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Fun-Tastic Toys for the Backyard

Fun-Tastic Toys for the Backyard

Spring is near; I can almost feel the sunshine on my face and a warm breeze blowing my hair and the sound of my children's voices as we savor the new season!

Maybe we have a touch of cabin fever here, or maybe we are optimistic, but we are holding onto that spring day fantasy for all that it is worth and taking it a step further by planning what playful additions to our backyard oasis that we want to make!

If you too are day dreaming about spring breezes and afternoons spent playing in the sun, you will want to note a few of these products, designed with families in mind, to bring a new level of fun to your yard!

The simple pleasures of a see-saw never go out of style. This one is sturdy, durable and made with pre-sanded lumber to make it safer for children to climb and play on! We love the smooth movement of this see-saw and the generously sized beam of this model.

No clubhouse or playset is complete without a fun-ctional telescope! This one is priced to fit any budget and it is durable and easy to attach to any clubhouse or outdoor play set. The lenses are sturdy and will give new eyes to make believe play in the back yard! I love this option because it is affordable for families and will keep the kids happily playing for hours and hours!

Another great and affordable option for adding a touch of fun to a playset or swing set is this durable ships wheel. Priced at about $40, it brings a new way to play to the backyard and encourages imaginative play in kids of all ages. If we are being honest about intentions, I am ordering one of these, not only for the kids but also for me. I can't resist steering the ship when the opportunity arises!

Spring days are not complete without a sandbox session! I love the interlocking design of this one, but there is something I love even more; the cover! This really helps keep the sand clean and ready to dig into when you can't make it to the beach.

Are you adding any new fun elements to your backyard this spring to encourage the kids to play outside more often? I would love to hear what outdoor toys are on your must get list this year!

What Kids Learn From Doll Play

What Kids Learn From Doll Play

Playing with dolls is an essential part of childhood! There is something almost magical about getting a new doll for a little girl; a world of possibility lies within each one. Have you ever wondered what kids get from playing with dolls developmentally? Or are you looking for a good reason to grab an awesome new doll house for a special kid? Keep reading and I will give you the scoop on what happens during doll play and I will share my favorite doll houses from the shop too!

Playing with dolls offers kids a chance to develop fine motor and cognitive skills. When your little one is changing outfits, making dolls walk or sit or brushing hair on her favorite dolls she is learning to take care of herself and others. She is also learning to use her hands to manipulate parts to achieve desired results. Fine motor skills are incredibly important for children, as are cognitive skills that are developed via play! The Garden Doll House is one of my favorites for encouraging manipulation of parts. It contains a ton of adorable furniture that your kids can move around and maneuver their dolls to use!

Language develops through play with dolls. Children will use different voices for each doll and will act out scenarios and conversations with their dolls. Every time doll play happens, new vocabulary words are learned and used, which is a great reason to get out the dolls and role play! The Monster Mansion Doll House is a fun and unique option for doll play. The colors and layout of the doll house alone are sure to inspire your little one to describe colors, rooms, furniture and more

Playing with dolls has real world benefits for children. They can re-enact various scenes from their own life to learn to manage their feelings. They can explore the world on a level that is kid sized to learn how things work and to lay the foundations of building relationships as they grow. The Dream House Doll House is the perfect place to recreate the day and discover the world in a child-sized environment! When your child is having a rough day, hand over the dolls and encourage a good doll play session. Big emotions and frustrations can be released and worked through with a good doll house and a few fun dolls!

Playing with dolls {or action figures!} is a ton of fun for kids, but underneath all of that fun, big things are happening developmentally with each play session. Play really is the important work of childhood and with a few tools like a doll house and a few dolls, the foundations for life can be laid, with pleasure!

6 Mugs to Help Fuel the Fun Machine

6 Mugs to Help Fuel the Fun Machine

The Blue Digger shop and blog like to focus on the fun of childhood, but Mama's, we recognize and salute you for being the motor that keeps the fun machine rolling! Mama's we also recognize that any hard working fun machine motor requires fuel! With that in mind, we thought it would be fitting to introduce you to the newest mugs and cups in the shop! These stylish options will keep your coffee hot, and give you the motivation to keep the party rolling until it is time to tuck the kiddos into bed!

The Plie Chasse Jete All Day Mug is pretty in pink and subtly funny. I love the beauty of this mug and it fits me well, as my youngest is a budding dancer, but the translation makes me giggle, as it basically says I fold, hunt and throw away all day... Yep, that sums it up perfectly and gives me a cool cup caffeinated!

Do you know that feeling when you put your makeup on and feel like a rock star? It can't be just me that feels like Mama is back after a few days without her mascara! If you feel like I do, let's lash out together with a great cup of coffee and the soundtrack of our kids laughing!

 If you happen to be a mom to a furry Frenchie Dog, this is the tumbler for you. If you happen to have a love of dogs and a colorful vocabulary, again, this is a terrific tumbler to keep you fueled for fun on the run.  It is cute and simple, and this tumbler kind of begs to have an iced coffee in it, simply for your pleasure! 

Sometimes I am just Mommin It Up From sun up til sun down. Those are my favorite kind of days! On the days when I can shine in my Mommy Glory, I need a good mug to keep my coffee hot. This one is perfect for those days at home, chugging coffee and chasing kids!

For all of my Unicorn Mama Friends, we have a mug to help us unite and identify each other. This mug shares our mission statement, in style. May your coffee be strong, your days be filled with humor and good company from other like minded Mamas!

And for the Mama that speaks the truth. We have a mug for you. Mama, know that if anyone should have a glass of wine at the end of the day, it is you and me! 

Tips for a Funtastic Family Game Night

Tips for a Funtastic Family Game Night

One of my favorite things to do with my family is to have family game night! Our kids are little, only 3 and 6 years old, but that is not too young to bust out the board games and challenge each other to a friendly race to the finish!

Having such young kids means preparations need to be made before the games can get underway, but with a few moments of time, it is possible to make sure everyone has a great time and the competition remains friendly and fair! To help encourage you to get your game on with your family, no matter how old or young they are, I am going to share my secret tips to a successful game night!

Clean the Game Area!

Like I mentioned, my kids are small, so there is always a chance of having a sticky table. To keep our board games in good condition, we always take the time to wipe down the area.

Limit Distractions

Turn off the tv and put the tablets and phones away! Family game night is a great chance to focus on each other. The emails, messages, and programs will be waiting when the games are over.

Prepare the Snacks!

Game night kind of requires a few snacks! Pretzels, veggie sticks, and crackers are good options that result in little mess. Keep the snacks close enough to access but away from the game, as to not interfere with game play. 

Designate Seating

To keep arguments at bay, we strategically seat the children. We place the kids opposite of each other, so they can both reach the board and a parent is on either side of the kids, to help read cards as needed and to help the children stay focused on the game, instead of what the other child is doing!

Be a Good Sport

I remind my children that no matter who wins, the point is to have fun! I cheer for everyone playing, to show them winning is not all that matters. I love when they follow my example and give each other high fives for a good move!

Plan for Breaks

Having little kids means the odds of someone needing to use the potty is high. Plan to take a break in between games so the kids can stretch, snack and go to the potty. 

I hope these tips help you prepare for a funtastic game night! There is no denying the connection that is formed through such a simple family activity. No matter how young or old your kids might be, taking the time to be together is a recipe for wonderful memories!




Easy DIY Toddler Puzzle Ideas

Easy DIY Toddler Puzzle Ideas

Puzzles are all of the rage with my preschooler right now! She loves apps that have puzzles, good old chunky puzzles, and she has moved up to putting 24 piece puzzles together as well. I realized a few days ago we needed to switch things up, as she has been completing her familiar options in record time. 

Being a crafty mom, instead of dashing out to the store to grab a few more for her collection, I turned to my craft supplies and created a few easy peasy puzzles that have kept her happily learning!
Puzzles are an awesome activity for little ones! Not only are they learning to solve problems, but also they are developing cognitive skills and hand-eye coordination. The benefits of puzzle building don't stop there. Kids also improve self-esteem and social skills by working out a few puzzles!
With so many benefits to encouraging puzzle play and so many easy puzzles you can DIY, you are going to want to create a few of these incredibly easy and fun ideas!
Upcycled Cereal Box Puzzles
If you have a cereal box and a pair of scissors, you can make one of the easiest puzzles ever. Really, any box with a picture on it will adequately work. Cut a box into large pieces, hand it to your toddler and let them reassemble the picture. 
Greeting Card Puzzles
Any greeting card can become a puzzle! Glue it onto a sturdy cardboard or paper surface and cut it up! Not only does this give toddlers and preschoolers a fun puzzle to recreate, it reuses a material that is likely headed to the trash. 
Photo Puzzles
Glue craft sticks to the back of a photo. Cut between the craft sticks and hand them over to the kids! They will love assembling pictures of people or places they know and love! Make sure an adult does the cutting, as you are going to need a sharp blade, like a utility or Exacto knife. 
Paint Chip Puzzles
If you have been shopping for new paint, do not throw those samples away! Draw a simple picture with a permanent marker, then make a few cuts! These are great puzzles to keep in your purse or diaper bag for when the kids are growing restless on the go. 
The added bonus of each of these ideas is that there is no stress if a piece of the puzzle is lost. You can simply make a new puzzle! Have you ever made DIY toys with your children? If you have ideas for homemade puzzles, we would love to hear about it in a comment!