Yo Babba Babba!

Babbaco Box!

We recently had the privilege of receiving a box of fun from BabbaCo.com. BabbaCo is a subscription company that sends children ages three to six a box filled with fun, educational activities that they can do every month on their own or with help from parents. Like the KiwiCrate box I reviewed a few months ago it is absolutely wonderful resource for homeschooling or just the busy family who wants to incorporate more enriching activities into their lives without having to hunt all over the place for supplies and ideas. It’s all right there in a box ready for action!

opening the box

Everything you need comes in a beautifully designed box along with helpful instructions, prompts for discussions and further activities, coupon codes for unlocking games on the internet and even a special gift for mom. My gift was a coupon to SitterCity which I’ve heard a lot about and now I have a free subscription for a month. Hot Diggety!

a rainbow kit!

This box was off the hook! It incorporated a rainbow theme and Bug was enthralled.

enormous bubbles!

First she made enormous bubbles with rainbows in them.

swish

Some of them blown at me as you can see. It was kind of fun sending a floaty little storm of giant bubbles off into our new apartment complex. We didn’t see anyone watching us but I like to think a few of them blew by people’s windows and made their day a little more interesting.

I see you.

Next was a little rainbow tissue-dying project with this jaunty little hat.

rainbow crafts!

Bug has always loved rainbows so this project needed very little prodding. It didn’t say in the instructions to create a rainbow stripe on the hat but Bug took the rainbow theme and ran with it.

very good at squirting

Some very serious squirt bottle action went down here, as you can see.

I see rainbows.

Next up was a little lesson about prisms and finding and making your own rainbows.

touch the rainbow

I think we have a new favorite toy.

kiss

Then she made more bubble wands with colorful chenille stems. I was quite surprised by this activity. I didn’t realize it was that easy to make a bubble wand and they worked just as well as the store-bought plastic ones. Maybe even better because they were bendable! Just bend, twist and saturate with bubble solution and you’re ready to blow yourself silly with bubbles!

heart bubbles

Sadly, heart-shapped bubble wands do not create heart-shaped bubbles. Dang it!

A Rainbow of My Own

What I really liked about this box was the story book. What a nice touch. And it wasn’t some cheap silly book either. It was a really cool one by Don Freeman that we actually had never read before. Super cute story. I have a feeling this will be a regular in the nighttime storybook line-up from now on.

a rainbow to play with

Seriously, how cute is this? Heart-warming cute, I say.

so stylish jaunty

And as if that wasn’t enough, there was a sunny yellow umbrella included. We haven’t had much rain around here but it sure did look fashionable. Everybody needs a sunny yellow umbrella.

our house matches our life now

Then we finished the very colorful, fun-filled day with some quiet time coloring rainbows and bubbles. Or I should say Bug finished with some quiet coloring time while I got dinner on which was really nice for me. This mama says, “A-Okay!” These activities were perfect for us and there’s still more in the box to discover! I noticed some coupons for links to online games and then there’s that coupon for me for SitterCity. I was very pleasantly surprised with the thoughtful attention to detail included in this box. I would highly recommend it to anyone.

coloring away

And guess what?! One of you can win a free box! All you have to do is sign up for the BabbaCo newsletter and leave a comment below telling me that you have and I will randomly select one reader to win their very own BabbaCo box in the mail. You’ll love it.

I also have a fifty percent off coupon to give away. So if you sign up for a monthly subscription using the code: SAJ50OFF before June 28th, your first charge will be for $15, then 29.99 per month after that. If you sign up for an annual subscription, you will receive $15 off the total price, so you’re getting your first box for 50% off. Not too shabby!

This contest is open until June 28th so hop on it!

This post is sponsored by BabbaCo but my opinions are my own! Promise. :)

How to Make Photo Sessions Fun for Kids

We’ve all been there: You had a vision of the perfect photo of your kid and just when you have it all set up, they want nothing to do with you. You bribe them with candy, a trip to the ice cream store … you threaten to take away privileges or worse. What do you get for all your efforts? A bunch of pictures of your kids looking sullen with their tongue stuck out. Or worse — they’re not in the photo at all.

Well, I’m here to rescue you. I’m not a professional photographer or anything, but I’ve been taking pictures of kids for years. Here are my top ten tips for making photo sessions fun for kids.

commercial for San Diego

1. Make an idiot of yourself. Kids love fart jokes. If you can let one rip or pretend to, you’ll get that smile you wanted and their grandmother will never know. She’ll just think your kids are delightfully charming and happy all the time. When the fart jokes get old (although they never do), move on to something even more stupid. Tell them their dad wears diapers and sucks his thumb. It’ll be a laugh-fest. Just make sure you have your finger on that shutter button and snap away.

kickin' it

2. Shoot shoot shoot. Shoot a hundred pictures. You’ll get at least one good one.

wheeeee!!!

3. Get in the thick of the action. Get close. Shoot at weird angles. If they’re in the water, get yourself a waterproof camera and dive in. If they’re at the park, go down the slide with them. Cameras are expensive, but they’re meant to be used. They don’t get nice pictures sitting safely in your camera bag or on top of the refrigerator. Get close to your kids and play with them. Invest in a nice strap and always have your camera handy at your hip. Make sure you’ve got your settings ready at all times, because you never know when you might get that million dollar shot. Also, if you have your camera on you all the time, your kids will get used to it. Before you know it they’ll be yelling at you to take their picture instead of running away from you when you pull it out.

on golden sands

4. Break the rules. Shoot into the sun. Shoot upside down. Shoot through your knees. Tilt the horizon. It’s okay. Just because some teacher in your Photography 101 class told you to use the three-quarters rule when you frame a photo doesn’t mean you have to. Those rules are made for people who have hours and hours to compose a shot. You don’t. You have a kid who’s active, so shoot away before you lose your shot.

hi!

5. Go ahead and photograph them when they are being bad. If it’s a family portrait session and they’re picking their nose, take that shot, too. Capture that moment when they kick their feet up in the air on stage and show off their panties. These are moments that make the best stories and you are going to want to remember them — even if at the time you want to crawl under your chair and pretend they aren’t your kids. These are the photos that will have you laughing into old age. Treasure them.

running

6. Make them chase you. Sometimes when my daughter has had it up to here with posing for photos, I tell her to try and catch me. I run backwards shooting her the whole time. Sure, it takes some coordination not to run into people behind me, but I get the best shots and it gets the wiggles out so she’s more inclined to be still in other photos.

circle

7. Keep an eye out for great locations. An old brick wall with pretty peeling paint, a funny structure to climb on, a pretty park … I keep a running list in my brain of great places to take photos and when we need to mix it up, we take a little ride in the car. Sometimes a new location is the best antidote for those rolling eyeballs when you announce it’s picture time again.

7days, Day 5: "jumping into the shot"

8. Take advantage of that self-timer and jump into your own shot. Kids get tired of being the only subject. Get in there with them. Make a fool of yourself. It provides great comic relief. Then let them view the photos on the back of your camera so they can see what works and what doesn’t work. You’ll be surprised how quickly they can get the hang of not looking stupid. Some cameras even let you flip the view-finder around so kids can see themselves while they pose. Take advantage of that natural vanity and use it in your favor.

We declare=

9. Bring unexpected props. A pink parasol, a giant cheesehead hat, funky glasses, a mustache or a giant lollipop … sometimes throwing something unexpected into the mix can really make it fun. They never know what you are going to do and that takes away the boredom factor. Let them wear something you never let them wear. A snorkel with mittens — why not? Chances are they’ll abandon the silly props in half of your photos, and you’ll get that shot you really wanted anyway. Bringing a sense of playfulness to the session will make it last ten times longer, and you won’t have to bribe them with candy.

silly girl

10. Let them be them. If they’re having an off day and they really don’t want their photo taken, let them be. If you respect their limits they’ll probably come back later when they’re feeling better and ham it up better than ever. Kids really do want to make you happy. Make a big deal out of how great the photos turn out when they do and when they don’t, shrug it off. Everybody has off days.