When I first read Secret Tree Fort by Brianne Farley I knew I needed to have a camp dedicated to this book, and I knew we would need our own tree fort. I'm not going to lie, if I was made out of money and super handy in the carpentry department I would have totally built an actual tree fort...but I'm lacking both those necessities, so an order was made for a Fort Magic kit. Pretty sure this is currently the coolest thing in my studio.
The kids were thrilled to play in the fort and on the pillows - I added another layer of fun with crepe paper - which became windows, floors, and trap doors.
Months ago I stumbled across Meri Cherry's post: cardboard sensory boxes for toddlers and babies. I filed it away and made a note that I had to incorporate it into one of my playdates. My daughter has always been obsessed with cardboard boxes - so I knew it would be a winner of an activity. I started hoarding boxes - mostly amazon and honest company...because I have a problem. Finally I had enough for one killer playdate setup.
I made seven boxes - inspired from Meri Cherry, and our book, Chirri & Chirra, In the Tall Grass. Two boxes were used to simulate grass, using pipe cleaners and green popsicle sticks. One box was opened at the side with duck tape and paper leaves hanging down. Another box, I taped up and cut different shapes at the top. One giant black box laid on its side with tissue paper covering the opening, the perfect spot for hiding. And the final boxes were open ended and left unaltered - giving opportunities for imaginative play and exploration.
After some *awesome* sensory play, I pulled out three complimentary fruit juices - fruit punch, tropical punch, and limeade. We pretended to be the beetles from the story and took turns pouring in juice and mixing it all together - making our own unique juice. We completed our concoction with yummy tapioca pearls! I was super impressed with the kids fine motor skills and their ability to keep all the liquid off the floor!
The juice was surprisingly delicious and this entire playdate was the bees knees. I had so much fun!
We started our playdate off with an epic water balloon fight - with 300 colorful balloons! Then we headed inside for story time, snack, and some process art – where kiddos were invited to create their own marshmallow/chocolate storage compartments, all inspired by our story. The balloon fight was definitely the favorite activity.
The newest installment of Chirri & Chirra is just as magical as the first. With visits from bumblebees, flower chafers, lizards, and fireflies - it has us wishing we could shrink ourselves and venture out into the tall grass.
For our first summer camp, we pretended to be honey bees. I made the laziest "flowers" (coffee filters) and "honeycombs" (empty egg cartons) - then the mini campers used spoons to transfer the "pollen" (cheese balls) from flower to flower, or into the honeycombs. I had pretty high expectations and was super excited about this fine motor activity - but the kiddos had more fun eating the pollen than they did transferring it. We still had great fun!
For our take-home activity, the kiddos created honey jar sensory bottles. This was probably the most successful activity of the morning - the kids chose from water beads, perler beads, and bee erasers to add to their jars. Then they got to use water droppers to add the "honey" (yellow food colored water) to their jars. I love doing this with littles, its always a huge hit.
Click here to join the fun!
I usually pick a book and read through it before selecting it for a play date. I get my toddler to approve it (she's quick to create opinions about books) and then I determine if I can create sensory + art activities. I usually never buy a book off amazon and arrange a play date without figuring these things out first. Usually. But when Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen team up, you know the book is going to be rad. I literally organized, booked, and sold out an entire playdate before even opening their newest book, Triangle. I wasn't worried at all, and once the book arrived I wasn't in the least bit disappointed. My girl was in love and I was (once again) so impressed with Barnett and Klassen. I don't know how they do it. Their books are always so amazing - and this laugh-out-loud tale about Triangle and his friend Square inspired one of the best playdates I've ever hosted. We had spaghetti snakes, built triangle and square structures, and created our own prints. It was glorious.
It is always so interesting to see which kids will partake in the sensory station and which kids will skip the activity – but goodness they all so darling building and constructing with the cardboard squares and triangles!! My heart!!
I genuinely loved all their prints – I’d hang them all on my wall! They were such a great group of kids – adventurous, creative, helpful, imaginative, and a whole lot of fun! I really hope they had as much fun as I did!
Have y'all tried out kinetic rock? I was apprehensive at first. My girl isn't a huge fan of sand, and I was worried that the texture would be similar - leaving a residue on her hands and making her rush to the nearest source of water. But she was all about this rock. Like I'm talking a solid 30 minutes of play (and y'all toddler parents know that is amazing). It was the perfect companion to our book. We spent the day smashing, mashing, and mending mountains.
I'm obsessed with Sweet Firefly - their honey lavender is the bee’s knees and their vegan chocolate is an easy second!! To say I'm excited to be partnering up with them is an understatement, they are (without a doubt) my favorite ice-cream joint. Books + Art + Ice Cream - is there anything better?
We had our first event on Saturday and it was a blast! We started with ice-cream inspired play with cones, scoopers, and the coolest (and easiest) playdough ever created. Frosting + powdered sugar. It looked like the real thing – and we definitely had some babes taste testing the sugar sensory concoction. After a read-aloud of Ice Cream Summer by Peter Sis – the kiddos were invited to create their own cardboard sundaes with puff paint (glue + shaving cream + food coloring), adding a plethora of toppings to their confections – sprinkles, perler beads, mini pom poms, and a couple paper sprinkles. Each sundae was pretty enough to eat!
We had a great ladies craft night - creating woven wall hangings, inspired by Erica Reitman. I collected a colorful cartful (actually a stroller-ful) of fringe, yarn, and wool, and a handful of unique dowels, including natural wood and copper rods. Everything looked so pretty piled together, I couldn't wait to get started!
Ladies sprawled out on the floor and using the simplest technique EVER - created gorgeous wall hangings for their homes. I was so inspired and in love with each piece. Be sure to check the calendar for our next meet up!
Perfect. Magnificent. Strong. Clever. These words so accurately describe the connection between a mother and her child (or father for that matter). Stephany Aulenback selected these words with precision and perfection, and holy gorgeousness from Denise Holmes. Her illustrations, beautiful palette, and brilliance of hiding the sweet affirmations on each page. Y'all this book is so good and if you're looking for a mama & babe book - this is it. I used this book to inspire this playdate's session. We played in yellow water beads - the color of the lines that run down the road, the jacket on the little girl, and the color of the rays from the sun. We built sand castles and wrote "perfect" again and again in the sand. Then we all snacked on crackers and tried to write with the crumbs. Ending the playdate with acrylic face painting - which is probably the coolest thing ever.