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Cute and Easy Animal Cupcakes

Cute and Easy Animal Cupcakes

When my girls were little, we spent a lot of time in the kitchen.

Sometimes the girls would sit on the counter and help me make dinner (mostly handing me things and pouring in stuff), and other times we would make “fun food,” like peanut butter on a rice cake with raisins for a smiley face.

I even remember we hosted a playdate in our backyard where we all made three “food art” projects.”

If you ever try that, take my advice and stop after two projects. Not only was it more than we needed, but in our case, it suddenly started raining just as we were starting the “cake towers.” I still remember gathering up bowls of different colored frosting and running toward the house!

Now that my kids are older, my younger daughter, Rebecca, has made some birthday cakes and cupcakes completely by herself that are far better and more creative than anything I’ve ever made, and in fact has even completed a Wilton cake decorating class.

These animal cupcakes are both cute and delicious, whether you’re making them with kids or if you’re someone like my Rebecca who loves to get artistic when you bake.

Some are super-easy, while others are a little more involved and involve fancy-sounding things like fondant or modeling chocolate.

Have fun!

The Betty Crocker The Big Book of CupcakesThe Betty Crocker The Big Book of CupcakesThe Betty Crocker The Big Book of CupcakesHello, Cupcake!: Irresistibly Playful Creations Anyone Can MakeHello, Cupcake!: Irresistibly Playful Creations Anyone Can MakeHello, Cupcake!: Irresistibly Playful Creations Anyone Can MakeWhat's New, Cupcake?: Ingeniously Simple Designs for Every OccasionWhat’s New, Cupcake?: Ingeniously Simple Designs for Every OccasionWhat's New, Cupcake?: Ingeniously Simple Designs for Every Occasion

 

Jungle-Themed Animal Cupcakes

A jungle theme is always fun for a kid’s birthday party or baby shower. There are a lot of directions you can go with it, and several different animals you can work with.

 

Easy Lion Cupcakes for a Jungle-Themed Party

These lion cupcakes are bright and colorful and very easy to make. Mini vanilla wafers are used for the ears, and a caramel candy (yum!) is used to make the nose.

 

Video — How to Make Lion Face Cupcakes

 

Lion Cake with a Cupcake Mane

This idea is simple, but effective.

Simply ice a round cake with yellow frosting, draw a face with black gel icing, attach two dessert cups for ears, and then put a dozen chocolate cupcakes around the outside edge.

 

Jungle Themed Cupcake Designs

Here’s a nice assortment of jungle animal designs from Betty Crocker. You can easily make the cupcakes themselves just by using a cake mix, vanilla and chocolate frosting, and various food coloring.

After that, the animal faces themselves are pretty easy:

Lions — Put caramel popcorn around the edge of the cupcake to create a “mane.” Use 2 M&Ms for the eyes and two Cheerios for the ears, pretzel sticks for the whiskers, and black gel frosting for the mouth.

Tigers — Again, use black gel frosting to create the stripes, and use 2 M&Ms for the eyes. Cut a gumdrop in half for the ears.

Zebras — Cut a small horizontal slit in the top of the cupcake near the edge and insert a vanilla wafer to create a “longer” face.

Monkeys — Cover the entire cupcake with chocolate frosting, then mix chocolate frosting with vanilla frosting to create a lighter brown color. For the eyes, attach an M&M to a marshmallow half with frosting.

 

Jungle Themed Cupcakes for a Baby Shower

 

If you don’t have the time (or inclination) to create fancy animal faces, then you can just make “regular” cupcake and add a cute topper:

 

30 Pcs Gold Glitter Jungle Safari Animals Cupcake Toppers30 Pcs Gold Glitter Jungle Safari Animals Cupcake Toppers30 Pcs Gold Glitter Jungle Safari Animals Cupcake Toppers45 Pack Animal Cupcake Toppers and Wrappers45 Pack Animal Cupcake Toppers and Wrappers45 Pack Animal Cupcake Toppers and WrappersSafari Jungle Animals Cupcake Toppers Birthday Party (Pack of 24)Safari Jungle Animals Cupcake Toppers Birthday Party (Pack of 24)Safari Jungle Animals Cupcake Toppers Birthday Party (Pack of 24)35 Pcs Jungle Animals Cupcake Toppers Picks, Zoo Animal Cupcake Cake Toppers35 Pcs Jungle Animals Cupcake Toppers Picks, Zoo Animal Cupcake Cake Toppers35 Pcs Jungle Animals Cupcake Toppers Picks, Zoo Animal Cupcake Cake Toppers

 

 

How to Make a Giraffe Cupcake Cake

Well, this looks fairly easy!

Get 20-24 cupcakes, decorate them with yellow and orange icing, arrange them like so, and use some black gel for the feet and eyes. Ta-da!

And here are two giraffe templates you can use so you don’t would I would do — which is thinking that I was arranging the cupcakes to look like a giraffe, but ending up with a huge, amorphous blob.

And here’s a template if you just want to make a giraffe head:

 

Easy Giraffe Cupcakes

These little giraffes are easy enough to kids to make (perhaps with a little help.

Roll out a ball of colored fondant with something like this, then cut out a giraffe using a cookie cutter.

Color the giraffe’s eyes and spots using food markers, then pipe an orange frosting tail and horns.

Giraffe Cookie Cutter Set for KidsGiraffe Cookie Cutter Set for KidsGiraffe Cookie Cutter Set for KidsGiraffe Cookie Cutter- Stainless SteelGiraffe Cookie Cutter- Stainless SteelGiraffe Cookie Cutter- Stainless SteelZoo Animals Cookie Cutter Set - 5 piece -Extra Large- Elephant, Giraffe, Hippo, Polar Bear, MonkeyZoo Animals Cookie Cutter Set – 5 piece -Extra Large- Elephant, Giraffe, Hippo, Polar Bear, MonkeyZoo Animals Cookie Cutter Set - 5 piece -Extra Large- Elephant, Giraffe, Hippo, Polar Bear, Monkey

 

 

These giraffe faces are made almost entirely from rolling, squeezing, and cutting different colors of fondant and arranging them on top of each other.

Then just them on top of your cupcakes!

 

How to Make Elephant Cupcakes

Elephant Cupcakes Made with Candy

First, frosting a cupcake with grey frosting and use white and black frosting to create eyes.

Then melt some gray frosting in the microwave for 10 seconds.

Dip a gummy worn trunk.)

Dip miniature pretzels in the melted gray frosting, let the excess drip, and place it on waxed paper.

Then microwave a pink Starburst candy, flatten it, and press it against the pretzels to make the elephant’s ears.
(This will be the elephant’s ears.)

Finally, stick white candy-coated licorice into frosting for the tusks.

 

Elephant Cupcakes for a Baby Shower

A tray of cupcakes topped with these light blue and white fondant elephant toppers would look adorable at a boy’s baby shower.

Cut out the elephant shapes with the cookie cutter and set aside to dry out.

Use white fondant to make the ears, either by using a teardrop-shaped cookie cutter or just cutting out circles and shaping them with your fingers.

Use water to adhere the ears to the elephant shapes.

Draw an eye on each elephant with an edible ink pen, then set et aside to dry overnight.

Cute Elephant Cookie CutterCute Elephant Cookie CutterCute Elephant Cookie Cutter4 Count Set Elephant Shapes Stainless Steel Cookie Cutter Elephant Shaped Cookie Cutter4 Count Set Elephant Shapes Stainless Steel Cookie Cutter Elephant Shaped Cookie Cutter4 Count Set Elephant Shapes Stainless Steel Cookie Cutter Elephant Shaped Cookie CutterStainless Steel Cookie Cutter (Elephant)Stainless Steel Cookie Cutter (Elephant)Stainless Steel Cookie Cutter (Elephant)Elephant Cookie and Fondant Cutter Stainless SteelElephant Cookie and Fondant Cutter Stainless SteelElephant Cookie and Fondant Cutter Stainless Steel

 

 

If you like, um … “technicolor pachyderms,” here’s a cute way to make them.

Video: Decorating Cupcakes: Colorful Elephants

 

Another option is to create an elephant cake out of cupcakes.

Pipe 9 mini cupcakes and 27 regular-sized cupcakes with grey frosting and then add a fondant tusk, ear, and eye.

Elephant Baby Shower Decorations

Pink Elephant Baby Shower Party PackagePink Elephant Baby Shower Party PackagePink Elephant Baby Shower Party PackageGray and Blue Elephant Cupcake TopperGray and Blue Elephant Cupcake TopperGray and Blue Elephant Cupcake TopperCute Baby Elephant Cupcake Toppers for Birthday WeddingCute Baby Elephant Cupcake Toppers for Birthday WeddingCute Baby Elephant Cupcake Toppers for Birthday WeddingBlue Elephant Baby Shower Party PackageBlue Elephant Baby Shower Party PackageBlue Elephant Baby Shower Party Package

 

 

How to Make Farm Animal Cupcakes

A barnyard or farm theme is another idea that lends itself to having a lot of different animals

Barn Cake with Farm Animal Cupcakes

Another Betty Crocker design, this barn is decorated with pretzel sticks, graham cracker squares, shredded coconut, and yellow and green food coloring.

 

Barnyard Animal Cupcakes Tutorial

Cow Cupcakes Made with Candy

These cow cupcakes are quick and easy to make.

Use Wilton candy eyes, a pink Starburst candy for the nose, and two black jelly beans for ears.

Then use craft scissors to trim a couple Haribo cola bottles until they are a size that looks right for your cows.

Wilton Candy EyeballsWilton Candy EyeballsWilton Candy EyeballsSTARBURST--Original Fruit Chews CandySTARBURST–Original Fruit Chews CandySTARBURST--Original Fruit Chews CandyHaribo Gummi Candy, Happy ColaHaribo Gummi Candy, Happy ColaHaribo Gummi Candy, Happy ColaJelly Belly Black Jelly Beans, Licorice,Jelly Belly Black Jelly Beans, Licorice,Jelly Belly Black Jelly Beans, Licorice,

 

 

If you like working with fondant, this is a pretty cute cow cupcake:

Cow Cupcake with Fondant

 

How to Make a Fondant Cow

These were described as “lamb” cupcakes for Easter, but I think they could work as sheep cupcakes for a barnyard themed party, don’t you?

 

Sheep Cupcakes with Mini Marshmallows

The sheep’s faces are made by flattening gumdrops (they chose to make “black sheep” — cute!), poking holes into them for nostrils, and attaching candy eyes and licorice sticks.

After frosting the cupcakes, create a mound of frosting in center (the frosting recipe includes two jars of marshmallow creme), attach the sheeo’s face, and press in mini marshmallows.

 

Pig Cupcake Ideas

As any Charlotte’s Web fan knows, you can’t have a proper barn without a pig. Here are some clever ideas:

Cute and Easy Pig Cupcakes

These look more difficult than they really are. Simply coat a cupcake in pink frosting and then:

Cut pink wafer cookies into triangle for the ears.

Use 2 mini chocolate chips upside down for the eyes.

Place a pink Necco wafer in the middle for a nose.

Attach 2 pink mini marshmallows to the side of the cupcake with frosting for the feet.

Ta-Da!

 

Pig Cupcakes Made with Candy

These cute pigs are made with Wilton candy eyes a pink marshmallow cut in half for the snout, upside-down candy hearts for the ears, and a twirled pink pipe cleaner for the tail.

Kraft, Jet-Puffed, Strawberry MarshmallowsKraft, Jet-Puffed, Strawberry MarshmallowsKraft, Jet-Puffed, Strawberry MarshmallowsNecco Conversation Candy HeartsNecco Conversation Candy HeartsNecco Conversation Candy HeartsWilton Candy EyeballsWilton Candy EyeballsWilton Candy Eyeballs

 

 

Video — Make this Cute Pig Cupcake

 

And these pigs in mud are just too adorable not to include. You can purchase them on Etsy.

 

Farm Animal Cupcake Toppers
Farm Animal Cupcake Toppers

 

How to Make Cat Cupcakes

Of course we have to include cats because … well, look at the name of the blog. 🙂

Cat Cupcakes Made with Candy and Fondant

These cat cupcakes are based on the character Chloe from the movie The Secret Life of Pets.

The secret to the pretty, glittery effect is giving the cupcake a light coat of white buttercream frosting, then turning it upside down and dipping it in purple sanding sugar.

I actually didn’t know what sanding sugar was and had to look it up.

4 Ounce Lavender Sanding Sugar4 Ounce Lavender Sanding Sugar4 Ounce Lavender Sanding Sugar

 

 

Cute Kitty Cat Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

 

How to Make Penguin Cupcakes

Penguins are absolutely adorable. I remember when we went to the Gatlinburg aquarium several years ago, the penguin section was by far our favorite part.

Plus, since I grew up in Pittsburgh, I can’t help being a Penguins fan! 😉

Cute Penguins with Winter Hats

Years ago when we went to the Gatlinburg Aquarium. the penguin exhibit was by far our favorite part. There’s just something about penguins that are adorable.

What I particularly love about these cupcakes is that the penguins are wearing winter hats to keep warm. So cute!

These cupcakes are a little more challenging than some of the others in this post.

It involves cutting out fondant with a wine glass and heart cookie cutters and using a paint brush to create the eyes and brush orchid pink “pearl dust” (yeah, I”d never heard of that either) onto the penguin’s cheeks.

Wilton Pink Pearl Dust
Wilton Pink Pearl Dust

 

Penguin Cupcakes Toppers Made With Oreos

This is a simple way to transform a regular chocolate cupcake into a penguin cupcake with an Oreo topper. Use icing to paint a “cashew-shape” on the Oreo to make a penguin, then use a piece of an Orange Slice for the nose and black gel for the eyes.

 

Penguin Cupcakes Made With Oreos and Candy

Aren’t these cupcakes adorable? I think it’s easier than it looks, too.

Trim an Oreo for the head, then cut another Oreo in half for the wings.

Cut a one-inch piece of red Fruit by the Foot, then pinch it at the center to make a bowtie.

Use snipped triangles of circus peanuts or orange slices for the nose and feet.

Then just add a row of round pearl candies to the body for buttons!

Wilton Round Pearl Candies
Wilton Round Pearl Candies

 

Super-Cute Christmas Penguin Cupcake Toppers

 

Easy “Under the Sea” Cupcakes

“Squirt” Sea Turtle Cupcakes with Gumdrops

Planning a Finding Nemo birthday party? These cupcakes featuring Squirt, Crush the Sea Turtle’s playful little son, are adorable and easy to make. Simply cut and arrange peach gummi rings, red and green gumpdrops, spearmint leaves, and mini chocolate chips for the eyes.

Finding Nemo and Squirt DecosetFinding Nemo and Squirt DecosetFinding Nemo and Squirt DecosetDisney Squirt Plush - Finding NemoDisney Squirt Plush – Finding NemoDisney Squirt Plush - Finding NemoDisney Baby Finding Nemo Squirt Teether Activity ToyDisney Baby Finding Nemo Squirt Teether Activity ToyDisney Baby Finding Nemo Squirt Teether Activity ToyThe First Years Disey Baby Bath Squirt ToysThe First Years Disey Baby Bath Squirt ToysThe First Years Disey Baby Bath Squirt Toys

 

 

The Sea Otters from Finding Dory

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups have always been one of my favorite candies, so it was no surprise that I was instantly drawn to these sea otter cupcakes with Reese’s heads and Whoppers for paws. (I love Whoppers too. Those and Milk Duds are our families’ two official “movie theater candies.”

You need something called “modeling chocolate” to make these cupcakes. You can make modeling chocolate by combining chocolate and corn syrup — or you can simply buy it.

 

Quick and Easy Octopus Cupcakes

These octopuses (octopi?) are made by arranging 8 gummi worms in a circle, putting a gumdrop in the center, using candy eyes, and giving him a little smile by dipping a toothpick in melted chocolate and drawing it on.

Black Forest Gummy Worms CandyBlack Forest Gummy Worms CandyBlack Forest Gummy Worms CandyFAssorted Giant Gum DropsFAssorted Giant Gum DropsFAssorted Giant Gum DropsCandy Eyes Treat ToppersCandy Eyes Treat ToppersCandy Eyes Treat Toppers

 

 

Easy Crab Cupcakes for Kids’ Beach-Themed Summer Party

These crab cupcakes would be cute not only for an Under the Sea party, but also for a trip to the beach, a pool party, or any kind of summer get-together. The legs are made from red shoestring licorice.

 

 

Butterfly Cupcake Decorating Ideas

Butterflies are, of course, so pretty and colorful by nature that they lend themselves to all sorts of creative ideas. They would make a nice choice for a spring birthday party.

Butterfly Cupcakes With M&Ms and Pretzels

My kids were all born in the spring and we often had their birthday parties out in the backyard when they were younger, so these immediately caught my eye as being a good spring birthday party cupcake.

It uses pastel-colored M&Ms for the body, yogurt pretzels for the wings, and something called “Edible Easter grass” for the antennae.

Edible Easter Basket Candy Grass, Green AppleEdible Easter Basket Candy Grass, Green AppleEdible Easter Basket Candy Grass, Green Apple

 

 

Super-Easy Butterfly Cupcakes

These cupcakes are not only very pretty, but so easy that it’s almost ridiculous.

Simply cut out a little circle in the center of a vanilla cupcake.

Cut the circle in half (these will become the butterfly’s wings) and fill the “hole” with sweetened whipped cream (not frosting!)

Arrange the wings in place and top with sprinkles and powdered sugar.

That’s it!

 

Cupcakes in the Shape of a Butterfly

 

How to Make Puppy Cupcakes

Yes, we own three cats, but we still love puppies! (Who doesn’t?)

Here are a whole bunch of ideas for “pupcakes” for different varieties of dogs. All of them are super-cute!

Cute and Super-Easy Puppy Cupakes

The secret to this little guy’s fluffy white “fur” is using white icing in a spray can.

Start by squirt a dollop of icing in the middle of the cupcake and a small line of icing along the top edge of the cupcake.

Use mini marshmallows vertically for the both the ears and the snout.

Ice the face with “squirt-strokes,” then the snout, going in a different direction.

Use 2 mini M&M’s for eyes and a chocolate-covered raisin on top of the snout as the nose

You can use either a pink M&M or a half of a Starburst candy for the puppy’s tongue. like a tongue.

 

Easy Dalmation Puppy Cupcakes

 

How to Make Mini Puppy Cupcakes for Kids

 

Puppy Dog Cupcakes with Oreo Ears

 

Video — More Puppy Cupcake Designs

 

Owl Cupcakes with Oreo Eyes

Here’s another recipe that’s really easy for kids to make. Nothing fancy, just make a regular cupcake and decorate with Oreos and M&Ms! What could be easier?

I hope you’ve found some great ideas for your next kids’ birthday party — OR just a fun activity together!

Follow My Cakes, Cookies, Pies, and Other Desserts Board on Pinterest

Cute and Easy Animal Cupcakes you can make with your kids
How to make cow and other fun farm animal cupcakes for birthday parties
Fun and easy farm animal cupcakes for kids, including cows, pigs, and sheep with marshmallows

Blue 3 Tier Cupcake Holder & Cake Carrier ContainerBlue 3 Tier Cupcake Holder & Cake Carrier ContainerBlue 3 Tier Cupcake Holder & Cake Carrier ContainerReusable Silicone Baking Cups, Pack of 12Reusable Silicone Baking Cups, Pack of 12Reusable Silicone Baking Cups, Pack of 1224 Large Cupcake Carrier, Two Tiered Holder24 Large Cupcake Carrier, Two Tiered Holder24 Large Cupcake Carrier, Two Tiered HolderWilton Bright Standard Cupcake Liners, 300-CountWilton Bright Standard Cupcake Liners, 300-CountWilton Bright Standard Cupcake Liners, 300-Count

 




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Disney Trading Pins: Tips, Secrets, and Scrappers

Disney Trading Pins: Tips, Secrets, and Scrappers

Around the time our daughter Rebecca was middle school age, she got turned onto pin trading during our Disney vacations. Looking for places to trade pins and finding pins that she really liked became a big part of the trip for her. And, by extension, […]

Where to Find Mary Poppins at Disney World (plus the new ride!)

Where to Find Mary Poppins at Disney World (plus the new ride!)

I remember one time when the girls were little and we encountered Mary Poppins completely by accident as we were walking through the United Kingdom pavilion in Epcot. “Is this your first time visiting?” Mary Poppins asked briskly as she signed one of their autograph […]

Best Airplane Activities for Toddlers: Puzzles, Magnetic Toys, and More

Best Airplane Activities for Toddlers: Puzzles, Magnetic Toys, and More

Believe it or not, our children never rode on an airplane until they were all over the age of ten.

There were a few reasons for this:

  1. We’re lucky enough to live within driving distance from most relatives
  2. We’re lucky enough to live within driving distance to Walt Disney World
  3. We didn’t have the money for five airplane tickets, plus rental car, hotel, etc

So I’m hardly the expert on how to manage a baby, toddler, or preschooler on an airplane.

That’s why I asked my blogging buddy Samara at Tiny Fry to write a guest post about activities, toys, and general tips for flying with young children.

***************

Imagine this scenario:

You’ve been waiting all year long to take a vacation to a tropical island with your family.

When it comes time to leave for the airport, you hit traffic and get there just minutes before the doors close. Finally, all of you are buckled in and ready to sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight.

And then your toddler starts fussing.

Luckily, you’ve planned for this very moment. You’ve already researched airplane games for kids and you know the best ways to occupy your little one during a flight. (In your mind, you’re congratulating yourself on anticipating this exact instant and thinking ahead of a solution.)

Like a pro, you reach down to your bag of tricks. Within minutes, your kiddo is quiet and thoroughly entertained. Now other moms want to know, what is the secret?

In this post I’ll cover ways to keep your toddlers and preschoolers happy and occupied on your plane ride.

 

Choosing the Best Travel Games for Toddlers

There are several different types of travel games for kids, but in general they are compact in size and they don’t include too many loose parts (that could get lost in the seats or roll into the aisles). The best toys for airplane travel for toddlers are simple to play and can be reused flight after flight.

When shopping for toys to take on the airplane, we think you’ll have the best luck with ones that are:

  • Portable
  • Durable
  • Inexpensive
  • Reusable
  • Self-explanatory
  • Self-contained

With all of the travel games for kids available today online and in stores, you’re bound to find a bunch of toys that fit the bill and are well-suited to your child.

In fact, your biggest problem might be narrowing down the choices!

 

Ride On Luggage for Toddlers

COLOR TREE Kid's Ride On Roll SuitcaseCOLOR TREE Kid’s Ride On Roll SuitcaseCOLOR TREE Kid's Ride On Roll SuitcaseTrunki Kids Ride-On Suitcase and Carry-On Luggage - Pedro PirateTrunki Kids Ride-On Suitcase and Carry-On Luggage – Pedro PirateTrunki Kids Ride-On Suitcase and Carry-On Luggage - Pedro Pirate

 

 

If you’re searching for travel games for toddlers or preschoolers, consider turning the chore of packing into a sport by using a cute ride-on suitcase.

Giving your toddler a bag of her own–whether it’s a suitcase with wheels or a tiny backpack–adds novelty and excitement to the journey (not to mention it boosts her confidence because she’s being trusted to care for her own belongings).

 

In addition, when shopping for travel toys for toddlers on airplanes, keep an eye out for items that come with their own carry case, like “The Bag,” pictured below.

We all know how easy it is to lose small objects while traveling, so having a designated catch-all is one way to ensure toys stay together.

“The Bag” by Fun On The Fly – Travel Toy Activity Bag

 

“The Bag” by Fun on the Fly is designed just for travel and contains 15 items, each packed in its own nylon drawstring backpack. Items include a coloring book and pack of crayons, sticker book, magnetic drawing board, card game, pullback race car, and more.

Amazon reviewer KiddieFondue said The Bag was a plane ride life-saver:

Absolutely adorable and full of fun things to keep my child busy on our trip! She loved pulling each new item out of the bag and literally played with each one.

The kids on the plan next to us were SO fussy and complained almost the whole flight, until we switched seats and they all played with the little fun stuff! There was so much that they could each play with several things, although there was a little fighting over some items, I gently reminded them it belonged to us.

I would never have had the time to go find each of these little item that are the perfect age, safe for my kid and put them all in this cute travel bag for her. Very convenient and fun! Thank you, it was a life-saver!!

 

Magnetic Toys for Toddlers

Magnetic travel toys are ideal for keeping toddlers busy on a plane. The beauty of these toys is that it’s actually difficult to lose the parts and pieces because most of them (if not all) are magnetically attached to a surface.

 

Magnetic Cars for Toddlers

Magnetic Fun - Cars Planes and TrainsMagnetic Fun – Cars Planes and TrainsMagnetic Fun - Cars Planes and Trains

 

In my experience, little boys can never get enough of cars, planes, and trains. This toy contains 55 magnets in a thin and compact carry case.

One Amazon reviewer said this toy was “great on a plane”:

This kept my 3 year old completely occupied for a 2.5 hour period on a flight, and an hour on the way back. I left it completely intact and he had fun taking all the magnets out of the sheet, lining them up, separating the planes, trains, people, and other groups.

There are a lot of little pieces, but it was 100% worth the peace and quiet on those flights!

 

Magnetic Maze Puzzles

HABA Number & Animal Magnetic Maze GameHABA Number & Animal Magnetic Maze GameHABA Number & Animal Magnetic Maze Game

 

This number maze toy has a magnetic pen that lets children match colorful balls with the corresponding animals and numbers.

Since the entire maze is self-contained behind thick clear plastic, there are not pieces to keep track of or worry about getting lost. Not only does that make it great for travel, but it also means that there are no potential choking hazards.

Many reviewers liked this toy because it was:

  • Quiet
  • Durable
  • Educational
    (working fine motor skills, colors, counting, logic, and planning)

For Amazon reviewer Carol, this toy was a hit not only with the toddler, but also with the older kids and the parents:

We got this toy for our 2 yr. old, expecting that she would mostly have fun moving the beads around. She really loves this toy and plays with it frequently.

We have also noticed that our 3, 5, and 7 yr. old children also enjoy playing with it. Obviously the older ones understand the objective of the maze better than the younger ones. Even the adults in the family play with it a bit, it can be oddly relaxing. Clearly this toy has appeal for a wide age range.

 

Click here to see a photo of this magnetic maze game in action!

 

HABA Town Maze Magnetic Game with Fun City ThemeHABA Town Maze Magnetic Game with Fun City ThemeHABA Town Maze Magnetic Game with Fun City Theme

 

This town maze magnetic game is also made by HABA and has a similar concept — but this time, instead of using animals and numbers, it uses cars, garages, and roundabouts.

While this toy currently has a 4.4 out of 5.0 rating on Amazon, and 74% percent of the ratings are 5-star, Amazon reviewer I used 2B Cool explains in detail why this toy isn’t perfect:

Pros:
-Super cute graphics. Bright and cheerful.
-Very strong magnets. They balls are actually plastic on the outside, which sounds bad except we’ve used some mazes in the past where all of the paint was flecking off and the whole board was full of loose chips. So that won’t be happening to this one, and they are still very magnetic even with the plastic shell.

Cons:
-A whole lot smaller than it looks online. I didn’t think to look at the dimensions because the picture shows a toddler playing with it, and it takes up their whole lap. In truth it is about size of my kindle …

Click here to read the rest of I Used 2B Cool’s review.

 

Magnetic Matching Games

If you have two young children, a game they can play together is a great idea.

 

Melissa & Doug Wooden Magnetic Matching Picture GameMelissa & Doug Wooden Magnetic Matching Picture GameMelissa & Doug Wooden Magnetic Matching Picture Game

 

Melissa & Doug’s Wooden Magnetic Matching Picture Game has 119 Magnets that kids use to recreate different scenes on a game board.
(BONUS: The board is detachable and can also be used as a dry erase board!)

The best part is that it also includes a wooden travel case with a lid, making it perfect for a airplane trip.

**NOTE: This toy has small pieces and is for children ages 3 and up.

 

Reusable Sticker Play Sets

Activities with stickers for toddlers are always a hit. You can definitely find reusable sticker activity sets (save them for the return flight), but some creative sticker activities are one-time use only. (However, they’re still worth it, because they definitely help to pass the time on any flight).

Melissa & Doug Puffy Sticker Play SetsMelissa & Doug Puffy Sticker Play SetsMelissa & Doug Puffy Sticker Play Sets

 

These play sets from Melissa & Doug have three different cards with different themes: Pirate, Safari, and Farm.

Each card folds and has a double-sided, glossy background and 40-50 puffy stickers that go with it.

One Amazon reviewer with a toddler and a preschooler says this toy is “genius”:

Bought this as a way to keep my 2 & 4 year-olds busy on the airplane. Perfect for the carry on: not at all bulky, diverse ways to play, didn’t have to worry about dropping anything and it rolling around the plane because obviously it was all sticky. Kids were excited to play with them again on the return flight.

Stranger behind me said “those stickers are genius.” If I could go back I’d do it again exactly the same.

 

And while we’re talking about stickers … if you’re wondering how to entertain a one year old on a plane, the simple act of peeling and posting a sticker is a safe and straightforward form of distraction.

Trust us when we tell you that even a roll of star stickers and piece of paper can keep your youngest traveler amused for quite some time!

Roll of One Hundred (100) Stickers With Unicorn DesignsRoll of One Hundred (100) Stickers With Unicorn DesignsRoll of One Hundred (100) Stickers With Unicorn DesignsFarm Face Animal Stickers -- 200Pcs Per RollFarm Face Animal Stickers — 200Pcs Per RollFarm Face Animal Stickers -- 200Pcs Per RollTruck Stickers --  200PCS 1 RollTruck Stickers — 200PCS 1 RollTruck Stickers --  200PCS 1 RollRoll of Dinosaur Stickers (100 Pack)Roll of Dinosaur Stickers (100 Pack)Roll of Dinosaur Stickers (100 Pack)

 

 

Travel Puzzles for Toddlers

Travel-friendly puzzles are a good choice because not only do they keep little hands busy, they engage young minds as well.

Whether they involve connecting, matching, sticking, or lacing pieces together, puzzles are excellent at honing fine-motor skills and promoting problem solving skills.

Melissa & Doug Animals Wooden Puzzle-PackMelissa & Doug Animals Wooden Puzzle-PackMelissa & Doug Animals Wooden Puzzle-Pack

 

This mini-puzzle pack has four puzzle trays, each with a different theme (farm, sea, jungle, and pets.) The different trays have color-coded tabs, and the entire toy is in a compact travel case.

Click here to see a child enjoying these puzzles!

One thing that is particular clever about this travel case is that is has a short string that wraps around the outside to keep it shut. Click here to see a photo of how that works.

Depending on your child, I would say these mini-puzzles are best for a child who is around 15-30 months old. If your child is preschool or kindergarten age, consider these similar Melissa & Doug puzzle boxes instead.

 

Wooden Lacing Apple Threading ToyWooden Lacing Apple Threading ToyWooden Lacing Apple Threading Toy

 

This wooden apple is “made with non-toxic water paint” and weighs less than a pound, making it perfect for toddler hands.

The apple has 13 holes that your child can thread a “munching” caterpillar through. (Very reminiscent, of course, of this popular children’s book.)

Even though I think this toy is super-cute and I would have loved it as a child, I do have to point out that the string for the caterpillar is over two feet long and could possibly be dangerous for a very small child. Use your best judgement and consider having this be a toy that is used only with close supervision.

 

You might also like:
Minnie Mouse Toys for Toddlers

 

 

Airplane Busy Bag Ideas for Toddlers

A final idea is to create a “mystery bag” with a handful of small individually
wrapped toys for each child.

Once the kids are settled in their airplane seats,
present them with their own grab bag of airplane games. Chances are they’ll
enjoy guessing what’s inside and opening up each item as much as they’ll
enjoy playing with them.

Possible items for your child’s Busy Bag include:

LEORX 10pcs Animal Finger PuppetsLEORX 10pcs Animal Finger PuppetsLEORX 10pcs Animal Finger PuppetsBright Starts Lots of LinksBright Starts Lots of LinksBright Starts Lots of LinksHippos Go Berserk! by Sandra BoyntonHippos Go Berserk! by Sandra BoyntonHippos Go Berserk! by Sandra BoyntonPeter Rabbit Organics Mango, Banana and Orange SnacksPeter Rabbit Organics Mango, Banana and Orange SnacksPeter Rabbit Organics Mango, Banana and Orange Snacks

 

 

Of course, an alternative to buying toys and books and putting them in a bag is to create your own Busy Bag of activities and keep them together in pencil pouches:

Video — DIY Busy Bags

 

 

A Final Thought on Travel Toys

A successful family vacation requires more than money and a thirst for adventure.
To ensure that everyone has a safe, memorable, and amusing time, you’re going to
need to research more than just the destination. Knowing how to distract your
youngest tourist is key to minimizing stress during the hours of travel.

If you ask other parents to list their favorite travel toys, we bet you’ll get quite a range, including magnetic toys, travel puzzles, and sticker sets.

Do yourself a favor and don’t wait until the last minute to make your choices and purchases. The sooner you cross this task off of your list, the better!

 

Now it’s your turn to share.

Have you tried any of these toys or ideas? Do you any favorite ways to keep your toddler happy and occupied on an airplane ride?

Let us know below in the comments!

 

Samara Kamenecka is a VA specializing in content creation and SEO. When she’s not hanging out with her boyfriend and their two kids, she blogs about everything from toddler toys to family travel over at www.tinyfry.com.

Best airplane activities for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. Includes travel puzzles, magnetic maze games, homemade busy bags, and more!

Ideas for keeping babies, toddlers, and preschool age kids happy on a long airplane tide

Hollywood & Vine Review: Characters, Menu, and Fantasmic Dining Package

Hollywood & Vine Review: Characters, Menu, and Fantasmic Dining Package

I’ve been curious about Hollywood & Vine, a table service at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, for some time now. If you do any research about it in forums or blog comments, you’ll see that it doesn’t have the greatest reputation. I’ve even seen it called “the […]

Fantasmic! (Dining Package, Dessert Party, and FastPass)

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Disney World Height Requirements and Rider Swap

Disney World Height Requirements and Rider Swap

In this post not only will I give lists of the height requirements for rides in each park (including the water parks), but will also discuss:

  1. Why your child may be physically tall enough, but not emotionally ready to ride certain attractions
  2. What to do when your child can’t ride, including how to use Rider Swap

Is Disney Strict with Height Requirements?

Yes.
Very.

And they should be strict, since we’re talking about
a) Safety concerns and
b) Children

Note that some rides have two points of being measured: first at the queue entrance (this is just a courtesy so you don’t waste time standing in line), then again at the ride loading area (which is the “official” measuring and, I guess, a way of catching a cast member’s error or people who somehow snuck in).

So if your child is very very close to the height requirement and made it into the queue, know that you’re not out of the woods quite yet.

 

Please, please do not yell at the cast members, give them nasty looks, or get into an argument with them if they tell you that your child doesn’t meet the height requirement.

Aside from the fact that they work long hours at a tiring job, the cast members:
a) Could get fired if they fudge the height requirements; and
b) Are following a rule designed to keep your child safe.

Also be aware that, since you could be talking about the difference of a tiny fraction of an inch, it is possible that you will get different results at different times, so be prepared for that and be nice.

For example, get this — I read in the comments section of an article that people’s spines decompress throughout the day, causing you (and your kids) to get ever-so-slightly-shorter as the day goes by.

So … it is within the realm of possibility that your child got on a ride in the morning, but in the late afternoon got turned away for a ride with the same exact height requirement.

So now that you know that yes, the height requirements do matter and are strictly enforced, let’s go through each park to see what they are.

 

Magic Kingdom sign
Photo courtesy of Judd at WDWOW

 

Magic Kingdom Height Requirements

Space Mountain – 44″
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – 40″
Splash Mountain – 40″
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – 38″
The Barnstormer – 35″
Tomorrowland Speedway – 32″

 

Epcot Height Requirements

Mission: Space (Green) – 44″
Mission: Space (Orange) – 44″
Soarin’ – 40″
Test Track – 40″

 

Animal Kingdom Height Requirements

Primeval Whirl – 48″
Dinosaur– 40″
Expedition Everest – 44″
Flight of Passage – 44″
Kali River Rapids – 38″

 

Hollywood Studios Height Requirements

Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith – 48″
Star Tours: The Adventures Continue – 40″
Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – 40″
Slinky Dog Dash – 38″
Alien Swirling Saucers – 32″

 

Height Requirements for Disney Water Parks

Walt Disney World Water Parks
Photo courtesy of Laurie at Pics from the World of Disney

 

Blizzard Beachs

Summit Plummet – 48″
Chair Lift – 32″
Downhill Double Dipper – 48″
Slush Gusher – 48″

 

Typhoon Lagoon

Crush ‘n’ Gusher – 48″
Humunga Kowabunga – 48″

 

Age for Single Rider Lines

There are three Disney rides that have a separate single rider line, which will move faster than the regular Standby line:

  1. Test Tract at Epcot
  2. Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom
  3. Rock n Roller Coaster at Hollywood Studies

Children have to be 7 years old to get in the single rider line. Of course, this doesn’t mean that they’ll want to. My kids never wanted to do single rider, even when they were considerably older than that, because they didn’t like the idea of having to ride with a stranger.

 

Magic Kingdom Castle
Photo courtesy of Judd at WDWOW

 

Disney Rides Without Height Requirements

Believe it or not, that still leaves a lot to have fun with, even if you have a child that meets none of those requirements.

Here’s the list of rides, alphabetically by park, with no height restrictions:

Magic Kingdom

Astro Orbiter
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
Carousel of Progress
Country Bear Jamboree
Dumbo The Flying Elephant
Enchanted Tales with Belle
The Enchanted Tiki Room
The Hall Of Presidents
The Haunted Mansion
It’s a Small World
Jungle Cruise
Liberty Square Riverboat
Mad Tea Party
Main Street Vehicles
The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Mickey’s PhilharMagic
Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor
Peter Pan’s Flight
Pirates of the Caribbean
Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
Swiss Family Treehouse
Tom Sawyer Island
WEDWay Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid
Walt Disney World Railroad

 

Carousel of Progress  in Disneys Magic Kingdom
Photo courtesy of Judd at WDWOW

 

Epcot

Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure
An American Adventure
Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival
Frozen Ever After
Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros
Impressions de France
Innoventions
Journey Into Imagination With Figment
Living with the Land
O Canada!
Reflections of China
Spaceship Earth
The Seas with Nemo & Friends
Turtle Talk with Crush

 

Animal Kingdom

Affection Section
The Boneyard
Conservation Station
Cretaceous Trail
Discovery Island Trails
Finding Nemo – The Musical
Fossil Fun Games
Habitat Habit!
It’s Tough to be a Bug!
Kids Discovery Clubs
Kilimanjaro Safaris
Maharajah Jungle Trek
Pangani Forest Exploration Trail
TriceraTop Spin
Up! A Great Bird Adventure
Wildlife Express Train

 

Hollywood Studios

Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage
Fantasmic!
A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!
Jedi Training – Trials of the Temple
The Magic of Disney Animation
Muppet*Vision 3-D
Disney Jr.—Live on Stage!™
Star Wars: Jedi Training Academy
Star Wars: Path of the Jedi
Toy Story Mania!
Voyage of The Little Mermaid
Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream

 

Slinky Dog Dash in Hollywood Studios
Photo courtesy of Laurie at Pics from the World of Disney

 

Which Rides are Too Scary for Kids?

Okay, that was the easy part, because it included strictly-enforced rules and facts. If your kid is only three and half feet tall, then they can’t ride Space Mountain. Period. Move along.

But, like most parenting matters, they are more decisions to be made that aren’t always that simple. And when it comes to rides at Disney World, it’s important to remember that just because a child can go on a ride doesn’t mean they should.

Originally I was going to list some rides that could potentially be scary for a child … but what’s the point?

If you’re a parent you already know that things that “sound” scary (ie, the skeletons at the beginning of Pirates of the Caribbean are often not the things that freak your kids out.

For example, the first Disney movie I tried to watch with my girls was The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

How benign can you get, right?

Well, first both of them got scared when Pooh starting floating away with the red balloon. I fast-fowarded to the end of that section … and they both got upset again when Pooh got stuck in the door to Rabbit’s house. “How is going to get out?” one of them asked me in tears.

Winnie the Pooh at Epcot
Pooh and his red balloon at the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival
Photo courtesy of Laurie at Pics from the World of Disney

 

So yeah, I could say, “This ride could be scary because it’s dark, and that other ride could be scary because it has a dinosaur.” But if your children are anything like mine (or like me when I was a child), that won’t really help.

What makes it even worse is that you can’t even go by an obvious-sounding principle, like “Don’t go on anything your child doesn’t want to ride.”

Sure, that sounds like common sense. But the fact is that there are some kids who won’t want to do anything, but then after you force encourage them to, they end of having a really great time.

So I don’t really know how to help you here. Parenting can be tough, and most likely your kids are all wildly different from each other, which makes it even more challenging. Read the ride descriptions (this book is fantastic), read some of the YouTube videos if you like, and hope for the best.

Oh, wait … I do have two suggestions:
1. Start small. Don’t have your kids’ first roller coaster experience ever be Expedition Everest.

2. Be kind and gentle if you child does get scared on a ride. Don’t ignore them, laugh at them, or tell them to toughen up. Pull them close and, depending on the ride, say kind things and/or direct their attention to something else.

 

Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2019Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2019Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2019

 

 

Disney Rider Swap

Rider Swap is a great option for when to ride something that your kids don’t meet the height requirements for. It is sometimes referred to by other names, like Rider Switch, Rider Swap, Switching Off, Child Swap — or my personal favorite, Baby Swap.

What’s also nice about Rider Swap is that, according to Disney Park Moms, you can use it not only if your child doesn’t meet the height requirements, but also if they just don’t want to ride it.

So if you want to ride Space Mountain, but your nine year old doesn’t, you can use Rider Swap, even though they meet the height requirement.

 

How Does Rider Swap Work?

Disney transitioned from paper to digital Rider Switch passes in June 2018. With this change came another: you now have a limited return window of 1 hour for using your Rider Switch pass. So make sure you make a note of that, especially if you’ve used Rider Switch in the past prior to that date.

1. Split your party into two groups of people who will ride. (The “groups” can be as small as one person each.)

1. Everybody in your party approaches the ride’s queue and tells the Cast Member that you want to use Rider Switch

2. Everybody in the first group get on line to ride.

3. The Cast Member scans the ticket or Magic Bands of everybody in the second group of riders. The people in this second group have an hour window to come back back and ride.

This is basically like getting an extra FastPass — sweet!

The really neat thing, though, especially if you older kids or several adults in your party, is that each Rider Switch pass allows entry for up to three guests.

Okay, so in the hopes of better explaining all that, I’ll paint an imaginary scenario from when when my kids were younger.

In this scenario, my husband Rob and I both want to ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

Our daughters Rachael and Rebecca, are ages six and eight and also want to ride. Benjamin, however, is three years old and only 37″ tall, so he doesn’t meet the height requirement and can’t ride.

Big Thunder Mountain in Magic Kingdom
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Photo courtesy of Brett at Disney Photo Snapper

 

We do not have a FastPass in this scenario, for the sake of simplicity, but we were savvy enough to arrive during the afternoon parade so that the line won’t be too long.

Rob, being the great husband that he is, allows me to ride first, and Rachael and Rebecca both get to join me.

While the girls and on get on line, Rob gets his Magic Band scanned, then he and Benjamin go ride Walt Disney World Railroad.

The five of us meet up again in about 30 or 40 minutes. Rob hands Benjamin to me, then gets in the FastPass queue for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, taking Rachael and Rebecca with him.

Benny and I go ride the Walt Disney World Railroad, because three year old Benjamin really likes trains, and I like sitting.

The five of us meet up again when we’re finished.

Make sense?

 

Can You Use Rider Swap with FastPass?

Yes.

And there is where things can start to get a little confusing, but the basic gist is that only the people who ride in group one need a FastPass.

In the above scenario, only me, Rachael, and Rebecca would have needed a FastPass. Rob doesn’t, because he will get the Rider Switch pass that acts like a FastPass.

So it’s a pretty cool deal (assuming you can understand it.)

If you’re still a little confused, this infographic probably explains it better than I did:

 

And here’s a video explanation that also has some really nice footage:

 

Video: How to Use Fastpass+ and Rider Switch Pass

 

What to Do While Waiting on Your Ride

So what do you do while you’re waiting for the other group in your party to ride?

Well, “eating” is one answer and always a popular activity, but there are a lot of other options as well. WDWPrepSchool has these suggestions for things to do while you wait on each ride:

 

Magic Kingdom

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train — Carrousel or Mad Tea Party
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad — Walt Disney World Railroad
Splash Mountain — Walt Disney World Railroad
The Barnstormer — Dumbo or Casey Jr. Splash n Soak Station
Space Mountain — WEDWay Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
Tomorrowland Indy Speedway — WEDWay Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover

 

Epcot

Test Track — Exit area of ride
Soarin’ — Living with the Land
Mission:Space — Exit area of ride

 

Hollywood Studios

Star Tours — MuppetVision 3D
Tower of Terror — Beauty and the Beast: Live on Stage
Rock n Roller Coaster — Beauty and the Beast: Live on Stage
Slinky Dog Dash — Toy Story Mania or meeting Toy Story characters
Alien Swirling Saucers — Toy Story Mania or meeting Toy Story characters

 

Animal Kingdom

Expedition Everest — Maharajah Jungle Trek
Kali River Rapids — Maharajah Jungle Trek
Dinosaur — Triceratop Spin or The Boneyard
Primeval Whirl — Triceratop Spin or The Boneyard
Flight of Passage — Na’Vi River Journey or exploring Pandora

 

Now it’s your turn.

What has your experience been with Rider Swap? Do you have any tips to share? What rides have been too scary for your kids? How do you determine whether or not a young child should ride something? Let us know below in the comments!

Height Requirement Magic Kingdom Rides, plus how to use Rider Swap

Garden Grill in Epcot: Menu, Prices, and Characters

Garden Grill in Epcot: Menu, Prices, and Characters

The Garden Grill is one of two character meals that you’ll find in Disney World’s Epcot, and is a pretty nifty place for at least three reasons, in my opinion: The restaurant rotates You get to meet Chip and Dale It’s one of the more […]