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Fab Five Friday – 5 ‘Other’ Uses for Foam Pool Noodles

Indoor Play with Pool Noodles

With summer coming to an end, I have been thinking about new fall activities and re-purposing summer toys.  Yesterday, I was in my garage and noticed a few foam pool noodles that we didn’t really use this summer. I knew I could find some new uses for them so the search was on and this weekend I plan to start my projects. But for now, here are my top 5 favorite uses I found for pool noodles.


Using Pool Noodles to Learn
Photo Courtesy of

1. Over-sided Beads & Lacing Patterns: I know my sons are going to have tons of fun with these. Sara posted on Totally Tots this great idea to slice a few different colored noodles. Write a letter or number on each piece. Little ones can lace them in order, copy patterns, or spell words. I can see hours of fun and learning here. Deborah from takes it a step further and cuts a slit in each one. This allows the kids to connect them to create chains.


Using Pool Noodles Indoors
Photo Courtesy of

2. Marble Run: Lindsay from LindsayandAndrew sliced noodles in half and created a little ‘race track’ for marbles.


Using Pool Noodles as Indoor Play
Photo Courtesy of

3. Hammer Time: I can’t begin to tell you how much I love this idea from Valerie over at Inner Child Fun. She attached pieces of pool noodles to cutting boards and then the kids can use their toy hammers to hammer golf tees into the noodles. I am just going to say this is the first one I am going to make this weekend. My 2 & 3 year old sons have been attached to their toy hammers this past week and want to hit/hammer everything (including the walls, tables, and even each other).

Games with Pool Noodles
Photo Courtesy of taken by David Roth

4. Backyard Play: has a few ideas for using the pool noodles in the backyard making a Target Station, Rings, Wicket, and more.


Using a Pool Noodle to make a Wreath
Photo Courtesy of

5. Wreath: Tonya from Love of Family and Home made this super cute Autumn wreath and the form is a pool noodle!

Do you re-use pool noodles for outside of the pool?


Fab Five Friday – Top 5 Banana Snack Recipes

Quick Easy Banana Snack Recipes

Bananas are one of my little guys’ favorite snack foods and I am always looking for ways to jazz it up. These are some of my favorite banana snack recipes I have came across.

1. Crispy Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bites: These add a great twist to banana snacks with their crispiness. View the recipe here.

Easy Banana Snacks
Recipe & Photo courtesy of

2. Frozen Banana Bites: The kids love these! Dip frozen banana pieces in  a mixture of melted chocolate and peanut butter. Ashley adds coconut flakes, but I leave them off. She has lots of great tips and variations included with her recipe.  View them here.

Frozen Banana Bites
Recipe and Photo Courtesy of

3. Chocolate Banana Crepes: These are also good using Nutella instead of chocolate chips as well. View the recipes here along with 21 other healthy kids snacks.

Easy Banana Crepes Recipes
Recipe and Photo Courtesy of

4. Banana & Nutella Graham Cracker Sandwiches: Banana slices and Nutella is also good on toast. There is no recipe on the site, but you can also view some other healthy snack ideas.

Quick Easy Banana Snack Recipes
Photo Courtesy of

5. Banana Split Bites: I haven’t tried these yet, but just look at how yummy they look! Scoop out the inside of the banana bites and put ice cream in them. Naomi has a lot of great recipes! View this one here.

Banana Split Mini Bites Recipes
Recipe and Photo Courtesy of

Do you have a favorite banana snack?


Fab Five Friday – Top 5+ Chores for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Chores for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Trying to get household chores done everyday can sometimes be a difficult task with toddlers and preschoolers. We all know there isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done on our ‘To-Do’ lists. I enlist the help of my sons (ages 2 & 3) to help out with household chores sometimes. I try make it a game and add some learning activities in. It never gets old seeing the excitement of a 2 year old when you ask him if he wants to do laundry or vacuum. Kids love to help no matter what it is. Sometimes it takes longer to get things done, but the kids are happy! Here are some of their favorite ways to help.Toddler Preschooler Chores

  1. Laundry
    1. Sort the laundry before (dark, whites, kids/baby clothes) and after (who it belongs to)
    2. Have them put the clothes in the washer and/or dryer. We create an assembly line since I have two little helpers. And while we do it they call out what article of clothing it is, the color, and/or who it belongs to.
    3. My sons fight over who gets to push the laundry basket. This is one of my 2yo’s favorite things to do. Lucky for them we normally have at least two a day for them to push around!Toddler Preschooler Chores
  2. Dusting/Wiping
    1. I have three Swiffer dusters. I know, seems crazy. But I give one (new/clean) to my sons while I am doing various cleaning and they dust just about everything: fireplace, walls, bookshelves, etc. Sometimes they want to get the dusters out even when I am not cleaning!
    2. When I am wiping down the counters, tables, windows or glass, they like to take a baby wipe or paper towel and do the same. I let them wipe a window I haven’t cleaned yet or the chairs or the floor around where I am cleaning.Preschooler Toddler Chores
  3. Sweeping
    1. I have to sweep at least twice a day. These kids can get messy! I picked up a small handheld broom/dustpan from the dollar spot at Target and it is great for my 3 year old. This is great for coordination skills.
    2. They also like to push the broom around so I let them take turns after I get done and it allows me a few minutes to put some dishes away or clean the counters.
    3. You can also buy a kids-size broom on Toddler Chores
  4. Vacuuming
    1. My sons have always loved the vacuum. I don’t know why, but it gets them all hyper and they run in circles the whole time I am vacuuming.
    2. I let my sons hold the attachment and get around the edges and corners of rooms.
    3. You could get a handheld vacuum as well for older preschoolers to use.
    4. I have been thinking about get a working Dyson Toy Vacuum that actually has suction from Preschooler Chores
  5. Picking Up Toys
    1. Just telling my sons it is time to vacuum is enough motivation for them to pick up toys in that room.
    2. Sometimes we play ‘Find the…’ game. I name a toy (I.E. white Hot Wheel, blue ball) that needs to be put away and they find it to put it away. Or I describe a toy kind of like ‘I Spy‘ (I.E. color, texture, size) and have them find it and put it back where it goes.
    3. I have a crate we fill at least once a week with toys that need to go back upstairs or in a different room. I let them sort through the toys as we are picking up and choose which box it needs to be in. You can have a box for each child’s room. Sometimes we count similar toys as we pick them up (blocks, Hot Wheels, books).

A few other ways they like to help out: Watering the plants, handing me groceries to put away (I put breakables on the counter so they can’t reach those), refilling the diaper drawer, putting their cups away and throwing away the junk mail. I could only get lucky that they help out so much when they are teenagers ;)

Are there any other household chores your toddler or preschooler like to do?

Fab Five Friday – Top 5 First Day of School Photo Ideas

1st Day of School Picture Ideas

Welcome to my first addition of Fab Five Friday! Each week I plan on bringing you a new top five list. Since it is back to school time, I want to share my favorite first day of school photo ideas I have can across on Pinterest!

1. OUTSIDE CHALK – Becca at Blue Cricket Design used chalk to write her daughter’s grade on the concrete and took pictures with her posing around it. Super cute!!

First Day of School Photo Ideas
Photo from

2. PRINTABLES – Take a picture with your child right before school holding a sign stating the current grade. Create your own or choose from some printables available:

First Day of School Photo Ideas
Photo from

3. CHALKBOARD SIGN – Mandy over at Sugar Bee Crafts made a chalkboard sign for her daughter’s first day of school pictures. She even includes a tutorial on how she made it! Awesome!!

First Day of School Photo Ideas
Photo from

4. CREATE A BACKGROUND – Rachel from Smile and Wave used chalkboards on the wall as a great background for her son’s first day of school. You can also use poster board to create something fun.

1st Day of School Pics
Photo from

5. FIRST DAY / LAST DAY PICTURES – I love Alicia’s idea over on Call Me Crafty Al to take a picture on the last day of school holding the picture from the first day of school to show how much they have grown through the school year.

First Day of School Photos
Photo from