Children’s Activities

Favorite Places: Legoland

Legoland has been one of our favorite places in to visit for years and now they have a new water park!

Legoland Discovery Center has been one of my children’s favorite places to visit since they opened a few years ago. We are huge Lego fans (as evidenced by Jason’s 6th and 7th birthday parties), and this weekend, we visited the new pirate-themed splash park that was added earlier in the month.

With temperatures still hovering around 90 degrees in Texas, it was the perfect afternoon to run around splashing in the sun and playing with large Lego bricks. In fact, I think the water spraying / brick stacking combination outranked the giant water bucket, slides and water cannons as my son’s favorite part of the entire attraction. Something about clicking those bricks together is endless fun to him!

Here are a few scenes from our afternoon:

Legoland has been one of our favorite places in to visit for years and now they have a new water park!

Legoland has been one of our favorite places in to visit for years and now they have a new water park!

Legoland has been one of our favorite places in to visit for years and now they have a new water park!

Legoland has been one of our favorite places in to visit for years and now they have a new water park!

Thank you, Legoland, for inviting us to visit the new Pirate Beach Water Playground at the Grapevine, TX center. The beach is open through October, so I have a feeling we’ll be visiting again soon!

Legoland has been one of our favorite places in to visit for years and now they have a new water park!

Summer Trend: Hair Chalk

Hair Chalk: A fun way to temporarily color children's hair without the mess of spray-on colors

Earlier this summer, we attended a birthday party that had all of the stuff that makes children’s parties awesome – face painting, balloon animals, pinatas and even a hair-coloring station. Jenna was especially excited to get her hair colored, and, while I secretly cringed at the thought of spraying her already tangled hair with sticky spray, I let her join in the fun. She, of course, was thrilled with the results:

Use hair chalk as a safer, easier way to temporarily color children's hair

This weekend, we came across Alex’s Hair Chalk at the store and I immediately recognized the appeal. All of the fun of temporary hair coloring without the mess and chemicals of aerosol sprays.

The hair chalk is really easy to use and the results can vary based on how you apply it. I applied it to Jenna’s dry hair (and Jason even applied a few streaks to his own) for a more subtle effect, but I’ve also read that you can apply it to damp hair and spray it with hairspray for a more intense color.

Hair Chalk

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Making Fresh Pasta with Children

Cooking with Jason and Jenna is something I wish I did more often. They’re getting older, but I don’t always recognize how much they can handle these days - especially Jenna who loves to help out in the kitchen. This weekend was a serious reminder of just how much that little girl can do.

Making Fresh Pasta with Kids

On Friday night, I made a batch of pasta and saved some dough so that Jenna could make her own noodles the next day. I thought it would mostly be for fun and didn’t really think we’d end up with an edible batch. But the fettuccine noodles for lunch, shown above, were almost entirely Jenna’s creation.

The dough was already prepared, a step I’ll likely do in advance next time too since I used a semolina pasta recipe, which is a little hard to knead. Once I showed her how to flatten a piece of the dough and guide it through the KitchenAid attachment, she worked through the entire batch. My only role was adjusting the levels during the flattening step and turning off the power between each piece.

It’s been a couple of years since I’ve made fresh pasta, but now that I have a helper, I’ll be making it more often!

Making Fresh Pasta with Kids

DIY Concrete Stepping Stones

DIY tutorial for creating stepping stones with children

Ever since volunteering at the art table during a Real School Gardens event, I’ve wanted to do this craft with Jason and Jenna. It’s messy, but the results are awesome and I love how these stepping stones look in our yard.

steppingstones1

We started by letting the kids select their favorite materials from a huge batch of stones, beads, marbles, buttons, glass rocks and other leftover craft materials I had on hand. We didn’t use any Legos (because I didn’t think of that), but my son commented that we should use Legos next time … as if we don’t already step on enough Legos around here.

DIY tutorial for creating stepping stones with children

Mixing the concrete is the hard part. We used Quikrete and mixed it into a bucket without wearing any gloves. FYI, I highly recommend using gloves if you’re going to mix the concrete by hand. Once the concrete was mixed, we poured it into shoe boxes and other similarly-sized boxes that we saved.

DIY tutorial for creating stepping stones with children

We let Jason and Jenna decorate the stones by pressing the materials they had selected into the wet concrete. You don’t need to press it in very far for it to stick, so this part isn’t messy and can be done without gloves.
DIY tutorial for creating stepping stones with children
We let our stones dry overnight, but it seemed like they were fairly dry within a few hours. Once they were completely dry, we placed them in the yard and let the kids start stepping, jumping and running on them.

DIY tutorial for creating stepping stones with children

Frozen Castle

Create a Frozen-themed ice castle. A great outdoor summer activity.

Like every six-year-old girl at the moment, Jenna loves the movie Frozen. When I saw this ice sculpture idea recently, I knew we had to try it out.

It takes a bit of advance preparation, but it was well worth the effort. We started on Saturday by mixing water and food coloring to create different shades of blue, pink and purple – something that turned out to be great fun in itself. We poured the water into a variety of containers, added a sprinkle of glitter and placed the containers in the freezer to create a large batch of ice crystals - or, as Jenna calls them, fractals.

On Sunday, we took all of our ice outside and started stacking the pieces together to create a castle. We used a little bit of water to help the cubes stick together. It had rained most of the day and the temperature had cooled to the 70s, making this the perfect summer day for building an ice castle.

Create a Frozen-themed ice castle. A great outdoor summer activity.

Favorite Places: Rory Meyers Children’s Garden

A Visit to the Rory Meyers Children's Garden at the Dallas ArboretumSince moving to the DFW area several years ago, the Dallas Arboretum has been one of my favorite local places to visit. Last fall, they opened the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden and now it’s one of Jason and Jenna’s favorites too. The garden is science-focused, with each of the indoor and outdoor stations featuring interactive activities around common themes, like energy, space and geology. We visited this weekend and arrived just after opening. We had the entire park nearly to ourselves!

Here are (more than just) a few of my favorite pictures – the gardens are so beautiful it’s hard to narrow down all of the photos I took.

A Visit to the Rory Meyers Children's Garden at the Dallas Arboretum

A Visit to the Rory Meyers Children's Garden at the Dallas Arboretum

 

Favorite Places: Rory Meyers Children's Garden

Favorite Places: Rory Meyers Children's Garden

 

Favorite Places: Rory Meyers Children's Garden