Marvelous March

March

March is around the corner and there is lots of fun to be had! Check out the calendar here: Calendar and enjoy some of the activities I found to keep you busy!

March

No go have some fun!

 

Puppy Practice

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Looking for a fun way to teach your child about telling time? Look no further, Pocket Puppy is here. Check it out in action: Liam and his Pocket Puppy

This little printout will help teach them to tell time and also how to care for a little puppy. Click here  to print  out your own: Puppy Practice

For my boys I just printed it out and laminated it. I used a punch and a small brad to assemble the clock. We always hang things like this on the fridge and use tape to move the pieces around. You don’t need to laminate it, but it does make it last longer.

Puppy

Then to play with it as a tool to teach time, I just set the clock and then ask the boys what Puppy is supposed to do next. Then they can move him to the right card on the fridge. Or, ask them to pick an activity for Puppy and then set the time on the clock to match.

Puppy 2

You can also just staple these pictures onto a poster board and move Puppy from pocket to pocket.

Your kids will be time-telling masters before you know it!

Have fun and if you like this activity share it on Facebook!

Love Your Pet Day

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As you may know, February 20th is Love Your Pet Day. Below is a link to a great activity from one of my favorite websites to get your little ones thinking about how to love and care for animals. You don’t need a pet of your own to enjoy Love Your Pet Day! Learning how to care for animals will help your little one learn responsibility and empathy.

From Happy Hooligans: Animal Hospital

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Looking for a cut and paste activity? Check out my Pet Counting Printable:Counting Pets

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All Those Masterpieces . . .

We do a lot of crafting, drawing, sign-making and general art in this house. Not to mention all the things that come home in the backpacks. Displaying and storing these artworks means a lot to me and to the children, but you can’t save everything. Here are my tips for deciding what to toss ASAP.

  • It’s not done and they don’t care to finish it.
  • It’s not their best work.
  • You can’t tell what it is, and they can’t either.
  • It’s too big and bulky. (If it really means a lot to you, take a picture and save that instead)

Art Storage

Now that you’ve culled out the best items, it’s time to display them. Choosing a few designated spots to display items will keep your house from becoming over-run with kiddie art.

We use the door to our basement and the shelf in the eating area. As you tape things up, label them with the child’s name and date. If you have the time, ask them about the drawing and write their comments right on the front of the picture. Kids love to be listened to and you might be surprised at what those pictures are meant to be!

Michelle Obama

We change the display monthly. My children get very attached to their work and having a set time to take things down (first of the month) helps them feel more comfortable about making space for new things. Most of what goes up on the door goes into the Saving Bin but if I go to take it down and I find that I’m not feeling an emotional tug, out it goes.

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Save with care! If you want to save something, do it right. Tossing things into a drawer orstorage bin random bin will all but guarantee that they are damaged and/or never seen again. Each year I start a new Saving Bin for their work. Once it’s full, I can’t add any more things without removing something. I use under bed storage bins that keep things safe in the basement or attic and don’t take up too much space.

I also allow each child a drawer in the craft cart to store things they are attached to or working on, but that just aren’t display type pictures. Every few weeks I go through it and toss out random scraps that I know they won’t miss.

Mart portfolioy last storage tip for budding artists is an actual art portfolio. We got one for Liam this year because he is very serious about wanting to be a “real artist.” He is so careful with it and really only chooses his very favorite pieces to go into the book. When the book is filled I will get him another and just put this one into the Saving bin knowing that these valuable works are safe!

 

Happy Crafting!

Vacation!

Around here, vacation week is about to begin. That means lots of hours to fill with  your little ones. While it is great to get out and go places, it is important to have activities ready to go at home as well. This is especially true if you are dealing with siblings.

Below are four activities that are easy to launch and will keep your kids occupied and having fun.

Button Hide and Seek

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You can really use anything for this, but I like to use buttons of different shapes and sizes so you can assign them different point values based on color or shape. (Click the image to get the buttons we have.) If your kids are prone to squabbling make sure you hide the buttons in different rooms and then give them each a certain amount of time to find buttons in that location. I like to do 10 minutes and then let them switch for 5 so that they can find any the other child missed.

Once they are done searching, you have a ready to go math activity. Want it to take even longer? Have them sort and count the buttons before you hide them. This is especially good for siblings who are competitive so they can divide them equally before you hide them. Click on the picture to buy the buttons we use. And if you want a free printable to keep score, click here: Button Hide and Seek

Scrabble Letter Fun

Did you know you can buy a bag of Scrabble letters on scrabbleAmazon? (Click the image to get your own.) I split them up between the kids and then have them make words. Each gets a piece of paper to write them on, or a dry erase board. When they start to seem bored of that game, you can use the words as an activity. They can draw pictures to go with them or write a story or poem inspired by them. Don’t feel like shelling our cash for letters? Just write them on squares of paper or post-it notes.

The Dots Game

300px-Dots-and-boxes.svgMy mom used to play this with my sister and me. I won’t try to explain it myself, here is a link to a great explanation: Dots and Boxes. Don’t feel like drawing all those boxes? I did it for you: Dots and Boxes. If you have a laminating machine you can laminate it and use it over and over!

In addition to Dots you can play many other simple pen and paper games like Hang Man, MASH and Tic Tac Toe

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This is also a game you can play with just pen and paper, but I’ve make up a printable for you to use to give it a little more structure: Get A Head Just print out the sheets and cut them down the center line. Then fold along the horizontal line so that the head is flipped backwards and not visible. Now have your child draw a funny body to go along with the head. They don’t know what the head looks like so these can end up pretty funny depending how into it they get.

Hope these games keep you busy! Have some ideas of your own? Post them below!

Craft Cart Essentials

One of the best ways to entertain your kids is to give them the freedom and tools to entertain themselves. I am always amazed when I find Harry and Liam deeply involved in a game that they made up themselves using the items and tools that they find in their craft cart. Does it make a mess? Yup! But, it is worth it to allow them the freedom to create.

Here is a craft that Harry came up with for Liam. They did it back in November of 2014 when was too pregnant and sick to create a project for them. It is still hanging on the end of Liam’s bed!

Craft Cart

You don’t need a lot of space to set up a crafting area for your kids. We keep most of our crafting supplies in a cart in our sun-room where they can be readily available to them. They have a little table out there as well, but that is a bonus. In fact, most of the time they just bring the cart drawers into the kitchen and work on the table there. Sometimes they work on complicated crafts and other times they do quick things like making signs up for their games, or random cards for their friends.

craft cartHere is a list of what we’ve got in our cart. It’s a 12 drawer cart that I got off Amazon and below is a link to a wishlist of items if you need some help getting your cart started.

  1. Skinny markers
  2. Fat markers
  3. Crayons
  4. Sponge painters
  5. Tape, stencils, hole punches, rulers and other tools
  6. Paper
  7. Harry’s projects
  8. Liam’s projects
  9. Stickers
  10. Stamps
  11. Craft sticks, foam stickers, paper plates, pipe cleaners, google eyes, gems and other embellishments
  12. Coloring and activity books

Along with these items, I collect items from our recycling bin to stick in the embellishments drawer for their masterpieces.

Ready to get your cart started? Check out my Craft Cart Wishlist!

What do your kids love to create with?

Subscribe to my blog and never miss a post! Coming up soon: How to store and organzie your childrens’ works so that they don’t take over your home.

 

 

 

 

Favorite Things: Mopnado!

I can’t help it. I love this mop. My 4 year old and I spent some serious time researching Mopnadomops and after many YouTube videos we settled on MOPNADO!

I don’t want to be dramatic, but it is really the best mop I’ve ever owned. In general, mops gross me out. I never think they are clean and I always feel like the floor is covered in nasty, dirty water when I’m done.

For a long time I used a steam mop but it always smelled musty after and the cleaning pad would be soaked and filthy halfway through.

But now . . . I can rinse and wash the mop as I go, and the spinner gets it so dry that I can walk on the floors in minutes. It is also really clean. The spill test (when you spill some water and then wipe it up right after you mopped and find that the towel is filthy) has shown that even after a day the floor is clean.

And it’s FUN!

Mopnado Collage

Don’t believe me? Check out my mopping boys on YouTube.

Click here if you want your own! I must have a Mopnado.

Have something better you think I should try? Leave a comment.