• The Playful Walnut Archive

    When I was a kid, I loved my Play-Doh. The scent alone was enough to inspire me to create anything, from the pizza topped with pretend pepperoni to a three-dimensional heart that made for a heart-felt Mother’s Day gift. So naturally, when I had kids of my own, I couldn’t wait to break out the good stuff and watch them sculpt away. In fact, some of my favorite moments of my now-fourth grader’s early days were seeing her make play food out of dough with my dad, the two of them with sleeves rolled up, working feverishly to outdo the other one’s creativity. Boy, have things changed. Since my daughter was in preschool, a whole slew of molding compounds have entered the scene: from ones [&hellip

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    Ah, the 1980s…the big hair, the acid-washed jeans, the legwarmers. If you grew up in this era, you’ll recall these signs of the time fondly…or wonder why the fashion police weren’t out to get you. I remember trying to make like Jennifer Beals and “flash-dancing” my beloved sweatshirt by chopping off the sleeves. Funny that I never looked as cool as she did (sigh…). One 80s trend that’s making a comeback is Bo-Po nail polish from Worx Toys. Maybe you tried it out at a friend’s sleepover or coveted a bottle of your own? It’s that Brush On, Peel Off (hence the name) polish that made application and removal a snap. Now it’s back for a new generation of mini make-up mavens, and with a [&hellip

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    How will you and your family be celebrating Earth Day? For starters, we’ll be filling up on water from the tap instead of stocking up on those fancy-schmancy bottles that come in super packs bigger than our car. We’re also gearing up to plant our annual garden, one that’s been on hiatus in the last few years but that we’re determined to start up again (can’t wait for that fresh mint scent that wafts through the open windows…). And naturally, we’ll be tuning into a special episode of WordGirl airing on PBS Kids, April 22nd (check your local listings for times). We like this show in general because it proves that reading is cool, even for superheroes. In honor of Earth Day, the show’s monthly [&hellip

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    Still looking for last-minute Easter basket stuffers? We’ve got some great suggestions that work for girls and boys, from a name that’s synonymous with creativity. New this spring, Crayola has introduced Chalk Grab ‘N Go Games, a line of classic games based on its colorful sidewalk chalk. If you’ve got kids, chances are you have a bucket of sidewalk chalk hiding somewhere in your garage, like we do. With these fun games, chalk extends its usefulness beyond hopscotch and sidewalk sketches into more active play. Each packaged game–Chip Shot Golf, Foot Hockey, Bean Bag Toss and Obstacle Course–contains all the tools needed to play, including four sticks of chalk. Not only are these games ideal for backyard play, but they pack easily for trips to [&hellip

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    As soon as spring break rolls around and my kids have been home bothering…ahem, spending time with me for a whole week, it makes me  realize that summer vacation is not too far away. I feel like we’ve gotten a bit of a jump-start on getting our summer gear, thanks to off-season swimming lessons, but still haven’t found a decent bag for toting all my kindergartner’s stuff…until now. PaddlePak is a water-resistant backpack for ages 2 and up that’s both pretty and practical. You can stash a wet suit or towel without worrying about ruining the fabric. A special roll-top seal keeps everything safe and secure, while the Trunki grip keeps sunglasses or water goggles within easy reach. Our favorite “de-tail” is the tail that [&hellip

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    Less than one week until Easter; are your baskets ready for stuffing? Gone are the days when I was a kid, and chocolate bunnies and jelly beans would suffice. Ever since the Easter Bunny has stepped things up a notch to include toys and other goodies, we’ve been on the hunt ourselves in search of fun favors. If you happen to have a new baby in the family this spring, you’ll want to make this Easter egg-stra special (and candy-free). We love the Squeakaboos line from Babalu. These brightly colored, soft plush rattles are sized just right for little hands. Babies can squeeze the handle to hear them squeak, and they can discover a jingly rattle and crinkly sound inside each character’s head. With eight [&hellip

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    Get a grip already, Mother Nature! What’s with the one nice day that taunts us with sunny skies and mild temps….only to be faced with tomorrow’s promise of cold rain and highs in the low 40s? It’s making everyone a little bit stir crazy, and I’m not just talking about the kids! Well, if there’s anything this erratic season is teaching us, it’s to seize the day and take advantage of the outdoors whenever the weather permits. Today was one of those days meant to spent outside, so after homework time, we happily hit the backyard to try out a new toy.  Nerf Sports Bash Ball is, hands down, the best excuse to play a game of catch, soccer, dodgeball…you name it. You may wonder, [&hellip

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    Happy April Fool’s Day! Have you played any pranks on your kids today? While we haven’t quite gotten our game on just yet, some other folks apparently have. Skip Hop is up to its old tricks, with the perfect gag gift for your favorite betting baby. Baby’s First Slot Machine is a playful nod to that little bundle of love that manages to take a big bite of your bank account each and every month. Now your little one can try her luck and see if she can win big…or at least, make a dent in her diaper budget. Three owls in a row that pay for a new pair of shoes? Now that’s a HOOT! We’ll just consider ourselves blessed that we get a [&hellip

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    We don’t know about you, but we’re having a hard time trying to get out of this winter rut. Sure, the calendar says spring, but it feels more like January. To help turn our thoughts to warmer weather, we decided to head to the beach…well, maybe not yet, but at least the sand and sea can inspire us to be creative. We had a chance to check out the Beach and Nature Company’s Ocean Charms Jewelry Making Kit, and loved what could be made in one afternoon, in any season. This all-included kit contains everything needed to make three cord necklaces that make for polished presents. The pre-measured plaster simplifies the design process, so you know exactly how much to use to make your charms. [&hellip

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    When it comes to favorite pigs, Miss Piggy will always be at the top of my famiy’s list. But coming in at a close second is none other than Peppa Pig, the precocious preschooler from across the pond whose everyday antics add up to a ton of fun. Both my girls enjoy her show on Nick Jr. (even if the 4th grader refuses to admit it!), as they tune in to find out what type of mischief (er, fun) Peppa and her brother George will get into this time. Now, for the first time in the U.S., Peppa makes her DVD debut with the just-released Peppa Pig: My Birthday Party, a compilation of 14 episodes that is pure piggie bliss. Whether they are be treated [&hellip

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