SUMMER CAMPING WITH LITTLE PASSPORTS

As we are quickly approaching the end of the school year (our first with the girls), we are shifting to think about fun things to do with the kids over the summer. While I grew up on over an acre in the country, anyone who has toddlers will know that kids really don’t need a massive yard to have a great time. Raising kids in the city means that we make a much more concerted effort to get the kids back into nature and Vancouver is a city that makes it very easy to do that.

This summer, while we will escape for adventures around and out of the city a few times, I wanted to think of ways to entertain the kids close to home and that’s where Little Passports comes in. If you have been reading the blog for a while, you may remember I shared the Early Explorers kit from last summer.

Little Passports provides kits for kids to help educate them about the world around us.  Each month you will be sent a kit about a different country. They include photos of the countries, games, toys, information and activities for the kids to do whilst using characters to tell a story. While I fell in love with the easy to explain and ready to go activities in the kits, the kids fell in love with characters Mia and Max from the Early Explorers kit and Sam and Sofia from the World Edition kit.  Xavier was so excited to open and see stuffed animal Toby the dog and has been carting him to preschool, on car rides and tucking him into bed at night ever since (so cute!).

exploring a world map

We are very spoiled to have a backyard, while still living so close to the city and for this stage of life, it really is perfect. You can turn your backyard into anything and this time we decided to do a summer day camp with the kids and pretend we were camping. We (ok, the hubby) DIY’d the tent and the adorable campfire kit was found on Etsy. Little Passports has these delightful free printables to help make the camping experience come to life. The kids especially loved the scavenger hunt and although we didn’t spot a squirrel, we do get them running along the fence every so often. Finding an insect was Xavier’s favourite with potato bugs hidden under every plant pot!

scavenger hunt free printable
backyard campout

With our twins turning 6 earlier this year, they were ready for the World Edition kit, catered to 6-8 year olds, which includes more detailed information about the countries and more difficult activities. While we were outside ‘camping’, we opened the Egypt kit and talked about where Egypt is on the map, key landmarks that were included in the Early Explorers kit and the girls started working on this pyramid dig which has so far kept them entertained and focused for over an hour!

passport
egypt dig
felt campfire

Thanks to Little Passports for making me feel like an organized Mom who can pull off an outdoor camping shoot with my kids. The kids loved it and I feel like we could do this every week all summer, exploring different countries and talking about where they are, whether Mom and Dad have travelled there and various fun facts to enlighten them. We love the kits and the imaginative play that ensues from the kids is a lifesaver for those summer days at home. Get the summer camp activities and printables to create your own backyard campout here!

*This post has been created with Little Passports, a product that I genuinely love. All photos, words and experiences are my own.

SLEEP SOUNDLY WITH MERINO KIDS PAJAMAS

the kids in merino wool pajamas from simply merino

My love of merino wool started years ago, when I had my first top for winter that was not only cozy, but also so very warm. I could run in it, snowboard in it, sleep in it, you name it. Cozy and warm is literally winter perfection!

Simply Merino is that exact combination in kid's pajamas! Cozy, warm, breathable, adorable and they come in the sweetest colours that will keep any mama happy. These children's clothes are not only designed right here in Vancouver, but are manufactured locally too. 

girls in merino wool pajamas from simply merino
wooden horse with detail of pink merino wool pajamas

Don't know anything about merino? Well, it is literally a sort of miracle material that keeps you warm when you're cold and cool when you're warm. Amazing, right? Let me explain how this will help you mamas out there. When wearing merino wool, babies and children's body temperatures are more regulated, which in turn keeps kids happier, settles babies more quickly and can even enhance sleep. Did you hear that??!! Anything to get us a little more sleep I say! It is especially important to dress babies appropriately as they can not regulate their own body temperatures.

It is also naturally fire resistant (therefore avoiding the chemical fire retardant sprays that are used on traditional wool), hypoallergenic and sustainable, healthier for our little ones all around. 

xavier in simply merino
kids in simply merino
xavier-thumbnail

If the overwhelming advantages of merino wool don't sway you, have a look at the lovely fit on my children. They rave about how cozy the pajamas are and I love that the cuffs on both the arms and legs are a good fit so that they will stay tucked in on the ski hill. I can't wait to use these as a base layer for the kids this winter. I also love that they have sizes all the way up to 12! Overall, these merino wool outfits from Simply Merino are a huge hit with our family and I can't recommend them enough. 

Simply Merino is offering readers 10% off their shop with promo code winterdaisy10.

*This post was created in collaboration with Simply Merino. All words, photos and opinions are my own.

ART ON YOUR WALLS {WITH TOI ART GALLERY}

Art print in kids' room

When you think back to your childhood home, what do you think of? What graced your walls? Was it family photographs? Or nothing at all? In our home, it was art. Art that had meaning to my parents and had been collected over years. Art that I remember. So when I came across Toi Art Gallery and their collection of special pieces from artists all over the world, I was excited to add some of these beautiful prints to our home collection and thought you might like them too.

Art prints from Toi Art Gallery in a kids room

 Art is almost always the hardest part of the decision making process for clients. There is so much significance in the pieces chosen, knowing they will form a part of making memories for your children.  Choosing original prints is always worthwhile, showing little ones the beauty in the story of the artwork and how they too can aspire to create their own stories in the art that they make.

sweet prints from Toi Art Gallery
handmade doll in basket

I love that Toi have highlighted the artists by name and give a snapshot of their history in each bio.  When I showed the prints to our kids, I could explain where the artist Maria Elina (who created our prints) is from, show them her photo and tell them a bit about her background. The kids loved this and it really brings a meaningful story to the pieces. There are also gorgeous softies in the gift section, including this sweet doll and cozy lamb; perfect gifts for new babies, a child’s birthday or that Christmas stocking (shhh...no, I'm not talking Christmas just yet)!

After all, it’s the little memories, like art on the walls that will last a lifetime. What do you remember from your childhood walls? Tell me in the comments below!

*This post was created with Toi Art Gallery. 

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE...

CREATING A PHOTO BOOK...

summer mixbook

After my sister Amanda photographed me and my sweet children a few weeks ago in an outdoor summer photo shoot that I will cherish forever, I wanted to not only save these memories in my mind but also in a special scrapbook. Since I don’t ever seem to take the time to make cut and paste scrapbooks these days, I decided to go digital and make a photo book online. I wanted the look and feel of the book to complement the photos and decided to use Mixbook as they offer the most beautiful photo books with so many options to choose from. After scrolling through numerous options of themes, I found the perfect fit with something fresh and summery to document these special photos.

reviewing mixbook flat lay

Once logged into the Mixbook site, it was really easy to select a template and get started. Importing photos was simple and the possibilities with what you can create and how you can customize the book really are endless. One of the keys things to remember while taking photos with your children is to shoot both vertically AND horizontally, especially when you start putting the photos together, it creates more interest and helps with creative layouts. I could even change the layout of the photos within the template to accommodate the direction of the pictures that I wanted to feature and the feel of the pages, which I particularly liked.

review of mixbook lay flat option

From previous experiences with photo books, I knew this time I definitely wanted to order hardcover and the lay flat option. If you are planning to not only store your book on the shelf, but also spend time looking at it with the kids, the lay flat option is a MUST! I love how the pages flow into each other and that all three kids can see both pages when they are sitting with me.

girls looking through mixbook photo book

 The best part of the whole experience is when the completed photo book arrived to our door. The kids were super excited to see the photos in a book instead of on screen and loved reading the little captions too. The whole experience makes me want to do a yearly photo book to capture all of our photos in one place.

girls reading photo book
reviewing mixbook

Apart from actual books, the site also offers photo cards, photo prints, online invitations and SO MUCH MORE. Maybe it’s time I turn one or two of these into some new canvas prints for my walls…

me and sweet girls

Mixbook is kindly offering up to 45% off with code VACAYBK. This offer does not apply to Mosaic or Montage. Offer expires 8/31/2016.

If you missed the summer photo shoot post and my top tips for taking photos with kids, you can find it right here.

 

*This post was created with Mixbook. 

 

WORLD GEOGRAPHY WITH LITTLE PASSPORTS

eiffel tower figure
map-little-passports

I finished high school and it was an easy choice – grab my passport and go traveling. I wanted to see more, know what was out there, meet new people, taste new foods; EXPLORE! So when Little Passports contacted me to work with them and offered to show me what big things can be taught from a little suitcase, I immediately said YES!

little-passports-box
little-passports-open-box

I met my husband (an Australian) abroad (in London) and once we were finished our time there, we naturally took time to travel. We have traveled to well over 50 countries. My first time overseas was at a year old and basically it never stopped. My parents are European and I was born and raised in Canada. We traveled. To see relatives, to explore different cultures, to learn how lucky we were to be raised in a safe and wonderful country…we traveled.

That was all BEFORE KIDS. Yes…you heard that. Our traveling has basically entirely stopped since having children. It’s not that it can’t be done; it’s simply that it’s not quite the same easy and carefree experience given we have two 5 year olds and a 3 year old. My desire for the amazing sights, sounds, smells, tastes and colours of other cultures still pulls at my heartstrings regularly. The conversations you have while traveling are the best kind. The people you meet. The experiences that just don’t compare to daily life. The memories that are created.

exploring-little-passports

We will definitely pick up where we left off again…but until then, Little Passports is a great way to teach our children all about the world we live in. It’s such an easy process; you order online and receive a starter kit in the mail with a sweet little suitcase for your child to put all of their treasures. We chose the Little Explorers package, which was perfect for our preschoolers. There are also characters (Max, Mia & Toby, the dog) that write a letter to the recipients and our kids instantly fell in love with them. The girls especially loved the characters, Xavier, my three year old especially loved the suitcase and all of the kids enjoyed putting the stickers into their passport and seeing where the continents are on the map.

suitcase
little-passports-contents

It helps that we have family and friends all over the world; I showed them where everyone lives and we talked about all of the places we dream of going together one day. I also found this amazing DIY that explains the concept of how our community fits into the wider world to explain the concept to young children.

suitcase-kids

The kids were extremely interested in the whole thing and once I told them another package would arrive in about a month, they were very excited to check the mail each day!

The second month, we received a package all about landmarks. It was great fun as I could tell the kids stories about going to some of these landmarks (take me back to the Eiffel tower and the great sphinx of Giza now please!) and the kids then wanted to re-learn all of the things we had talked about a month earlier.

landmarks of the world figures for kids

By the time the third package arrived, the kids literally ran to the door yelling, "Mama, Max and Mia are ready to take us on another adventure! Mom! It's the music one!" They were SO excited to explore music of other countries and I was impressed that Putumayo World Music (who put out some of our favourite playlists) had been involved to produce a new cd about songs from different countries.

little passports package

The learning from this package is endless and provides such a fabulous foundation to start telling the kids about our world. As a parent who has traveled extensively and is now trying to teach my children about other places, Little Passports is instrumental to this process. I would highly recommend giving them a try; what a perfect way to introduce geography to preschoolers!

You can take advantage of The Little Passports Back to School Sale by using code READY15 at check out.

*This post was created with Little Passports. All photos and words are my own.

Love this review? You might like this one too...

THE STORY BOX