🐸My Etsy Sh🌎p🐸

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Typical Day

Safari Ltd Toobs - A Review

Let me be completely honest with you.

I have used Safari Ltd. Toobs in a plethora of ways for many years.  So when Safari Ltd. asked me to review a few of their Toobs - it was a no-brainer.

As a preschool teacher, Auntie, craft teacher at the local community center, nanny, and that woman who sits at the table beside you at the restaurant and saves the day because your kids are screaming because the food is taking too long and she offers small toys to your children to help calm them (true story!), I have always relied on the quality and durability of Safari Ltd Toobs.

Safari Ltd has many variations of Toobs - something for almost any theme you can think of.  The toys are small - about 2 inches tall - but they don't skimp on detail.  The toys are realistic and high quality.
They sent me 3 Toobs - Dinosaurs, Exotic Birds, and Rainforest.  You can see the detail, the precise paint jobs, the vibrant paint.  Usually 6-12 animals come in a Toob and cost $9.99 or so. 
I am working on an upcoming post of 101 Things to do with Safari Ltd. Toobs, but for now, let me give you some ideas.  Easter egg stuffers instead of candy.  Cupcake toppers.  Math counters.  Game pieces.  In church or restaurant quiet bags.  In the car toys.  Dollhouse accessories.  Stocking stuffer.  Fun mail.  Birthday gift.
Or you can play with them on a playscape like above.
I really like the variety of animals that Safari Ltd. puts in their Toobs.  G, age 4, squealed when she saw the tapir in the rainforest set.  She reallllly is into tapirs right now.
Recently, we used some of the animals in our terrariums.  They added a lot of whimsy and fun to our little terrariums.

Disclaimer:  Safari Ltd has seen my posts about their products and sent me several things to review.  They did not pay me to write this glowing review.  I do LOVE their products - Toys that Teach - and would only give a positive review if I felt strongly about the product.  You will note that I do not recommend many things on this blog, but I will HIGHLY recommend Safari Ltd toys to anyone!  See www.safariltd.com for more educational and creative toys - including their large selection of Toobs.

Have a fun and playful day

Monday, March 30, 2015

Craft Day Tuesdays - Necklace plus Art

 Does inspiration ever come to you at the weirdest times? It does me.  I went to Hobby Lobby on Saturday.  I was a woman on a mission.  I knew exactly what I needed.  I had a short window of time...then BAM!  Inspiration struck.  I saw these tiny wooden discs and I thought, "I know our next project!"
 We painted the discs pale blue.  It took very little paint to do 4, so a whole bottle of paint would probably paint 50+.  Then, we went off to play while they dried.
 Later, we drew the "scenery" with Sharpie markers.  Just fun things like sunshine, grass, rainbow, etc.  Easy, right?
We picked which button would go with each scene (Dress It Buttons - aren't they cute?).  I hot glued on the buttons.  I burn my fingers ev.ery.time.  Then, I hot glued the ribbon on the back for the necklace.

They turned out sooo cute.  I might make theses with my nieces and nephew, too.  They were a hit!

8 wooden discs - $1.99
Blue paint - $1.00
Ribbon - $1.00
We already had the Sharpies and the buttons

Are you inspired to make some adorable necklaces?  I think I want to wear the unicorn one!  :)

Have a fun and playful day!

How to Get Kids to Brush their Teeth

This is a gift that I put together for my nephew Oliver.  He is a good tooth-brusher, but everyone needs a  little encouragement.  When I saw this Papo Hippo with his mouth open wide at Naturally Curious kids in uptown Westerville, I knew Oliver HAD to have him.

Part of doing a mundane thing is mixing it up, making it fun, making a game out of it.  "Okay, you get to brush the hippo's teeth...Now, you get to brush your big boy teeth."  Set a timer.  Sing a silly song.  Do the 'brush your teeth dance'.  Whatever works.  Whatever makes it fun.

Have a fun and playful day!

Safari Ltd. Toobs Terrariums

We made terrariums yesterday.  They are simple and easy to make.  Kids LOVE to make them.  I mean, come on, you get to play with dirt!  After we layered rocks, potting soil, and plants, we played around with what we would put in them.
Of course, I have a lot of Safari Ltd Toobs - toobs full of possibilities!  I snapped a few photos of the different versions that we made.
We also used Dress It Up buttons and Safari Ltd Good Luck minis.  Kids (and adults!) will enjoy creating these mini worlds and taking care of them.  There's something magical about terrariums, something that makes the imagination start buzzing!

Have a fun and playful day!

Easter Egg Stuffers

I am planning an Easter surprise for a couple little ones in my life. The plan is to stuff a TON of these plastic eggs on Saturday. Then, late Saturday night hide them in the yard, so when they wake up on Sunday...it looks like the Easter bunny was there!
I am not a big fan of giving kids candy. I will fill the eggs with some Safari Ltd Toob animals, pennied, coupons for McDonald's treats, stickers, etc.

Have a fun and playful day

Dreamworks Movie Home Toys

I am always always on the lookout for new, fun, creative toys.  When l saw these Home toys...happy dance time!
I found these little guys at Target. They are between 2 ~ 3 inches. If your child loved the movie (it's sooo good!), they will love the toys.
Here, l have the Boovs on one of my etsy playscapes.  There's so many ways to play with my handmade play mats. See more at www.mybigworld2015.etsy.com

Have a fun and playful day

Colorful Beads

Yesterday, it was just me.  No kids.  What do I do when it's just me?

I look for inspiration.

I went to Michael's to wander around (I do that a lot).  I am starting a new batch of playscape play mats this week and I just needed something...you know that thing?  You don't know what it is, but you know it when you see it?!  Walking down all the isles, looking, then I saw...

this pack of colorful (and organized!) beads.

Armed with my 50% off coupon, I snatched up my inspiration :)  Watch my etsy store www.mybigworld2015.etsy.com to see where these pretties end up!

Have a fun and playful day!

Math Games Mondays - City Life

Math Games Mondays - City Life
Here's another fun Roll the Dice game for Math Games Mondays. Yep, it's Monday again already!  Where did the weekend go?

I found these Safari Ltd. Toobs that are of NYC and vehicles - perfect to use for every day play, but today, we are using them as counters.  Simply roll the dice. Cover up that many buildings.  Roll again until all the buildings have a counter on them. 

This game helps with number value, counting, taking turns, and bonding time.

Have a fun and playful day!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Safari Ltd Incredible Creatures Eagle - A Review

When Safari Ltd contacted me and asked if I would review something for them, I first squealed and did a little happy dance.  I, of course, said yes.  I love the mission of the company, the quality and selection of their toys, and the toys themselves.
Since, 1982, Safari Ltd. has been a leader in making "Toys that Teach".  Their mission is to teach children the importance of nature and conservation through the joy of imaginative play.  As an early childhood educator of 20+ years, their mission means a lot to me.  Children do learn through play (I say it all the time on this blog), and when they have realistic, detailed toys like Safari Ltd. toys, the learning is endless.
One toy that Safari Ltd, sent to me to review is the Bald Eagle from their Incredible Creatures line. This eagle is sculpted so well with tiny details like hundreds of feathers or the wrinkles on his feet.  The paint job is superb.  He stands about 6 inches tall and has some weight to him.  Here's what G, age 4 had to say about this Eagle. "He has tons of feathers.  He looks a little mean, but maybe he's just hungry.  He's America's bird, you know?  I like him.  I like that he looks like a real bird."  :)
G immediately put Eagle (along with Owl and Penguin) in a "cage" to sell in her pretend pet shop.  "He's a good bird, strong and a good flyer."

As a preschool teacher, I used Safari Ltd. toys for years in my classroom.  In the science area, I used them for animal and habitat studies, learning about nature, or in terrariums.  In the block area, children created elaborate zoos and forests for the animals to live in.  What stuck my most about Safari Ltd. toys then,  and still is true today, 1) the amount of detail in each animal and 2) how well they hold up after being played with (sometimes not gently - we all know how 3 & 4 year olds can be!).

I am a fan of Safari Ltd.  I make no bones about that.  I do not endorse a lot of products on this blog.  But, when I find high quality, detailed toys at exceptional value, then I will share.  That's why I like Safari Ltd. so much.

I will be posting reviews on the Incredible Creatures Penguin and chick and 3 Toobs, as well as a list of how you can use and play with Safari Ltd toys.

Have a fun and playful day!

Photo Postcards for Easter

Yep, another holiday is rolling around.  Time to send out some photo postcards - this time with an Easter theme.
I photographed Safari Ltd Incredible Creatures Hedgehog, Piglet, and Rabbit for this photo shoot with some colorful jelly belly jellybeans.
I am sending them out to my nieces and nephews, daughter at college, daughter in high school, my aunt and uncle, and a couple friends.
I love sending out "happy mail"!

Have a fun and playful day

Baby Food Jar Terrariums

 Remember this hint from yesterday?  No, there will not be a new baby in our house.  We are making mini terrariums with baby food jars!
 It's sooo easy.  Layer pebbles then potting soil then plants.  I used a plant called "baby's tears" available everywhere.  I went to my local nursery and they had tons of it.
 Now, comes the fun part.  Add in any small animal, rocks, gems, fake mushrooms, etc.  Use your imagination or "borrow" some of my ideas.  I used these teeny tiny mushrooms that I found at Micheal's Craft Store - a bundle was $2.99.  The deer is a button from Dress It Up buttons. You can find them at Hobby Lobby, JoAnn, or at shellysbuttonsandmore.com
 The rabbit above is from a Safari Ltd Toob.  Very woodland, right?  AND just in time for Easter.
 The blue butterfly is from Safari Ltd as well - it's in a "good luck" pack found at Michael's.  They also have dragons and unicorns and animals - very tiny not recommended for kids under 3. :)
 I call her Cinderella, but she is a princess button from Dress It Up.  There are 3 princesses in that pack - purple, yellow, and blue for $2.00
This bear is also a button - how cute are these??? - from Dress It Up.  I cannot get over the cuteness level of their buttons!

The fun thing about terrariums is...1) they are easy to make, 2) kids will enjoy making them, 3) it's creative and imaginative, 4) if you can out the animal or button, it's a whole new scene!  I love creating terrariums, because you don't need much of a green thumb to keep them alive.  They cost very little to make.  And it's like you are creating this tiny new world.  Plus, it's science.  It's nature.  It's fun...and kinda messy, too.

Have a fun and playful day!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Coming soon...

What am I up to?

Well, I had an idea today.  Hint: baby food.  Do I have you guessing???  It may not be what you think it is.

More details tomorrow.

Have a fun and playful day!

Birch Forest Playscape

 So I fell in love with these birch straws from https://www.etsy.com/shop/CupcakeSocial an HAD to order them.  They arrived this week and are adorable!  I knew exactly at I as going to do with them - create a birch forest playscape, of course.

I used Crayola's light blue Model Magic for the ground then simply stuck the straws right in - instant forest.  The deer is from Safari Ltd and the fox, bluebird, owl, and skunk are buttons from dressitup.com
 Here are Mooshka dolls.  Aren't they adorable?  I found them for $4.99 each at Target and thought they fit in well with my birch forest theme.
I am obviously playing around here.  I have had the Flu and my creativity has been zapped.  But today, I am feeling good and full of ideas. I found this pillow favor box at Joann by K&C Company.  I thought,"What a cute party favor! And I can add a Safari Ltd koala to it for party perfection."  ust something I am working on.

Well, while I still have good light, I am going to get back to my photosafari!

Have a fun and playful day!

Dreamworks Home Movie

We saw Dreamworks new movie Home Yesterday and LOOOVED it!

It is visually beautiful with vibrant colors, the texture of Tip's hair, the texture of Oh's skin, the floating ball of orange umbrellas, all the bubbles! Amazing.

The story is good too. It's hilarious. The whole theater was laughing. The best part is that it doesn't have an in-your-face scary part ~ so it's safe for kids.

We loved it so much. I'd go see it a couple more times. In fact, I just might!

Have a fun and playful day.

(I do not own this photo but used it to talk about the movie)