the result.

    This year, collecting dreidels just may be as much fun as playing them.



  • Family Christmas card maybe?

    This is so adorable, it could be a Christmas card! These gorgeous gals happen to be my nieces, so I’m biased. However, we love seeing our fun Peel & Place children’s wall decals being played with and looking good on the wall like we intended. AnnaLee and Lainee Blu know how to make their Aunt Penney smile from 2,000 miles away!

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