Scrambling to find the perfect gift to celebrate the Dads in your life this Father’s Day? You can scour the stores in search of a gift that speaks to his hobbies or wardrobe, help the kids create a craft worthy of a spot on his desk, or take one spectacular Fathers Day photo that he’ll cherish for a lifetime. The right photo says far more than any store-bought gift or last minute craft. We’ve curated a list of fun father’s day picture ideas to inspire you and your child and capture the perfect shot.
Photo Ideas for the Perfect Father’s Day Gift
Write a message that’s as sweet as the tiny feet.
Get Dad to star in a photo shoot.
Fun photo that the kids will love creating.
With a message and a family photo that steals his heart.
In his shoes.
This Father’s Day photo shoot idea works especially well if you have three kids!
Make it multi-generational for a powerful portrait of the fathers in his life.
For more great Fathers Day picture ideas and inspiration for photographing kids in general, check out our Photographing Babies and Kids Pinterest Board.
Looking for a sitter to take that special dad out for Father’s Day? Join UrbanSitter to browse profiles, sort by pay rate, and book jobs online.
Even the best babysitters in your area may be at a loss for finding fun activities to do with your children. Your preferred babysitter may spend many long hours with your children in the months and years to come, and this is the time that should be fun and stimulating for them. If you want to encourage your babysitter to limit screen time and to engage your children while you are gone, suggest some of these thoughtful ideas.
If your babysitter has basic baking skills, making cookies is a fun and delicious way to spend time. Frosted cut-out cookies take much more time to make than chocolate chip cookies, and they allow for more interaction with children. This is only one of many types of foods that children can participate in making. For example, they can make ice cream sundaes, cut-out shapes for their lunchtime sandwiches, a fruit salad with cutting help from the babysitter and more.
Build a Blanket Fort
Before you leave, pull out several blankets and sheets that can be used for the walls and ceiling of a living room or bedroom fort. The act of creating the fort can keep the kids and the babysitter busy for a while. Once the fort is created, they can play together, read books or even tell their own made-up stories in their shelter.
Create Works of Art
Many children love to draw, paint and work with clay. Other ideas include working on sand projects, making slime, creating snowflakes and more. Set aside several types of art supplies before leaving the house. The kids and babysitter can use the supplies in their own creative ways to produce beautiful or unique works of art.
Dance to Children’s Songs
If your children love music, another excellent idea is to recommend a dance party. You can compile a mix of songs that your kids enjoy, or you can suggest that your babysitter stream music from an app on his or her smartphone. This is a fun way to get your children moving regardless of outdoor weather conditions.
Play Board Games
Many kids love to play games with their parents, but you may not pull the games out as frequently as they may like. Set out a stack of your children’s favorite board games and card games. Regardless of your children’s ages, board games provide interactive fun that can extend potentially for several hours.
Work on Puzzles
An alternative to board games is puzzles. Simple puzzles are ideal for young children, and there are numerous puzzles that are increasingly challenging for older children. Determine your children’s skill level, attention span, and interests when picking out a puzzle.
You may go to great lengths to find the best babysitters in your area, but even these skilled, qualified professionals may not know what your children like to do or what activities are available in your home. Suggest or plan for some of these excellent activities so that your children truly enjoy spending time with their babysitter.
With temperatures reaching inhumane lows across the country, you or your sitter are likely trapped in the house with the kids and in near desperate need for new ways to keep them entertained. Save your sanity with these fun ideas for keeping little kids happy and engaged.
10 Creative Ideas for Entertaining a Toddler (in the dead of winter!)
1. Fill the tub or the kitchen sink! It’s time to bathe the toys, give the Barbies a spa day or host a car wash. If you really want to surprise your kids, hold the water and instead fill the tub with dried beans or rice and let them scoop and fill to their hearts’ content.
2. Build a slide or tunnel for toy cars to race down and under, using a piece of cardboard atop stacks of books or copy this creative masking tape roadway. Take it a step further with a DIY wasabi race track.
3. Create a fort by draping blankets over chairs and other furniture, and pretend it’s a house, boat or a plane. The opportunities are endless. If your kids love forts, consider creating this no-sew teepee from The Handmade Home.
4. Throw a dance party. Crank up the music and let loose. Get in on the fun and you can knock out your daily workout.
5. Brave the outdoors and create an ice skating party for dolls or action figures, a la the one by Happy Hooligans. She also has an ingenious post on making paint for painting the snow.
7. Toddlers love to push and pull things. Take a toy wagon or baby stroller outside and let them “mow the lawn” or plow the snow.
8. Taste test the art supplies!? Yes, break the rules and let them eat the paint with edible finger paints. You can stress less about the mess, since they are made with condensed milk. Super simple!
9. Reminisce by going through family photo albums and watching videos made when they were “young.” Slightly older kids will enjoy the walk down memory lane, too. You can take it a step further by talking about their family tree.
For most of us, summer provides a less restrictive schedule with a little more time to spare. There are no school bells to beat, carpools to shuffle, homework to deal with or early bedtimes to make. Take advantage of some of the extra time and freedom, even if it’s just having a longer evening thanks to Daylight Savings Time, by enjoying these top 10 summer activities to do with your family. You’ll be glad you did!
Attend a baseball game.
Whether it’s a MLB or a little league game, nothing says summer quite like rooting for the home team at a ballgame. Grab a few hot dogs for the kids and find a spot on the bleachers… even if your little ones are too young to last more than a few innings.
Splash with friends at a pool party.
If you don’t have a friend’s pool to crash, find a local public pool or private swim club and arrange to have a few friends and their kids gather for a fun afternoon in the water.
Throw a BBQ.
You don’t need a backyard to host an outdoor summer BBQ. A park with accessible grills or a spot for you to bring your own will work just as well. Check out our Pinterest board, Party Food for fun outdoor dishes to share.
See the stars.
Loosen the reigns and let your kids stay up late enough to see the night sky. Pack a blanket, load up the car and find a spot dark enough to see for miles.
Get away without the kids!
No matter how much you cherish the extra hours with your kids during summer vacation, everyone needs a break from each other. Log onto UrbanSitter to find a sitter who will stay the night, or better yet the weekend. You don’t need to spend a fortune or go far to rejuvenate and recharge.
Enjoy an outdoor concert.
Even families with infants can manage and appreciate a concert in the park. Kids will love camping out on a blanket and listening to the music. Just be sure to bring snacks.
Come summer, you gotta hit the water. Find a local spot to rent a paddle boat, tube down a lazy river or get drenched at a water or kids splash park.
Our post last summer on camping hot spots was a reader favorite for good reason. Camping is perfect for families! Check out our post for super family-friendly sites, coast to coast. If packing up the car and hauling your kids to the woods seems like a daunting task, pitch a tent in the backyard for a slumber party under the stars.
Get together with school friends.
Back to school transitions will be easier if there are familiar faces to share the new routine. Take the time now to schedule play dates with school friends and host an afternoon at your place for your child to meet new friends who will be together in the fall.
Have a picnic. A picnic is the perfect way to enjoy a relaxing afternoon with your family, and knock out dinner, too. We have just the menu for you to do it right and with little effort.
Before the hectic routine of the school year starts again, take the time to enjoy the season with your family. Sharing these fun, memorable summertime activities helps to build happy memories that will stay with you and your kids a lifetime.
The 4th of July is nearly upon us – get the party started with fun treats and decorations that’ll pump up the patriotism at your house. All you need for a fantastic July 4th BBQ is good company, good food and these fun, festive decorations and sweet treats.
Decorating Easter eggs with kids isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Fragile eggs + stainable dye often equals disaster, or at least a somewhat anxious parent or sitter. This year, opt for one of these simple, yet very cool techniques for decorating eggs with kids. They are fun to do and create some pretty impressive looking eggs.
1. Chalkboard Eggs How cool are these black eggs?! A really fun, graphic take on the traditional, dyed Easter egg, these funky eggs are just as easy to create as the dip-dyed version. Paint hard-boiled eggs with chalkboard paint – 2-3 coats are recommended for good coverage – and have kids doodle with chalk or wet chalk markers, which create really vivid color that pops against the black background. The blogger behind this DIY suggests creating a trough out of aluminum foil for holding the eggs while they dry. See her complete tutorial with handy photos for help.
2. Neon Eggs Wow, food coloring has come a long way since we were kids! Pick up a box of Neon Food Coloring to create these eye-popping Easter beauties. These were created by dripping rubber cement over hard-boiled eggs before letting them sit in neon dye for at least five minutes. The long soak might be tough for the kids to wait out, but the results are worth it.
3. Glitter Eggs Pull a Martha and forego the dye for a good douse of sparkly glitter. The fancy version of these glittery eggs calls for blowing the eggs out so you’re just decorating the shell. The technique makes the egg last for more than one season, but to make it a kid-friendly craft, forget the fragile shell and instead boil the eggs…making peace with the fact that you’ll have to toss them after a few days.
4. No-Dye, No-Mess Eggs Just as pretty as dyed eggs, but way less mess. In other words, very kid-friendly… which translates into quick and easy. Instead of having kids plunk eggs into baths of dye, have them stick hard-boiled eggs with adhesive dots and roll in colored glitter.
5. Water Color Easter Eggs Pretty eggs that are fun for even really little ones to create. Use a baking sheet to collect the extra dye that falls when simply spooning dye over eggs. Let dry completely after applying a color so the next color you add won’t run and turn your masterpiece into a muddy mess of muted shades.
If these DIYs are a bit more work than you bargained for, opt for the even simpler techniques of decorating eggs with stickers, markers or temporary tattoos. You and your kids will have just as much fun!
With kids spending a lot more time indoors during the dreary winter months, be sure to arm yourself and your sitter or nanny with a few fun DIY art projects to keep them occupied and entertained. Check out these five creative projects that are sure to keep everyone happy.
5 Fun Winter Crafts for Kids
1. Better than Play Doh Why not whip up a batch of new play dough or goop for your kids to knead, mold and shape to their hearts’ content? Take your pick from one of these cool sensory play recipes that are sure to please. Whether it’s Peppermint Play Dohs, gold glitter goop or any of the others we’ve pinned to our Pinterest Board Crafts for Kids, you can’t go wrong. The recipes are quick and easy and truly can be rainy day lifesavers.
2. Easy Stitch Cards Try this not too easy, not too hard sewing project that works well for 4-9 year olds. It’s a budget-friendly craft that you can create with materials you likely have on hand or can easily find at any craft store. Thanks to Mini eco for proving the instructions AND free printable cards. Download the cards and print on colored card stock. She used orange, pink and yellow, but feel free to use your child’s favorites.
To make your sewing cards you’ll also need a hole punch, yarn, a blunt needle and a button or bead to tie at the end of the yarn as a stopper. Instructions via the blogger:
1) Simply print pdfs and cut out. Pinking shears can be used for extra flare.
2) Punch holes out (as pictured)
3) Have you child lace the yarn through the holes.
3. Shimmery Snow Paint Kids love a new art material and this one doubles as a fantastic sensory material. Plus, it’s perfect for winter. There are lots of recipes out there for paint that looks like snow, but this one tops the list for the most shimmery, realistic looking flurries. For the best results, refrigerate the shaving cream and glue overnight then let it warm up for about 10 minutes the counter before using.
Mix equal parts of glue and shaving cream in a bowl – you can eyeball the amounts. Sprinkle in as much glitter or buffalo snow as you like. Add a few drops of peppermint extract and mix. You can add more glitter, if need be.
It’s fun for kids to use their new paint to create wintery scenes filled with snowmen. Colored construction paper works well as a background.
4. Paper House This really cute paper house was created by the ingenious blogger at Say Yes to Hoboken as something to do with all of the cardboard shipping boxes that had piled up at her house after a bout of online shopping. With the holidays just past, you’re sure to have a few lying around, too.
Choose a box that’s a good size and shape for a house, a barn, a school, or any other structure your child would like to create, and follow the instructions provided at Say Yes to Hoboken. All you’ll need is paper, glue, scissors and a Sharpie. The rainbow shingles are the best part!
5. Bottle Cap Stamps Create your own stamps with the bottle caps from water or juice bottles and small foam stickers. We can thank Vanessa’s Values for the idea and for helping us to keep our kids entertained by merely visiting the recycling bin for bottle caps and the dollar store for a handful of stickers. Simply glue stickers to the tops of the caps and use either a stamp pad or paint for the ink. Kids, little and big, will have a ball creating all sorts of project with their stamps – posters, cards, signs, etc.
You’ve seen a million lists like this one, but it never hurts to have some fresh ideas. When you’re stuck in the house and the natives are restless, give one of these a shot.
5 Rainy Day Activities
1. Tupperware bowling. Line up your BPA-free lunch containers in the kitchen or hallway and give any type of ball a roll. See how many you can knock down. Kids love anything involving destruction and they can even help set up the “pins.” You can make a more challenging formation for older kids and keep track of spares and strikes, just like in a real game. No grimy shoes required.
2. A bath. Who doesn’t love a warm bubble bath on a cold day? With babies or toddlers, don’t be afraid to climb in with them – and let your little one choose a toy or two to submerge. Most plastic toys do just fine in water and some might need a bath anyway. Race tracks are particularly fun in water as are play kitchen utensils, pots and pans. With older kids, you may even get to read a magazine while sitting on the toilet seat.
3. Baking. Anything is fun when kids get to “help.” Don’t make it a dish you need to present at a fancy dinner party. Search your pantry for something easy and kid-friendly. Banana bread, cookies with M&M’s, even lasagna for dinner (as long as little hands are nimble and super clean) are great options. Older children can help read measurements and set the oven timer. Little ones can pour and stir. Baking is a great hands-on activity and is sure to please when the timer dings.
4. This Is Your Life, starring your child(ren). Kids love to look at photos and videos from when they were babies. If you don’t have a baby book, start with any loose photos in a drawer, digital files, ultrasound pics, the invitation to your baby shower, and any videos Dad made — first steps, first words, first bike ride. Oldest children will benefit most (why do we run out of photographic energy with each respective child?!), but even the youngest ones will delight in seeing you pregnant (“I was in your tummy!”) and if you’re lucky, he or she can help you organize and perhaps even create a photo album or online photo book.
5. Magazine arts and crafts. Find some old magazines, catalogs, or newspaper advertisement inserts — maybe even an old book or two — and let them go to town with scissors and glue. Cutting and pasting pictures onto construction paper is fun for everyone. A holiday or birthday list is always enhanced by photos of coveted items, and creating a “book” can be fun, too, complete with cast of characters from the PB Kids catalog and reality television.
Whatever you choose do to on a rainy day, just rest assured the weather will turn soon enough, and know that your kids love the bonding time with Mom or Dad. Enjoy!
Browse babysitter and nanny profiles, and schedule interviews at the click of a button at www.UrbanSitter.com.
Ahhh, Autumn. It’s many people’s favorite season, and for good reason — the nip in the air, the crisp leaves, the pumpkin-flavored espresso drinks — to name just a few. And for little ones, there’s loads of fun to be had. Why not take the whole family and indulge in one of these sure-to-please Fall diversions on your next free weekend?
1. Pumpkin Patch
Now, this one is a classic, tried and true. Children are just as pleased with a trip to the super market aisle or an off-the-freeway patch complete with jumpy house. But most counties have at least one big, fall-festival-like patch with a corn maze, hot cider stand, and maybe even a petting zoo.
These off-the-beaten-track spots offer a little something extra and really bring the experience home. Plus, the car ride builds anticipation. Check out these safe, no-carve pumpkin decorating ideas.
2. Apple Picking
If you venture out a little further into the country (or deep suburbs in some spots), you can usually find a place to pick apples when Fall rolls around.
A family farm is the typical backdrop and kids as young as one or two can join in the fun. Apple orchards are heaving with fruit this time of year and for a small fee, you can borrow a basket and pick as many you like (or want to pay for), as you meander amongst the trees and livestock. Have a taste or make apple cider at home! This is a fun, easy activity for families and makes for a great photo op as well. Some farms require an appointment, so do your research.
3. Pie Making
Once you’ve picked your apples (or purchased them at the grocery store), why not share the experience of making a home-made pie with your kids?
Whether you have Grandma’s tried and true recipe or one just downloaded, the kids will love the hands-on experience…and delectable result. You can even let the kids use cookie cutters to decorate the crust….easy as pie! And sure to fill your home with a delicious Fall aroma.
4. Jumping in Leaves
A classic straight out of a Normal Rockwell painting. But truly, leaf jumping never gets old for kids–or even dogs. Just use a standard rake to gather the leaves in your yard and let them go to town. Of course, you will have to deal with the end product — a mess of crispy leaf bits, but it’s worth it…right?
If you don’t have a yard full of leaves, head to your favorite park and do the same. In that case, the kids will have to gather the leaves themselves, but that in itself can be a great diversion.
Whatever you do this Fall, enjoy yourself! It’s a cozy season filled with rosy cheeks, full moons, and warm sweaters. Plus, before you know it, the madness of the holidays will be upon you. So get out there!
Fire up your family’s patriotism with these fun craft and recipe ideas for celebrating the Fourth of July! We’ve rounded up two easy 4th of July crafts and two deliciously festive recipes.
Craft: DIY Patriotic Streamers
Lead your own neighborhood parade in style! Tie some streamers and balloons to your stroller and help your kids decorate their bike or scooter with these DIY patriotic streamerswe found on AlphaMom.
Supply list is simple:
1. a pair of toilet paper tubes
2. curling ribbon and/or crepe paper streamers
3. inexpensive water-based children’s poster paint in patriotic colors
4. star stickers
5. paint brushes
6. a stapler and/or normal household tape
Have kids paint the tubes one color –the base coat. (Resist mixing colors since you’ll end up with purple or pink instead of the red white and blue theme!).
Once base coat is dry, let them decorate the tube by painting on stars, stripes, flags, hearts, whatever else says 4th of July. And adding stickers, too.
Once everything is dry, staple and/or tape the streamers or curling ribbon in strips to the end of the tubes. Curl the ribbons.
Slip the decorated tubes of streamers over the ends of your child’s handle bars, and voila, patriotic streamers!
You’ll all have a blast circling the block in holiday style. Blow some horns, shake some noise makers and belt out our national anthem to your heart’s content. Your kids will never forget it.
Recipe: Fruity Yogurt “Bomb Pops”
Remember those brilliant red, white and blue popsicles you likely devoured as a child? They scream patriotism! Make your own healthy version with yogurt, blueberries and strawberries:
For the red layer: Puree 1 pint hulled strawberries with 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt. Fill popsicle molds 1/3 of the way full with strawberry/yogurt mixture. Transfer molds to freezer and freeze for about 30 minutes, to prevent the layers from mixing. (There is no need to put the sticks in at this time.) Rinse blender.
For the white layer: When 30 minutes have lapsed, remove popsicle molds from freezer. Reserve 3/4 cup of the yogurt for the blue layer. Use remaining vanilla yogurt to fill molds 2/3 of the way full. Return popsicles to freezer just long enough to prepare the blue layer.
For the blue layer: Puree 1 1/2 cups blueberries with remaining 3/4 cup vanilla yogurt. Remove popsicles from freezer and fill with blueberry puree. Add sticks to popsicles and return to freezer. Freeze for at least 2 hours. Serve and enjoy!
Or, you could always throw caution to the wind (after all, it is a holiday!) and go for the ones you used to eat as a kid. You can find them at Walmart.
Craft: Sparkler Printables
Light up the night with sparkler favors. Thanks to this free printable, you can turn any ordinary box of sparklers into fun, festive favors for any family or friend gathering. Download the sparkler printables here, and be sure to print them on heavy card stock. Cut a slit above and below the solid blue block and slide a few sparklers through. ** Of course, never leave children unattended with sparklers, and be sure to explain the dangers of fire and the importance of being careful of sparklers before you light them. **
Use a melon scooper to make watermelon balls (or could use frozen yogurt or raspberry sorbet)
4 cups watermelon balls
2 cups fresh blueberries
1 cup sweetened whipped cream or thick plain or vanilla yogurt
Red, white and blue star sprinkles
Gently mix together the watermelon and blueberries. Divide among 4 sundae bowls. Top each with a dollop of whipped cream or yogurt and sprinkle with red ,white and blue sprinkles. Serve immediately.
Keep your party going this July 4th by joining your community at a family-friendly holiday parade, fireworks show or festival. Stay tuned for our July 4th Even Guide for ideas and info!