Oh Canada! Today we happened upon this fine group of handsome Canadians celebrating our lovely country. To all the wonderful people who make up this great and diverse land: Happy Canada Day!
Bubbles are one of the best things about sunny days! Blowing soap bubbles has been a pastime for hundreds of years, but it wasn’t until the 1940s, when bottles of bubble solution were first sold as a toy, that it took off as a childhood pastime. One of the great things about bubbles are the multitudes of things laying around the house that can be adapted into excellent bubble-blowing devices. Here are some of our favorite ideas for creating bubble wands that you can make yourself!
Chenille pipe cleaners make great bubble wands. Simply bend the wire stems into any shape you can think of, then dip them into some bubble solution. The chenille absorbs the soap, making nice, big bubbles.
If you are interested in making large bubbles, then this next one is the bubble wand for you. You’ll need a few supplies: two 2 ft/60 cm long wooden dowels, a ball or two of bright yarn, and white glue. (You might need to cut down a larger dowel, to get it to be the right size.)
Tie the yarn about 1/3 of the length down from the top of the dowel, and wrap the yarn around the dowel until you reach the top. You can spread glue over the dowel as you wrap it, to make the yarn extra-secure. Once you reach the top, tie the yarn off and repeat with the second dowel.
Tie a piece of yarn, about 1 1/2 feet long, across the top of the two dowels. Tie a second piece, about 3 feet long, just below the first string. When you are holding the bubble wand out, the strings should form a “D” shape.
Dip your new bubble wand into some bubble solution, hold one dowel in each hand, and go! The wand can be a bit tricky at first, but just experiment- you’ll be making giant bubbles in no time.
Lots of things around the house can be used as creative bubble wands- try using house keys, rubber bands, and even hula hoops! What’s your favorite way to blow bubbles?
The sun is shining, the birds are chirping and the ground is bursting with all kinds of life. It’s a great time to muck about in the dirt and we all know how much kids love to get their hands dirty! Gardening is such a fantastic way to help kids connect with nature through their senses- the rich smell of the damp earth or fragrant flowers, the feel of soil between their fingers and the colourful sights and sounds of plants and bug life in even the smallest patch of land. Getting kids involved in the garden helps kids learn to revere and care for nature.
Our colourful children’s gardening set has all a green thumb in training needs to get going in the garden. The bright tools and watering can are the perfect size for mini hands. Everything comes in a sturdy, flowery tote that looks cheery in any garden. It’s great to see how often these cute little sets get pulled off the shelf and carried around the store by little ones – there’s a real natural attraction for kids to get involved in the backyard or windowsill garden. Giving kids their own tools is a wonderful way to give them a sense of ownership and responsibility for plants.
Bonnie the bunny is as eager as anyone to get out in the garden, though she tends to nibble more than she works. But I’m not one to talk – one of my very favourite childhood memories is eating strawberries in the family strawberry patch – I always remember that sunny feeling every time strawberries come back in season. Like Miss Bonnie here, I ate a lot more than I earned!
Top photo via Practical Parenting
Thank you daddies, for all that you do.
Thank you for the epic shoulder rides. We remember that soaring feeling forever!
Thank you for all the adventures.
Thank you for setting us straight, on the ODD occasion we needed it.
Thank you for telling us wonderful, lovely stories.
Thank you for the endless feeding.
But most of all, thank you for all the love and protection. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Illustrations (in order) taken from the following books:
Best Story Book Ever by Richard Scarry, One Morning In Maine by Robert McCloskey, Little Hoot by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Jen Corace, Anatole by Eve Titus, Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers, Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney, Little Rabbit’s Loose Tooth by Lucy Bate
“Some Sea Animals of the Pacific Northwest” is one of three prints created by Banquet Atelier & Workshop that we’ve added to our newly-expanded decor section. A collaboration between two Vancouver artists, Sarah Edmonds and Tammy Lawrence, Banquet produces beautiful images inspired by the natural world.
“Some Sea Animals of the Pacific Northwest”
Printed on thick, beautiful paper, these are some seriously gorgeous prints. Banquet’s animal silhouettes are complimented by lists of fun and informative facts. Did you know that the adult grey whale is bigger than a city bus? Or that a group of jelly fish is called a smack?
“Twenty Northern Friends”
“Twenty Northern Friends” focuses on animals living in Canada’s far North, while “Some Flora and Fauna of the Southern Boreal Forest” shows some of the natural life running through a stretch of forest that covers most of Canada, Russia, and Scandanavia. All are beautiful ways to bring some nature into any room, and maybe even inspire some learning while it’s at it. Did you know that violets contain a chemical that can short-circuit the sense of smell in humans?
These prints are beauty and brains united.
detail of “Some Flora and Fauna of the Southern Boreal Forest”
This dreamy, circus inspired room was put together by Kate Dixon. I wish she were my fairy godmother! What a room. The ferris wheel toy storage actually works – little ones can spin the wheel to get at the toys at the tippy top.
Marbles! So fun, so great to collect, so many games to play! Here are a couple of our favourite marble activities. Note: it’s best to shoot marbles in the sand, dirt or on carpet. These surfaces slow the marbles down. Marbles tend to go too fast on hardwood or tile!
1. Good old Ringer. This is a classic game for any number of players. Draw a circle in the sand, in the dirt or make a ring with string on carpet. The circle should be anywhere from 3 ft to 6 feet across – the larger the circle, the harder the game will be. Each player puts an agreed upon amount of marbles inside the ring. Players take turns shooting at the marbles in the ring with a shooter marble. A player can shoot their marble from anywhere on the circle’s edge. The object is to bump a marble outside the circle. The player gets to keep each marble they knock out of the ring and gets to go again until he/she misses. Continue taking turns until all the marbles have been shot out of the circle. The player with the most marbles wins the game. Players should decide in advance if they are playing for keeps or will return each others marbles at the end of the game!
2. Marble Toss game. For this, you’ll need an egg carton and a marker. Write “15” in the bottom of one egg section, “10” in two sections, “5” in three sections, and “1” in the remaining six sections. If playing indoors, place the egg carton on a carpeted area, rug or lay a towel down to absorb the shock of the bouncing marbles. Each player tosses an agreed upon number of marbles into the egg carton from about 5 feet away. Adjust the distance depending on the skill of the players. Each player tosses their marbles, one at a time, into the egg carton and then adds up their score. The player with the most points is the winner! Image and game rules via TLC Family
3. Marble arch game. For this, you’ll need either a wooden marble arch or you can make one yourself out of any cardboard you have lying around. Each player shoots an agreed upon number of marbles through the arches. The player collects the points of the arch they shoot their marble through. The player with the most points wins!
There are a lot of ways you can make the arch. You can make the arches bigger or smaller depending on the skill of the shooter, and you can assign any point numbers above the arches. For older children, use larger numbers that are more difficult to add or even fractions for more of a challenge. It’s up to you! You can also decorate the arch with any number of materials: crayons, paints, stickers, markers and so on. The arches can be monsters’ mouths or train tunnels or anything else you can imagine.
Here’s how we made our arch:
We used regular cardboard, a ruler to evenly space the arches, scissors, glue, paints and a black marker. First, draw the shape of the arch board on cardboard and cut it out. Then, space out and draw five arches and cut those out.
Now make some feet for the arch board to stand up on. Cut out two triangular feet (like picture frame stands) with tabs and glue to the back of the arch board so it will stand up. Wait for the glue to dry before decorating.
Now the fun part! Decorate however you wish. Paint, colour, draw, use stickers – whatever you fancy!
Number each arch with a point amount with a marker. You’re ready to play!
If you have any favourite marble games you would like to share, we would love to hear from you!
Bean bags are an all time classic toy. They are a fantastic way to develop hand eye coordination and are ideal for learning how to throw and catch gently. They’re great for encouraging active play – even indoors. Bean bags are also great for imaginative play – kids can imagine a bean bag to be anything from a doll’s pillow to something baking in the play oven.
Need some play ideas? Have kids try tossing the bean bag in the air and catching it. Once the child has mastered that, try throwing in various add ons. Toss the bean bag, then touch your head and tummy before catching it. Or try spinning in a circle before catching it. You can also challenge balance by balancing the bean bag a trying to walk to a target without letting the bag fall off.
You can further challenge hand eye coordination and aim by making targets to toss the bags at. Have some up high (such as on a couch) and some on the ground. You can also use hoops or buckets to throw them into.
These lovely bean bags are made here in Vancouver and have removable, washable covers. They come in a wide variety of fun, bright colours and patterns. Rediscover an undeniable classic!
For more ideas on what to do with bean bags, have a look at Vitamin Daily‘s post on these great little gems.
Many of you have seen some of the hilarious things that transpire in the Dilly Dally play shop. It’s pretty entertaining to just sit back and listen to the cute things the tiny shopkeepers have to say.
One particular little girl who was just under 2 years old took quite a fancy to the play food in the shop. She proceeded to pile each and every item carefully on the tabletop while her mom poked around the store. This took quite awhile, and she diligently checked the fridge, freezer and every drawer to make sure she had each bit possible in her pile. When she finished her masterpiece, she triumphantly cried out:
“MOMMY!!!! DINNER’S READY!!”
What a feast!
Oh goodness, this just topped my wish list of vacation destinations. What a perfect place to go fairy watching or play knights in the deep forest! Alas, these amazing little forest eco huts are nestled in the dense forest surrounding Lake Skärsjön in Sweden, so it may be a spell before I make my way there. But, a girl can dream!
Via please sir