Tag Archives: diy

Ways To Reuse Your Melissa And Doug Trays

melissaanddougtrays

Our kids got a lot of Melissa and Doug gifts this year for Christmas. I have always loved the company, and I also really like the way they package their products. Many of the smaller toys (magnets, play food, etc.) come in these cute little shallow wooden boxes or trays.

I have always kept them, thinking I could find uses for them in some way or another. Well, yesterday I was cleaning the sea of toys we call the playroom, and realized I have a ton of those little boxes and we’re doing nothing with them. So, instead of tossing them in the trash, I brainstormed and compiled a short list of ideas!

To be honest, I feel silly because the list of things I can make the trays into are things I have wanted to do with my kids for a while! Yay!

yemmelissaanddougtrays

 1. “Tinker Trays”– You can set up all sorts of small pieces and items that kids can work with. They love sorting, organizing, and even creating patterns and art work. Meri Cherry has a lovely post about her “Tinker Trays” if you are interested in exploring this idea.

My oldest also loves to sort and collect pieces of “nature,” as he calls them. He collects lots of stones, acorns, leaves, etc. This is a great way to help them explore nature and understand what parts of nature are alike and different. You can encourage children to separate things by color, texture, shape, or just stand back and watch their little minds work.

This type of tray really gives the children to be creative and do what they want with it. It is definitely my favorite way to use old Melissa and Doug trays!

2. Sand Tray– This is something that works really well when teaching younger children to recognize and write the alphabet or sight words. You don’t have to use sand though, sugar or salt work just as well! I usually stick with salt, because I’m pretty sure my kids would figure out it was sugar and they would be licking it off the table in no time 😉

3. Drawer Organizer– Give one of the trays a little makeover and stick it in your junk drawer! You could also add some soft decorative fabric to create a nice spot to keep your jewelry.

If you enjoyed this post, please don’t forget to share it with your friends! You can also like my Facebook Page so you never miss a post!

Save Money: Make Reusable Snack Bags!

I had a little fun this week after discovering this great reusable snack bag tutorial from Cotton Bottom Mama! This lovely woman has based her website around motherhood and finding ways to become more green and holistic. When I found her page, I knew it was just up my alley!

The tutorial was so simple, that I decided to give it a try (even though sewing is NOT a talent of mine). I was able to make reusable snack bags quickly, and easily….

DSC_0059

I followed the tutorial on Cotton Bottom Mama’s website, but I did choose to use a waterproof fabric for the inside rather than cotton. I also used the serger sewing machine that I use to make my reusable cloth baby wipes and paper towels. A serger is not something that is necessary to make these bags though, so check out the tutorial and give it a try!

**UPDATE**

I have washed and used these snack bags many times and they have held up GREAT! Even without a zip or velcro closure, they keep food fresh and it doesn’t spill out. I’ve made several more since this tutorial and my kids love all of the different patterns and prints.

If you enjoyed this post, don’t forget to share it with your friends!

You are welcome to follow my Facebook Page so you never miss a Young Earthy Mama Post as well!

Simple Playdough Recipes

Since I am a mom of 2 littles, playdough is a pretty common thing in our home. I used to buy the expensive “Play-Doh,” until my mom gave me a couple of great simple playdough recipes. After making the first batch, I realized it was ridiculous I had spent so much money on the premade stuff. What is that stuff made of anyway?! It doesn’t even smell safe.

Now I make a healthier, safer alternative to store-bought Play-Doh that is safe for little ones.

Simple Play Dough Recipe

Homemade Playdough

Prep Time: 5 minutes.

Cook Time: 5 minutes.

Supplies

  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 2 Teaspoons Cream of Tartar
  • 1/3 Cup of Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
  • Food Coloring/ Natural Coloring
  • Knead in Essential Oil for smell if preferred, after it is cooked (I love adding peppermint and lavender!)

Mix everything together in a sauce pan. If you are going to add food coloring, add it in as well. Cook over low-medium heat while stirring. After several minutes of stirring, the playdough will suddenly thicken. Keep stirring until no liquid is left. Take the pan off of the stove and let cool for a few minutes. All you have to do after that is knead it so it becomes a smooth dough. Then it is ready for smooshing and mashing, and all of that fun stuff! When the kiddos are done playing, I always store it in a baggie in the refrigerator so it lasts longer.

My mom also had a Peanut Butter Playdough recipe in the back of her old recipe book. She used to make this stuff when I was very little. It’s pretty great because you don’t actually have to cook anything and it only takes a couple of ingredients.

Peanut Butter Playdough

Prep Time: 5 minutes.

Cook Time: 0 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Honey
  • 1 Cup Dry Milk Powder

Add all three ingredients together, and mix well until the playdough becomes the proper consistency. Store in a baggie in the refrigerator for future use. Easy peasy 🙂

Always remember that you have little helpers that will learn just as much from measuring and cooking their playdough with you, as they will playing with it once it’s finished!

I also have a Pinterest Board dedicated to Playdough Fun! All of the pins contain free printables  for playdough mats. Click here to check them out: Free Playdough Mat Printables. I haven’t invested in a laminator yet, so I just use cheap plastic page protectors, and they work to protect the paper perfectly.


Witty Hoots Frugal Family Linky

DIY Recycled Window Picture Frame

I just wanted to share this great picture frame idea with everyone! My fiancé used to be a firefighter, and he found a bunch of old windows in a barn that they were preparing to burn down. They just sat in our shed for a year until we made an awesome picture frame out of one. I am so happy with how it turned out, and it was completely free! Although we did not have to purchase ours, they are pretty easy to find in local antique stores, garage sales, and scrap yards.  Just keep looking and something will turn up!

DSC_0061

Ours had all of the glass still intact, but if you find one that doesn’t have glass, you can always add chicken wire behind it or some sort of decorative paper with smaller pictures.

I love this one from Hollie Day:

2a762fdfc324634b076d186c9dc5a584

The possibilities are truly endless, and I just love thinking about how that window was in someone’s home for so many years. Think about all of the moments it witnessed… all of the Holidays, laughs, and special times in a home that was probably someone’s pride and joy so long ago. Window panes are definitely much more special than a store-bought frame.

I hope you enjoyed the post and you are now inspired to make a one-of-a-kind frame and conversation piece to put in your home!

Hand Painted Terra Cotta Pots

Pre-K Science for Earth Day!

I have recently started doing “activity time” with my kiddos (1&3), and they are loving it so far. I’ve been trying to implement some sort of learning activity for 30 minutes every day, since my oldest has not started Preschool yet. I absolutely LOVED the activity we did yesterday!

I bought a couple of those cheap $1 terra cotta pots from the store, and I let the kids paint them however they wanted, then after cleaning up, we made a quick run to the home improvement store and I let them pick out a special plant of their choice. My oldest was SO excited. We then planted them, watered them, and sat them in the sunlight!

During the entire process we talked about all of the things plants need to survive, how they grow, and what they do to help us. It was educational, fun, and SUPER messy, but they loved it.

Here’s a picture of the finished product!

DSC_0029

It was fun to see what kind of plant they chose. My son chose a rosemary plant, because we took a moment to smell the herbs, and of course my one-year-old baby girl chose a plant with pretty pink flowers… which she proceeded to rip off of their stems after we planted them 😐 We have now replaced it with a succulent (which I’m going to try and propagate soon!)

DSC_0216

We always talk about how plants grow when planting seeds in the garden, and even my baby girl has learned so much from gardening. They love to help pull weeds and plant baby seeds. My son always kisses the seeds, carefully covers them with dirt, gives them a little pat, and we watch them grow over the next few months. It is just the sweetest thing.