A Time for Everything!

I love schedules.

If I enjoy something, I want to put it on a schedule. If I hate something, I want to put it on a schedule.

I like routine because it reduces the amount of active thinking I have to do while handling three crazy kids. The fortunate thing is that kids ALSO LOVE schedules! I didn’t realize 61AcehvdziL._SL1000_how much until Harry and Liam started playing school and running through Harry’s actual school schedule with their toys and stuffed animals. He even made his own version of the schedule board they use at school.

Click on the picture if you want one of your own. It’s only about $10 and I do think it would be really fun to have, but I’m going to stick with a laminated printout that I can stick on the fridge.

I used an hourly schedule with the kids last summer and it really helped keep things under control. Last year I did it hourly, but this year I’m going to make it even more detailed and do it by 30 minute increments. Of course, the key to a good schedule is being willing to abandon it if something great comes up. But for those days you are all just stuck together, having a schedule can really reduce fighting and keep you sane.

April Vacation!

April vacation is nearly here, and I’m going to use it to try out a new schedule with the boys.

Come back soon to check it out!

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Easter Scavenger Hunt

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I can’t take credit for this tip, but I am passing it on because it was so much fun for the boys last year. Instead of hunting for eggs, we sent the kids on a scavenger hunt. I loved this idea the moment I saw it on WhatsUpMoms because I HATE hiding eggs all over and then having a war break out over who finds what. The scavenger hunt was something they could do together and then just get their baskets at the end. They loved it and I plan on doing it again this year.

Here is a link to the original video from WhatsUpMoms. I think I mostly used her clues, but here is a printable of mine if you want something to print and go. Easter Scavenger Hunt

I really liked these special little eggs to hide the clues in.

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Check out Harry and Liam on their hunt last year.

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Don’t go the extra mile . . .

When I think up activities, there is always a grand plan. That doesn’t mean I always make it to the finish line though. One thing my boys have taught me is that they are more than willing to finish the race for me. Tonight’s post is a perfect example of that.

I came up with an idea to encourage them to write some funny little stories. Here was the grand plan, which I still hope to sit and do with them, and then I will explain how far I got and what the kids did with what I had.

I went online and found a bunch of pictures that I though were either cute, funny or interesting.

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I printed them out and (of course) laminated them. I cut them out and had grand plans of separating them out into characters, settings and exciting elements and then using them to help the boys create silly little stories. I had them all organized and ready to go when the baby woke up and made it too difficult to sit and explain my big ideas to the boys. So, instead I tossed the cards at them as I ran upstairs to get the baby.

When I came back down there they were pairing up characters with different locations and elements and making up funny scenarios. It didn’t keep them busy for hours, but they had a good laugh and are excited to take out the picture cards again to make up stories and play more games.

Sometimes, less is more. It’s nice to have big plans, but it’s sometimes even nicer to give the kids something interesting and then to let them figure out what fun they can have with it.

Here is a pdf with the images for you to try: Build a Story

Have fun!

Leprechaun Hide and Seek

I’ve been wanting to post for a while but as most moms know, even small blips in routine can send the whole family spinning. Well, in a span of 2 weeks we have bought a new home and sold our old home. Sad to be leaving our town, but excited for what is ahead. And, it has been crazy!

But now to get back into routine, I want to post a little something. The boys and I were lucky enough to have some friends over for an early play date before school. Last night I threw together this little game to help harness the energy of 4 well-rested children!

It is basically the “Hide the Button” game that is posted on my printable page, but using St. Patrick’s Day pictures instead. I printed out 6 of each picture and then wrote 1,2 or 3 on the backs before laminating them and cutting them out.

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Then I hid them all around the playroom and set the kids looking. Once they were done we tallied the scores using this game board. Each one took a different colored marker and then colored in the number of squares they had earned according to the backs of the pictures. It took two rounds to fill the board and then they all colored in the center together.

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Want to give it a try? Print out the pictures and game board here.

Game Board and Leprechaun Hide and Seek

Have fun!

Learn to draw!

I never thought about how freeing it would be for my kids to have some guidelines on how ed emberlyto draw stuff. This Christmas my sister (Hi Jenny!) got my sons Ed Emberley’s Make a World which teaches them how to draw loads of stuff. They love this book!

I thought at first that having a drawing book would stifle their creativity, but it was the opposite. Now they could finally draw all the things in their minds! They started making up stories and illustrating them, and they have not stopped.

Today Harry was working on his new book, C is for Clover, which is an ABC book about St. Patrick’s Day. When he got to P he needed some help drawing St. Patrick and that is how I stumbled upon this website: http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/learn-to-draw-saint-patrick. Both boys had so much fun drawing St. Patrick that I kept digging and found a few more March themed drawing pages. Check them out here:

These are just links to the drawing instructions but this whole website is really fantastic. Check it out and let me know what you think!

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