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Showing posts from April, 2013

{Ten for Tuesday} Screen Free Week Activities & Resources: Simple, Frugal Play Ideas & Quiet Time Alternatives

We participated in Screen Free Week last year and enjoyed it. It was not just the boys either, I was almost completely screen free for the week as well, which was actually really great. The plan is to do it again this year. Since Wild Thing now plays computer games and video games a little bit, I decided a computer game alternative for the week would be a good idea. (I am sharing Ten for Tuesday on Sunday because on Tuesday I will be unplugged!)

Introducing the Humanoid Giant Tablet! He calls it his special computer and is getting very creative with it already. Stay tuned for Humanoid 2.0 and new Apps, which I expect we will spend Screen Free Week developing! (P.S. Our giant cardboard box tablet was inspired by this Bottle Top Calculator from Learn with Play at Home).

I hope you enjoy this activity and the other ideas we are sharing to help you make the most of Screen Free Week! (I prefer thinking of it as making the most of a week unplugged with our families rather than ways to help yo…

{Project 101} Weekly Library Challenge: There Was A Tree

I really love the book I am featuring for Project 101 this week, the weekly library challenge where I share one book that the boys are loving from the library and one book that I am reading. (By the end of the year, we will have shared 101 books in honor of the 101st birthday of my local library). My book connects with theirs, strangely, through the common thread of a tree. Plus, their book is a perfect book to share at the end of a week that marked Earth Day and Arbor Day. 

Rachel Isadora received a Caldecott Honor for Ben's Trumpet and is known by many as the author of Peekaboo Bedtime, the Lill at Ballet series and many more. She also has a series of books featuring classic stories and songs that she has beautifully written and illustrated, which are all set in Africa. The books in these series are among my favorites. I first discovered the series through her wonderful rendering of The Ugly Duckling. Like that book, There Was A Tree offers the same type of beautiful and engaging…

Kids Co-Op: Arbor Day + Engaging Play Ideas for Screen Free Week

April 26th is Arbor Day so Happy Arbor Day! With Earth Day on Monday and Arbor Day today, it seemed appropriate to share these planting posts: Recycled Seed Planters from Life with Moore Babies, 5 Excellent Plants to Grow with Kids from Preschool Powol Packets,  Milk Jug Herbs from Making Boys Men, and Seed Saving Tips from Housing A Forest. The last two are part of a Planting with Kids Blog Hop. 

For even more about seeds and growing, head over to Housing A Forest. She did a great job rounding up and highlighting great seed activities from the Kids Co-Op last week.

Look What Mom Found shared a cool paper bag tree craft, which is also a great activity for Arbor Day. (For Project 101: the Weekly Library Challenge last week, I shared a book that is perfect for Arbor Day and another tree art activity that is among my favorites).

I am also sharing some simple play ideas to help you out for Screen Free Week, which is April 29-May 5. I loved 20 Play Dough Play Ideas (from things you have on …

Baked Goods - Do Good: Join the Great American Bake Sale

Yesterday, I hung out with Megan from Coffee Cups and Crayons\ to chat briefly about the Great American Bake Sale - a great way to get your children involved in helping the 16 million kids in the U.S. who struggle with hunger. Through No Kid Hungry, $1 provides 10 meals so every little bit really does make a difference. The Great American Bake Sale kicks off today and lasts through May 1st. This site will help you find a bake sale near you and get you inspired to jump in and do a bake sale of your own!

Check out our short hang out for some great tips and inspiration for getting involved. 
I recently asked on my Facebook page what Baked Goods people can never resist at bake sales and, by far, ooey-gooey brownies were the big winner! So, do not underestimate the Power of the Brownie!! Other favorites were rice krispies, blondies, lemon bars, cookies (esp. chocolate chip, nut or M and Ms), and fudge. I love peanut butter cookies or oat cookies. Even better, cookies with both. I also love p…

Magic Milk Painting for Earth Day

A favorite art activity/science experiment for Wild Thing is what he and I call Magic Milk Painting. This simple activity involves putting milk in a dish (pie dish, baking dish or similar) and then adding a few drops of dish soap and of food coloring. The result is awesome - the color magically moves. The swirl happens on its own, no mixing or stirring is required. 

The magic happens because the detergent lowers the surface tension allowing the food coloring to move through the milk. The detergent disrupts the protein and fat in the milk. Steve Spangler explains the scientific reaction quite well and shows the proper method (using a Q-Tip), but we never do it that way! We decided to see how the movement of the colors might change if we used different milks, since we happened to have almond milk and soy milk at home. (Many stores have a small box of soy or almond milk for $1 and many dollar stores now carry soy milk if you want to try this out and do not already have those milks on hand…

{Project 101} Weekly Library Challenge: Earth Day

This week for Project 101, my weekly library challenge where I share one book from the library that the boys have been reading and one book that I have been reading, I am focusing on Earth Day, coming up on Monday, April 22nd. I know many communities have events today. Our community had a major event last Saturday and their celebration is an Earth Arbor Day event with an emphasis on planting trees as well as ways to conserve water, reduce waste, encourage recycling and much more all in a commitment to help us all be a little more Earth-friendly. The book I selected of the many the boys have been reading from the library is perfect for both Earth Day and Arbor Day, which is April 26th. 

One Tree by Leslie Brockol and illustrated by Jillian Phillips is a Green Start book, printed from 98% recycled materials. I love the way the book shows how many creatures in the world truly benefit from one single tree from the birds with their nests, to the caterpillars and butterflies, to the squirrel…

Kid's Co-Op: Fun with Food - Wild Thing Picks

The Kid's Co-Op has been full of great ideas for Earth Day, and I was tempted to highlight all of those this week, but Wild Thing really wanted to look through all of the photos from the link up and pick his favorites. So, I am featuring his picks. Given what he chose, I think he must have been hungry at the time!! 

Being a train lover, Wild Thing obviously wanted to check out the post featuring a Thomas the Train party from Craftulate. Likewise, he was a fan of My Nearest and Dearest serving snacks via trucks and tractors - super cool!He also liked the fun frog sandwich from Kiddie Foodies and Oscar the Grouch dinner from Creative Kid Snacks.

We have had some fun with food lately ourselves inspired by a renewed interest in The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

P.S. If you do need Earth Day inspiration, Reading Confetti featured 100+ activities from the Co-Op, so check it out! And, please check back here tomorrow. I will be sharing our Magic Milk Earth Day Science Activity (finally!). 

{Virtual Book Club for Kids} Blocks for Breakfast & Too Many Toys - Move, Eat, Draw, Learn with David Shannon

Each month (well almost each month), we participate in the Virtual Book Club for Kids, and I like to share 4 activities for the book we select from the author for the month -- a movement/physical activity, a food related activity, an art activity and a learning activity. Here is what we did with Too Many Toys by David Shannon, a fabulous book that highlights the wonderful simplicity and joy of a simple cardboard box and the ways that we can let our worlds get overrun by stuff from time to time.

1. Move - Have a toy relay, which could be a helpful and fun way to get toys picked up, or to sort toys into two boxes: a donate and keep box. (We love toy relays. I just can never manage to get a picture while one is happening!)

2. Eat - I see lots of cool Lego/Mega-Block Brownies online and had planned to make some, but ended up doing something easier and healthier instead...we made blocks for breakfast! Okay, so they are just pieces of bread with your O cereal of choice, but Wild Thing th…