Printable First Day of School Signs

I can’t believe that it is time to start talking about Back to School! We were just barely enjoying fireworks and parades and now all of sudden it is time for new pencils, backpacks, and first day of school outfits. The schools here start in two weeks so I know there is a lot of to do as everyone prepares. (And celebrates if you’re a parent!) I’ve created some new printables to help you out in at least one part of back to school. The traditional First Day of School Signs for your pictures!

Free Printable Back to School Signs- Preschool thru Senior Year



This is such a fun tradition to do every year with your kids. It is so special to be able to look back and see how they have changed and grown over the years.

**Okay, I’ve got to take a break and be honest for a second. If you were sitting next to me on the couch while I am typing this blog post you’d see me sitting here trying really hard to hold back the tears. Whhyyyy are my kids growing up so fast?! I just watched a video where a dad interviewed his daughter after every first day of school and whew, that one really brought on the tears. So taking these pictures is important, you won’t ever get another chance to capture this time in your child’s life again.**

Free Printable Back to School Signs- Preschool thru Senior YearI’ve made signs for every year of school from Preschool to Senior Year. And while yes, you may have to resort to some good natured mom guilt or bribing to get your teenagers to cooperate, go ahead and take their picture too! They’ll appreciate it when they’re older. At least that is what we moms tell ourselves as we are knee deep in laundry and dirty dishes.  :)




The First Day of School Signs are all formatted to fit on standard 8.5×11 paper so you can print right from your home computer. You can frame them, laminate them, or simply have your children hold the paper while you snap away. Easy peasy! I’ve broken the signs up into two PDF sets due to the file size so make sure you download both sets!

First Day of School Signs – Preschool thru 5th Grade

First Day of School Signs – 6th Grade thru Senior Year

Free Printable Back to School Signs- Preschool thru Senior Year


Travel Busy Book and Road Trip Printables

I recently heard the saying that once you start travelling with kids you no longer go on vacations, you go on trips. And while that made me laugh it is also kind of true in a way. The stress of travelling with kids can sometimes take away the relaxing vacation aspect parents so desperately need! But yet we travel with our kids anyway! Because there is nothing better than a family trip that creates memories, brings you closer together, and allows us to explore the world around us! I absolutely LOVE to travel and hope to go on as many family vacations as we possibly can! In preparation for our upcoming trip (which I’ll blog about later) I created a Travel Busy Book for each of my sweet kiddos to pass the time during our very long car ride.

Create a Travel Busy Book to bring more adventure to your next family vacation!



Each child receives their own binder with a few fun surprises inside! The Dollar Tree is a great place to find goodies for a road trip. You don’t want to spend a ton of money and they actually have some really fun items. Stickers, coloring books, short story books, and I even found these really cute dry erase bingo games! Heck, Sam and I might even play them on our own as we drive down the road!

Create a Travel Busy Book to bring more adventure to your next family vacation!My four year old loves hidden pictures! So when I found some online I knew I had to include them in our travel busy books too. My two year old is still a little young for them, but I printed the hidden pictures for his book anyway. He can enjoy looking at the images and scribbling on the pages so it is still great entertainment! You can find lots of free hidden picture printables at All Kids Network.

Create a Travel Busy Book to bring more adventure to your next family vacation!



Paper and  color pencils or crayons are a must! I put them in a zipper pouch rather than leaving them in their boxes to try to minimize the mess and spills. And of course a folder to hold any treasured artwork that is created along the way.

Create a Travel Busy Book to bring more adventure to your next family vacation!I also found this really cute free printable race track at Free Time Frolics, and it is perfect to include in the book for my car loving boy. A couple of hot wheels are all he needs to get lots of fun time out of this page!

Create a Travel Busy Book to bring more adventure to your next family vacation!I love these free alphabet and picture tracing printables from Tot Schooling. We have been working really hard on writing our letters and I love giving my daughter a fun way to practice as we drive.

Create a Travel Busy Book to bring more adventure to your next family vacation!And I am sharing the Adventure Awaits covers I created for our travel busy books! There are three different colors to choose from and they are made to be printed on a regular 8.5 x 11 piece of paper. Perfect for printing at home and slipping into the cover of your binder!

DOWNLOAD THE PDF

I hope this gives you some good ideas as you get ready to hit the road! Now go make those memories!




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The BEST Water Play Games to Beat the Heat

Well we are full blown in the middle of an Arizona summer here and I am always on the lookout for water play activities to beat the heat! My kids and I recently came up with a new activity that has become our standard afternoon play in the backyard. We all love it! And it is definitely keeping us cool! Check out our video below!

Beat the Heat with Water Play Activities and Water Silhouettes





How many crazy outlines do you think you and your kids can come up with? Each different pose has us cracking up with laughter! Every family member from our littlest to us big kids loves joining in!

Beat the Heat with Water Play Activities and Water SilhouettesSo go outside and start playing! All you need is a hose and a wall or fence. And let’s just go ahead and be honest…this can totally count as bath time for the kids. :) Mom win!!!



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Printable Pretend Play Restaurant- Tiny Tots Cafe

Welcome to Tiny Tots Cafe were we serve up a daily helping of imagination with a large side of fun!

Printable Pretend Play Restaurant - Tiny Tots CafeDid you know that when your children engage in pretend play and use their imagination not only are they expanding their creativity, but they are also developing critical thinking skills, building their language skills, and increasing social skills such as empathy and positive self-esteem? It’s true! There are so many more benefits to pretend play besides just giving children something to occupy their time. In fact, pretend play is vital for normal, happy childhood development.




Printable Pretend Play Restaurant - Tiny Tots CafeAnd along with all the studies and research saying how important pretend play is…it is also just FUN! Silly and funny moments turn into precious memories. Kids love playing when they are given the chance! And hey, if it distracts them for even just a few minutes, Moms enjoy some time to themselves!

Printable Pretend Play Restaurant - Tiny Tots CafeI had the idea to create a pretend play restaurant after my daughter and I spent an afternoon playing and taking turns being the waitress. Since I created this set for her it has become one of her favorite pastimes. She LOVES it! We play together all the time, she plays with her dolls, even her little brother loves to join in on the fun.

The set has been such a hit in our house that I decided to add it to my Etsy Shop! This printable set comes with everything you need to start your own restaurant!

Printable Pretend Play Restaurant - Tiny Tots Cafe


And this set can be fully printed at home, or sent to any local copy store for printing. Everything is formatted to fit on 8.5 x 11 paper. There is also an extra copy of the Tiny Tots Cafe sign that can be printed at 11 x 14 if you are wanting a larger sign.

Printable Pretend Play Restaurant - Tiny Tots CafeI recommend laminating the items after they have been printed, this will allow you to write on the order and receipt forms with a dry erase marker! Once you’re done playing just erase the marker!

Printable Pretend Play Restaurant - Tiny Tots CafeAnother huge benefit of buying printables? If anything should happen to one of the items all you have to do is print another one! It is bound to happen with kids, things get bent or ripped all the time. But since you now own the files you can print another menu in seconds, no additional purchases required!

Here’s a closer look at everything you get in this set:

  • Welcome Sign (large and small size)
  • Open Sign
  • Closed Sign
  • Menu
  • Order Form
  • Receipt
  • Placemat
  • $1, $5, $10

Printable Pretend Play Restaurant - Tiny Tots CafePrintable Pretend Play Restaurant - Tiny Tots CafePrintable Pretend Play Restaurant - Tiny Tots CafeHead on over to the Etsy Shop and pick up your set! You can be serving your kids a fun filled afternoon in no time!



Fourth of July Firework Craft for Kids

If you have little ones that won’t quite be able to stay up late enough to see the fireworks this Fourth of July, then let them have their own firework celebration with this easy and fun firework craft for kids.  Some simple pipe cleaners and paint are all you need for your children to create their own bursts of color.

To begin group several pipe cleaners in a bunch and twist the tops together to hold them in place. Bend the ends out in a “burst” shape. Try varying the lengths of your pipe cleaners to make different size fireworks!

(When my daughter first saw the pipe cleaners in this shape she said, “Are we making flowers?” And I bet if you used some pink and purple paint you could definitely make some flowers with this same technique. Just another craft idea for you!)

Pipe Cleaner Firework Craft for Kids Pipe Cleaner Firework Craft for Kids



Dip the pipe cleaners into your paint. We used red, blue, and a light gray. Make sure the paint gets all the way to the ends of the pipe cleaner.

Pipe Cleaner Firework Craft for Kids Pipe Cleaner Firework Craft for Kids


And then press onto your paper! Use your fingers to press down the ends of the pipe cleaners if they don’t lay completely flat on the paper.

Pipe Cleaner Firework Craft for KidsA few fingers dipped in paint add little dots and there you have it! You could even add a touch of glitter to your firework craft if you’d like to really make the fireworks sparkle.

Pipe Cleaner Firework Craft for Kids Pipe Cleaner Firework Craft for KidsIf you enjoyed this craft idea please pin and share it! And take any pictures of your kids with their own firework craft and tag me on IG (#darlingdoodlesdesign) so I can see all the patriotic cuteness!

Pipe Cleaner Firework Craft for Kids


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Motherhood. Where the days are long but the years are short.

Motherhood. The days are long, but the years are short. I can still remember those first days with my newborn daughter, those exhausting, uncertain, amazing, wonderful, tear-filled first days of learning to be a mom. They were days filled with tiny baby clothes, burp cloths, endless snuggles, sleepless nights, and so much love. They were hard and some days seemed to last forever. And then a day ended and suddenly my baby was turning one, and walking, and running, and obsessed with Tinker Bell, and carrying her favorite blanket with her everywhere. Those days were long as I tried to figure out sleep schedules, plan activities, and hug her through the pain of teething and growing. And then another long day ended.

And suddenly there was a second new baby in our home. And I watched my daughter turn into a big sister overnight who loved to hug and kiss on her brother. A baby brother who cried a lot but who had the chubbiest cheeks perfect for kissing. And the days seemed even longer as I tried to figure out my new normal with a newborn and toddler. And our days were filled with songs, and books, walks to the park, more sleepless nights, messes and spilled milk, lots of hugs and kisses. They were days that sometimes passed in a fog and I wondered if I was a good enough mother for you. But your little arms around my neck always reassured me that you loved me despite my flaws and appreciated my sometimes flailing efforts. And before I knew it another long day had ended.




And suddenly my newborn isn’t so little anymore, and I have two toddlers who never hold still. One who loves to run to preschool with her ladybug backpack bouncing on her back, so excited to see her friends. Who loves everything pink and sparkly, and wants to do everything “by myself.” Who is smart, and strong, and adventurous. And a little boy who jumps for joy anytime he sees a train, who climbs on furniture and bounces off the walls. A boy who loves puzzles and books, and laughs with his whole body. Who cheeks are still chubby and perfect for kissing, and who loves his mama more than anything.

But before I know it, another one of these long days will have ended and they will be going to kindergarten, high school, driving. They won’t want to hold my hand in public, and would rather spend time with their friends. They won’t need me to get them cups of milk anymore, and comb their tangled hair. They won’t ask for bedtime stories, or just one more song, or for me to lay by their bed until they fall asleep. They’ll be graduating, moving away to start lives of their own, getting married, beginning their families. And I’ll look back on those days that seemed so long, and wonder how could the years be so impossibly short.

And I wonder what about these long days will I be able to remember? Will I always remember how their favorite way to start the day is with a cup of milk and cuddles on the couch? Will I remember how much fun a simple trip to the park is, and how exciting it is for a two-year old to feed the ducks? Will I remember how hard we laughed when we all realized that our boy had been wearing his pants backwards for most of the afternoon? Or will I remember how good it felt to hold your tiny, warm bodies in my arms? Or will these be things that I forget as the years fly by?

So today, I decided to do something to help me always remember these long days. I brought my camera with me from beginning to end and captured every moment of our day together. And as I look back on these pictures I can already feel time slipping by. And it makes me wish that these long long days, could somehow slow down.  And last just a little bit longer. This is what Motherood is.

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