Posts Tagged “crafts”

Ignite Imagination with Great Pretenders

By |

Disclosure: We are pleased to work with Great Pretenders to provide reviews in exchange for product samples. As always, the opinions and content expressed herein are strictly our own. This post contains affiliate links. #sponsored


Great Pretenders Colour-An-Apron

Love the customizable Colour-In-Collection by Great Pretenders! Between capes, crown, aprons and more, your child can design the look of their dreams. Each article comes with washable fabric markers. For more fun, consider beads, buttons, glitter and gems… but do keep in mind they may come off in the wash… so I recommend hand washing if you jazz it up.


We overlapped colors to make purple and different effects. It is really wonderful to be able to design the pattern.  I remember growing up coloring with my mom, something I now enjoy doing with my daughter. This apron was a special coloring project because it isn’t just a page we signed in a coloring book, but something she can wear, actually use in the kitchen… or pretend with in her own “kitchen”.

Great Pretenders really know how to put the wow factor into pretend play. And while so much of our children’s world is plugged in… it sure is a breathe of fresh air to find them running around with capes and crowns and wands in hand.


You will find both the Colour-In-Collection and Reversible Super Hero Cape set in our Holiday Gift Guide. Give the gift of imagination this holiday.

Read more »

Crafty Crystal Creations With Gemmies

By |

Gemmies Profile Pic 3

Many thanks to Blogger Bash, #SweetSuite and Tech4Kids for the opportunity to review Gemmies, a crystal arts and craft creation. Gemmies are tiny, so firstly make sure your child is old enough and that you have some way to contain the craft pieces while you and your child work. Tech4Kids recommends ages 6+. Personally, I think this is a great activity for parent and child or a couple of girls. It’s the kind of craft you don’t have to concentrate super hard on and can hold a conversation while doing it.

Gemmies Unboxing Pic

So what exactly are you doing with Gemmies? Gems are assembled on tiny rubber bands, according to a pattern and linking together to create flowers, animals, jewelry, and more. There are several kits available with multiple projects. Smaller kits have 2 projects such as Shimmering Flowers and have approx 150 pieces. Medium Theme Packs come with 300 pieces and offer 3 projects.

Gemmies Profile Pic

Gemmies Resealable PouchesThe Gemmies Design Studio is the ultimate Gemmies gift idea or craft workshop item. In a drawer below the work station, all the pieces can be stored in separated compartments.  Along the side of the work studio are areas to completed Gemmies projects and more storage compartments. The best part, as you can see from Victoria’s video below is the light box. After your child completes a crystal piece, she can place it on the light box to illuminate it. Really kinda cool. Oh yeah, and the packs are resealable.

In full disclosure, the girls did find it tricky to stretch the rubber bands on the tool. They needed help, almost every rubber band for the first… well many. The beads slide on easily and following the partner isn’t too difficult. I suggest stretching the rubber bands before activity time. Like anything new, it takes a few attempts. Otherwise, this was a terrific craft kit. Highly recommended for Girl Scout meetings too.

Gemmies Profile Pic 2


Read more »

Children’s Art Exhibit & Hands-On Program: Art Splash

By |

While this article is sponsored by the Philadelphia Museum of Art by way of complimentary program admission, the opinions expressed herein are strictly my own. #sponsored

Creative – Engaging – Inspiring: Art Splash


More colorful than ever, Art Splash returns at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the Perelman Building. Expect the same hands-on kid-friendly programs, tours and crafts as years past in this spacious and well-lit venue.


This year’s Art Splash program was inspired by Africa.  Everything from the contemporary photography to bronze sculptures and mask… the artistic African culture is present.  In true Art Splash form, children (and their adults) are welcome to a variety of art projects based on the five exhibit areas:

Look Again – Contemporary Perspectives on African Art “A major exhibition drawn from the collection of the Penn Museum” – Phila Museum of Art, Press Release July 2016


Vlisco – African Fashion on a Global Stage ” Explores the celebrated company’s most enduring designs, examines the process of creating a new textile, and showcases a selection of contemporary fashions by African and European makers as well as Vlisco’s in-house design team” – Phila Museum of Art, Press Release July 2016


Threads of Tradition “Focuses on traditional patterns in West and Central African textiles and the techniques used to create them, including strip weaving, resist dyeing, piecing, applique and embroidery” – Phila Museum of Art, Press Release July 2016


Three Photographers/Six Cities “Presents an in-depth look at three photographers who create powerful pictures of six African Cities: Cairo, Egypt; Nairobi, Kenya; Lagos, Nigeria; Johannesburg, South Africa; and Bamako and Tombouctou (Timbuktu), Mali.” “The images offer unique perspectives on contemporary African experience” – Phila Museum of Art, Press Release July 2016


Architecture of Francis Kere – Building For Community “Features a site-specifi, immersive environment designed by this world=renowned Burkina-Faso-born architect” – Phila Museum of Art, Press Release July 2016


The studio space is certainly accommodating with vaulted ceilings and plenty of sunlight. Sunlight casts a vibrant glow on the most colorful exhibit, “Colorscape” (See above picture) and of course, no art studio would be complete without workshop space for crafting.

African inspired Crafts

The Art Splash program runs through September 5, 2015 and offers many components: art studio projects, interactive exploration, book signings and festivals. There is so much to consider that I suggest bookmarking the Museum’s Art Splash page to get all the details. Here is the general schedule:


July 1 – 10 Travel
July 11 – 24 Design
July 25 – August 7 Build
August 8 – 21 Print
August 22 – Sept 5 Sculpt


Family Festivals & Art Workshops. The Sight & Sound festival is being held on August 7 (10 AM to 5 PM) with award singers, musicians and dancers, as well as, the Liberian Women’s chorus. Pay what you wish and perfect for all ages. Their music inspires and promotes change and social justice. Family Art Workshops are being offered July 16 & 23 for Design & Sew; July 30 & August 6 Sound Structures, and August 13 & 20 for Light Prints. Registration is required and classes are in addition to museum admission prices.

And there’s more… Family Art Cart, Splash Studio and Family Tours, all enhance your visit to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Highly suggested, entertaining and educational Early Bird or Art Explorers family tours are available for the youngest explorers. These tours take you on a path through the exhibits to introduce children to pieces of art through discussion, music, drawing, story and more. Having been on a many of their  tours, I must say these are definitely a highlight to our summer visits to Art Splash.


The Philadelphia Museum of Art is located at 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA. 215-684-7840

“Evolving year over year but always true to being educational, creative and engaging for families, not just children.” H@H 2015

Be sure to add this to your summer plans.

Read more »

Adventure Series: Hanging With My Little Monkey Friends

By |

So, how many time since having kids have you said, “You’re not a monkey, don’t climb on the ___” (use your own example here – table, sofa, curtains)?

Seriously, “monkey” became part of our every day conversations once I had kids. Now aside from acting like monkeys or being carried on our person like monkeys… children are also fascinated with this species. (Okay, okay so not just the kids.) Guess who’s most anticipated when we go to the zoo? Of course we love the lions and bird house and those huge snakes we’d never seek out elsewhere… but the monkeys, gorillas and apes always steal the show.  (And if you think I’m a fanatic, oh you should see my sister’s menagerie of monkeys!!)

Monkeys, chimpanzees, orangutans, apes, tamarin – after a while they all just seem to be the same but in fact there are two groups of primates: Apes and Monkeys. Orangutans, chimpanzees, gibbons and gorillas fall into the Ape category, while the Monkey category includes baboon, tamarin and mandrill.   So in the spirit of Homeroom At Home, we decided to put this curiosity to work. My family held our first on-site (and quite interactive) parent/child “edu-play date”. That’s right, we got down to the fun monkey business of learning all about primates.  It was simple; it was entertaining; it was educational (even for the adults!) With crafts, games and snacks we kept ourselves quite entertained for two hours.  Knowing that our audience was going to be on the younger side, we kept the games and crafts very very simple, although you could easily choose more age-appropriate ones. We decorated bookmarks with monkey and gorilla stickers. We used hula hoops and a round table cloth to play games with a blow-up monkey. Of course our littlest guest thought he should be the monkey-in-the-middle.  Another really cute game was “Where Is Sock Monkey?” complete with a stuffed sock monkey. For snack we ate Banana Graham Cracker Pudding Cake and Monkey Bread. We read a variety of books and used a simple story board to demonstrate the differences between apes and monkeys and then we tested our knowledge with picture books and stuffed animals. Each child took home coloring sheets of either gibbons, gorillas, tamarins, orangutans or monkeys. The highlight of the evening was the puppet story telling of 5 Little Monkeys Sitting In A Tree whereby teasing a certain crocodile. I happened to have a Crocodile Cuddle-Uppet and five stuffed animal monkeys. Everyone participated as one by one the monkeys disappeared. We also read and re-enacted 5 Little Monkeys Jumping On The Bed and below you’ll find a cute picture of that action. Again, these highly engaging stories were the talk of the night.   Check out our Facebook page for more fun photos of our Monkey Edu-Play Date.

As fun as it was playing games and tossing around stuffed animal friends, it doesn’t hold a candle next to watching these primates in action. There are many local places to check out apes and monkeys including the Philadelphia Zoo. The Philadelphia Zoo has named 2012 the Year Of The Orangutan with special exhibits, events and education awareness. The Buffalo Zoo of New York offers wonderful PDF Fact Sheets for most of their animals on exhibit – in fact many zoos offer bios or facts for their animal population but the full sheet fact pages of Buffalo Zoo was impressive and helpful. This was also the case for Brandywine Zoo of Delaware.

We can’t have all this talk about monkeys and apes and NOT mention the Ape House at the National Zoo in DC. This exhibit is home to several gorillas and orangutans. The Ape House is only one of several exhibits the National Zoo offers for primates. When visiting be sure to stop by the Small Mammal House, Think Tank, Lemur Island and more. Be sure to bookmark their website here, as it is full of information to return to – monkeys and otherwise. Another fascinating feature of the National Zoo is the creation of the first ever Orangutan Transport System (OTS) – no kidding! As a solution to a logistical and design issue within the zoo, they created a traveling system allowing the orangutans to freely roam between the Ape House and Think Tank. In addition, the orangutans are offered the freedom to choose their evening dwelling. How cool is that? Check out more on the “O line” by clicking here. Now among several on-going projects, our National Zoo at the Smithsonian has spearheaded the Golden Lion Tamarin Conservation Program whereby saving these critically endangered monkeys over the last three decades and reducing their classification from critically endangered to endangered. Don’t forget to check out the education tools on the website – there’s so much offered.

Play time equals learning fun too, so check out these great toys to continue your primate experience:

China’s famous Yi Yuanji of 1000 years ago, depicted a beautiful scene on silk of two gibbons in a tree. This painting became memorable due to a culture that mostly focused on flowers and birds in artistic expression. You can check it out here.

Let’s continue our discussion… chimpanzees, monkeys, gorillas, etc have been featured in a number of live-action family films. Share with us your favorite and one lucky participant will win a small monkey surprise just for leaving a comment. (Be sure to leave your email, so I can contact the winner directly.) Winner will be chosen on October 25th.

Read more »

NEST: The One Stop Solution Spot

By |

Somewhere between the birthday parties, homework, errands, and laundry we want to enjoy watching our children develop, play and explore. Especially if you have more than one child, the whirlwind of parenting sweeps us up and from one day to the next we might not be able to account for our “quality time”. And that’s where NEST comes in… an indoor play and activity center focusing on a large variety of enrichment and family programs. And while we will further explore this in just a moment, I want to point out that Nest isn’t just another indoor soccer field, arcade or YMCA but a total parent package find. Nest offers the following conveniences: a snack cafe, stroller parking, handicap access to lower level and nursing area, as well as, salon services in a kid-friendly environment and soon to be added photography. They host birthday parties and special events, as well as, a whole calendar of enrichment classes. This three story facility has it all, including a gorgeous chic shoppe and a WiFi accessible lounge.

Now if that doesn’t leave you drooling let me tell you about the classes. Broken into nine categories, Nest offers something for everyone… starting with newborns to approx age 7. Sports, cooking, art, music, enrichment, yoga, swim and movement with a couple of combo classes mixed in – who could ever get bored? Their classes run in twelve week sessions with the fall session beginning the week of September 10th and ending Saturday, December 8th with a make-up week December 10th -15th. Costs and schedule can be found on their website but since everyone loves bargains and flexibility… let me share this recent change:  NEST Family Movement class (held on Saturdays at 10 AM) has been reduced to $200 for the 12 week program AND will be offered as a “drop in” class for those families with otherwise busy weekends. The drop in rate is $20 and offers the flexibility to come to class as available instead of committing to the entire session. Either way – an amazing deal. A little more about this class: it is intended for family participation with children up to age 7. “Walkers, runners and jumpers will all enjoy high-energy activities that challenge their bodies and tickle their minds.” Using balls, parachutes, ramps and more expect to move and groove with this one. Please note, since they are mid-session, all programs are pro-rated. For more information please visit Nest’s website here or call 215-545-6378.

We had a wonderful time at our cooking demonstration and you can catch a glimpse of our afternoon activities with our short video. Via and I joined several other families to play upstairs and in the lower play space. We made delicious apple cream cheese filled tortillas with a watermelon mint smoothy. Oh so yummy. Our playdate was scheduled before the fall class session began so we had the extra privilege of romping around on the soft gym equipment that would otherwise we used for various movement classes. As you can see from our pictures and video, we had a fantastic time and will be visiting regularly.

Disclosure: We were invited to a preview event including a cooking demonstration, given a complimentary session and a facility tour. Via is enrolled in the Me and My Little Sous Chef.

Read more »

A Creative Corner Of Havertown

By |

Creative hot spot alert!!

Recently, my daughter and I were invited to share in a morning of creative fun with the Creative Clubhouse in Havertown, PA.

Open floor space for puzzles and reading

As a prearranged session, the owners (Amy and Jess) were well prepared for some little ones that morning.  As a mother, I was very appreciative of the center’s organized design, variety of activities, and atmosphere of playfulness.  I felt at ease to sit on the floor with my daughter for some magnetic fun or to piece together a puzzle and loved the huge chalkboard wall where we could freely doodle about.

Although my morning was centered around a two-year old, Creative Clubhouse is just as equipped for the school-aged group, in fact one of the things I love most about this facility is there ability to engage both the younger ones and the older kids simultaneously.

Creative Clubhouse holds a variety of classes for consideration for the elementary school age.  The Powerful Pencils session is a creative writing workshop for ages 6-10.  Green Art is also designed for that age group.  World Art and Kitchen Lab and Puppets With Pencils offer a couple more choices for Kindergarten to about 3rd or 4th grade.  The Color Me Creative is suggested for those between 8 and 10 years old.

Let’s Paint!

Of course you could pop in for one of the Open Studio time slots, similar to our experience with multiple    crafting stations open and flexibility to move about the studio’s resources.   Please check out their website for dates, times, class information, pricing and of course membership details.

Lastly, let me point out the Creative Clubhouse also hosts birthday parties… with an exciting themed package complete w/ pizza or snack option to make the party planning all the easier.              484-504-9884

More puzzles and games!

Read more »