14 Fun Crafts to Help You Celebrate Hanukkah

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There’s only so much “Dreidel, Dreidel” a kid can play each Hanukkah season. Make the Festival of Lights a little more fun with these easy holiday craft projects. From gold dinosaur menorahs and “Menorahs By Mail” to pop-up cards and kindness chains—here are some creative ways to keep your little artists busy all eight nights.

Dreidel Pop-Up Card

Make your holiday cards stand out from the rest with this dreidel pop-up card that's way easier to make than it looks! All you need is cardstock paper, scissors and watercolor paint. Get the simple instructions at Madcrafty on Youtube

Make an 8 Nights of Kindness Paper Chain

In Judaism, Tikkun Olam means "repairing the world through acts of kindness"—and it's one of the most important Jewish principles there is. This simple paper chain garland combines Tikkun Olam with the eight nights of Hanukkah. Each link of the chain contains a simple act of kindness that you and your kids can do each day, with one for every night of Hanukkah. Get the instructions (and the free printable) at CoffeeandCarpool.com.

Menorah By Mail

Got loved ones who celebrate Hanukkah far, far away? We love this idea from Martha Stewart magazine, which lets you send a mailable "menorah" with gifts for all eight nights of Hanukkah. All you need is a business-sized envelope to decorate as the menorah, with  eight smaller envelopes to go inside (or make your own envelopes, like we did!). Your kids can put small gifts or sweet messages inside each little envelope. Get the details at Marthastewart.com.

Baby Footprint/Handprint Menorah

Is it baby's first Hanukkah? Mark the occasion by letting your little put his foot down... in clay! These baby handprint and footprint menorahs are easy to make and will work as a precious holiday decoration for years to come. Get the easy instructions at ReformJudaism.org.

 

Use LEGOs to Tell the Story of Hanukkah

Epic battle scenes! Death-defying miracles! Dramatic endings! There's a lot to the Hanukkah story that make it a riveting tale. How about giving your kids the challenge of re-enacting the holiday story with LEGOs? That's what this family did one year, after a Hanukkah gingerbread house led to a family tradition of LEGO holiday retellings. Get the story—and some inspiration—at Reformjudaism.org.

photo: Melissa Heckscher

Menorah Flame Headpiece

Every little person at your Hanukkah gathering absolutely must wear one of these adorable menorah flame headpieces (Bonus points if you've got exactly nine kids.). There are no fancy instructions for this craft: Just cut strips of construction paper and affix a paper flame in the middle. Let your kids decorate their flame—glue and glitter make it really sparkle! Then, staple the strips at the ends according to each child's head size. Light the lights!

TP Tube Party Favors

Let the kids in on some of the holiday surprises by asking them to help make these fun party favors. Toilet paper tubes, paint, glitter glue and tissue paper (plus fun treats for stuffing into the tubes) are all that's needed to make these colorful treats that can be used over and over again. Creative Jewish Mom has the step-by-step instructions on how to make them.

Hanukkah Wrappnig Paper

What’s better than a Hanukkah gift? One that’s wrapped in special, homemade wrapping paper. Tori Avey has a great idea for a potato-stamped paper that the kids will have as much fun making as they do opening. Get more info here.

Sparkly Menorah

Everything is better with glitter! Kids will love constructing their own sparkly menorahs that use silver glitter, gold sequins, and glitter glue! You might be cleaning up stray glitter until long past Hanukkah, but the beauty of these keepsake menorahs will make it worth the mess. Get the instructions from this Creative Jewish Mom.

 

Candy Dreidels

It won't take much convincing to get kids on board for this craft, which doubles as a delicious dessert! These Hanukkah-themed treats are as yummy as they are adorable. The bite-sized desserts—they're made of just marshmallows, sprinkles, pretzels and chocolate—are the perfect treat to bring to any Hanukkah party or to serve after dinner at your own special bash. Food blogger Tori Avey has the easy no-bake recipe here.  *Psst: These little edibles take just a few minutes to prepare! 

photo: Melissa Heckscher

The Menorasaurus

Why settle for an ordinary menorah when you can make one that's at once a candle-holder and a fearsome prehistoric reptile? This DIY "menorasaurus" may look store-bought, but making it is actually easier than you'd think. All you need is some spray paint, a plastic dinosaur and some hex nuts. Get the instructions (for this and other fun homemade menorahs) here.

Hanukkah Bath Set

Why let the Hanukkah fun stop after the dreidels stop spinning? Bring the menorah into the bathtub with this simple DIY foam bath set. Kids can help cut the shapes from foam boards, but the real fun comes in the tub when they can construct and deconstruct their menorahs, over and over again! Get the easy instructions from Simple Play Ideas.

—Melissa Heckscher

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10 Super Comic Creation Apps for Kids

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From Wonder Woman to Spider-Man, comic books are having a serious moment. If you’ve got a budding comic lover in your family, now they can make comics of their own with these awesome comic creation apps. These apps are easy to use, interactive and perfect for personalizing your family photos or giving school projects a fun twist. Keep reading to get the scoop on the best comic creation apps for kids.

Comic Strip

Turn your family photos into a fun comic strip with this easy-to-use app. There are filters to give your photos that classic comic book look, and you can add text bubbles and stickers to your creation. With a 4.5 rating on the App Store and over 1,500 reviews, this app is a winner.

Available for iPhone and iPad via App Store, free

Comic Life 3

Comic Life 3 allows you to create a full comic using their full-page templates and panel layouts. This powerful app works especially well on an iPad with a large screen; it allows you to edit all sorts of small details and add special effects. You can use photos from your own library or access web photos via their Flickr integration.

Available for iPhone and iPad via App Store, $4.99

Comic Caption Meme Maker Lite

This app is a little more simple, but still just as fun (and easy!) to use. The user interface takes you through each step to make professional-style comics in minutes. The fonts and word balloons were carefully chosen to look like real comic books, and there are over 1,000 decorative stickers to choose from.

Available for iPhone and iPad via App Store, free (regular version available for $3.99)

ComicBook!

This app has all the bells and whistles when it comes to creating your own personalized comic. Choose your panel layout, use your own photos, and add as many captions and dialogue stickers as your story needs. When you're through, there's an option to share via social media too.

Available for iPhone and iPad via iTunes, $2.99

Strip Designer

Both kids and adults will get a kick out of this comic app. It's simple enough that you'll get the gist in minutes and in addition to using photos, the kids can use their own drawings, too.

Available for iPhone and iPad via iTunes, $2.99.

Superhero Comic Book Maker

We love the special interactive perks of this app from Duck Duck Moose. Once kids choose the scenes and characters they want, they can record their story, moving the characters as they talk. The app records the movement and kid voiceover so you not only get a personalized comic book—it's read by the author, too!

Available for iPhone via iTunes, free.

Comic Strip Pro

For the kid who just can't get enough of telling stories, this app has extra customizable speech balloons--and for the parent who's got Android devices, it's just right for your gear. There are all kinds of special effects, filters and panel choices too. (Bonus: There's also a free version of this app called Comic Strip!)

Available for Android via Google Play, $2.99.

Make Beliefs Comix

Formerly available as a separate app, now you can access this comic creation program right from your web browser on your phone, tablet or computer. For all those multilingual kiddos out there, we like that this website supports the creation of comics in 13 different languages. It's also free, and simple enough for even younger users. Just pick the number of frames you want to use, choose characters and add text into speech bubbles.

Available at makebeliefscomix.com, free.

Halftone 2

This app is particularly great if your family pet is just begging to be put in a comic. In a nutshell, it lets you upload photos or drawings and then add captions, sound effects, speech bubbles and other artistic effects. It's an easy way to give your family photos a digital storytelling twist.

Available for iPhone and iPad via iTunes, $2.99.

—Abigail Matsumoto & Susie Foresman

Featured image: Annie Spratt via Unsplash 

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Stuffing Recipes That’ll Steal the Show This Thanksgiving

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Turkey and mashed potatoes are great, but no Thanksgiving meal is complete without stuffing. There are so many different stuffing recipes out there, from slow-cooker varieties to vegan and gluten-free options, and we’ve rounded up our favorites below. These drool-worthy recipes might just steal the show at your holiday dinner.

Thanksgiving Stuffing Muffins

Think outside the turkey! Not only are these stuffing muffins kid-size, but they’re also vegan and gluten-free. Add a scoop of mashed potatoes on top and you’re all set for a can’t-miss combo. Get the recipe from The Colorful Kitchen.

Creamy Mushroom and Swiss Stuffing

Fox Valley Foodie is sure to be a winner, with its indulgent cheese topping and hearty mushroom filling. And it’s super easy to make, too, with the help of a boxed stuffing mix. To get the recipe, click here.

Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Cornbread Stuffing

This delish dish from Life Made Sweeter combines butternut squash, cornbread, cranberries, sweet potatoes and more into a stuffing of epic flavors. Bonus points: it uses the slow cooker, so you can set it and forget it. Click here to grab the recipe.

Classic Vegan Stuffing

Plant-based eaters don’t have to miss out on the feast thanks to this tasty stuffing recipe from Raepublic. It’s made with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry, making it a win for your shopping list. Click here to grab the recipe.

Stuffing in a Bundt Pan

With this stuffing from A Spicy Perspective, the magic word is “bundt.” That’s right, with your handy bundt pan, you can actually make a stuffing sculpture that’s fit for any Thanksgiving dinner table! Get the recipe by clicking here.

Slow Cooker Cranberry Pecan Stuffing

We’re all for any Thanksgiving recipe that involves the slow cooker. This top-notch stuffing from Damn Delicious cooks in the crockpot and uses delish Hawaiian sweet bread. We dare you to eat just one spoonful. Click here to get the recipe.

Marilyn Monroe's Stuffing

Ready for a Hollywood-worthy stuffing? This yummy dish is adapted from Marilyn Monroe’s own recipe. To read more about how it was found, check out The New York Times’ article for the full low-down.

Italian Chard Stuffing

Your kids may be wary of the chard but with chunks of French bread and juicy sausage swarming around the fresh green, they won’t be able to resist this unique recipe. Get the details by clicking here.

Mom's Classic Stuffing

This timeless recipe from Savory Sweet Life is a traditional masterpiece because of its beautiful simplicity. It's perfect for your really picky eaters as the three main ingredients are bread, onions and celery. To snag the recipe, click here.

Spinach and Broccoli Stuffing

This tasty stuffing has a creamy texture and comes to us from Little B Cooks. It’s a great recipe for your kids to get involved in because it’s simple–just four ingredients! Find out how it's made by clicking here.

Cranberry Pistachio Stuffing

If you like your stuffing more crispy, check out this cranberry pistachio stuffing from Season with Spice. This dish is full of crispy bites of bacon and toasted bread chunks, plus an added pistachio crunch. Click here to get the recipe.

Apple Sausage Stuffing

Thank goodness for Weelicious, where you can find all kinds of recipes (like this apple sausage stuffing) designed around pleasing little bitty taste buds. You’ll like it, too, because the prep time is minimal. To grab the details, click here.

Surf 'N Turf Stuffing

Looking to add some seafood flair to your family feast? Try this New England style stuffing from A Taste with Koko. It’s packed with sausage and oysters, for extra rich and out-of-the-box flavor. Get the recipe by clicking here.

Simple Herb Cornbread Stuffing

A hit recipe from The Diva Dish, this cornbread stuffing combines lots of fresh herbs, homemade cornbread and several other kid-friendly flavors into one tasty package. Snag the recipe by clicking here.

Gluten-Free Quinoa Stuffing

If you or a family member has gluten restrictions, check out this stuffing option from Marla Meridith. It’s gluten-free, soy-free, vegan and satisfying for carnivores, too. Click here to get the recipe.

 

— Abigail Matsumoto

 

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You’ve decorated your tree and started sampling all the holiday cookie recipes but the season won’t be complete without a family movie night! We’ve rounded up a list of the best holiday movies to watch with your little ones, from classic to modern, varying from animated to live-action. Time to get cozy!

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey

New out in 2020, this charming live-action musical about a toymaker is part Steampunk and part Dickens. Featuring an all-Black cast, including Academy-Award winning Forest Whitaker, the once-betrayed and disgruntled toymaker finds new hope with his granddaughter. 

Rated: PG
Recommended Ages: 8+ 
Available on: Netflix

 

The Legend of the Christmas Witch

This 2018 Italian film tells the story of an ordinary school teacher who, at night, transforms into Befana, the magical witch who bestows gifts upon all the good children. Available in Italian with English subtitles or a dubbed English version. 

Rated: Not Rated 
Recommended Ages: 8+ 
Watch it on Amazon

Alone for Christmas

What’s cuter than puppies? Christmas puppies! This is basically the plot to Home Alone but instead of a kid you’ve got an adorable pup! 

Rated: PG-13
Recommended Ages: 8+
Watch it on Amazon

The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Christmas

The Cat in the Hat is back again, making a messy party for all of the guests. But when the party is over The Cat in the Hat, Sally, Nick and the Fish discover a poor lost baby reindeer they are determined to help him find his way home. 

Rated: G 
Recommended Ages: 2+ 
Watch it on Amazon

 

Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas Is You

Inspired by Mariah Carey’s instant holiday classic song “All I Want for Christmas Is You” this sweet little cartoon features a young girl who wants one thing for Christmas—a puppy! (Again, puppies + Christmas = 💗. Plus, it features voices by Mariah Carey herself as well as Breanna Yde and Henry Winkler.

Rated: G
Recommended: Ages 4+
Watch it on Amazon

Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas

Curious George fans won't want to miss this adventurous holiday story counting down to Christmas. George and the Man in the Yellow hat are both working hard trying to find the perfect gifts for each other.

Rated: Not rated
Recommended: Ages 3+
Available on Hulu

Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas

The three sweet holiday tales in this anthology star Mickey and his pals in reimaginings of classic stories. Make this viewing a double feature with the sequel Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas also available on Netflix.

Rated: G
Recommended Ages: 3+
Available on Disney +

Dr. Seuss The Grinch

This 2018 retelling of the classic Dr. Seuss story about the green grump who wants to stop Christmas is packed full of fun and laughs.

Rated: PG
Recommended Ages: 6+
Available on Amazon 

Frosty the Snowman

The whole family will be a bunch of jolly, happy souls when they watch this holiday classic about the snowman who was brought to life with a magic hat and some love.

Rated: G
Recommended Ages: 3+
Available on: Amazon

photo: Netflix

Klaus

The first original Netflix animated film, Klaus, follows the story of a plucky mailman and a carpenter in a bleak, remote village. They form an unlikely friendship when they decide to spread joy by delivering presents to the kids.

Rating: PG
Recommended Ages: 7+
Available on Netflix

The Snowman

Based on the classic picture book by Raymond Briggs, The Snowman is totally worth a watch with your tiny tots. This wordless movie follows the adventures of a young boy whose snowman comes to life. It’s a simple but whimsical story that still offers a healthy dose of holiday magic.

Rated: Not Rated
Recommended Ages: 3+
Available at: Amazon

The Polar Express

Based on the beautiful best-selling book, this modern classic follows a young boy on his journey to the North Pole where he discovers just how real Santa's holiday magic is.

Rating: G
Recommended Ages: 6+
Available on Amazon

A StoryBots Christmas

StoryBots fans will love following along as Bo heads to the North Pole to get gift advice from Santa only to discover that the Jolly Old Elf has gone missing.

Rating: TV-Y
Recommended Ages: 4+
Available on Netflix

Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town

Narrated by Fred Astaire, this classic holiday flick tells the story of Santa’s humble beginnings. The kids will get a kick out of seeing the movie’s take on how certain Christmas traditions began (like the flying reindeer and why Santa comes through the chimney).

Rated: Not Rated
Recommended Ages: 5+
Available at: AppleTV+

Santa Buddies

What's more playfully fun than a bunch of talking puppies trying to save Christmas? The adorable Santa Buddies are lending their paws to save the big day in the North Pole.

Rated: G
Recommended Ages: 5+
Available at: Hulu

It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie

The classic story of It’s a Wonderful Life gets a kid-friendly twist thanks to the Muppet gang. In this version, the Muppet Theater is in trouble and a stressed-out Kermit wonders if the world would have been better off without him and his friends. Luckily, his guardian angel (David Arquette) shows him what matters most—with the help of fun musical numbers and a star-studded cast, of course.

Rated: PG
Recommended Ages: 6+
Available at: Amazon.com

photo: Netflix

Super Monsters Save Christmas

Celebrate the holiday season with this brand-new special starring the Super Monsters. It's Christmas Eve in Pitchfork Pines, and the Super Monsters are lending Santa a magical helping hand to find his missing reindeer.

Rating: TV-Y
Recommended Ages: 3+
Available on Netflix

Arthur Christmas

What’s the lovable youngest son of Santa to do when he discovers that one child hasn’t received her Christmas present? Go on a madcap mission, of course! You’ll love the family spirit of this movie as we meet Arthur and the whole Claus clan. Plus, it’s made by the very same animators who came up with Chicken Run and Wallace & Gromit.

Rated: PG
Recommended Ages: 5+
Available at: Amazon

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Are your little elves torn about whether their favorite holiday is Christmas or Halloween? Then give ‘em a dose of both. This holiday classic is a little offbeat, a little spooky, and full of a whole lot of crazy stop-motion visuals. It’s perfect for kids who crave a different kind of Christmas movie—and those who are old enough to enjoy the eerie effects.

Rated: PG
Recommended Ages: 7+
Available at: Amazon

A Charlie Brown Christmas

For wise kids (and those who have a soft spot for Snoopy), you can’t go wrong with the Peanuts gang. Charlie Brown has some deep thoughts about Christmas commercialization and the holiday blues, but the end is all kinds of merry: the true meaning of Christmas and snappy music to boot.

Special note: A Charlie Brown Christmas will air on PBS and PBS Kids on Sunday, Dec. 19 at 7:30 p.m. EST. 

Otherwise, you can stream it on AppleTV+ anytime. 

Rated: Not Rated
Recommended Ages: 3+
Available at: AppleTV+

The Santa Clause

Older kids will get a kick out of watching Tim Allen (a divorced, uninvolved, turkey-burning dad) take a turn as Santa. The scenes at Santa’s workshop and the North Pole are definitely amazing, but practice some Christmas caution: Allen gets the Santa gig because the original takes a fatal topple off a roof, there’s a lot of talk about divorce and even a slightly scary scene with police.

Rated: PG
Recommended Ages: 9+
Available at: Amazon

Home Alone

A member of the John Hughes movie family, Home Alone is a full-fledged faceoff between eight-year-old Kevin and a couple of witless burglars. If it’s been a while since you’ve seen this one, you may not remember just how violent the slapstick gets. Still, it’s worth a view for older kids who understand the Christmas consequences.

Rated: PG
Recommended Ages: 10+
Available at: Amazon

Elf

Don’t be a cotton-headed ninny muggins (pardon our language) and miss out on watching the story of our favorite innocent “elf,” Buddy! This is another holiday movie you'll be quoting all season long. Though there are a few spots that may run a little boring for little ones, they’ll still love seeing the holidays through Buddy’s enthusiastic eyes.

Rated: PG
Recommended Ages: 7+
Available: Amazon

Miracle on 34th Street

This 1994 remake of a 1940s classic has all the tried-and-true favorites of a Christmas movie: a precocious kid, a lovable Santa and a smiley ending. But keep in mind, Mom and Dad, that the little girl in the movie does question the existence of Santa Claus—so if this isn’t a hot topic in your house yet, you might want to skip this one!

Rated: PG
Recommended Ages: 6+
Available: Amazon

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

We can’t settle the age-old debate of old Grinch vs. new Grinch—but we’ll admit that the classic ‘toon version holds a special place in our “two sizes too small” hearts. Add it to your holiday movie lineup to get your yuletide dose of Seuss and Whoville.

Rated: Not Rated
Recommended Ages: 4+
Available at: Amazon

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

This stop-motion classic about Rudolph and his unusual nose is a must-watch for every generation in your house

Rated: Not Rated
Recommended Ages: 3+
Available at: AppleTV+

The Muppets Christmas Carol

There are a lot of versions of this story out there, but how many of them feature Michael Caine as Scrooge and the big-hearted Kermit as Bob Cratchit? Throw in all the fun musical numbers and Gonzo as the Charles Dickens narrator and you’ve got yourself a movie sesh to remember. Fair warning: his job is to scare Scrooge, so the Ghost of Christmas Future is pretty scary.

Rated: G
Recommended Ages: 5+
Available at: Amazon

Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas

There's a "Gift of the Magi" element at play in this 1977 Jim Henson wholesome classic Christmas tale that is as adorable as it is lively, with original songs by Paul Williams. 

Rated: Not Rated 

Recommended Ages: 4+

Available at: Amazon

A Christmas Story

Warning: Watching A Christmas Story is likely to result in nonstop quoting of all those hilarious one-liners (Go ahead and say it with us: “You’ll shoot your eye out!”). Double warning for the younger tots: “Fudge” is substituted for the F word, one poor kid gets his tongue frozen to a flagpole, and let’s not forget that fishnet stocking leg lamp.

Rated: PG
Recommended Ages: 8+
Available at: Amazon

White Christmas

Dreaming of a white Christmas? You can’t get much more classic than a Christmas movie featuring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and tunes from Irving Berlin. It may not have cartoon adventure, but it does have musical numbers and an emphasis on love and family.

Rated: Not Rated
Recommended Ages: 8+
Available on Amazon

photo: Disney

Noelle

Ever wonder what it's like being Santa's kids? Anna Kendrick and Bill Hader star in this super fun story about how filling the big man's shoes might be a little too much pressure to handle. Is the Christmas spirit truly hereditary? Find out!

Rated: G
Recommended Ages: 6+
Available on Disney +

photo: IMDB

A Christmas Carol

Jim Carrey takes on this classic tale as Ebenezer Scrooge as only he can. Watch as he's visited by three spirits, and learns about the true meaning of Christmas in this live-action film.

Rated: PG
Recommended Ages: 8+
Available on Disney +

photo: IMDB

Beauty and The Beast An Enchanted Christmas

This Disney classic is a great way to celebrate the holidays as Mrs. Potts tells the story of the Christmas that almost didn't happen. Kids will enjoy seeing their favorite characters and the new songs in this tale of friendship and love.

Rated: G
Recommended Ages: 6+
Available on Disney +

photo: IMDB

Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year

Tiny viewers will love watching Pooh and friends help Rabbit discover the true meaning of the season. It's an animated story about friendship and staying true to who you are.

Rated: G
Recommended Ages: 4+
Available on Disney +

photo: IMDb

The Christmas Chronicles 1 & 2

After two siblings accidentally crash Santa's sleigh, they head out on an all-night journey to get things back on track. Starring Kurt Russell, this crowd-pleasing film is getting a sequel in 2020! Be on the lookout for Goldie Hawn as Mrs. Claus! 

Rated PG

Best for ages 10+

Available at Netflix

Full Court Miracle

This Disney original Hanukkah movie, which happens to be based on a true story, follows a beloved basketball coach as he becomes the coach of a yeshiva in Philly. 

Rated: TV-G
Recommended: Ages 8+
Available on Amazon

 

— Abigail Matsumoto, Shahrzad Warkentin & Jesseca Stenson

Featured photo: iStock

 

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38 Incredible Thanksgiving Desserts (That Aren’t Pie)

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Tired of the same old pies every Thanksgiving? We’ve got you covered. From pumpkin rolls to cranberry crisp, there are so many more ways to bring fall flavors to your spread. (Hello, no-churn ice cream!) Keep reading for some Turkey Day inspiration, including gluten-free recipes and vegan recipes for the folks in your life with special dietary needs.

Persimmon Winter Bundt Cake

Use a winter fruit that doesn't get a lot of love for your Thanksgiving dessert this year. It's got warming spices like ginger, cinnamon and allspice, and is covered in a sweet glaze. Get the recipe from Boulder Locavore by clicking here

Flourless Pumpkin Spice Cake

You can still get your pumpkin fix with this spice cake we spotted over at The View from Great Island. Not only is it gluten-free, but you can still serve it with ice cream or whipped cream, just like pie! 

Cranberry Crisp

If making homemade cranberry sauce isn't your jam, you may fare better with Gimme Some Oven's Cranberry Crisp. Tart cranberries are layered under a tasty butter-pecan oatmeal topping. Make it ahead of time so you can enjoy your day even more.

Harvest Marble Chocolate Chip Cookies

Your cookie game just went to a whole new level with Two Sisters' Harvest Marble Chocolate Chip Cookies! Use your fave recipe and then divide the dough before coloring rich fall colors. Combine and bake for these eye-catching treats that are the perfect swap for pie.

Rice Krispie Treats Turkey

Officially the coolest dessert on this list, The Life Jolie's Rice Krispie Treats Turkey is a must! Made with the traditional recipe, this perfectly shaped turkey is easier to construct than it looks. Grab a friend, and craft this hilarious dessert right before the guests arrive.

Pumpkin Cream Puffs

Dust off your baking skills this year and whip up some of Rasa Malaysia's Pumpkin Cream Puffs! A light and airy choux puff pastry is filled with a sweet pumpkin cream that will have you enjoying dessert this Thanksgiving. 

Harvest M&M Cookie Bars

We can't think of a better way to use M&M's seasonally-colored harvest blend, can you? Melissa from Number 2 Pencil uses them to whip up festive cookie bars that are chewy and perfectly sweet. Great for feeding a crown, these cookies-turned-bars are just the change your Thanksgiving dessert needs this year!

Mini Pecan Pies

We know, we know, these are "technically" pie (but so are Whoopie Pies, and we've got those here, too). These mini pecan pies from Live Well Bake Often take the work out of dessert. Made in a muffin tin with a store-bought crust, these crispy desserts are perfect for little hands or handing out as guests leave.

Pumpkin Roll

You can whip up this Pumpkin Roll from Tastes Better from Scratch, and then freeze it before the big day. Canned pumpkin and cream cheese are just two of the delightful ingredients that come together in this dessert that's both creative and cute. Your treat will be the talk of the Thanksgiving dinner table!

Cranberry Chocolate Cream Tart

We’re drooling over this amazing tart from Family Style Food. The chocolate cookie crust is topped with mascarpone-flavored with cocoa with a cranberry compote to top it off.

Cinnamon Apple Crumble

Keep it simple this Thanksgiving by making A Simple Palate’s tried-and-true apple crumble. It’s much quicker than making a pie, but it tastes just as good—especially when paired with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Italian Apple Yogurt Cake

Take inspiration from Mangia Bedda, and whip up a pretty apple cake for your holiday table. The addition of yogurt makes the cake extra moist, and if the whole thing isn’t gobbled up on Thanksgiving, it’ll taste great the next morning with a cup of coffee. 

Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Cupcakes

Make sure there’s something for everyone on your dessert table with these gluten-free cupcakes from A Table Full of Joy. Topped with a brown sugar buttercream, they’re bound to be a hit with your whole crew. 

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Brownies

If you’ve got chocolate fans in your family, they’ll definitely fall in love with these fudgy brownies from Averie Cooks. They’re super quick to make and are topped with a yummy layer of pumpkin and chocolate chips. 

Baked Apples with Maple Pecans

For a quick and easy dessert, you’ve got to try these baked apples from Everyday Healthy Recipes. They’re topped with a delicious mixture of pecans, maple syrup and cinnamon. 

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Get inspired by Insolence & Wine to combine your love for chocolate and pumpkin into one delicious cookie. They’re topped off with a pretty pumpkin spice glaze—yum! 

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese

How cute are these pumpkin bars from Oh My Goodness Chocolate Desserts? We love the criss-cross pattern of cream cheese on top, and we’re happy to report that they taste as good as they look. 

Cranberry Shortbread Bars

We’ve fallen in love with these cranberry shortbread bars from Food Doodles, and we’re pretty sure you’ll feel the same way too. Rich and tender shortbread pairs beautifully with the tart cranberry filling, and a crumble topping finishes it off. 

Raw Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake

The vegans in your crew don’t need to miss out on dessert, thanks to Coley Cooks. With the help of cashews, dates and coconut milk, it’s surprisingly easy to make this vegan pumpkin cheesecake. 

Butterscotch Cheesecake Bars

These dessert bars check off lots of boxes. You get oatmeal, butterscotch and cheesecake all in one dessert—and can please a lot of dessert lovers at once. Get the recipe at Little B Cooks.

Acorn Cookies

Little ones will go nuts for these cute acorn cookies. You’ll love that they don’t really involve baking and that the kids can even help assemble them. Check out the how-to from A Mom’s Impression, which includes a bonus cupcake recipe, too!

Pumpkin-Nutella Swirl Cake

Did somebody say Nutella? Combining the sweet goodness of Nutella and the traditional spice of pumpkin, this cake looks as good as it tastes. Find out more at The Savvy Kitchen.

Rice Krispie Turkey Drumsticks

This Thanksgiving, why not surprise the kids with a dessert that looks like dinner? These sweet drumsticks are totally creative and pretty easy to make. Get the how-to over at TGIF - This Grandma Is Fun.

Spiced Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Whoopie! These sweet cookies are super easy to make and look impressive on any Thanksgiving table. And did we mention they're topped with a browned butter maple cinnamon frosting? Score the recipe from The Chunky Chef.

Fruit Turkey

If you're looking to skip the super-sweet desserts this Thanksgiving, opt for a turkey-inspired fruit platter. The creativity is sure to delight the kids, and you won't have to worry about saving room for a heavy dessert. Learn more at The Happy Raw Kitchen.

Gluten-Free & Vegan Maple Nut Cake

If you need to consider certain dietary restrictions at your Thanksgiving meal—but still want the wow factor when it comes to dessert—this maple nut cake might just be the answer. Get all the details at Fragrant Vanilla Cake.

Chocolate Brownie Turkey Tart

If you have a box of brownie mix, then you're halfway to making this sweet turkey tart. The most important ingredient is M&Ms for decorating—and since you only need a few select colors, we won't tell if you snack on the blues and greens. Get the step-by-step at The First Year.

Cinnamon Frosted Pumpkin Spice Cookies

These pumpkin spice cookies get bonus points because you can make the dough ahead of time and freeze it until you need it. The same goes for the creamy spread on top. With just a few simple steps you've got a dessert that combines two classic fall flavors. Find out more at The Baker Chick.

Football Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Blondies

If your family considers Thanksgiving a big ol' football fest, then this recipe is perfect for your dessert spread. And with flavors like peanut butter and chocolate, it's sure to be a hit with mini quarterbacks and grownups alike. Find out more at Well Plated.

Caramel-Chocolate Dipped Pears

Talk about a statement dessert: these caramel-chocolate dipped pears are downright beautiful and incorporate a fall fruit favorite. Here's a hint: use mini pears, as they're the perfect size for your little one’s hands. Learn more at Sprinkle with Flour.

No-Churn Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

Who can resist a scoop of ice cream, especially when it's bursting with fall flavors? This homemade version includes five different spices and pumpkin puree. Best of all, you don't need an ice cream maker! Get the recipe from The View from Great Island.

 No-Bake Pumpkin Parfait

The oven is already going to be working overtime on Thanksgiving Day, so why not take advantage of these creamy, no-bake parfaits? If you're worried about your fancy stemware, serve it up the kids' desserts in plastic cups. Get the recipe at The Cozy Apron.

Pumpkin-Pecan Pie in a Jar

Can't decide between pumpkin pie and pecan pie? There's no need, thanks to this dessert that combines the two. This treat is made for jars, which is perfect for saving or giving as gifts, too. Get the recipe at Glorious Treats.

Skillet Apple Crisp

Apple crisp is one of our favorite fall desserts, and this easy recipe from Plated Cravings is bound to be a Turkey Day win. It’s super quick to make and tastes amazing paired with whipped cream or ice cream. 

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

For a super quick but impressive dessert, you’ve got to try this cake from Averie Cooks. With a boxed cake mix as its base, it comes together in no time and makes for a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.

Pumpkin Crisp

This pumpkin crisp from Sara at Bitz & Giggles is not only delicious—it's also super simple to make. You probably already have the ingredients you need! Make it à la mode for an extra special Thanksgiving dessert. 

 

Turkey Cookies

Maybe you have enough on your plate cooking the big meal that the idea of adding dessert to your to-do list is a tad too much. That's where Chelsea from Chelsea's Messy Apron comes in. These treats are not only no-bake, but they're also really creative. Recruit the kids to do them, and you have dessert and activities crossed off with one "recipe."

Cranberry Sauce Cheesecakes

Put a twist on the classic cheesecake flavor profile with this winner of a recipe from Denise over at Sweet Peas and Saffron. It's totally adaptable to your taste preferences when it comes to cranberry sauce, and the individual portions make serving a breeze. 

— Abigail Matsumoto, Susie Foresman & Karly Wood

 

Featured image: Taylor Heery via Unsplash

 

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This turkey day, give thanks for that Instant Pot or slow cooker! We’ve got the ultimate collection of Thanksgiving recipes that guarantee a fast, simple, and delicious meal. From mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce to stuffed squash and turkey, here’s how to make sure cooking your favorite Thanksgiving dishes is as easy as possible.

Instant Pot Recipes

Instant Pot Deviled Eggs

Need a holiday appetizer ASAP? Lexi's Clean Kitchen has you covered with no-fuss Instant Pot hard-boiled eggs and a deviled egg recipe that'll wow your party guests. 

Instant Pot Turkey Breast

Are you ready to revolutionize your Thanksgiving turkey? Crunchy Creamy Sweet has the hookup: bone-in skin-on turkey breast that's ready in 35 minutes. It's a winner-winner turkey dinner. 

Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce

Do you crave cranberry sauce when Thanksgiving rolls around? Then you've got to check out this version from Zen & Spice. It calls for fresh cranberries instead of the artificial canned stuff, and it's done in no time at all. 

Pressure Cooker Ham

Hooray for a ham that's done in 7 minutes! Oh So Delicioso has the hookup, with a recipe that has a sweet pineapple glaze and oodles of flavor. Plus, it pairs great with any holiday side dish. 

Pressure Cooker Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread

This cornbread from Tidbits might just be a Thanksgiving gamechanger. It's got a jalapeño kick (which you can adjust to your fam's tastes), it's whole grain, and the cheesy crust is oh-so-good. 

Instant Pot Green Bean Casserole

The green bean casserole is almost as big a Thanksgiving requirement as the turkey. This Instant Pot version from Stay Snatched uses fresh green beans and two kinds of cheese—and it's done in 20 minutes! 

Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes with Sour Cream and Garlic

This Instant Pot mashed potatoes recipe from Boulder Locavore is so good you'll want to upgrade it from side dish to main dish PDQ. If the creaminess doesn't get you, the garlicky goodness will.

Instant Pot Cranberry Stuffing

Make a super Instant Pot stuffing! It's easy to achieve with this recipe from Merry About Town (Picture the perfect combo of bread, tangy cranberries, and Thanksgiving flavor.). 

Instant Pot Stuffed Squash

How pretty is this stuffed squash, courtesy of Recipes from a Pantry? We love the bright colors, festive flavors, and how it's extra easy to whip up. It'll be a Thanksgiving wow factor without any fuss. 

Instant Pot Honey Butter Carrots

These ain't your average carrots! Covered in a honey butter glaze, these veggies from Salt & Lavender are positively addictive. The whole fam (kids included!) will be asking for seconds. 

Instant Pot Sweet Potato Casserole

Do your sweeties love sweet potato casserole? Well, you're going to love this version from Zen & Spice, which is made entirely in your Instant Pot—no bowls, pots or pans required. 

No-Knead Whole Wheat Rosemary Bread

Did you know you can make delicious Instant Pot bread? Mind blown! This lovable loaf from Delish Knowledge has a hint of rosemary and is the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving meal. 

Instant Pot Loaded Mashed Cauliflower

This dish from Diethood is a veggie-ful twist on traditional mashed potatoes. It's cheesy, garlicky, and the main ingredient is cauliflower! Trust us, you'll want to bookmark it forever and ever. 

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

If you thought slow cooker mac and cheese was easy, wait until you get a glance at the recipe for an Instant Pot version we spotted over at Spend with Pennies. Even easier, you'll be eating cheesy noodles in no time. 

Instant Pot Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe

End the Thanksgiving meal with an Instant Pot dessert! We're crazy about this cheesecake from Growing Up Gabel, and you will be too. Small but mighty, it features a gingersnap cookie crust and creamy filling.

Slow Cooker Recipes

Slow Cooker Carrot and Apple Soup

This hearty and flavorful soup from Foxes Love Lemons features ingredients like apple, carrot and fresh garlic. It’s a guaranteed fall classic and a great way to warm up on a chilly day! 

Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Cornbread

Ready for the best-ever cornbread? Since this version is made in the slow cooker, it comes out extra moist with just the right amount of sweet. You’ll set it, forget it and absolutely love it. Get the recipe from Life Made Sweeter.

Mashed Potatoes

We would have never thought to make mashed potatoes in the slow cooker, but this recipe from Life Is But a Dish works like a charm. And since nobody likes cold ‘taters, the cooker keeps them warm until you’re ready to eat. 

Scalloped Potatoes

For a hearty side, try making these yummy scalloped potatoes from Well Plated. They’re made using a mix of Yukon Gold and sweet potatoes, and the cheesy sauce makes them an instant kid favorite. 

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Casserole

There’s no need to wait for Thanksgiving to bust out an amazing sweet potato casserole. This version is great for any day of the week—and it’s a bit healthier than usual, thanks to a secret ingredient. Get the recipe from Kristine’s Kitchen Blog.

Turkey Breast with Gravy

Who says turkey is just for Thanksgiving? This delicious recipe from Skinny Taste helps keep the turkey moist by cooking it in the gravy mixture.

Crock Pot Cranberry Meatballs

How easy are these meatballs from Dinner at the Zoo? They only need five ingredients—and one of them is frozen meatballs! Plus, the sauce is truly tasty, and you can even serve over broccoli for an extra healthy kick. 

Pumpkin Pecan Bread Pudding

Try something a little different with your Crock Pot, like this drool-worthy bread pudding from The Gunny Sack. Day-old bread, pumpkin puree and spices come together to make something truly magical. 

Instant Pot Pumpkin Cheesecake

Psst! Not only is this pumpkin cheesecake easy to whip up in your handy-dandy Instant Pot, it also sports a unique granola crust. Creamy, crunchy, and no work at all--head to The Wicked Noodle for the recipe.

Cranberry Pomegranate Mulled Cider

Mulled cider is perfect for sipping on a chilly day. This vibrant version is lightly spiced, antioxidant-rich and totally delicious. Plus, you can always adjust the flavors to suit your family's tastes. Get the recipe over at The View from Great Island.

—Abigail Matsumoto

Featured image: iStock

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Looking for free Thanksgiving coloring pages that make the kids’ table fun? We’ve got you covered. From coloring turkeys and matching fall leaves to thoughtful lists and connect the dots, little hands will be busy as you finish up the cooking. Scroll down and print out your Thanksgiving activity pages today.

Pumpkin Maze

Even the youngest members of the family will enjoy this pumpkin maze! Download the printable over at education.com

Thankful Turkey

Gobble, gobble! Little hands stay busy coloring this terrific turkey before the big meal. Even more, if you print it on card stock paper, you'll have instant placemats. Printing these placemats is as easy as pie over at Crafts by Amanda.

Words for the Day

It’s a Thanksgiving word-fest! Little hands stay busy and learn about all things Thanksgiving coloring in these terrific turkey day words. Head over to My Mini Adventurer for these word printables, grab crayons and you have happy little pumpkins while you finish up cooking the meal.

Activity Placemat

Turn over a new leaf this year and print out these perfect placemats for half-pints to use. Your little pumpkins will have a fun time matching the shapes. Hop over to Saving Dollars & Sense for the printable, here.

Thoughtful List

Whether it’s what little diners are thankful for or their favorite Thanksgiving memory, this list will keep their minds busy. A special shout out to teacher Jen over at Teacher Karma for giving us this creative idea. Print it here.

Don’t Eat Tom!

Game time! This turkey game is tons of fun (and easy for everyone to learn!). We give thanks to My Sister’s Suitcase, where you can get detailed directions on how to play. What’s more, you’ll find the free printable too. Who knows? Grown-ups might want to get in on the action too.

Keep ‘Em Busy

Activities galore! From a Thanksgiving word scramble to coloring a cornucopia, there is plenty to do with this free printable. We are thankful to mom Angie over at Real Life at Home for providing these. All you need to provide is the crayons!

Match Colors

Can you get the right color? We love this Thanksgiving activity for the kids' table. A high five to mom Amy who gives you the free printable. Head over to Rock Your Homeschool; print it out and your little ones will stay busy while you finish up dinner. Just make sure you have all the crayon colors!

Pumpkin Patch

Little diners will scoop up the chance to color these pretty pumpkins. Head over to Don’t Eat the Paste to print out these gorgeous gourds. 

Turkey Day Placemat

With this placemat from My Sister’s Suitcase, your kids definitely won’t be bored during dinner. It has word scrambles, turkey-tac-toe and opportunities for your little artist to draw and color. To get the printable, click here.

A Bit of Everything

This fun page from Artsy Fartsy Mama has a little bit of everything: coloring, a word search, a place to write what they’re thankful for and tic-tac-toe. To print it out, click here.

Give Thanks

Remind your little ones what Thanksgiving is all about with this printable from Hello Moments. In addition to a word hunt and tic-tac-toe, they’ll get to write a poem and jot down what they’re thankful for. Click here to get the printable.

Counting Printable

This page from My Sister’s Suitcase isn’t just for coloring. It prompts kids to count the different items as they color it in—so it’s twice the fun! Get the printable by clicking here.

Doodle Time

We love this cute coloring page from 1 + 1 + 1 = 1, especially since it has enough details to keep kids busy for quite a while. Click here to get the printable, plus another adorable page with a turkey to color in.

Amazing Maze

If your kiddo loves mazes, they’ll definitely have a ball with this one from Brainy Maze. They can also color it in when they’re done. To grab the printable (along with other fall-themed mazes), click here.

Connect the Dots

Kiddos can get some quiet time in while filling in this turkey connect-the-dots page from Big Activities. There’s also another version available that uses the alphabet instead of numbers. Click here to get the printable.

A Cornucopia

The tots can color in this overflowing cornucopia from Doodle Art Alley as they wait for the Thanksgiving feast. Click here to get the printable, along with lots more Turkey Day pages.

Gratitude Cards

Challenge your kids to write something they’re thankful for on each of these cute cards from What We Do All Day. Or you can have them make personalized place cards for the table. The sky’s the limit with these cards—click here to print them.

Make a Match

Print out, cut up and pass out this easy memory game from Mama's Learning Corner to keep kids busy during prep time.

Memory Game

Because all fine dining establishments have kid-friendly placemats, right? These particular mats come with a word scramble activity that's just right for little learners. Download the printable at Jinxy Kids.

Thankful Turkey

This activity is a great way to immortalize your Thanksgiving meal—have the kids write and draw the most memorable parts of the day. You can even print the same page next year and compare. Get the printable at How to Nest for Less.

Autumn Leaves

As the kids tackle this autumn coloring page, talk about how leaves change color in the fall. Get this printable at Make and Takes.

Snoopy & Charlie Brown

Happiness is a warm puppy and a fun Thanksgiving coloring page. We love this page that features everybody's favorite comic strip pup. Get this printable (and more!) at Best Coloring Pages for Kids.

Paint-by-Number Turkey

This paint-by-numbers coloring page is as easy as 1, 2, 3. Little artists who like to get their artwork just right will like the easy-to-follow idea. Get this printable at Nicole's Free Coloring Pages.

Thanksgiving Mad Libs

For a giggle-inducing Thanksgiving activity, try a round (or two!) of festive Mad Libs. Get the printable over at My Sister's Suitcase.

Activity Placemat

Nix the boredom between Thanksgiving courses with a placemat that offers up many different activities (aka distractions) for the kids. Download the printable at Whatever Dee Dee Wants.

Give Thanks - Dog and Cat

Animal-loving kids will have a blast with this coloring page that gives a dog and a kitty the spotlight. As they color, talk about what your own pets might be thankful for—and why you're thankful for your furry friends. Get the printable at Coloring Pages for Kids by Mr. Adron.

Pilgrims and Giant Feast

Your own Thanksgiving turkey may be more modest, but the kids will get a kick out of the giant feast on this coloring page. Will they color it a delicious golden brown or go for something a bit flashier? (Blue turkey, perhaps?) Get the printable at Raising Our Kids.

Thank You For ...

What are your youngsters most thankful for? Crayons? Books? Discuss and share as they decorate this fun list. Get the printable at Living Creatively.

Adorable Pilgrim Boy

How cute is this pilgrim boy coloring sheet? This tiny guy just needs your little one's colorful attention. Download your own pages at familyholiday.net.

Thanksgiving Decoder Puzzle

Do your kids love figuring out puzzles? Give their thinking caps a mini-workout with this fun decoder puzzle. Get the printable at All Kids Network.

Pumpkin Connect the Dots

Once your kiddo connects all of the dots, they'll have the chance to color in the pumpkin picture. It's a 2-in-1! Find the worksheet on Bigactivities.com

Turkey Color by Number

Follow the numbers to find the colors to create this exciting Thanksgiving picture! It'll be such a festive way to celebrate the holiday. Get the worksheet from Education.com

—Abigail Matsumoto & Nikki Walsh

 

Featured image: Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

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35 Easy & Fun Paper Crafts for Kids

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When it comes to crafting with kids, there’s one magical material that always comes through: paper. Whether it’s construction paper, computer paper, or yesterday’s newspaper, your art supply drawer isn’t complete without this particular DIY ingredient. That’s why we’ve gathered up 35 crafts that spotlight paper in a big way, from paper painting to garlands and festive hats.

Classic Plate Pumpkin

No scissors or glue means minimal cleanup for this super easy pumpkin project from The Simple Parent. Great for crafters of all ages, find all the materials you'll need here.

Negative Space

Kids can get artsy with negative space. And, of course, fall leaves. Okay, so you’re not really making art out of leaves. Your child is actually making art out of the absence of the leaves. Of course, if your creative kid wants to keep the leaves she’ll remove from her negative space painting, she can always collage them onto another piece of paper or hang them together with yarn to make a garland. Get the full instructions from Mini Monets and Mommies.

photo: courtesy Mini Monets and Mommies

Cardboard Airplane

This cardboard airplane is a simple way to get your budding aviators up and flying. Let them decorate it with markers, and then the construction is simple. Head over to Hands On As We Grow for details. 

photo: Wee Gallery

Finger Puppets from Wee Gallery

How cute are these finger puppets from Wee Gallery? Not only are the designs adorable, but the hardest part will be cutting them all out after the kids color to their heart's content. Which means this is an easy one! Get the tutorial here. 

Paper Pig Painting

Set out enough materials so each kid can paint their own pig! It's very easy, and you probably already have everything you need. We love the easy tutorial from Oh Creative Day. Click here for the tutorial.

Paper Rainbow

A 3D rainbow is a perfect and easy St. Patrick's craft. Creative mama Arena of The Nerd’s Wife provides a tutorial even a preschooler can master. Got a kid who likes to mix it up? Tell them to arrange the strips of paper in their own rainbow form. Get the low-down from The Nerd’s Wife.

Under the Sea

If your kids are fans of The Little Mermaid, they’ll have a blast making this adorable origami from Pink Stripey Socks. Pop the movie on in the background while you make them, and you’ve got a great afternoon in store. Click here to get the step-by-step instructions.

Beautiful Bouquet

Make a colorful bouquet that'll never wilt, all with a few simple supplies: eye droppers, food coloring, paper napkins and plate and pipe cleaners. We especially love the look when neon colors are used. Get the full tutorial here

Fork Tulips

Who says your crafty kid needs a brush to paint? This paper art activity celebrates spring with a paint print and a fringe of green, green, green grass. Learn how to make these oh-so-cute tulips with Growing Up Gabel’s easy to follow how-to.

Paper Plate Dragons

Take to the skies when you engineer flying dragons. To complete this simple project, you need paper plates, paints or markers and a downloadable template designed by pinkstripeysocks.com. Print, cut, color, play! Like dragons? Check out these other dragon crafts you can make. 

Origami Transformers

We’re obsessed with these transforming ninja stars from What Do We Do All Day?, and chances are your kids will feel the same way. You’ll first make eight parallelograms into a wheel, then push and pull on the sides to turn it into a star. Click here to get all the details, plus video instructions. Like origami? We've got more perfect origami for kids right here

Book Monsters

If you’ve got a budding bookworm in your family, you’ve got to make this adorable project from Easy Peasy and Fun. There’s lots of room for creativity with these since you can add eyes, teeth, horns ... the sky’s the limit. To get the instructions, click here.

Fireplace Paper Bag

This warm fireplace from Crafts by Amanda is a homey addition to a dollhouse or a kid's room to make them feel like real grownups (without the fire hazard, of course!). It will be fun for the little ones to search out sticks in the woods or at your local park for their very own mini fire place! Thanks to Crafts by Amanda for this awesome idea!

Holiday Card Bookmarks

Upcycle this year's holiday cards, turning them into this year's crafty presents! Follow the directions from Hands On As We Grow and learn how to make these artfully amazing bookmarks. Keep a few of your kiddo's creations for yourself or give them out as holiday gifts. 

Picasso-Style Pumpkins

Get creative and mix things up with this Picasso-inspired collage. Your kiddo can create the perfect plump pumpkin, and then cut it into puzzle-type pieces. Place the rearranged jack o' lantern on a larger piece of paper, creating a cool collage that looks entirely artsy. Get more artsy, spooky paper ideas for Halloween here

Go Batty

These crafty cardboard and paper bats from Buggy and Buddy are 3D cuties that can hang almost anywhere. Decorate a party table centerpiece with these winged creatures or turn this Halloween craft into a an imaginative accent to your fall foliage or floral arrangement. 

Modular Bracelets

File this under “coolest idea ever”: origami you can wear! These modular bracelets from Paper Kawaii are so much fun to make and can be made in any color combination or size your little ones desire. Click here to see the video tutorial. And if you like origami, check out these awesome origami projects for kids.  

Stamped Sheep

Make sweet sheep with paint, paper and a few of your child’s other favorite art materials. This spring-time craft is perfect for preschoolers. And bonus, it’s easy to adapt to your toddler or grade schooler. Get the details on how to get artsy with DIY stamping from Buggy and Buddy.

Bunny Hat

Hop to this hat craft that you can make any time of year (not just Easter!). Directions from our friend Alpha Mom call for scissors, one pink marker, and one paper plate. The site offers other great ideas for paper plate hats like decorative crowns and heart hats so check it out. For more great simple and fun hat crafts click here. 

Dragon D Craft

Educate your preschoolers with this Dragon D craft. Designed by Allison at notimeforflahshcards.com, it’s as simple as A-B-C-D to make!

Giant Paper Airplane

We love this jumbo-sized paper airplane the crafty mom behind Fireflies & Mudpies made for only $1! Have the kids decorate the wings before heading outside for an afternoon of flight lessons. See these fierce flyers in action, and learn to make your own here.

Simple Apple Tree Craft

This craft involves a little bit of twist and a little bit of curl. And remember there are many fruits out there that you can jazz the branches up with. Maybe add a bird or a squirrel or two! Check out Creative Jewish Mom for the full low down on how to twist, curl, and create this fun paper bag craft.

For more paper bag crafts click here. 

Medieval Crown Craft

This craft from First Palette is fit for the pint-sized royalty in your life. With construction paper, crepe paper, and as much sequin bling as you can find, you'll have a new addition for the dress-up bin. Head here for the full instructions.

For more great paper hat crafts click here. 

Paper Doll Chain Ballerinas

Paper doll chains are a pretty classic paper craft and we think this one from Mer Mag has a particularly irresistible charm. It's perfect for your aspiring prima ballerina's room decor or next birthday party. Learn more here.

Animal Masks

Props to Handmade Charlotte, who came up with this super cute and easy idea for critter-inspired masks. All you need is repurposed paper bags, sharpies, and some imagination to get a house full of wild animals. Click here for all the inspiration you need.

For more easy masks that'll transform your day, click here. 

Bright Cat Garland

This one goes out to all the itty bitty kitty lovers out there. Thanks to A Subtle Revelry, you can whip up a DIY garland that's totally cat-tastic. The shapes and gluing are pretty simple and you can customize colors and whiskers too. Find the how-to here. For more easy garland ideas, click here.

Crumpled Paper Art

Are you digging the tie dye effect of this art from Buggy & Buddy? This activity is all about cheery watercolor and the perfection of imperfection. Get all the info you need here.

Homemade Harvest Herb Paper

Okay, so this craft is less crafting-with-paper and more make-your-own-paper. It’s an educational combo of art, science, and design and a great way to teach the littles about where paper comes from. Head here to Babble Dabble Do for step-by-step instructions for all kinds of homemade paper.

Dinosaur Hat

Here’s something to roar about: an ultra-easy dinosaur hat from Cutting Tiny Bites. Great when you need a quick prop for pretend play or a special accessory for that dinosaur party. Learn more here.

For 9 more dinosaur activities for kids, click here

Paper Houses

Your budding architects will get a kick out of creating their own paper town. After some adult prep (for the x-acto knife steps), this turns into a paper coloring and gluing activity that’s sure to entertain for an afternoon. Snag the free house template at Babble Dabble Do here.

Shark Catcher

You know those cootie catchers you couldn’t get enough of when you were a kid? They’ve gotten a shark twist from Easy Peasy and Fun. Get the kids prepped for beginning origami and then get the template and instructions here.

Newspaper Sun Hats

Your teatime will be extra stylish with a DIY newspaper hat. This is a great way to use up old newspapers–and your little miss can go wild with whatever flowery, feathery toppers she wants. Find out more here.

For more fun and easy hat craft ideas for kids, click here.

Dragon Marionette Puppet

This idea from Create in the Chaos is one of those deceptively easy crafts. It only needs a few materials, there’s a free printable involved, and we’re willing to bet that your kid will be glad to color away. Get everything you need here.

Kirigami Water Blossoms

This idea from Babble Dabble Do is one part science lesson, one part paper project, and totally amazing. It involves paper flowers that expand in water–mimicking the real-life natural phenomenon. Click here for the full instructions.

—Abigail Matsumoto

Feature photo: iStock 

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11 Math Games That Equal Tons of Fun

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Learning about numbers doesn’t have to boring! Take a look at these 11 examples below—from writing on windows to reinventing hopscotch, there’s more than one way to count it out. Read on for the ideas and get ready to make math fun for everyone.

Roll and Dot the Numbers

This activity can be played together or independently. This game, from Fun Learning for Kids,  has kids roll the dice and then "dot" or color in the corresponding number on the free printable. Great for kids just learning their numbers or, for kids looking for a harder challenge, create a sheet with various sums from the dice. Once they roll the dice, have them add-up the numbers and then find the corresponding number on the sheet. Get the full how-to here.

Division 1 Racing

Racers, on your mark! This division activity from Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational will go over big with Matchbox car fans. Score the instructions—and a free download of the race track—here.

Measurement Exploration Center

Get the littles learning about size and measurement thanks to this hands-on idea from Buggy and Buddy. They'll love having they're own station and tools for experimenting—you'll love that everything's contained in one area. Learn more here.

Hopscotch with a Math Twist

Who says math is all sitting still and staying in one place? Over at Guilt-Free Homeschooling, there's an idea that has all the active fun of hopscotch, with a bit of addition and subtraction thrown in. Feel free to tailor the grid to your kiddo's age and math level. Get more info here.

Crown Jewels Math Game

Your pint-sized royalty will get a kick out of this activity from Where Imagination Grows. It's a fairytale way to practice counting, simple addition or subtraction, and more. Learn more here.

LEGO Garden Preschool Math

Those LEGO bricks your little one is obsessed with? They might as well get some milage as math helpers. We like how this activity from The Educators' Spin On It is centered on what kids already like to do with LEGO: build things. Get the scoop here.

Build and Smash Numbers

We're pretty sure this idea from Coffee Cups and Crayons is the very definition of hands-on learning. It's a simple way to get kids counting or visualizing addition problems—and it involves tactile fun, too. Just add playdough! Get all the info (plus more math ideas) here.

Building Block Fun

Take your kids love of building LEGO towers and transfer it to this LEGO game from Teach With Laughter. The highest tower wins and everyone gets to practice counting and adding. Bonus: you can download the game board (for free!) thanks to Teach With Laughter.

Number Order Window Game

Sure, the littles are bound to be excited about writing on windows—but they'll also get a kick out of number matching, counting, and making those mathematical connections. See more here.

Super Hero Math Game: Catch a Villain

With this game, your little super heroes get to bust nefarious bank robbers—and practicing number recognition, counting, and addition while they're at it. Get the instructions here.

LEGO Fraction Game

This fraction game from JDaniel4's Mom is just further proof that LEGO bricks are the ultimate learning tool. It uses fraction prompts and different color LEGO, to get kids thinking about fractions—genius! Get the how-to here.

—Abigail Matsumoto

 

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40 Make-Ahead Meals That Are Perfect for Busy Weeknights

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Whip out your weekly meal planner, it’s time to get prepping! We know firsthand how busy life gets, and back-to-school makes us even busier. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get a handle on your daily dinners. With some meal prep and a few well-crafted make-ahead meals, you’ll be serving up great food in no time. From savory soups and stews to perfect pasta and chicken, read on to see our favorite kid-friendly recipes that make weeknights a breeze.

One-Pot Sausage and Sun Dried Tomato Pasta

Perfect for meal prepping for a week's worth of lunches, Budget Bytes' One Pot Sausage and Sun Dried Tomato Pasta is a meal even your picky eaters will enjoy. From the savory sausage to the sweet sun-dried tomatoes, this beautifully colored dish is made using just one pan and makes tons of leftovers. Get the recipe here.

Easy Crock Pot Sloppy Joes

The classic American dish has never been easier than with Yummy Healthy Easy's recipe for Sloppy Joe's. Add browned meat and spices to a crockpot before heading out for school pickup, after school sports or weekend activities and return home to a hot dinner with minimal effort. Get the recipe here.

Slow Cooker Lemon Rosemary Lentil Soup

Healthy and hearty is the name of the game with Melanie Makes Slow Cooker Lemon Rosemary Lentil Soup. Fresh ingredients are easily tossed together and left to slow cook for six hours. Perfect for freezing in both small and large batches, this soup is perfect for chilly nights. Get the recipe here.

20 Minute Tuscan Pasta

A creamy pasta that easily camouflages vegetables, Six Sisters' Stuff recipe for 20 Minute Tuscan Pasta is an easy choice for meal prep. Make the full recipe and save half for the freezer. When you're ready to enjoy, take out and allow to thaw in the fridge for 24 hours then reheat for 30 minutes in the oven. Dinner is served!

Get the recipe here.

Pesto Chicken Pizza Rolls

Chicken+pizza does a happy child make! These Pesto Chicken Pizza Rolls from the Lean Green Bean are not only awesome looking, but they are great to make in a big batch and serve all week for snacks or lunch. Enjoy reheated or cold, they'll make any hungry little happy. Get the recipe here.

Hawaiian Sweet Roll Sliders

Perfect for the freezer, these mini sandwiches from Make-Ahead Mom are made with sweet buns for an extra punch of flavor. Topped with a savory sauce, they heat up to a melty goodness in the oven straight from the freezer, and are great for lunches, appetizers and tailgating! Get the recipe here.

Baked Blueberry Oatmeal Cups

You don't need to sacrifice breakfast when you prep a big batch of Baked Blueberry Oatmeal Cups from Live Well Bake Often. The low-sugar recipe is packed with heart-healthy oats and fresh blueberries that are perfect for freezing and easy to reheat. Get the recipe here.

Chicken Broccoli & Rice

If the chilly weather's got you down, then this Chicken Broccoli and Rice recipe from Beyond the Chicken Coop is bound to warm you up. Savory ingredients can easily be thrown together over the weekend, or make in a big batch for the freezer so you're ready for the busy week ahead. Toss in the oven after school or work, and you've got comfort food ready in no time. Get the recipe here.

Crunchy Asian Ramen Noodle Salad

We know, kiddos usually shy away from salads but this fresh meal is perfect for warm nights. We can't help but think they'll love throwing this together ahead of time and tossing in the canned mandarin oranges, edamame and crunchy ramen. Get the recipe here.

Sweet Potato Taco Bowls

Meal prep has never been easier, thanks to this genius recipe from The Creative Bite. Just roast sweet potatoes and cook up a batch of ground meat on your prep day, then let your crew assemble their own bowls with their choice of toppings. Get the recipe here.

Breakfast Burritos

There’s nothing better than breakfast for dinner! Whip up a batch of these freezer-friendly burritos from Inquiring Chef, then heat them up any time of the day for a super satisfying meal. Best of all, you can heat them up straight from the freezer, making them the perfect choice for busy weeknights. Get the recipe here.

Cheesy Mexican Chicken Quinoa Casserole

You’re definitely going to want to add this recipe from Family Food on the Table to your meal prep repertoire. After all, it’s filled with kid-pleasing ingredients (like chicken and a healthy dose of cheese), and it’s super easy to make. Just assemble the casserole on the weekend, then finish it off in the oven when you’re ready to eat it. Get the recipe here.

Beef Stew

This freezer meal from Pinch of Yum is the ultimate in comfort food, with hearty chunks of beef, plenty of carrots and celery and luscious tomato-based gravy. If you have an Instant Pot, this is a great time to use it (it’ll be ready in 45 minutes flat!), but there are also instructions to make it in a slow cooker. Get the recipe here.

Crustless Quiche with Bacon, Broccoli and Cheddar

Everyone loves a good quiche, and this one from This Farm Girl Cooks is a make-ahead dream. It reheats well in the microwave after it’s been cooled, or you can freeze the uncooked egg mixture and thaw it when you’re ready to bake. Any way you slice it, it’s bound to be an instant favorite. Get the recipe here.

Thai Peanut Noodle Salad

If your kids balk at the idea of salad, then this colorful Thai-inspired dish from Vanilla and Bean just might get them to give it a try. It’s filled with veggies, rice noodles and a tangy, garlicky peanut lime sauce that will have everyone asking for seconds. Best of all, it keeps well for days to come. Get the recipe here.

Leftover Chicken Flatbread Pizza

Give leftover rotisserie chicken an upgrade with the perfect kid-pleaser: pizza! This idea from A Taste of Madness is super easy and a great option for your weekly meal prep. Get the recipe here.

Freezer Croissant Breakfast Sandwiches

All hail Damn Delicious and this idea for freezer breakfast sandwiches. They do their name justice (hello, easy breakfast!) but also work as a quick and quirky lunch or dinner. The kids can even help assemble the ingredients! Get the recipe here.

Big Batch Chinese Beef

Put down the takeout menu! Thanks to Kitchen Sanctuary, we’ve got something much better for your hungry family. This beef dish is great for a crowd and can be used with your slow cooker. (Bonus points if you add bok choy or another green veggie!) Get the recipe here.

Make Ahead Macaroni and Cheese

You can never have too many mac and cheese recipes! We’re digging this one from Kristine’s Kitchen because it’s a snap to make and you can refrigerate it up to two days before baking. It's a cheesy win-win! Get the recipe here.

One-Pot Black Bean Fajita Pasta

Psst! Not only is this a one-pot dish from Sweet Peas and Saffron bursting with flavor, but it can also be assembled ahead of time and frozen! So when a crazy weeknight hits, all you have to do is place everything in a pot and get cooking. Get the recipe here.

Make-Ahead Spaghetti

Cooking for a crowd? Need a quick meal on a chaotic weeknight? This spaghetti, courtesy of Kitchen Sanctuary, is the answer! It’s über flavorful and can even be frozen. Plus, it’s full of veggies and crispy bacon. Get the recipe here.

5-Ingredient Pizza Bagel Bites

Bagel bites and kids go together like cheese and pepperoni, which means you’ve got to try this idea from Life Made Simple. Way better than store-bought, these pizza bagel bites are customizable, freezable, and a cinch to make. Get the recipe here.

Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole

Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, and sometimes families gotta have mashed potatoes. That’s where this casserole from Dinner at the Zoo comes in. It’s loaded with wow-factor (a.k.a. bacon, cheese, sour cream and chives), but easy to make for any holiday or weeknight. Get the recipe here.

Hand Pies

How cute are these hand pies from Two Healthy Kitchens? They’ve got all the tastiness of a chicken pot pie (hello, flavorful veggies, tender chicken, and thyme crust!), but are totally kid-sized. Stock your freezer and get the recipe here.

Baked Italian Meatballs

We love these meatballs from Thriving Home Blog, which are baked, delicious and the best thing to happen to your freezer in a long time. Add them to your spaghetti, make a sandwich or just eat ‘em straight for a perfect weeknight meal. Get the recipe here.

Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas

Forget Taco Tuesday—any day can be enchilada day with this recipe from Gimme Delicious. This dish has layers of flavor, super simple instructions, and can be made ahead of time and stored in the freezer. Score! Get the recipe here.

Homemade Frozen Pizza

You know those store-bought frozen pizzas that you keep around for supper emergencies? Well, this homemade version from Love and Olive Oil is so much better! With tons of customization options and homemade flavor, these make-ahead pizzas are sure to please the whole family. Get the recipe here.

Chicken & Veggie Pasta Casserole

The beauty of this chicken and veggie pasta casserole from Jo Cooks is that it makes a bonanza amount of food and gives kids a good dose of veggies, too. Reinvent the leftovers during the week or freeze a portion and save for later! Get the recipe here.

Chicken (Minus the Noodles) Soup

For all the times you need comfort food in a pinch, this chicken soup from Mrs. Schwartz’s Kitchen has you covered. Freeze the stock mixture, add the noodles when you’re ready to eat, and voila—dinner is served! Get the recipe here.

Homemade Fish Sticks

As everyone knows, there are plenty of fish sticks in the sea—or at least there are plenty of homemade fish sticks in the freezer, thanks to Katy She Cooks. Bonus: This recipe is way healthier than what you'll find in the frozen food aisle. Get the recipe here.

Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Shells

Here’s an updated tongue twister for you: She eats stuffed shells on busy school nights. You can make it happen, with the help of Kristine’s Kitchen Blog. (Psst! You can even lighten them up with cottage cheese.) Get the recipe here.

Cheesy Broccoli and Pepper Baked Orzo

This baked orzo from Oh My Veggies hits all the top Cs—it’s cheesy, comforting and colorful, too. Freeze it in individual portions for extra-quick meal prep and add all the extra veggies you want. Get the recipe here.

Mini Meatloaf Muffins

Let’s face it, kids love kid-size food—and these mini meatloaf muffins from Our Family Eats are no exception. Not only are they packed with protein and vegetables, but they can also be frozen for about two months. We promise, your minis will love them. Get the recipe here.

Tortellini, Spinach, and Black Bean Soup

You've got to bookmark this hearty tortellini, spinach and black bean soup from How To: Simplify. It's a great thing to have on hand for the mid-week rush, and it offers a tasty way to scarf up spinach. Get the recipe here.

Enchilada Casserole

This black bean and spinach enchilada casserole from Kiwi and Bean isn’t just for vegetarians. Take it out of the freezer, pop it into the oven until it’s warm and bubbly, and watch the hungry masses gather ‘round! Get the recipe here.

Alphabet Vegetable Soup

Give your make-ahead meal a little literary twist! This alphabet soup comes straight from Chef Marjorie Druker (best-selling cookbook author and owner/executive chef of The New England Soup Factory) so you know it’s the real deal. Get the recipe here.

4-Ingredient Chicken Rigatoni

Please your pasta-loving crowd with this couldn’t-be-simpler recipe from Grace and Good Eats. This dish only requires a few ingredients, but the flavor payoff is off the charts. It’s just the thing to help control your weeknight chaos. Get the recipe here.

Garden Vegetable Lasagna

Load up on your veggies with this delish lasagna from Tastes Lovely! The cheesy layers are a total kid-pleaser—and they make great a camouflage for the green stuff. Get the recipe here.

Mac and Cheese with Sneaky Sweet Potato

Who doesn’t love mac and cheese? Especially when it’s healthy, delicious, and freezable? This Thriving Home recipe involves Greek yogurt and sweet potato, among other ingredients. We guarantee the kiddos will want seconds! Get the recipe here.

Easy Tomato Soup with Roasted Bell Peppers

This make-ahead meal combines simple ingredients to make a truly magical soup—not a bad kitchen lesson for your little chefs! It’s easy to whip up and freezes beautifully so you can slurp it up any day of the week. Get the recipe here.

Taco Rice Casserole

You can't go wrong with this super simple Taco Rice Casserole from Cathleen over at A Taste of Madness.You can customize flavors to your liking, and it even freezes well. Use your favorite beans and protein and get ready to rock this back-to-school dinner. 

 

 

 

—Abigail Matsumoto & Karly Wood

Featured image: Sheri Silver via Unsplash

 

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