8 Things To Do With Lots of Links

Magical Mama Blog 8 Things To Do With Lots Of Links Linky Ring Toys

8 Things To Do With Lots Of Links

Lots of Links or “link rings” or “linkies”…whatever you call them…are useful as all get out!  If you’re anything like me, I was thrilled to receive package after package of them when my little one was on the way.

I wanted to get Lots of Links, Stacking Cups, Stacking Rings, and Blocks…all of the essentials I had as a kid.  All the great toys that you can use your imagination with as opposed to the electronic junk that is dominating the toy market now.

I’ve noticed that a lot of parents let them disappear into toy boxes once they’re not using them on play gyms anymore, but they can be played with in a million new ways and they are incredibly useful!

  • Attach toys

Magical Mama Blog 8 Things to do with Lots of Links attach and hang toys in the car or crib

When baby is little, this really comes in handy.  Before baby is running around, picking up toys, you can hang toys from play gyms, pack and plays, and cribs for baby to swat at and reach for.

When baby is older, this comes in handy in the car!  You can make a chain of links from the head rest and attach toys, or attach them directly to the car seat.

My little girl is practically a toddler and I use them to attach toys in the car still because if she throws them, I can easily pick them up!

  • Make pull game

Magical Mama Blog 8 Things to do with Lots of Links Linkies Link Rings

Attach all the links into one long chain and place them in a bin of some kind.  Give baby one end and let them pull it out like one of those never ending scarf chains that magicians used to have.

Their faces light up as they grab and pull and their muscles and coordination get a good work out.

  • Make an instrument

Magical Mama Blog 8 Things to do with Lots of Links Linkies Link Chain Ring

Grab a big Tupperware container from your kitchen, throw a handful of links in, and seal up.

Let baby shake to their heart’s content!

  • Make a stacking game on a paper towel holder

Magical Mama Blog 8 Things to do with Lots of Links Linkies Link chain ring

If you have a freestanding paper towel holder in your kitchen, pull the paper towels off and show baby how to stack the links onto the rung.

If baby doesn’t quite have the coordination to stack yet, put the links on for them and let them pull them off.  Makes them just as happy!

  • Set in Jello for a dig

Magical Mama Blog 8 Things to do with Lots of Links Linkies Link Chains Jello Dig

Magical Mama Blog 8 things to do with lots of links linkies link chains jello dig

Prepare for a mess.  Make a batch of Jello in a big dish and throw some links in and around so some are poking out and some are floating inside.  Put in the fridge to set.

(I used a bit of washi tape in order to have some of the links stick out.  They will float flat on the top if you don’t, which is fine, I just wanted to give her a challenge to dig in there!)

Either set out a dollar store plastic table cloth or put them in the tub and have bath time right after.

Let baby tear through the jello to get to the links.  There will be a mess, but they will be immensely proud of themselves and you don’t have to worry about them eating their sensory play!

  • Make link drop bucket

Magical Mama Blog 8 Things to do with Lots of Links Linkies Link Chain

This is one of my daughter’s favorite toys.  She pulls it out at least 3 or 4 times a day.

I simply took a coffee canister once it was empty,

gave it a soak and a wash,

traced a big rectangle into the lid,

cut it out with an Xacto knife,

sanded it to make sure it was safe for little fingers

and we’ve played with it multiple times per day since then!

We call it the “putting away” game…I’m trying to pass on my love of cleaning to her at an early age!

She carries it around by the slot on top like it’s a purse!

  • Baby Proofing

Magical Mama Blog 8 Things to do with Lots of Links baby proofing linkies link rings

If you have handles on your cabinets, you can throw a link or two onto them and BAM!  They’re baby proofed!

  • Do a color sort

Magical Mama Blog 8 Things To Do With Lots of Links Linkies Link Chains Color Sort

When baby starts recognizing the different colors, you can place a colored piece of paper on the floor or get out some Tupperware out.  Show baby some samples of color matching and let them give it a try.

Once they’re good at it, it can be a busy activity to keep them amused while you do something else!

 

If baby gets sick, you’ll want to sanitize these links, check out my post on Toy Disinfectant Spray and Wash.

 

Magical Mama Blog 8 Things To Do With Lots Of Links Linky Ring Toys

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How To: Make Edible Yogurt Play Doh

magical mama blog how to make edible yogurt play doh dough silly putty toddler baby activity

How To: Make Edible Yogurt Play Doh

You’re trying to get something done and your toddler is running after you, screaming for your attention… Sound familiar?

No worries!  Take 5 minutes to mix together 2 ingredients that are already in your kitchen!

My child is a hungry hungry hippo, so she will put anything within arm’s reach straight into her mouth.  When I want to give her something to amuse her for a few minutes, I need to make sure it’s taste-safe.

Luckily, all you need for this recipe is yogurt and cornstarch!  Both, taste-safe ingredients make for a fun, attention grabbing activity that your child can do in their high chair while you get things done.

I’m not going to write a few hundred words that you’ll simply scroll through in order to get to the recipe!  Here it is!

What you’ll need:

2 containers of baby yogurt (a little less than 1 cup)

1 heaping cup of Corn Starch

magical mama blog how to make edible cornstarch play doh dough silly putty toddler baby activity

Throw both ingredients into a bowl and mix until well combined.

If your dough is crumbly, add yogurt.

If your dough is sticky, add corn starch.

It’s just that simple and it makes a ton!

magical mama blog how to make edible yogurt play doh dough silly putty toddler baby activity

You could easily cut the recipe in half if you want to save ingredients or you have the feeling it will end up on the floor.

It keeps well for a few days in a ziplock bag in the fridge.

magical mama blog how to make edible yogurt play doh dough silly putty baby toddler activity

It has a great smooth and rubbery texture that is great for sensory play!

magical mama blog how to make edible yogurt play doh dough silly putty baby toddler activity

magical mama blog how to make edible yogurt play doh dough silly putty toddler baby activity

Give it a try and see how your kiddos like it!

magical mama blog how to make edible yogurt play doh

 

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A Very Harry Potter First Birthday Party

magical mama blog harry potter first birthday party how to plan decorations decor tips

A Very Harry Potter First Birthday Party


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Picking a Theme

Let’s be real for a minute.  First birthday parties are not for the baby.  They have no idea what’s going on and they will not remember it.

It is all about celebrating the parents keeping their human alive for a whole year!

As our little bug was stacking on the months of life, my husband and I discussed what we wanted the theme of our “anniversary of bringing a human into this world” party to be.

We have to pick the themes WE like before she starts having an opinion!

We narrowed it down between Elf and Harry Potter and decided to go full Hogwarts!  After all, my husband introduced me to the Harry Potter movies and we are both sorted (as well as the entire family) into Hufflepuff.

magical mama blog harry potter first birthday party tips tricks decorations decor how to plan planning

Not Spending a Fortune

I am not all about spending money on a first birthday party, but I did want to make this a miniature epic… we HAD kept a human alive for a whole year!

Off I dove into Pinterest to find all of the free downloads and printables I could and BOY was I greeted with the mother load!

I could have really gone off the deep end and printed everything I found and had my house decked out… but let’s be real, I have a full time job, a mischievous almost one year old, a blog, a husband, chores, errands, and we are in between Thanksgiving and Christmas…

The most epic party on the planet was not going to happen…but my gosh I was going to try!

I’m so happy with how it turned out, we had an incredible time, made a ton of memories and, of course, took tons of pictures.

Here is a little home tour and links to where I found everything so you don’t even have to get off of your couch in order to throw a party like this!

The only work I put into this party other than ordering and printing, was cutting out the printables and making the food… I’ll call that a win.

Invitations

We went cheap and did a Facebook invite to a few of our friends.

I designed this Facebook cover photo on Canva and wrote the following message in the description:

“Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
invites you to join us in celebrating Audrey’s first birthday.

On the 3rd day of December at 2:00 pm.

Go to Platform 9 3/4
Take the Hogwarts Express
Arrive at the Hufflepuff Common Room
Enjoy snacks and frivolity

Please send RSVP by owl or Facebook to Headmaster Lillestol”

Signs & Banners

magical mama blog harry potter first birthday party platform 9 3/4 sign

Upon reaching our front door, you are greeted with this Platform 9 3/4 printable on our glass screen door I got from Curious Specks.

magical mama blog harry potter first birthday party happy christmas artwork

I found these printable masterpieces at The Cottage Market.

The Happy Christmas printable can be found at Paper Trail Design and the house banners came from The Quiet Grove.

magical mama blog harry potter first birthday party happy birthday banner

Used The Quiet Grove’s printable alphabet to make the Happy Birthday Banner.

magical mama blog harry potter first birthday party free invisibility cloaks

I made this “Free Invisibility Cloaks” sign as well as our food labels by using the Harry P font I downloaded from dafont and printing on some parchment cardstock

Smash Cake Set Up

magical mama blog harry potter first birthday party cake smash high chair hufflepuff flag

I grabbed a burlap banner and used sharpie to trace out the “ONE” and attached it to her high chair with some small clear 3M hooks.

Snagged this Hufflepuff Banner on Amazon. For $11, I was expecting this to be the size of a piece of paper…it is 30″ by 50″!  It’s practically my size!

magical mama blog harry potter first birthday party board picture frame

I got this picture frame at Hobby Lobby and used these wine glass pens to write everything out.

magical mama blog harry potter first birthday party 12 month pictures

I printed out her monthly pictures and hung them with twine, 3M hooks, and clothespins.

magical mama blog harry potter first birthday party 12 month picture sticker elephant hufflepuff hogwarts

(I used these monthly stickers and this elephant plush in all of her pictures)

Bathroom Decor

magical mama blog harry potter first birthday party donate a sock free house elves baby socks

You can put all of those baby socks who have lost their mate on display!

magical mama blog harry potter first birthday party lumos nox

magical mama blog harry potter first birthday party ministry of magic sign toilet

I grabbed the Ministry of Magic sign from Curious Specks.

Envelopes

magical mama blog harry potter first birthday party hogwarts envelopes

magical mama blog harry potter first birthday party envelopes hogwarts

I grabbed these from Little Falling Star and hung them on our dining room chandelier.

Food

There are thousands of fun food and drink label printables out there, but in order for it to match what we were making, all the labels would have been different, so I went ahead and used the Harry P font from dafont.com to make all of our food labels.

magical mama blog harry potter first birthday party food labels

I printed on parchment cardstock and used a bit of paint to dry brush the edges.

Plates

magical mama blog harry potter first birthday party plates hogwarts hufflepuff gryffindor slytherin ravenclaw

These plates are from Oriental Trading, so they’re obviously a bargain!  They also have napkins, cups, tablecloths and more, but I wanted to stick to a more simple party and a tighter budget.

Witch’s hats

magical mama blog harry potter first birthday party witch's hats oreos kisses

These were made by placing Hershey Kisses atop Oreos with melting chocolate.

Cup Cakes

magical mama blog harry potter first birthday party cup cake toppers

We had gluten free chocolate and regular old funfetti topped with chocolate, cream cheese, and yellow buttercream frosting (Hufflepuff represent!).

The cupcake toppers are from The Quiet Grove.

Golden Snitches

magical mama blog harry potter first birthday party golden snitches ferrero rocher

Ferrero Rochers topped with these free printable wings from Party Delights.

Olivander’s Wands

magical mama blog harry potter first birthday party ollivander's wands

I grabbed some Pepperidge Farm Fudge Pirouettes for wands.

Giggle Juice

magical mama blog harry potter first birthday party giggle juice

Spiked Apple Cider for our adult party animals.

Mini Muggle Munchies

magical mama blog harry potter first birthday party mini muggle munchies

I set up some fresh cut fruit, puffs, lil’ crunchies and some squeezable snack packs for the little party guests.

Gringott’s Gold

magical mama blog harry potter first birthday party gringotts gold chocolate coins

Golden chocolate coins were a great addition!

Goodie Bags

magical mama blog harry potter first birthday party goodie bags party favors

magical mama blog harry potter first birthday party goodie bags party favors

For our goodie bags, I used plain brown paper bags decorated with thank you & mischief managed labels I found at The Quiet Grove.

magical mama blog harry potter birthday party wands chopsticks hot glue paint mod podge

Inside, was a personalized wand (chopsticks, hot glue, acrylic paint & modpodge), snacks that were at the party, and bubbles if the party guest had a kid.

Fun & Games

We had this pop up ball pit, tunnel & tent (and balls) set up which, conveniently, has the primary house colors!

The kiddos at the party had a blast in there!

 

Birthday Outfit

magical mama blog harry potter first birthday party hogwarts onesie

This perfect little onesie is from Dynamic Design on Etsy.  (It’s perfect because my husband and I met while working at Disneyland!)

magical mama blog harry potter first birthday party hufflepuff pants pantaloons ruffle pants bow

I grabbed the Hufflepuff fabric at fabric.com and used a pattern to create her little pantaloons and bow.

magical mama blog harry potter first birthday party wands family birthday girl

I hope you have enjoyed your glimpse into our daughter’s epic very Harry Potter first birthday party!

 

magical mama blog harry potter first birthday party tips tricks decorations decor how to plan planning

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How To: Make Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments

magical mama blog cinnamon applesauce ornaments

How To: Make Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments

Santa Claus is on his way and it’s time to bake some cinnamon applesauce ornaments! Yes! BAKE ornaments!

This has become a staple in my Christmas decorating season each year…yes, it can take me a whole season to put up four trees, ten wreaths, multiple sets of garland, wall decor, thousands of ornaments and small touches all over… I have a problem, I know.

WARNING: Your house is going to smell AMAZING!

magical mama blog ingredients cinnamon applesauce ornaments christmas tree decor cookie cutters rolling pin

What we’ll need

Applesauce (1 cup)

Ground Cinnamon (1 cup + extra)

Ground Nutmeg (a few shakes) – optional

Festive Cookie Cutters

Straw

String or ribbon

Head over to the spice aisle and grab the biggest container of ground cinnamon that you can find… I get mine at Sam’s Club. Grab a few snack tubs of applesauce or spring for the big tub!

Head home, throw on a family Christmas movie or two, and get to work!

magical mama blog cinnamon applesauce ornaments ingredients cookie cutters rolling pin

Mix

Mix together 1 cup of applesauce and a heaping cup of ground cinnamon in a bowl.  ( I like to throw in a bit of ground nutmeg for an even warmer and more delicious scent)

Once you get a good dough forming, throw down ground cinnamon and roll out your dough.  If your dough is sticking to your pin, add more cinnamon.  If your dough is crumbling, add more applesauce.

Your hands are going to be nasty!  But worry not,  mine have never been stained, they just require a good wash.

magical mama blog cinnamon applesauce ornaments dough roller cookie cutters christmas tree

Roll

Roll out to about 1/8″ thick and go to town with your cookie cutters.  Continue to roll out your scraps.  I can usually make about 24-26 ornaments with one batch.

Lay on parchment paper on a cookie sheet.  Take a straw and form holes where you can hang your ornaments.

magical mama blog cinnamon applesauce ornaments on cookie sheet bake baking christmas tree

Bake

Throw in the oven on 200 degrees for an hour or until completely hardened. (This is when you’ll want to bathe in the warm smell of your home!)

They’ll be done when they’re completely dry.  If they feel moist on the bottom, throw them back in.  You don’t want mildew hanging on your tree!

Take out and let cool.  After baking at 200, you can practically touch them right out of the oven.

(This is the point that you can decorate with icing if you’d like to and let it dry overnight.)

magical mama blog applesauce cinnamon ornaments baked christmas tree

magical mama blog cinnamon applesauce ornaments ribbon christmas tree

Decorate

Loop String through the holes you created and hang on your tree or garland.  I like to hang them higher up because we have a Bloodhound and a Bulldog that will eat them if given the opportunity.

These beauties will last the whole season and you’ll get endless compliments!  Be sure to send friends our way for instructions!

magical mama blog tree christmas applesauce cinnamon ornaments

magical mama blog cinnamon applesauce ornaments christmas tree

magical mama blog christmas tree cinnamon applesauce ornaments

 

Happy Baking and Happy Holidays!

magical mama blog cinnamon applesauce ornaments christmas decor tree ideas how to

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How To: Make Borax Snowflakes

magical mama blog how to make borax snowflakes

How To: Make Borax Snowflakes

I’m from the beach cities in Southern California, so growing up, my Christmases were never white.

Every year at Christmas, I would hang up the sparkly snowflake ornaments in windows and even went as far as stringing lights and fishing line along the ceiling of the hallway and hanging snowflakes from there… I was determined to have “snow” for every Christmas!

Even though I finally live where there is a bit of snow, I still adore hanging my snowflakes up every year!

Now, in addition to my regular sparkly ornaments, I’m adding in Borax snowflakes!

These are easy and fun to make and they have a 3D rock-candy type of texture that really catches sparkles!

Here’s what we need:

Box of Borax

Pipe Cleaners

Straw (or pencil or chopstick, etc.)

String

Pot

Water

Glass Jars

magical mama blog borax snowflakes christmas how to make create arts and crafts winter activities for kids

Head out to the store and grab your Borax in the laundry aisle and some Wintery colored pipe cleaners in the school or craft section.

magical mama blog pipe cleaners borax snowflakes how to arts and crafts winter activities

Chop up pieces of pipe cleaners and let the kids run wild twisting and connecting them into snowflake shapes.  Attach a length of string to your snowflake and secure the other end to a pencil, straw, or wooden spoon.

Cooking Time

magical mama blog borax snowflakes how to arts and crafts winter activities

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and mix in 1/3 cup Borax in.  Note: it will fizzle up when you add it… don’t worry, your pot won’t overflow!  Let cook until dissolved (2ish minutes).

magical mama blog borax snowflakes how to arts and crafts winter activities

Pour your solution into a glass or jar, submerge your designs and rest the pencil or chopstick on the top!

Confession: I tried doing multiple designs at once in the pot…don’t try this.  These did not turn out as gems!

For each design (or two small designs), make their own batch of boiled borax water and give them their own jar.

Though this may sound like a lot of work, it is an incredibly fast process, it’s not very wasteful, and it’s incredibly cheap! (A regular 65 oz box of Borax is about $3.)

While the kids are making their designs, you can boil each batch and pour them into jars so the designs can go right in.

For best results, your designs should be fully submerged, vertical, and you want to avoid them touching each other or the sides or bottom of the jar.

Magical Science Stuff

magical mama blog borax snowflakes overnight how to arts and crafts winter activities

Let sit overnight and watch their faces the next morning!  This is a fun little science experiment for them to bring up in class!

There was no way for me to capture the incredible sparkle that these things make!  Think of the inside of a geode rock, how every angle sparkles when lights hit it.

Hang them on the tree, in a window, or lay them out on a table runner as a centerpiece.

magical mama blog borax snowflakes how to winter activities arts and crafts

Happy crafting and Happy Holidays!


magical mama blog how to make borax snowflakes christmas craft

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38 Fun Fall Activities for your Family

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38 fun fall activites for your family, family night, family bonding, autumn fall family game night magical mama blog

38 Fun Fall Activities for your Family

School bells are ringing, the air is still muggy from summer, and everyone is trying to figure out this new routine.  Why this is a surprise every year? We may never know.

Between the time the first school bell rings and the time sleigh bells are ringing, it is so important to make time to spend together as a family…but coming up with things to do?  That can be a doozie!  That’s why I created this fabulous list!

There’s a free printable October Calendar at the bottom of this post!

Getting out of the house activities:

  1. Go to a Corn Maze or Hayride

    Almost all city councils crave a fun seasonal festival to bring the town together.  Look on your city’s website for upcoming events.  If your city is unable to host something like this, chances are one close to you is.

    Look up “hayride near (your zip code)” and all kinds of options will pop up for you to look into.  A lot of them also have petting zoos, mazes, crafts and more!  You can make a whole day of it one weekend with your family!

  2. Apple picking at a local orchard

    “An apple orchard?  We don’t usually see those off the freeway.  There’s no way we have one near us!”  I dare you to look it up!  Most states have websites dedicated to “pick your own” farms and orchards divided up by county.  You’ll be surprised how close a local PYO is to you!

  3. Go to a Pumpkin Patch

    They’re everywhere in October!  You can always go to the parking lot of the local store, but its much more fun to go to a local farm or pop up “farm” and get some great pictures of your kids, fun family photos and make an event of it!

  4. Check out your city’s calendar of events for a fall festival

    Your city should have a website with a link to upcoming events put on by the city.  If your city isn’t on the brink of technology, check the paper!

    This is a great way to plan a fun play date or start an annual family tradition!  Some day, your kids can tell your grand kids about how they always went to the Fall Festival in their home town and can take them some day!

  5. Pick out Halloween Candy to hand out

    Instead of going to the grocery store yourself and looking at a mountain of options, get your family involved.  I know, it sounds crazy, let your kids be in charge of picking out candy?  I’ll go bankrupt!  Their teeth will rot!

    Simply give each family member a budget or a one bag rule.  Get your kids excited about going to the store and getting groceries!  Errands don’t have to be a chore!

    My favorite part of Halloween as a kid wasn’t trick or treating.  Sure, I’d go out for 30 minutes just to do it, but I’d rush home to see all of the fun costumes come to my door and hand out candy.

  6. Go out for seasonal donuts

    Everyone makes them.  Krispy Kream, Dunkin Donuts, and all the mom and pop shops around.  Take the kiddos out one morning to a local shop and enjoy breakfast together.

    You can bring donuts home any old time, but going out to a shop where they’re forced to talk to each other and try something unique makes for a great time.

  7. Go for a sunset walk

    It’s been a long day at school and work, the kids have done their after school activities, homework is done.. before dinner and electronics and a bed time routine, get outside.  Take your kids out in the fresh air and have them look up.  Enjoy a sunset as a family.

  8. Go on a nature walk

    You can go out to enjoy the outdoors or you can send your kids out on a serious hunt.  Make them a list of things to look for or make a list of things to collect along your walk.

    Play nature bingo or I Spy.  Try to get away from walking around your neighborhood.  Go to a big park in the city, or a local campground.  Get them out in the leaves and dirt!

  9. Collect pine cones

    Along your nature walk, collect pine cones or other natural materials.  Not only is it fun watching your kids hunt and compare, you can bake them and make a Fall centerpiece or a Winter wreath.

    To bake: preheat your oven to 250, line a baking sheet with tin foil, place cones and cinnamon sticks on baking sheet (I like to sprinkle a little ground cinnamon and nutmeg on top too!), bake for one hour, check occasionally to avoid burning.

    Baking your cones dries out all the moisture and makes sure there’s no miniature critters hiding in there!

  10. Flashlight Tag in the park

    You know all of those flashlights around your house that never get used?  Now’s your chance to find them, check the batteries, have a good time, and make sure everyone knows where their dedicated flashlight is in case of an emergency.

    Get your little ones bundled up in dark colors.  Head out to a local park after the sun sets and it gets dark.  Be sure to establish boundaries so they can all be found again easily and have fun!

  11. Grab seasonal drinks at a local coffee shop

    I’d love to challenge you to find someplace other than Starbucks.  Avoid the girls in their leggings and Ugg boots waiting in line for their Pumpkin Spice Lattes.

    Get on Yelp or ask around for a fun local place and go out for a fancy family date.  Finding a coffee shop that has fun hot chocolates and teas, serves drinks in actual mugs, and has a little ambiance makes for a great trip!

  12. Take some fall family photos

    It doesn’t have to be fancy.  Not everyone has the money to hire a busy and expensive professional, coordinate schedules and get all children dressed and happy at the same time.  It’s nearly impossible.

    Take a fancy camera with you to a pumpkin patch or coffee shop or your back yard and get some realistic and fun photos.  Kids don’t remember the fancy photo shoots when they look back at family albums, they remember the memories you make.  Capture those!

  13. Trick or Treat

    Teach your kids the fundamentals of the classic activity.  Make sure they use their manners and their courage.  Get them some exercise before they chow down!

    If they get tired, bored, cold, scared, etc. head back home.  Let them exchange the candy they got from trick or treating that they don’t like with the good stuff in your bowl that they helped pick out.  Turn on a fun movie (ABC Family and tons of other channels have family friendly Halloween movies running constantly) and have fun handing out candy.

    If your neighborhood isn’t known for it’s Trick or Treating crowd, or Halloween falls on a weeknight, a lot of cities will have Trick or Treat events where the kids can safely get candy without scary decor or crossing streets at night.

    At- Home Activities:

  14. Play football in the yard

    You don’t have to be an NFL pro.  Split up into teams while dinner is cooking and have fun challenging each other back and forth across the yard.

    If you don’t have a big yard, head to a park, invite family friends with you and have a picnic and a scrimmage.

  15. Bob for apples

    Take the apples you picked at a local orchard or some from the supermarket, fill a big basin with water and tell your kids to go for it.

    Most times, they’ll think it’s easy then struggle and giggle with each other as those mini mouths try to capture those giant granny smiths. Get pictures!

  16. Start a fire & make S’mores

    Make your first fire of the season and have the kiddos make some fun snacks for themselves.

    If you don’t have a fire place, head to the beach or a camp ground and nab a bon fire pit, or make them over a grill or stove.

  17. Carve Jack-O-Lanterns

    Get ready to get messy and carve the pumpkins you picked at the patch.

    My favorite stay-clean trick is to cover whatever surface they will be working on in a few of the dollar store plastic table cloths that come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors.  Once you’re done, you can pull the corners in and put the entire thing in the trash.  No soggy newspapers or sticky magazine pages!

    If you don’t have an artsy eye, you can always grab some Halloween cookie cutters and hammer them into your pumpkin or trace them so you don’t end up with a blob thats supposed to be a cat or a bat.

  18. Watch Hocus Pocus

    A classic Halloween film that is rated PG.  Enjoy some autumnal treats and watch this as a family.

  19. Decorate your home

    There is no need to spend a fortune to make your house look like a haunted house or like a Martha Stewart magazine cover.  Grab some stuff at the supermarket, dollar store, or party supply store.

    Have your kids cover the plants out front with spider webs, make a leafy centerpiece you can keep on the table until Thanksgiving, put candles and plastic spiders in jars, place their pumpkins out front, hang bats from a tree, put spooky signs on their bedroom doors, hang fun hand towels in the bathroom and kitchen, put a fun wreath on the door, etc.

  20. Watch It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

    This 1966 classic isn’t even rated.  It’s great for all ages and it’s only 25 minutes long!

  21. Rake & jump in a pile of leaves

    If you don’t have a big tree that graces you with mounds of leaves, chances are someone in your family or neighborhood does.  Get your kids into the giving spirit and go rake up some leaves for someone (with their permission).

    Great pictures can be taken when kids are thrilled to be throwing colorful, crunchy leaves up in the air.  It burns up energy and gets them grungy for a nice hot bath!

  22. Light some fall candles or simmer a seasonal brew

    Nothing makes you warm and cozy like walking into a warm home and having it smell like the season ought to.

    Toss some apple slices, vanilla extract, cinnamon sticks and some ground nutmeg into a pot of water on the stove.  Try orange peels, cinnamon sticks and bay leaves.

    Don’t want to waste produce?  Have some essential oils lying around?  Toss 2 table spoons of coconut oil into a wax warmer and drip some cypress, sandalwood, and white fir to make your home smell like a forest.

    Don’t have the oils?  Get the coconut oil, some pumpkin pie spice and ground nutmeg on the warmer!

  23. Play board games

    You know there are a ton of them in that one closet.  Get them out!  Have a family rivalry, make them use their heads, talk to each other, and strategize.

    Bonus!  You can see what games are missing too many pieces to salvage and can get rid of some stuff!

  24. Make a fall wreath

    Use the pine cones and leaves from your family nature walk, some fabric from your scrap pile, or take a venture to Hobby Lobby, Michael’s or JoAnn and let your kids pick out elements for your front door decor.

  25. Make Cinnamon PlayDoh

    No cook recipe!

    Mix 2 cups flour, 1 cup salt, 2 Tablespoons Cream of Tartar, 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil, a few shakes of cinnamon. Add about  1 and a half cups of freshly boiled water (now is the time to add in food coloring if you’d like it to be bright).  Let it cool and play!

    You can also replace the cinnamon with ground cloves, ground nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice or anything else you can think of!  Experiment!  This is not a costly craft!

  26. DIY your Halloween Costumes

    I know what you’re thinking, I don’t sew!  I don’t have the skills!  Worry not, you’re not making a Project Runway gown.

    It’s great to see what your kids come up with and most times, it saves you money!  Halloween stores and websites overcharge for a highly duplicated costume that tons of kids will be wearing.  I know I saw a sea of Harley Quinn twins last Halloween and eons of Elsa’s a few years ago.

    Get their creative juices flowing and they’ll end up with a one of a kind costume!

  27. Leaf rubbing with crayons

    Take some of the leaves from your nature walk and place them under a sheet of paper, take the wrappers off of your autumn colored crayons and let the kids go to town creating simple art for you.  No coloring within the lines required.

    Seasonal Food and Drinks to Make:

  28. Apple cider

    Dive into Pinterest and look for a fun crock pot Apple Cider recipe.  Great for a family gathering or a fun evening of board games or movies or baking fun seasonal treats.

    Bonus! It makes your house smell incredible!

    Extra Bonus:  You can make some spiked cider or hot toddies for Mom and Dad!

  29. Baked pumpkin seeds

    Grab a few hand fulls of pumpkin seeds during the carving madness and throw it into a colander in the sink and run some water to rinse and separate the seeds.

    Preheat oven to 400.  Throw a cup of seeds in a pan with 3-4 cups of water and 2 teaspoons of salt.  Simmer for 10 minutes, drain, spread out on greased sheet, sprinkle with some melted butter and salt and pepper or cinnamon and sugar.

    Bake anywhere between 5 to 25 minutes depending on how large the seeds are and how many you have.  Keep an eye and as soon as they start to turn brown, pull them out and enjoy!

  30. Pumpkin chili

    There are tons of great recipes out there.  This is a great treat for those seeking a delicious fall recipe that isn’t chock full of sugar.

  31. Pumpkin pancakes or Pumpkin cinnamon rolls

    What better way to wake your kids up on the weekend than with something delicious wafting through their air and tickling their noses?

  32. Pumpkin bread

    Every time you’ve ever tried to make bread at home, has it come out burnt or dry or goopy?  If you’re one to leave it to the pros, every bakery will have seasonal goodies saving you time and heart ache.

    If you’re a baker at heart, Pinterest is crawling with recipes for regular pumpkin bread, pumpkin chocolate chip bread, pumpkin cinnamon sugar pull-apart bread… my mouth is watering just listing them.

  33. Candied apples

    I have terrible teeth and the thought of these makes me want to cringe. Trying to eat these delicious treats growing up was no pleasure and all pain.  Until recently when some genius decided the show the world that you can slice the apples before dipping or coating them and make them easy to eat!

    Most grocery stores have candied apple kits near the apples in the produce section… just look down!  If you’re hardcore and wouldn’t DARE use a KIT, grab a bag of Kraft Caramel Bits, melt and dip or drizzle your slices.  You can add melted chocolate, nuts, broken up Halloween candy, or whatever you please!

    Pro Tip:  If you have little ones or want a pretty easy party snack, grab your melon baller at the back of your kitchen drawer and make little apple balls, throw a tooth pick in them, dip them and voila!  Mini candied apples!

  34. Cookies with fall shaped cookie cutters

    Look in the baking section for them to put out the cookie cutters for the season!  Leaves, pumpkins, witches, cats, ghosts, spiders, etc.

    If you don’t want to dish out the change for new, seasonal specific cookie cutters, see what you already have in the pantry.  You can turn a Santa silhouette or tulip up side down and decorate it as a ghost.  Turn a gingerbread man into a mummy or skeleton or a witch.  You can just make plain circles or squares and give your kids a blank canvas for their imaginations to run wild!

    This is a great activity for people who want to throw everything pumpkin-spiced in the trash!  You can make cookies in your favorite flavor and have a blast cutting them out and decorating with the kids.

  35. Rice Krispy Treats

    You can make these all year round and the recipe is on every box of the cereal!  But how is this a fall activity?  You can make them into fun shapes and decorate them with fun colored melting chocolate!

    These are great for parties!  You can make them bite sized or huge.  Keep them plain or make them into a fun shape and douse them in melted chocolate and sprinkle with crumbled candy for an impressive treat!

  36. Pumpkin pie

    It’s a classic and you may as well get some practice in before you have to bring it over to mom’s house for Thanksgiving.  People are usually making this once a year and it’s disappointing if it doesn’t turn out right.

    If you want to be fancy, you can grab an extra pumpkin at the patch and make pumpkin puree from scratch for pie, bread, etc.   If you want to be that fancy… you go, Glen Coco!

    Bonus:  Get your can of pumpkin pie mix before the Thanksgiving rush!

  37. Apple pie

    My mouth is watering just thinking about it!  Kids love getting their hand dirty in the kitchen… so let them!

    Put the kids to work peeling the apples, you chop them, let them find and measure the other ingredients and mix the sugars and apples by hand, you put it in the oven while they put the ingredients back where they belong and start on dishes!

    If you’re not a crust person, like myself, go for an easy apple crisp.  Place the apple filling directly into a greased glass 9×9 and throw the buttery, sugary crisp on top!  Easy peasy!

  38. Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies

    A delightful treat you can keep in the cookie jar the whole season!
    Want to be lazy?… Yes, please!

    1 15 ounce can of cooked Pumpkin Puree (not pumpkin pie mix), 1 box of Betty Crocker Spice Cake, a bag of chocolate chips (Ghirardelli are always the best!).  Preheat oven to 350, spoon out the combination on a greased cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes.

    BAM!  Cookies in about 15 minutes and not a single measuring cup or spoon was used!!

 

So there you have it!  38 fun family activities for this season!  If you’re going to be a Pinterest-Perfect Mom and accomplish every single one of these, I give you serious props!  I’m going to try… but doubt that a 9 month old, full time work schedule and unplanned sickness will allow it to happen!  I’ll be sure to come back and update this post with pictures as we get things checked off the list!

If you’d like to accomplish a couple of these, I have them written down and planned out for you on our printable calendar so you don’t have to remember!  No need to argue on what to do this weekend!  It’s already on the calendar!

October_Family_Activity Calendar PDF

Happy Fall and enjoy your family time!

ihelpmoms.com magical mama blog

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