Tag Archives: things to do with toddlers

Gracen Tested: Sparked Kids Discovery Kit

IMG 5277Last month, Gracen and I were lucky enough to receive a discovery kit from Sparked Kids Crafts.  If you haven’t heard of them before, Sparked Kids Crafts is a Vancouver Island-based subscription service that delivers educational art activities, science explorations, and imaginative play activities aimed at 3 to 7 year olds right to your doorstep.  Pretty cool, right?

IMG 5280Gracen was thrilled to receive a bright and beautiful package full of fun goodies and I was thrilled with how quickly it arrived and how professional the package looked.

IMG 5283Sparked discovery kits come with everything you need to complete several projects right there inside the box – markers, paper, pencils and instructions included!  Our kit was pirate-themed and came with four easy activities…  A folded paper pirate hat to make, a wooden treasure chest to decorate, a treasure map to create, and a popsicle stick parrot puppet to assemble.

IMG 5291Grae was super excited to get started and chose to make the paper pirate hat first (talk about taking me back to my childhood!)

IMG 5296Though the finished product wouldn’t quite stay on her head, for us, projects like these are all about the process.  We spent time together, we worked as a team, and we had fun together, and that’s what’s important.  If we wanted to, we could attach some sort of elastic easily enough and add the hat to her dress-up station for future imaginative play.

IMG 5299Next up, Gracen chose to decorate her treasure box.  At first she began adding splashes of colour here and there and then she requested that I draw some shapes for her to colour in.  She thought decorating a wooden box was a blast and I loved that Sparked had included high-quality crafting products for us to use.

IMG 5304While we haven’t had a chance to make our treasure map yet, there are already plenty of things I love about Sparked Kids Crafts…

1.  It’s a Canadian-based business (yay for supporting local!)

2.  It’s run by two moms, one a savvy mompreneur and the other a teacher (go moms!).

3.  The kits come with clear, easy-to-follow instructions.

4. The materials included are good quality.

5. The activities included are not at all intimidating, not even for those who claim they’re not crafty (I promise!)

6. A single discovery kit contains several activities, which if spaced out a little can easily keep you and your munchkin(s) creating all month long.

7. Each themed kit comes with it’s own enhancement activities and recommended reading list on the Discover More portion of the Sparked website.

Overall, I’d say that’s a lot of pluses for a fairly new small business, wouldn’t you?  In the interest of full honesty, the only thing I’d say is that I did find the activities in this particular kit to be a little… uninspired?  That sounds too harsh.  Perhaps ‘ordinary’ is a better word?  I’m not sure. Now, I’m not saying that the activities were not enjoyable, because they certainly were.  And truth be told, for the most part, kids don’t really care how unique or innovative an activity is, they’re just stoked that someone’s taking the time to sit down and create something with them.  I guess I just felt like the activities were mostly things that I could pull together on my own without too much planning, shopping, or prep work.  But then again, I’m an elementary school teacher, an owner of a handmade goods shop, and in general, someone who enjoys getting creative, so maybe that’s not a fair assessment. 

What I do think is that a Sparked Kids Craft subscription would be an amazing help to parents who are super busy, parents who don’t have the time/energy/inspiration to pull together crafts on their own, and parents who don’t consider themselves creative or crafty.  I also think a subscription would make an awesome gift, because truly, which child doesn’t love receiving mail?!



Sparked Kids Crafts has generously offered to gift a discovery kit to one lucky Canadian Mama.Papa.Bubba. winner.  The contest is open until Friday, March 29th and there are multiple ways to win (please be sure to leave a separate comment for each).

To enter to win a complimentary Sparked Kids Crafts discovery kit:

–> Visit their website and tell us one thing you like about Sparked Kids Crafts

-> ‘Like’ Sparked Kids Crafts on Facebook and come back here and leave a SEPARATE comment saying you did so (or previously did)

-> Follow Sparked Kids Crafts on Twitter and come back here and leave a SEPARATE comment saying you did so (or previously did)

-> Follow Sparked Kids Crafts on Pinterest and come back here and leave a SEPARATE comment saying you did so (or previously did)

–> ‘Like’ Mama.Papa.Bubba. on Facebook, come back here and leave a separate comment saying you did so (or previously did)


Obviously the more times you enter, the better your chances of winning. ☺  Don’t forget to leave your email address!  The winner will be announced on March 30th and contacted via email.  Good luck!!

For extra fun, like us on Facebook here and find us on Instagram here. 

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Animal Sink Bath

IMG 4828Since returning home from a long vacation 2 weeks ago, playing independently has been  a lot more difficult for Grae.  Instead of playing on her own, she wants to be right beside Mama {if not right on top of me} all. of. the. time.  When I explain that I need a little bit of personal space to get something done or encourage her to play, she responds with, “But Mama is the best…” or “But I just want to watch what you’re doing” or “But I LOOOOVE you!”  Oy.  It’s not easy.  

The one time she seems to be happy to play on her own right now is while I make dinner (thank goodness for that).  She often does puzzles, reads, or plays dress up, but tonight she set up one of her long time favourite games…  A sink bath for her animal friends.  She pulls up a stool, collects her sea creatures (sometimes it’s a baby or rubber ducks), and grabs a wash cloth while I fill up the sink with warm water, get out a squirt bottle or a sponge, and retrieve some soap or a little chunk of FUN.  Together we add a drop or two of food colouring to the water, and that’s it.  She plays and splashes and washes her animals in there for a good long time, and by the time she’s done, I usually have dinner on the table.  

A sink full of water… Who knew?  Works like magic every time.


Keep up with all the Mama.Papa.Bubba. fun, like us on Facebook here and find us on Instagram here.

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A {Kiwi Crate} Window Garden {& a Giveaway!}

A couple of weeks ago, Gracen and I attended an awesome Halloween-themed story time at Pottery Barn Kids.  (Who knew, right?  It happens every Tuesday at 11 a.m. for those of you who are in Vancouver.)  Afterwards, the kids got their Book Club passports stamped and were each {very generously} gifted a Kiwi Crate to take home.  

IMG 1857I’ve seen Kiwi Crates on a few of the blogs I read and I’ve always thought they were very neat, so I’m not sure who was more excited about the gift…Gracen or I.   (If you’ve never heard of them before, they’re basically little boxes that arrive to your door each month and are filled with all of the materials/instructions/inspiration needed for hands-on projects.  Some are science activities, some are arts and crafts, and some are geared towards imaginative play.) 

IMG 1861This afternoon we took out our crate, opened it up, and found all of the materials needed to put together a window garden.  Needless to say, my little gardening enthusiast was thrilled.

IMG 1865IMG 1903Included was a  clearly laid out instruction card complete with diagrams, and a sweet little observation booklet for Miss G to draw in. 

IMG 1868IMG 1871IMG 1878IMG 1877IMG 1885IMG 1888We carefully set up the garden, referring back to the instruction card after each step.  Gracen, Miss ‘Let’s Do a Project!’, loved it and took her work very seriously.

IMG 1892IMG 1896IMG 1897With the exception of really making sure the suction cups were stuck to the window and printing the words “mint” and “basil”, Grae was able to do everything on her own, which was lovely.

IMG 1898IMG 1900We now have a sweet little garden set up right in our living room and I can’t wait to help Grae water it each day and watch as our fresh herbs grow.  ☺

Because we enjoyed our Kiwi Crate so much, and I sincerely think they are a great way for parents and children to try new things together, I contacted Kiwi Crate and asked if they’d like to share the love with one of our readers.  And guess what? They do!  One Mama.Papa.Bubba. reader will receive a complimentary crate of their own, and will have the option of selecting a regular crate or one of the new holiday-themed crates.  

The contest is open until Monday, November 26th and there are multiple ways to win (be sure to leave a separate comment for each).


To enter to win a complimentary Kiwi Crate:

Leave a comment below telling me something you love to do with your kid(s).


For additional chances to win:

–> ‘Like’ Mama.Papa.Bubba. on Facebook, then come back and leave a second separate comment saying you did so (or that you had previously).

–> ‘Like’ Kiwi Crate on Facebook, then come back and leave an additional separate comment saying you did so (or that you had previously).

–> Sign up for Kiwi Crate’s fun-filled newsletter, then come back and leave an additional separate comment saying you did so.

–> Follow @jkossowanon Twitter, then come back and leave a separate comment saying you did so.

–> Tweet about the giveaway and leave an additional separate comment saying you did so.


Don’t forget to leave your email address!  The winner will be announced on November 27th and contacted via email.  Good luck!!

Kiwi crate did not ask me to write this post, nor did they compensate me to do so, but in the interest of full disclosure, I did sign up to be a part of their affiliate program.  This means that when Kiwi Crate products are purchased through the links i’ve provided, I get a small kickback from the company.

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