Tag Archives: kids

DIY Magnet Letters

DIY Magnet Letters

It seems like the more senses involved in learning the more the knowledge “sticks.”  So with my kids I try to incorporate different senses as they’re learning their letters, numbers, and use teachable moments.  Well, here’s an easy way to make fun colorful magnet letters.  It’s so easy I can’t rightly call it a craft!  But by moving colorful letters on the fridge it helps reinforce the alphabet and reading skills for little guys and gals!  Get their whole body moving, have letter/word races, and just have some good one-on-one fun with letters!  (Word of Caution:  choking hazard.  Might not want to do this with kiddos under 3.)

I bought these handy-dandy magnet strips for $1 at Walmart and the bag of foam letter stickers for under $5. 

 

All I did was cut the magnet strip in half again (length wise) and then in smaller pieces (about 6-7 pieces for each half strip.) 

Remove the paper backing from the foam letter and magnet pieces.  Stick 2 magnet pieces to the back (sticky side of the letter) and repeat for each letter! 

Seriously, wasn’t that easy?  With the letters being stickers too they’re a little sticky, but not too bad.  And I only used a small portion of the bag so there are lots more letter stickers for other fun projects!  These letters stick to the fridge really well.  Not so much my cookie sheet, but maybe if I can find one made out of something other than aluminum! 

I’ve also seen whole magnet sheets if you want to make a magnetic version of paper dolls or paper cars/trains, animals, whatever your kids are into!  So many possibilities!  Hope this spurs on some ideas for you and your kids, and that you all get excited about learning!

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Tuesday Tutorial…Easy Snacking Idea!

Tuesday Tutorial…Easy Snacking Idea!

So…if your kids are anything like mine, they are ALWAYS asking for snacks.  We generally have two snack times a day and I try to have things prepared!

My favorite snacks are little trail mix bags I make ahead of time.

Easy to make!

Take out anything open in your pantry that your kids love…(it’s a great way to use up the last of the box)

  • cereals
  • nuts
  • popcorn
  • dried fruit
  • pretzels

{I usually add one or two “fun” items}

  • chocolate chips
  • marshmallows

 

I add all desired ingredients to a bowl…since we have bigger kids and a littler kiddo…I make two batches!

Big kids mix 

Little kid mix 

I scoop a generous handful into plastic bags and put them in a container.  Easy to grab and hand out to hungry little ones!

My kids put their baggies back on the counter when they are done, and they are easy to re-use!


Alphabet Fun! Help Kids Learn Letters!

Alphabet Fun! Help Kids Learn Letters!

We hear it all the time:  kids are like sponges.  They seem to absorb knowledge from their surroundings.  I think that young children learn best from playing too.  So here’s some fun ways you can help your little ones learn the letters of the alphabet.  My youngest isn’t even 2 years old yet and he knows a couple…that’s how easy it can be!  Surround kids with letters and let them soak them up! 

Learning Time!

  • Bathtub Letters:  For less than $10 you can buy a set of foam bathtub letters.  While kids are washing up let them play and make alphabet soup!  They get clean and learn at the same time! (This is how my oldest really learned his letters!)
  • Bathtub crayons or foam soap:  write your child’s name with bathtub crayons/soap.  These are usually the easiest/first letters they’ll recognize.
  • Play patty-cake:  use the first letter of your child’s name for the last line:  “And make it with a __ for {child’s name} and me!”  So simple, yet still exposing them to letters!
  • Salt trays:  Take a cookie sheet and sprinkle salt on it.  Help your little one use their finger to write a letter or even their whole name.  Even if they’re really young this can be a great tactile activity.
  • Shaving cream:  If you don’t want a big mess put a little shaving cream in a large plastic baggie (with a touch of paint if you want color) and seal it closed.  Let your child mix it up and then lay it on the table  and they can write letters and designs on the bag.
  • Finger paint:  There are so many ideas for finger paints to practice letters–shaving cream, pudding, honey, or you can make your own finger paints with water, cornstarch, and food coloring!  Use a cookie sheet again or right on the table if you don’t mind a little mess! Paper plates are another easy clean up alternative to use with finger paints.
  • Dough:  with playdough or cookie dough roll out a couple long sections and make a letter or two.  You can even make different edible doughs using things like peanut butter and powdered milk if you’re worried about really little kiddos eating it! Or make cut out cookies with letter-shaped cookie cutters! Yumm!
  • Letter Look-out: while driving in the car or out on a walk go on a letter look out where you hunt down the alphabet using the letters in signs and license plates around you. 
  • Refrigerator Magnets:  you know those little magnet letters for the fridge…well break out the trusty cookie sheet again, {who knew they had so many uses!} and your kids have their own magnet board and lots of fun with letters!  If you’re really creative you could even make your own letter magnets with sticker magnet sheets and printed off letters. Just stick the paper letters to the magnet sheet, cut them out and viola! {hmmm….maybe future post here!}  😉
  • Sing:  there’s more than just the ABC song we all learned.  You can sing the Banana-Nana Fo-fana song and expose your kids to letter sounds changing the common words/names they know.  Songs like Bingo  help reinforce letters too!  {And kids don’t know if you’re tone-deaf or not, so belt it out and have fun!}
  • DVD’s:  One of our favorite DVD’s that helped all my kids learn their letters and sounds is the Leap Frog Letter Factory.  Just half and hour but they go through all 26 letters and sounds and has a catchy tune to help learn.
  • Games: If your kids are into computer games try starfall.com, pbskids.org, or sesamestreet.org for lots of fun educational games.  Starfall is a free website and even used by some kindergartens as part of their curriculum.  Look for board games too that help reinforce reading skills.
  • Puzzles:  use alphabet puzzles for your preschooler or word-finds for your elementary school aged kids.
  • Doodle:  let your child doodle with washable markers and crayons and show them how to write their name. Beware: you may have to repeat this a lot!  My youngest is in the do-it-again phase and want’s me to fill his paper with T’s, the first letter in his name. But let me tell ya, he recognizes the letter “T” where ever he sees it now!
  • And no brainer but still must be listed: READ!  Whether you read at bedtime, naptime, during snack, first thing in the morning…at some time during your busy day take a little time to read to your child/children.  There’s usually free library story times in public libraries too.  Let your kids see youreading.  Order a kids magazine or something you can read together.  The time together is precious and helping them develop reading skills as well as a stronger bond with you.

    Cuddle up with a good book!

 

There’s something in this list for babies on up to school-aged children.  Try a variety of ideas to help them learn with all their senses.  The more exposure, the better they learn!  But don’t push… make sure that this is play, that it’s FUN and your little sponges will soak it all in! 

 

Thursday’s {Light} Thoughts

Thursday’s {Light} Thoughts

We’re gonna keep it light today for my Thursday’s Thoughts today.   Hope ya don’t mind!  😉

Kids can say some of the funniest things.  And some of those funny pronunciations and sayings become so common in our house that we forget the right way to say it!  Here’s some of our family’s funny vocabulary:

Callipater:  n. worm-like bug that turns into a butterfly.  Also known as caterpillar.

Plater:  n.  the person assigned to set the plates on the table at meal time.

Ear Wac: (pronounced “whack”)  n. singular form of ear wax as in, “Mom!  I got another wac out of my ear with the Q-tip!” {Gross, I know!}

“Being a stinker”:    phrase to describe an object {or person}  that is not working properly or causing a child frustration.  For example:    “Mom!  My zipper’s being a stinker!  Can you help me?” {Not to be confused with “being a seeker” which is the person assigned to find the other players in a game of hide-and-seek.}

Bam-baib:  n.  bandage.  Also known as band-aid.

Putted:  v.  past-tense form of the verb ‘put.’  For example:  “Mom, I putted my toys away!”

Purplish-pinkish-orangeish:  adj.  describes an object containing the colors purple, pink, and orange. Add “ish” to any color and it becomes a proper description.

Chloclate:  n. delicious sweet candy made from cocoa beans.  Also known as chocolate.  (I don’t even know how the child made the word harder to pronounce, but she did.  I can hardly say it with one “L” yet alone two!)

Na-Nigh:  n.  beloved blanket that is required to be in child’s possession if sleep is to occur.

“All of it”:  n. the last miniscule amount of treat or drink consumed.  One child can drink 98/100ths of a shared drink but if a different child drinks the last two drops the latter is proclaimed to have “drank all of it!”  which we all can see is so completely unfair.  😉

Glittery Bacon:  compliment.  This was my son’s idea of a complimentary nick name for me.  Which makes sense:  girls like things that sparkle and who doesn’t like bacon?!?!   Can ya feel the love?

This is by no means a complete list…just the ones I can think of for now.  😀

What funny sayings do you have around your house?

 
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Perseverance or Pushing?

Perseverance or Pushing?

Last week was my oldest (5) little boys first week in basketball, and his first real endeavor into sports.  He was so excited on the first night of practice…while they were waiting for the coach to get things started he was bouncing his ball around and shooting hoops with the other kids.  He had the BIGGEST smile on his face.  The kind of smile that gives you one of those warm fuzzy “mommy moments.”

However, when “practice” really started, his smile disappeared.  It was apparant, to him and to us, that he was by far the youngest kid on the team, and the least experienced.  He didn’t know what he was doing, where to go, who to guard.  He persevered through the practice, but I could see that he wasn’t sure if he thought this was fun anymore.

After practice, we talked with him in the car about how he would need to practice if he wanted to learn and get better.  He smiled and said he would like that.  We got him a new (smaller) basketball and put his basketball hoop up on the garage (since our backyard has turned into a lake)  so he could practice.  And he did.  He worked hard out there all week.  It was sweet to watch my husband and him work together.

But I could still sense his apprehension…and this morning, when it was time to get ready for the first game, he broke down sobbing.  Really sobbing.  I was torn…I didn’t want to be pushy parents, I could care less if he is good at, or loves basketball.  But I also wanted him to know that he was part of a team and he would be letting them down if we didn’t go.  I want him to show perseverance in life when things come his way that aren’t easy.   We (my husband and I ) stepped aside and talked…and decided to pull him off the team  We called to let them know he wasn’t coming, and moved on with our day.  It was the best choice for us, in that moment, and I will stand by it.  But, I still feel bothered by the fact that we let him “quit.”  Are we teaching hm to give up to easily when things are hard?  If we had chosen perseverance, would we have been pushing him?  Who knows.  I guess it’s just one of those things on my mommy list that I can mark “I tried.”

Making Money By Living Lighter

Making Money By Living Lighter

Every year, when another new year rolls around, I pull out trash bags and boxes and fill them up with things we don’t need  anymore!   If it no longer serves a purpose in our lives or home, it’s out!

I wasn’t always this way…I used to save EVERYthing.   Three kids and a few episodes of “Hoarders” later, I was over it.  I was “over” hanging on to things that were no longer making our lives better.

I have some basic guidelines I follow when we embark on this process:

Playroom

  • Broken toys
  • Toys that have missing pieces
  • Kids are no longer interested

Kids Closets

  • Stained, with no hope of getting it out
  • Outgrown, and something that I feel is not worth saving for future children.
  • Wrong size for the season (mostly with little baby clothes, since they grow too fast!)

I used to get emotionally overwhelmed by the thought of getting rid of baby things…but eventually my garage became overwhelmed with totes and totes of kids clothing.  Now I only save my favorite things for any future babies!  I also sort through hand-me-downs we recieve (and are so thankful for)  immediatley and pass on to another what we won’t use.

Our Closet

  • If I haven’t worn it in the last year
  • Stains…mostly the husband’s shirts!
  • No longer needed…maternity/nursing clothes that I am done with.  Most are WELL used by the end of a pregnancy.
  • Things that will probably never fit again

Keeping our things to a mininmum…only things we like and use, has allowed us to use our closet as a computer workspace and to store some of health/beauty stockpile (couponing has allowed us to stock up on products we need and use for rock pottom prices!)

Kitchen/Garage

  • Broken
  • Haven’t used in the past year

Every year we fill several large boxes and trash bags with things that were taking up space in our home, lives and minds!  It is truly a freeing feeling to load them in the van and drop them off!

I take all of my kids clothing, toys and my clothing  to a local children’s/women’s consignment store.  This year I made just over $100 in store credit!  I “bought” a cute Little Tikes nightstand for my boys’ room and still have lots left over!  I am keeping my eye out for a new-to-me single jogging stroller!

We sell bigger items on Craigslist!  What can I say, I {heart} Craigslist!  Last year we made $750 selling things we were done with…mostly my poor husbands duck decoys, which he hasn’t touched since he met me!

We take the rest to the Idaho Youth Ranch…we help kids out and get a tax deduction!

Happy cleaning!  And if you still need some motivation…search for “Hoarders” on Netflix, watch one episode, and you’ll be convinced.