Summer is almost coming to a close and back-to-school is just around the corner. There are lots of things to get ready before that first day. Things like new backpacks, new notebooks and so many other necessities on the endless list of school supplies. (By the way, where are all the grown up school supplies?)
After a great summer break of spending time with family and friends, lunch box notes are an easy way to remind your kids how much you’re thinking of them, even though they are at school instead of home with you for 8 hours a day. Lunch box notes can be used to send reminders, inspirational quotes, jokes or even a quick “Miss You!” from mom.
To make these back-to-school stamped lunch box notes, grab some fun school themed paper and an Expressionery stamp or two. Customize the stamps with your child name or special “Love Mom” signature. Cut the papers into small notes 2” X 3”. Use a large craft paper punch to really make the notes stand out.
Store all the blank notes in a special spot you’ll see everyday. This will remind you to drop one into your kids lunch during meal prep! Don’t forget to also take the time to write out heartfelt note or draw something for them to enjoy over lunch.
Stamp one special note, or enough to last throughout the season!
This post is a part of our 30 Days of Stamps blog series. Each week we’ll share inspiration and tutorials for easy handmade projects to make yourself featuring Expressionery self-inking stamps. For more stamp ideas, be sure to check out the 30 Days of Stamps series and share your projects on social media and follow along using the hashtag #30DaysofStamps.
If you’re running out of ideas this summer for ways to keep kids entertained without relying on a screen, this easy DIY project is great for children of any age.
With a few supplies and stamps, kids can pitch in to help create a matching memory game in just one afternoon. This is a great game to take to restaurants or while traveling! It’s also a good activity to play with friends, or it could be used for quiet time around the house.
There are a few fun ways to personalize this project.
First, let your kids pick an Expressionery stamp to mark each game piece. For Disney lovers, check out the many Frozen characters or classic Mickey Mouse characters! There’s also Hello Kitty, Minions stamps and icons like cupcakes or ladybugs to choose from.
Once you’ve chosen a stamp, position the image in the center of the wood disk. Stamp down firmly to ensure the image transfer to the wood.
Then, it’s time to get crafty on the flip side of the wooden disks. Decorate with colors, animal stickers, patterned paper, stencil shapes or use washi tape to design the ‘game’ side of the disks. Make sure to decorate each disk in pairs so there is a match. For example, if you decide on colors paint two disks red, two orange, two yellow etc. There needs to be two disks to match each other when making a memory game. (Or it won’t be a very fun game!)
Once you’ve finished decorating the disks it’s time to play!
Position disks face down with the game side hidden.
Next, take turns flipping over pieces until you find a match. Continue until all pieces have been turned over.
Store the game in a small cloth sack and the kids will be all set to take it with them anywhere you go this summer!
This post is a part of our 30 Days of Stamps blog series. Each week we’ll share inspiration and tutorials for easy handmade projects to make yourself featuring Expressionery self-inking stamps.
For more stamp ideas, be sure to check out the 30 Days of Stamps series and share your projects on social media and follow along using the hashtag #30DaysofStamps.
A handwritten thank you note, not an email or phone call, goes a long way these days especially when it comes from an appreciative child. Everyone loves receiving a note in the mail- grandparents, aunts and uncles, teachers and even … Continue reading →
There’s something magical about birthdays when you’re young. The decorations, the friends, the cake and the presents are details that so many kids look forward to all year long. I know my little man asks me when his birthday is at least once a week! Creating a special event for your toddler takes planning, but with a little effort can be easy, affordable and fun!
Location, location, location
If there’s a local pizza and game center or kids’ amusement park, they can host the whole party and plan food, activities and decorations for you. But remember, you don’t have to spend a fortune on kids’ birthday parties.
If your toddler has a summer birthday, take everyone to the park where the kids can run and play – maybe even feed some ducks – and your house will avoid being destroyed in the process. The park might be just as special to them as a formal event, and unless you plan to rent a shelter, it’s free!
Toddler party themes
Once you know where you’re having your party, deciding on a theme is the next step. Consider the details of the party through your toddler’s eyes. Keeping their favorite things in mind will help you tap into creativity and create a special event all the kids will enjoy.
What are his or her favorite foods?
What games or activities does your child enjoy most?
What are your child’s most treasured toys?
What are the books he or she reads over and over (and over)?
What TV shows or movies does your child love to watch?
If you’re planning a first birthday party and your child hasn’t developed an affinity for anything in particular, some continually popular kids party themes include princesses, fairies, trains, robots and cars. Mustache themed parties for boys and owl themed parties for girls have also grown over the last year.
Mustache party theme
Once you decide on a theme, set the tone for the birthday party with matching invitations. My youngest son turned one last year, and we threw him a Mini Man Mustache Bash with these adorable invitations:
Handlebar Invitations from Expressionery.com
Birthday party food
Deciding on what foods to serve is the next easy step. The time of the party will determine the type of food you should serve. If the party is held during a meal time, plan on serving more substantial foods like build-your-own sandwiches or personal pizzas. If it’s before or after meal hours, simple snacks like fruit, veggies or Goldfish are more appropriate. (Try to take naptime and bedtime into consideration before you choose the time for the party!)
Of course, the feature food of the day will be the birthday cake! Coordinating the party theme into the design of the cake will make it even more special for the birthday boy or girl. Simple store-bought cupcakes with rings are popular and easy – or you can try your hand at a more elaborate cake.
Toby the Train Cake from The Girl in the Red Sweater
You can get really creative with toddler birthday cakes – they’re so young they’ll love whatever you try, even if it’s not perfect. As long as there’s cake under there somewhere, you really can’t go wrong.
Since my son’s favorite food is bananas, we served banana flavored cupcakes decorated with mustaches and speech bubble picks. Not only did they appeal to the kids, they made for a terrific centerpiece. We also had a smaller mustache-shaped cake made just for the birthday boy. It was so funny to watch him try out his first licks of chocolate icing and handfuls of chocolate cake!
Banana cupcakes at the mustache bash
Toddler birthday party decorations
Decorating your party space doesn’t have to cost a fortune. The toddlers will be happier with simple balloons they can play with than fancy decorations they’re not allowed to touch. Work with materials you have on hand, or hit up the party aisle at your local superstore or dollar store.
Grab plates, napkins and plasticware in the colors of your party for a simple, affordable way to give your party a cohesive look and feel. Banners are a terrific way to decorate your party space and add a special message about your birthday honoree!
For our party banner, I used photos of my son from birth through his first birthday, added a mustache to his little face with an online photo editing program and printed them at my local 1-hour photo processing center. Then I simply punched holes at the top and threaded them onto a length of tulle.
Voilà - a custom birthday banner!
Party favors are another element that add to your event’s theme and send your guests home with a piece of the fun! Dollar stores and party retailers offer a wide selections of favors. We sent the kids home with a DIY ‘stache-on-a-stick, candies and a Wooly Willy game. Bubbles and fruit snacks are inexpensive favors that are sure to be a huge hit with the kids.
Toddler birthday party activities
If you plan your event at a location that hosts the party, the activities will be taken care of for you. Let those kiddos run wild and play! If you are hosting the party in your home, there are a few things to consider.
Are you inviting mostly big kids, little babies or a combination of ages?
Do you have enough space for the activity?
Will you holding the party indoors or outdoors?
Will you conduct the activity or game, or will it be self-directed?
Thinking through each of these details will allow you to properly plan appropriate activities for the party. Because we invited a range of ages to our party, we offered limited structured activities allowing the kids to play with toys outside or inside as they chose. The one party game we did play was a revised version of Pin The Tail On The Donkey. We switched it up a bit to fit our Mustache Bash theme and played Stick the ‘Stache on the Birthday Boy!
Toddler party activities
Planning your next kid-friendly party can be a piece of cake! Share your ideas (and blogs) for kids’ birthday parties in the comments below.
Laura Kelly is a creative and crafty artist and designer. She is an official Sharpie® Guru and proud member of the Sharpie Squad. Her art is created with Sharpie pens to create bright, bold and simple designs that uplift the human spirit.
Laura Kelly lives in a world as whimsical as her art. Surrounded by people who share her aspirations to generate joy, happiness and empowerment in a vibrant, organized environment, she fills notebook after notebook with playful drawings inspired by everyday images: a child chasing a butterfly, a bouquet of flowers, a pair of cowboy boots, a swirl here and a curl there. Suddenly, a new collection is born.
When she is not busy drawing, sketching and dreaming, Laura stays busy crafting, painting, gardening, molding clay, decorating, baking, traveling, shopping and seeking out new adventures. She gets the greatest pleasure from creating projects for kids and has been featured in Southern Child Magazine. You can view her projects on her blog or watch her videos on her website.
Laura grew up in Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania, immersed in books and art, and daydreaming of fairies, gnomes, dragons and castles. She began teaching elementary school in North Carolina and found artistic inspiration in her students’ vivid imaginations. “When they told stories of make-believe, I found myself believing the magic of my childhood was recreated,” she says.
The birth of Laura’s oldest son opened a door that would soon lead to a promising new career. Unable to find a suitable birth announcement for her newborn, she designed one herself. “The design was of a baby and his puppy in the bathtub,” she says. “When I sent them out and got such a great response from friends wanting me to draw their kids and pets, the Paper People collection was birthed, too.”
Laura currently licenses her work to companies in a variety of industries including gift, stationery, gourmet food and home décor as well as bank products. She is extremely active in her community schools and volunteers with the Girl Scouts. She is also an active member of the Greeting Card Association, Craft and Hobby Association where she has served of the Trend Team and as a delegate to the National Stationery Show. Laura is also a member of the Buttons Galore Design Team for 2012.
Currently Laura is working on a few craft books and several new collections for her licensing portfolio. She is thinking about taking up sewing now that she has fabric lines in all of the major fabric chains.