I live in Southern California and we are all wondering what our lives are going to be like this winter as we hear horror stories about a disastrous El Nino coming our way. I can only assume that kids will be trapped inside their classrooms all day, unable to run and play outside on rain soaked playgrounds. The school day can drag on for both students and teachers alike and when kids have no opportunities to release pent up steam, they come home ready for action!
If you are worried that your kids are going to come home wound up after a day where they were forced to stay inside - plan ahead. Whether you are anticipating rainy days, snow filled afternoons or freezing cold temps, it’s a good idea to have a few activities up your sleeve for after your kids have finished their homework.
Here are a few ideas:
Grab a 1000 or more piece puzzle and lay it out on a table where it won’t be disturbed. Put a couple pieces together, then move away and challenge your kids to complete it.
Make some playdough and let your kids create! www.pbs.org/parents/crafts-for-kids/no-bake-play-dough/
- Pour water into a large mixing bowl.
- Next add food coloring. ...
- Add the dry ingredients ( flour and salt) to the mix. ...
- Next add 2 to 4 tablespoons of oil. ...
- Knead the ingredients until it is soft and pliable
Bake cookies, cupcakes or a pizza. Assign roles - one child reads the recipe as another gathers the ingredients or mixes them together. If adult supervision is scarce, have your kids mix the ingredients and wait till you get home to power up the oven.
Have a toy hunt - give your kids a large plastic bag or plastic grocery bag and ask them to fill it with toys that they would like to donate to a local shelter.
Movie afternoon. First - select a book that you think your kids will love. Use your bedtime story to read to all of the kids. Now show the movie version on one of your weather challenging afternoons
Write a letter to grandma, grandpa or another relative. Have your child include some home grown artwork and make sure they decorate the envelope. If your relative lives are out of state, take a moment to find a website with a map and point out for your child where on the map grandma’s house is. Have your kids guestimate how long it will take their letter to arrive.
Set up your own pint sized photo studio and encourage your kids to take pictures. Whether they create their own sets, use dress up costumes or include the family pets, let your kids act as photographers. Using the camera on your cell phone allows you to immediately view and download pictures for collection in homemade photo albums.
Sock puppets. Use some old socks to create puppets. Your kids will need some help with the hot glue gun. I’ve linked this suggestion with a utube site with great instructions. And if you can find an old appliance box your kids can create their own sock puppet theater. This is sure to fill many an afternoon as your kids come up with new script ideas.
Create a space craft. Use old shoe boxes or cereal boxes for your kids to create their own spacecraft. Make sure that you have crayons, pipe cleaners, aluminum foil and more for your kids to use. Then have your kids connect for Nasa for kids. There are so many neat things here! Make sure that they stop by the Kids Clubhouse to play games, download coloring sheets and to learn more about space travel!
Imagine your own restaurant. Have your kids create their own restaurant complete with menus, play money and more. Kids can craft their own recipes, envision how they might decorate their own restaurant and what might their waiters wear. Compare and contrast their restaurant with another similar themed spot at dinner that night.
Create a bag for the collection of toys, books or dirty laundry. I’ve linked you to an inexpensive one. Give your kids paints to decorate their bags. Consider making stamps out of apples or oranges to be dipped in the paint and then placed on the fabric. Cookie cutters and other shapes can also be used. When done, consider filling the bag with books they no longer need or toys they don’t play with or clothes that they have outgrown. Take the bags to a local shelter for donation. Or fill the bags with stuffed toys, books or games for later use.
Create your own town using left over, washed out, milk cartons. Cut out doors and windows and stack cartons together to create a city where small cars and figurines can rule. I’ve linked you with a great example. Cartons turned sideways can add spice with homemade garages and store fronts. Now have your kids write a story about the town they created. Who lives there? Where is the town? What’s the weather like? Are there any schools?
Hand Paint a rock or two. The only limitations are hoe creative your child can get!
Create No Sew fleece Blanket. Simple to do for boys or girls. the link will lead you to simple to follow instructions.
The secret to success is planning ahead. Gather your materials now and be ready to engage your kids in some pretty cool activities when the weather gets rough!
Don’t Let Your Kid Earn A Title !10/17/2015
If your elementary school kid has earned the unwanted title of Teaser, Class Bully, Scaredy Cat, Child Most Likely To Say I’m Sorry, But Not Mean It or the Mannerless Monster- they are in need of a helping hand.
No kid wants to be labeled at such an early age, but far too often our children don’t realize that the actual behaviors they are displaying are earning them a title. And as parents, we frequently don’t have the right words to introduce a topic or to jump into an important conversation with our own kids. This can be frustrating for both you and your child.
How many times have you stumbled over your words, let emotions drive the conversation or remained silent because you just did not know how to say what you wanted to say to your child? Thankfully, we have tons of talented authors who have already put our thoughts into their words. So use the power of a well written story to act as a mirror, highlighting for your child their behavioral errors.
There is a simple formula to follow. Read the book first to yourself. Then read it with your child. Then talk about the book. Finally, read it again together as you help your child to formulate their new plan of action.
Here are a few good books to help you and your child better understand and ultimately defeat their title:
Tease Monster (A book about teasing vs. bullying) by: Julia Cook
Simon’s Hook (A story about teases and put-downs) by” Karen Gedig Burnett
King of the Playground by: Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
I Didn’t Know I Was A Bully by: Melissa Richards
Just Kidding by: Trudy Ludwig
Scaredy Cats by Audrey Wood
Sorry! By; Trudy Ludwig
I Did It, I’m Sorry by Caralyn & Mark Buehner
Mary Louise Loses her Manners by: Diane Cuneo
0 Comments How badly did they want that Jaguar?10/16/2015
Russian newspaper, Komsomolskaya Pravda, reported that two five year olds tunneled their way out of their pre-school yard, using toy shovels, with the intent of buying a Jaguar automobile. Apparently it took them several days to dig their way out and a half hour walk towards the dealership before they were discovered by a passing motorist. I guess that these were two determined, motor savvy youth!
The closest any of my kids ever got to this was escaping from the college pre-school to buy candy from the adjacent bookstore. What 3 year old carries cash? No problem! My son just put it on my office account before quietly letting himself back in through the preschool gate! Boy was I surprised at my end of year bookstore bill!
0 Comments Has your child ever shared an idea with you?10/15/2015
C Have they looked with great expectation into your eyes believing that the idea they just shared was the most novel, incredible and fantastic idea ever dreamt up? Could you track their excitement as it bubbled from their boisterous, tooth filled grin all the way out to their all hearing ears? Did their eyes take on a dreamlike state as they seemed to envision the actual birth of this idea? And did they look like they might just pop if you didn’t share in the excitement of their vision?
I wonder if your heart ached just a little as you wondered how in the world to respond?
Helping kids to grow and nurture ideas can be challenging for a parent as we struggle to balance inspiration and creativity with reality. So here are a few things to try.
Let your child talk - sharing their excitement, expectations and dreams fully with you. Leave the conversational door open so that all ideas can be shared, evaluated, dissected and pursued. Allow your child to give voice to their ideas by including them as topics for dinner table conversation.
Give them a Dream Catcher Journal in which to generate, investigate, evaluate and record their great ideas. Encourage your child to think their ideas through. What will they need to grow this idea into a reality, who will it serve, will it cost time, money, manpower? And give them a space in which to develop their ideas more fully; be it a desk, a corner of the room or a cushion on the couch.
Connect your child with like minded resources. Find books, websites, museums or movies that touch on, investigate or expand your child’s ideas.
Do not worry if the idea is actually achieved. It is the process of investigation, validation, success and failure - all while having fun - that will motivate your child to continue to build their imagination in pursuit of new and fascinating ideas.
Everything that is new and exciting today began yesterday with a simple idea. Let go and encourage your child to grow their ideas into fruition.
Want to begin a conversation on sharing great ideas? Here is a great book to share with your kids , entitled What Do You Do With An Idea by author Kobi Yamada
0 Comments October 14th, 201510/14/2015
I was visiting Barnes & Noble the other day in search of a few new books. After finding a novel that looked exciting I moved to the kid’s section. I was hunting for a copy of The Princess and the Pea to complement a colorful kid’s quilt that I am making. When there was none to be found for full price I headed to the discount section and was overjoyed to find a copy there.
While perusing tons of books and calendars, I came upon a group of beautiful writing diaries. I knew that they were writing diaries because there was a mother there encouraging her daughter to pick one out. Over and over again mom pleaded with her child to select one so that her daughter could use it to capture all of her child’s “great ideas”.
“I don’t know what you want me to write!” complained the child. Mom told her that she could write about anything. The push and pull went on for another five full minutes until the little girl gave in and selected a journal. As the child slunk away from the table she whispered , “She drives me crazy! I don’t like to write…I don’t want to write!”
I climbed into my car thinking about mother and daughter. On one hand I applauded the mom for encouraging her daughter to write and for providing a method for recording her child’s thoughts. On the other hand I felt sorry for the child as she truly seemed perplexed as to how she would now fill this colorful thought collector.
Sometimes children need more than a command to stimulate creative writing. Even if they love to write, coming up with an idea to write about can be challenging. So here is a thought, give them some help. Find a picture, postcard, website or magazine with an unusual picture in it and then tantalize their interest with a few cues. Use these as writing prompts to get them started. Down below I’ve attached a couple of my own photos and one from on line , as examples of what you might use with your own kids.
PICTURE ONE: Looks like someone forgot their bicycle. I wonder who? Maybe it’s just resting before it takes a doctor or a mailman all around the city. The basket looks like it could hold a lot; maybe me , maybe even my dog!
PICTURE TWO: I think I see a Princess peaking out. Do you?
PICTURE THREE: What a spooky doorway…wonder where it leads to? Could it be to a mine and old workshop, a store from long ago? Could there be money hidden inside? Do you want to go in? I do!
PICTURE FOUR: Who could she be? A witch, a magician, a mom, a teacher or an actress...or maybe someone quite different! I wonder if she has magic powers?
Whether you want your child to write something short, start a longer story or describe an event, give them the help of a few good clues and then let them go!
0 Comments Who gets the treats after Halloween?10/9/2015
Carving pumpkins, dressing up in fun costumes and candy delights - for many of us, this is what Halloween is all about. But after the costumes are put away and the pumpkin begins to decay what’s a parent to do with all of the left over candy?
Most kids collect far more candy than any of them should be eating and parents are torn between allowing kids to continue to munch on sugary sweets for months to come or throwing the treats in the dumpster to protect pediatric teeth.
Here are a few other ideas on how to positively dispose of excess wrapped Halloween candies.
At my old school kids brought their left over, wrapped candy to school. A parent collected the treats and mailed them overseas to individuals serving in our military. Parents said that it was much easier to separate kids from candy when they knew it was going to make a soldier happy!
Check with your local dentists. Many of them have adopted the practice of trading candy for toothbrushes.
Contact your local food banks or homeless shelters. As long as the candy is wrapped, many of them will accept it for distribution at their site.
If your employer is okay with this, consider taking a bowl to work to put in the company lunchroom. Chances are it will disappear all too quickly!
Make cupcakes for your school teachers and staff. Decorate the cupcakes with left over treats.
If you have no one to share your sugary leftovers with and don’t
0 Comments Halloween Costumes Cheap, Cheery and Creative! 10/5/2015
Every year as Halloween approached I began to worry over what my kids would wear. And each year it seemed as if the costs got higher and higher. Sure wish I had known that I could be creative with my costume making with just a roll of toilet paper, an old safety vest, a few balloons, a piece of felt and a big plastic bag!
Don't stress, dress your kids for less and have some fun along the way!
Who get's Past Blogs:
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Did You See What I Saw?
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