My Guest Post at Come Together Kids

I am so excited to have been asked to share an activity at Come Together Kids!  I like to think of that blog as Mess For Less grown up.  Laura has children that are a little older than mine and does so many terrific activities with them.  Every time I go there I learn something new.  See if you don't agree.

I shared a fun watercolor activity that is easy to do and provides a big visual impact.  Here's a sneak peek!

Want to see the rest?  Then head over to Come Together Kids and have fun exploring!

Come Together Kids

Fish with Stamped Scales

I have a simple art activity for you today.  You will need some paper, unsharpened pencils with erasers, a stamp pad, and a googly eye (optional).  Draw and cut out a fish shape from your piece of paper.  I used yellow construction paper because I wanted the stamping we would be doing to show up well.  White copy paper would also work in a pinch.

Guest Post from This Mom's Happy Life: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Crescents

Today is an exciting day at Mess For Less!  We have our first guest poster!  I am so happy to introduce you to Amanda and her fantastic blog, This Mom's Happy Life.   As a busy mom of two, and a teacher, Amanda knows all about keeping kids entertained.  In addition to tons of great activity ideas, you will also find delicious recipes and cooking tips at her blog.  I know you get as much inspiration there as I do!  

Hello Mess for Less readers! My name is Amanda and I’m excited to be here today sharing a fun cooking activity you can do with your kids. I am a 2nd grade teacher with two young children, a three-year-old daughter and 3-month-old son. Over on my blog, This Mom’s Happy Life, you can find easy recipes, money-saving ideas and crafts for kids. Today I’m sharing a recipe that toddlers, preschoolers or older kids can help you create.

Calorie Free Cupcakes

My kids love cupcakes.  They are a picky bunch, so I will tell you how cupcake eating goes in our house.  "A" and C lick the frosting but don't eat the cupcakes, and B wants me to take off the frosting so she can eat the cake underneath.  Despite these idiosyncrasies, cupcakes never fail to elicit excitement among my bunch.  So I thought why not let my little ones make some cupcakes?  Before you think I am braver than I actually am, I should mention these are non-edible cupcakes.

A while ago, I ordered a giant bag of various sized pom poms from Oriental Trading.  I use them for a lot of fine motor activities and games.  To make our cupcakes I used these pom poms, paper muffin cups and muffin tins (purchased at the dollar store).  

Guest Post at This Mom's Happy Life

I am excited to have a guest post today at This Mom's Happy Life!  I am sharing one of our favorite inexpensive activities called Sticky Feet.  This is great for rainy days or when the kids need to burn off some energy but you don't have a lot of time to prepare something.  Intrigued?  Then check out This Mom's Happy Life and have fun exploring a blog that I really enjoy.

Marvelous Marble Painting

This Marble Painting activity is one that I used back in my teaching days. I have never done it with three year olds but decided my kids might find this art project fun. Would you believe I had the hardest time finding the marbles?  I thought for sure the dollar store would have them, but they did not. So if you already have marbles at home, you are ahead of the game!

Marble Painting - fun art activity for preschoolers. My kids loved doing this fun kids craft.

Real Life Tips Blog Link Up

We love finding practical ways to save money in real life and create memories without spending a lot of money! I am teaming up with Sharon at Real Life Deals to host our first Blog Hop. Please visit her, she has so many great money saving tips.

What is this Blog Hop? This is a place for all bloggers to link up their favorite post featuring a real life tip. It can be a tip about saving money, how to reuse a common household product, something fun you do with your kids, or a tip that makes your life easier or more productive? (Feel free to link to an older article as long as it is a real life tip!)

Featured Blogger Co-Host - Mess for Less

Mess For Less


This is a great resource for you to find other great tips from bloggers all around the country.

Don't have a blog to link to? No problem! Just leave your tip in the comments!

Many heads working together can help us all find great ways to save money!

***Bloggers, when you link up leave a comment and let us know and we'll come follow your blog! This is also a great way to get some new readers!

Any rules for this blog hop? Nope! (Although we would love for you to follow as a google friend or on facebook!) Just keep it family friendly and the links about ways to save money and create cheap memories!

Review and Giveaway: Erin Baker's Wholesome Baked Goods

If you've been a reader for a while you know that my kids (3 year old twins and a 20 month old) are picky eaters.  I have tried all sorts of things to get them to eat with varying degrees of success.  I know that many of you are dealing with picky eaters too and are looking for ways to feed them food that is healthy and tasty.  Well, look no further!  I was sent some Erin Baker's Wholesome Baked Goods to review and I thought I would put them to a real test.  Would my picky girls like them?

Check Us Out!

Thanks to Sarah at Moose Tracks and Tater Stacks for featuring Mess For Less this week.  It was great to share some of my activities with some new readers who might not have found me before.  Swing by and say hi and enjoy Sarah's great site.

Play Dough Zoo

We have done some fun things with play dough in the past, and I am always looking for new ways to reinvent it.  When I saw the play dough zoo at House of Baby Piranha, I knew my girls would love it.  This is really simple and you can make it with your kids.  All you need is some play dough, Popsicle sticks and small animal toys.  We have a ton of Little People animals and this was a great way to use them.  Yeah, I know a cow doesn't really belong in a zoo, but he got tired of hanging out at the farm.

Fine Motor Skills Color Recognition Game

A few days ago, I posted about the straws that we used for Straw Jewelry and Creations. Faithful readers will remember that I promised to use the straws for a few more activities so I could get my money's worth. Well I racked my brain and remembered an activity I had seen somewhere with colored pipe cleaners and an empty container. I have lots of empty containers and I have these colored straws. What game can I make? I came up with "Color Drop" which reinforces/teaches colors, and improves visual discrimination and fine motor skills.  Not bad for some straws and a recycled container. You don't need to spend a lot to create an engaging experience for kids. This Fine Motor Skills Color Recognition Game is proof of that.

Fine Motor Skills Color Recognition Game - Use recyclables to make a fun game that works on many basic skills for toddlers and preschoolers.

Toddler Activity: Making Straw Jewelry

I like to stick to a shopping list when grocery shopping.  It helps me stay on budget and get in and out of the store quickly.  But the other day while shopping, I noticed some colorful straws beckoning me. There are so many fun things you can do with colored straws that I always make sure to have some on hand. You can get in some Fine Motor Practice with Straws or make your own Color Recognition Game. A simple way toddler activity that requires next to no set up is by Making Straw Jewelry.

Toddler Activity: Making Straw Jewelry - Such a fun fine motor experience for toddlers!

Terrific Toast Guest Post at Real Life Deals

Time for another guest post at Real Life Deals.  This time I will show you how to make a fun snack with your child that they will love eating.  If you have a picky eater (like I do) this will help them be a little more adventurous.

I have linked up this post to the Play Academy.

Colorful Dancing Milk


For today's activity we are going to use stuff you already have at home.  If you don't already have these items at home, then you know what to put on your shopping list.  But I am betting most of you have this stuff.  You will need: a tray (can use a pie plate too), milk (I heard whole works better with this but we were pretty happy with the results we got with 2 %), food coloring, tooth picks, dish soap, and small cups (are you saving those applesauce cups yet?  They would be perfect for this).

Bubble Wrap Prints


If your kids are like mine, they love popping bubble wrap. But there are lots of other great things you and the kids can do with bubble wrap.  Have you ever thought of using it to make a work of art?  Well you can.  Trust me, if my 3 year olds can make a work of art, you can too.  You will need some simple materials:  bubble wrap, paint and a tray.  Simple enough?  If you don't have any bubble wrap maybe this is an excuse to order something.  "I didn't want to order that vase.  I needed the bubble wrap for the children's artwork!"  Or you can just buy it at an office supply/postal store.  But I love frugal crafts, so when I get some bubble wrap I save it for future art projects.

Foam Window Clings

I have another dollar store find for you today.  These great foam sheets were just $1.  I had no idea what I was going to use them for, but bought them and stashed them away.  I have a closet full of craft items and recyclable goods that I know will do something with eventually.  The closet is near overflowing, but I managed to shove the foam in there and close the door quickly before stuff tumbled out.  Little did I know that my newest find would not last long in the closet o'stuff.  I found a really cool and easy idea for the foam sheets at You'll Thank Me One Day and could not wait to try it with my girls.

All you need are some foam sheets that you will pre-cut into shapes.  These don't have to be perfect or even actual shapes.  Here is an example of my handiwork.

Sensory Tub Guest Post at Real Life Deals

You have all the ingredients you need at home to make a sensory tub with your little ones.  Today at Real Life Deals, I share some simple ideas for creating a sensory tub for kids.  It's really easy I promise, and then you get to tell people "I made a sensory tub."  See how impressive that sounds?

2 Ingredient Cloud Dough Recipe

This was a rough day.  It was certainly a Labor Day for my husband and I, as we had a bunch of cranky girls on our hands.  I was looking for a toddler activity the twins could do while their sister napped.  C, 20 months, puts everything in her mouth so I did not want to do this while she was around. So I looked at what I had on hand and remembered a recipe I had seen for cloud dough at Pre-school Play.  Yes!  I had flour and baby oil.  I love this 2 Ingredient Cloud Dough Recipe.  I should be clear at the outset in case the baby oil wasn't enough of a deterrent for you- you do not want to eat this dough. If you are looking for another fun sensory dough recipe, be sure to try our Erupting Playdough!

2 Ingredient Cloud Dough - This simple sensory play recipes uses items you already have at home!

Fine Motor Skills Counting Activity

I love activities that are easy, fun, and educational.  That's a win all the way around.  I found some pipe cleaners in my closet and remembered an activity I had seen here using pipe cleaners and beads to reinforce number skills. This Fine Motor Skills Counting Activity is great for little hands and kids who are starting to learn numbers and one to one correspondence as are these Counting Games.

Fine Motor Skills Counting Activity -  great for little hands and kids who are starting to learn numbers and one to one correspondence