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Showing posts from May, 2012

Kids Co-Op: Link-Up & Play!

I love being part of the Weekly Kids Co-Op and checking out all the other great activities and ideas that get linked up each week -- over 200 last week!! 

Since my Wild Thing loves anything that goes (cars, trucks, planes, trains), I loved the pool noodle race track from Ramblings From Utopia - frugal, creative family fun at its best.

She's got very thorough instructions on how to make this at home, so head over to her site and check it out - and don't forget to browse the link-ups below to find other great ideas! 

Wordless Wednesday: Ducklings!!

Other Duck Stuff!!

1 to 10 for Tuesday: Number Identification, Values & Counting

I once heard a seasoned Early Childhood Educator talk about parents thinking their children "know" their letters or numbers because they can recite them (reciting them well and quickly). She shared that often when she would ask that same child to identify a letter or number, they could not or could only identify some, but not all. 

With that in mind, I wanted to do a game with my Wild Thing (toddler) that would reinforce not only counting, but would also incorporate number identification with counting and would demonstrate the value of numbers (i.e. demonstrating what 3 actually means). 

I set out 10 mostly clear and mostly glass containers from smallest to largest. The sizing of the containers was designed to help Wild Thing (he's 2 1/2) begin to understand number values - smaller number, smaller jar.

I labelled each container with its corresponding number, both with the number symbol and with the number spelled out. I would write the number and match it with its contain…

Meditation Monday: Don't Sweat The Small Stuff, Cherish It

I've certainly had my fair share of mommy meltdowns--moments where I hit my breaking point and feel frustrated, exhausted and overwhelmed.

However, becoming an emotional mess doesn't make anything better, and I end up modeling very poor behavior for my toddler. 

Occasionally though, I manage to find beauty in a potentially frustrating and overwhelming situation that might otherwise disarm me completely. Life can throw crap at me (literally) -- but I decide how I react to that crap.

With that in mind, I'm sharing two instances where I didn't sweat the small stuff and managed to create moments to cherish instead.

#1-Little ones in the car and excited to go to the duck pond and feed the ducks. We pull out of the driveway to discover that we have a flat tire. NO!!!!!!!

Wild Thing (my toddler) desperately wanted to see the ducks. He is NOT happy. I can sense the fit coming on, when I notice...

...a new bloom in our yard, one I had not noticed before. I show the Wild Thing and se…

Simple Sunday: Free Rice-Learn & Give

Keeping it very simple this Memorial Day Weekend by sharing a powerful and simple way to give back and help others. Kids love it, and I know some adults that have gotten addicted. 

It's simple, go to the Free Rice site , pick a subject (there's several ranging from Flags of the World, English Grammar and Multiplication to SAT Prep and Language Learning), and then play. 

Games are multiple choice and correct answers equate to donated grains of rice. 1 right = 10 grains, 5 right = 50 grains. The more you play, the more rice that will get donated to individuals in need.

This tool became one of the best ways to encourage students to work on their multiplication facts at the after-school program I used to run. One of my teachers brought in 50 grains of rice to show the students just how little that was, which was a smart way to motivate them to play more. 

At the site, you can also watch a video of rice being distributed and find out more ways to get involved and fight hunger. So, what…

It's Friday - Time for Kid's Co-Op & Pizza!!

Who doesn't love pizza? It's become one of my favorite go-to meals to make at home (I use store-bought pizza dough balls). Kid-friendly, fun to make, easy and with minimal dirty dishes, pizza making is a big hit in our house. Here's three of my favorite pizza varieties to get you inspired. Get creative and have fun!

Tip: Save the flour you use for rolling the pizza out and use it for pretend cooking or play-dough. Plus, here's 5 other great pizza recipes/activities:
Pizza Dough Science from Mama SmilesWheels on the Bus Pizza Roll Ups from Rainy Day MumOwl Pizza matched with The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark from The Educators' Spin On ItPizza Biscuits (Perfect Sleepover Food) from A Mom With A Lesson PlanLove Bites (AKA Heart Shaped Pizza) from The Iowa Farmer's Wife

Ten for Tuesday: Make Your Own Comic Book

Guest Blogger: Dani Dixon
I love comic books. I love how happy they make adults and children, and I love the stories I get to tell in this medium.

The artists I've worked with are quite talented.

However, one needn't be a professional to illustrate an idea. I've taught children as young as 8 years old how to create their own comics. For the first lesson, I like to start simple. Here's something you can try using whatever art supplies you have on hand (a ruler or straight edge might help with making panels, but even that needn't be perfect). The most important tools will be your child's imagination and your enthusiasm!
Story Challenge: Why did the chicken cross the road?
1) Tell the story in one panel.
2) Use only stick figures! 3) Play with color. Choose a color - yellow, purple, green - for the chicken and color everything else differently. 4) Tell the story backwards! 5) Play with assumptions: What if the chicken is really an ostrich, or a pterodactyl? 6) What if the r…

Simple Sunday: Veggie Broth

Veggie scraps become vegetable broth. No worries about sodium, pesticides or other undesirable additives.

I'm a member of a farm-share and get a beautiful crate of organic produce for about $20. I make my own vegetable broth using the scraps and peels from the produce. I have large freezer storage bag that I put scraps or peels in when I have them. When it's full, it's time to make broth.

For no additional cost or real much effort at all, I get organic vegetable broth. Bonus: friendly for the Earth (no extra packaging required). It's simple. Empty the frozen scraps into a large pot.

If you want (you don't have to), add some fresh veggies to the pot as well. (I usually add carrots and onion because I seem to always have extra). 

Fill the pot with water, bring to a boil and simmer for 25-45 minutes (until the color and taste tell you it is done). Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove the vegetables with tongs and/or a spider (the utensil you see below) .

Pour the rema…

Planes, Trains & Automobiles: Busy Bags, Books, an Egg Carton(?) & More!

By the time this goes live, I will be flying high in the sky with Wild Thing (my toddler) and Caterpillar (my 9 month old) as we go across the country to see family. I'm sure we'll also take the subway and a car service (with carseats) at some point. We're excited about the adventure. Wild Thing keeps talking about getting to sleep on an airplane, since our flight there is an overnight flight. As long as nursing the baby conks him out, we'll be fine.

The flight, back however, provides more challenge as it's cross country during the day. Here's what I've planned for toddler/baby entertainment:

This egg carton full of surprises will be hidden from Wild Thing until the flight back. It's inspired by the egg games we did after Easter. There's 3 sets of eggs that having matching goodies (the monkey eraser, coins, and foam travel stickers). Those eggs provide opportunities for a matching through sound game. The die gives us a counting game, as I have eggs …

(Mostly) Wordless Wednesday: Pretend Cooking, No-Science Experiment, No-It's Art!!

Evolution of a "Keep My Kid Busy While I Cook" Activity!

S is for...Superhero and...

...Secret Identity. I'm bordering on being TWO days late (just like my first son) with my Mother's Day post. Yikes!!! But, alas, here it is -- a Mother's Day post about superheros, or rather about secret identities.

Much has been said about mothers being superheros. What often gets overlooked in the talk of mommy as superhero is the alter-ego, the secret identity. It shouldn't. Every mom has one - an identity and world that gets left behind so that she can delve into a world of messes and make-believe. (And lots of moms find themselves juggling both identities at once, hoping they don't arrive at the office with their superhero cape sticking out...or with kid food stains on their skirt). Me?

I'm the "Movie Makin' Mama." In addition to being a mommy I'm an independent filmmaker. My latest film was produced while pregnant with my 2nd son and with my toddler going with me to get food, props, costumes, etc. The film, SMUGGLED, is currently on the f…

Books as Heirlooms & 100+ Children's Book-Related Activities

All week, I've been sharing children's book related posts because it's Children's Book Week. I shared a pea and dinosaur activity to go with our favorite pea and dinosaur books earlier, and had to write twice about Maurice Sendak and our family favorite Where the Wild Things Are

I want to also share the idea that Children's Books can be wonderful family heirlooms. Thanks to caring (and sentimental) parents and grandparents, we have some gems that I read to my toddler. They stay in a closed container because of their delicate nature, but he loves it when we explore these special books. He calls the container the library, probably due to this fun activity we did a couple of months ago. Here's some of the amazing treasures in our special box:

Even if you don't already have books that have been handed down from generation to generation, you can start. Plan to set aside a few special books, perhaps books that were gifts with inscriptions/notes inside or first bo…