ITEMS WE ARE USING RIGHT NOW THAT CAN BE PURCHASED ON AMAZON

I've taken some time to round up the items that are most popular with my crew right now and put them all in one place for you. And, to make life easier, it can all be found on Amazon!! 


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OUTSIDE PLAY:

Strider Bike// This is Sloane's absolute favorite. 

Jungle Jumparoo// Fan favorite for all of the neighborhood kids. 

Whittling Knife// Spring winds are dropping lots of branches that are perfect for carving.

Sidewalk Chalk// Always.


ON OUR NIGHTSTANDS:

Swimmy  // This is one of my favorites from childhood.

Frederick // Another childhood favorite of mine that all three kids adore. 

 Frog and Toad //  We love reading this in the playroom or before bed.  Four stories in one! 

The Good Little Bad Little Pig  // This is SUCH a great book.  Do you know it? 

When Sophie Gets Angry  // I am always keeping this one handy. 

Sometimes You Get What you Want // A lesser know book that is a GEM.


IN OUR PLAYROOM:

Grimm’s Sticks  // I get so many questions about these sticks!

Marbles  // If you know us, you know these are in constant use! I think the kids are up to 160.  

Animals // My youngest is animal obsessed now.  

Magnatiles // I rearranged how we store these and it brought a new life into them! 

Play Silks // I changed these by putting them in a crate instead of hanging and now we can't get enough! 


ON OUR KITCHEN TABLE:

 Liquid Water Colors  // These florescent ones are the best!! 

Water Color Holder  // Beautiful and so well-made. 

Color Burst Sharpies  // For layering on our water colors. 

Chalk // The kids have been crushing chalk to make paint. 

 Mallet  // For crushing chalk not fingers.

Drop Cloth  // My favorite absorbent canvas.


These are affiliate links, which means a get a tiny kickback when you purchase from my list.  It does not cost you anything.  Thank you for supporting The Workspace for Children. 

-Lizzie 

SNACK TIME WITH THE WORKSPACE FOR CHILDREN

SELF-SERVE SNACK CABINET

Let’s talk about SNACK.

Do you ever feel like your child wants a snack EVERY SINGLE SECOND?  Are you constantly shopping for, prepping and then serving/ cleaning up snack? I have some tips to help out.  While I can’t claim to solve all of the snacking woes, I can show you how we organize our snacks to make eating them a bit of a more independent endeavor. 

Meet… our self-serve snack cabinet.  If you’ve been following along with me for a while, you know our family has an open-ended art cabinet.  But did you know we have a snack one too?!  Snacks can be tricky.  I know a lot of parents who struggle with them-  the negotiating, the preparing, cleaning up, and then doing it all over again.  One way we battle this is with this self-serve station. 

In our snack cabinet, you will find a variety of shelf-stable foods that lean towards health (no candy) but aren’t strictly health food.  Usually there are pretzels, popcorn, nuts, fruit pouches, snack bars, seaweed packs, olives, and dried or dehydrated fruits.  I also keep mini water bottles, or a small pitcher of water and cups. 

I also store scissors and a marker in there.  Why? The scissors are so that they can open everything themselves.  The marker is to write their initial on their disposable water bottle so that they can refill it all day without taking another one. Also helpful when playdates are happening.  

Logistics of the snack cabinet:

We almost always have a variety of washed and cut fruit and vegetables in the fridge.  My children are mostly healthy eaters, and they enjoy raw veggies and fruit.  If that is available, they will almost always grab what’s in the fridge before heading into the snack cabinet.

The snack cabinet is most in demand during the afterschool hours.   On most days, I prepare a tray of fresh snacks for when the kids get home ravenous from school.  I’ll put cheese, crackers, fruit, veggies and some sort of dip out.  They chomp on that and then grab a snack from the snack-cabinet.

Limits

A lot of people ask me how I keep the kids from eating everything at once, or how to limit it.  The truth is, I don’t. I have always come at it from the place that if you are hungry, you should listen to your body and eat.  If you are thirsty, you should drink (unless we are on a long car trip in which case I am CRAZY and don’t let them drink a thing! Another story for another post). 

I buy healthy-ish snacks that I feel are appropriate an I trust my kids to eat what their body needs.  I don’t buy candy and junk food that I would need to put limits on.  If I do buy junk food, it doesn't go in the self-serve snack cabinet.

Of course, I do not want the children digging into the snack cabinet ten minutes prior to putting dinner on the table, or right before we are about to eat lunch. For the most part, they know that. If they forget, I will remind them.  When I don’t want them snacking I will say, “The snack cabinet is CLOSED right now.  It’s almost dinner!”.  Sure, I get groans and annoyed responses, I’m okay with that. 

My four-year-old is another story.  She has to ask before going into the cabinet.  I like to have a conversation with her about whether we are close to a meal-time and whether she has had enough fresh snacks that day.  It is less of a negotiation and more of an honest conversation.  Once we decide that the snack cabinet is “open” for her, she is free to choose whatever she would like. 

Because we have a self-serve snack cabinet, I almost never hear, “Mom, I need a snack.”They already know where to go and what to do. 

For reference, my oldest child is ten, followed by an eight-year-old and almost five-year-old.  We have had the snack cabinet in use since my oldest was just three years old.


Here is a clickable list of snacks that you will find in our snack cabinet:

Dole Fruit Cups  

Skinny Pop Snack Bags 

Almond Packs  

Pretzel Packs

Seaweed Snacks 

Granola Bar

Annie’s Snack Packs 

Do you have questions about our snack cabinet? Leave them in the comments below and I will answer you. Thank you for following along with me. Don't forget to join the conversation on Instagram.  

 

TEN BASIC MUST HAVE ART SUPPLIES

SO MANY TOYS! Instead of toys, how about giving the children in your life the gift of creativity? Here are some ideas for you.

* I've written this post in collaboration with Discount School Supply.  I have been a customer of theirs since my oldest was born and he is ten!  Actually, now that I think about it, I have been shopping at Discount School Supply even longer than that.  As an early childhood educator, I loved getting the DSS catalog and circling all of the materials I wanted for my classroom.  I always know that I will recieve a high quality product at a fair price when I shop with Discount School Supply, so I am thrilled to share these supplies with you here.  

You can use this post as a gift guide or just a resource for what supplies to have on hand at home.  These materials are great for all ages and can be used time and time again. 

(You can click on the photo or the bold type-face for links to purchase direct from DSS.)  

 

Roll Paper

ROLL PAPER   /This paper is everything. If you know me, you know I am OBSESSED with roll paper.  It was so useful when my children were tots and it still is now.  I cover our tables in this paper almost always. It serves as a way to protect the surface, but it is also an open invitation to create.  For young children, I roll it out on the floor, tape it down and hand them a washable marker (or paint, or stickers, or crayons, etc).  That huge white space and the invitation to create on it is so impactful, no matter how old you are.  These days, I cover our dining room table with this paper.  It offers a beautiful canvas for my children to come and go and create together.  On any given day, you will find our tabletop canvas covered in art and all three of my children creating together.    

Tempera Cakes 

TEMPERA CAKES /Tempera cakes are a wonderful way to use paint when you don’t want a huge cleanup.  The colors are bold and they don’t get all over the place.  These sets last FOREVER.  If you need Brushes and paper to go with the paint, I recommend THIS and THIS.  

Air Dry Putty

 

PUTTY  / I love this Putty.  It comes in wrapped packages so it's easy to portion out and you don’t have to worry about it drying out before you create with it.  My kids are always asking for more of this.  After the children create with it, it dries beautifully and can be painted.  

Contact Paper 

CONTACT PAPER /This stuff is SO versatile.   I love using contact paper for collage.  It takes out the “glue” step and allows your child to focus solely on the collage materials. Plus, there is very little clean up for you.  All you have to do is peel off the backing, tape the contact paper down to your surface with the sticky side UP, and give your child some materials to stick on. You could use magazine scraps, torn paper, leaves, or anything else your little one can come up with.  Bonus? If you tape it to the window, the sun shines through.  You can learn more about how we use contact paper by clicking HERE

Dot Markers

DOT MARKERS/ These are an art-cabinet staple for us.  Children LOVE these. Small children love the up and down motion of stamping and the ink is right inside! Older children can get very creative making patterns and whole masterpieces all with dots.  A great way to challenge the big kids.  See some of the ways we've used them by clicking HERE and HERE.

Stickers

STICKERS/  I did a post a long time ago on our love of these stickers. You can read that post by clicking HERE.  For little children these stickers are the easiest to peel and stick.  If they are frustrated, peel the sticker for them and stick it on the edge of a little plastic container.  It makes using stickers easier and more inviting.  I also love that these stickers are open ended and not defined for them.  Look how my 7 year old used them HERE.

Markers

Markers/  I’m a bit old school in this regard, but these are my absolute favorite markers for all children.  They are washable, bold and can draw broad strokes or detailed lines.  They are also consistently inexpensive for such a high quality product.  I tend to buy these in bulk and keep a back up stock.  I replace them as soon as someone has colored too hard or the tip has been destroyed by an overzealous creator.  There is something about a fresh set of Crayola markers that gets me every single time.  No bells and whistles, just straight up markers.  By the way, a pack of these markers and some good paper is one of my go-to gifts to give as a big brother/ big sister gift.

Chalk

CHALK/  This is a GREAT value.  We go through so much chalk because there are an infinite amout of ways to use it! We keep a  bucket of colored chalk on our front stoop so that anytime the children are playing out front, there is an open invitation to make their mark.  A few times, we’ve even done THIS! 

Stamps

STAMPS These are open ended and can be used in so many ways.  They will be used by children for many years.  For the very young child, I would put out only one or two stamps and one ink pad and a very big sheet of roll-paper.  As children get older and more experienced you can offer more.  They can be used for patterning, shape recognition, and for open-ended art experoences.  (They also double as great playdough tools). 

Individual Stamp Pads

STAMP PADSI love these because you can put out as many or as few colors as you like.  For younger children, I put out just one color while they experiment with learning the technique it takes to stamp color on the page.  As the children become more experienced, you can add colors and talk about wiping the stamps between colors.  These ink pads last a long time and don’t dry out if you take care of them properly.  


As always, I am so grateful for all of your support and I thank you for reading and following along with me here and on Instagram.  ~Lizzie

Clothes and Gear Gift Guide

Do you want to give your family gifts that they will actually use? So do I.  These are some of our tried and true favorites.  Click to shop.  

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  1.  Bibbed Rain Pants from one of our favorite shops, Biddle and Bop Kids.  If you follow me on IG, you know my kids are wearing these ALL. THE. TIME.
  2. Victorinox Swiss Army Fieldmaster Pocket Knife My 8 and 10-year-olds have this and they use it all the time in the woods, at the beach, and at home.  

  3. Savage Seeds T-shirts Stylish, soft, and with great sentiment.  

  4. Gathre Mat We worked with Gathre back in June and tried out this beautiful, bonded leather mat.  It quickly became one of our most-used items.  Its so beautiful and functional.  These mats make a great gift for moms, new and old.  

  5. 9oz Swell Bottle  These bottles never leak, keep hot stuff hot and cold stuff cold.  We love to use ours for hot chocolate in the snow during the winter.  

  6. OmieLife Lunch Box These are the lunch boxes my children use every day.  They have an option to pack hot or cold.  They are super durable and fit inside a standard lunch box.  

  7. Micro Mini Deluxe Kick Scooter We never travel without these.  They come apart easily to fit in your suitcase! They make great options for tots through adults.  

  8. Bogs Kids Classic High Winter Snow Boot These are the boots you'll see my children, my husband and I sporting this winter.  They are super durable, waterproof and warm. We've been wearing them for years and they make for great hand-me-downs!

  9.  Maileg Mouse - Twins in a Box Are you wondering why a toy is on my Clothes and Gear Guide? Well, these little mice are basically gear for my four-year-old.  She never leaves home without them (literally) and they keep her occupied on the go.  I think that qualifies as gear, right?

  10. Native Jefferson Shoe This is our other shoe of choice.  My kids rock Natives from the first thaw until the first frost.  They are completely waterproof, flexible and rubber-soled.  They come in all colors and sizes. 


Some of these links are affiliate links.  That means that I collect a small finders fee when you shop through my link.  It does not cost you anything.  Thank you for supporting The Workspace for Children by shopping my links.