Friday, June 17, 2011

Finger Paint, Thick Paint, and Water Color Paint

We love homemade gifts in our house.  Personalization makes any gift sweeter.  This Father's Day, Mason will be making his first Father's Day Card using the finger paint recipe below.  Not only is this a great way to get your child involved in celebrating holidays, but this is a money saver too.  By making your own paints, you can save a ton of money since most of the materials needed you already have on hand in your house.  I know kids go through paints quickly, so it only makes sense to make your own.  An added bonus is that you can experiment with many types of paint.  Try them out and have some fun!

Finger Paint

In addition to a great sensory experience, finger painting helps your child develop fine motor skills.

Duration of Activity: 10 minutes

Materials Needed:
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 2 cups cold water
  • food coloring
  1. Add the water to the first two ingredients and cook over low heat
  2. Stir constantly until the mixture is blended together
  3. Remove from heat and add food coloring as desired.
**This is very watery when you begin, but be patient, it will thicken up.  Also, make sure you stir CONSTANTLY on low heat or lumps will form.

Thick Paint

Try this paint for a variation with texture!

Duration of Activity: 10 minutes

Materials Needed:
  • 1 cup powered tempura paint
  • 2 tablespoons wallpaper paste
  • 1/2 cup liquid laundry starch
  1. Mix the paint and past together.  Add in the starch gradually until you reach the desired consistency. 

Watercolor Paints

 Save some money and make your own watercolor paints.  You can use empty egg cartons for paint tins.

 Duration of Activity: 10 minutes

Materials Needed:
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon corn flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon glycerin
  • 2 drops food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon water

  1.  Mix the vinegar and baking soda together.  Stir until it stops fizzing
  2. Add the remaining ingredients.  Pour into molds and let harden.
Get more ideas like this from the The Everything Toddler Activities Book: Games And Projects That Entertain And Educate.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dinosaur Train Hatchers and Dino Track Discovery Pack Review

I'm back with two more new product reviews from the hit children's TV series, Dinosaur Train.  This week Mason and I played with Hatchers and the Dino Track Discovery Pack.

"Growies", as we call them in our house, are very popular.  Mason has growies from fish to zoo animals.  I knew Dinosaur Train's Hatchers would be a hit since it is similar to a "growie". 

This toy is based on the Dinosaur Train character, Mrs. Pteranodon. "While sitting on her nest she heard a scratch...and exclaimed “Oh boy! My eggs are hatching!”  Now your child can experience eggs '"hatching" too.

We carefully removed the egg from the packaging so that it would not break or crack before placing it in a large glass of water.  Mason was so excited to help me place the egg in the water.  He waited patiently for the egg to "hatch", so I explained to him that it would take a day or two for the egg to crack.  He understood it enough that he would check back with me periodically and ask for the "ROAR".  I showed him the egg several times until it started to hatch.  Once he saw the egg cracking he became very excited and wanted to removed the egg shell from the glass so he could play with his new friend.
The Dinosaur Train Hatchers will grow 4 times the original size!  You can even remove the dinosaur from the water, letting it return to its original size.  Then you can put it back in water to grow again.

There are four characters available in the Hatchers, including Buddy, Tiny, Shiny, and Don.  Hatchers are suggested for children ages 4 and up.  They retail for approximately $4.99.

This week, Mason and I also played with the Dino Track Discovery Pack.  This is a fun game for kids of all ages!  Basically, you have to follow dinosaur tracks to find out whose footprints you are following. Once you get to the end, you can flip the leaf card to find out who you have been following.  You can also find the egg card for additional challenge activities.  The challenges include trying to walk the actual steps of a T. Rex and Triceratops.

The first set of track I set for Mason were Buddy's tracks.   He followed along the tracks and I showed him that when you turn the card over, there was a picture of a dinosaur and a fun fact about it.  He turned over each card and I read him the dinosaur name and the description.  When we got to the end, he turned over the leaf card to discover the it was Buddy's tracks we were following. 

The game suggests to set all three sets of tracks to play, but I found that one set of tracks at a time was sufficient for Mason.  It also extended the play of the game since each time we played, there was a new set of tracks to follow.  I loved that this games extends beyond the TV show.  You can teach your child fun dinosaur facts that will carry over and be reinforced when they do watch Dinosaur Train or even read a book about dinosaurs.

Included in the Dino Track Discovery Pack are 10 cards printed to look like Tank's Stegosaurus tracks, 10 cards printed to look like Tiny's Pteranodon tracks, 10 cards printed to look like Buddy's Tyrannosaurus Rex tracks, a Tiny card, a Buddy card, a Tank card, and two egg-shaped cards, one printed with the Dino Activity Challenges and the other printed with directions for using the footprint cards.  This game is appropriate for ages 3 and up.  It retails for about $12.99.

Find out more about Dinosaur Train toys online at Uncle Milton.

Thanks to Uncle Milton for providing the items above in order to facilitate this review.  All opinions are 100% mine.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Dinosaur Train Mini Dino Flashlight and Dino Poop Review

Mason and I have been playing Dinosaur for the last two weeks and I now think "ROAR!" is his favorite word.  And, he is constantly asking me to watch "TRAIN!".  Luckily, I am here to tell you about some new and exciting products added to the Dinosaur Train line of toys that we were able to check out.

This first product, I think, is Mason's favorite.  The Mini Dino Projector has been a hugh hit with Mason.  He takes it everywhere and has mastered changing the projector lens to suit his mood.  The Mini Dino Projector light is like a flashlight from which you can project 6 different Dinosaur Train images.  Mason had fun projecting Buddy and his footprints all over the house, including the walls and ceiling.  

What is also nice about this product is that, instead of an on and off switch like a regular flashlight, you have to press and hold the button to project the image.  This saves on the battery life, which we all know people with young children go through a lot of.  Mason has been playing with this light constantly and the batteries are still going strong!

The Mini Dino Projector is appropriate for children ages 3 and up.  It retails for about $ 6.99.

Then next item we checked out was the Dino Poop.  Yes, Dino Poop!  This is actually really cool.  Dino Poop is not really Poop, of course.  Dino Poop is really a soft, pliable modeling clay that you use to discover what dinosaur ate. 

When I told Mason he could play with Dino Poop, he was excited from the start.  And really, what kid doesn't like playing with something he thinks is poop?!?!?  Mason and I had so much fun digging out the bones to find out what Buddy ate!  Each time he found a piece, he would shout, "Here it is!".  He really got into digging in the poop and loved the discovery aspect of it all.  Once we found all the pieces, we were able to make our own fossil imprint in the poop.  He wanted to hide and find the fossil pieces over and over again. 

What is nice about this toy is the simplicity.  It is like playing with clay or dough, but with a surprise and an educational twist.  I love it!  There are no batteries to run out, just your child's imagination.  These really are the best kinds of toys.

The Dino Poop set includes 1 Pile of Dino Poop, 1 Set of Bones, Plants or both, 1 storage container.  The storage container is a great feature of this product so that you can easily store, use, and reuse the Dino Poop for more fun.  It is recommended for ages 4 and up.  It retails for about $7.99.  There are also a few different sets to choose from.  The assortment Includes: Buddy - Carnivore, Tank - Herbivore, Mr. Conductor -Omnivore.  Each are sold individually.

 If you liked these products, check back in a couple of days for more on the new Dinosaur Train products!  For more information on these and other Dinosaur Train toys, you can also check out Uncle Milton online.

Thanks to Uncle Milton for providing the products in the review above.  All opinions are 100% mine.