Fun Sensory Bag Ideas | Cute Beltz

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Sensory Bags are a great way for kids to expand their sense of touch, creativity, and adventure.  Giving your child the chance to play with different types of textures and objects helps them to build new ways of talking about the world. Suddenly the tree is more than a tree, it’s a sapling with smooth bark or it’s a pine tree with rough bark and a sharp-pine scent. Water isn’t just wet, it can be rough (waves) or slippery with bubbles or cold and translucent when frozen or clear and still.  Squishy bags allow small children to experience the fun of “squishing” gel in their hands as well as exploring small objects and other items with their sense of touch.

Supplies

  • Bottle of clear hair gel
  • food coloring
  • Ziploc bag (quart size freezer bag works well)
  • beads
  • buttons
  • sequins

(You can easily switch up the trinkets that you put in the bag to keep sensory play interesting.)

Directions

1. Put all the hair gel into the bag.

2. Add one or two drops of food coloring.

3. Next, add the beads, sequins, buttons and other objects. Close the top of the Ziploc bag and make sure there is no air in the bag.

4. Finally, seal with a strip of duct tape across the top to prevent leaks and make it more secure for little fingers.

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How do you get your kids involved in sensory play?  – Cute Beltz

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Toddler Belts & Kids Belts

5 Easy and Creative Gift Wrapping Ideas

It’s the thought behind the gift that counts, but when that gift arrives in a beautifully hand wrapped package it’s a bit more special. Receiving a fabulously wrapped gift doesn’t just build up anticipation for the gift inside, it adds to the gift as a whole.  You can do something simple, like wrapping your gift in kraft paper and decorating it with washi tape, or get your hands dirty and make some yarn pom-poms. However you decide to decorate your gift, you can always find something lying around the house to use.  If you’re looking for some easy and creative gift wrapping ideas for your next birthday party or holiday, take a look at our roundup of DIY gift wrap ideas.

Have Spare Tissue?

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Do you ever find yourself with packs of tissue paper but not gift bags? Here’s a way to use all of that spare tissue paper in a fun, creative, DIY way.  Try layering different colors of tissue paper for a simple yet eye-catching look.

Boxed Treasures

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For an assortment of smaller gifts, keep them all together in a wooden box like this one.  These cases are usually only a few dollars from a craft store. Fill it up with filler grass and organize the individual gifts for a completely aesthetic presentation.

Make It a Piece of Art

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If you’re ithe creative type, share something special by designing original art and showcasing it on top of the wrapped gift like this one. It’ll be a present to remember, and hopefully the person receiving the gift will want to keep it as a way to remember that special day.

Rolls of Fun

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For odd-shaped or tubular presents, try the Tootsie Roll twist. Depending on the fabric you choose, you can make this gift fit any occasion and stand out, too. Then, with two short strings, you can tie simple bows around the ends and voila!

Thinking Outside the Box (or Bag)

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You can find many interesting alternatives to the traditional wrapped gift or gift tote at any  container Store – just use your creativity! Look for a container that goes with the theme of your gift, add a ribbon and bow, and presto! You’ve created a one of a kind gift presentation, and a gift within a gift!

Do you have a gift wrapping idea? Share it with us! – Cute Beltz

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Toddler Belts & Kids Belts

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

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Mother’s Day is coming up fast. It’ll be nice to take the time to make a Mom feel special for all the laundry, home-cooked meals, and much needed advice she has given us over the years.  Take a peek at our selection of creative and memorable gift ideas that will surely make mom smile!

Create a Scrapbook

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This is something your mom can hang onto and show off as an awesome keepsake. It can include pictures, quotes about moms and/or pieces of advice your mom has given you, artifacts like pieces of a quilt that she made or pictures you made as a kid, written down memories, information about her favorite foods, recipes, vacations, music, etc. Make it fun, but most of all, make it about her! It doesn’t have to be extravagant or artsy as long as it’s got heart. Scrapbook or craft stores will have everything you need to make your mom a keepsake she’ll truly enjoy.

Make a CD

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Most computers have the ability to burn CDs with music. Grab some of your mom’s favorite songs and load them up on a CD.  Maybe include a few that were popular when you were born? For extra credit, you could personalize the cover of the CD and even decorate the jewel case.

Replace Candy with a Memory Jar

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Write out some of your best memories (a dozen or more) of mom or grandma on small pieces of pretty paper. Include things you’ve done together, favorite family traditions, things she’s done or said that made a difference to you, the best advice she’s given you. Fold them and put them into a jar so that she can “munch on them” over time.  People are often surprised at your best memories of them. You’ll be surprised at how much sharing these memories means to mom or grandma.

Kitchen Herb Garden

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Another garden idea is to plant a kitchen herb garden. This is a fabulous gift for a mom who loves to cook. Not only will she have beautiful herbal plants (many of which bloom and have lovely flowers) but the fragrance and bounty for cooking is perfect! You can also plant these in boxes or small beds outside the house. Check your geographical zone to find out what grows in the areas where you live

A Basket of Moms Favorite Things

Buy a pretty basket and stuff it full of your Moms favorite stuff like: Tea, chocolate, wine, coffee, snacks, confections, makeup, books, bookmarks, gift cards, a framed picture of the kids- so on and so forth. Tie the basket off with a pretty ribbon and voila! It’s a personalized, thoughtful gift that she will surely cherish.

 

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Toddler Belts & Kids Belts

Winter Fun Crafting Blogs For Kids | Cute Beltz

Courtesy of babble.com

During the winter months, it’s imperative to come up with fun activities for kids, especially if you live in a cold climate, you never know if you will get stuck in the house, so it’s always great to have a few fun resources on hand for the kids.

Here are a few of my go to craft blogs for kids:

One Pretty Thing – Offers tutorials on everything from crafty how-to’s to baking instructions.  They are the, “DIY craft tutorials for a handmade life.”

Built by Kids – A fabulous DIY website.  They “empower families through building and bonding and encourage the next generation of makers to tackle the do-it-yourself projects of their dreams.”

Tip Junkie – You can find everything here, it’s like DIY heaven.  Looking for printables, food ideas, how-to’s, this is a smorgasbord of ideas.

Mess For Less – The founder, Vicky, a former teacher, uses her educational background to create activities that foster learning and fun for kids.  Anything to do with learning, is my kind of website!

Enjoy the winter and creating fun projects with your kids! – Cute Beltz

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Infant, Toddler and Kids Belts

3 Spooktacular Halloween Projects for Kids! | Cute Beltz

I am delighted to introduce Keinya of the Busyfams blog, she is our featured guest blogger today.  She is sharing a few fun Halloween projects kids can have a blast doing.  Enjoy!

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The fun and spooky themes of Halloween don’t all have to happen on that one day.  Kids can enjoy fun projects and activities all week-long.  Here are 3 practical and really fun, creative ways to get your kids in the “spirit” of Halloween!

1) TRICK or TREAT?

green goblin smoothie 2 Goblin Smoothie: Healthy Halloween Treat!

Power up before your night out in the neighborhood with this parent approved healthy beverage that will be just plain spooky fun for the little one. There are fun Halloween cups everywhere this time of year.  In a fun cup, make a healthy Goblin Smoothie for your trick-or-treater and better yet, let them help! It’s sure to be a win-win!

What you’ll need:

(serves 1-2)

  • 1 1/2 bananas, frozen (peek ripeness – black spots on peel when frozen)
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk (vanilla soy milk used)
  • 1/2 cup vanilla non-dairy yogurt
  • 1 tsp matcha green tea powder
(see alternative below if desired)
  • 3/4 cup watermelon, peaches or more banana, frozen

optional: 1/4 avocado

optional: 1 tsp chia seeds (for a nutrition boost)

optional: handful of spinach

optional: add ice

For extra sweetness, add in another 1/2 frozen banana or a drizzle of agave syrup.

Directions: Blend until very smooth and creamy – and enjoy!

Note: matcha green tea does contain a small amount of caffeine so if serving this smoothie to kids you can either use a smaller amount of matcha or sub the matcha with a handful of green spinach or 1/2 green avocado for green color.

Green Goblin Smoothie – courtesy of Babble (Hyperlink to: http://blogs.babble.com/family-kitchen/2012/10/04/goblin-smoothie-healthy-halloween-treat/ )

2) MAKE TRICK OR TREAT BAGS

Take it from Martha Stewart and put those paper grocery bags to good use by using them for a fun creative Halloween project. What trick-or-treater doesn’t need a bag for all those treats? Not only can you pack this handy bag up with treats, but you can enhance your child’s safety in the evening while out as well.

What you’ll need:

  • Paper grocery bag
  • Duct tape – Identi-Tape carries a variety of colors (Hyperlink to: http://www.identi-tape.com )
  • Reflective tape (1 inch in width)
  • Tape measure
  • Scissors
  • Ruler or tape measure
  • Bone folder

1. Use the scissors to trim 4 inches from the top of the grocery bag. Cut a 50-inch piece of duct tape and lay it down, tacky side up. Cut an additional two 2-inch pieces; set aside for later.

2. Make guide marks with the pencil down the front and back of the bag, 2 inches in from the sides. Make marks on the inside of the bag, as well, 2 inches from each corner.

3. Position the bottom of the bag over one end of the tape; the tape should be 2 inches in from the side. Slowly tip the bag onto the tape, using the marks inside the bag as a guide. Place a 2-inch piece of duct tape on the inside of the bag where the handle begins. Place another 2-inch piece about 9 inches down the tape. Fold this portion of tape in half to create the handle. Use a bone folder to smooth out the bubbles.

4. Carefully flip the bag over. Attach the remaining tape to opposite side using the guide marks. Repeat for the back of the bag.

5. Cut four pieces of reflective tape that are equal to the height of the bag. Center the reflective tape on top of the duct tape. Do this step on the front and back. For extra strength, double bag.

Trick – or – Treat Bags – Courtesy of Martha Stewart (Hyperlink to:  http://www.marthastewart.com/268447/trick-or-treat-bags

3.) GLOW JARS

This was a project I actually did with my kids over the summer on more than 1 occasion, but it can be just as effective for Halloween.  You can use it to light a pathway in your yard to your front door.  This is also a handy kind of light to stick in a carved jack-o-lantern. It looks really cool!

What you’ll need:

You will need:

  • Jars – I recommend having lids
  • Glow sticks – this project calls for 3 glow sticks per jar.
  • Scissors – not your good ones!
  • Gloves – I recommend gloves if the kids will help with dumping the glow stick juice.
  • Apron – the kids can make a mess, so best not to have your best clothes on in case you get flicked with the dye.

There are several web sites that show ways to do this project.  I like the way Planning With Kids (Hyperlink to: http://planningwithkids.com/2012/06/21/glow-jars/ ) presents it as they do it step by step with lot’s of pics and kids in mind.

For extra fun: Decorate the jar with a face and get a jack-o-lantern effect! Kids can paste the eyes, nose, and mouth made of black construction paper to the jar.

Guest Blogger Bio – Keinya L, the voice behind Busyfams is a busy mama of 3, a happily married wife, sibling of many (yep part of a big dysfunctional, but loving family), a student who is extremely close to obtaining that BS degree, and a full time supervisor…trying to juggle a blog in the mix too! Is she crazy?! Yes…just a little, but she wears many hats and has inspiring stories, a sense of humor, random thoughts, and “realness” to offer in the areas of “busyness” and work/life balance.  She’s all about staying on top of your game in that sometimes dysfunctional world called family. Find her on Facebook and Twitter.