Refreshing Limeade Slush

Cool, Refreshing Limeade Slush - Fireflies and Mud Pies

Today while running various errands with the boys, we saw school supplies, autumn wreaths, and Halloween decorations on sale. Wait, what? It feels like just yesterday I was declaring summer with Wild Blueberry Lemonade, and now it’s time to buy fleece jackets and backpacks?

Not in this home. There is still time for chasing fireflies, catching frogs, and cooling off with water blaster games. It’s summer in Wisconsin for at least 42 more days, and we are going to enjoy every last bit of it, starting with this drink.

Read More…

Teach Your Kid to Ride a Bike Without Training Wheels

Teach your child to ride without training wheels in 30 minutes! - Fireflies and Mud Pies

He argued back and panicked when I shared what we were going to do that morning. Fear and self-doubt began to consume him as I searched in the garage for knee and elbow pads. “But what if I can’t? I’m going to fall!” I calmly strapped knee pads to his shaky legs and replied, “You will walk your bike to the school, but you will ride it back home.”

“How do you know?”

“Because I believe in you!”

We strolled to a flat field, and he began to whimper, “I’m going to fall. I’m going to fall.” I crouched down to his level and said, “Yes. You will fall. You will fall once, then twice, and probably a third time. So let’s practice falling first, then we will practice riding.” I held his bike steady as he climbed on and began to pedal. “I’m going to let go now, and you are going to fall.”

He fell to the right and hit the grass. A smile erupted over his face as he began to laugh. “That wasn’t scary! Let’s go again!”

We practiced again, and again. With the fear of falling no longer occupying him, his confidence grew with each length across the field. Within 30 minutes, he was cruising!

Read More…

Fairy Door Craft for Kids

Create a magical fairy door with your child for imaginative play! -Fireflies and Mud Pies

Once upon a time, there were two little boys who wished to meet a fairy. Each stroll through the forest was a chance for a magical encounter. Every cracked acorn cap could have once been a delicate fairy bowl. A wisp of silk floating in sun haze might just be a new friend, if only they could catch it. Small hands offered marbles, buttons, and cotton string at the base of  rustic fairy homes built thoughtfully between mangled tree roots.

“Are fairies real, Mommy?”

I’ve never said yes, but I’ve never said no. “Do you think they are?”

“Yes. I believe in them.”

And for now, that is just fine with me. Children (and grown-ups!) need a bit of magic in their lives anyway!

Read More…

Taste-Safe Rainbow Fingerpaints

Taste-Safe Rainbow Fingerpaint - Fireflies and Mud Pies

Lazy summer afternoons are simply perfect for feeling relaxed around the kitchen table engaged in arts and crafts activities that awaken one’s senses and creativity. The homemade fingerpaint recipe shared below uses 4 common pantry staples, and dries to a beautiful shine. Scented and colored with a classic seasonal drink, it is the quintessential summer play recipe.

Read More…

Squirt Gun Painting

Squirt gun painting is such an awesome summer art activitiy! - Fireflies and Mud Pies

Yesterday I received the first official “I’m booored!” of summer. (Frankly, I’m surprised it took 2 weeks!) Of course it was from my oldest, who is almost always bored when no one is attending to him. I gave him my old digital camera and sent him outside to photograph the elusive albino squirrel known to breakfast on cracked corn at our bird feeder every morning. My other child can happily entertain himself for hours on end. In fact, not once in his 4-years of life has he ever proclaimed boredom. Isn’t it funny how two children, raised almost identically, can be entirely different?

Well, my aspiring photographer apparently needs to work on his stealth and shutter speed. He came back 5-minutes later and admitted defeat, “The white squirrel is in the tree hiding. I did not get a picture of it.” Then he informed me, once again, that he was bored. I told him that boredom was an “opportunity for adventure” and that I was sure he would think of something to do and if not, he was welcome to fold laundry. He asked for my iPhone. I passed him a basket of socks.

The morning went on and on like this, but eventually, my kiddo found markers and a coloring book and settled quietly in the family room. Later that afternoon while the boys were eating lunch, I slipped out the side door to arrange an art activity on the lawn.

Read More…

Buy Sand Toys Once: The Strongest and Cutest Sand Toys for Kids

A Guide to the Strongest and Cutest Sand Toys for Kids - Fireflies and Mud Pies

On hot summer days, we pack a bag and head for the lake. My boys could spend all day splashing in and out of the cool water and digging in the sand. And as cliche as this might sound, I get to relax in a beach chair with a good book. On days like this, a broken sand toy can be a major bummer for kids. Thankfully for you, back when my boys were in diapers, I used to spend evenings carefully researching, well, cloth diapers . . . as well as baby gear, homemade baby food, and toys. About six years ago, I purchased our first – and ONLY – round of sand toys. They have lasted through hard play with two boys, many little friends, and six incredible summers.

Read More…

Nature Inspired Twig-Tac-Toe and 15 Nature Crafts for Kids

Nature Inspired Twig-Tac-Toe

By the end of summer, my children usually aquire a substantial nature collection. We often use bits and pieces of their collection in nature inspired arts and crafts activities. Shared below is a tutorial for our newest nature inspired game, Twig-Tac-Toe!

Are you following our Kids in Nature board on Pinterest?

Read More…

Rainy Day Play Ideas

Rainy Day Play Ideas for Kids

Rainy days inspire and invigorate me. The air smells clean, everything is green, and the next morning life seems so fresh. However to kids, rainy days can be a big bummer! Practice is cancelled, school administrators call indoor recess, and there is just nothing to do!

Or, is there?

Listed below are 15 Simple Rainy Day Play Ideas to keep children busy, both indoors and out!

Read More…