THAT S**T CRAY-ola

THE CRAYOLA EXPERIENCE

 The Shops at Willow Bend, 6121 W Park Blvd, Plano, TX 75093

Dexter and I were so excited to be invited to a special blogger preview for the brand new Crayola Experience in Plano at The Shops at Willow Bend. It is the fourth location for the brand and it seems to be drumming up a lot of local Buzz.

 

There was lots to see and do as we entered the world of Crayola! The facility is designed for the two 2-12 yr age range according to them, in my opinion the magic age to fully interact and grasp all of the concepts would be age 4 or 5. Dexter is 2 1/2, almost 3 and had a great time and was able to enjoy almost everything.

 

The Crayola Experience is inside the Shops at Willow Bend and very much reminded me of Legoland Dallas which I have also featured on my blog in the past (click here).

 

It is very bright, colorful and open with interactive activities stations all throughout. The staff emphasized the importance of childhood creativity many times and made sure we knew this was a space to breed imagination with each station an opportunity to expand their unique vision.

 

I can go on and on about each interactive stationl but I’ll keep it short and sweet with a brief list of what we played with, and share what our favorite stations were.

 

• Thousands of crayons… Everywhere!!!

 

• Selfie station: We got to create our own coloring sheets featuring….us!

 

• ‎Modeling Magic: We got to mold and create objects using Crayola’s version of Play-Doh which in my opinion is much cleaner and mess free!

 

• ‎Melt and Mold: We got to use machines to melt down crayons and create shapes. We made a car crayon!!

 

*OUR FAV* ‎Spin Art : similar to The Melt and mold this machine melted crayons as you controlled the spinning paper to create a wax art masterpiece.

 

• Interactive Floor: This was one of those High-Res image projection floors, it is interactive and fun and kept Dexter busy for quite a while.

 

*OUR FAV* Designs Come to Life: Coloring stations featuring fashion, automotive, silly faces and action characters. These stations featured machines that took your creation and animated it on a big screen. This was very cool! I liked the design your dress and see it on a fashion runway in Dexter of course like the design a truck and watch it race other trucks!

 

• Paint and Play: painting station where you could stay as long as you like, try out the latest products from Crayola, and quickly dry your art in the picture dryer. Although simple many of the kids seemed to enjoy the station and set in painted for a long time.

 

• Jungle Jim: A substantial climbing complex with all the bells and whistles!

 

• Toddler Town: An area for the little ones featuring a smaller jungle gym and a giant Lite-Brite… which was a hit!

 

• Chalk About It- an area where everything is made out of chalk board and you can color on anything you want!

 

• Adventure Lab: This one is definitely for the older kids but is really cool and Dexter enjoyed parts of it. It is an Interactive problem solving experience testing your intelligence and time management.

 

• Design and Wrap: We got to create our own custom crayon wrapper and even wrap it ourselves in a special machine.

 

• Crayola Cafe: No need to pack a lunch, there is food sold on site, you can buy snacks, drinks, salads, chicken fingers, Pizza and more!

 

• Sweet Shop: They hand make fudge in house, you can watch the process and take it with you. Crayola is also partnered with the famous candy store Dylan’s Candy Bar supplying all your sugary desirers!

 

• Crayon Making Live Show: A studio with a live show featuring the actual crayon making process.

 

Whew! Ya still with me?? They have managed to jam-pack all that fun into one facility and it’s cool! If you are looking for something fun to do or perhaps you want to make a mall trip extra fun go check out the Crayola Experience!

 

Tickets are $20/ person, kids under 3 are FREE. $20 sounds a little pricey right? Well an annual pass is only $30…. That sounds like a no-brainer to me! Now it seems like a steal!!!

 

There are birthday party rooms and special event pricing, we all learned about several kid and adult events that have been held they’re in the possibilities are endless!

 

I hope you get a chance to go and let me know what your favorite Crayola Activities are!

 

See you there,
Noelle and Dexter

 

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Pretty FLY for a small guy

THE FRONTIERS OF FLIGHT MUSEUM

 

If you have a little airplane lover like I do you’re going to want to go check this place out, The Frontier’s of Flight Museum just outside of Love Field Airport.

 

It’s exactly what it sounds like an airplane museum, a big building full of as many airplanes as you can imagine, big, small, old, new, they’ve got it all!

 

One of the best things about this museum for toddlers is its size, it’s about as big as a Walmart so you can easily get through this museum in a short amount of time and be back for nap.

 

Another plus in all my past experiences is the lack of crowds, we have been three times in the past two months and each time there has hardly ever been anybody there which makes it ideal for a parent trying to keep up with a toddler, little ones can be very easily spotted and have more freedom to explore.

 

If you happen to be a history lover like my husband you will also enjoy the museum, there are lots of little nooks and setups decked out with memorabilia taking you back to the birthplace of the first airplane, to World War II, space shuttles and the complete timeline of the commercial airline story from beginning to present. I enjoyed this part the most because it displays the evolution of the stewardess uniforms which used to be designed by highly recognized fashion designers, it really is very interesting.

 

There is also an indoor playground so the little ones can climb airplane Towers, drive an airplane and slide down the back and just run freely, this is always a good place to stop get some energy out and then continue on with the museum.

 

It’s not always open but there is an on-site model airplane workshop if you happen to catch them while it’s open and the engineers are inside working they will show you around and let you see how all the model airplanes are built, it is a very intricate process and they are all different. This may be like taking a toddler/ bull into a china shop but it is all windows so they can easily look in and see the workshop just the same.

 

Another cool feature about the museum is that it is directly next to Love Field Airport so you constantly get to see real airplanes flying in and out, this is one of Dexter’s favorite parts.

 

The cost to get in is $12 per adult and children 3 and under are free, there is often Groupons for the Frontiers of Flight Museum so be sure to check there first.

 

There are minimal snacks sold in the gift shop so bring your lunch if you’re planning to eat there, there are tables and chairs to park and eat, but there are many nearby yummy restaurants so we usually take advantage of being in the area and eat somewhere outside of the museum.

 

This is a fun and easy morning activity, when it’s really cold, extra hot or rainy out. See you there,

 

Noelle and Dexter

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Life is a Great Big Canvas

PURPLE GLAZE of DALLAS

6128 Berkshire Ln, Dallas, TX 75225

It’s January, it’s dreary, it’s a gloomy, what are we going to do with our kids? If you run out of ideas and are interested in trying something on the creative side you should check out Purple Glaze in Preston Center of Dallas.

Thisis a little Ceramics painting Studio that is fun for all ages. I took Dexter here to paint custom Christmas ornaments to give out to our family and they were a huge hit! We got to go in and pick out any ceramic piece and they’re all priced differently between $5-80.

Next we choose our paint colors and set up our station with all the brushes and tools we wanted. You can stay and paint as long as you want and paint as many pieces as you wish. Once you are finished they will glaze and fire everything, you’re finished piece will be ready to pick up in 5 days.
A few things to know:

  • It is a true Art Studio setup meaning there are ceramics and porcelain trinkets lining the walls and all over the store. It isn’t exactly made for toddlers so just gauge your child’s level of patience and calmness.
  • All the paint is washable and will easily come out of clothes.
  • There is an $8 studio fee, (this covers the time spent, paint and brushes used, and the glazing and firing process) he waved the studio fee for Dexter since we were working on everything together.
  • Take pictures of your pieces before you leave the store. Being the artsy-fartsy place that it is, it is quirky and finished pieces are arbitrarily placed among others. Also it is not far-fetched that you might forget what or how you painted something. Although I put our names on the back I took pictures first so I was able to easily identify our ornaments.

The hand-painted gifts were so loved and appreciated by our family and was a fun activity for Dexter and I to do together. I hope you get a chance to go and enjoy for yourself!!!

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Future Chefs in the Baking.

YOUNG CHEF’S ACADEMY of ROCKWALL

While working on another project I stumbled across the Young Chefs Academy of Rockwall, and I am so glad I did. I was instantly intrigued and called right away to get more information.

I was told about an upcoming Gingerbread Workshop they offered and thought “we have to do that!” and I set up a moms group outing immediately.

The girls of Young Chefs were so sweet and set up a special workshop just for us that would be more appropriate for the 2-4 year old age group. Normally their workshops accommodate a 4-10 year old age range.

This has been one of my favorite group outings so far, we had a full class 15 kids, their moms and a few young siblings.

The kids were so ecstatic when they walked into the bright and colorful chefs kitchens where they were all given tiny aprons and lined up to wash their hands and pick their seat.

I wasn’t sure what this workshop would entail or how the kids would do but surprisingly they all did very well, there were some minor “two-year-old moments” here and there but overall it was great.

The instructors started off by showing all the kids the baking basics in which they all got to try out the techniques for themselves, pass, and try another.

We learned the fundamentals of how to properly measure flour, separate an egg, sift, and get the perfect half inch width for our gingerbread dough. Most of the moms actually learned a thing or two themselves.

The kids then got to do the fun stuff and play with the dough, create their gingerbread shapes, and put the little guys into the oven…safely of course.

The way everything was set up was perfect for kids, all of the gingerbread men were pre-baked and ready so the children did not actually have to wait through each process, they were simply just learning and practicing.

Next came the best part, decorating! Each kid got several cookies and a variety of icing, sprinkles, and toppings to dress their cookies however they pleased, I saw several very creative little hands at work.

The best part about this workshop was the close interactive bonding time between the moms and the littles. We rarely do activities where the kids aren’t running around and playing, this was a much calmer situation and really was a team effort between parent and child.

The Young Chefs Academy also has a location in Frisco and they offer unique workshops like this every month, they also do birthday parties and regular cooking classes for kids.

If you are looking for something different and unique to do with your family I highly recommend checking this out, we had a great time and can’t wait for our next get together here.

Photos by LEXIE GRABEN

East Side Playdates

PARK IN PLAY, SACHSE

7340 TX-78 Sachse, Texas, Sachse, TX 75048

You may have visited those cool indoor play areas around Dallas like The Playdate Company or Play Street Museum which are great places to take your toddlers, if you like those then you will love Park In Play!

This post is for all my Wylie/ Sachse / Garland / Rowlett Mamas! There is a new indoor play area in Sachse that has all the fun but it’s much closer to you.

This also makes for a great post-nap activity as it is not too far from home but keeps your little ones busy and out of the house until dinner time!

Park In Play has all the playhouse areas you love including dress up stations, an area for small babies and even a quiet room for nursing mama’s that still want to keep an eye on their toddlers at play.

What makes this play space unique is the many activities and events held weekly at their location. They have boot camps for Moms, baby Zumbini which is Zumba for toddlers and Mama’s, and often partners with the local fire and police departments. The owner is a former police officer herself and is passionate about incorporating safety and education activities into the community.

This indoor playhouse has a mini farmhouse, fire department, police department, grocery store and house keeping stations. Dexter’s favorites were the the fire station where he loved dressing up in the fireman’s uniform, and the farmhouse he was fascinated with all the little tractors and farm vehicles.

It’s an easy and fun way to to do a playdate and if you are wondering about pricing I listed it below.

Walking Children
$10.50
Siblings
7.50 (must accompany a full priced admission)
Crawling Babies
$5.25 or FREE if accompanied with a full priced admission.

If you are one of my moms who happens to live closer out that way or perhaps will be in the area and need something fun to do go check it out! Follow them on Instagram to get updates on all of their upcoming activities and events.

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Check out more info HERE

Altitude Trampoline Park

110 W Campbell Rd, Richardson, TX 75080
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It’s new, it’s clean, and the staff is amazing! Oh, and the music is on point (double score)!!! We have visited several trampoline parks in the Dallas and surrounding areas, in fact I did a post on them, but this one located in Richardson is new and by far my favorite.

It was huge and had lots of things for the kids to do, and places for them to jump and play. Like most trampoline parks Altitude has a “toddler time” which is perfect for us stay-at-home moms who are looking for fun, high energy level activities for their little ones.

It was not overcrowded and there was plenty of room for everyone and it felt calm enough for moms of toddlers and little babies to be able to take both kids.

Toddler Time ( for ages 6 and under) is each weekday from 10:00am – 1:00pm at a discounted rate of $6.95! Parents can also jump for only $2.00 extra! Be sure to bring socks with grippers on the bottom they are a requirement to wear before jumping. If you don’t have any they have some there for purchase, I believe they were $2 per pair.

The picnic tables and eating area in the front felt very clean and organized which I have found otherwise at previous trampoline parks. There were a lot of Staff members supervising the area and I found them to be very helpful with the kids and with me when I needed an extra hand.

Dexter’s favorite new activity was the trapeze into the foam pit, I thought he would be scared but he ended up doing this over and over again. He also loved the basketball goal, this was more of a workout for mommy as I had to lift him every time he wanted to make a goal, but I’ll take it if that means I get sculpted arms.

You can pack a lunch if you like and eat at their picnic table area where they play episodes of Paw Patrol, Bubble Guppies and other toddler favorites.

I took Dexter there by myself and it was very easy and the perfect activity when you don’t have anything planned or it is perhaps too cold, too hot, or too rainy to go outside. Go with friends, or go by yourself, just go check it out!

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C’mon Ride The Train

PLANO INTERBURAN RAILWAY MUSEUM

901 E 15th St, Plano, TX 75074

Last Friday we got a wild hair and tried something in a part of DFW we rarely visit, Downtown Plano at the Interurban Railway Museum for their weekly FREE storytime, and it did not disappoint!

I am becoming more partial to group play dates held in smaller areas, I find it’s easier when you’re actually trying to socialize with other moms as well as keep track of your little ones.

This Railway Museum was just that, a small building completely decked out from top to bottom like an old-time train station, complete with a real live motorman and actual train car outside which we got to tour after the storytime.

Every Friday at 10:30 the Interurban Railway Museum holds a toddler storytime but it’s so much more, they brought out puppets, sang songs and danced, read two books and ended the hour with a guided tour of the train car. All the kids were most fascinated with the miniature train set.

This was the perfect morning activity to get out of the heat and change scenery. If you do happen to go on a day where it’s not terribly hot they’re just so happens to be a playground right next to the museum, this would be the perfect way to round out your morning by bringing a picnic and playing, that should give you a good solid nap!

The Interurban Railway Museum Is located in the downtown Plano area which we found to be absolutely adorable, since it was hot out we decided to grab lunch at the XO Coffee Cafe, it was perfect they had a great menu, the kids loved it and I would say it was one of our more successful play dates all around! Give it a whirl I’m sure you will be as pleasantly surprised as we were.

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Little Helpers

VOLUNTEERING WITH MEALS ON WHEELS

We recently got the opportunity to partner with the fantastic Dallas based organization Wee Volunteer an establishment dedicated to creating volunteer opportunities for children. I love this organization, getting involved is a great way to start teaching your kids to serve their community. Wee Volunteer offers many ways to give back, but one activity you can do with toddlers is their Meals on Big Wheels drop off  program. Dexter and I along with many other mommy groups participated in this last week, if you are wondering if this is the right way for you to give back here is a little about my experience, what to expect, and a few tips to know:

THE PROCESS:

About 10 moms and 15 kids between the ages of 2 and 8 met at 10:00 am at the VNA (Visiting Nurse Association) of Dallas where we collected all of the prepacked coolers of food we would be dropping off.

We loaded up the party bus and headed to our first destination wich was an elderly living apartment complex in Oak Cliff.

Each mom was given two names, and apt #s of people who were expecting meals. Most of the recipients were older and disabled so we were also given a phone number to call and let them know we would be dropping their food off in a couple of minutes.

We located each apartment, knocked on the door and happily gave each person a hot and cold meal, one for now, one for later.

Even though Dexter is very young he had so much fun handing everyone their food, and the residents were thrilled to get a delivery from a tiny visitor.

After each mom dropped off their two packages we loaded back on the bus, grabbed a snack that we had each brought for ourselves, and headed to our next and final location another similar complex.

We repeated the process once again, hopped back on the bus, ate more snacks and drinks, by this time we were all pretty pooped and it was nap time!!! Dexter definitely got a good nap after our outing.

SOME TIPS AND THINGS TO KNOW:

It costs $12 person to participate in the Meals on Big Wheels program, this pays for the cost of the bus. Each family is asked to make/bring placemats to hand out upon delivery.

This is the perfect volunteer activity for a 4-8 year olds based on my observation, the program says 2yrs and up are appropriate age to volunteer. I would say if your child is 2 you be the judge on wether they can handle it or not, some two year olds are easier than others.

Keep in mind their will be some walking and carrying things, so you will want to bring disposable bags, wear comfortable and cool clothes and shoes, and possibly even bring a very small umbrella stroller if think your child might need it…(I carried Dex a lot, but he tends to be uncooperative some times).

Bring your lunch or snacks. Everyone brought a lunchbox with goodies to refuel in between visits and this was the key to happiness and quiet it seemed.

The Wee Volunteer Meals on Big Wheels program is a fun and easy way to get your child started on a path of volunteering. All of the kids I met had done this several times anhd loved it, they were all wonderfully well behaved children who loved to give back. This is a great example to show Dexter as he grows and learns. I also got a chance to meet new friends which is important for us full time moms to grow our network of other Dallas mamas!

Check out Wee Volunteer for other ideas and opportunities.

See you out there,

Noelle and Dexter

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Summer Bucket List 2018

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Summer is a here and we need stuff to do!!!!  Here is a list of links to my favorite Uptown Mom posts to plan for a fun summer in Dallas!