Pumpkin Patch at McKee Ranch

This past weekend we had good old fashioned family fun at McKee Ranch in Las Vegas.  They have an annual​​ pumpkin patch where family’s pay $20-which goes to the care of the rescued farm animals, and in return receive entry to the ranch, carrots to feed the animals, a free pumpkin, and a free hayride.

Pumpkin Patch Fun at McKee Ranch with My Petite Picassos!

McKee Ranch has horses to feed, pony rides, face painting, a train ride, pumpkin painting, cookie decorating and an area for LaLa Photography to take photos of your littles on the ranch.

My boys loved riding the rocking horses like cowboys, doing the corn maze, and taking the train ride.  I had fun taking photos on my own, however last year I did do the LaLa Photography Photos and I’ll share them below-they are gorgeous!  It’s a great way to spend a fall day with your family in Las Vegas.

 

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Here are my photos from last year with La La Photography.

 

McKee Ranch is located at: 8982 Dean Martin Dr, Las Vegas, NV 89139.  They have Christmas at the ranch coming up after Thanksgiving so be sure to check it out!

 

Four Fall Sensory Bags 

It’s definitely not fall here!  It’s been over 100° F for the last few weeks! Frankly, we don’t really get much of a fall in Las Vegas. My kids sure don’t experience the fall that I had growing up in Buffalo, New York!

As a child I remember picking apples, raking colorful leaves from the ground and jumping into the pile, and drinking homemade apple cider!  In Las Vegas we try to have fall by going to a pumpkin patch and farms.  With the excessive heat it makes it difficult to really enjoy the day. So I came up with these four easy sensory bags with the theme of fall in mind to allow my boys to experience fall with all of their senses. The best part is they do not require any special supplies, most likely these are items you have laying around the house!

For sight we had the colors of fall through out all of my bags. We had the sound of fall through my tissue paper leaf bag, it sounds like leaves crunching when you squish it in your hand! With every sensory bag project there’s always the sense of touch being included with different textures the children will feel from our squishier to our crunchier bags. Smell could and taste from the walnut sensory bag that we ate the contents of as we made it!

Shaving Cream Sensory Bag

For this bag I focused on the color red, however you can try a different color such as gold or orange to focus on. I filled the bag halfway with shaving cream then added red food coloring.   I squished the bag around to mix the food coloring and shaving cream together until it was evenly mixed. Then I added red glitter. This bag felt like a stress ball. My oldest child loves squishing it. He would not stop squishing it in fact this was his favorite!


Tissue Paper Fall Leaves Bag


For this bag I used half a bottle of orange hair gel that I got at the Dollar Tree. Then I added in brown, green, yellow, orange, and red tissue paper squares. You can also pick these up at the Dollar Tree. They are a huge time saver! Then I added gold glitter and strings of brown yarn. The brown yarn stuck together creating sort a viney-tree trunk effect. Once I closed up the bag and squished it and made the crunchy sound that leaves make in the fall as you walk across your yard.

Cotton Ball Bag

For this bag I again chose red as the main color. I think if I was going to do this project again I would do an orange or gold bag for the shaving cream and keep this one as my red bag. Red is so synonymous with fall. For this bag I added a full bottle of clear hair gel and I filled up the bag halfway with cotton balls. Then I added in some red Pom Poms and strands of red yarn.  Lastly,  a few drops of red food coloring to swirl as the children played with it.

Walnut and Burlap Bag 

This bag is made of used pieces of burlap that I cut into basic shapes like triangles and rectangles. Then I added in walnut halves from my pantry.  The main ingredient is steel cut oats. They look almost like sand. I gave it a nice grainy texture. With this one the children could see different shades of the same color: brown. My oldest son could tell me the different names of the shapes. My youngest son could feel the different textures from the more flimsy burlap to the very hard, curvy walnut halves.

My three-year-old and I put all of these and three bags together in about an hour one afternoon while my 20 month old slept. Both boys had a great time playing with them. In fact they’re still playing with them! One thing I like to do is use clear tape on the top of all of my sensory bags to make sure they stay shut. Another idea is taping them to a sliding glass door or a big window so the kids can look inside of them better and see all the different variations of colors.
I hope you and your children have as much fun as we did with this project. It’s a great project for kids three years old and younger.  Older kids can even make it for their younger siblings!

Legoland Fun in San Diego

If you follow My Petite Picassos on Instagram you’ll know that we recently went to Legoland, California. We had an amazing vacation and the boys had so much fun!

Compared to other theme parks in SoCal Legoland is really affordable!  We were able to go for $123.99 all together!  We had a Bogo coupon for buy one adult hopper ticket get another one free. Hopper tickets allow you to go in between Legoland and either the aquarium or the splash park. We chose the splash park, however we were only at Legoland one day and we didn’t end up going there.  Kids under three years old are free at Legoland so the boys got in with for free. This was a lot cheaper than last year when I paid $300 a day for myself and my husband at Disneyland. Legoland is not as magical as Disneyland nor as large, but it definitely is a great theme park!

We went on a Saturday in July and while it was crowded it was not overcrowded. We downloaded the Legoland app to find out which rides had the shortest wait time. We only waited a long time for a boat ride. Even though my boys are young toddlers they were able to enjoy a variety of rides and activities. They had several boat rides and cruises through at the same park that the boys could go on, a carousel, a train ride, and little car rides. A lot of the boat rides and such are going past full Lego exhibits such as the Lego towns/monuments or fairytale stories.  I loved seeing Las Vegas made out of Legos, so much detail-they even had a pool party at one of the hotels!

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It was more challenging to find things for Adam to do than Ben. Ben even got to ride some rides by himself! A lot of rides are appropriate for ages three and up however they do have a whole Duplo Town for little guys . Duplo Town is where we rode the train and there was a large playground.  When my husband to take Ben on rides I would walk around with Adam and take him to the area where you can build with large Legos or go in search of characters. One of the favorite places in the theme park for the boys was the area where they could build Lego cars and race them!

Th hands on activities kept the boys busy for at least 45 minutes to an hour and we found ourselves prying them away to check out rides or get something to eat.

Father’s Day with My Petite Picassos

Father's DaySo yes I am slowing down on the blog but when something relevant happens I do want to share and we just had an epic Father’s Day!  It started off with Ben making this cute framed photo craft at summer camp. In fact, if you follow me on Pinterest you’ll see that there are a lot of cute ideas posted for making photo presents for dad. 

Prior to Father’s Day, about two weeks ago, I made with the boys Father’s Day gifts for my dad and for my husband. We used acrylic paint and paint markers that I purchased at Target to make handprint and footprint art pottery. My dad is an avid golfer, so we made his around the theme of golf. My husband just adores his children so we made his with the theme of hearts and a little Hebrew rhyme (my husband is from Israel).


This project just took one afternoon. I recommend if you get into multiple footprints like I did that you do first the lighter color of paint.I did my dad’s plates first with the boys using the silver paint. Then we did my husband’s plates with the red paint.

I glazed the plates and cups with dishwasher safe Mod Podge which takes a month to cure. On Father’s Day I made my husband breakfast and surprised him with the play and the coffee cup.


After breakfast we went to swim class for Ben. He’s been working really hard on swimming for the last few months and has moved up a level and this week he moved up again! It’s actually funny that on Mother’s Day he moved up, then on Father’s Day he moved up again!  When he goes up a level they give him a ribbon and he can pick a toy from the treasure chest. He picked bubbles. He carried his ribbon and bubbles around for the rest of the day, he was so proud! The swimming skills came in handy later on when we went over to our friends’ house for a pool party. We  had a great time swimming and afterwards finished the day with ice cream at dusk. It was a long and fun Father’s Day! It was great to spend time with friends and enjoy the outdoors in the Las Vegas heat! The boys slept in this morning because they were so tired from all of yesterday’s events!

What did you do on Father’s Day? Did your child make some DIY art projects for their dad? If they did please share them in the comments below.

Ben showing off his ribbon.

Galaxy Marbled Valentines

Galaxy is been a huge DIY trend lately. We explored this with our latest play group meeting. We created three different crafts the delved into the galaxy. One project that was very popular was galaxy marbled paper. Afterwards we all took them home to create our Valentines!  This is a really easy and fun project to do with a toddler and it’s cheap using materials you probably already have!

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To start I covered a cookie sheet with waxed paper. Then I lay down a layer of men’s shaving cream. I added a few drops of pink, purple, and blue food coloring to the shaving cream and used a straw to swirl it around.



After we pressed a piece of card stock on top of the shaving cream and we peeled it off.  We ran it underwater. When the water clears off the shaving cream a marbled effect is left behind.


From there the paper can dry can then be used to create cards, hearts, artwork, and a variety of arts and crafts projects.  We had a lot of fun creating our galaxy art projects. We hope you will too!

My Favorite Tried and Tested Busy Bags from Pinterest

This past fall I had the daunting task of taking a 24 hour flight with a 2 year old and a 9 month old.  My 9 month old I figured would be happy as long as I held him, but the 2 year old would need toys.  Toys not just for the plane, but for a month long vacation on the other side of the world!  So I put together a backpack with 15 busy bags and here is a list of some of my favorites from Pinterest.

  1.   Colored crafts sticks with Velcro dots to make shapes with. Both Ben and Adam loved these and still use them for restaurants and other outings to stay occupied. From the Tip Garden.
      DIY Toddler Activities - craft sticks and Velcro dots... "Busy bag" okay weird…:

2.  My niece and nephew loved this activity which not only makes kids match patterns, but also colors and fractioned shapes.  From No Time For Flash Cards.This is a simple activity with great cognitive benefits. Matching is the…:

3. This busy bag idea came with a free printable, but I just made my own cards with a sharpie and card stock.  From Teaching Mama.Snowflake Busy Bag {Free Printable}:

4. Lastly, I’m choosing to share a busy bag idea I didn’t make yet, but will for our next trip.  Ben and Adam love building, so I think this will be right up their alley! From How Wee Learn

quiet time activities for 3 year olds:

These ideas are cheap, reusable, and easy to make.  These activities don’t need to necessarily just be used for busy bags and outings or travel, the could just be quiet time activities for a rainy day.  What busy bags do your kids love?

 

Envelope Animals

envelope-animalsThis was a simple rainy day activity.  It’s gotten to be pretty cold here in Las Vegas believe it or not. This morning it’s 39° out -i’m from Buffalo,  New York that’s cold to me. Even though it’s called the sun is out and shining and it’s a beautiful winter. It even snowed a couple days ago. So as the kids have been inside more we’ve been doing more arts and crafts activities.  The other day as I was paying bills I put some envelopes inside and took out construction paper. I cut out different shapes and show them to Ben and we talked about with the shapes were.   He repeated after me triangle an oval. Then I helped him glue them onto the back of the envelope to create years. I took out some googly eyes we glue those on to the top of the envelope to make guys. Then I added some details to create the face so he could see the animal. I told him what type of animal it is in English and in Hebrew because he’s bilingual.  Then he had fun playing with his new markers and coloring them in.  You could easily include a book like Where the Wild Things Are to this activity.  You can make a whole zoo!  It’s a really cute, fun, cheap art activity with supplies you already have around the house!

Eight Posts for Hanukkah-3 DIY Wreaths for $15 or Less!

three-wreathsEvery year I look for quality Hanukkah decorations in stores and I can’t find anything good.  So this year I decided to craft my dream Hanukkah decorations and to do it on a shoestring budget since I’m currently a stay at home mom.  One item I’ve long dreamed about is a beautiful wreath for my front door.  Online-I think because they’re so rare-they can be quite pricey.  Here are 3 DIY wreaths and each  cost less than $15 to make.

For this easy wreath I purchased the straw wreath base at Savers, the ribbon at Dollar Tree, the chalkboard paint and wooden rounds came from Michaels.  This time of year there are lots of sales at the craft stores-so it’s definitely good to do a lot of craft shopping now.  To start with I used my hot glue gun to hold the white and burlap ribbons down as I wrapped them around the base.  Then I painted chalkboard paint on the wooden rounds, once dry I wrote Happy Hanukkah with chalk marker.  I got glued them on and added a twine loop to hang.  Easy and cheap!  Took me less than an hour to make!

I found the base for my second wreath at Savers as well.  This is an upcycling project.  It was a plain burlap wreath on a wire base.  First thing I did was spray paint it with 4 coats of silver spray paint.



I took white and silver tulle I picked up at the Dollar Tree and knotted 4″ pieces every 3″ apart on the wire base. I also found blue wire edged ribbon at the Dollar Tree that I cut into 4″ pieces and I knotted them every 3″ apart around the wire base.


My friend Anat brought a Hanukkah garland with blue and silver foil Hanukkah decorations held together by silver jump rings.  We took it apart and I glued some of the dreidels onto the tulle and I added six silver ornaments that were purchased at the Dollar Store as well.


The last wreath I’m going to give instructions for is one made by my friend, Anat. She found most of her materials at Walmart.

She used a wire base and she attached tulle and ribbon to it using pipe cleaners to secure every 4″. Lastly, she used a happy Hanukkah signed she found it $.99 store last year as a focal point at the center of the wreath and added a little silver flower that she also picked up at the Dollar Tree.


The most time consuming wreath was the second one with the burlap because it took several hours to apply the silver spray paint and allow it to dry between coats.  All of these wreaths are no sew and were assembled simply with a glue gun.

 

Food Safe Homemade Paint

paint-recipe

Adam is officially a little artist.  He was so curious watching Ben paint the last few times, I could tell he was dying to try it out.  Even though I have non toxic paint, I figured the little guy would be putting a lot of it in his mouth, so I wanted to be extra safe.  img_6704

So I scoured the internet for paint recipes, and did a little tweaking to what I found.  My final recipe is:

1/2 c. flour

1 drop of food coloring-to be added later

1/4 c. kosher salt

1 1/4 c. water

I mixed it thoroughly up in a mason jar minus the food coloring with a spoon which I used to spoon the mixture into our palette.  I added one drop of food coloring to each section of my palette and mixed with a Q-tip.img_6687img_6680

A Q-tip is a great way to manage how much paint your little is using or those tiny watercolor brushes that come in kids watercolor palettes.  I would stay away from a medium or larger size brush.  Even with a Q-tip it got messy!

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The experience was overall short, but positive.  I had to show him to dab the paint on the card stock rather than eat it.  He caught on quickly but still took the occasional taste.  This is also a great idea for cheap paint in general.  There are times we can’t afford little things like paint as moms and teachers.  I’ve run art programs on literally nothing for over 1,000 students!  It’s ideas like this that make art accessible to every child no matter what their economic background is.  I kept the leftover mixture in the mason jar over night with a little added water on top.  I made sure the top of the jar was tight.  I want to try making it in soap dispensers and keeping them in the fridge with colors ready to go.  I’ll let you know how that works out in the future.