Tag Archives: kids

#TBT with Pocoyo & Sonic {Giveaway}

The new Pocoyo and Sonic DVD releases from NCircle Entertainment this month really have me reliving my childhood. It's been a real blast from the past! #TBT #Pocoyo #SonictheHedgehog #SonicUnderground #NCircleEntertainment #Giveaway
~Thank you to NCircle Entertainment for providing DVDs for review. As always, opinions are still 100% my own.~

This week has been a total throwback for me. NCircle Entertainment has some pretty amazing releases this month. Last week I shared with you the new Dino Dan: Dino Go Seek release, but this week I’ve really had fun reliving some childhood memories with Pocoyo and Sonic the Hedgehog.

The new Pocoyo and Sonic DVD releases from NCircle Entertainment this month really have me reliving my childhood. It's been a real blast from the past! #TBT #Pocoyo #SonictheHedgehog #SonicUnderground #NCircleEntertainment #Giveaway

While Pocoyo wasn’t around when I was a kid, that doesn’t mean he can’t offer a little inspiration from my childhood. The new Pocoyo: Playtime! release is filled with over an hour of nothing but playtime fun. One of the activities Pocoyo and his friends partake in is a short camp out, complete with a tent, hammock and flashlight.

The new Pocoyo and Sonic DVD releases from NCircle Entertainment this month really have me reliving my childhood. It's been a real blast from the past! #TBT #Pocoyo #SonictheHedgehog #SonicUnderground #NCircleEntertainment #Giveaway

The new Pocoyo and Sonic DVD releases from NCircle Entertainment this month really have me reliving my childhood. It's been a real blast from the past! #TBT #Pocoyo #SonictheHedgehog #SonicUnderground #NCircleEntertainment #Giveaway

This inspired me to help my kids build an indoor tent and have a little camp out of our own. This is something I did all the time as a child. We turned our entire living room into one big tent (this was a good way to get my kids to clean up too, haha) and loaded it up with pillows and blankets, and just hung out for a while. We got a little hungry so my son did a little fishing and quickly caught us something to eat!

The new Pocoyo and Sonic DVD releases from NCircle Entertainment this month really have me reliving my childhood. It's been a real blast from the past! #TBT #Pocoyo #SonictheHedgehog #SonicUnderground #NCircleEntertainment #Giveaway

I love Pocoyo for my toddler because it introduces children to simple and basic vocabulary, and even starts teaching concepts like location. In one particular part of this DVD, Pocoyo’s ducky friend Pato teaches what it means for a ball to be outside, inside, behind and in front of a box. The simple, but fun and colorful graphics and playtime adventures are a wonderful learning tool for youngsters.

Pocoyo: Playtime! Stories

  • Playtime
  • Camping
  • Hide and Seek
  • Wheels
  • The Amazing Tower
  • Pocoyo’s New Toys
  • Painting with Pocoyo
  • Playing Dress Up
  • Pocoyo’s Restaurant
  • Ahoy, Pocoyo!
  • Traffic Jam

The new Pocoyo and Sonic DVD releases from NCircle Entertainment this month really have me reliving my childhood. It's been a real blast from the past! #TBT #Pocoyo #SonictheHedgehog #SonicUnderground #NCircleEntertainment #Giveaway

And the real blast from the past this week? Sonic the Hedgehog! Let me first start off by telling you that in second grade, I dressed up as Sonic for Halloween. It was all blue everything, including a foam-like mask that had Sonic’s signature spikey hair. I have no idea why I remember that other than it was pretty awesome!

So to be completely honest, when I saw NCircle Entertainment was releasing Sonic Underground Vol. 2, I knew I had to have it. Not for the kids, but for me! Although my son has enjoyed watching the three disc set with me.

The new Pocoyo and Sonic DVD releases from NCircle Entertainment this month really have me reliving my childhood. It's been a real blast from the past! #TBT #Pocoyo #SonictheHedgehog #SonicUnderground #NCircleEntertainment #Giveaway

If you’re not familiar with Sonic Underground, it’s a series of stories that tell how Sonic and his siblings Sonia and Manic search for their mother, Queen Aleena. And it just wouldn’t be Sonic without Dr. Robotnik, so of course he’s the villain still working against Sonic. Both are trying to find Queen Aleena’s crown jewel, which will help them locate Queen Aleena herself. Who do you think will succeed in finding it first?

Volume 2 happens to be the last and final stories of the Sonic Underground tale and has a run time of about 7 hours. It even includes 20 bonus music videos because did I mention Sonic and his siblings have a rock band? Their name is Sonic Underground! Duh!

Sonic Underground Vol. 2 Stories

  • The Jewel of the Crown
  • Three Hedgehogs and a Baby
  • Dunes Day
  • Mummy, Dearest
  • The Hedgehog in an Iron Mask
  • Six is a Crowd
  • Wedding Bell Blues
  • Flying Fortress
  • No Hedgehog is an Island
  • New Echidna in Town
  • Country Crisis
  • Haircraft in Space
  • Healer
  • Sonia’s Choice
  • The Big Melt
  • Sleepers
  • Bartleby the Prisoner
  • The Art of Destruction
  • The Pendant
  • Virtual Danger

Does any of this bring up any of your childhood memories? You can have your own throwback week because I have a chance for you to win a copy of both of these fun DVDs! Just enter using the giveaway form below!

When was the last time you had an indoor camp out or built a fort?

Connect with In this new DVD, Autumn Journey: Guess How Much I Love You, your children will follow Little Nutbrown Hare and his friends on 6 autumn adventures. Enter now for a chance to win your very own copy! #giveawayWebsite / Facebook / Twitter

The new Pocoyo and Sonic DVD releases from NCircle Entertainment this month really have me reliving my childhood. It's been a real blast from the past! #TBT #Pocoyo #SonictheHedgehog #SonicUnderground #NCircleEntertainment #Giveaway

One lucky Making Time reader will win a copy of Pocoyo: Playtime! and Sonic Underground Vol. 2! GOOD LUCK!

This giveaway is open to US Residents, ages 18+ and ends on May 4, 2017 at 11:59 pm est.  Random winner will be notified via email and must respond within 24 hours or prize will be forfeited. Sponsor is responsible for prize fulfillment.

*I received samples free of charge from NCircle Entertainment as part of their Brand Ambassadorship. My opinions are 100% my own and in no way influenced by the brand. Any claims or statistics should be confirmed with the brand.  Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.

The Reality of T-Ball Games

The Reality of T-Ball Games #tball

My kids have tons of energy. Where it all comes from, I have no idea, but it’s certainly way more than I have. To help them get all that energy out (and save my sanity), we’ve gotten them into sports and are expanding their interests.

My son, in particular, loves playing soccer and has been playing for two years. And now that he’s old enough for our local t-ball program, he recently started with that too.

The Reality of T-Ball Games #tball

Today I want to focus on t-ball and exactly what you can expect when your child starts. I know programs are different depending on where you live and what is available to you, but in the beginning there are some things you can bet are all going to be the same.

1. Why did I buy you a glove if you’re not going to use it?

We’re talking about kids here, so you have to understand their skills and abilities aren’t yet perfected (no matter what they’re doing). That’s the whole purpose of getting them started!

In our t-ball program of four teams, I’ve yet to observe any child who catches everything that comes their way. Some kids, including mine, would rather lay a smack down on the ball with the glove, or not use the glove at all.

2. There will be absolutely NO outs!

Because the kids have trouble catching the ball, or in most cases, get the ball in their glove as it rolls to them, the batter is likely to make it to first base before the outfield can get the ball there. Which also leads me to number three –

3. Teamwork? What’s that?

When the ball heads towards the outfield, EVERY kid out there is going to go get it. It’s more like a game of everyone pile on the ball because that’s exactly what they’re doing. And whichever kid comes out victorious, holds the ball up like a trophy and looks around at his subjects admiring his victory. Forget the batter, I got the ball!

4. Batting is tricky.

Batting requires a lot of hand-eye coordination, just as catching does. You can expect some kids will only need to swing once, but others will need to swing three or four times. There will be a lot of hitting the tee versus hitting the ball, but this all part of the learning process of t-ball.

 

Not to mention, none of the kids understand what it means to be right- or left-handed. The coach can’t really help them properly set up at bat without knowing this info, so that can also hinder how well the kids do at bat.

As a side note, my son is left-handed and throws as such, but when it comes to batting, he’s a much better right-handed batter. We actually realized this while practicing at home and had always assumed since he was left-handed that he’d bat the same. We were wrong. Just something you might want to take notice of to help your child better succeed at the game.

5. Bases have no order.

Who says I have to run to first base first? After the batter hits the ball, there’s a handful of things that could happen.

  • Run to first base.
  • Run to second base.
  • Run to third base.
  • Just stand there watching the outfield try to get their ever-elusive hit.
  • Help the outfield retrieve the ball. (Haha! I’ve seen this first-hand.)

There’s no guarantee where the kids will end up! Running the bases takes some extra coaching. Since t-ball is the first some kids are experiencing of the game, they aren’t going to know exactly where to run and when to run. Even once on first base, they’ll need to be guided to second and so on.

6. Every child will score.

One of the good things about t-ball is that every child will score a run. The whole point of t-ball is to start practicing and understanding the basic skills and concepts of baseball. It’s a fun, non-competitive atmosphere. By allowing every child to score a run, it builds their confidence in the game and hopefully they will want to continue in the future and further learn and understand the rules and concepts.

The Reality of T-Ball Games #tball

No matter how your t-ball program runs, it’s still a lot of fun to see the kids playing together and having fun themselves. And it doesn’t hurt to get a laugh here and there. I’ve gotten some pretty good morning laughs watching my son play t-ball.

Does your child play t-ball?

*Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.

Dinosaur Fun with Dino Dan + Free Printable Activities

Dinosaur Fun with Dino Dan + Free Printable Activities #NCircleEntertainment #DinoDan

~Thank you to NCircle Entertainment for providing a DVD for review. As always, opinions are still 100% my own.~

By now, you probably know that in preparation for my son starting kindergarten next year, I’ve been doing some homeschool preschool activities with him. I can’t even begin to tell you how far he’s come.

This week, I decided to take a nice little detour from our usual workbook and do something more entertaining. It’s important that at such a young age we make learning fun and intriguing, or the info isn’t going to be retained. So yesterday we spent the day working with dinosaurs.

Dinosaur Fun with Dino Dan + Free Printable Activities #NCircleEntertainment #DinoDan

We started our day of dinosaurs with some free Dino Dan printable activities. The set includes six printouts and engages children through coloring, working their way through mazes, exercising their seek and find skills, and more!

Dinosaur Fun with Dino Dan + Free Printable Activities #NCircleEntertainment #DinoDan

My favorite printable was the dot-to-dot T-Rex skull. My son loves dot-to-dot activities, but this one was challenging for him because it starts at number one and goes all the way up to 77.

My son hasn’t really learned counting past the teens, so it was a great learning activity for him. By the time he got to around the 50’s, he had gotten the hang of counting that high and it was fun to watch it click for him.

After a few of these activities, we watched Dino Dan: Dino Go Seek, one of the April releases from NCircle Entertainment. The DVD includes five different fun dinosaur stories and we learned a little about the Microraptor, Dromaeosaurus, Troodon, Kosmoceratops, Dracorex and other dinosaurs.

Stories include:

  • Dino Go Seek
  • Train of Dinos
  • Robots & Dinos
  • Dino Clash
  • Dino Racing

Dinosaur Fun with Dino Dan + Free Printable Activities #NCircleEntertainment #DinoDan

My son’s favorite story was “Dino Go Seek,” where Trek played an indoor game of hide and seek with his friends and grandmother. Everyone hid, while Trek did the seeking. Along the way, Trek learned how Microraptor’s use various skills to stay hidden so as to avoid becoming prey.

How?

Trek’s friends and grandmother were using some of the same exact skills in their game of hide and seek – from hiding is small, tight spaces, to moving around and not staying in one spot for too long. Needless to say, my son picked up a few hiding tips from the Microraptor for when he plays hide and seek with his friends!

Want to have a little dinosaur fun with your child? You can start by printing out the free Dino Dan activities and don’t forget to get your copy of the new Dino Dan: Dino Go Seek!

Do you have a dinosaur loving kiddo?

Connect with In this new DVD, Autumn Journey: Guess How Much I Love You, your children will follow Little Nutbrown Hare and his friends on 6 autumn adventures. Enter now for a chance to win your very own copy! #giveawayWebsite / Facebook / Twitter

*The free printables contained in this post were provided to me by NCircle Entertainment. I also received a sample free of charge from NCircle Entertainment as part of their Brand Ambassadorship. My opinions are 100% my own and in no way influenced by the brand. Any claims or statistics should be confirmed with the brand.  Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.

Make Your Own Matching Game Preschool Activity

This Make Your Own Matching Game is a great way to help your preschooler recognize and pair up different designs and colors! #preschool #preK #makeyourownmatchinggame
~This post contains affiliate links, in which I will receive compensation for your purchase.~

My son is starting kindergarten soon and over the last year, I have been doing a lot of homeschool activities to try and prepare him for this big milestone. From workbooks, to arts and crafts, to educational videos, we’ve done all kinds of things. Just a few weeks ago we focused on outer space and did a different out of this world activity each day.

This week I’ve teamed up with Education.com to bring you a fun and creative activity for your preschooler, Make Your Own Matching Game. I put it to the test the test with my son and he had a great time. To him it was fun, but secretly I knew he was learning.

Make Your Own Matching Game

This make-your-own matching game is a little like dominoes and a little like a memory game. Plus, it’s a great way to help your child practice his geometry abilities. Your child will flex his visual recognition skills as he pairs up matching patterns on craft sticks he designed himself! He’ll also practice his color recognition skills as he differentiates between colors in the patterns, fostering his artistic talent.

Learning points:

  • Math: 2D shapes and shape patterns
  • Science: colors

What you need:

  • 16 craft sticks
  • Markers in four or more colors (including black)

Directions:

  1. Set the craft sticks side by side on a table, going vertically across.
  2. Help your child carefully draw a bold, black line across the center of the sticks.
  3. Have your child draw a different pattern on each half of the sticks. He can use patterns such as dots, stripes, plaid or checks, or try making one side a solid color and the other side a pattern. Even a simple picture like a smiley face will work. Make sure each stick has an identical match – another stick with a matching top and bottom.
  4. Mix the sticks up together and place them in front of your child. Challenge him to match each stick with the right pair.

When your child is done, talk to him about the different patterns he drew. Help him name them and see if he can find the same patterns anywhere else in your house!

This Make Your Own Matching Game is a great way to help your preschooler recognize and pair up different designs and colors! #preschool #preK #makeyourownmatchinggame

This Make Your Own Matching Game is a great way to help your preschooler recognize and pair up different designs and colors! #preschool #preK #makeyourownmatchinggame This Make Your Own Matching Game is a great way to help your preschooler recognize and pair up different designs and colors! #preschool #preK #makeyourownmatchinggame

This Make Your Own Matching Game is a great way to help your preschooler recognize and pair up different designs and colors! #preschool #preK #makeyourownmatchinggame

My tips:

  • I used jumbo wood craft sticks for this activity. I find they provide a little more room for a preschooler to work with.
  • This activity provides eight matching pairs. If your child has mastered that, add a few more pairs to the mix.
  • If you want to make the matching game a little more challenging, try having your child use one of the same designs on more than one pair. For example, I asked my son to do red polka dots on two different pairs and when he was matching them up, I found it made things a little more complicated. It made him look closer at the design on the other half of the sticks to ensure he was matching them properly.
  • Another way to make the game more challenging is to do designs on both sides of the craft sticks, meaning front and back. Have your child design the pairs on the front side and then flip them over and do different designs on the back. When you mix up the craft sticks for the game, some of the sticks will turn over and your child will have to work harder to complete pairs. It will require more attention to detail and patience, as he’ll have to flip some of the craft sticks over to find their match. My son just turned five a couple of months ago and while I know this will be more challenging for him, I also know he can do it!

What kind of designs did your preschooler create?

*This post contains affiliate links, in which I will receive compensation for your purchase. This is not a sponsored post. Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.

Kidz Gear Makes Adult Quality Headphones with Kids in Mind

Kidz Gear offers adult quality headphones, made with kids in mind. From the adjustable headset, to the detachable boom mic and even Bluetooth capability, these kids headphones would make any adult jealous. Head over to the blog and check them out! #KidzGear #wirelessheadphones
~Thank you to Kidz Gear and Thomas PR for providing a set of Bluetooth™ Wireless Stereo Headphones for review. As always, opinions are 100% my own and in no way influenced by the brand.~

Race car engines revving, Transformers crashing and fighting, gun fire blazing, soccer game commentary. These are just a few of the sounds that fill my living room on any given day. Can I just get a little peace and quiet, please?

My son loves playing video games (as does daddy) and while I do my best to limit his game time, I get tired of hearing the same noises over and over and over. On the few days I actually decide to do a little work, the sounds can be quite distracting and make it difficult to concentrate. It literally flushes my productivity down the toilet.

Just recently my son got the opportunity to try the Bluetooth™ Wireless Stereo Headphones from Kidz Gear and they are a total game changer (no pun intended). Immediately upon opening the headphones, my son connected them to the PS4 controller just like daddy does and for that matter, couldn’t wait for daddy to get home from work so he could show them to him.

Kidz Gear offers adult quality headphones, made with kids in mind. From the adjustable headset, to the detachable boom mic and even Bluetooth capability, these kids headphones would make any adult jealous. Head over to the blog and check them out! #KidzGear #wirelessheadphones

Connecting the headphones to the controller redirected all game sounds to him and the living room became silent. Finally! He’s occupied, the room is quiet and I can actually be productive at a little work.

What makes the Kidz Gear Bluetooth™ Wireless Stereo Headphones unique?

  • Use with audio cable connection OR use Bluetooth wireless connection.
  • Rechargeable battery via USB cable.
  • Up to 10 hrs listening time when fully charged.
  • Speaker diameter of 30 mm is optimal for small ears.
  • Adjustable headset.
  • Each earbud is labeled with L or R so kid’s know which side is which.
  • Detachable boom microphone for hands-free calls or video gaming.
  • Headset controls on right earbud.
  • Convenient carrying case.

When playing video games, the headphones connect to the controller using the audio cable, but the headphones can also be used wirelessly on any device that has Bluetooth capability, like a tablet or cell phone. Obviously with the audio cable, it’s as simple as plugging them in. But connecting the headphones wirelessly to a device is super easy, too.

Connect Wirelessly

  1. Turn the Bluetooth function switch from off to on.
  2. Hold down the play/pause/answer button on the right headphone until the LED indicator blinks continually between red and green.
  3. Visit the Bluetooth settings on the device you want to connect and select “BTKG1.”

Kidz Gear offers adult quality headphones, made with kids in mind. From the adjustable headset, to the detachable boom mic and even Bluetooth capability, these kids headphones would make any adult jealous. Head over to the blog and check them out! #KidzGear #wirelessheadphones

Voila! You’re ready to listen wirelessly!

One of the fun features of the Bluetooth™ Wireless Stereo Headphones is the detachable boom microphone. It can be used for talking on the phone and even for taking some online tests and gaming. I’ve discovered that the boom mic only works when the headphones are connected wirelessly to a device, but not when connected with the audio cable.

Kidz Gear offers adult quality headphones, made with kids in mind. From the adjustable headset, to the detachable boom mic and even Bluetooth capability, these kids headphones would make any adult jealous. Head over to the blog and check them out! #KidzGear #wirelessheadphones

Unfortunately, when I tried connecting the headphones via Bluetooth to our PS4, I received a message that the PS4 doesn’t support Bluetooth audio devices. Really, Sony? This bummed us out because we thought my son would be able to use the talking feature while playing his games.

But boy he loves taking phone calls with the boom mic. It’s literally hands-free calling for kids. I cringe every time my kids are on my cell phone talking with grandma and accidentally drop the phone. My heart skips a beat when it hits the floor, but with the Bluetooth™ Wireless Stereo Headphones I can put the phone on the counter and they can still talk wirelessly to grandma while playing.

Kidz Gear offers adult quality headphones, made with kids in mind. From the adjustable headset, to the detachable boom mic and even Bluetooth capability, these kids headphones would make any adult jealous. Head over to the blog and check them out! #KidzGear #wirelessheadphones

The only downside of the Bluetooth™ Wireless Stereo Headphones is that even though there are built-in volume controls, they don’t work (they do work on the standard, wired set). But never fear! Simply adjusting the volume on the device will adjust the volume output in the headphones. So when my son’s using the headphones with his iPad, adjusting the iPad’s volume settings also adjusts the volume output of the headphones.

Yes, other headsets can be used for these same exact things, but because of the size and make of the Kidz Gear headphones, they’re much easier for kids to use and keep on their ears. Earbuds, in particular, are pretty much a no-go when it comes to kids and their small ears, and other headphone sets that have microphone capabilities can get pretty pricey.

Just imagine how upset you’d be if you spent a pretty penny on a set of headphones and they just ended up destroyed. Yeah, no thanks! This wireless set is just $29.99 and even comes with a nice little carrying bag.

Kidz Gear offers adult quality headphones, made with kids in mind. From the adjustable headset, to the detachable boom mic and even Bluetooth capability, these kids headphones would make any adult jealous. Head over to the blog and check them out! #KidzGear #wirelessheadphones

In the end, I get a little more peace and quiet from video games and my son gets adult quality headphones made just for kids. Not only do I see him continuing to use his Bluetooth™ Wireless Stereo Headphones at home for his iPad and gaming, but they would be great for long roadtrips in the car, airplane rides and even in waiting rooms. We have a weekend vacation planned next month and I will definitely make sure these are packed for the car ride!

Shop Kidz Gear:

The Standard KidzControl™ Volume Limit Headphones – $19.99 + free shipping

Unplugged Bluetooth™ Wireless Stereo Headphones – $29.99 + free shipping

How will your child use their Bluetooth™ Wireless Stereo Headphones from Kidz Gear?

Connect with : Website | Facebook | Twitter

*Thank you to Kidz Gear and Thomas PR for providing a set of Bluetooth™ Wireless Stereo Headphones for my review. As always, all opinions are 100% my own and in no way influenced by the brand. Any claims or statistics should be confirmed with the brand. Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.

The Ultimate Easter Basket + I See Me! Giveaway

Need some ideas for pulling off the ultimate Easter basket? I've got just what you need! Head over to the blog to check out what goes into my ultimate Easter baskets and even enter to win an I See Me! personalized book of your choice! They make great Easter basket features! #Easter #Easterbasket #giveaway #entertowin #personalizedbook #iseemebooks
~Thank you to I See Me! for providing a personalized book for my review. As always, all opinions are still 100% my own. This post also contains affiliate links, in which I will receive compensation for any purchase made through them.~

Now that we’ve covered Easter outfits, let’s get into Easter baskets! I love putting together collections of fun and learning for my kids, no matter what holiday it is and Easter is no different. It just so happens that I’ve been planning this year’s Easter baskets since last year!

Yeap, you heard me right. After the holiday last year, I purchased plastic eggs, straw filling and even the “baskets” on clearance, and have held on to them even through our move. I’ve also collected swimsuits and summer shoes during various end of season sales. I sized up and now a few of those will fit, so they’re perfect additions to my kids Easter baskets! And with Easter almost here, I’m excited to pull everything together.

Here comes Peter Cottontail.

Hopping down the bunny trail.

Hippity, hoppity, Easter’s on its way!

So what all goes into an ultimate Easter basket? I love to incorporate my kids favorite candy treats, which they only get on special occasions or as rewards, fun toys and activities they can enjoy indoors and outdoors, and even a handful of things that help spark their imagination and learning processes.

Ultimate Easter basket ideas:

Need some ideas for pulling off the ultimate Easter basket? I've got just what you need! Head over to the blog to check out what goes into my ultimate Easter baskets and even enter to win an I See Me! personalized book of your choice! They make great Easter basket features! #Easter #Easterbasket #giveaway #entertowin #personalizedbook #iseemebooks

Like Christmas, I typically do one larger or more pricey gift along with smaller, less expensive ones. The special feature in my son’s Easter basket this year is a personalized book from I See Me! It’s personalized to include a picture of him, a special dedication and the book is ALL about him. The only thing more fun than reading an exciting story, is when that story is all about you!

Need some ideas for pulling off the ultimate Easter basket? I've got just what you need! Head over to the blog to check out what goes into my ultimate Easter baskets and even enter to win an I See Me! personalized book of your choice! They make great Easter basket features! #Easter #Easterbasket #giveaway #entertowin #personalizedbook #iseemebooks

In “Terrell’s Very Own Trucks and Things That Go!,” a variety of transportation vehicles and vessels work together to build “the perfect name,” my son’s name. On each and every page, a “thing that goes” brings in one letter, until they’ve collected every letter needed to compile his first AND last name (and it’s a long one, haha).

It’s such a fun rhyming book and at the end, my son can learn a little bit about all 64 “things that go” – trucks, cars, planes, trains, boats, cranes, diggers, tanks and more. My little car fanatic will be over the moon to see his favorite transportation vehicles working together to build his name.

Not only does I See Me! offer personalized books and stories, but they also have stickers, lunch boxes, puzzles, coloring books, placematsgrowth charts and music, all of which can be personalized for your little one. I mentioned a few of these in my ultimate Easter basket idea list above! How cool would it be to have an Easter basket full of personalized fun?

To get you started on your ultimate Easter basket, I have the chance for you to win an I See Me! personalized book of your choice! There are so many great options to choose from. Simply enter using the giveaway form below.

Need some ideas for pulling off the ultimate Easter basket? I've got just what you need! Head over to the blog to check out what goes into my ultimate Easter baskets and even enter to win an I See Me! personalized book of your choice! They make great Easter basket features! #Easter #Easterbasket #giveaway #entertowin #personalizedbook #iseemebooks

As for the smaller, less expensive items I include in my kids Easter baskets, Target is one of my go-to solutions. Never underestimate “The One Spot” located at the entrance of the store. You can find all kinds of fun things there for $1. Just last week I got bubbles, coloring books, a small pair of Disney socks for my daughter and even some writing tools for my son!

What do you like to put in your kid’s Easter basket?

Connect with: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Discounts

Need some ideas for pulling off the ultimate Easter basket? I've got just what you need! Head over to the blog to check out what goes into my ultimate Easter baskets and even enter to win an I See Me! personalized book of your choice! They make great Easter basket features! #Easter #Easterbasket #giveaway #entertowin #personalizedbook #iseemebooks

One lucky Making Time reader will win an I See Me! personalized book of their choice! GOOD LUCK!

This giveaway is open to US Residents, ages 18+ and ends on April 5, 2017 at 11:59 pm est.  Random winner will be notified via email and must respond within 24 hours or prize will be forfeited. Sponsor is responsible for prize fulfillment.

*Thank you to I See Me! for providing a book for my review. As always, all opinions are 100% my own and in no way influenced by the brand. Any claims or statistics should be confirmed with the brand. This post contains affiliate links, in which I will receive compensation for your purchase. Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.

Tackle Picky Eating with a Mealtime Treasure Hunt #GotrovoFun

Have a picky eater at home? Me too! The Mealtime Treasure Hunt by Gotrovo has been helping my picky eater try new foods and I couldn't be happier! Head over to the blog to check it out! #Gotrovo #MealtimeTreasureHunt #pickyeater #GotrovoFun

~Thank you to Gotrovo for providing a Mealtime Treasure Hunt for review. This post contains affiliate links, in which I may receive compensation for your purchase.~

I used to sarcastically brag that my 5 year old son had quite the food palette, with a diet that consisted mostly of chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, and hot dogs. So sophisticated, right? But now I can do some real bragging and I owe all my thanks to Gotrovo.

I’ve tried a few different tactics to get my son eating new and different foods. I’ve tried hidden veggie recipes, letting him help prepare his meals, cute food creations and even the eat it or do without method (most of the time he’d choose to go hungry, which broke my heart). After all of these fails, I knew I needed a different tactic and that’s what Gotrovo’s Mealtime Treasure Hunt offers.

Concept & Setup

The whole concept behind the Mealtime Treasure Hunt is that kids get rewarded in a fun way (getting to the treasure) for trying new foods. The set, which includes a washable double-sided treasure map, a plate, bowl, cup, fork and shovel (spoon), navigation coin and reward cards, all have a treasure theme.

The map features things like treasure chests, pirate ships, castles, fairies, mermaids and waterfalls. My son absolutely loves everything pirates and treasure, so I knew for sure this was exactly what he needed.

Have a picky eater at home? Me too! The Mealtime Treasure Hunt by Gotrovo has been helping my picky eater try new foods and I couldn't be happier! Head over to the blog to check it out! #Gotrovo #MealtimeTreasureHunt #pickyeater #GotrovoFun

To get started with the Mealtime Treasure Hunt, you simply set up the place setting. Put the map down (either side), choose the treasure and place the appropriate reward card on top of the treasure chest in the middle of the map. Then set the plate of food on top of that and add the fork and shovel, which is just too cute by the way. It’s a spoon, but looks like a shovel for digging up the treasure. And don’t forget the cup or drink to wash the dirt off any treasures found.

Treasure Hunt Rules

One of the things about the Mealtime Treasure Hunt that I really like, is that you’re in control of the foods offered. You get to choose the rules of the hunt, too.

For my son, I decided that each bite he took would get him one step closer to the treasure. So after every bite he moves the coin to the next spot on the map until he gets all the way around and to the treasure. Ten bites of food and he’s treasure bound!

Have a picky eater at home? Me too! The Mealtime Treasure Hunt by Gotrovo has been helping my picky eater try new foods and I couldn't be happier! Head over to the blog to check it out! #Gotrovo #MealtimeTreasureHunt #pickyeater #GotrovoFun Have a picky eater at home? Me too! The Mealtime Treasure Hunt by Gotrovo has been helping my picky eater try new foods and I couldn't be happier! Head over to the blog to check it out! #Gotrovo #MealtimeTreasureHunt #pickyeater #GotrovoFun

As a kid who has a limited taste for food, I feel like this is suitable for him, but you can change the rules depending on what you’re trying to get out of your child. I just wanted the boy to take a bite of something he wouldn’t normally eat. Once he starts eating more foods on a regular basis without using the Mealtime Treasure Hunt, I’ll change the rules to continue challenging him.

Have a picky eater at home? Me too! The Mealtime Treasure Hunt by Gotrovo has been helping my picky eater try new foods and I couldn't be happier! Head over to the blog to check it out! #Gotrovo #MealtimeTreasureHunt #pickyeater #GotrovoFun

You’re also in control of the treasure. Just think of anything you know your child would enjoy and pick one as the treasure for that particular meal. And any meal at that – breakfast, lunch or dinner. It’s great for all meals and even dinner’s out. Just take the map and navigation coin along with you.

As for the treasure, there’s even a reward card that lets your child choose his own treasure once he reaches it. But again, it’s all up to you how you set it up and let it play out.

Treasure Ideas:

  • Child’s favorite candy
  • FaceTime with grandparent(s)
  • Hour at the park
  • New toy
  • Money
  • Weekend at grandma’s (this is a win-win for parent and child, haha)
  • Favorite food for lunch tomorrow
  • Stickers
  • New crayons
  • Trip to the library
  • Outing to a matinee movie
  • Skip a chore

In my opinion, the more involved the treasure, the more involved getting to the treasure should be. For example, if the treasure is an outing to a matinee movie, I would make the treasure hunt a little more challenging, meaning the meal is a little more challenging for your child. I might require my son to take more bites of veggies to get to the treasure.

Does it work?

Have a picky eater at home? Me too! The Mealtime Treasure Hunt by Gotrovo has been helping my picky eater try new foods and I couldn't be happier! Head over to the blog to check it out! #Gotrovo #MealtimeTreasureHunt #pickyeater #GotrovoFun

So how did my son do? Let’s just say he’s a challenge himself. The first night was a complete failure. He didn’t even take one bite! But I think I know why. I was so excited to give the Mealtime Treasure Hunt a go, that I went into it a little too strong. I gave him a plate with all foods that he wouldn’t normally eat and I think that was a mistake on my part.

I offered meatloaf, roasted potatoes and cabbage. I knew for sure he wouldn’t eat the cabbage, but I still wanted it on his plate for exposure. I thought for sure he’d at least take a bite of the potatoes because I even put ketchup on them. He eats ketchup on everything! But no. Not. One. Single. Bite.

Have a picky eater at home? Me too! The Mealtime Treasure Hunt by Gotrovo has been helping my picky eater try new foods and I couldn't be happier! Head over to the blog to check it out! #Gotrovo #MealtimeTreasureHunt #pickyeater #GotrovoFun

Have a picky eater at home? Me too! The Mealtime Treasure Hunt by Gotrovo has been helping my picky eater try new foods and I couldn't be happier! Head over to the blog to check it out! #Gotrovo #MealtimeTreasureHunt #pickyeater #GotrovoFun

I realized that I needed to ease him into it and couldn’t expect him to dive right in, even though that would have been great. So the next time we tried the Mealtime Treasure Hunt (must have been wild hair day too, haha) I made it a little easier for him. I gave him chicken, which I knew he’d eat, but only gave him enough bites of it to get him eight steps closer to the treasure.

This left him with two more bites to X marks the spot. And to my surprise he took a bite of rice and then ate a piece of carrot. I almost cried! He never eats rice or carrots, and he ate both bites like it was nothing.

Have a picky eater at home? Me too! The Mealtime Treasure Hunt by Gotrovo has been helping my picky eater try new foods and I couldn't be happier! Head over to the blog to check it out! #Gotrovo #MealtimeTreasureHunt #pickyeater #GotrovoFun

He reached the treasure and claimed his prize of M&M’s (his favorite candy). He was so excited that he got the treasure. I think giving him that initial push of being so close to the treasure helped a lot and knowing it would only take two more bites to reach his destination, it was a breeze for him and a victory for me.

Since then we’ve had some failures, but we’ve also had some victories. In my book, no victory is too small. Just the other day, he took a few bites out of a burrito, which is another food he would have never even looked twice at. I let him help me put it together and it was nothing but a little rice, ground beef and shredded cheese, but this was huge for him!

Have a picky eater at home? Me too! The Mealtime Treasure Hunt by Gotrovo has been helping my picky eater try new foods and I couldn't be happier! Head over to the blog to check it out! #Gotrovo #MealtimeTreasureHunt #pickyeater #GotrovoFun

That particular night I let him take the shortcut to the treasure, which is another cool feature of the Mealtime Treasure Hunt. If your child is struggling, is eating a smaller meal, or as in this case, eating multiple bites of the same thing, the map offers a shortcut that only takes seven bites to get to the treasure.

Now my son asks about his treasure map when it’s time to eat. He knows all of the great treasures that could be in store for him and it makes mealtime fun. When I tell him that he gets to use his treasure map, he always says “Okay, I’m going to eat chicken and rice and carrots.” As I mentioned above, that was the first meal he ate and successfully found the treasure. I just melt when he says he wants to eat rice and carrots. Hopefully soon he’ll start eating them without needing a reward for doing so.

Do you have a picky eater who would benefit from the Mealtime Treasure Hunt?

Get the Gotrovo Mealtime Treasure Hunt on Amazon for just $21 (Amazon prices change all the time so act fast)!

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*Thank you to Gotrovo for providing a Mealtime Treasure Hunt for review. This post contains affiliate links, in which I may receive compensation for your purchase. My opinions are 100% my own and in no way influenced by the brand. Any claims or statistics should be confirmed with the brand.  Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.

Keep the Kids Entertained this Holiday with Surprise Ride #GiftIdea

Surprise Ride is a great way to keep the kids entertained during family gatherings this holiday season! With each Ride consisting of 2 fun and creative activities, along with snacks and fun little extras all related to a single theme, there's tons of fun for them enjoy! #HolidayGiftGuide #giftidea
~ This post contains affiliate links, in which I may receive compensation for your purchase. ~

In my family, holiday get together’s are a time when the adults sit, chat and catch up with each other, while the kids run wild, pretty much destroying whomever’s home we’re celebrating the holiday at. This year that’s going to change! Well, at least the part where the kids destroy the home.

This year, Surprise Ride will be making an appearance at our holiday gatherings. Perfect for ages 5+, Surprise Ride is a monthly subscription box that offers 2 fun and creative activities for kids, along with snacks and fun little extras, all related to a single theme.

One of the things I like about Surprise Ride is that I don’t even have to have a subscription to get their boxes, but can order a single Ride. And this means I can order as many Surprise Ride boxes as I want to keep the kids entertained during our holiday gatherings. With so many different Ride themes to choose from, the kids will get to enjoy different fun activities throughout the day.

Surprise Ride is a great way to keep the kids entertained during family gatherings this holiday season! With each Ride consisting of 2 fun and creative activities, along with snacks and fun little extras all related to a single theme, there's tons of fun for them enjoy! #HolidayGiftGuide #giftidea

My son recently got his first Surprise Ride box and it couldn’t have been more perfect for him. It was pirate themed! It was this first Ride that inspired me to get a few for the whole family and keep the kids entertained during the holidays.

The pirate themed ride contained the usual 2 activities, fun extras like stickers, a book and a bracelet, and even a Pirate’s Booty snack (told you everything was based around the theme). My son couldn’t wait to get started!

Surprise Ride is a great way to keep the kids entertained during family gatherings this holiday season! With each Ride consisting of 2 fun and creative activities, along with snacks and fun little extras all related to a single theme, there's tons of fun for them enjoy! #HolidayGiftGuide #giftidea

The first activity was decorating his very own treasure chest and everything he needed to do this was included. In fact, he even had his own apron to wear to prevent getting paint on his clothes. Unfortunately, he was being his typical self and refused to wear it. Kids (insert eye roll, haha). But we ended up using it under his treasure chest while he painted so that he didn’t get any pain on the table.

Surprise Ride is a great way to keep the kids entertained during family gatherings this holiday season! With each Ride consisting of 2 fun and creative activities, along with snacks and fun little extras all related to a single theme, there's tons of fun for them enjoy! #HolidayGiftGuide #giftidea

Surprise Ride is a great way to keep the kids entertained during family gatherings this holiday season! With each Ride consisting of 2 fun and creative activities, along with snacks and fun little extras all related to a single theme, there's tons of fun for them enjoy! #HolidayGiftGuide #giftidea

Once the paint dried he added some jewels and gems to the outside, because what’s a treasure chest if it doesn’t look as good as the treasure it holds?

The only problem now was that he didn’t have any treasure to put in his treasure chest. The next activity in the Ride was going to fix this problem. It was time for a treasure hunt!

Surprise Ride is a great way to keep the kids entertained during family gatherings this holiday season! With each Ride consisting of 2 fun and creative activities, along with snacks and fun little extras all related to a single theme, there's tons of fun for them enjoy! #HolidayGiftGuide #giftidea

He didn’t know it, but while he was decorating his treasure chest, I took a few minutes to hide the treasure and then created a map for him to follow. Again, all of the tools I needed to complete this were included in the ride, right down to the actual treasure.

Surprise Ride is a great way to keep the kids entertained during family gatherings this holiday season! With each Ride consisting of 2 fun and creative activities, along with snacks and fun little extras all related to a single theme, there's tons of fun for them enjoy! #HolidayGiftGuide #giftidea

His map read to start at the dining room table, walk between the living room recliners, tiptoe to the couch and then skip to the TV/entertainment center where X marks the spot!

Surprise Ride is a great way to keep the kids entertained during family gatherings this holiday season! With each Ride consisting of 2 fun and creative activities, along with snacks and fun little extras all related to a single theme, there's tons of fun for them enjoy! #HolidayGiftGuide #giftidea

I did something fairly simple and although my drawing skills aren’t that great, he found the treasure using his treasure map. Now he had something to put in his treasure chest and boy was it sparkly!

Surprise Ride is a great way to keep the kids entertained during family gatherings this holiday season! With each Ride consisting of 2 fun and creative activities, along with snacks and fun little extras all related to a single theme, there's tons of fun for them enjoy! #HolidayGiftGuide #giftidea

I also want to note that the treasure map itself is double sided, so I made a map for him to follow and later he can hide the treasure and make a map on the other side for me or his friends to follow. How fun is that and how perfect would that be for a holiday get together?!

Making Time 2016 Holiday Gift Guide

Buy Surprise Ride now!

Single Ride – Want to purchase a few single Rides to keep the kids entertained this holiday? Choose from themes like this pirate one to polar bears, scientist course, Mars, superheroes and so much more! Each single Ride is just $30 and provides tons of fun, learning and entertainment!

Subscription – Interested in giving the gift of Surprise Ride for months to come? A subscription is perfect! Choose from a month-to-month subscription at $24/mth (pay as you go), a 6 month subscription at $20/mth, or a 1 year subscription at $19/mth!

And right now you can use promo code SHARK5 for $5 off  the month-to-month subscription option OR SHARK15 for $15 off a 6 month subscription! Gift giving AND great savings all in one!

Which Surprise Ride(s) will you get to entertain the kids this holiday?

*This is not a sponsored post, nor did I receive product in exchange for a review. The pirate themed Surprise Ride box was purchased independently by me. This post does, however, contain an affiliate link in which I may receive compensation for your purchase. My opinions are 100% my own and in no way influenced by the brand.  Any claims or statistics should be confirmed with the brand.  Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.

Balancing Fun and Learning with Balance Beans

Balance Beans is a game for ages 5+ that teaches kids logic and problem solving, as well as basic physics, all while they have fun balancing beans on a seesaw. @ThinkFun #balancebeans #game

My son is at an age now where he’s starting to get more into hands on fun (thank goodness I can get him away from video games), and learning why and how things work. And when I can find something that offers him hands on fun and learning, but doesn’t require some type of homemade explosion in the kitchen or a mess in general, it’s a win-win for me.

This is exactly what Balance Beans from ThinkFun offers. Balance Beans is a one player game for ages 5+ that promotes logic and problem solving, and teaches a basic physics principle – the further away weight is from the center of balance, the more downward force it exerts.

Imagine carrying a bag of groceries. Would you prefer to carry the bag with your arm extended outward at shoulder height, or would you prefer to carry the bag close to the body and center of balance? The obvious answer is close to the body and center of balance, well, unless you’re some type of super human or have some amazing muscle strength. It’s harder to carry a bag of groceries with your arm extended outward at shoulder height because there’s more downward force acting on the bag. Balance Beans teaches my son the same principle, but in a fun way.

Balance Beans is a game for ages 5+ that teaches kids logic and problem solving, as well as basic physics, all while they have fun balancing beans on a seesaw. @ThinkFun #balancebeans #game

Game components:

  • Seesaw for balancing.
  • 3 red beans – single bean, double bean, triple bean.
  • 2 orange single beans.
  • 2 yellow double beans.
  • 2 blue triple beans.
  • 40 challenge cards – Easy to Super Hard (including solutions).

How to play:

  1. Simply set up the seesaw and select a challenge card.
  2. Place the red beans on the seesaw as indicated on the challenge card. The red beans are stationary and once placed on the seesaw, cannot be moved until you’ve solved that particular balancing challenge.
  3. Using the orange/yellow/blue beans as indicated on the challenge card, balance the seesaw. These beans can be placed on any empty space available and once placed can be moved around. You can only use the specific beans indicated on the challenge card and must use them all.
  4. Balancing the seesaw completes the challenge and you’ve won! Try a new challenge card until you’ve completed them all.

Balance Beans is a game for ages 5+ that teaches kids logic and problem solving, as well as basic physics, all while they have fun balancing beans on a seesaw. @ThinkFun #balancebeans #game

Balance Beans is a game for ages 5+ that teaches kids logic and problem solving, as well as basic physics, all while they have fun balancing beans on a seesaw. @ThinkFun #balancebeans #game

Balance Beans is a game for ages 5+ that teaches kids logic and problem solving, as well as basic physics, all while they have fun balancing beans on a seesaw. @ThinkFun #balancebeans #game

My son couldn’t wait to open his new Balance Beans game, and once he figured out how it worked, he became a balancing machine. Of course, he wants me to watch him successfully complete his balancing challenges, so every day this week I’ve made time to share in his fun and learning.

He has been using trial and error to balance the seesaw and complete each challenge card, but there is also a math to it. He’s not quite ready for that though (he’s only 4 – it’s never too young to start learning, right?!). The harder the challenge is, the more math and reasoning skills come into play. The challenge cards are numbered 1-40 and are also labeled Easy, Medium, Hard and Super Hard (10 of each level).

 

For now I’m enjoying watching him learn how force and balance work together with some of the easy and medium challenges, and know that with time he’ll learn the algebra behind it as well. He’s also having a fun time free-styling without the challenge cards!

Think you could complete the Super Hard balancing challenges?

Connect with ThinkFun:

Shop / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest / Instagram

*Available at Target and Amazon for $17.99.

*This post contains an affiliate link. I received a sample of this product to provide an honest review.  My opinions are 100% my own and in no way influenced by the brand.  Any claims or statistics should be confirmed with the brand.  Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.

Super Cool Last Minute Backpacks for School

It's not too late to get a super cool backpack in time for your child to head back to school! #backtoschool #b2s #schoolsupplies #backpack

If your child hasn’t gone back to school yet, I’m sure it’s literally right around the corner.  Schools in my area start on August 22nd, so this is the kids’ last weekend of the summer.  And if you’re like many other parents, you may not quite be done with back to school shopping.

  • Meet the new teacher(s) – check!
  • New shoes – check!
  • New clothes/uniforms – check!
  • After school snacks – check!
  • Home essentials for after school messes – check!
  • School supplies – check!
  • Box Tops clipped – check!
  • Backpack – oh no! I forgot!

Got everything covered except a new backpack?  Never fear, Amazon is here to save the day!  If you have Amazon Prime, you can get free 2 day shipping on any of these super cool backpacks and have it in time for the first day of school.  Plus, if you shop Amazon through Ebates you can earn 5.5% cash back!

Make a little time to sit down with your child and have them choose their favorite today!

Which backpack would your child like?

*This post contains affiliate links.  I did not receive samples of these items in exchange for this post.  My opinions are 100% my own and in no way influenced by the brands or sellers.  Any claims or statistics should be confirmed with the brands/sellers.  Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.