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The little book with BIG resources!

Family Vacations: Branson!

Good Evening, Friends!

Fellow parents – I feel like I need a VACATION from this Spring Break, am I right?! I’m, admitedly, a little jealous of our iFamilyKC Mom Squad team member, Erin’s recent trip to Branson where she had a FUN time hanging out with her kiddos! I never knew all of the exciting things you could do that are just a stone’s throw away from the metro area. Take a look…

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My family recently took a trip to Branson during spring break so I wanted to share with you some of the awesome things to do while vacationing with your own family in Branson!  Branson is full of so many cool shows, museums, fun themed restaurants and good ole fashioned family fun! It is the perfect place to take your kids for a long weekend or mini-vacation.  Here are some things we did while in Branson that I think you’ll enjoy.

  • Ride the Ducks – Actually military vehicles drive on land AND water! Highly entertaining! Disclaimer: They give the kids “quackers” these little whistle type things that were super fun for the kids. I tucked those in my bag rather quickly after the ride was over! The kids are given the chance to pilot the boat and earn an honorary captain’s license!
  • Titanic Museum – In my opinion this is a must do during a trip to Branson.  The museum is an actual ship hitting an iceberg!  Highly interactive for both adults and kids.  Many artifacts and interesting stories of passengers and their legacies.
  • Pasghetti’s Restaurant – Fun little place with good Italian food!  They have a mini-Ferris wheel and small arcade for a small fee.  You can’t miss the enormous spaghetti and meatball with a fork stuck in it at the entrance to Pasghetti’s!
  • The Butterfly Palace – Another must do for a trip to Branson! When you enter the aviary, you are given a hat, magnifying glass and a vial of nectar to attract butterflies to you!  We spent a long time watching the butterflies, identifying the different types and trying to catch them!
  • Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery – This is a FREE exhibit to check out on a nice day! They have large pools of trout and the kids have the opportunity to feed the fish.  An informative video is available on request.

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Money saving tips

Check out the Sunny Day guide for coupons to local restaurants and attractions

Buy discount tickets to Silver Dollar City at Country Mart

On the way to Branson, we stopped in Springfield to check out Fantastic Caverns and Lambert’s Cafe.  Fantastic Caverns is the only ride-through cave in America. It is well worth stopping in Springfield to see the beautiful formations and to hear the fascinating story behind it!  Lambert’s is “home of throwed rolls.” The food is home cooked and delicious and yes, they actually throw rolls to you while you eat!

Branson is a 3-4 hour drive from KC, depending on what area of town you live in.  I tried to make sure my kids had plenty to do while on the road like toys, books and activity books.  I happen to find an AWESOME road trip binder on Pinterest that I put together for my 6 year old daughter to do on the way.  It was super easy to make and I think she was more excited to do that than the actual vacation itself!!  Start with a simple three ring binder and you can find different worksheets online like Road Trip Bingo, mazes, road trip scavenger hunt.  You could even add a map of the route so your kids can follow along while you’re in the car.  

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to things to do in Branson. I know my family will be going back to Branson in the very near future to see and do more of the cool things the town has to offer!  Has your family been to Branson? What was your most favorite thing there?

From iFamily to Yours,

Erin

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Springtime Funtime Recipe: “Bunny Bait”

Hello, KC!

We’ve been spending a lot of time outside in our household learning about nature and about new life. From the budding blossoms to the little creatures that we’ve seen, it’s such a fun season to explore. What goes best with great seasonal activities?! Recipes! I am excited to share a fun recipe of “Bunny Bait” with you today from iFamilyKC Mom Squad blogger Stephanie. Take a look…

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I hope everyone had a great Easter – I know we did!! We have been so busy between church activities, family events, and Easter egg hunts I’m ready for a break!! With the kids being on Spring Break this week, we’ve been trying to come up with fun things to do and I stumbled across a really fun recipe for the whole family – and the best part is, the kids can (almost) do the whole thing themselves! (*I supervise the microwaving….and the taste testing ☺ )

The recipe is for “Bunny Bait” which is perfect for Easter! I’ve made some minor adjustments to the recipe I found online but I’m sure either way you choose to make it, it will be gone in minutes! (I ended up making 4 batches and was eating my weight in this stuff I had to take some to work to share with my coworkers before I ate the whole thing!)

What you’ll need:

Chex cereal (any kind!)

Pretzels (we used the twisted kind)

Popped popcorn (I liked the popcorn the best so I doubled the amount of popcorn)

White chocolate chips

Chocolate covered candies (M&Ms – we used the pastel/Easter colors)

Sprinkles

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Line a cookie sheet with tin foil and spread the cereal, pretzels, and popcorn evenly on the sheet. Then, melt white chocolate chips and pour over the mixture. Using a spatula or rubber scraper, toss the mixture around to evenly coat your cereal/pretzel/popcorn mixture. Let the chocolate cool a bit before tossing the chocolate covered candies and sprinkles into the mixture. Finally, try not to eat the whole batch in one sitting!!!

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I hope you enjoy this “Bunny Bait” as much as my family did! This will definitely be one of our go-to recipes for get-togethers. The best part of this mix is that you can change the colored candies and create a whole new creative batch (I’ve already been thinking of 4th of July using only red, white, and blue candies and Halloween using orange, green and black candies.)

Have a great week!

From iFamily to Yours,

Stephanie

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Children’s Mercy ADHD Summer Treatment Program (& Other Specialty Camps!)

Good Morning, Kansas City!

Spring is upon us here in the metro area and the warmer weather and short break from school are a not so gentle reminder that summer is right around the corner. Now is the ideal time to work on plans for your kiddos who will be taking a longer break from school in just a few short months and looking through camp options can feel a lot like sipping water from a firehose, especially when you have children who would benefit from a unique, specialized program like Children’s Mercy’s ADHD Summer Treatment Program.

Children come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and stages of development and those with ADHD can often feel isolated from their peers. The professionals over at Children’s Mercy understand that and have designed an award-winning, comprehensive program that is specialized for behavioral, emotional and learning problems often associated with ADHD. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Carla Allan over at Children’s Mercy about their specialized summer program and what it means for kids with ADHD. Take a look…


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Many of us are aware of what ADHD stands for but can you tell us a little bit about what having ADHD means for children?

Dr. Allan: “By definition, children with ADHD struggle to pay attention and regulate their behavior. These difficulties make it hard for kids with ADHD to get through daily routines and complete tasks efficiently without adult support, which can, for example, wreak havoc on the morning routine and independent seatwork at school. In addition, children with ADHD are often delayed in the development of social skills, which makes it hard for them to make and keep friends. Recreational activities can be challenging. Kids often tell me that they feel as though they are the only one with these problems, that they cannot do anything right, or that things are easier for others. It is particularly important to protect the self esteem and love of learning for a child with ADHD.”

How does having ADHD impact the way a child learns in a traditional school environment?

Dr. Allan: “Traditional school environments can be difficult for many children, not just those with ADHD because of recent shifts in educational policy that have reduced the amount of time that kids get to “just be kids” at school. Reduced recess time, shorter lunches, less time in art, music and physical education, coupled with an increase in preparation time for standardized testing, are especially troublesome trends for kids with ADHD. These children do best with hands on, experiential learning that is presented in chunks that take shorter attention spans into account. In addition, kids with ADHD may do better in environments that permit fidgeting as it may serve to activate their brains to persist in tasks that require sustained mental effort. Lastly, kids with ADHD do best in environments that provide frequent feedback about performance, coupled with rewards for good behavior. With larger classroom sizes and longer to-do lists, it is increasingly difficult for many teachers to create this type of classroom, even if they are highly motivated to do so (and most teachers are).”

How does the Children’s Mercy ADHD Summer Treatment Program help to prepare students for the upcoming school year?

Dr. Allan: “It offers something more than medication to help improve functioning in the places it matters most: at home, at school, and with friends. Children receive 360 hours of behavioral therapy in the Summer Treatment Program, which is the equivalent of over 7 years of traditional 1 hour/week outpatient therapy. Every child has their own individualized treatment plan that includes academic interventions that take place in our classroom (2 hours per day, taught by certified teachers), social skills instruction, and sports skills instruction. Every child has their own counselor that serves as their own personal cheerleader/coach. We run a weekly parent group so that the results can better extend to other settings, such as the child’s home and school. At the end of the program, we provide parents with recommendations about the types of academic accommodations that seem to help their child the most to ease communication with school personnel. Lastly, if indicated, developmental pediatricians conduct medication consultations that optimize the medication management of ADHD. Taken together, the Summer Treatment Program offers a powerful package of evidence-based approaches for ADHD that is difficult to replicate. We are proud to be one of only 15 Summer Treatment Program sites around the world!”

What does a typical day look like for campers enrolled in the Summer Treatment Program?

Dr. Allan: “It looks like fun! Even though the day is packed with evidence-based treatment, it feels like a traditional camp to kids, who receive rewards and praise throughout the day as they develop new friendships.”

What advice can you give to parents who are considering enrolling their children in this unique program?

Dr. Allan: “Take a look at our website to learn more and make the determination about whether or not the program is right for your family. I would encourage interested parents to review some of our recent media coverage from Fox 4 and The Kansas City Star that highlight success stories from the perspective of our children and families.”

So, what exactly can families expect with this program? With two hours in a classroom followed by recreational group activities, the program provides in-depth treatments in a fun setting, allowing kids to enjoy summer and grow with other kids just like them. They’ll receive individualized attention from medical professionals who specialize in ADHD while enjoying a summer to remember. Designed for children 6-14 years old, the ADHD Summer Treatment Program will take place June 6th through July 29th from 8am-5pm daily at the Kansas City Christian School in Prairie Village.

In addition to running Children’s Mercy’s ADHD summer  treatment program, some members of the staff also provide medical services at a variety of other programs that combine medical treatment and fun across the metro area this year including Camp ChiMer, a free camp for kids with Kidney Disease, Camp Joint Adventures for children with Juvenile Arthritis, Centerview Food Allergy Management for students with food allergies, and many, many more that you can find through the “Specialty Summer Camps” section of the CMH Moms page.

With so many options for children and families of all ages and stages, there is no shortage of camp options for your kids this year! Visit the Children’s Mercy Moms page online, on Facebook, and on Twitter for more helpful information on activities and resources designed to make your life easier!

From iFamily to Yours,

Holli & The iFamilyKC Team

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Join The KC Chiefs Kids Club TODAY!

Hey, KC!
Woah! It’s that time of the year again – the time of year where we’re about to experience some REALLY FUN events for families all throughout the metro area and, trust me, you do NOT want to miss out on the chance to get into the KC Chiefs Kids Club where you’ll get EXCLUSIVE access to some pretty amazing things. Take a look…

Join the KC Chiefs Kids Club today and receive invites to these FREE events!

One-time fee of only $20 + $4.99 shipping and handling!
Once you sign your child(ren) up for the Chiefs Kids Club, they are considered a member until their 15th birthday. No renewal required!However, if they’d like to receive the new Chiefs kit full of merchandise, you may re-register at any time throughout the year, or each season as you wish, and pay the $20 fee. A new kit will then be mailed.

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We can’t wait to see all of your smiling faces at Arrowhead this year!

From iFamily to Yours,

Holli & The iFamilyKC Team

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iFamilyKC Kids Club Recap: Hands On History

Good Afternoon, Kansas City!

As many of you know, iFamilyKC is proud to offer our readers events across the metro area each month as part of our {FREE} iFamilyKC Kids Club. These events not only give us the opportunity to get to know you better but they also give YOU the opportunity to get to know some of the very best that this city has to offer to families. This past Saturday we had the opportunity to host one of our exclusive events at the National World War I Museum & Memorial where guests had the chance to get their hands on history – literally! Take a look…

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When I first visited the World War I museum in 2015, I was taken aback by the incredible artifacts, the attention to detail, and the amazing history that live within the walls of the museum. History tells us where we came from and, more importantly, serves as a reminder of where we don’t want to go again. On Saturday, we had the opportunity to, once again, visit the museum for a very special Hands on History session at our iFamilyKC Kids Club event. These sessions, which ran all day, served just over 100 participants and served as an incredible opportunity for guests to learn more about the first war that impacted the globe.

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During the event, attendees were given the opportunity to learn about the war from real artifacts from the era. These pieces tell the story of the men who served from different countries during the war and the lives that these soldiers lived. From shaving kits to early grenades and everything in between, it was truly fascinating to learn about how each object served a unique purpose during World War I.

The museum offers these sessions, just like what our guests experienced, every Saturday at 11:00am where your kids can learn about why World War I is such an important part of history. I am excited to announce a very special event coming to the museum on Saturday April 19th. I know my family plans to be there and I hope that yours does, too!

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From iFamily to Yours,

Holli & The iFamilyKC Team

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Step Inside: {FREE} Pass for Just Between Friends! Good 3/24 ONLY!

Good Evening, Kansas City!
I am SO thrilled to share a special FREE admission coupon to the Just Between Friends sale good for TOMORROW (March 24th). If you’ve never been to a JBF sale before, you’re in for a treat. These consignment sales are the perfect opportunity to get amazing discounts on the necessities your kiddos will need this spring & summer. We can’t wait to hear all about what you were able to get at this sale so be sure to check in with us and let us know how much you saved after you go! Take a look…
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Get in FREE Thur March 24th when you register at this LINK!

Just Between Friends
Shawnee Consignment Sale!

at the Overland Park Convention Center

6000 College Blvd. Overland Park, KS 66211

HOURS this week:
Thur, March 24th: 9am-8pm $2 admission, FREE with this ticket!
Fri, March 25th: 9am-7pm, FREE admission • 7pm-10pm Prime Time 50% Off Presale, with $10 admission
Sat, March 26th: 9am-2pm, FREE admission & HALF PRICE DAY!!

Come to OPENING DAY for the BEST SELECTION
and FREE ADMISSION when you register:

Click HERE to register!

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Happy Shopping!

From iFamily to Yours,

Holli & The iFamilyKC Team

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Easter Traditions & Your Family

Good Afternoon, Friends!

Easter is almost here and I’d be willing to bet that your kids are VERY excited (my 5 year old can’t stop talking about it!). Today we’re hearing from iFamilyKC Mom Squad blogger Emily on Easter traditions. Take a look…

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One of my favorite traditions as a child on Easter was the Easter Egg Hunt. Usually, it turned into several hunts. We would start our tradition the night before Easter. Our parents would buy each one of us a dozen eggs. We would compete to dye the perfect egg. There would be stickers, glitter, tattoos, and drawings in crayon. They would go straight into the refrigerator for Easter. After a morning full of Easter Bunny treats and attending church dressed head to toe in white ruffles, it was finally time for the egg hunt! The first Easter Egg Hunt consisted of plastic eggs filled with treats. The adults would gather us into a room to keep us busy while another one planted the eggs. As children, there was never a limit on the amount of eggs we could collect. The race was on! We trampled each other and searched high and low for the plastic eggs. They would be filled with candies, small toys, and coins. Sometimes, the eggs would be filled with small papers that had prizes written on them. After the hunt was over, we enjoyed our treats. But we were eager to hunt some more. The afternoon would be filled with multiple egg hunts. We would use our painted eggs and the plastic eggs (without the candy of course) to create our own egg hunts for each other. My memories are so appealing that I love continuing the traditions with my own family. Below you will find variations that we have tried or plan to add as our daughter grows.

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Glow-in-the-Dark: This Easter Egg Hunt is perfect for our fenced in yard. Be sure to have a safe location if you add this to your family Easter traditions. Break several glow in the dark bracelets until they glow. Stick one bracelet in each egg and snap it shut. Hide the eggs and enjoy watching your little ones find the glowing eggs!

Single Color: Assign each child one color egg to search for. This is perfect for families with multiple children or those that want to ensure each child receives the same amount of treats.

Scavenger Hunt: Place eggs strategically around the yard. Give each participant a card with instructions to find a specific amount of each of the colored eggs.  The first person (or team) to complete all the clues wins a prize.

Balloon Hunt: Tie helium balloons to each egg to make eggs easier to find for small children.

Clue Eggs: place one egg in plain sight with the first clue. The clue will help your child find the next egg. The clues should lead to a prize. This would be great to use in the morning to lead your children to their Easter basket!

From iFamily to Yours,

Emily M.

EmilyM_iFamilyKC_MomSquad


All Aboard Midland Railway’s Easter Train!

Good Afternoon, Friends!

What a weekend – Easter is NEARLY here and our family hasn’t gone to see the bunny himself yet (shocking, I know!) BUT I think I might knock out two birds with one stone tomorrow and do an egg hunt and Easter Bunny visit in one fell swoop. iFamilyKC Mom Squad blogger Stephanie took a ride on Midland Railway’s Easter Train this morning and had so much fun that I’m feeling inspired to go, too! We have an EXCLUSIVE code you can use if you decide to go that will save you $2/ticket using IFAMILYKC16 at checkout. Take a look…

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Today I had the pleasure of taking my family to Baldwin City, KS for the Easter Egg Hunt on the Midland Railway! If you’ve never been on a train ride, this is the perfect little railroad – not too long, super friendly staff and full of fun history.

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The kids were super excited to see a “real life conductor!” This is before the train departed and the conductor telling us some fun history about the train!

We started our day getting our tickets at the “ticket station” which the kids thought was super cool! There are only so many people allowed on each train (75, I believe!) so you are guaranteed to feel special and not just a number! We handed our tickets over to one of the staff members who showed us to our seats and away we went! On our way to the field/park where the eggs were hidden, each family was taken to a separate train car to see the Easter bunny!

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We were the last family to get our pictures taken and as each family walked by, my 2 year-old Emmaleigh was very jealous of the suckers the other kids had received from the Easter bunny. She was super excited to see him…. Until it was our turn and then she wanted nothing to do with him haha!!

They have a professional photographer to take pictures and offer great deals on their photo packages. You are also allowed to take your own pictures with a camera/cell phone. The photographer does a great job trying to get the kids to laugh/smile and is super patient –  which is especially nice when there are multiple children!!

After we got our pictures taken, it was time to exit the train for the egg hunt! There are three separate roped off areas broken down into age groups (ages 0-3, 4-7, and 7-12.) Each egg hunt advertises that there are over 1,000 eggs to be found – with 2 special golden eggs!! These special golden eggs are the key to receiving a special pre-made Easter basket with a $15 Fandago movie gift card!!

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As you can see from these pictures, everyone seemed to be having a good time! As soon as it was announced to begun looking for eggs, all the kids were running around trying to snatch up as many eggs as they could!

While we didn’t find the special golden eggs, the kids still had a blast!! Inside each egg was candy, free coupons from local sponsors (such as Mr Goodcents, Subway and Sonic) as well as a “see the conductor” prize slip!! We ended up getting 2 special conductor prizes and 3 free cookies from Subway!

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The kids were super excited about all the candy and they were hoping to find some cool prizes, too!! I think they were most excited to eat the candy though!!

Overall, this was super fun day and everyone is exhausted! I would definitely recommend taking your family out to ride the train and see all the fun stuff at Midland Railway!! They have a bunch of events coming up from a Thomas and Friends event over the summer to Holiday train rides later this year. Be sure to check out their Facebook page and website to keep up to date on all the fun things they offer throughout the year!

From iFamily to Yours,

Stephanie

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{Enter To Win} Disney On Ice Tickets!

Happy Friday, Folks!

I am SO excited to share an AWESOME enter to win + exclusive discount code for Disney On Ice! Celebrating 100 years of magic, our friends over at Disney do it right with their amazing shows sure to please audiences of all ages! We hope that you’ll join us for this magical adventure at Sprint Center next week. Take a look…

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Go to iFamilyKC toEnter2WIN
a family 4 pack of tickets

OR

Buy now and SAVE $5 on each ticket
for Disney on Ice 100 Years of Magic!

$5 OFF with code: IFAMILYKC

Exclusively for iFamilyKC readers!

Click HERE and type the code into the
“Promotional Offers” box on the performance of your choice
Valid on non-premium seats
Due to demand,
they’ve added a 3pm Show for Friday March 25th!

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Good luck, everybody!

From iFamily to Yours,

Holli & The iFamilyKC Team

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Non-Traditional Easter Basket Fun: Ideas For Bunny Baskets!

Hello, friends!

It feels like we just got past the winter holidays and Easter is already upon us. Like many of you, I struggle with ideas for what to put in my daughter’s basket each year and, since we try to steer clear of candy, this year is especially difficult for me to come up with ideas. I’m so glad that we have Stephanie on board as one of our iFamilyKC Mom Squad bloggers. Stephanie has come up with some fabulous ideas that you can use this year to fill those Easter baskets. Take a look…

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It is hard to believe that Easter is right around the corner! With that being said, I’m sure we’ve all seen the ridiculous amounts of Easter candy lining the store shelves everywhere we go, seen the numerous Easter egg hunts advertised around town for the little ones, and began planning Easter festivities with family and friends. One thing I struggle with every year is what to put in the kid’s Easter baskets!!

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This is my oldest son’s basket. I found all this great stuff at the Dollar Tree! Glow sticks, stickers, sidewalk chalk, painting craft kit… tons of stuff to keep an active 6-year-old busy – for at least a few minutes 😉

My kids are so spoiled every year with candy out the wazoo from school, grandparents, and community egg hunts. Because I love my children, I try to help them out by assisting/taste testing the candy but you can only eat so much candy…. ☺

 

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These are the girl’s baskets… they are 4 and 2 so naturally the 2 year old loves everything her big sister likes! I got each girl some stickers, glow sticks, bubbles, hair bows and painting craft kits.

This year, I’ve scoured the internet (ok, mostly Pinterest!) to find some of the best Easter basket fillers that don’t involve candy. A lot of these items can be found at the dollar store (which is probably one of my favorite places to shop!) Check out my list and feel free to add your own ideas in the comments below to share with our readers and give them some great ideas!

  1. Play Doh
  2. Stickers
  3. Rubber stamps
  4. Crayons/markers
  5. Coloring books/activity books
  6. Bubbles
  7. Clothes
  8. Books
  9. Stuffed animals
  10. Craft kits
  11. Puzzles
  12. Sidewalk chalk
  13. Jump ropes
  14. Water guns
  15. Kites
  16. Hair bows/accessories
  17. Cars/trucks (such as Hot Wheels)
  18. Board games
  19. Building blocks (such as Legos)
  20. Movies  

From iFamily to Yours,

Stephanie

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