DIY Home Refresh: Kitchen Backsplash Design Styles

Completely remodeling your kitchen is a huge task to add to your home to-do list. New countertops, cabinets and appliances can set you back quite a bit if you want to refresh your entire kitchen with a new look. But it’s not impossible to get the look you desire by changing a few key features instead of remodeling every square inch. One effective way is to install a backsplash. Get inspired with these kitchen backsplash design styles.

modern-zebrano-kitchen-design

Modern
The modern look is known for its clean structure and overall simplicity. Steel. Glass. Factory produced for a precise function. Preferred by minimalists and always changing slightly to accommodate the preferences of younger generations, modern isn’t just for people who “don’t really cook,” and is great for cooks who like to keep the kitchen spotless. It’s also the perfect design style for people who try hard to stay away from clutter.

wood-kitchen-country-backsplash

Rustic
The rustic look can please a wide variety of people, from those who easily fall in love with country elements to those who are seeking to turn their kitchen into a warm, inviting space. This comforting design style is the perfect way to transform your kitchen into a relaxing space to spend time with family or cook a holiday meal. In contrast to the simplicity of the modern style, the rustic look is simple in its roots, its materials, its history.

white-brick-backsplash-idea

Traditional
The traditional look is hard to define. Some believe it falls somewhere between modern and rustic. Others believe it has more to do with the contrast between materials. Still others use the term to describe their own style that doesn’t align with anything in particular. Contrary to its name, traditional style can be quite unique.

tiling-backsplash

Mosaic
The mosaic look can fall under the umbrella of a variety of different design styles. However, it does give off an exotic, historical or Old World impression. The mosaic is also one of the best backsplash styles to make a statement in your kitchen. If you’re unsatisfied with the rest of your kitchen but can’t justify an entire kitchen remodel, adding a mosaic backsplash will draw eyes away from trouble spots better than any other option.

Tips to Keep Kids Clean at Public Swimming Pools

With so many people splashing around in public swimming pools, you’re bound to run into some swimmers who aren’t very hygienic. Sure, there are chemicals like the widely-known chlorine fighting off the bacteria the average swimmer sheds, but how effective are local swimming spots at sterilizing unsanitary bacteria?

As a swimmer or parent of a swimmer, what techniques can you practice to reduce the risk of contracting an illness at the pool? Discover some interesting facts and learn how to stay clean at public swimming pools.

baby-swimming-pool-floaties

Public Pool Problems
Yes, chlorine is at work in almost every public swimming pool, fighting off as much bacteria as possible, but it can’t always defeat every wave of germs. To make matters worse, unhealthy practices like urination–that happens more frequently than we’d like to think–counteract chemicals like chlorine, making it more difficult for the chemical to fight off human bacteria at an effective rate. According to research done by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), over ten percent of public swimming pools failed routine inspections and were shut down for violating at least one code that represented a “serious threat to public health.” The large study was conducted on nearly 50,000 public swimming pools across five different states in 2013, but provided a big enough sample to conclude that most pool maintenance around the country isn’t going to be sophisticated.

The Trouble with Chlorine
A major part of pool maintenance involves monitoring the proper chlorine levels. Chlorine is highly effective when added into the swimming pool system properly, but poor calculations or inconsistent monitoring could make it harder for chlorine to get the job done as efficiently as it needs to. While it might just take minutes to kill bacteria like E.coli, more resistant parasites like Cryptosporidium stick around for days. There’s always going to be germs and harmful bacteria in public pools, and chlorine can only be effective if used properly. Thankfully, there are a number of ways to protect your kids even if the pool maintenance isn’t up to par.

two-girls-playing-pool

Keeping Kids Safe
Pool hygiene isn’t just about how you behave in the pool. It’s also about actions you can take before or after your swimming session. One of the best things you can do for your kids at the pool is make sure they wash up before getting into the water. This is especially important for young children or toddlers. The CDC study mentioned before concluded that there was a higher rate of health and safety violations in kiddie pools. It’s no surprise that more accidents happen here, so parents taking their kids into these pools should try to take more bathroom breaks during the day, check kids for accidents, never swallow water and shower afterward. Parents can also be sure to dry their kids off properly and provide goggles to protect their eyes from germs.

LTD Essentials: Productive Rainy Day Activities

Right now most of us are experiencing our fair share of rainy days. As our gardens bask under overcast skies and soak up everything from sprinkling showers to torrential downpours, we’re busy shaking off our umbrellas and preparing for a day indoors. But there are benefits to being stuck inside on a rainy day. Here are a few productive rainy day activities to transform those gloomy hours into time well spent.

Zumba-Gold-Live-It-Up-2-DVD-Set

Focus on Fitness
If you’re stuck inside, use your morning to fit in a refreshing workout. The Zumba Gold Live It Up 2-DVD Set is a fun dance-fitness program that makes working out feel like a party. It features upbeat Latin and world rhythms, with easy-to-follow dance steps that let you exercise at your own pace. The first DVD gets you moving to salsa, flamenco, and includes interviews with nutrition experts. The second DVD features different cardio endurance and balance exercises with warm-up and cool-down routines.

19-Inch-Angle-Level-Tool

Plan a DIY Project
A rainy day is an opportunity to get work done around the house, especially some of the projects you’ve been putting off. The 19” Angle Level Tool is perfect for completing a variety of DIY projects. Each arm features a 19” ruler, one with storage for two metal prongs that serve as a compass and the other for a contractor pencil. It precisely determines angles between 0 and 270 degrees, with two bubble levels for horizontal and vertical alignment. Great for home repairs, installations, hanging pictures and more!

Magnetic-Accessories-for-Tool-Chests

Tidy Up the Garage
Being cooped up in your garage on a rainy afternoon is great if you’ve been meaning to get organized. With Magnetic Accessories for Tool Chests, you can make your tools and accessories easier to find. The vinyl Magnetix Toolbox ID Labels won’t damage your tool chest like ordinary sticker labels. The Set of 2 Shelves are equipped with powerful magnets on the back, strong enough to support heavy contents and easy to move when you need the extra storage space.

Set-of-Two-20-Photo-Collages

Creative Collage
If spring showers got you trapped inside, use the time to create a piece of home décor your family will love. Set of Two 20-Photo Wall Collages make it easy to display and protect your most precious photos. Each collage holds 10 horizontal and 10 vertical 4” x 6” photos in plastic sleeves, giving you the freedom to switch out photos as many times as you want. It’s made of sturdy PVC and has an attractive header with a sentimental word or phrase. Reinforced eyelets make them easy to hang almost anywhere in your house.

Taste-of-Home-Easy-Weeknight-Dinners

Good Family Food
One of the best places to spend your rainy day is in the kitchen, especially if you’re in the mood to try out a brand new family recipe. Taste of Home Easy Weeknight Dinners offers you a simple and delicious recipe for every weeknight of the year, from Crumb-Coated Ranch Chicken to BBQ Meat Loaf Minis. Make meals using the oven, grill, slow cooker or stovetop. Sections include: 30 Minutes to Dinner, 5 Simple Ingredients, No-Fuss Slow Cooker, Leave it in the Oven and more! Photos with each recipe. 352 pages.

Upcycled Garden: Ideas to Get You Excited to Dig

container-gardenSpring is almost here and that means it’s almost time to start digging in your garden! Gardening is an uber-hobby. That means it can combine elements of other hobbies: art, DIY, decor, cooking, and upcycling. While we know lots of ways to make our lives easier and less expensive by upcycling and repurposing unwanted items, upcycling in the garden makes your yard one-of-a-kind. Here are 5 garden upcycling ideas to get you excited to dig.

Dangling Delight Bring your garden up to eye-level with hanging container gardens! An old birdcage or a hat that’s too pretty to pitch in the garbage can be hung with a simple hook to suspend draping flowers like geraniums or fuchsia. On your porch or deck it gives your outdoor decor a little color and a lot of character. While hanging plants look great, you may want to keep your watering can at the ready — they tend to dry out a bit quicker than plants in regular containers because they’re more exposed to air.

terrariumTerrarium Training Curating a terrarium is a good starter container garden. Glass containers are easy to come by to create cute terrariums if you’re not quite ready to build a full container garden. Indoors or outdoors, old vases, pickle jars or pitchers can hold the layers of charcoal, sand and soil as a base for tiny trees, ferns and grass. Terrariums require minimal maintenance, it’s just a matter or trimming and watering to keep them green.

Tried & True Tomatoes The container garden-friendly tomato makes a practical plant for the decorative garden. They work best in larger containers — hanging from an old bucket or watering can, they can draw eyes up rather than to the ground to keep your outdoor decor lively and interesting. Just remember tomato plants require soil with a lot of nutrients to make your tomatoes flavorful and juicy. They also need full sun for a majority of the day, so a hanging container that you can move with the sun is an excellent way to add fresh ingredients to your summer salads.

Flower Flow Flowers can dress up just about any kind of container — even an ugly old shoe! Take inventory of the containers that are still useful but might be too worn to be used for their aesthetic value. An old suitcase that might be too heavy to travel with, an old desk drawer (or an old desk!), or a child’s wagon can be quite beautiful with the right flowers flowing from their openings. Look for colorful flowers that tend to sprawl like calibrachoa to bring your old but cherished items back to life with elegant overgrowth.

herb-gardenSimple Seasonings Herb gardens are probably the easiest gardens to build using repurposed items around the house. They can be big displays using wooden pallets or they can be small enough to fit inside your kitchen. They’re good for small containers because their roots don’t spread the way the roots for tomato plants or carrots do. Use mason jars, tea tins, mismatched coffee cups, or coffee cans. With a good combination of potting soil, compost, and sand (or perlite) and your herbs should thrive indoors. For an outdoor herb garden, think a little bigger. You can use wooden wine boxes carefully stacked at different angles to create a small vertical herb garden or you can use an over-the-door organizers to cover a blank wall and give it a little color and a lot of life!

LTD Commodities has hundreds of items to get your home ready for spring — indoors and outdoors! Whether you’re curating and indoor container garden for your kitchen window or you’re dressing up your walkway, look to LTD for a happy garden!

Spring Refresh: Kitchen Hacks to Make Cooking and Cleaning a Little Easier

Cleaning-KitchenIt’s time to start thinking about giving your house a spring refresh. It’s a lot to take on, so we thought we’d start with the most complicated room in the house: the kitchen. Here are some kitchen hacks to make cooking and cleaning a little easier.

Dairy Dilemmas Dairy seems go bad a little too quickly, but there are a couple tricks to extend the lives of some items.

  • Dry Cheese: spread a little butter on the cut end to keep it from drying out (only works for hard cheeses).
  • Cottage Cheese & Sour Cream: to keep these items from getting moldy, once the seal’s been broken, turn the closed container upside when you return it to the refrigerator to block air from moving in — air is one of the things that contributes to spoilage.
  • Milk: Don’t store your milk in the refrigerator door. With all of the opening and closing of the door, the temperature fluctuates too much for something as delicate as dairy (and eggs); the door is best for long-lasting items like condiments.

Dishwasher Difficulties Dishwashers work really hard to clean up food and stains from your dinnerware — and some of that gunk tends to build up in the appliance: Here are a couple ways to clean it:Dishwasher

  • Vinegar: Toss a cup of vinegar in the bottom of your empty dishwasher. Run it.
  • Powdered Lemonade (unsweetened): Add the powder to your soap dispenser. Run the empty dishwasher.

The vinegar and lemonade work the same way to clean out extra food particles. If your dishwasher still isn’t cleaning your dishes, you may have to seek out a dishwasher repairman for help.

Messy Microwave Cleaning the microwave isn’t hard, but it’s annoying. To simplify it, try these methods:

  • Lemon & Water: Fill a microwave-safe bowl with water and a cut up lemon. Place it in the microwave and run it on high for about four minutes. Keep the door closed to let it steam up for two minutes and then wipe it clean.
  • Sponge Sense: Wet a sponge (well-soaked, but squeeze off a little extra water). Place it in the microwave and cook on high for two minutes. Let it steam up for a minute. Make sure the sponge is cool enough to touch and then wipe the microwave out.

Lemon Freshness Lemons and their peels do so much more than flavor our food! Here are a couple of their best uses:

  • Salt & Lemon: Use lemon half sprinkled with salt as a scrubber for your cutting board or marble to clean and disinfect them (it’s also the formula for a rust remover). Toss the used rinds in the garbage disposal and run it to refresh the appliance.
  • Repurpose Rinds: When you use a lemon for a recipe, rather than tossing it in the trash, toss it in your slow cooker with water and let it simmer to scent the air (you can toss in old tea bags and apple cores, too).


Vexing Vegetables 
Vegetables are susceptible to food waste because thekitchen-caddyy go bad faster than other foods. Here are a few ways to extend their lives.

  • Dark Leafy Greens & Herbs: If the leaves on your kale or cilantro (and similar produce) start to wilt, don’t throw them out, cut off the ends of their stalks and stick them in a glass of water to perk them up.
  • Paper Towels: If you’re storing fruit in your crisper drawer, stick a layer of paper towels in the bottom. The towels absorb the excess moisture that causes fruit to rot.

When you start your spring organizing, let LTD help you get things sorted! Whether you’re looking for tips for cleaning faster or you need new storage containers to get your bedroom organized, look to LTD for clever ideas and practical products.

Cocktails for Your Big Game Party

footballWe still don’t know quite yet which teams are headed to the Big Game,  but we do know that It’s the NFC vs. the AFC and we have some entertaining to do. In 2015, it was the Seattle Seahawks vs the New England Patriots, so we thought we’d use those teams to give you a little party inspiration for the Big Game no matter who ends up on the gridiron.

In addition to rich dips and crunchy chips, cocktails are a must for any Big Game party. Coming up with cocktails to match each team, is more simple than you might think.  Here are a few ideas for cocktails for your Big Game party.

patriots-flagBoston has a number of cocktails that bear its name. While the  Boston Cocktail (3/4 oz gin, 3/4 oz apricot brandy, 1 1/2 tsp grenadine syrup, juice of 1/4 lemon) is the obvious choice because of the name,  Ward 8 has deep roots in the city’s history. It was created in 1898 to honor Boston Politician, Martin Lomasney, and the ward he represented — Ward 8. Here’s how to make it:

  • 2 ounces rye whisky
  • 3/4 ounce lemon juice
  • 3/4 ounce orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon grenadine

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

It’s the cocktail for someone with a sweet tooth. If beer is your preference for snack accompaniment, Sam Adams is still one of the most preferred beers in the nation, but there are several Boston craft beers you can pick from to serve your guests.

seahawks-pictureIn Seattle, super fans of the Seahawks want The Last Word. By “The Last Word,” we mean the cocktail. It was originally created in Detroit in the prohibition era, but during a cocktail renaissance in Seattle, it found a new home.

Here’s how to make it:

  • ¾ oz. gin
  • ¾ oz. green Chartreuse
  • ¾ oz. maraschino liqueur, like Luxardo
  • ¾ oz. fresh lime juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Just like Boston, Seahawks love their beer. There are plenty of Seattle beers to choose from but for football fans, the taste of the northwest your guests might be looking for is Rainier Beer.

No matter what teams make it to the Big Game, there are fun ways to mix up cocktails to honor each time and each city as you cheer them on.

You don’t have to have a favorite team to cheer on during the Big Game — football’s most important game can be fun for everyone with the right food, drinks and entertainment. Check out LTD for more products and ideas for your Big Game party!

Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week

We’re just a few days away from the official start to winter. It’s the season that lets us stay inside, curl up with a good book, play with our pets, and work on projects. With that in mind, we put together a list of products we think will help you enjoy winter. Here are this week’s Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week.ltd-food-warming-cover

Fresh Feasts Keep fresh-from-the-oven food nice and warm with this Warming Food Cover. Great for potlucks, its quilted silver top with nonstick silicone backing keeps your dish warm and eliminates the need for reheating. Folds back for easy access to food. Not for use in the oven while cooking. 17-1/2″W x 10-3/4″L. Polyester and cotton. Silicone wipes clean with a damp cloth. Imported.frog-robe

Cute & Coordinated Your little one will look adorable wearing this Baby Embroidered Robe and Slipper Set. Great for keeping your baby warm after a bath, it has an appliquéd and embroidered design on the robe and matching slippers. The hooded robe features color-coordinated trim and an attached belt. The slippers have soft fabric-covered elastic at the back to keep them securely on baby’s feet. Fits babies up to 9 months old. Cotton. Machine care. Importedltd-sports-shelf

Showcase Your Talent Spotlight your achievements on a wooden Sports Shelf. Great for athletes in any sport, the Award Shelf (28″W x 7-7/8″D x 7-3/8″H) shows off trophies on the top, hangs medals from the 21 knobs at the bottom and displays pictures in between. Has spaces for two 3-1/2″ x 5-1/2″ and two 2-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ photos. The Baseball Shelf (18″W x 7″D x 12″H) holds trophies on top and 5 bats on the built-in metal rack. Hooks on both sides can hold baseball caps or medals. Assembly required; assembly hardware included. Hanging hardware on back.ltd-cat-tower

Feline Frolic Give your cat an impressive place to scratch, perch, nap and play. 4-Ft. tall multilevel tower is ideal for households with more than one feline. Its 7 sisal-wrapped surfaces will satisfy kitty’s scratching instinct while cleaning his or her claws. Several plush perches provide spots to lounge. The hide-n-seek tunnel has a decorative cat face on its peek-a-boo door. Vacuum to clean. 48″ x 26″ x 20″. Wooden construction. Assembly required; assembly hardware included.3d-car-puzzle

Engineer Envy Build your favorite car with a 1:32 Licensed 3-D Car Puzzle, then play with it! Detailed model is fun to assemble, and it also encourages kids to develop problem-solving skills. Approx. 5-1/8″W x 2-1/2″D x 1-5/8″H. BMW, 60 pieces. Lamborghini and Mini Cooper, 64 pieces. Plastic. For ages 8 and up.ltd-rosette-sherpa-throw

Cuddle in Style Take a room from simple to sophisticated by adding this 3-D Rosette Sherpa Throw. This beautiful item is an easy and affordable way to enhance the look of your living room or bedroom. The front is covered in appliquéd roses, and the back is sherpa fleece. 50″ x 60″. Polyester. Machine care. Imported.

 

 

 

Holiday Spirit: Product Picks for Games and Puzzles Week

games-chessIt’s time to get your game face on! Not only is it time to ramp up your holiday shopping, but it’s also Games and Puzzles Week! Games and puzzles make great stocking stuffers and family games, so we put together a list of our favorite games and puzzles to give you a little gift-giving inspiration.

Go Classic The 10-in-1 Classic Wood Game Center is a great way to enjoy quality time with your family and friends. A variety of traditional games inspire friendly competition. This attractive set has a chess and checker board on top, 2 reversible slide-out boards and a storage drawer at the bottom for game pieces. The storage drawer also doubles as another game board. 13″W x 12-3/4″D x 6-1/8″H. For ages 8 and up.games-car-puzzle

Go 3-D Build your favorite car with a 1:32 Licensed 3-D Car Puzzle, then play with it! Detailed model is fun to assemble, and it also encourages kids to develop problem-solving skills. Approx. 5-1/8″W x 2-1/2″D x 1-5/8″H. BMW, 60 pieces. Lamborghini and Mini Cooper, 64 pieces. Plastic. For ages 8 and up.games-find-it


Go Complex
 The whole family will have a blast playing with the Find It Brain Teaser Game. This activity will keep everyone happily preoccupied on a rainy day or long car trip. A list of 48 items on Kid’s World and 40 items on the other choices’ lids gives players specific objects to find in a mass of colored pellets. Participants can shake, twist and tap the cylinder to complete their task. Additional obstacles presented on cards, such as a time limit, are added to the game to complicate your mission. The first person to find all the necessary treasures wins the game. Plastic. For ages 6 and up.giftcard-mazes

Go Double-Duty Add a new twist to the way you give gift cards or cash! A Set of 3 Gift Card Mazes challenges the recipient to guide the ball through the 3-dimensional, 2-level maze to the proper position to open the door and be rewarded with the gift card. Can also be used to hold cash, checks and more. 3″W x 4-1/4″D x 5/8″H. Plastic.licensed-pop-up-games

Go Home Family game night will be full of character with a Licensed Pop-Up Game. The race is on as you try to be the first player to get your four movers from start to home. Includes 16 movers and a game board (10-1/8″ sq.) with dice popper built in. Plastic. For 2 to 4 players. For ages 4 and up.

Holiday Spirit: Black Friday Shopping Tips

holiday-pajamasWhile turkey takes precedence this week, there’s no way to resist the temptation for a good deal on holiday gifts! Black Friday and Cyber Monday promise deals we can’t find any other days of the year. But there are tricks to making your Black Friday shopping experience simple. Here are 5 Black Friday Shopping tips you can’t ignore.

Avoid the Crowds Millions of shoppers are pumped to line up for good deals at 3am to get that must-have toy truck or that adorable doll, but not everyone is that committed to navigating the crowds so early in the morning. Lucky for those shoppers, retailers offer hot deals starting before Thanksgiving and expanding sales to cover days after Cyber Monday. So if you want to save time, energy and money, start looking on the off days of the sales to get discounts just as deep as the ones on Black Friday.

Get Social Start scanning your Twitter feeds, Facebook posts and Pinterest boards for sales and discounts from your favorite retailers. If you’re looking at just the right time, you may score on a gift you never would have thought of or stumbled on a coupon that pushes your savings to the max to keep you within your holiday budget. Tablet, phone or desktop, the deals come at you faster if you’re looking for them!

Straight & Narrochristmas-treeYou have to put your shopping blinders on for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Make sure to stick to your holiday list. It’s easy to get off track when you have deals coming at you from all angles. When you see a good price on something you don’t need, it’s easy to justify buying it, but if you’re there for holiday presents, focus on those first and bend to your impulses when every item on your list is checked off.

Black Friday Fallout Before you start your shopping, know the return policies for your favorite shopping spots. It’s easy to put something in the cart when it’s marked 75% off, but no money is saved if you don’t actually need the item. Buyer’s remorse is part of the Black Friday phenomenon — knowing the return policy could be the difference between regret and relief this season.

presentsA Shopper’s Work Is Never Done The deals don’t end when the clock strikes midnight on Black Friday — there may be more discounts and deals waiting for you on the other side of the weekend. So if you didn’t get the right gift at the right price, you may be able to find it later in the week when shoppers aren’t so fierce about finding good deals.

You can find a good deal any day of the year at LTD Commodities. Whether you’re looking on Black Friday or on January 28, we always have a good discount on items you didn’t know you needed at LTD.

Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for Kids

my-girl-wheelchair-dollThough we haven’t even carved the turkey, the kids are already counting down the days until they can dump their stockings on the floor and tear through gifts under the Christmas tree. Even if you’ve already bought the big gifts, there are still all sorts of little items to surprise your kids with, so we picked out a few of our favorite items to give you ideas. Here are today’s Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for Kids.

Playing Doctor My Girl Wheelchair & Crutch Set has everything an 18″ girl doll needs to make a speedy recovery from a broken leg, ankle or arm. Each piece is designed to look like the real thing. The collapsible wheelchair has wheels that really turn and working brakes. The crutches are sized to fit an 18″ doll. Plastic. For ages 8 and up.build-a-fort

Playing Architect  Kids can build their very own fort with this complete Build a Fort Kit. Use the fabric panels (equipped with loops for stringing), rope, clips and suction cups to make a private playland. Once it’s built, kids can use the light wands to illuminate the area inside the fort for hours of imaginative fun! Kit also includes a handy storage bag. Adult supervision suggested during assembly. For ages 3 and up.workman-tool-playset

Playing Handy Man The tools of this Workman Tool Play Set are perfect for your future contractor. The Tool Belt with Helmet has all the needed tools and proper protection, and everything fits neatly on the belt. The Realistic Sound Power Chainsaw (14-1/2″W x 4-5/8″D x 7″H) has a realistic rotating chain action. Requires 3 “AA” batteries. Plastic. For ages 3 and up.

ball-petsPlaying Ball Roly-poly Ball Pets are plush balls with a surprise–they pop open to become a huggable furry friend. Roll it closed and it’s a ball ready to toss and catch. Open it up for a plush pet you’ll love to cuddle. Each character features a heart design on its stomach. Take it anywhere to play with open or closed. 5″ dia., closed. 5″W x 2-1/2″D x 8-1/2″H, open. Polyester. Imported.

 

bubble-stormPlaying Whimsically Delight kids with this Light-Up Motorized Bubble Storm. It comes with 2 different attachments, one for giant bubbles and one for tons of little bubbles. Easy to use–just dip the blaster into the tray of solution. A button on the handle controls fan movement and light-up designs. Comes with a jar of bubble solution to get you started. Includes 3 “AAA” batteries. Plastic. For ages 3 and up.