Go Bowling

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When there’s an extra two weeks of summer to fill because of coronavirus, it’s time for a Camp Mom field trip. What I really wanted was to take the kids out bowling, but the idea didn’t feel safe. What was Camp Mom to do?

Bring the bowling alley in!

There are so many ways you can bowl at home (empty bottles, glowing empty bottles, etc.), but for maximum impact, it was time to splurge. A giant unicorn bowling set cost as much as a single afternoon at the regular bowling alley, but this one will last us much longer.

Needless to say, the unicorns themselves were a pure delight.

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As I inflated the set with a hand pump, the kids each grabbed one and began to run around. Travis paraded them and tossed them in the air. Veronika was about the same height as a unicorn, and would just run up to one and yell “whoa!” and then knock it over.

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They loved holding them by the horn and trotting them around.

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Once the set was fully inflated, we set the pins in a classic triangle, and took aim with a giant rainbow ball. Travis soon had the hang of rolling it…

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…or kicking it.

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He loved watching the unicorns topple! We played inside today while the grass was wet, but we’ll be heading outside with this one soon.

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Road Signs

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Travis is officially a bike rider! It’s an exciting milestone, but it also means it’s time for him to learn basic road safety. Here’s a fun game to help kids learn the signs they might encounter as they are out and about.

First up was a real bike ride, with the special assignment to pay attention to any signs he saw. Travis took note of several we passed, including stop and yield.

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I then printed out pictures of common signs; once we were home, we could role play! Travis buckled on his helmet (for safety of course…and little sister too!) and then the “bikes” were off. As I held up each of the signs, the kids had to do a corresponding action.

Green light meant jog forward.

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For a left turn arrow, he practiced making the left turn hand signal (arm straight out to the left) and spun circles to his left.

If I held up a right turn arrow, he made the right turn signal (left arm in an L pointing up) and spun to the right.

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Stop sign meant he stopped and made the stop hand signal (left arm in an L, pointing down).

The yield sign meant to look out for oncoming (little sister) traffic!

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He could only walk in one direction if I held up One Way.

And finally the favorite: if I held up the Slippery When Wet sign, it was time to wiggle and slip and slide!

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This was a great way to get kids thinking about road safety in an approachable and fun manner.

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Toddler Brag Book

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The “brag” in the title of this post is meant in the best way possible; toddlers are so proud as they near two-years-old about people and things that are familiar favorites. Here is a homemade book that lets Veronika celebrate things she loves. And yes, she is so proud every time she leafs through it!

To set up, I cut pictures from an old homemade calendar featuring family member’s faces. I also added a few pictures of current favorites, like sorbet and stuffed animals.

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Glue each picture onto a rectangle of colored construction paper, then cover each page with clear contact paper for durability. Veronika loved being my helper as I worked!

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Punch holes in each page and secure together with string.

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It was time to read through her book. Veronika loved spotting faces (“It’s Mommy! It’s Daddy!” she exclaimed).

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“It’s Travis!” She seemed genuinely surprised and delighted each time. Note: This little book also just happens to be the right size for the car, so it’s a perfect way to keep her entertained en route to a favorite destination.

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DIY Sprinkler

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Childhood + summer + sprinklers pretty much never gets old, but if you need a quick sprinkler reboot after the umpteenth hot day of the summer, here’s a homemade version that will delight toddlers and big kids alike.

Use a hammer and nail to make holes in the bottom of an empty gallon water jug. I worried the plastic would be too thick, but this is actually remarkably easy to do. That said, the nail made very small holes so we did then widen them slightly with a rotary tool.

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To then transform it into a sprinkler, insert a hose, turn on the water and the water will rain down through the holes.

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I simply held this by hand, but you could also rig it up for lasting fun; anything tall like a basketball hoop or tree branch would work, in which case you might want duct tape to hold it all in place.

The kids loved to take turns holding it, too, turning it into almost a watering can over the bushes…

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…and sidewalk.

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Veronika loved stomping in the leftover puddles!

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Travis was thrilled he could make patches of mud.

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And of course they loved catching the water drops as they rained down.

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My kids are hesitant about actually jumping right under a sprinkler, but yours might want to shower directly under the spray!

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