Pom Pom Push

Preschool Busy Bag: Pom Pom Push

Guest Post by Malia of Playdough to Plato


I’m sometimes surprised by what my boys find entertaining – cardboard boxes, bubble wrap, duct tape… This Pom Pom Push definitely fits in that category too. It’s not fancy but kids find it seriously fun to play. And, as a big bonus, it’s a great way to build the fine motor skills they’ll use for writing later.

To prep, I grabbed a pile of pom poms, a pair of scissors, and a small Gladware container. Using the pointy end of my scissors, I poked a hole in the middle of the blue lid and then cut out a circle.

Pom Pom Push.

Note: If you’re making this project for two year olds, you’ll want to cut out a large circle like the one pictured above and give them large pom poms to stuff inside. For three and four year olds, cut out a smaller circle and give them smaller pom poms. Using a tinier size makes the activity more challenging.

I placed the supplies on our table and invited my four year old to join me. I showed him how to push a pom pom through the top. He quickly jumped in and stuffed the rest of the pom poms into the container. That’s it!! Pretty easy, right?! Although this busy bag isn’t complicated, it truly is a favorite in our house. My younger son {age 2.5} will sit, stuff and restuff his pom poms for ten minutes before losing interest. That’s record breaking for a boy his age.


Looking for more fine motor activities for your kids? Try squeeze bottle salt writing and check out my fine motor Pinterest board.



Malia is a National Board Certified elementary teacher turned stay at home mama to three young kids {4, 2.5 and 5 months}. She shares fun learning activities over at Playdough to Plato. Stop by her site and follow along with her newest activities by email.


Green Smoothie Muffins

Green Smoothie Muffins


Green Smoothies are all the rage right now.  But try as I might, I just don’t like smoothies…no matter what color they are.  :)  I recently had a whole bunch of extra spinach and three over ripe bananas that needed eaten that day or else it would all need to be tossed.  I ran across a recipe for Green Smoothie Muffins (original recipe found here) and decided to give it a shot.  They are delicious and sooooo moist!   They taste like a banana bread dessert…all while getting a good dose of spinach!

Everyone in our family loved them.  The recipe makes around 15-16 muffins and they were gone within a 48 hour time frame.  Little Brother ate at least four of them in one day (and that’s saying something because he is currently the pickiest eater in the world).

*Update*:  I made these with honey and coconut instead of the sugar and canola oil in an effort to make them even healthier.  They turned out great and were just a teensy bit less sweet than the original recipe.  Please see the substitutions in green below.


Recipe for Green Smoothie Muffins (printable recipe here)

3 ripe (or overripe) bananas
8 strawberries
2 cups of raw baby spinach, packed down as much as possible
1 1/2 cups King Arthur’s White Whole Wheat Flour
3/4 cups sugar (or 3/4 cup honey plus 1/4 cup extra flour)
1 egg
1/4 cup canola oil (or coconut oil)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

Makes 15-16 Muffins.  Approximately 140 calories per muffin.



1.  Add your bananas to your food processor or blender.  I have the Ninja and love it.


2.  Cut the stems off of the strawberries



3.  Grab your spinach…Sam’s Club sells these giant tubs of spinach for cheap!



4.  Pack the spinach into your measuring cup as much as possible.



5.  Blend together.



The boys loved helping with this step (even with his shirt on backwards).  :)



 6.  In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, egg, oil, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.



 7.  Mix together.  It should be coarse and crumbly at this point.




8.  Add the fruit/veggie puree.



 9.  Mix together well.




10.  Line your muffin tin with cupcake liners (or grease if you don’t have any liners like me) and add the batter until it is about 2/3 full.   Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until your toothpick comes out clean.












Now go make some…you won’t be sorry!




An energy snack for nursing moms…and everyone else

Booby Bites- an energy snack for new moms and everyone else


As a nursing mother, there are two things that I desperately need:  enough milk to feed my baby and enough energy to take care of all three kiddos.  This recipe kills two birds with one delicious stone!  These “booby bites” (which my husband hilariously coined) will help boost lactation while providing lots of protein and vitamins as well…and did I mention they are delicious?

I recently read that the combination of oatmeal, flaxseed, and Brewer’s Yeast can help boost a nursing mother’s milk supply.  I have seen recipes for “lactation cookies” around the web that include these ingredients in a delicious treat.  However, I also read that the benefits of Brewer’s Yeast (including the vitamins) can be decreased through the cooking process.  So instead of making cookies that must be baked in the oven, I decided to make some energy bites (modified from this recipe).   Since Brewer’s Yeast is a good source of Vitamin B, this would be a great treat for the whole family…not just for a nursing mom!


Here is the recipe for our “Booby Bites” (…and yes, I feel a little strange just typing that!)

1 cup of old-fashioned oatmeal
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1 cup shredded coconut
1/3 cup of honey
1/2 tablespoon Brewer’s Yeast
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips





1.  Combine the dry ingredients first:  oatmeal, coconut, chocolate chips, Brewer’s Yeast, and flax seed.




 2.  Add the peanut butter, honey, and vanilla and turn your mixer on low (or stir together).



3.  Refrigerate mixture for at least one hour.


IMG_6678 4.  Remove from the refrigerator and roll the mixture into small balls.







**Please note:  Brewer’s Yeast is safe for most people, but please consult your doctor prior to including it in your diet.  You can find more information about it here.  The content in this post is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this site.

Rainbow and Pot of Gold Treat

Colorful St. Patrick's Day Treats


These Rainbow and Pot of Gold treats for St. Patrick’s Day are lots of fun to make, albeit a little time consuming.  They would make a great teacher gift, gift for a friend, or just a fun way to surprise your kids on St. Patrick’s Day!  Who can resist Skittles, a little chocolate wrapped in gold, and marshmallows?!?!


Here’s what you’ll need:  A giant bag of Skittles, golden chocolate coins, marshmallows, clear Solo cups, scissors. waxed paper, cellophane, and ribbon.



1.  Break open the giant bag of Skittles.  Wash your hands (and those of your little helpers).


 2.  Separate the bag of Skittles into individual colors.  This is excellent practice for your child–both cognitively (sorting and classifying based on color) and for fine motor practice (those Skittles are tiny!).








3.  Tear a piece of waxed paper and roll it into a ball.



4.  Put 4 golden chocolate coins into the bottom of the Solo cup and then put the waxed paper ball in the center to hold them upright.



5. Layer the Skittles on top of the golden coins.  Top with marshmallows for clouds.




6.  Wrap the cup in cellophane and tie with a ribbon!





Be sure to check out our favorite rainbow activities as well!

Rainbows for Little Hands

Valentines Day Coupon Book for Kids

Printable Valentines Day Coupon Book for Kids


Forget the candy and stuffed animals…this printable tear-away Valentines Day Coupon Book for Kids is the perfect gift for your child this Valentines Day!  I have been wanting to do something like this for our boys for a while now and I think they are finally at the ages where they will really appreciate a gift like this!

This gift encourages family time together and keeps giving long after February 14th has come and gone!


Here are a list of the coupons included:  

-Family Movie Night
-Family Pizza Night
-Ice Cream on the Town
-Late Bedtime
-30 minutes of Extra Screen Time (this will be Big Brother’s favorite, I’m sure)
-A date just with Mommy
-A date just with Daddy
-Soda at Dinner
-10 minutes of extra snuggles before bed


Print the following on card stock:   

Coupon Cover (print landscape orientation)

Valentine Coupons (print portrait orientation)

You’ll also want a sewing machine (optional–to make perforations), a paper cutter (to cut straight lines), a hole punch, and ribbon to bind it together.  



1.  Cut the top, bottom, and right borders off of each coupon.  IMPORTANT:  DO NOT CUT THE WHITE AREA TO THE LEFT  OF EACH COUPON (between the image and the edge of the paper).



2.  Remove all the thread from your sewing machine and then sew along the edge of the coupon (it will just make tiny holes in the paper).




 See the tiny holes?  Those are your perforations.




3.  Repeat the above steps for all of the coupons.  Be sure that you don’t cut to the left side of the cover either.  It will fold to the back to hold all of the coupons together.




4.  Put all of the coupons on the inside of the cover.  The back won’t completely enclose the coupons (it will be too short), but that is fine.


 5.  Use a hole punch to punch two holes in each coupon and the cover.  Make sure the holes are located at the exact same place so that you can bind them together.



6.  Use a ribbon to tie the coupon booklet together.









The perforations make it easy to tear out the coupon!  :)

Would your child enjoy and appreciate this Valentines Day gift???