Flashlight Hidden Message Letter Hunt

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Thanks to Energizer® for sponsoring this post.

The other night we were going to make s’mores and I thought it would be fun to have the boys hunt for the chocolate. I got the idea from the candy hunt that we’d been to a few weeks before while we were camping. The campground had hosted a flashlight candy hunt where they dumped a bunch of candy all around an open field and then had the dozens of kids find the candy using flashlights. The boys had so much fun during it but I thought I’d add my own educational spin on it to keep their minds sharp during the summer slump. Instead of finding the candy in the field I hid the candy in the house and had them hunt for rocks that would spell out the secret location of the candy.

I wrote one letter on each rock and used different colors for each word’s letters so that the kids could figure out which letters went together to help them figure out each word. For example, my hint was “in the kitchen where food is kept cold” (aka the fridge) so each word was written one letter per rock but all letters in each word were written in the same color.

While the boys were inside we hid the rocks throughout the grass in the backyard. Once it got dark they headed outside, flashlight in hand, to find them.

You’ll want a good flashlight for this activity. We love the new Energizer® Light Fusion Technology 3-in-1 flashlight because it features a spotlight and area light in one versatile handheld light. It also has sturdy fold-out legs for hands-free use and a pivoting head to direct light where you need it. Energizer® flashlights and batteries help power up the fun for all of our summer nighttime adventures.

After they’d found all the rocks they brought them over to the patio table and began to figure out the words. I was proud that they figured almost all of the words out by themselves. For the word “kitchen” I told them what it started with and then had them look at the other words to try and figure it out. Once they connected the “k” word with “food” they were able to guess that the word was kitchen.

When they figured out the secret message they were so excited and ran inside to the fridge to find the chocolate for the s’mores. This was a great activity and one I can see us repeating for many different things. We can have flashlight letter hunts for messages like where we are headed on vacation or what fun thing we will be doing over the weekend.

What fun message would you share through a flashlight letter hunt?

Summer Boredom Busters

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Disclosure: Items were received for inclusion but all thoughts are my own.

It’s nearly August which means if you haven’t heard “I’m bored” from your children yet, it’s coming…. Today I wanted to share some of my favorite summer boredom busters to keep your kids occupied at home as you all enjoy the rest of the summer season.

Enjoy water fun in the backyard

The best way to cool off on a hot day? Playing in water. We are loving the H2OGo! Slide-n-Splash Bowling. This isn’t just any slip n’ slide- your kids will become human bowling balls as they slide and try to knock down all the inflatable pins before they land in a shallow pool of water.

Another awesome thing kids will love is the new H20Go! Fun Blobz which is a cool, cushioned surface for kids to slide across and jump on. They’ll enjoy an afternoon of squishy, slippery fun in the backyard!

Craft with recycled materials

No need to go out and buy materials for these crafts because all 100 ideas use materials you probably already have around your house. Find the craft list here.

Learn to code with a fun project

MakeCrate offers carefully curated and tested electronics kits that include all the parts older kids need (along with step-by-step instructions and video tutorials) to build fun projects.

Build papercraft scenes

Have a Star Wars fan? They’ll love the Build-A-Scene Star Wars kit that provides everything they need to make iconic papercraft scenese from the Star Wars universe. Kids and teens can recreate the drama of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader’s duel on Mustafar from Revenge of the Sith; the nail-biting trench battle on the Death Star from A New Hope, and the Kylo Ren and Rey lightsaber fight in the snowy forest of the Starkiller Base from The Force Awakens.

Make your own obstacle course

Have your children work together to create an obstacle course using cones, hula hoops, chalk or whatever else you may have sitting in the garage. I encourage my boys to plan it on paper first and then set it up using the blueprint they made. They can take turns going through it and you can even challenge them to make a fun obstacle course for you to go through as well!

Get some hands-on science fun with a Geology experiment

Science during the summer? YES! Kids will enjoy doing the experiments in Geology Lab For Kids. The book features 52 simple, inexpensive, and fun experiments that explore the Earth’s surface, structure, and processes.

 

Go on a flashlight hidden message letter hunt

Looking to keep kids busy in the evening? Send them on a flashlight hidden message letter hunt. Hide rocks with letters on them in the backyard and then send them out with flashlights to find them all. Kids then use the rocks to figure out your secret message. When we did this we hid chocolate in our house and then the boys had to figure out the secret message that would lead them to where exactly the chocolate was hidden in our home. After they found the chocolate “in the kitchen where the food is kept cold” we used the chocolate to make s’mores and ended the night together around the firepit.

Learn to draw animals

Do you have an artistic child? They will love Stick Sketch School: Animal Safari Artventure, a book that helps children learn to draw stick figure animals in 3 easy steps. I love that this book offers creative prompts throughout and encourages kids to pretend that they are on an animal safari, documenting all that they see.

Make mud creations

Summer is the perfect time for kids to be messy because kids can keep most of the mess outdoors. Mud pies and other muddy creations are fun to make and setting up a mud pie kitchen is a great way to let children be creative.

Build your own pinball machine

Both budding scientists and game lovers will enjoy this fun book and kit. Pinball Science is a hands-on opportunity for children to build their very own pinball machine and then learn about basic science from its workings. This cool handbook is packed with engaging graphics helps young scientists come to grips with fundamental concepts like gravity, force, and acceleration.

Play a new video game

Stuck inside on a rainy day? Surprise kids with a new video game like the brand new CARS 3 game! Cars 3: Driven to Win picks up after the final race in Disney-Pixar’s Cars 3 film, bringing together players of all ages and skill levels to battle it out on the racetrack. The competition heats up with 20 customizable characters like Jackson Storm and Cruz Ramirez, along with the beloved Lightning McQueen, putting pedal to the metal on 20 tracks set in iconic locations from the film. (Cars 3: Driven to Win is available on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Wii U.)

Learn a new interesting fact every day and share it with your family

Did you know that NASA is developing a 3-D printer designed to make hot, edible pizza for astronauts to enjoy in space? Or that a flying dragon lizard can glide through the air for 30 feet? Your child can learn all sorts of interesting facts like this in the National Geographic Kids Almanac 2018. The book is packed with more than 300 pages of news, facts, features, photos, games and learning fun!

Create a nature journal

Follow these easy instructions to make a nature journal and then explore your backyard and neighborhood while your kids journal what they see around them. Nature walks are a great way to get some fresh air while kids learn about the world around them.

Build and learn with LEGOs

Kids love building with LEGO bricks but did you know there’s plenty of ways to learn with them? I’ve rounded up 30 of my favorite learning activities that cover everything from math to science to reading & writing here. Whether they make a magnet maze or a wind turbine, they will have so much fun they won’t even realize they are learning!

How are your kids keeping busy this summer?

Superhero Fun With Tampico

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Thanks to Tampico for sponsoring this post.

It’s been raining a lot here in Chicago so we’ve been trying to find indoor activities to do together like playing games, watching movies, and crafting. With the new Captain Underpants Movie coming out, I thought it would be fun to do a superhero themed craft together.

My boys can’t wait for the movie to hit theaters June 2nd. We were so happy to learn that one of our favorite juice drinks, Tampico, has partnered with DreamWorks’ for Captain Underpants’ release. My boys will be keeping an eye out for fun prizes like a Captain Underpants “prank sound board” that Tampico will be giving away from its Facebook page this summer! Until the movie is out, they’ll be staying busy and sharpening their minds by doing some summer reading! Check out these super-hero themed bookmarks we made to go along with the Captain Underpants theme!

Materials needed:

  • Cardstock
  • Stickers
  • Ribbon
  • Scissors

Making the bookmarks is easy!

Cut your card stock into a long rectangle and poke a hole towards the top.

Put the ribbon through the hole and tie it in a knot to secure the ribbon.

Add superhero stickers to the bookmark.

While we were making bookmarks we talked about what superhero powers we’d want to have if we were superheroes. Jacob said he’d want to have a superpower that would make him go fast so he could get to places quickly. He also thought it would be cool to have super strength and be the strongest person alive. Lucas also liked the idea of having super speed but wanted to be invisible, too.

Wondering what powers the adults in our home would want to have? Sinisa said he’d want to be able to fly so that he could get anywhere he wanted for free. I’d want to be invisible if I could have any superhero power.

While we crafted we enjoyed some of our favorite juice drink, Tampico. We always have a couple of gallons in the fridge. I added some fun star straws to keep up with the superhero theme.

Now the boys have fun bookmarks to use the next time they are reading. They have to catch up on the books while they wait for the movie to come out. Check out the movie trailer below. It looks like it’s going to be great and our family can’t wait to see it together.

To celebrate the movie’s release, Tampico is partnering with Dreamwork’s Captain Underpants movie and hosting some awesome superhero contests on Facebook. There will be great prizes including a grand prize of two iPads, one for you and one for your little superhero! There will also be prizes like Family 4-Packs of Movie tickets. Like and follow Tampico on Facebook and stay tuned to learn more! https://www.facebook.com/drinktampico/.

What superhero power would you and your children want to have if you were superheroes?

What Children Learn Through Play

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Thanks to the Toy Association for sponsoring this post as part of their Genius of Play campaign.

Did you know that kids learn through play? Whether they are building with blocks, playing with dolls or running around the playground, play is an important teaching tool! Through play, kids learn how to interact with others and develop critical lifelong skills. Today I’m sharing 6 benefits of play and how they each play an important role in raising well-rounded children. I’m also sharing some fun activities for each in case you are looking for more ideas to keep the kids learning through play all spring and summer long!

PHYSICAL

Active play helps kids with coordination, balance, motor skills, and spending their natural energy (which promotes better eating and sleeping habits). While sports are a favorite way for my boys to play outdoors, they also enjoy creating obstacle courses, having water gun fights and batting balloons around trying to keep them in the air. When I was younger, my favorite active games were Sardines (like hide & seek but you hide with the people when you find them) and Capture the Flag.

EMOTIONAL

During play, kids learn to cope with emotions like fear, frustration, anger, and aggression in a situation they control. They can also practice empathy and understanding. One way that kids can work through emotions is by role playing- so things like playing house or with dolls is great for working on these emotional skills. Reading stories about emotions and talking about them and acting them out, like in this activity called Mad Face Scary Face, is helpful as well. Musical Feelings is a fun active, musical game kids can play to talk about emotions, too.

SOCIAL

Playing with others helps kids negotiate group dynamics, collaborate, compromise, deal with others’ feelings, and share – the list goes on. I’ve noticed great strides in my children’s social skills after they go to summer camps and over the years as they have been involved in a number of activities. Being around other children really does help them grow. Whether they are playing team sports, chasing after each other in a game of tag, or playing a board game, children learn social skills as they navigate game rules and learn to work together towards a common goal.

CREATIVE

By allowing imaginations to run wild during play, kids create new worlds, and form unique ideas and solutions to challenges. One of my favorite creative play activities is making mud creations. Children enjoy this messy fun and it’s a great way for them to be creative with nature. Open ended craft activities allow children to be creative as well. As a teacher, I’d often set out a variety of materials on the classroom tables and it was fun to watch what the children created out of the random materials they were given.

COGNITIVE

Children learn to think, read, remember, reason, and pay attention through play. STEM toys and activities are great for encouraging children to learn cognitive skills. Activity ideas include making marshmallow sculptures with toothpicks and marshmallows, playing 20 questions, and creating a marble run. Children don’t even realize how much they are learning because they are having so much more fun learning these skills through activities than they would have sitting in a classroom or doing worksheets!

COMMUNICATION

Play lets kids exchange thoughts, information, or messages by speech, signals, writing, or actions. There are so many fun activities that kids can do to strengthen their communication skills. I shared 25 fun writing activities here- from writing out a script for a play they can act out with friends to making a treasure map to using sidewalk chalk to create a town or race track for their toy cars. Another fun activity to do in Spring is to create a nature journal to draw pictures of what they see on their walks.

Want more activity ideas? Check out the Genius of Play website. What are your child’s favorite ways to play?

How To Help Your Child Plan And Create An Outdoor Obstacle Course

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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GoldfishGameTime #CollectiveBias

After enjoying a “heat wave” in February I feel like warmer weather will be here to stay soon! With this in mind, I wanted to share a fun outdoor activity you can do with your kids this Spring. My boys and I went to Walmart to buy some outdoor toys and Goldfish® crackers (in the Cheddar flavor and the Xtra Cheddar flavor) and then we headed home for a fun afternoon.

Our outdoor activities usually consist of sports (because our children like to fit in practice however they can) but occasionally I like to switch things up a bit. Having taught preschool before Pinterest existed I had to come up with as many ways as possible to keep a classroom of kids busy and an obstacle course was one of their favorite activities. I thought it would be fun to make one with my boys as we spent time together outside.

The first thing you need to do to help your kids create an obstacle course is to gather all of the outdoor play items you have that your kids could use in creating an obstacle course. We used a few hula hoops, a little bowling set, flying discs, a football, cones, relay race batons, chalk and a tunnel. (If you don’t have much or it’s all packed away check out Walmart’s selection of outdoor toys!)

Don’t forget to bring your Goldfish® crackers outside because you know your kids are sure to get hungry while you all are playing. I buy Goldfish® crackers in the bulk boxes and then pour them into individual cups for easy serving outdoors.

After you bring everything you need outside, have the child plan their obstacle course by drawing it out on paper. Having children plan the activity before they set it up helps them develop critical thinking skills.

Jacob’s course involved jumping in hula hoops then going into a tunnel. Out of the tunnel he had put the relay batons down so that people would have to hop over each one. Next was a chalk drawn hopscotch and then a little bowling. After the person knocked all of the pins down he had cones set up and discs available to throw on each cone. The final obstacle was throwing a ball through a hula hoop someone was holding.

Jacob enjoyed drawing out the course he envisioned while Lucas preferred to sit in the shade and eat his favorite snack – Goldfish® crackers! {The Snack That Smiles Back®}

Jacob made sure to eat some of his snack as well before they headed out to the front yard to complete the next step of the process- creation of the obstacle course!

Jacob did great setting up the obstacle course just like he had drawn on his paper.

Lucas, meanwhile, loved being the obstacle course tester.

He also helped by changing around things he thought needed to be fixed :)

After an afternoon full of building their obstacle course and going through it numerous times they enjoyed some more Goldfish® crackers before it was time to head inside.

Have you ever created an obstacle course with your kids? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

Afterschoolz Makes Finding Kid’s Activities Easy {$100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway}

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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post but all thoughts are my own.

It’s no secret that I believe in the importance of extracurricular activities for kids and that my boys are very involved in activities they enjoy. One of the main reasons I started putting them in activities was so they could work on their social skills and I’ve shared before how much growth I’ve seen in them over the past few years. I have no doubt that putting them in activities and sports has been one of the main things that has positively impacted them in that area.

Lucas in particular, who is on the Autism Spectrum and has had language delays, struggled in his younger years with forming friendships. Not only was he unable to communicate, but the majority of the time he was in his own world. I can remember when Luke was on a soccer team for the first time and, as the season went on, I saw him start to try to talk with other kids. All those hours spent practicing and on the sidelines helped him start to bond with other children. From social skills to teamwork to responsibility, after school activities have proven to be beneficial for us.

I’ve been asked before how I find out about activities my kids participate in and, in the past, I’ve shared that I scour the internet for activities. From our school’s website to the community recreation site to local Churches, I hunt down activities I think my children will enjoy. I find a lot of great things but I’ve discovered that it’s so time consuming to do this search every couple of months. Wouldn’t it be great if there was just one site that parents needed to go to in order to discover after school activities for kids?

Thankfully there is a resource like that being developed for all of us in Illinois (don’t worry if you live in another state- they will be expanding to other cities in the future)! The Afterschoolz website already has such a great variety of activities listed and more are being added as new activity providers sign up. Parents can find everything from the typical soccer and art lessons to activities that are a bit more out of the box, like anime club and a class on how to make a candy bouquet. Check out what fun activities are listed in your town here.

Afterschoolz allows parents to not only discover after school activities available in our state, but to view ratings for the activities as well. Considering a certain summer camp but not sure if it’s a good option? Check out how it’s rated on Afterschoolz to see what other parents thought of the camp! Wondering if a specific dance class has good reviews? Check out what other parents have to say on the Afterschoolz website. Find an activity you want to enroll your child in? Some listings let you book lessons or classes right on the Afterschoolz website!

This site is really such a fantastic tool for parents looking to get their children involved in an afterschool activity. Afterschoolz is currently growing and looking to improve their service. To do so, they are asking for feedback from parents who have checked out their website and can offer feedback on what they thought about the site, if they found it easy to use, what they’d like to see added or changed, or really any other feedback parents have about the site. I love when businesses care enough to ask their users for suggestions!

As an incentive to offer feedback, Afterschoolz is offering one Making Time For Mommy reader a $100 Amazon gift card! To enter to win the gift card all you have to do is fill out the form with your thoughts on their website/service and then enter the giveaway via the Rafflecopter form at the end of this post. Comments on the form should be a minimum of three sentences and they want your honest opinion, regardless of what that is.

First, fill this form out with your feedback on the Afterschoolz website.

(Please note that there are two questions on this form so make sure to scroll down. After you answer both questions then submit the form by clicking the blue submit button.)

After you’ve filled out the form, enter the giveaway here:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for reading and entering the giveaway! I’d love to hear about what sports and activities your children enjoy in the comments below!

15 Outdoor Activities To Do In The Fall And Winter Seasons

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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post but all thoughts are my own.

The leaves are starting to fall and the weather is turning cooler but don’t let that keep your family from exploring the outdoors! Kids can still have lots of fun outside! From jumping in piles of leaves to going on nature walks to playing in the snow, there are lots of activities to do in the fall and winter seasons.

Here are 15 of our favorite outdoor activities to do in the colder months:

  • Go sledding
  • Hunt for unique leaves
  • Go geocaching
  • Play in the snow
  • Ride a bike
  • Go ice skating
  • Have an outdoor scavenger hunt
  • Make snow angels
  • Go on a hike
  • Rake leaves into a pile and jump in them
  • Build a snowman
  • Go on a nature walk
  • Have a snowball fight
  • Learn how to ski or snowboard
  • Play at a playground

One fun app we’ve discovered is Nature Cat’s Great Outdoors app which helps families record all of their outdoor adventures in a fun and creative way.

The app features:

  • Daily Adventures from Nature Cat and his friends that inspire your child to use their eyes and ears to find exciting things in nature
  • New challenges every day!
  • Several tools that all nature explorers should have: Squeeks’ Compass, Daisy’s Camera, Hal’s Sound Recorder
  • Sketching and art tool, with nature words and Nature Cat stickers
  • Nature journals to create, share and record adventures

This app is great to encourage children to play outside. I loved the built in compass and thought that was very convenient. We also liked the journal feature. We’ve made paper journals in the past but it’s nice to have a digital one.

What are your favorite outdoor activities for families to do in the fall and winter?

Fall Bucket List {30 Fun Things To Do This Fall}

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Fall is here! I loved sitting at Jacob’s football game yesterday because the sun was shining and I was nice and warm in a pretty sweater and boots. Along with it being football season and Pumpkin Spice latte time, there are a number of other fun things I’m looking forward to doing with my family. I love creating bucket lists of fun things to do so I decided to get all of my ideas written down (well, typed…) to share with you all and to have a list ready for next weekend. There is nothing better than a day spent with family that ends with everyone going to bed with smiles on their faces :)

Here are the things we hope to do before winter is here:

1) Go to the pumpkin patch

2) Take a nature walk and write in our nature journals

3) Make leaf men with leaves we find

4) Bake an apple or pumpkin dessert

5) Carve pumpkins

6) Go on a hayride

7) Have movie night in front of the fire

8) Go to a high school or college football game

9) Dress up in costumes and go trick or treating

10) Donate food to a local food pantry

11) Make homemade cinnamon apples

12) Have a fire in the fire pit and enjoy smores

13) Throw a football watching party

14) Take a road trip to look at all the beautiful fall colors

15) Make a bird feeder

16) Have a family game night and play a fall themed game

17) Go to ‘Boo at the Zoo’

18) Have a special Halloween lunch

19) Make chili on a Sunday afternoon

20) Attend a fall festival

21) Find a pile of leaves and jump in them

22) Make a list of the things we are thankful for

23) Have a fun dance party dancing to spooky songs like ‘Monster Mash’

24) Make leaf rubbings

25) Make a scarecrow

26) Fill a box for Operation Christmas Child

27) Go camping

28) Take a family photo

29) Host or attend a costume party

30) Make a fall snack mix with Goldfish crackers (we love popcorn, Goldfish crackers, raisins, dried apples and chocolate candies)

I’d love to hear what fun things are on your list to do this fall season and Goldfish wants to know how you enjoy fall as well! Share your ‘Goldfish Tales’ for a chance to win prizes. Click the image below for more details on entering.

How To Recreate The Summer Games In Your Own Backyard

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I’m excited to be partnering with Meijer this summer to celebrate the summer games. Check out our fun idea and more ideas from other bloggers on the Meijer website!

Every four years, countries get to show off their best athletes in the Summer Games. The whole world watches as athletes in numerous sports compete in hundreds of events over a few weeks time. People enjoy supporting athletes from their country as they watch the games in person or on television. To make the time even more magical for my kids, I thought it would be fun to host our own ‘summer games’ in our backyard.

To start we took a look at all of the sports that athletes can compete in and picked a handful that we could easily recreate. We had everything we needed for soccer, golf and badminton and headed to Meijer for everything else. We found a great inflatable basketball hoop and pool diving sticks that would work for a relay race so we added basketball and track & field to our summer games list.

Once we had the sports chosen we needed to make two things for our summer games- the torch carried during the opening ceremony and medals for the winners. Both are simple crafts that can be made with items you probably have at home already. Here is what you will need to make each and the directions to make them.

Torch

  • Cardboard tube (we used the tube from TP rolls)
  • Tissue paper (red and orange)
  • Tape
  • Aluminum foil
  • Scissors

To make the torch

  • Tear off a piece of aluminum foil that is slightly larger than your cardboard tube
  • Roll the foil around your tube, completely covering it
  • Tuck the foil over the edges on each side and into the cardboard tube
  • Cut your tissue paper pieces into four equal squares
  • Pick four pieces of tissue paper and stack (we used 2 orange pieces and 2 red pieces)
  • Grab the pile from the middle by pinching it and pick up
  • Twist the middle together
  • Put tape on the twisted end and insert into the top part of your tube, taping it inside the tube
  • Fluff the tissue paper so it looks like fire

Medals

  • Lid from canister (we used lids from canisters of chips)
  • Hole punch
  • Aluminum foil
  • Scissors
  • Ribbon
To make the medals
  • Punch a hole in the lid
  • Tear off a piece of aluminum foil that’s a little bigger than the chip canister lid
  • Wrap the foil up around the lid and onto the back
  • Poke a hole in the foil where it is in the lid
  • Cut ribbon pieces and insert through the hole and tie together at the end

Once we had made our torch and medals we started our summer games. They walked around with the torches to signify the beginning of the games. Then it was time to play. My sports loving boys had so much fun. Their favorite activity was basketball since they got to use our new basketball hoop.

Once the sports were done it was time to pass out medals. Our summer games was the perfect family activity for a warm, summer day. We decided we are going to do this again soon and add a few sports -like gymnastics- to the competition list.

What sports would your family include in your own backyard summer games?

Embrace Messy Fun With Mud Creations

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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #Clean2TheCore #CollectiveBias

Lucas loves messy activities, whether it’s painting, playing with playdough, digging in a sensory bin or building castles in the sandbox outside. I thought making mud creations would be a fun activity for him so we gathered everything we needed for a mud/dirt kitchen and then he set out to create a mud “cake”. (If you are thinking this sounds like a super messy activity, you are right but don’t worry- I had the new all® POWERCORE™ Pacs OXI on standby so I knew I’d easily be able to get his shirt clean, bright and smelling fresh again).

Here’s what we had set out for our {non-edible} pretend mud creations:

  • dirt (*see note below)
  • water
  • colored sand
  • rocks of different sizes
  • fake flowers
  • kitchen tools (spoons, spatula, wisks, measuring cup)
  • metal baking dishes
  • cupcake liners
(*We used soil instead of dirt since that’s what we had available but you will want to use dirt if you have it. Dirt will form more of a mucky messy mud whereas soil is more of a soggy mud. Both are fun though and I don’t think the kids would mind either way.)
You can gather anything you find in your backyard or have in your art area. Other things that would be good additions to a mud kitchen include sticks, acorns, pine cones and pie tins.

I gave Lucas a chef’s hat to wear and set the “ingredients” out for him. I then let him get to work on his creation, giving him little direction.

He started out with a little soil, some rocks and some flowers. He then added water, mixing it while he went.

It was fun watching him create and I loved listening to him as he talked out loud about the steps he was doing. It was almost like we were in a real kitchen and he was the chef and I was his apprentice ;)

He made a layered creation, much like his favorite desserts, and topped it with the colored sand to imitate”frosting”.

After he was all done making his creation he loved digging through the mess to find all the rocks and flowers.

Of course he also liked squishing the mixture between his fingers!

As his hands got messier and messier, so did his outfit. Kids will be kids, right? He even used his shirt and pants as a napkin at times but I wasn’t worried about the mess at all (remember those new all® POWERCORE™ Pacs OXI I have?)

Once we had cleaned up our pretend mud creations I decided that we should end the afternoon with a creation that we COULD eat. Chocolate pudding, chocolate sandwich cookies and gummy worms combine to make “dirt cups”, one of our favorite fun treats!

I kept Lucas in the clothes he had been wearing earlier which was good because he ended up getting pudding all over himself as he made his snack and ate it.

Thankfully I had all® POWERCORE™ Pacs OXI in my laundry room because by the end of the afternoon, Luke’s shirt had dirt, colored sand and chocolate pudding on it. These new products are the first ever powder-liquid combination pacs and perfect for tough kid stains.

I put the shirt in the washer with one pac and it came out completely clean and ready for another day of messy play! (You can use two pacs for more soiled loads- just make sure to read the directions on the package and follow them exactly.)

You can find both all® POWERCORE™ Pacs OXI and all® POWERCORE™ Pacs Plus Removes Tough Odors at your local Walmart. Both products offer superior whitening & brightening along with a powerful clean. What messy fun will your kids have now that keeping their clothes clean, white and bright is easier?

Fun Activity To Help Kids Learn The Alphabet

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Children spend years developing the skills they need to start reading, from learning to identify the letters of the alphabet and learning what sounds the letters make to memorizing sight words and being able to string letters together to make words. One thing that will help children on their journey to reading is memorizing the shapes of letters so they can learn to identify the alphabet. In this activity, from the book 100 FUN & EASY LEARNING GAMES FOR KIDS that I was sent for review, kids will create fun, hands-on letters using glue and string. Once ready, they make the perfect material to hang in alphabetical order for even more letter practice.

Materials

  • Yarn
  • Scissors
  • Wax paper
  • Glue
  • Container
  • Sturdy rope
  • 26 clothespins

Directions

1. Cut yarn into pieces of various lengths.

2. Lay out wax paper on a smooth surface for letters to dry on.

3. Have children dip yarn pieces into glue container and then shape wet yarn into letter formations on the wax paper.

4. Allow yarn to dry before playing the game

5. String a long and sturdy rope up in the room and attach clothespins onto it.

Directions to Play the Game

1. Players work together to place letters in alphabetic order by attaching them to the rope with the clothespins.

2. As they place the letters, encourage them to name the letters they are attaching to the rope.

Game Variations for Children that Know the Alphabet

  • Use letters to create a child’s name on the rope.
  • Use letters to create sight words.
  • Create a timed challenge to see how fast they can put letters up in alphabetical order.
You’ll find this activity (that was reprinted with permission from the publisher), along with 99 more, in the book 100 FUN & EASY LEARNING GAMES FOR KIDS by Amanda Boyarshinov and Kim Vij. This book is full of activities that help parents and teachers teach children ages 3-7 years old reading, writing, math and more. They’ll have so much fun they won’t even realize that they are learning!
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50 Rainy Day Activities For Kids

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The boys have been on Spring Break this week and every single day it has been raining or snowing. I’ve had to be creative and think of activities to keep them busy so I figured I’d share the ideas with you all in case you are stuck inside as well. The first think I’d suggest is creating a rainy day box filled with toys, craft materials and snacks that only comes out on a rainy day.

Here are 50 activities to keep the kids busy indoors:

1) Build a pillow fort

2) Make your own musical instruments

3) Bake cookies

4) Paint a picture

5) String cheerios on yarn to make bracelets

6) Play a card game

7) Do a science experiment

8) Learn to juggle

9) Read books

10) Build a block tower

11) Have an indoor scavenger hunt

12) Go through toys and find some to donate

13) Turn on music and have a dance party

14) Create a robot with recycled materials

15) Play I-Spy

16) Take a bubble bath

17) Play dress up

18) Make decorations for the house (like a paper chain)

19) Play a board game

20) Write a story

21) Play Simon Says

22) Make and play with playdough

23) Race cars along the floor

24) Play follow the leader

25) Play “grocery store” with empty food containers & pretend money

26) Play with balloons

27) Make your own puzzle- color a picture, cut it into pieces and then try to put it back together

28) Make a hopscotch on the floor with masking tape

29) Use a large box to make a car or boat

30) Learn how to sign your name

31) Play LEGOs (check out these 30 LEGO learning activities)

32) Finger paint in the bath tub

33) Make trail mix for a snack

34) Use your finger to draw pictures in shaving cream or whipped cream

35) Make a mask out of a paper plate

36) Stomp on bubble wrap

37) Make a bowling game with empty bottles/cans and a soft ball

38) Do jumping jacks

39) Make paper bag puppets and have a puppet show

40) Wash toys in the sink

41) Play charades

42) Make a picture frame with popsicle sticks

43) Make and fly paper airplanes

44) Create silly rhymes about the rain

45) Gather a bunch of items and see if they sink or float

46) Make a suncatcher with contact paper and tissue paper

47) Have a movie marathon

48) Make an indoor obstacle course

49) Make a gift or card for someone else

50) Take a nap

Also, if the weather is nice out, consider going outside and playing in the rain!

What ideas do you have to keep kids busy on rainy days?

How To Make A Nature Journal For Kids {Writing Prompts Included}

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Thank you Tampico Beverages for sponsoring this conversation.

The boys love exploring the outdoors and we are lucky to live near a number of forest preserves. We created some nature journals together and went for a walk on a nearby trail. It was the perfect way to spend a Spring day! Below I’ve shared instructions for making a nature journal.

Materials Needed:

  • Paper- blank and lined
  • Stickers (optional)
  • String/Yarn
  • Scissors
  • Paper bag
  • Crayons/Colored Pencil/Markers
  • Pencil
  • 3 Hole Punch
  • Tape

Directions:

  • Gather your materials
  • Use the 3 hole punch to punch holes in your plain paper
  • Cut the bottom of the paper bag off along the fold line
  • Cut the side of the top part of the bag to make a long strip of paper bag
  • Trace a piece of paper onto your paper bag and cut it out. Repeat. (These will be your front and back covers.)
  • Punch holes in the bag to line up with your paper
  • Cut string into 3 inch pieces (you need 3 pieces)
  • Stack papers- One piece of paper bag on top, then lined papers, then blank papers, then a paper bag piece on bottom. Note: If your bag has any text/images on the outside of it you will want to make sure they are not showing when you look at it as a book. The front and back covers should be plain brown.
  • Insert string into holes and tie into a knot
  • Let kids decorate the front and back covers. They can color or put stickers on them as well.
  • Make sure to put a pencil in the pocket so they have something to write with
An additional part to the journal can be a pocket in the front. Here is how to make it:
Here are a number of writing and drawing prompts. I’d suggest putting the list on the first page of their journals. This will help guide them if they aren’t sure what they want to journal about.

Nature Journal Prompts For Kids:

  • Draw something you see
  • Write a story of an animal you see, pretending as if you were that animal
  • Draw a bug you see
  • Describe something you smell
  • Draw a picture of something smaller than you and something bigger than you
  • Describe the sounds you hear- can you identify any of them?
  • Find the prettiest flower
  • Draw a picture of the sky today
  • Find the smoothest rock
  • Draw a picture of the tallest tree you see
  • Find 5 different shaped leaves
  • Draw an animal you see along with the home you think they live in
  • Write about the ground you are walking on using three descriptive words
  • Add leaf rubbings of your favorite leaves
  • Draw a picture of something prickly
  • Write down all the colors that you’ve seen on your walk today

Don’t forget to bring your Tampico juice drink to keep your family hydrated! My boys love the Tropical Punch flavor!

What do you enjoy doing outside during this nicer weather?

30 Fun Outdoor Activities For Kids To Do This Spring

Spring Outdoor Activities for kids

Spring is here and that means warmer weather and more time outside. I’ve rounded up 30 of our favorite activities to do outside in the Spring! The best part is that most can be done in your own backyard for free! Thanks to KEEN footwear for sponsoring this fun activities post and providing us with rain boots and shoes to keep Jake and Luke’s feet dry on Spring’s many rainy days.

SPRING OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES

  • Go on a nature walk (don’t forget to bring your journal)
  • Practice animal yoga poses
  • Plant flowers
  • Draw on the sidewalk with chalk
  • Blow bubbles
  • Play baseball or soccer
  • Play hopscotch
  • Go on a scavenger hunt
  • Read books outside in the fresh air
  • Visit a new playground
  • Fly a kite
  • Ride a bike or scooter
  • Play a game of “follow the leader”
  • Have a picnic or outdoor tea party
  • Visit a zoo
  • Make and hang a bird feeder
  • Paint rocks to decorate your garden
  • Get a bucket of soapy water and sponge and have a toy wash
  • Play a game of tag
  • Take a family walk around the block
  • Make mud pies
  • Make homemade windchimes together
  • Go on a bug hunt and try to find worms, butterflies, and other bugs around your house
  • Go fishing with your family
  • Have a backyard campout
  • Make a “mess”terpiece fingerpainting with shaving cream or whipped cream
  • Hunt for four leaf clovers
  • Make nature prints
  • Play “I spy”
  • Jump in puddles

Don’t forget to get a good pair of rain boots for the season so your kid’s feet stay dry when they are puddle jumping! We’ve been loving the ones that KEEN sent us. Their Encanto 365 Boot keeps feet dry using a waterproof membrane and water-resistant materials, making it 50% lighter-weight than most heavier boots made with rubber. (That means your kids can actually run and jump and play in them!) Webbing loops make it easy for little kids to pull on the boot themselves and the adjustable bungee closes around the leg so kids can puddle-stomp all they want without water splashing into their boots. A protective toe-cap adds the durability KEEN is known for and the fun mix of colors will look cute paired with any outfit! 

KEEN also sent us a pair of Encanto Sneakers. These are great for little ones who are still working on putting on their own shoes.  The hook and loop strap with bungee laces makes it easy for toddlers to explore their independence, getting shoes on and off “all by myself”. The padded collar, foam footbed and breathable mesh lining show attention to detail and the reinforced toe area is perfect for kids who are rough on their shoes. These shoes go through size 13 so even younger grade school children can wear them. As an Autism parent I love that there are shoes Lucas can put on himself, as a 1st grader, that don’t look like “baby” shoes.

What is your favorite Spring activity?

 

15 Activities To Keep Kids Busy When They Are Sick

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Nobody likes to be sick so I wanted to share some ways to make a sick day fun for kids. All of these can be done from the couch! A big thank you to Pfizer for sponsoring today’s post and providing a product bundle as a giveaway. I’m not a doctor and this post should not be taken as medical advice. I’m just a mom sharing what works for our family :)

SICK DAY ACTIVITIES

  • Have a movie marathon
  • Eat treats like popsicles that make a sore throat feel better
  • Play some board games together
  • Cut out paper strips and make a paper chain to decorate the house
  • Let your child play with special toys from the rainy day box
  • Color in a coloring book
  • Let your child help plan your next family vacation
  • Read books from the library
  • Make playdough creations
  • Make thank you cards for members of the military (here’s where to send them)
  • Make sock puppets and put on a puppet show for the family
  • Paint nails
  • Play a game on a tablet
  • Look through photo albums together
  • Put together a puzzle

Make sure to head to Target and stock up on over the counter medicines that will make your little one feel better when they are sick! Our must-have list includes Children’s Robitussin®, Children’s Advil® and Children’s Dimetapp®.

  • Infants’ and Children’s Advil® provide unsurpassed fever and pain relief, and contain ibuprofen, the medicine pediatricians use most for their own kids’ fevers (for ages 6 months -11 years)
  • Children’s Robitussin® provides soothing action and cough control with some formulations lasting up to 8 hours (for ages 6-12 years)
  • Children’s Dimetapp® provides great-tasting cold-fighting power and is the #1 pharmacist recommended brand for children’s cough & cold symptoms (for ages 6+)

GIVEAWAY

One reader will win a Pfizer product gift bundle

HOW TO ENTER

1) Leave a comment telling me one fun thing your child does on a sick day

2) Share this post on social media

 Giveaway ends April 15, 2016 at 11:59pm CST. Must be 21 or older and a US resident to enter.

25 Fun Summer Writing Activities For Kids

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In planning our summer, one thing that I’m making sure to do is building in time for math, reading and writing exercises for my kids amongst our travel, summer camp and family activities. Since summer is all about having fun I wanted to find things my kids could do that wouldn’t seem like schoolwork but would fit into their days and they’d enjoy doing

I’ve shared our summer bucket list and a list of free summer reading programs already so today I wanted to share a list of 25 activities that get kids to practice writing throughout the summer. There are no worksheets here, just fun!

1) Create a summer journal.

Buy a spiral notebook and have the kids write about their day every evening. You can add in pictures or glue in other flat items to create a special memory book. My boys got summer memory journals from day camp the past few years and they love looking back on the summer memories. Now that they are writing and at a different camp where the counselors aren’t going to do this for them, it’s up to them to make there own.

2) Write a pen-pal.

I remember having a pen-pal when I was little. I wasn’t sure who my kids could do this with so I put a call for pen-pals on my personal Facebook page and had a number of responses in just a few hours from people I felt comfortable giving our home address to. I paired Jacob up with other kids who can write and Lucas with a few younger children who don’t write as much and might rely on drawn pictures to communicate. My boys are going to be sending letters a few times a week to other kids. This is a great way for them to make new friends, learn how to communicate better (especially for my youngest with Autism who has a hard time realizing that his interests aren’t always what other people want to talk about), and learn about new places.

3) Write a letter to a family member who doesn’t live nearby.

This is a great way for kids to connect to family they might not see very often.

4) Create a summer bucket list.

To be sure to squeeze every second they can out of summer, kids can make their own summer bucket list of all the fun things they want to do over the summer. See how many your family can cross off the list!

5) Write out a script for a play or puppet show.

This may be the perfect way for older kids to keep busy. Have them create their own play! They pick the theme and create a story around characters they create. Younger children may have an easier time writing a short script for a puppet show. Invite family and friends over for the show and make sure to pop some popcorn to enjoy while you watch their creativity unfold before your eyes!

6) Plan a family fun day.

Have children write out the itinerary for a family fun day. They can include what your family will be eating and where you will go. My kids would probably include a trip to the library, an afternoon playing at the playground and end the day with ice cream sundaes!

7) Write invitations for a party or playdate.

If kids want to have a party or playdate this summer they can make their own invitations to pass out.

8) Make a packing list.

Make your (older) children responsible for packing their own suitcases for vacation or a short family trip to the beach or zoo. Have them create a list of items they need so they don’t forget anything important. Younger kids can help create packing lists as well but will probably need more help with them.

9) Create a shopping list and party plan for a bbq in the backyard.

Have children help plan a bbq and make the shopping list for all the groceries, decor and items you will need to host a fabulous barbecue for family and friends. Don’t forget to make a quick list of things that need to be done as well- kids are more likely to pitch in with cleaning or other chores if they are helping plan the party ;)

10) Write a book.

This is something I loved doing in school and I used to do with my pre-k classroom so it can be modified for kids as young as 4 who are just starting to learn to write. Blank books can be found at craft stores, teaching stores and occasionally I have seen them in Target’s dollar section. Here are my tips for this activity (which will span a few weeks): have children plan out the book first. They should think about the theme of their story and the characters that will be in it and then write it out on paper. A parent or adult can help edit or you may choose to let the child do it on their own and let the spelling/grammar be (I prefer to do it the second way). The next step is to figure out how to break the story up into pages so they might need an adult to help them do that. This is not such an issue for shorter stories but if they have a longer story this is important so they don’t run out of pages before the story is over. Make sure to leave space for pictures as well! The last step is creating the final book. Do the cover in pencil and then go over it with cover, make the title page and then the children can transfer the story from paper to the book. This is a long process but the final product is something the kids will want to hang on to for years to come!

11) Make a card for a loved one or friend.

Instead of buying a card for an upcoming birthday or holiday, like Father’s Day, have your child create their own. It’s always nice to receive handmade things and they are a lot cheaper, too.

12) Make a list of movies to see or books to read.

My kids always tell me what movies they want to see or books they want to read next. Have them create a list so next time you are going to the movies or library you pick one they have been wanting to see or read.

13) Create a recipe.

Have a little one who loves to help you in the kitchen? Have them create a recipe of their own! They can make one for their favorite summer treat or create a brand new dish. Make sure they write the ingredients and directions and then you can make it together for the family to enjoy.

14) Make a treasure map.

Have your child hide something in your home or backyard and have them draw a treasure map for family members to find it. Instead of just pictures, they can label the items on their treasure map.

15) Write to get published.

There is nothing more exciting for a young writer than seeing their name in print. Here’s a list of places for kids (as young as Kindergarten) to submit stories and poems to.

16) Create your own board game.

Board games are perfect for rainy days so what would be more fun than creating a game of their own? Children can label things on the game board and also write out instructions so others can play their game.

17) Do a Mad Libs book or create a Mad Libs story.

Remember Mad Libs? If not, here is a reminder- http://www.madlibs.com/. These books were so fun! Someone asked you for random words and they read the story back to you with the words you chose in the spaces. They have lots of themed books nowadays but if you have an older child they may want to create one of their own mad libs stories.

18) Make a daily schedule.

I’ve found that things normally run smoother when we have a schedule. Develop a daily schedule with your children and have them write it down. Things to include: snack, outdoor time, reading time, pool time, quiet time, meals, story time and other bedtime routines.

19) Write thank you notes.

Kids can write thank you notes for gifts they have received, a thank you to a friend for helping with something or to a community worker.

20) Play a name game.

Have children write their full names on paper and then see how many words they can make out of it. They can do this for everyone’s name in their family, the titles of their favorite books, or really any set of words they want. To make it more fun they can play against someone to see who can create the most words.

21) Write a letter to save the lions.

Have a little environmentalist? Your child can write a letter about how important lions are. This writing prompt is from National Geographic Kids and some letters will be published and featured by them. More details can be found here.

22) Build a town for barbies or cars.

Children can use boxes, paper or chalk outside to build a town for their cars or barbies and then can have their toys “visit” the places. They can practice writing when making the road signs and labeling the places. This led to hours of fun when I was a little girl playing with barbies and my boys had fun doing this with their cars a few weeks ago. Their “town” included a car wash, bank, movie theater and jail.

23) Enter a writing contest.

Kids can write stories to enter into writing contests for a chance to win prizes or have their work featured. Here’s one for funny stories that ends at the end of June 2015 (though seems like this site updates with new contests regularly).

24) Make signs for a lemonade stand or garage sale.

If your family is having a garage sale this summer have your child make the signs to advertise it and help price items. Another option is that kid’s can host a lemonade stand and make signs for that.

25) Write a goodbye letter to friends.

The end of summer camp is a hard time for my kids. They miss all the friends they’ve made over the summer so what better way to keep those friendships going than to have kids write letters to their camp friends saying they’d love to keep in touch. They can include a phone number so their friends can contact them for a playdate. If your kids aren’t in camp they could do this for VBS, summer school or a sport that’s ending.

What other ideas do you have? Feel free to share them in the comments below!

 

Build An Adventure With The Boy Scouts Of America

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(Disclosure: This is a sponsored post but all thoughts are my own.)

When I was growing up, my mom was a boy scout leader for my brother’s den and I helped with child care and watched the siblings of the scouts. Scouting was always something I wanted to put Jacob and Lucas in so, sure enough, as soon as Jacob was ending his Kindergarten year I signed him up for Cub Scouts. He looks so cute in his scouting uniform!

What I love about the Boy Scouts of America is that they have such a positive impact on the youth that participate in their programs. They provide kids with activities that allow them to try new things, from fishing to woodworking to archery, that build self-confidence. Scouting builds character, encouraging children to serve others. Children also have a chance to connect with other kids outside of school and provides a new place for them to make new friends.

Even better than all the other benefits is that scouting can be a great family bonding time. Recognizing the difficult daily balance parents strive to achieve between spending time with their children and fulfilling their other responsibilities including work, the Boy Scouts of America shows parents how they can “Build an Adventure” with their children today with unique, life-changing experiences their kids can’t get anywhere else. The possibilities for adventure are endless and entirely attainable—even for families who have a lot of demands on their time.

Want to learn more about how you can build an adventure with your son? Visit beascout.org.

5 St. Patrick’s Day Themed Activities {HOP}

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I’m really excited to be joining in as a host of the Hands-On Play Party with some fabulous bloggers. This linky will be posted each Tuesday. I will be sharing some of my own activities for kids plus sharing some other great ideas from bloggers that link up each week.

This week I’m sharing five different St. Patrick’s Day themed activities. A few are my own posts and the others are posts from bloggers that linked up to last week’s HOP linky.

Pot O’ Gold Craft 

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Four Leaf Clover Window Clings from Danya Banya

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We loved this fruit loop rainbow activity.

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Shamrock Foam Dough Hidden Shapes Tray from Crayon Box Chronicles

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and in case you missed yesterday’s sensory table…

St. Patrick’s Day Sensory Table

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Visit my co-hosts!

Pom Pom Races from P is for Preschooler

Dr. Seus Activities from Little Bins for Little Hands

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Check out our Pinterest board!

HandsOnPinterest

Now it’s your turn! What fun hands-on play activities have you been creating at home? If you are a blogger you can link up your blog posts (no more than 3 please) or, if you don’t have a blog, share your activities on Facebook and leave a link in the comments below. Just looking for activity ideas? You can do that as well by clicking on images linked up below to view the full posts.

(Please note: If you are linking up below you give the hosts permission to use an image with a link back if you are featured in a future HOP post.)



Counting With Pom Poms {HOP}

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I’m really excited to be joining in as a host of the Hands-On Play Party with some fabulous bloggers. This linky will be posted each Tuesday. I will be sharing some of my own activities for kids plus sharing some other great ideas from bloggers that link up each week.

This week I’m sharing a couple fun counting activities your kids can do with pom poms. We have an abundance of pom poms since I use them in sensory tables so it’s great to find another use for them.

Counting Pom Poms from Sow Sprout Play

Counting Practice for Toddlers with Pom Poms & Tubes from Where Imagination Grows

 Visit my co-hosts!

Color Matching with Transformers Rescue Bots from Stir the Wonder

Indoor Snow Play from P is for Preschooler

Simple Sensory Play from Little Bins for Little Hands

Portable Sensory Bins: Alphabet Scavenger Hunt from Lemon Lime Adventures

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Check out our Pinterest board!

HandsOnPinterest

Now it’s your turn! What fun hands-on play activities have you been creating at home? If you are a blogger you can link up your blog posts (no more than 3 please) or, if you don’t have a blog, share your activities on Facebook and leave a link in the comments below. Just looking for activity ideas? You can do that as well by clicking on images linked up below to view the full posts.

(Please note: If you are linking up below you give the hosts permission to use an image with a link back if you are featured in a future HOP post.)

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

Valentine’s Day Hands-On Play Ideas {HOP}

Hop

I’m really excited to be joining in as a host of the Hands-On Play Party with some fabulous bloggers. This linky will be posted each Tuesday. I will be sharing some of my own activities for kids plus sharing some other great ideas from bloggers that link up each week.

This week I’m sharing some fun Valentine’s Day ideas. My boys loved playing in this Valentine’s Day sensory table.

How about a chocolate scented activity? Happy Hooligans shares a Play Dough Chocolate Shop that I think would keep Lucas, my four year old, busy for a whole afternoon!

Little Bins For Little Hands shares some great Valentine’s Day math activities. I’m planning to do some of these with Jake.

And check out this painting activity from Gift of Curiosity….this isn’t just normal paint- it’s fizzy paint! So fun :)

 

 Visit my co-hosts!

Construction Sensory Play from P is for Preschooler

My Name Quiet Book Page from Stir the Wonder

What Is Hands On Play? from Little Bins for Little Hands

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 Now it’s your turn! What fun hands-on play activities have you been creating at home? If you are a blogger you can link up your blog posts (no more than 3 please) or, if you don’t have a blog, share your activities on Facebook and leave a link in the comments below. Just looking for activity ideas? You can do that as well by clicking through to the linky at the bottom of this post.

(Please note: If you are linking up below you give the hosts permission to use an image with a link back if you are featured in a future HOP post.)



15 Christmas Themed Sensory Activities For Kids

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We have one more week of school before the boys are out for Christmas break. Both boys get Occupational Therapy in school to help regulate their bodies so if I don’t have any sort of sensory activities planned for their two weeks off things will be really crazy at our house.

Here are 15 of my favorite Christmas themed sensory activities that I’ve found online. Click on the links to get all of the details so you can recreate the activities yourself!

Christmas Sensory Bin from Sow Sprout Play

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Messy Christmas Sensory Play: Demolish A Snowman from Fun At Home With Kids

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Peppermint Scented Homemade Finger Paints from Golden Reflections Blog

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Jolly Jello Sensory Activity from Growing A Jeweled Rose

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Hot Cocoa Sensory Tub

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Christmas Present Pasta Dig from Bath Activities For Kids

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Christmas Slime from Craftulate

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Ten Scents of Christmas Sensory Cards from A Little Learning For Two

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Fingerprint Wreath from 3 Dinosaurs

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Christmas Colored Gel Sensory Bags from The Preschool Toolbox

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Christmas Sensory Bin from Frogs, Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

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 Candy Cane Foam

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Christmas Sensory Table

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Christmas I Spy Bottle from Play and Learn With Dana

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DIY Holiday Touch & Feel Box from B-Inspired Mama

Letter “M” Crafts & Activities

This week’s letter is “M”. Find fun kid’s crafts and activities on my Pinterest board!

 
Follow Alicia Marie Letter “M” Crafts & Activities on Pinterest

12 Christmas Tree Crafts & Activities For Kids

Christmas Tree Crafts

The holiday season is finally here! I’m so excited to share some great Christmas crafts and activities with you all in the next month. Today’s post has 12 Christmas tree crafts, activities, and even a snack for kids. Enjoy!

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Footprint Tree Craft from The Preschool Toolbox

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Christmas Tree Of Hearts from Blog Me Mom

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Christmas Tree Sensory Bin from How Wee Learn

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Drinking Straw Christmas Tree from Reading Confetti

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Sticky Wall Christmas Tree Decorating from Gift Of Curiosity

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Recycle Crafts Christmas Tree from Teach Me Mommy

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Upcycled Christmas Trees from Hands On As We Grow

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Christmas Tree Playdough from Homegrown Friends

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Felt Pompoms Christmas Tree from Glittering Muffins

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Christmas Tree Hat from Green Owl Art

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Decorating Felt Christmas Trees from Buggy & Buddy

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Christmas Tree Crafty Snack from Kiddie Foodies

Letter “L” Crafts & Activities

The letter of the week is “L”. Check out my Pinterest board for lots of fun crafts and activity ideas!

 
Follow Alicia Marie Letter “L” Crafts & Activities on Pinterest

Letter “K” Crafts & Activities

This week’s letter focus is the letter “K”. Find lots of crafts and activity ideas over on my Letter “K” Pinterest board!

 

Letter “J” Crafts & Activities

This week I am sharing crafts and activities that start with the letter “J”. Enjoy! :)

 

Letter “I” Crafts & Activities

This week I’m sharing crafts and activities for things that begin with the letter “I”.

 

Letter “H” Crafts & Activities

This week’s letter is H. Hip! Hip! Hooray! Find letter H crafts, activities, and delicious lunch ideas on my Letter “H” Pinterest board.

 

Raccoon Rumpus Preschool Game {Giveaway}

raccoon rumpus

(Disclosure: I received this game for review but all thoughts are my own.)

At our Halloween get-together this past Saturday my boys and their cousins played Raccoon Rumpus and had so much fun. This game is perfect for the Halloween season because in this game the raccoons wear costumes, too! The kids roll dice and then have to put costumes on their raccoons based on what article of clothing and color they see.

This game is for 2-4 players, ages Pre-K and up. Our group was between the ages of 4 and 6 and all of them were able to play on their own. The boys have been playing this game daily and even play some games solo. This game is sure to be a hit and keep the kids busy throughout the winter!

GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win a Raccoon Rumpus game

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Tell me who in your life would love playing this game

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Comment on another one of my posts

Giveaway ends November 16, 2013 at 11:59pm Central time. Must be a US resident and age 18 or over to enter.

Play-Doh’s Holiday Craft Fun

playdoh collage

(Disclosure: I received books from Play-Doh to review but thoughts are my own.)

My boys love playing with Play-Doh’s “Let’s Create” series books that we reviewed back in August so we were excited to learn about their new Holiday Craft Fun Series. Both books in this brand new series combine tactile, interactive play with learning to not only help children retain basic concepts taught at the preschool level but also to make the learning experience enlightening and entertaining by bringing in 15 inventive craft projects that tie in the spirit of Halloween and Christmas.

In PLAY-DOH: Halloween Craft Fun, Groovy Ghost invites kids to an evening of crafty creations. With the projects in this kit, children will help Groovy bring the Halloween party to life with the turn of every page and step-by-step guides to molding spooky PLAY-DOH sculpts. By the end of the book, children, from ages 3 and up, will know how to craft jack-o’-lanterns, ghosts, witches, spiders, candies, and other ghoulish goodies. Learning takes shape within the book and activities that combine reading, written and verbal directions, and hands-on projects. Complete with a book of instructions, four cans of PLAY-DOH compound, a roller, and a plastic knife, PLAY-DOH, Halloween Craft Fun is a thrilling adventure that invites youngsters to be bold and mold.

Lucas loved creating spooky figures with his daddy.It was a great way for Sinisa (who hates crafts) to do something creative and not too messy with the boys and he seemed to enjoy it as much as the kids did. I liked how the book gave step-by-step directions for those who can’t just look at a picture and copy what they see.

The other book is PLAY-DOH: Christmas Craft Fun which introduces young readers to Holiday Hound, who acts as their guide in this holiday crafting extravaganza. In no time at all, kids will be as equally enchanted by the Christmas-themed story that unfolds as they will by the snowmen, candy canes, bows, and drums that they will learn to make under Holiday Hound’s tutelage. This kit also comes with 4 cans of PLAY-DOH compound and two sculpting tools. Recommended for ages 3 and up, PLAY-DOH: Christmas Craft Fun is a great way to kick off the holiday season and it makes a great gift for school gift exchanges and a project to keep kids occupied during holiday parties and gatherings.

If you are looking for something to keep the kid’s busy as it gets colder outside these are perfect for indoor fun. They’d make great gifts, too!

Letter “G” Crafts & Activities

This week’s letter of the week is “G”. Have fun eating goldfish and grapes, making ghosts and goats, and playing with garbage trucks and goo!

 

10 Pumpkin Crafts For Preschoolers

pumpkin crafts for post

Halloween is right around the corner so I wanted to do a quick pumpkin craft roundup. All of these activities are great for preschoolers (and some work for toddlers and elementary aged kids as well). Have fun!

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Shaving Cream Pumpkins from Teaching Mama

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Button and Ribbon Pumpkins from Toddler Approved

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Paper Roll Pumpkin from Little Family Fun

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Pasta Pumpkin

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Tissue Paper Pumpkins from Mama’s Learning Corner

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Beaded Pumpkin from Craftulate

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Scented Pumpkins from Education.com

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Puffy Pumpkin Lacing from I Can Teach My Child

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Pumpkin Stamping from The Little People Place

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Water Bottle Pumpkin Jack O’ Lantern from Motherhood on a Dime

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Find 10 more Halloween crafts for preschoolers here.

Shape Monster Craft For Kids

shape monsters

I teach Sunday School and it’s held in a preschool classroom. I couldn’t resist the cuteness of these shape monsters on the wall! How adorable are they?

Make them with your own kiddos by cutting out various shapes in different sizes along with arms and legs and let the creativity happen!

Letter “F” Crafts & Activities

Time for the new letter of the week! This week I’m sharing letter “F” activities. Which one is your favorite?

 

Letter “E” Crafts & Activities

This week I’m sharing letter “e” crafts and activities. Check out my Pinterest board for lots of fun egg, elephant and eagle ideas!

 

Grocery Store Activity For Kids

grocery list craft 2

Make your next grocery shopping trip with your kids fun! Have your children put together the grocery list by cutting pictures out of grocery store paper inserts and gluing them on to paper. While you are at the store your young kids can use the pictures to find what you need.

My two boys (who were both preschool age) spent over an hour on this activity. I’d suggest sitting them at the kitchen table to work on this while you clean out the fridge and get it ready for the new groceries so you can supervise them while they are using scissors and can still get something done that you need to.

Supplies Needed:

  • Child Scissors
  • Glue
  • Grocery store inserts or pictures of food
  • Construction paper or printer paper

Letter “D” Crafts & Activities

This week I’m sharing letter “D” crafts and activities. Check out my Pinterest board for lots of fun ideas!

 

GeoSafari Jr. Animal Eye Viewers For Kids {Giveaway}

animal eyes

(Disclosure: I received a set of Animal Eye Viewers to review. All thoughts are my own.)

Have a child who is really into animals? Or maybe one who wants to know everything about everything? If so, they will love GeoSafari Jr.’s Animal Eye Viewers from Educational Insights!

These viewers let them see the world through an animal’s eyes. Three viewers come in the box: shark, insect, and a chameleon.

Did you know that sharks can see what’s behind them? Your child can get a 360 degree view with rear-view mirrors, central blind spot, and an ocean-blue tint! They will think they are swimming in the ocean.

Did you know that instects can detect movement faster than we can? Your child will see dozens of mini-images with this pixelated view of the world. For even more fun, have them run around “bzzzz”ing like a bee!

Did you know that chameleons can look in two different directions at once? Your child can look through the viewers that have two independently rotating eyeballs.

The shark was Jacob’s favorite animal eye viewer. He had a lot of fun walking around outside while looking through them and was looking at everything up close. He even wore them to the school bus to show his bus driver because he thought they were so cool!

Want to find more fun ways to use the viewers? Download free play-and-learn activities online.

GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win a set of 3 Animal Eye Viewers courtesy of Educational Insights

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Tell me which animal you think your child/grandchild would like the most

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Comment on another one of my posts

Giveaway ends October 20, 2013 at 11:59pm Central time. Must be 21 or over to enter. Open to US and Canadian residents.

Letter “C” Crafts & Activities

This week I’m sharing letter “C” crafts and activities. Check out my Pinterest board for lots of fun ideas!

 

6 Outdoor Team Games For Kids

Outdoor Team Games for Kids

Infographic courtesy of Davies Sports.