HABA Expedition Tent

Pretend Play is so important for children the creativity and problem solving that flourishes during pretend play extends into real world applications that promote confidence and positive social interactions. My children as well as the many children I have cared for have all absolutely adored pretend play in fact I have never met a child who does not in some way love using their imagination to extend play into something extraordinary. Play tents and forts can be great imagination starters and the HABA Expedition Tent is no exception. It is one of the largest play tents I have ever used. It is tall and its circumference gives plenty of room. My whole family and our dogs can fit inside. The kids love going inside and curling up with a book as well as creating elaborate stories and scenarios in which they are caring for injured animals, rescuing princesses and princes or just camping in the woods. There is no limit to their wonderful imagination and the plethora of creativity this tent exhumes.
The HABA Expedition Tent has created hours of entertainment in our home. It is so inviting and I just love watching my children getting along and working together to create lasting memories of adventures they create together. As for the setting up and taking down of this tent it is very simple and I am very happy to say that it stores very easily. It comes with a carrying case and folds small and flat which makes storing super simple. You can store it under a couch or in a closet. We have left it up because honestly the kids love it so much and it is so cute I have not felt the need to take it down.
This rugged, free-standing adventure-themed tent is the perfect addition to any child’s home. Measuring 75″ high and 59″ wide it provides ample play or relaxing space for you and your little ones. Go inside and read a book together, pretend it’s a cave or just sit and play a board game; either way this tent will be used over and over again. High quality printed and applique designs are complemented by an entrance that can be opened and secured with ties and a window on either side. The Expedition tent has two flexible support rings that can be twisted and folded into a neat space saving, storage tote. Pop the tent open, easily slide in the high quality support rods and plop the decorative cap on top and voila! Sewn of the finest cotton and polyester blends and mesh and free from harmful chemicals such as fire retardants, water repellents, BPA, PVC and phthalates.
Buy It: Visit the HABA site to purchase the Expedition Tent

Disclaimer: I received a HABA Expedition tent for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Ice Beads- Lacing for Fine Motor

Have you ever seen one of these? Its a mold for making Ice Shot Glasses I bought mine at JoAnn Fabrics but I now can only find them at Walmart.
I filled the mold most of the way making sure I did not fill it completely. I wanted to leave the bottom open so that we could easily pass things through. It worked! Voila, Ice Beads!!!
I handed the kids pipe cleaners and let them get to it. They immediately started stringing the ice beads on the hanging planter rack I have above the water table.
Working the fine motor twisting and maneuvering.
Then they started to make ice bead chains.
Working hard.
I started asking them what they thought would happen when the ice started to melt.
It was a beautiful day and the sun was shining bright. The ice started melting very quickly.
They looked amazing hanging there.
I also froze some popsicle molds without putting the sticks in them. Kaia tied one to the bottom of her ice beads chain.
Watching the ice melt.

And the ice could not hold out against the sun. The first link melted.

I am going to make some Ice cups for another project. Stay tuned for that later…

Ice Cups and Water Bead- Fine Motor Exploration and Discovery

We have a mold for making ice shot glasses. I knew it would be perfect for water play in the summer. And I was right. So here is our fun water beads and ice shot fine motor tray. Liam played with this for over 20 minutes.

He worked hard at using the tongs to pinch and pick up the waterbeads and then place them into the colored ice cups.

I used what I had on hand and that was black water beads. When we do this again I think I will use a multi color pack and try and have the kids match the waterbead color to the ice glass color.
The older boys got a set as well to play with in the water table.

And eventually the ice shot glasses turned into ice beads. These are just awesome!

Making Scented Bubbles

I went to a craft store by my house and saw they were selling scented bubbles. I immediately put it on my list of things to make and then sadly forgot about it…until now. The kids have had the tummy flu and are still battling it which means we have been home and looking for things to do. I knew I wanted to do something easy that would keep them busy and enjoying some time outside. Cue the amazing and oh so pretty scented bubbles.

First check out my post on Bubble Recipes I have five fantastic recipes there. All of them can be adapted to add scent. Making your own bubble wands out of pipe cleaners is just extra credit.

So here it is super simple. I added a few drops between 5-10 of essential oil or extract add more or less depending on the strength of the scent you want. That’s it. I added food coloring to just to make them look a little different liquid watercolors would have worked as well. You can also scent your bubbles by adding a packet of ¬†Kool-Aid to your bubble solution.

Looking to make it even more simple. Buy your bubbles and just add some essential oil, extract or Kool-Aid to your store bought bubbles.

Another easy way to add scent if you don’t want to go the essential oil/ extract route is to buy scented dish soap when making your bubbles.


Predict, Measure and Pour

While searching for something to do on a boring morning at home. I came up with a simple project that was fun and completely free.
Here is what you will need:
something to pour- we used birdseed, rice would work, beans, waterbeads etc.
A container to keep your pouring material in
empty clean jars/ containers in different sizes, shapes and so on
a measuring cup or spoon
funnel to make pouring easier on small containers
a bin to contain it all or a table cloth/ mat something to make clean up easier for you

Use a marker, rubber band, or washi tape to make a mark on the jar. Ask how many scoops to make it to that point? Then how many more to make it to the top?

We did this project outside. Just because I like doing projects like this outside it could easily be done inside. I had the kids predict how many scoops it would take to reach the top of each jar. These were all jars I had saved from around the house. Some were the same volume containers just in different shapes to fool the kids. We used a 1/2 cup measuring cup to measure and pour. The kids got better about predicting as we went on.

There is real learning going on in this simple, and fun activity. We talked about which bottle they thought would hold the most birdseed and which they thought would hold the least.

So what did they learn? They learned how to measure, how to make comparisons. How to make judgements based on prior knowledge and based on assumptions. They were also developing hand eye coordination all the while.

Have you ever done a similar project with your kids? What did you do and how did it go? Leave a comment I would love to hear about it.