Last Day to Save on Play Space Essentials

Today’s the last day to save up to 15% on play space essentials including play tables, play chairs, step stools, toy boxes and benches! And we’ve sweetened the deal with free parcel shipping today only.

extracurricular

Extracurricular Table / Squared Up Step Stools / Fruit Salad Rug / Metalwork Bookcase

If you’re stumped on how to create the perfect play space for your kiddos, here are a few tips:

  • Think about how your child will use the room. Work together with your child on the room design to make sure all the elements they want are included. They’ll feel a connection to the space and will be more likely to use it.
  • Storage, storage & more storage. Choose a mix of open and closed storage. Open storage is perfect for displaying beautiful, colorful toys & helps add personality to the room. Closed storage allowed you to store toys with lots of pieces of out sight.
  • Pick a color scheme that will grow with your kids. Your kid’s taste will change as quickly as the seasons. Try adding a pop of color with easy-to-remove decals or painting one wall.

For more design tips & tricks and how-to’s, head to our Design Library. And don’t forget, our playroom sale ends 6/29 at midnight!

Science Themed Graduation Party

Post by Colleen of Lemon Thistle

Science Themed Graduation Party

Let’s face it. Throwing parties can be stressful (with a capital S), but they can also be a ton of fun. A couple of weeks ago we traveled 8 hours by car to celebrate my little sister’s university graduation. She’s a ‘super nerd’ (we lovingly call her) and she graduated with an Honors degree in Cellular Molecular Biology and a Chemistry Degree. I wanted to throw a little graduation party for her to invite some friends to visit with our family while we were in town and celebrate her incredible accomplishments. After telling her to invite her friends over I realized a few things. I had NO idea what her house looks like… is there a good place to put a party table? I had NO room in our car (filled with playpens and snacks for our twins) to pack bunches of decorations but I really, really wanted it to be fun and special for her. PLUS, my sister is my biggest blog fan and has talked me up to all of her friends so I felt like I really had to make it look good.

So I set to the internet to find some ideas for adult science graduation parties and came up pretty empty. Then I came across this Fundamental Party kit from The Land of Nod and decided that was my solution. Since I’m a DIY’er at heart, I decided I’d DIY a science themed backdrop to go along with the decorations. I used black dollar store table cloths to cover the table and wall so I didn’t have to worry what kind of wall/ decorations I was competing with. That wall is actually brown/tan with nails sticking out of it… the backdrop covers it all! I had my sister write equations and diagrams in chalk pen on the table cloth for a chalkboard look. I created some molecules using painted Styrofoam balls and barbecue skewers for something a little extra. I’m so thrilled with how it turned out and it was a ton of fun to get to know her friends a little bit.

Science Themed Graduation Party

Nod Science Party-15061110 Nod Science Party-1506118 Nod Science Party-1506114Here’s some tips to throw a stress-free (but beautiful!) party no matter where on earth you are:

  • Find some awesome pre-made party decorations. Paper and plastic make for a fast clean up!
  • Get a table cloth and backdrop- again, disposable is best!
  • DIY a couple handmade touches ahead of time that you can toss when you’re done (like my molecules, or a centerpiece)
  • Bring everything you may possibly need (I learned the hard way that not everyone stocks tape in their house- save yourself the stress!)
  • Have food either prepped ahead of time or choose ready made options (we hit the grocery store when we got to town since we were traveling on a hot day)
  • Keep it simple – don’t get too fussy, you and your guests will enjoy themselves more if you’re not running around asking them to tape up last minute signs and arrange flowers.
  • Focus on one area – you don’t need to spread decorations around a whole house for a fun party. Make a great table and relax about the rest!

I hope these tips will help you have  a stress-free party (no matter where you are!), they certainly helped me pull this off in 45 minutes in a house I’ve never been to. Do you have any tips for a simple (but fun!) party? Share them in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!

Colleen is a wife, Mama to 21 month old twins, and the DIY and lifestyle blogger behind Lemon Thistle where she shares printable art and hands on tutorials for DIY home decor, parties and gifts. Colleen believes you can have a beautiful life, home, and party without spending a lot- we’re keeping it real on a budget so everyone can join in on the fun.

Creating a Sensory Friendly Playroom

Post by Julia of Tag&Tibby

wide_roomLast summer we moved to our new home in North Carolina. Our previous home in Minnesota was small: our two children shared a bedroom and playtime happened mostly in the living room. Now that we have a playroom and I wanted to make it more personal for our children’s’ needs!

Our oldest is on the autism spectrum. He is high functioning, processes information visually, and loves routine. He is very social but at times during the day needs a quiet space to be alone. Both of our children are fun loving and silly, and I wanted to make our playroom a safe, comfortable environment for both of them to play.

I contacted Land of Nod to see if they would be interested in helping me add some sensory friendly components to the room. They graciously sent the Planetarium Playhouse Canopy. Our little guy is always asking questions about science and the weather and I knew it would be a hit. Our kids now have a soft place to sit and read, and it is the perfect spot to have a little alone time or be silly with their finger flashlights.

Creating a Sensory Friendly Playroom Creating a Sensory Friendly Playroom Creating a Sensory Friendly Playroom

Some sensory friendly playrooms use really bright, vivid colors. But I believe if the room is a place to visually relax a soft blue or green is the way to go. I added a faux wood plank wall for texture, and the star bright decals add so much character to the room.

Our two kids are 5 and 7. They are in their elementary years so we were looking to add to hobbies they have established. They both love Legos, so it was important to include that in the room. And our daughter loves to craft and read. We keep our board games and puzzles in the closets and extra books and craft supplies in the thrifted cabinet to prevent visual over-stimulation. Additionally, we chose to leave “white space” in the room for the kids to be creative and spread out their toys.

Creating a Sensory Friendly Playroom
I brought the trampoline from our porch and right away our son started jumping. Jumping, hopping, running, spinning are all forms of vestibular input and is really helpful to add in a playroom for sensory processing.

Bryce craves a daily routine. It makes a tremendous difference to his day when he knows the “plan.” That can be a little hard sometimes for me: a creative, go with the flow Mama! So I added our weekly calendar to the wall and a white board for him to draw out our daily schedule. We find that reward charts (check out my free printable) and visual timers are also helpful.

Creating a Sensory Friendly Playroom

The kids LOVE the new playroom. They are spending more time there, making it messy, and using their imaginations. We are excited to spend even more time there this summer! For more pictures of the playroom makeover visit Julia’s blog Tag & Tibby.

Creating a Sensory Friendly Playroom - Before & After

Julia is the founder and editor of Tag&Tibby: a site dedicated to simple DIY projects, home design, and recipes with a hint of vintage. She is a wife and mom to two awesome kids and has a background in product design.  

Guggenheim – Learning Through Art – Spotlight on PS 86 in the Bronx

Written by Rachel, Nod’s PR & Social Media Lead

Today’s post is a continuation of a series on The Land of Nod’s sponsorship of the Guggenheim’s A Year with Children 2015, which features art created by the Guggenheim’s artist-in-residence program, Learning Through Art. Learning Through Art teaching artists partner with classroom teachers in each of the city’s five boroughs to design collaborative projects that explore art and ideas related to the classroom curriculum.

Each Tuesday in June we’re highlighting one of the school’s projects.  Today’s spotlight is on PS 86 in the Bronx.

Sixth graders at PS 86 explored drawing techniques and created self-portraits on iPad sketchbooks.  Using technology allowed students to explore the differences between digital and analog drawing. The student artists then created portrait monoprints, allowing them to tackle different media and materials inspired by the same subject… themselves!

Guggenheim - Learning Through Art – Spotlight on PS 86 in the Bronx

LTA students in the classroom
Sixth grade, PS 86, Bronx, 2015
© 2015 Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York

Guggenheim - Learning Through Art – Spotlight on PS 86 in the Bronx

LTA students in the classroom
Sixth grade, PS 86, Bronx, 2015
© 2015 Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York

Guggenheim - Learning Through Art – Spotlight on PS 86 in the BronxStudent Artwork
Sixth grade, PS 86, Bronx, 2015
© 2015 Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York

Teaching Artist Jeff Hopkins says that “art is about sharing stories and connecting with others. Students learn to ask: What stories do I have to share? What stories do others have that might connect to my own experiences? The language of visual art is a communication tool as essential as speaking or writing. When students learn to think visually, they learn a new way to connect with the world around them.”

This spring, we were honored to be one of the sponsors of  A Year with Children 2015, which features art created by the Guggenheim’s artist-in-residence program, Learning Through Art. This program has been serving New York City public school students for more than forty years. Learning Through Art teaching artists partner with classroom teachers in each of the city’s five boroughs to design collaborative projects that explore art and ideas related to the classroom curriculum.

 

Nod Printable Coloring Page – Happy 4th of July

Nod Fun Pages designed by Michelle Romo

We can’t believe that the 4th of July is almost here! We’re looking forward to fireworks, hot dogs and a summery day with our families. Download this free Fourth of July themed printable coloring page HERE. Share a pic of your little one with the finished product on Instagram (use hashtag #landofnod) or our Facebook page. We may feature it!
Nod Printable Coloring Page - Happy 4th of July

Michelle Romo is our newest Nod illustrator, she’s a self-taught illustrator and designer fueled by cookies and naps. Her influences include Mid-Century, Japanese and Scandinavian design, along with pretty much anything cute. When she isn’t working she spends her time eating good food, hugging her friends, playing video games and crafting.

Cheddar Bunny Chicken Tender Recipe

Post by Corri McFadden of Glitter & Bubbles

Transforming junk food into healthy eats is way easier than you think! You might just like these Cheddar Bunny Chicken Tenders more than your littles! These tenders are a crowd-please for all ages—and a great option when you want to put a new spin on how you prepare chicken.

Cheddar Bunny Chicken Tender Recipe

Cheddar Bunny Chicken Tender Recipe Ingredients:

  • Annie’s Cheddar Bunny Crackers (or similar cheddar crackers)
  • 1 chicken breast
  • Fat-Free Greek yogurt
  • Salt and pepper

How to:

  1. First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Then, start by placing the Cheddar Bunny crackers in a Ziploc bag and then use a rolling pin to crush them. Make sure the pieces aren’t too fine, you’ll want the pieces to be similar in size to panko breadcrumbs! Cheddar Bunny Chicken Tender Recipe
  2. Pour the cracker crumbs and the yogurt into separate shallow bowls and set aside. Slice the chicken breast lengthwise into tenders – one breast creates 4-5 tenders.
  3. Dip each tender in the yogurt then the crackers crumb and shake off any excess. Place each piece on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and repeat until all of the tenders have been coated.Cheddar Bunny Chicken Tender Recipe
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the tenders are crispy and the chicken is fully cooked. Let them cool and serve to your littles with their favorite dipping sauces!

Cheddar Bunny Chicken Tender Recipe

Corri McFadden is the owner and founder of eDrop-Off Luxury Consignment.  As a style expert and successful blogger, she hosts a weekly fashion segment on Chicago’s “You and Me This Morning” and features more tips and tricks on her website, Corri McFadden. She also recently launched Glitter and Bubbles, a savvy site for modern-day moms looking for inspiration through fashion, décor and food. 

DIY Father’s Day Gift – Felt Catchall

Post by Rebecca of Not So SAHM

DIY Father’s Day Kids Craft - Felt Catchall

By some stroke of luck, both of our kids learned to sew at school this year. Now I’m into lots of different arts and crafts, but sewing just isn’t my jam. So of course they both decided they wanted to sew their dad a present for Father’s Day. I racked my brain to think of something simple that was also useful and (*lightbulb!*) I came up with the idea to make Dad DIY felt catchalls. He really needed several containers to hold the daily contents of his pockets and I wanted something that wasn’t going to scratch all our new furniture. So these were perfect! I think he’s going to love them (and his new-found ability to rapidly find his wallet, keys, and security badge in the morning).

DIY Father’s Day Gift - Felt Catchall

To make our DIY Father’s Day Gift – Felt Catchall, you’ll need:

  • 2 sheets of colored felt (we used 9″ X 11″ sheets from a craft store and cut them into 9″ squares)
  • 1/8 circle hole punch
  • Colored embroidery thread and a needle
  • Ruler
  • Black marker
  • Scissors

And here’s how you make it:

  1. Cut your felt sheets into a square. DIY Father’s Day Gift - Felt Catchall
  2. Using your ruler, draw marks onto the corners of your felt where you are going to hole punch (I did this prep work and the kids jumped in at the sewing stage). You’ll need to gather the corners of your felt in two spots, so you will be marking for four holes:- 2 holes, each 1.5″ from the corner of the felt and 0.6″ from the edge- 2 holes, each 1.5″ from the corner of the felt and 1.25″ from the edgeDIY Father’s Day Gift - Felt Catchall
  3. Use the punch to make each hole as marked. I did this on one corner and then folded the felt in half and marked the opposite corner. Then repeated for the remaining two corners. You’ll be able to mark all four corners, but only have to measure once. Punch the remaining holes. Lay punched felt on top of second piece of felt. Using the holes as guides, mark where you’ll need to punch on the second piece. DIY Father’s Day Gift - Felt Catchall                                                  (folding to mark the same spot on the opposite corner)DIY Father’s Day Gift - Felt Catchall

  4. Thread your needle. Gather one corner and sew through the closest two hole punches several times. Tie the ends into a small knot and clip. Repeat for the two holes closest to the felt’s edge, looping the embroidery thread over the top as you sew. DIY Father’s Day Gift - Felt CatchallDIY Father’s Day Gift - Felt Catchall
  5. After you’ve done one corner completely, show your kiddos and help them do remaining three corners. Voila!

We’re wrapping our felt catchalls in The Land of Nod’s fabulous suitcases — the best reusable gift wrapping for this delicate present!

DIY Father’s Day Gift - Felt CatchallDIY Father’s Day Gift - Felt CatchallDIY Father’s Day Gift - Felt CatchallDIY Father’s Day Gift - Felt Catchall DIY Father’s Day Gift - Felt CatchallDIY Father’s Day Gift - Felt Catchall

Rebecca is a mom to two young kiddos and, in her spare time (ha!), likes to pretend she’s a back-up dancer, craft cocktails, and run long distances. A relatively recent SAHM, she blogs family-friendly activities, DIYs and celebration fun at Not-So-SAHM.

Guggenheim Learning Through Art – Spotlight on PS 48 in Staten Island

Written by Rachel, Nod’s PR & Social Media Lead

Today’s post is a continuation of a series on The Land of Nod’s sponsorship of the Guggenheim’s A Year with Children 2015, which features art created by the Guggenheim’s artist-in-residence program, Learning Through Art. Learning Through Art teaching artists partner with classroom teachers in each of the city’s five boroughs to design collaborative projects that explore art and ideas related to the classroom curriculum.

Each Tuesday in June we’re highlighting one of the school’s projects.  Today’s spotlight is on PS 48 in Staten Island.

Throughout the year, fourth grade student artists learned about kinetic energy and discovered ways to make moving sculptures. Combining 3-D design principles (balance, texture, form, and space) with scientific concepts (mechanical, gravitational, electrical, and magnetic energies), students created diagrams and step-by-step instructions for their sculptures.

The residency culminated by building automatas, handmade toys powered by a simple mechanism. Student artists confronted their essential question “What moves us?” on a more personal level when they utilized both their artistic and scientific knowledge to develop unique ways to make their sculptures move.

Guggenheim Learning Through Art – Spotlight on PS 48 in Staten Island

LTA students in the classroom

Fourth grade, PS 48, Staten Island, 2015

© 2015 Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York

Guggenheim Learning Through Art – Spotlight on PS 48 in Staten Island

Kris McKay © 2015 Solomon R. Guggenheim

 

Rose Nestler, Teaching Artist said that, “visual thinking brings out the inherent genius in students, whether they are looking closely at a work of art, drawing from observation, or building a sculpture. As a teaching artist I enable students to envision limitless possibilities in art making; this process opens new channels for students, where they feel empowered to transport their artistic brilliance, imagination, and problem-solving abilities into all aspects of their lives.”

This spring, we were honored to be one of the sponsors of  A Year with Children 2015, which features art created by the Guggenheim’s artist-in-residence program, Learning Through Art. This program has been serving New York City public school students for more than forty years. Learning Through Art teaching artists partner with classroom teachers in each of the city’s five boroughs to design collaborative projects that explore art and ideas related to the classroom curriculum.

Introducing Studio Nod

Post by Michelle Kohanzo, Managing Director of The Land of Nod

It has always been at the heart of the Nod brand to collaborate with and celebrate artists and makers.  Without this amazingly talented community our brand would not be whole and so it was quite organically that Studio Nod came to be.  Introducing Studio Nod - One of a Kind Art by Nod Artists

Often times, Nod will commission art, to be translated into product.  For example, an abstract Oil Landscape from Emily Jeffords, destined to become a gorgeous crib quilt, (coming soon).Introducing Studio Nod - One of a Kind Art by Nod Artists

I started to wonder where all of this beautiful art was going, once the product it inspired had come to life.  The answer was, storage.  The thought of this was heartbreaking; there is nothing more beautiful and personal then these pieces our artists were making with their own two hands, gorgeous one of a kind items and we were not sharing them.  Not because we didn’t care, but because there was no avenue to get these things into the world.  And so, this is how Studio Nod was born.  The idea of sharing these inspiring, one of a kind pieces from our most lovely family of artists with all of you.

Introducing Studio Nod - One of a Kind Art by Nod Artists

Studio Nod is a many faceted idea, with one overarching goal – to celebrate the creativity, beauty and talent of our family of artists.  So what is it – Studio Nod is both an Online and Physical gallery space where you can purchase these one of a kind pieces.  If you happen to be in Chicago, we would be delighted to take you through the studio space and share with you the stories of the pieces and their makers.  If you are anywhere else, just shoot us a note – we would love to tell you everything about all of the work.  Because the purpose of Studio Nod is to celebrate our artist family, we have decided that all profit from Studio Nod sales will be returned to our artists in the form of a fund awarded to an artist to further studies, or fund a project, (more details to come).  The Studio Nod space will also be utilized as a residency space for Nod artists to come and collaborate with our designers, have workshops with all of you, and maybe even a party or two.

Introducing Studio Nod - One of a Kind Art by Nod Artists

The art from the studio will be changing all the time, so check back often.  And if you fall in love with a piece, remember there is only one!  I am excited to see this idea to grow and evolve over time and I hope that you all find the work as inspiring as I do.

 

XO,

Michelle

Aside from being the Managing Director of The Land of Nod, mother to four kids (yes I said FOUR!) and a gourmet cook, Michelle is a retail junky. From Zara to Marc Jacobs, Target to Nordstroms, she doesn’t discriminate, there’s room in her heart and closet for them all. And the addiction doesn’t stop at fashion, she’s painted her dining room at least 5 times, and changes rugs like most women change their sheets. Retail isn’t therapy for Michelle, it’s more like oxygen.

DIY Pinball Machine

Post by Candice Blansett-Cummins of The Wishcraft WorkshopKids Craft - DIY Pinball Machine

Our Wishcraft Workshop team had full-tilt fun launching into summer with little Chicagoans at the Land of Nod store this past weekend and the kiddos did too! We used mechanical “pinball machines” to play with fancy topics like gravity and conservation of momentum in a colorful and playful way.

Let’s keep this fun going and turn stuff from around your own house into a STEAM learning and playing adventure by making your very own DIY pinball machines, shall we?

But first, what is STEAM? STEAM stands for: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. Wishcraft Workshop makes it their job to make STEAM stylish and fun all year long.

 

To make your very own DIY Pinball machines, the first thing you’ll need to do is grab an Art Jar from The Land of Nod. Inside you’ll have just about everything you need in one (cheery) reusable plastic jar. This project uses small parts and little-littles should be supervised when building and playing.

Kids Craft - DIY Pinball Machine

DIY Pinball Machine Supplies

  • Corrugated cardboard (we suggest a rectangle at least 8” x 12”)
  • Sticky glue
  • A clothespin, popsicle stick and two spools (or two things of equal size about 1” tall)
  • Some push-pins and rubber-bands
  • Something small and round like a large bead or a marble
  • Stuff! Bottle-caps, pom-poms, pipe-cleaners, buttons, wooden spools, googly eyes, sequins, small toys,
    caps from old colored-marker pens.
  • Optional- plain or pretty paper to cover the cardboard and popsicle sticks to make a decorative backboard.

Make It Up

  1. Prepare the base – draw on the cardboard or cover it with colored paper.
  2. Build the launcher – clip a clothespin to a rubber-band stretched between two spools (glue these on to the
    base) and held in place with a popsicle stick affixed to the top of the spools. Done!
  3. Install the edges – gently stretch rubber-bands between push-pins inserted around the perimeter of the base. Use a little glue if needed to hold the push-pins in place.
  4. Add fun stuff against which the ball will bounce, travel around or pass under.
  5. Give your machine a name and make a backboard with popsicle sticks and paper.
  6. Play!wishcraft

Add To The Learning!

  • Assign numbers to the machine’s parts: how many points does each launched ball earn?
  • Elevate the back end of the base using objects of different heights: how does this change the speed of the ball when it launches and returns?

Kids Craft - DIY Pinball MachineInterested in even more STEAM activities for your and your kids? Check out Wishcraft Workshop’s summer programs here.

Candice Blansett-Cummins is the Founder and Chief Giggle Officer of The Wishcraft Workshop. Candice is a parent, wife, friend, artist, teacher, and student.