Gift Idea for Everyone with Kids!

Do you have kids?  Have grandkids?  Have friends with kids?  Teach kids?  Care for Kids?

I have a great gift idea for you!

150  Screen-Free Activities for Kids DIY Gift Basket

{disclaimer ~ I was sent the book free of charge to review}

The new book, 150+ Screen Free Activities for Kids,  from Asia of Fun at Home with Kids is simply awesome. The book alone would make an incredible gift, or you can get SUPER fun and create a gift basket with supplies to go along with the book. Asia provides ideas here on her blog, and there’s a page in the Amazon preview sharing the 15 items recommended for a gift basket or a simple get-started list. I compiled many of them here for you to glance through.

150+ Screen Free Activities for Kids contains ~

  • 50% all NEW activities never before featured on Asia’s blog.  It also contains favorites from the blog!
  • 120 activities can be completed using items found at a regular grocery store.
  • Most of the activities were designed to encourage multi-age/sibling play. 
  • All activities are coded and marked with allergy codes to make things easier for those of you with kids who have allergies.

The book is divided into 7 sections, each section contains multiple ideas!

  • How to Use the Book
  • Slimes
  • Doughs
  • Paints
  • Small World Play
  • Simple Sensory Activities
  • Do-It-Yourself Toys

We have already done many of Asia’s ideas, but when I presented the book to my daughter who is 5, she immediately saw the image on the front cover of the Frog World and wanted to make that, she loves frogs and water. 

Frog World Play

I must be honest and tell you that the night she asked wasn’t a night I really wanted to dye water blue and cut out foam lily pads.  It had been a long emotional day and I was tired.  But, I said yes.  It didn’t take me long to set both of my kids up with their frog worlds and it gave me about an hour of peace as they played. 

Frog World -2303

They both went on to play with the bins again the next day. The effort I put in at the beginning proved to be totally worth it in the end.

Frog World -2320

Sometimes I am super creative on my own and other times I feel my brain is dead and completely emptied of all things creative.  Asia’s book is a reminder that it doesn’t take much to do something creative like this.

Frog World -2301

My kids are 5, 8, and 12. The 5 and 8 year old played with the Frog World, extensively. The 12 year old wasn’t home that night but probably would have joined them. My 12 year old has looked through the book and found many ideas he wants to try. It really is a book for a VERY wide age range.

Frog World -2313

It is a recipe book for me.  An easy tool to pull off of the shelf to stimulate my thinking and give me the idea and the recipe all in one place.  I am so thankful to Asia for taking the time to write this and know it will bless many people out there, including me!

Frog World -2323


See more here ~

This awesome book is available worldwide, most of my readers will happily find it on Amazon, there’s a link here to Amazon

Tot School Gathering Place Week 97

Welcome to Tot School™ Gathering Place! Gather together here, gather ideas from other blogs, share your own ideas on your own blog. Browse around at the other posts linked up, leave a few comments if you have time, and be sure to check back to see if your blog was featured!

Each week we will feature photo{s} and ideas from blogs who link up. Remember, provide a link back to Tot School Gathering Place within your post that you link up, so you can be considered for the feature!

Tot School Gathering Place Week 97

Has the holiday frazzle hit your house yet? We have been trying to keep it at a minimum here by focusing on what we are thankful each day and not on the wants! What do you do to keep the holidays focused? Be sure to share your ideas with the rest of us Mamas! We love to hear how you are raising your Tots with grateful hearts!

I love learning about different holidays – ones that aren’t common to America. Check out Adventures In Tot Schooling to see what Munchkin recently celebrated!

Adventures in Tot Schooling 2


Have you thought about teaching your Tot geography? There are some easy concepts that our Tots can grasp at an early age! Check out the activity that Mama Jessica from Scattered Yet Together put together for Tot Curls!

Scattered Yet Together


Are you going through the alphabet with your Tot? Head on over to RA Hippie Mama to check out the fun that Jackson and Alex had learning about the letter B this past week! RA Hippie Mama


See ideas by ages below!

Tiny-Tot-School-Ideas-for-Ages-9-12-[1] Tot-School-Ideas-Ages-12-18-Months62 Tot-School-Ideas-Ages-18-24-Months62

Were you featured?

You are welcome to a button but you certainly don’t have to use it! Totally optional!

Tot School Feature

<center><a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="I was featured for Tot School!" src=""/ ></a></center>

Do you have your FREE

Where to Begin with Tot School eBook?


See the Tot School webpage here!

Are you NEW or have never been featured? Read this!

Basics: write a specific post about what you did with your tot, link up the permalink from your post, link back to Tot School within that post, put your tot’s age in months in ( ) like this: (43 months).

Gift Ideas for 5 Year Olds

We have shared tons of Christmas Gift ideas in the past and have a list for you today all centered around what our 5 year old loves right now. My 5 year old is a girl, but most of these would be great for a girl or a boy!  Of course she also has other loves like My Little Pony, Littlest Pet Shop, and Minecraft {thanks to her big brothers}. I wanted the ideas in this post to be more for gift buying outside of the known loves and give you some different ideas!

Gift Ideas for 5 Year Olds


Small Animals

We have so many of these set and my daughter plays with them all of the time!  We have collected most of our sets using coupons from Michaels, getting one set at a time with their 40 or 50% off coupon. We have also gotten some from Amazon and some as gifts.

Safari Pets Toob  Safari Animals

Colorful Counters

We have always had colorful counting bears but last year we did a review for Learning Resources and got a few more of these awesome sets.  Just like the Safari animals above, these are a top favorite.  She has several sets now and they are all mixed up in a bin together and are played with almost daily.



She got her first and only Playmobil sets this past year and she LOVES them. We have this one and a unicorn set in a bin which also gets tons of play. Personally, I love how little space they take up! 

Playmobil horse

Gobblet Gobblers

We have had Gobblet Gobblers for years and it was a favorite of my son’s when he was this age {he still likes it now too}, and now is a favorite of Ladybug’s.

Gobblet Gobblers

Sequence Games for Kids

We have the Sequence for Kids and she LOVES it.  It is the most requested game we have.  I want to get her the Letters version this year for Christmas!

Sequence LettersSequence for Kids


PlasmaCar’s are awesome!!!  We got our first one from a review years ago and have since bought a second one personally.  We all use the cars and love them. We even bought one as a family gift for my husband’s sister’s family a few years ago!



Looking for more ideas for this age group?  Here’s our Preschool/Kindergarten Gift Idea post!Christmas Gift Ideas for Preschoolers

Do you have gift recommendations for a 5 year old?  Leave your ideas in the comments below!

Tot Tray Ideas ~ Alphabet

Welcome to our collection of Tot Tray ideas featuring ALPHABET ideas.  This is our second post in a series for our Ultimate Tot Tray Idea Collection, our first post featured Transferring Ideas for Tot Trays.

Alphabet Tot Tray Ideas Collection

Alphabet Tot Trays?

Working with letters in a fun and playful way is a natural and effective way to work on letter and sound identification with young children. Many tots will soak up this knowledge without ever having to directly be taught.

Use purposeful language as you engage with your tot, focusing on simply having fun.  The learning happens naturally. I never “taught” my tots to identify letters, yet they learned by the purposeful play we did together.  Letters were a part of our everyday play and they soaked up knowledge naturally.

Not familiar with Tot Trays?  Learn all about them here!


What You Need for ABC Tot Trays ~

  • letters
  • something fun to do with letters {see ideas below}

Much fun can be had with a variety of letter toys.  Think outside the box and use one set of magnetic letters, a set of ABC bean bags, or an alphabet puzzle in many different ways.  It isn’t about having more toys, it’s about doing more with what you have!

Here’s some alphabet toy ideas to get your brain spinning, don’t buy all {or any} of these, look at the list to think about what you might already own and can use! You can easily make your own set of letters using bottle tops, rocks, or other basically free creative option.

Alphabet Toys

Some Alphabet Tot Tray Ideas

Note ~  All ideas are presented with the understanding that you are playing WITH your tot, these are not all independent activities as some of the items are choking hazards. Please only use ideas that you feel comfortable with and feel you can ensure your tot’s safety.

Alphabet puzzles make great ABC Tot Trays.  The key is to NOT use all of the pieces at once.  If your tot is very young, only use one or two pieces!  Add more as your tot progresses.

Alphabet Puzzle Tot Tray

{the puzzles shown were bought at a discount store, many years ago}

Alphabet Puzzle Tot Tray


Matching upper and lower case magnets on a tray can be matched up on a magnetic surface.  You could provide a cookie sheet, or use another surface such as the dishwasher which Krash is using below.  Again, not the entire alphabet is given, adjust to developmental level of your tot.

abc magnets


Alphabet Bean Bags can be used for many Tot Tray activities. Below you see some of ours in a box along with some other letters to be matched up.  My mom made our bean bags, but you can find them online too.

Letter Matching


Hammering bean bag letters is a fun activity for active tots. You call out the letter and the child hammer’s it!



Bottle cap letters and name cards are a great way for older tots to work on names!

Bottle Top Names



Alphabet magnets {or puzzle pieces} can be stamped into play dough.

ABC Magnets in Play Dough


If you have any large letters {ours are from a foam ABC floor mat}, use these with play dough to make the letters.

Play Dough on Foam Letters


Use alphabet printable pages {these are from Tot School Printables} and make the letters together and then poke the play dough!

Poking Play Dough letters


Poke the letters with an object that begins with that letter ~ {keys for K, pencil for P, small toy cow for C}

Keys and Letter K


Press another small object into the play dough {gems shown below} for some great fine motor work.

ABC with Play Dough and Gems


Use letter cookie cutters with play dough, and objects to press into the play dough too!

Alphabet Cookie Cutters and Play Dough


Hammering our foam puzzle was a VERY favorite of Krash when he was a tot. Ladybug loved these puzzles too.

Hammering the Alphabet Puzzle

See more ABC ideas here on our Tot Tray Ideas ~ Alphabet Pinterest Board

Follow {1plus1plus1} Carisa’s board Tot Tray Ideas ~ Alphabet on Pinterest.

The Linky Details

To make these linkys simple for bloggers I am not requiring a link back, that way you don’t have to go back and add it to old posts but can feel free to link up easily.

I do ask that you pin this post, or share the post on Facebook.  If you want to provide a link back to the idea collection, that’s GREAT and will only help your readers!

Irrelevant links will be deleted. This linky will remain open indefinitely.

Link up your Alphabet Tot Tray ideas below!

See our Ultimate Tot Tray Idea Collection landing page here!

The Ultimate Tot Tray Idea Collection[4]

Christmas Printables and Ideas

December 1 will be here before we know it!  The time to get organized for your Christmas homeschool fun is now!  Below you will find direct links to all of our Christmas printables and ideas.

Christmas Printables and Ideas


One thing I started years ago that has saved much sanity is our Christmas Activity Notebooks. I select printables for each child and load them up prior to December so we are less stressed and have some fun activities!  As the kids get older, I have less for them, a majority is for the younger ages.

Christmas Activity Notebooks


Our site has loads of free Christmas printables to load activity notebooks with!  Our Q-Tip Painting printables are some of our most popular.  We have a Christmas Fun set and a Nativity set.

Christmas Nativity Q-Tip Painting   Christmas Q-Tip Painting Printables


Do your kids like to color?  We have several Christmas coloring printables, you can download them all for free here.

Just Color Nativity Christmas ColoringJust Color ~ Christmas...Santa Elves and Reindeer Just Color 12 Days of Christmas


We also have Christmas ABC Mazes, Christmas book story prop printables, a Nativity Printable Pack, 12 Days of Christmas PrintablesChristmas Tot Book, and various other free Christmas printables.

Christmas Book Story Prop Printables  Christmas Letter Mazes

Christmas Nativity Printables  Christmas Printables for Kids

12 Days of Christmas Printables  Christmas Tot Book


One of our favorite things to do during the month of December is our Christmas Sensory Bin.  We have a surprise a day and play lots of fun games with our bin!

A Surprise a Day Christmas Sensory Bin  Listen Carefully Sensory Bin Game


Before I go any further, let me share this post. More is not better.  Make your December learning choices wisely and don’t do too much.  Your smile will be what they remember.  Stress is not good. Especially stress over the fun activities you planned.

Mommy's Attitude matters more than the Activities


Another way I stay less stressed is by organizing our Advent activities in advance.  I use a paper bag method and it works well for us.  Read more about it here.

Organize Advent Activities in Advance


Here’s a look at what we did last year, which has links to all of the resources we used.

Advent 2013


There are many options for daily Advent fun.  We have Jesse Tree printables, Christmas ABCs, and have enjoyed using Truth in the Tinsel also!

 Jesse Tree Resources  Christmas Alphabet Printables

Truth in the Tinsel



Grapevine’s The Birth of Jesus was a perfect fit for us last year, and we enjoyed a few simple Christmas crafts together.

Grapevine Bible Studies The Birth of Jesus  Christmas Crafts for Preschoolers


We have tons of Christmas books, these are our absolute favorite Christmas books.

Favorite Christmas Books for Kids


The Sparkle Box is a yearly tradition for us, and we always love reusing old Christmas cards to make new ones!

The Sparkle Box  Reusing Old Christmas Cards for Kids to Make New Ones


I also have a Christmas Pinterest board here!

Follow {1plus1plus1} Carisa’s board Christmas on Pinterest.