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shark week playdate - free banner printable, chumming for sharks yogurt recipe, shark bait recipe, link to popcorn bucket printable and tons of other shark week ideas

Shark Week Playdate and Free Printables

We had our friends over for a playdate during shark week, so I of course used it as an excuse to have a fun, shark themed get together. I love little events like this because it allows me to be crafty and creative without all the work and stress of a full-blown party. I didn’t start making stuff or preparing until Monday (our friends came over on Wednesday) so this is totally do-able for busy or last-minute moms. 🙂

DECORATIONS

I started out like I always do, searching Pinterest for ideas and free printables. I found some really cute stuff to use as well as some fun ideas. I didn’t see anything I could use for a banner though, so I made one myself. I think it turned out really cute and I always feel like a banner makes the table look complete. You can download the free banner printable by clicking HERE. Just cut it out, punch holes in the corners and run string through it. Lately I have been using blue painters tape to hang up my banners then covering the tape up with cute washi.

shark week letterboard idea

I also used my letterboard for the occasion. It was a bit of a challenge creating the shark fin, but I love how it turned out.

SNACKS

Chumming for Sharks Yogurt

chumming for sharks yogurt - perfect healthy snack or breakfast for shark week or a shark birthday

I wanted to have a few snacks with at least one healthy option, but most of the ideas on Pinterest were not very healthy. Usually I am all about desserts, but we have been making an effort to eat healthier lately so I came up with my own snack idea by combining a few ideas from Pinterest. We ended up making chumming for sharks yogurt. The kids helped me make these, which was a lot of fun. To make these you will need the following:

  • Granola (optional)
  • Greek Yogurt (we used vanilla)
  • Blue food coloring (you only need a few drops)
  • Frozen Strawberries in Sugar (we bought this from the frozen section of the grocery store)
  • Plastic Cups
  • Mini spoons
  • Grey construction paper (to make shark fins)
  • Glue gun

We added a little bit of granola to the bottom of the cups, put a few drops of blue food coloring into the yogurt, scooped the yogurt into the cup, then topped it with the chum (the frozen strawberries). I explained to the boys that chum is what they dump in the water to attract sharks and then what do you know, a few sharks showed up and jumped right into our bowls. 😉 The kids loved it! I free hand cut out shark fins out of grey construction paper and glued them onto mini spoons. I also used a few sharks left over from the adorable popcorn buckets I made using a printable from My Printly.

Shark Bait

shark bait popcorn snack is easy, delicious, and perfect for shark week or a shark party

Of course, I had to do one sweet treat, so I made shark bait. It was so delicious and all the little sharks ate it up super fast! I spent Tuesday night driving from store to store searching for shark gummies. I feel like I always see them until the time I need them, then they vanished. I found gummy bears, worms, snakes, octopus, frogs, dinosaurs, alligators and lions! Literally every gummy animal ever made except sharks! Then I thought, why would sharks want to eat sharks, and decided that putting them in my shark bait didn’t make sense anyways. That is when I came up with the goldfish idea. Sharks love eating fish, especially delicious sweet ones. They have so many fun flavors now too that you could use, but I must say, the s’mores goldfish were perfect in this recipe. To make the shark bait you will need the following:

  • Sea Salt Air Popped Popcorn
  • Ghiradelli White Chocolate Chips
  • Blue M&Ms
  • S’mores Goldfish Crackers

I put wax paper on a cookie sheet, spread out my popcorn, sprinkled in goldfish and m&ms, then drizzled the melted white chocolate over it. I put it in the fridge until it cooled then broke it apart and put it in the cutest popcorn buckets from My Printly. These were so perfect for our playdate and I have been refilling the containers with shark bait all week so the boys can munch on it while watching Shark Week.

Ocean Water

ocean water - blue gatorade with a swedish fish makes an easy and fun drink for shark week or a shark party

For drinks, I kept it simple with blue Gatorade and a swedish fish on each straw.

ACTIVITIES

Shark Sensory Bin

shark sensory bin

I set up a shark sensory bin. What I love most about sensory bins is that they don’t always have to be fancy. I didn’t have time to buy anything (and to be honest didn’t really want to spend a bunch of money) so I just used what we already had. A bag of glass circle vase fillers, water and plastic sharks. That’s it! And you know what, the kids loved it and played with it for quite a while. Sometimes, I think we as moms get caught up in making everything Pinterest worthy, but kids don’t need much to have fun. They were getting so creative and having the best time! When you give kids water activities, you usually can’t go wrong.

Shark Slime

shark slime - perfect activity for shark week

We also made shark slime. For our first attempt, the day before the playdate, we tried to use a non-borax recipe, but the slime was so sticky. I watched a bunch of you tube videos and started adding everything they recommended for sticky slime, but nothing helped. So my hubby bought borax and like magic our sticky bowl of blue goop turned into slime. When our friends came over, we made a second batch using the borax recipe and it worked great. The kids loved playing with their sharks in the slime! I used this recipe to make the slime.

Shark Play Doh Mats

shark week playdoh mats free printables

I also had a little play doh station with our shark week playdoh mats, some playdoh and some cutters. My boys had already done this activity earlier in the week and the kids were all having so much fun with the other activities that we didn’t get to this. You can check the play doh mats out here.

Shark Cutting and Tracing Activity

free printable - shark cutting and tracing practice

I also made a fun little printable for Hudson. I printed one out and had it laminated so it could be used as a tracing exercise. Both boys had fun with that. Then I printed one out on regular paper so Hudson could also use it for cutting. Hudson loves cutting so this was perfect for him. You can get the printable HERE. *Graphics were purchased from Prettygrafik Design.

CRAFTS

I had a few crafts to do that I found on Pinterest, but we didn’t get to those either. Good thing shark week lasts an entire week so we can fit in all the fun we planned.

Clothespin Sharks

clothespin shark craft for shark week

I let each of the kids select one craft from Pinterest. Hudson chose clothespin sharks from Kix. This wasn’t an ideal craft for my kids’ ages so I pretty much ended up making these, but the kids did love playing with them.

Toilet Paper Roll Sharks and Paper Towel Roll Hammerhead Sharks

Luc chose to make paper toilet roll sharks. The one he selected was a regular shark, but his favorite shark is the hammerhead so I got really excited when I found a paper towel roll hammerhead shark on Pinterest. We are planning to make both, but so far have only completed phase one. I will update this once we finish the project.

Shark Hats

shark hats perfect for shark week

I was also planning to make shark hats, but the hats we selected required an obscure paper size in numerous colors that was not readily available (please tell me I am not the only one who spends tons of time driving from store to store looking for seemingly basic craft supplies that are actually impossible to find). Luckily, one of my friends, Danielle, from Mama Life Inspiration, who is an awesome blogger, posted an adorable shark hat idea. So we ended up making those instead and the boys had tons of fun finger painting their shark fins and tails. Of course they also loved running around in their shark hats. For more details on the hats and for the link to the shark fin hat template click here. Danielle also has a bunch of other fun shark week ideas on her blog so be sure to take a look.

As you can see, we squeezed a whole lot of Shark Fun into one week. My boys just love sharks so much that I couldn’t help myself and went a little overboard. You could easily pick just a few of these ideas to make your shark week a bit more fun.

I hope you have a fin-tastic Shark Week!!

north pole breakfast for elf on the shelf arrival

North Pole Breakfast 2016

This has to be one of my favorite holiday traditions. It is such a fun way to celebrate the arrival of our elf, Jingle Bell. Every year he arrives the first Saturday of December and we have a fun and festive breakfast to kick off the holiday season.

north pole breakfast for elf on the shelf arrival

This year, I tried a few new things from Pinterest. I made reindeer donuts, which we all loved! I had been wanting to make these the past few years, but Hudson couldn’t eat the chocolate donuts until this year so I knew these were a must! They were so easy and so cute. You just add m&ms for the nose, pearlized sprinkles for the eyes and pretzels for the antlers. (Total 5 star copycatable rating).

reindeer donuts for north pole breakfast

I also made stacked donut snowmen, which were cute, but I’m not sure that I would make them again. I’m kind of a semi-plan/mostly fly by the seat of my pants at the last minute kind of gal and these were just a bit too much work for a last minute project. You use two different sizes of powdered donuts and powdered donut holes to make the snowmen. My grocery store didn’t have powdered donut holes, so I bought glazed and covered them in powdered sugar. (well, I actually accidentally covered them in flour first, ooops, then attempted to brush them off and re-cover them with powdered sugar). Then you add pretzel sticks for the arms. (so far so good). For the hats, I bought chocolate wafers from the ice cream section and Godiva chocolates. The original recipe called for chocolate cordial cherries, but I couldn’t find those and don’t really like cherries, so I figured I couldn’t go wrong with Godiva. I attached the chocolates to the wafers with some frosting (still going good). Then I attached the hats to the tops of the snowmen. I cut a sliver off each donut hole to make the tops flat, which also helped the hats to stick. Then came time to make the faces. This is where things went downhill. The instructions said to use black decorating icing – not the gel kind – but of course, my grocery store only had gel so that is what I used. It did not stick! I didn’t even attempt the orange frosting noses and stuck orange tic tacs in instead and after struggling with three snowmen, I decided they didn’t need faces. haha. (I would say this is a 3 star copycatable rating for a few reasons-it required a lot of ingredients, a lot of assembly, and the faces were very challenging. In all fairness, I didn’t exactly follow the recipe, so maybe next year I will plan ahead better and give it another try). The good news is that the kids loved them so at least my effort was rewarded.

snowmen donuts at north pole breakfast for elf on the shelf arrival

I also did my usual strawberry banana santa hats and north pole donut tower.

north pole breakfast for elf on the shelf arrival santa hats made with bananas, strawberries and mini marshmallows

Every year, Jingle Bell brings the kids gifts, writes a welcome letter and puts out a matching sign. (these usually can be found on pinterest, but I couldn’t find a new one this year so I made my own. I actually loved this because I was able to tie in the color of my table, which usually clashes with all the Christmas green.)

north pole breakfast welcome letters from elf on the shelf

north pole breakfast welcome letters from elf on the shelf

Jingle Bell brought Hudson pajamas and an activity book and he brought Luc a collection of elf on the shelf books.

gifts at north pole breakfast - elf on the shelf pajamas and coloring book

north pole breakfast gift from elf

Luc said he didn’t like Jingle Bell, but he loved the donuts! Hudson loved everything about the breakfast (he shares my love of holidays and sweets!). It was such a fun morning!

north pole breakfast elf on the shelf arrival

Click here to download my free printable so you can have your own North Pole Breakfast! 🙂

north pole breakfast free printable for elf on the shelf arrival

north pole breakfast with free printable for elf on the shelf arrival

elf on the shelf idea north pole breakfast for arrival

Elf on the Shelf 2015

I shared our 2014 adventures with Jingle Bell on the blog a few days ago and today I am back with a look at 2015. Year one, we were so excited and over the top. Year two, we had a few ideas and plans and a whole lot of half-asleep “dang, we forgot about the elf” moments. I’m sure many of you can relate. 😉 The great thing about little kids, though, is that they don’t care. They were just as excited about the elf being in a stocking as they were about their elf ziplining down a string of lights. It really is just so magical and fun to be experiencing all of this through our kid’s eyes.

elf on the shelf ideas - a month of ideas - some really easy ones and some more elaborate ones

Our elf arrived again on the first Saturday of December for our North Pole Breakfast. We had powdered donuts, strawberry/banana santa hats and an apple candy cane. Jingle Bell wrote each of the boys a note again and brought little presents. 

elf on the shelf idea north pole breakfast for elf's arrival

elf on the shelf ideas north pole breakfast welcome letter and presents

elf on the shelf ideas north pole breakfast welcome letter

On Day 2 (12/6),  Jingle Bell went ziplining down our Christmas lights

elf on the shelf ideas ziplining from the lights

On Day 3 (12/7), Jingle Bell covered our tree with holiday underwear from Gap and Gymboree, which Hudson of course thought was hilarious.  elf on the shelf ideas new christmas underwear decorating the christmas tree

 

On Day 4 (12/8), Jingle Bell was in a stocking.

elf on the shelf idea in the stocking

On Day 5 (12/9), Jingle Bell took a marshmallow bath and brought the boys bath crayons and fizzy bath tablets to encourage them to stop being so smelly and bathe once in a while. 😉

elf on the shelf idea marshmallow bath with gifts for bath time fun

On Day 6 (12/10), JB put on a fancy suit and took Hudson’s car for a drive.

elf on the shelf idea date night tux and car ride

On Day 7 (12/11), Jingle Bell ended up taped to the wall with elf bandaids.

elf on the shelf idea elf bandaids

On Day 8 (12/12), JB was hiding in our living room light.

easy elf on the shelf idea hiding in the light

On Day 9 (12/13), JB brought a felt snowman to play with

elf on the shelf idea do you wanna build a snowman felt snowman activity

On Day 10 (12/14), JB brought toothbrushes and toothpaste and made a smiley face on the mirror with the toothpaste.

elf on the shelf idea toothpaste smile on the mirror and gifts of toothbrushes, toothpastes and teether brushes

On Day 11 (12/15), JB was reading the Night Before Christmas and brought wrapped books for each day leading up to Christmas.

elf on the shelf idea wrapped books countdown to christmas

On Day 12 (12/16), Jingle Bell reminded us of the reason for the season by bringing us a little people manger (this was purchased from Amazon)

elf on the shelf idea remember the reason for the season little people nativity scene gift

On Day 13 (12/17), we found JB in a decorative bowl of cherries on the table.

elf on the shelf idea life is like a bowl of cherries

On Day 14 (12/18), Jingle Bell was hanging from snowflakes.

elf on the shelf idea just hanging around

On Day 15 (12/19), Jingle Bell  hid the snowballs that were a huge hit the year before around the house. (snowballs were purchased on Amazon) The boys absolutely love these snowballs and they love scavenger hunts so this one was a huge hit!

elf on the shelf idea scavenger hunt for snowballs

On Day 16 (12/20), we found Jingle Bell with his very own Mickey Ears on. Hud accidentally touched Jingle Bell while grabbing his own Mickey Ears, so we whipped up Santa’s magical recovery kit, sprinkled on some magic dust and prayed Jingle Bell would be back the next day.

elf on the shelf idea mickey ears for your elf

elf on the shelf idea for when you accidentally touch your elf - elf magical recovery dust and recovery kit

elf on the shelf idea for when you accidentally touch your elf - elf magical recovery dust and recovery kit

elf on the shelf idea for when you accidentally touch your elf - elf magical recovery dust and recovery kit

On Day 17 (12/21), Jingle Bell was back, sitting on our new tree, with a certificate of health. Whew!

elf on the shelf idea for when you accidentally touch your elf - elf certificate of health after using magical recovery dust, recovery kit

On Day 18 (12/22), Jingle Bell was having a rest in our guest bedroom with one of Luc’s blankies.

elf-on-shelf-day-18

On Day 19 (12/23), Jingle Bell brought light up light sabers (Target dollar section) and he had his very own elf-sized light saber lollipop with a sign that read “May the Holiday Force be with you”

elf on the shelf idea may the holiday force be with you lightsabers and lightsaber lollipop

elf on the shelf idea may the holiday force be with you lightsabers and lightsaber lollipop

On Day 20 (12/24), Jingle Bell said good-bye and headed off the the North Pole.

elf on the shelf idea goodbye letter

Links:

Elf on the Shelf Breakfast Printables

Elf on the Shelf North Pole Breakfast – 2013

FREE Elf on the Shelf Notes

 

Disney Frozen Elf on the Shelf Free Printable

Elf on the Shelf Magical Recovery Kit

 

 

elf on the shelf idea north pole breakfast

Elf on the Shelf 2014

Happy December everyone. It seems like a lot of elves are arriving today, but ours doesn’t arrive until Saturday, so in the meantime,  I thought I would share our past elf adventures. I was a bit unsure of the elf craze when my sister-in-law asked if we could get one for our nephew as a Christmas present. I didn’t understand why a mischievous elf who make messes all over your house, watches your children and reports back to Santa. It seemed a bit hypocritical if you ask me. Because of that, I was leaning more towards an activity advent calendar, but I bought one for my nephew and picked one up for Hudson too, then we skipped the whole thing because we decided Hudson was too young. The following year, when Hudson was two,  we decided to give the elf thing a try. I actually was really happy we decided to go with the elf instead of the calendar because the possibilities are endless. Our elf can suggest activities, bring small gifts, or just create a bit of holiday magic. As the kids get older, my goal is to have our elf help encourage us to do more and more for others, but for now, we are trying to keep things light and fun (and not too mischievous). Our elf has been a lot of fun for the whole family and I’m sure it will become a beloved tradition in our home. Below are our adventures with our elf from 2014 along with links to all the printables still available that I used. 🙂 

month of elf on the shelf ideas for toddlers with links to tons of printables
Since we were out of town, our elf arrived on December 6th, 2014. He started things off with a bang. He hosted a North Pole Breakfast complete with Snowman donuts, strawberry/banana santa hats, banana/blueberry snowmen, and an apple candy cane. Our elf also brought Hud’s favorite, balloons. The elf wrote each of the boys a note. Hud was most excited about the balloons and snowman “cupcakes” (donuts), but he eventually calmed down enough to listen to the book and realize that his elf was sitting on the table. Did I mention the kid who is allergic to everything and never eats sweets got to eat powdered donuts?! 🙂 We asked Hud what our elf should be called and he gave us his standard, “yeah” answer. So we started listing tons of options. Jingle Bells is Hudson’s favorite Christmas song so as soon as I suggested that one his eyes lit up and he said Jingle Bell. I asked if we should call him Jingle, he sternly said no. Then I said what about Jingle Bells, again he said no, Jingle Bell. So Jingle Bell it is. 

elf on the shelf idea north pole breakfast

elf on the shelf idea north pole breakfast donuts and strawberry banana santa hats

elf on the shelf idea north pole breakfast

elf on the shelf ideas north pole breakfast foods-candy cane apple, donut snowmen, banana snowmen

On Day 2 (12/7), Hudson immediately asked about the tree. He is super excited about it and that was definitely his focus that morning. When we mentioned his elf, he ran straight to the kitchen table to look for his elf. We explained to him that each night he moves, but Hudson still expected him to be in the same place. When he spotted JB hanging from the tree he got excited. JB had hidden 10 candy canes in the room for Hudson to find. Hudson loved looking for the candy canes!

elf on the shelf idea candy cane scavenger hunt with link to free printable

On Day 3 (12/8), Jingle Bell brought Elf diapers for the boys. He let Pooh, Tigger and Eeyore each have a diaper and they all rode on our sled. Hudson first went to the table this morning, then the tree to look for his elf, haha. When he spotted him he got very excited and thought the elf diapers were pretty awesome. When I put him and Luc in them later in the day, he was giddy about them.

elf on the shelf idea sled carrying stuffed animals in elf diapers

On Day 4 (12/9), Jingle Bell made snowflakes out of q-tips on the stairs. Hudson is really obsessed with q-tips at the moment so he thought this was really neat. This was the day that I really had to emphasize that Hudson could look at Jingle Bell, but he wasn’t allowed to touch him. I could tell it was tempting every time Hud walked by, but he followed by directions.

elf on the shelf idea snowflake q-tips

On Day 5 (12/10), Hudson immediately spotted Jingle Bell sledding down our stairs. Hudson seems to be getting more excited about JB each day he is here. Hudson walked up and down the stairs so many times that day saying, “no touching, only watch Jingle bell sledding down stairs”

elf on the shelf idea sledding down the stairs using paper towel roll and cup lid

On Day 6 (12/11), JB put on some goggles and an aviator jacket and took to the skies. He decided to fly Hudson’s plane.

elf on the shelf idea flying in an airplane

On Day 7 (12/12), Jingle Bell colored a picture and left one for Hudson to color as well. Hudson was very excited to color his elf and send it back to Santa with JB.

elf on the shelf idea coloring page with link to printable

elf on the shelf idea coloring page with link to printable

On Day 8 (12/13), JB was hanging from our snowflake decorations. He brought two jingle bells to play music with. Hudson loved shaking them and singing his favorite Christmas song, Jingle Bells.

elf on the shelf idea elf brought jingle bells for singing carols

elf on the shelf idea elf brought jingle bells for singing carols

On Day 9 (12/14), we found Jingle Bell ice skating or “ice slipping” as Hud calls it! Hud was very excited about it!!

elf on the shelf idea elf goes ice skating

elf on the shelf idea freeze water in cake pan so elf can ice skate

On Day 10 (12/15), Jingle Bell brought a can of instant snow. Hudson of course wanted to play with it right away so I put him in his high chair and we made it. Hudson thought it was really cool, but boy was it messy!

elf on the shelf idea can of instant snow

On Day 11 (12/16), JB brought some decorations so Hudson could spruce up the tree had made the day before.He loves crafts and had lots of fun gluing the ornaments on his Christmas tree.

elf on the shelf idea ornaments on tree craft

On Day 12 (12/17), JB was hanging out in Hudson’s basketball hoop.

elf on the shelf idea basketball hoop

On Day 13 (12/18), JB built a snowman out of toilet paper.

elf on the shelf idea olaf with link to printable

On Day 14 (12/19), JB brought the boys each a personalized Christmas book. Hudson received the Night Before Christmas and Luc got a book titled, Luc’s Very Merry First Christmas. (these were purchased from Pottery Barn Kids)

elf on the shelf idea personalized books

On Day 15 (12/20), Jingle Bell brought us the hit of the holiday season. Each of the boys got a bucket full of snowballs for indoor snowball fights. Hudson, dada and Luc immediately had a snowball fight. It was hilarious and everyone loved it. These were played with over and over again the rest of the month! Thanks for an awesome gift JB! (These can be purchased from Amazon)

elf on the shelf idea snowball fight

On Day 16 (12/21), Jingle Bell set out stuff for us to make sugar cookies for Santa. Hudson loves making sugar cookies. He helped cut out all the shapes, then decorated them the next day with lots of frosting and sprinkles.

elf on the shelf idea bake cookies

On Day 17 (12/22), Jingle Bell brought the boys pajamas to wear on Christmas Eve.

elf on the shelf ideas christmas pajama delivery

I’m not exactly sure how it happened, but later that day, I found Hudson sitting on the couch with Jingle Bell in his lap! I immediately reminded him that he couldn’t touch Jingle Bell and he gave me a grumpy face.  We said a little apology and did a little magical dance and thankfully, JB didn’t lose his magic.

elf on the shelf oops he touched the elf

On Day 18 (12/23), Jingle Bell took photos in our photo booth! He had his own props and everything! Hudson thought it was hilarious!! For more info and free printables so your elf can get in on the photobooth fun click here.

elf on the shelf idea photo booth with link to props printable

On Day 19 (12/24), we got a goodbye letter from our elf. He had to head back to the North Pole, but he promises to be back next year.

elf on the shelf goodbye letter

Links:

FREE Elf on the Shelf Notes

Elf On The Shelf Sized Coloring Sheets {And Kid Sized Coloring Sheets, Too!}

Elf on the Shelf North Pole Breakfast

Disney Frozen Elf on the Shelf Free Printable