Creative Play for Kids

Encourage creative play for kids -- It's important!

Building a DIY Backyard Playhouse with Fort Magic

Paint Your Own DIY Backyard PlayhouseThe other day, when Maia and Daphne were off adventuring with friends and I had a rare few hours of kid-free time to myself, I cleaned the house from top to bottom I played with their toys.

The Fort Magic kit, specifically.

I put together a DIY backyard playhouse all by myself and enjoyed every minute of it.

(Note: See GIVEAWAY at the end of this post for a chance to win your own Fort Magic kit.)

I built the playhouse over the sandbox with the idea of creating some afternoon shade in what is one of the more popular kid spots in our yard. Maybe even some rain protection as we are getting daily afternoon showers.

I went in with a goal about shaping my children’s outdoor play space so they have:

  • Shade from the harsh afternoon sun
  • Protection from rain (maybe; as you can see from the photo we’re not quite there)
  • A fun playhouse to inspire the kids’ pretend play
  • A partially enclosed kid-size space for a sense of privacy and safety

My other goal was to try out an idea I’ve long had—cover the playhouse with a blank canvas and let the kids paint it.

… 

Read More »

3 Unique Ways to Use Magnetic Tiles For Kids

3 New Ways to Use Magnetic Tiles for Kids - Fridge, Sand, WaterWe have had so much fun with the magnetic tiles for kids that joined our family 6 months ago. As construction toys for kids go, they are absolutely wonderful! My kids and their friends have played more (and longer) with the magnetic shapes than with any other toy in the house, hands down.

(If we were talking outside the house, it would have to be the hammock which is not a kids’ toy at all, but gets more use than anything else outdoors. Who would’ve guessed?! The kids do everything from swing and read books in it to hang upside down and practice flips and other gymnastics-type moves.)

But back to the magnetic shapes for now…

If a friend came to me and asked for a toy recommendation for their kids right now, I’d say buy a set of magnetic tiles.

I am about to order a second set and have to restrain myself from adding a third to my shopping cart.

We like them that much. (And according to some of you, the magnetic tiles get consistent use many years (and kids) later. Good to know…)

Last time I shared 7 ways my kids use magnetic tiles (many of them on the DIY light table).

Today I wanted to share some interesting new things my kids have been doing with the magnetic tiles…. 

Read More »

10 DiY Outdoor Games to Make with Rocks

10 DiY Outdoor Games to Make with RocksAre you beginning to make your summer bucket list yet?

How about adding some DiY outdoor games to play in the backyard or when camping?

Kids love games…

Kids love rocks…

Combine the two and you have a winning combination!

Creative, inexpensive, and fun

Games don’t have to come in a box and they definitely don’t need to be battery operated to be enjoyable. In fact the best games are sometimes the simplest. I think we all remember playing games outdoors as children with little more than simple natural materials, companions (siblings, friends, parents…), and our imaginations.

Here are 10 simple diy outdoor games you can make yourself with stones found in your backyard. Perfect to make with the kids this summer!… 

Read More »

5 Story Stones Ideas :: Storytelling with Rocks

Story Stones Ideas - 5 Ways to Make and Use Story Stones with Kids We’ve done a lot of rock arts and crafts in our home, but we have yet to make story stones. It’s on our activity list for this afternoon, though, and I can’t wait!

In preparation, I’ve collected a few resources and posts with story stones ideas…

There are so many ways to make story stones!

I’ve seen story stones made with acrylic paint, fabric collage, magazine collage, Sharpie oil-based paint pens, and Sharpie permanent markers.

(I haven’t decided which way to do it ourselves yet. Probably acrylic paint. But really, I want to try them all.)

And the sky’s the limit in terms of the items you depict on your stones. Or how you use your story stones to tell a story.

5 Story Stones Ideas

… 

Read More »

Make Homemade Bubble Wands

Make Homemade Bubble WandsHappy Earth Day!

Today I have a post for you on making lovely homemade bubble wands.

We used the new and improved Artterro bubble wand kit, sent to us for review (and which also contains materials and instructions for making some fun garden art!), but if you’re feeling crafty and resourceful you could make bubble wands without a kit.

If you’re a craft store junkie (who, me?) with more time than money or just like working things out, then go the DIY route.

But even hard-core DIYers like me enjoy a good kit now and again.

The Artterro Eco Art Kits are my kind of art kit.

They contain beautiful, high quality materials, are accompanied by inspirational idea-filled brochures, and are made and packaged with the Earth in mind. But the real kicker for me is that while they are KITS, they are still wonderfully open-ended. There is no right or wrong way to create bubble wands or garden art or any other art or craft in the Artterro kits (and we’ve tried just about all of their art kits at this point)…. 

Read More »

The Fort Magic Fort Kit for Kids

Fort Magic Fort Kit for Kids I wrote about Fort Magic a few weeks ago.

About a fort kit for kids that has turned our house into a creative construction zone—in such a good way. It has added a new level of family interaction and collaboration during the building phase and has inspired all kinds of imaginative play afterward.

This fort kit for kids has just been announced as a winner of the Dr. Toy’s Best Classic 2014 Toy Award! Plus they will be featured on the ABC.com TV show Shark Tank tomorrow (Friday, April 18th) at 9pm EST.

If I had a blog post for every time we built something new with Fort Magic, you would be reading about nothing but construction on The Artful Parent.

We’ve made a:

  • Castle
  • Fort
  • Submarine
  • House
  • Teepee (in the backyard)
  • Series of tunnels (in the front yard)

Here are a few photos of various things we’ve built with this fort kit:

Fort Magic Fort Kit for Kids Artful Parent… 

Read More »

A Build A Fort Kit for Kids by Fort Magic

A Build a Fort Kit for Kids by Fort MagicWe had a submarine in our house last week.

A big one.

This week it’s been a house, a tattoo parlor (I relaxed while Daphne and Maia each painted designs on my arms and shoulders), a hide-out, a store, a restaurant, a reading nook, and a place to snuggle in sleeping bags for family movie night.

The amount of pretend play in our house has always been pretty healthy, but it’s been taking a whole new level recently with the arrival of a hefty box on our doorstep.

The kids were excited to open it and find a build a fort kit for kids sent to us by Fort Magic, one of my blog sponsors…. 

Read More »

Playdough Pretend Play Ideas

Pretend Play Ideas with Playdough - Cupcake decorating and more great ideas for pretend play with playdough

I don’t have a big post for you today; just wanted to share some photos of the kids’ recent playdough creations and combine it with a list of more pretend play ideas for kids using playdough.

I don’t know about your kids, but when my kids play with playdough, it usually turns into a pretend play fest more often than simply sculpture or art…. 

Read More »

Fun Kids Wall Decals by Pop and Lolli

Seriously Awesome Kids Wall Decals by Pop and LolliHave you seen the kids wall decals by Pop and Lolli? In a word, they are AWESOME.

In a few more, they are:

Extra large
Extra colorful
Extra creative
Extra happy
Extra fun

I’ve been inviting Mia, designer and owner of Pop and Lolli, to join The Artful Parent as a sponsor for the last couple of years. I think that she, her business, and her mission are that awesome, and I’m so happy to share them with you today.

Here’s what she says about her wall decals on her about page:

“I like to call it my PICTURE POETRY. Experiencing design as an opportunity for expression and exploration – something every kid deserves.”

I’m in love!

In fact, the whole about page is so interesting, I recommend you head over and give it a read.

Here are some of my favorite kids wall decals by Pop and Lolli:

world map kids wall decal

I LOVE this iconic cultural world map!

Coloring Book Wallpaper for Kids by Pop and Lolli

Coloring paper wallpaper!

Dress Up Boy Wall Decals and Accessories by Pop and Lolli

Super fun wall stickers to dress up and accessorize boys. Plus some girly girl wall stickers, too.

puzzling tiles wall decals

Don’t you think these mod repositionable puzzle tiles would be equally fun for adults as for kids?

I could go on and on. Basically I love just about all of Pop and Lolli’s wall decals! They are so FUN.

While they aren’t cheap, they are high quality, large, wall decals that are repositionable and eco-friendly.

(See this video for a demonstration of the stickers.)

Pop and Lolli is an Artful Parent sponsor. All opinions expressed are my own.

Giveaway!

Pop and Lolli is giving a $50 gift certificate to one lucky reader. To enter this giveaway, head over to Pop and Lolli and have a look around then come back here and leave a comment to this post by Sunday, March 2nd at 11:59pm EST about your favorite Pop and Lolli wall decal or product. After you leave a comment, come back up here and tell the rafflecopter widget that you left a comment and are entering the giveaway. Giveaway is open to readers everywhere. Good luck!

Giveaway now closed.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Construction Toys for Kids :: 7 Ways My Kids Use Magnetic Tiles

Construction Toys for Kids - 7 Ways my Kids Use Magnetic Tiles


Building Brilliance Magnetic Shapes
are a set of construction toys that my kids have been using and loving  for the past month and a half.

And brilliant is right. These magnetic tiles are an awesome kids construction toy with sturdy, brightly colored translucent plastic that beautifully catches and filters both sunlight as well as artificial light. We especially like to use ours on our simple DIY light table.

They are brilliant in more sense than just that one, though.

Any toy, construction or otherwise, that captures my kids’ imagination day after day after day for over a month is brilliant. (I know many parents would agree with that assessment.) And it’s not just my kids, but every kid who comes to our house.

These magnetic tiles are so open-ended that they get used in all kinds of ways–not just for building castles and towers. With magnets along each of the edges, kids can construct any number of interesting shapes and the magnets help hold the tiles together. Brilliant!

Here are 7 Ways My Kids Use Their Magnetic Tiles:

  1. Construction
  2. Pretend Play
  3. Light Table Play
  4. 2-D and 3-D Design
  5. Color Mixing
  6. Exploring Magnetic Properties
  7. Building and Learning about Shapes

I want to go through this list one by one and share pictures of each in action…

Construction Toys for Kids Magnetic Tiles

#1 – Construction with Magnetic Tiles

This is the biggie, and obviously what the magnetic tiles were made for. I love how the variety of shapes plus the magnetic aspect of the tiles allow the kids to really get creative with their building.

Construction Toys for Kids Magnetic Tiles

#2 – Pretend Play with Magnetic Tiles

I wasn’t expecting this at all, but the magnetic tiles have been used nonstop for a variety of pretend play scenarios. Besides buildings and castles that are then incorporated into pretend play, they’ve been used for roads, slides, animal carousels, barns, fences, and, as you can see in the photo above, food stalls.

Construction Toys for Kids Magnetic Tiles

#3 – Light Table Play and Exploration with Magnetic Tiles

Yes, a lot of the play and building with the tiles have been on the light table, just because they are just so lovely in the light.

Construction Toys for Kids Magnetic Tiles

#4 – 2-D and 3-D Design with Magnetic Tiles

While a lot of the designing with the magnetic tiles has been three-dimensional, there’s been a fair amount of two-dimensional designing done as well.

Construction Toys for Kids Magnetic Tiles

#5 Color Mixing and Color Sorting with Magnetic Tiles

Pretty self explanatory, right?

Construction Toys for Kids Magnetic Tiles

#6 Exploring Magnetic Properties with Magnetic Tiles

How close can you get the magnets before they attract each other and click together?

Construction Toys for Kids Magnetic Tiles

#7 – Learning about Shapes with Magnetic Tiles

Love this! The 2-dimensional shapes of the tiles–triangles, squares, rectangles, and trapezoids–can be combined to form 3-dimensional shapes, including pyramids, cubes, and prisms.

Construction Toys for Kids Magnetic Tiles

I initially thought the price tag on these Building Brilliance Magnetic Tiles was a little steep. But I’m a convert. These are completely worth it!

Construction Toys for Kids Magnetic Tiles

My kids even combine them with legos and other construction toys!

You may have seen similar magnetic tile building products with different names, such as Magna-Tiles. I haven’t tried them myself, so don’t know how they compare, but can say that these particular Building Brilliance Magnetic Tiles are well made and seriously awesome. Plus their price tag is lower than the others I’ve seen (thanks, Discount School Supply!).

Discount School Supply, is one of my blog sponsors, and sent me a box of the Building Brilliance Magnetic Tiles for free to try out and review (at my request). But as always, all opinions expressed are my own.

This post contains affiliate links.

GIVEAWAY :: Building Brilliance Magnetic Tiles 48-Piece Set

Discount School Supply is giving away a 48-Piece Set of their Building Brilliance Magnetic Shapes to one lucky winner. To enter, leave a comment to this post by Monday, February 24th at 11:59pm EST then come back up to this rafflecopter widget and tell it that you are entering the giveaway and that you left a blog comment. This giveaway is open to readers in the United States. Winner will be chosen randomly by rafflecopter and announced here on Tuesday, the 25th. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway