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Stacy Shares: A Valentine’s Quest

Valerie is a Melissa & Doug Blog Ambassador
This activity is brought to you by Melissa & Doug, written by our Blog Ambassador Stacy Teet.

“One of the best parts of being a mom is finding ways to make learning and life lessons fun.”   –Stacy

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, so I thought I’d share a fun little quest we’ve been working on this month. We decided the world could use a little more chivalry and who better to deliver than a band of modern day knights in shining armor! I think it’s important to teach children Valentine’s Day is more about love and kindness, not just gifts and chocolate.

Thank goodness these two were happy to play the part! All they needed were a few cute knight costumes.

knight-costumes-for-kids

We came up with a Valentine’s Quest; a list of good deeds that each exemplify a different knightly virtue:

– Protect those that cannot protect themselves

– Give to widows and orphans

– Be strong, but disciplined

– Be loyal, and generous

– Always tell the truth

– Honor and respect women

– Obey those in authority

– Be fair, kind and just

acts of kindness for kids

When the kids accomplish all the tasks on this list, they’ll be knighted in a short ceremony and will probably be served cupcakes. In case you didn’t know, knights love cupcakes.

We made the quest in hopes you’d want to join in too.

You can find the instructions on how to make heart clings for your heart bombing here (<- you’ll love this)
We’re still working on that next to last one … but I have a feeling this handy chore chart might help

With every kind act we perform and each positive response we receive, the more excited the kids become and the more serious they start to take the quest. They are even coming up with ideas of their own for future quests!

If you think this sounds like something you and your children would like to try, feel free to print out the graphic and get started. We can’t wait to see and hear about your quest! Leave us a comment here or tag a photo of your knights on Instagram with the hashtag #MelissaAndDoug.

Stacy Teet of KidsStuffWorld.comStacy Teet is the military mom–turned-supermom behind KidsStuffWorld. Her writing is chock-full of tips for enjoying parenthood, saving money, entertaining your kids and making your family’s life a bit simpler. Check out her website, KidsStuffWorld.com, or follow her on PinterestTwitter or the KSW Facebook page.

February 11, 2013 at 9:00 am 8 comments

Stacy Shares: Simple Gift Ideas

Valerie is a Melissa & Doug Blog Ambassador

This activity is brought to you by Melissa & Doug, written by our Blog Ambassador Stacy Teet.

“For me, the best part of the holidays is spending time with family, focusing on others, and teaching my children the joy of giving.”   –Stacy

gifts kids can make

Every December, the children and I transform into elves. We dream up elaborate schemes about how to fuse the most holiday cheer into each and every day, we cover ourselves in glitter and glue and we do our very best to make as many gifts as we can by hand. We craft our own wrapping paper, make new ornaments and really have fun getting into the Christmas spirit.

Whenever possible, I prefer the children to make their own gifts for friends and family. We file away gift ideas all year long and really try to make things the people on our lists will love and cherish for years. Here are three of our favorite simple gifts kids can make.

rainbow garden peel and stick

1) Artwork & Window Displays

Anything goes here! Finger paintings, drawings, collages … this year I choose these gorgeous Rainbow Garden “Stained Glass” Peel & Press Sticker By Numbers kits from Melissa & Doug as our art project. I knew my mother in law would love them, and double bonus — the kids would have fun creating them. Turns out, we all did!

Gifts Kids Can Make

2) Embellished Picture Frames

These are always a big hit and a no-fail gift idea. All you need is a blank wooden frame, some craft paint or even markers like we used on this one, some fun stickers or embellishments and a favorite photo. Let their imaginations run wild, there really is no right or wrong way to make these.

keepsake_boxes

3) Personalized Keepsake Boxes

I love giving keepsake boxes as gifts because the kids can really put their heart into making them, and then I can slip a simple keepsake I made for the recipient or often times a nice letter and a gift card. It’s just so much more personal than giving someone a plastic gift card for Christmas. We have found boxes just about everywhere, but I have my eye on this butterfly treasure box for our girl cousins this year! Add a few hair clips, bows and costume jewelry and voila, the perfect gift!

Do you make gifts like this with your kids? What are some of your favorite simple gifts to give?

Stacy Teet of KidsStuffWorld.comStacy Teet is the military mom–turned-supermom behind KidsStuffWorld. Her writing is chock-full of tips for enjoying parenthood, saving money, entertaining your kids and making your family’s life a bit simpler. Check out her website, KidsStuffWorld.com, or follow her on PinterestTwitter or the KSW Facebook page.

December 6, 2012 at 9:10 am Leave a comment

Stacy Shares: On Thanks and Giving

Valerie is a Melissa & Doug Blog Ambassador

This activity is brought to you by Melissa & Doug, written by our Blog Ambassador Stacy Teet.

“How does your family practice Thanks and Giving?”   –Stacy

Stacy Shares

As much as I would like to ignore it, my kids are getting bigger. I have noticed a direct correlation between how much bigger they are becoming and how much stuff we have in our home.

Three kids = a lot of stuff.

We purge “regularly” but could really stand to do more. We generally make a big deal about it, combing through the entire house searching for things our friends might need. I am typically surprised by how much they are willing to give–I’m usually the one to send a toy back to the playroom.

For years, we have been repeating this cycle. We pack up our extra stuff and deliver it to the big metal container near our house. There are photos posted there of the children who benefit from the donations. My kids feel a real connection with them.

It warms my heart each and every time. <- Remind me of this in a month and a half when it is time for another large purge!

First, we gave.

Now, we are practicing Thanks!

thanks and giving

We are thankful for a warm home and plenty of toys, more toys than we need. We are thankful that for the first year ever we will have our whole family together for Thanksgiving without anyone having to fly to be here. We are thankful, most of all, for each other.

To us, that is what Thanksgiving is really all about. Being thankful for what we have right now and giving to others in areas we have too much or where we can bring a little joy and happiness.

We practiced Thanksgiving a few times this week, in our playroom with our favorite Melissa & Doug pretend play food and cooking utensils. Then at my daughter’s school, where the kindergarteners made everything from butter to fresh cranberry sauce to corn on the cob. The food was delicious.

turkey hats

Now we are prepping for Thanksgiving at home. We are baking pies and gathering supplies, but we are also taking note of things we are thankful for this year. That little turkey head in the front says he is thankful for being able to play outside. Miss Turkey is thankful that her dog got to go to heaven this year and become an angel. And Big Brother Turkey says he is thankful to have a mom and dad who love him. 🙂

I am thankful for my three sweet turkey heads! What would I do without them.

Now you tell me, what are you thankful for this year?


Stacy Teet of KidsStuffWorld.comStacy Teet is the military mom–turned-supermom behind KidsStuffWorld. Her writing is chock-full of tips for enjoying parenthood, saving money, entertaining your kids and making your family’s life a bit simpler. Check out her website, KidsStuffWorld.com, or follow her on PinterestTwitter or the KSW Facebook page.

November 22, 2012 at 3:00 pm Leave a comment

Stacy Shares: Developing A Unique Style

Valerie is a Melissa & Doug Blog AmbassadorThis activity is brought to you by Melissa & Doug, written by our Blog Ambassador Stacy Teet.

“How influential are you in helping your child develop a unique personal style?”   – Stacy

developing a unique style

Even at a very young age, my children responded to certain types of clothing more than others.

was I blinking for a minute, he seems so big here ... where does the time go?
My oldest son (6) is very detail-oriented. He likes to look good and appreciates the style he gets from a fresh polo shirt, or the polish he feels when he puts on a clean tee and a button down. He doesn’t care so much, at least not now anyway, about brand names or where the clothes come from . . . as long as they are unique and special, and come together into outfits only he could create.

Dude! It's been that kind of a week ...
My youngest son (3) is the total opposite. He dresses purely for comfort and would prefer if all clothing were made of fleece, knit, or jersey. Really. To him pants should never have buttons and sleeves should never be long. (Thank goodness we live in Texas!)

This girl kills me with her style: BDU top, chevron print tunic/dress & faded jeans. 100% her. The smile is my favorite accessory ;)
My daughter (5) does style in a very different way. She responds to color and pattern, choosing her clothing and outfits based on her mood and what makes her happy. Her current favorite combo is a chevron tunic, a camo top, and an old knit belt she wraps haphazardly around her neck (making her look like a modern-day Amelia Earhart–I love it!). I am fascinated with how she feels her way through life and constantly surprised by how this quiet girl finds ways to express herself proud and loud through art and fashion.

Watching them grow in to their own unique styles has even helped me define my style as a mom. They’ve all had a hand in teaching me the most important style lesson of all–dress in what makes you feel good and you will always look fabulous!

My daughter has mastered her closet, but I thought it would be fun to do a little designing with her and she where all that love of color and pattern could take us.

She put her thinking cap on and we got to work using Melissa & Doug’s Fashion Design Activity Kit.

She didn’t let me down!

We cut some plain paper in half and grabbed a box of colored pencils, and the ideas just kept coming.
She was so opinionated and eager to make her girls stand out. Her favorite piece in the set was the flowered pants; she wanted each flower to be a different color every time she used them. Sometimes she stuck in the same color family, once she even went ombre (I don’t think she even knows that’s a real thing!) and sometimes she went 100% rainbow. (I can tell I am going to have to find her some flower pants now!)
We ended up designing a whole team of female superheroes called The Helper Girls! Who knows, maybe they’ll make an appearance in a post someday soon. Until then, my little fashion designer has her eye on this fashion set next …

Stacy Teet of KidsStuffWorld.comStacy Teet is the military mom–turned-supermom behind KidsStuffWorld. Her writing is chock-full of tips for enjoying parenthood, saving money, entertaining your kids and making your family’s life a bit simpler. Check out her website, KidsStuffWorld.com, or follow her on PinterestTwitter or the KSW Facebook page.

October 25, 2012 at 7:34 am 10 comments

Stacy Shares: Going Through the {E}motions

Valerie is a Melissa & Doug Blog Ambassador
This activity is brought to you by Melissa & Doug, written by our Blog Ambassador Stacy Teet.

Talking about and dealing with emotions can be a tricky subject, but it doesn’t have to be. The Create-A-Face drawing pad really helped my daughter open up.  -Stacy  

My daughter recently started kindergarten. She is a lover of animals, babies,  infants, toddlers, teenagers and adults, but when it comes to children her own age, she is struggling to connect.

She’s an independent free spirit: artistic, sensitive and with a heart of gold — still, sometimes she lacks self-confidence and has trouble expressing herself.  I’m working with her teachers and doing what I can to make the classroom a more comfortable environment for her, but I wanted to do something at home too.

We’ve been practicing role playing and have been having regular mother-daughter chats, so when I saw the Create A Face drawing pads on the Melissa & Doug site, I just knew they could help.

Art is her favorite pastime, so broaching tough subjects like feelings and making friends in a setting where she is comfortable really works for us. It could work for you too! We started drawing clowns and pirates and such, but quickly moved on to more meaningful work.

I started her off with an easy one. What does happy look like?

She began by recalling stories I have told her about my time in Africa, mostly because she loves to hear me tell her how I found out I was pregnant with her while on one of my trips, but also (and this is the important part) because she remembers me telling her about the intense joy and overwhelming emotions  I felt while I was there — a life lesson: true happiness is contagious. I was amazed how she could turn my memories into a vision all her own. She put such care in to how she made her, was thoughtful in how she described her and had such a genuine smile on her face while she drew her.

✓ – She has happiness down.

Next, we moved on to sadness. Her expression changed, her eyes grew wide and she started to frown. “When you are sad“, she said, “you don’t want to go anywhere or see anyone . . . you might cry. When your feelings are hurt, it hurts you on the inside too.

Saddness – yep, she knows what that feels like. Luckily, she also knew the remedy: hugs, kisses and happy thoughts — unless you are her little brother, in that case you don’t really like hugs or kisses. (I told her to give them to him anyway!)

We also spoke of anger and how doing bad things and saying bad things can really hurt people and make them … sad. <- I liked that she could equate how someone’s emotions could effect someone else’s. The key to dealing with anger she told me, “was saying your sorry” … “then doing nice things and stopping all the mad stuff“. She confided in me that she didn’t really like doing bad things or being around people who did them.

She does like surprises though (bottom right), she thinks those are pretty much the coolest thing in the world.

I loved getting to know her this way, we talked in a way typical day-to-day interaction doesn’t really allow us to. I saw her from a whole new perspective and I loved it. She did too, she told me just before bed what a nice surprise our art project was today!

That’s code for spending time with mom + doing art projects + having you really listen to me = the coolest thing in the world. <see definition of surprised above>

Stacy Teet of KidsStuffWorld.comStacy Teet is the military mom–turned-supermom behind KidsStuffWorld. Her writing is chock-full of tips for enjoying parenthood, saving money, entertaining your kids and making your family’s life a bit simpler. Check out her website, KidsStuffWorld.com, or follow her on PinterestTwitter or the KSW Facebook page.

October 11, 2012 at 8:00 am 10 comments

Camp Sunny Patch Session 10: Hit the Beach . . . Indoors!

Camp Sunny Patch Session 10 is brought to you by Melissa & Doug, written by Camp Counselor (and Melissa & Doug Blog Ambassador) Stacy Teet.

printable version

It’s been a busy, fun-filled summer! Our campers have painted the world, passed the torch and even completed a TRIATHLON! I don’t know about you, but after all of that I could use a vacation . . . I get the feeling my campers could too.

Time to pack the car and trek to a crowded beach? Nope–we’re bringing the beach to us!

Grab a towel, a swimsuit and some campers and join us for a day of fun in the sun, no sunscreen required.

Camp Sunny Patch Activity for Kids:Sponge Painting and a Day at the Beach

To create the beach vibe we’re going for, you’re going to need one exciting artwork and as many true-to-life props as possible. Grab your campers, some extra long paper, a few sponges (or alternatives), some blue and white poster paint and start creating your ocean waves.

Sponge Painting with Jolly Jellyfish Sinkers

Sponges, brushes or even hands will work quite nicely for this. We used our jolly jellyfish to help get our aquatic creative juices flowing, but be warned: While the kids had a great time playing with their little buddies and even painting them too, the blue paint will stain your jellyfish.

Camp Sunny Patch Activity for Kids:Sponge Painting and a Day at the Beach

There’s no right or wrong here, campers can paint till they get the effect they are going for.

Once your ocean is dry, find a nice spot to get away for the day–long hallways make great vacation spots! Hang your ocean, lay down your deep blue sea (using towels or blankets or anything you can find), add any sea creatures or accessories you can find–we even created a beach with chairs to lounge in and blocks to build “sand castles.”

Dressing up is half of the fun! Coax your campers into donning their swim gear (goggles and all!) and going on a snorkeling adventure, deep-sea dive or even a fishing expedition.

As you can see, we got really into this and had such a good time “swimming,” building sand castles and just getting away for the day . . . even if it was only in our hallway. If you Hit the Beach with your campers, we hope you’ll share with us on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest by using the hashtag #CampSunnyPatch. We’d just love to see you in action!


Stacy Teet of KidsStuffWorld.comStacy Teet is the military mom–turned-supermom behind KidsStuffWorld. Her writing is chock-full of tips for enjoying parenthood, saving money, entertaining your kids and making your family’s life a bit simpler. Check out her website, KidsStuffWorld.com, or meet up with her on PinterestTwitter or the KSW Facebook page.

August 6, 2012 at 11:40 am 1 comment

Camp Sunny Patch Session 6: Let’s Host a Talent Show!

camp sunny patch
Camp Sunny Patch Session 6 is brought to you by Melissa & Doug, written by Camp Counselor (and Melissa and Doug Blog Ambassador) Stacy Teet. (Click here for a printable version.)

We’ve created and crafted, played outdoors and gotten soaked. Now we’ll let our campers really shine! This week we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to host your own Camp Sunny Patch talent show.

This activity is a great way to spend time together as a family, cool off from the summer heat for awhile, build self confidence and create some great memories!

Camp Sunny Patch Session 6: Let's Host a Talent Show

How to Host a Great Talent Show

1. Build your stage. Every great performer needs a stage! We made ours with colorful mats and added curtains and a tension rod to separate the space. (You can also tape up streamers instead or just use any entryway as the stage door.)

2. Gather all your props. We had a bin full of musical instruments (including Melissa & Doug Beginner Band Set) and a selection of magic tricks.

3. Dress the part. Keep a nice mix of costume pieces (tutus, boas, hats, gloves, capes, etc.) backstage for outfit changes between acts.

4. Draw a crowd. Talent shows are even more fun when your friends and loved ones are there to cheer you on! Wrangle up moms, dads, neighbors and friends and invite them to see the show.

5. Designate an announcer. Have one chosen performer announce all the acts and keep the audience entertained in between.

6. Tap photographers or videographers. You will want to remember this for years to come, and campers will love watching themselves in videos.

7. Start the show! Have the kids take turns putting on acts of their own invention while the grownups kick back and watch. Remember to cheer like crazy for each brave performer!

Camp Sunny Patch Session 6: Let's host a talent show

Here are some bonus tips to help your show running smoothly with kids of all ages:

Pair buddies together. Some kids will be too shy to perform on their own, but will do marvelous in a group act. Performers can let loose a bit more knowing they are on stage with friends.

Plan some comedic relief. There is sure to be one ham in your bunch, who gets on stage and finds out he loves all the attention. Darts in and out in between performances searching for a laugh. Encourage him–he just may steal the show!

Let littles join in on the fun. Even toddlers will love “playing along” with singing or dancing performances. Bonus points to campers who allow littles on stage, they’re the cutest backup dancers around.

Mother/daughter acts welcome! Or father/daughter, or aunt/nephew. . . . Encourage shy guys by joining them on stage!

This talent show was one of our highlights of the summer! Special thanks to my little campers from Maker Mama, Family Love in My City, My Tots Travel, SA Mom Blogs, Symi Goddess and Geekette Bits for making this event extra special!


Stacy Teet of KidsStuffWorld.comStacy Teet is the military mom–turned-supermom behind KidsStuffWorld. Her writing is chock-full of tips for enjoying parenthood, saving money, entertaining your kids and making your family’s life a bit simpler. Check out her website, KidsStuffWorld.com, or follow her on PinterestTwitter or the KSW Facebook page.

Camp Sunny Patch Footer

July 9, 2012 at 6:00 am 4 comments

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