Tag Archives: fun

Ways to Celebrate President’s Day at Home

16 Feb

shutterstock_30476218.jpg

When it comes to favorite holidays, President’s Day may not get a lot of attention, but it can be a great way to have some educational fun with your little ones. Because February hosts Abraham Lincoln’s and George Washington’s birthdays, a federal holiday was declared in 1971 to not only celebrate these two great leaders but also to commemorate all American Presidents jointly. Let’s get patriotic and excited for a day full of fun and learning opportunities!

Get Educational

This holiday is a great opportunity to teach young children about who the president is, as well as talk about two popular presidents – George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. For children 4 years and up, we suggest getting comfortable and reading Greatest U.S. Presidents. This book examines the lives of 4 presidents in a way that is simple and easy to understand. Don’t forget to also share some fun facts about First Ladies and their achievements. Maybe your little one will find a new hero!

53832set-a

President for a Day

Let your child become president of the house for the day. They can wear a cool hat like Lincoln and offer up suggestions for dinner, a family game night or an evening movie. Don’t forget that the President doesn’t make all the decisions alone; the rest of the family has to vote or agree on it first!

Patriotic Crafts

President’s Day is a great opportunity to introduce American history in a unique way, so consider making Lincoln’s Hat Cookies or even playing President-themed games like President Coin Sorting. President’s Day is also the perfect opportunity to revisit some of your favorite patriotic-inspired crafts like popsicle flag sticks

image

Jam Out

There are dozens of patriotic songs that have been written through the ages, so share some of your favorites with the kiddos. Some old 40’s and 50’s tunes are super fun to have a dance party to, as well as more contemporary jams! We recommend “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” by The Andrews Sisters, “Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus, and “Kids in America” by Kim Wilde.

Stay Encouraging

Remind your children that they can shoot for the stars and that if they want to be president some day then they can. After all, every president was once a young kid, just like them!

America’s been around for 241 years. That’s a lot of history (45 presidents worth)! So introduce your children to the basics of the nation they live in while having fun and getting creative.

Making Valentine’s Day a Delight

10 Feb

2.9.17 Valentine delight.jpg

Valentine’s Day is traditionally about romantic love, but celebrating familial love is always way more fun! Keep on reading for fun and simple V-Day activities that you can do with the whole family.

Make a Valentines Mail Box

Turn an old shoebox into a mailbox just for love notes. Cut a small rectangle in the lid, and then have kids use markers, glitter, stickers, etc. to decorate their mailbox. Place the box outside of their bedroom door just like a real mailbox and drop off little love notes every now and then. Encourage them to leave valentines for their siblings or for friends.

Make A Lovable Craft

There are dozens of simple and fun Valentine’s Day crafts out there on the internet to do with your little ones, but we recommend this adorable V-Day mouse! Whichever craft you choose, spending time getting creative with your little valentines is sure to be a good time!

16463842_10154998860771018_207303389231202622_o.jpg

Make some V-Day Goodies

Baked goods are a staple during Valentine’s Day, so bake some simple sugar cookies and let the kids decorate them with icing and sprinkles. Or opt for a slightly healthier option and top strawberries with whipped cream or dip apple slices in caramel or chocolate spread. Get creative and cut foods into hearts!

Have a Valentine’s Story Time

After dinner on Valentine’s Day, gather the family and snuggle up on the couch with a good Valentine’s Day themed book, like Pete the Cat: Valentine’s Day is Cool. Some quality family time is a great way to end the day!

73366

Valentine’s Day isn’t just about candy and roses. It’s about sharing the love of those around you, and engaging kids in family activities is the perfect way to do just that! You can even do all of these in the evening, so work doesn’t have to interrupt family time. So take the time to hug your kiddos and spend some quality family time this V-Day!

3 Snacks to Warm Up a Cold Winter’s Day

3 Feb

2.2.17 mom kid cooking.jpg

With frosty, winter months come nights of cabin fever and children seeking entertainment. Beat those winter blues with 3 quick recipes that your child can help whip up alongside you! Spending a little quality kitchen time with your little one can turn a cold winter’s night into a night full of treats that are sure to create delight and warm deliciousness!

Warm Soft Pretzels

Easy pretzels that are fun to make and delicious to eat!

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon of sugar

4 cups of flour

1 package of active dry yeast

1 ½ cups of warm water

1 teaspoon of salt

Beaten egg

Kosher salt

Vegetable oil

Tools:

Aluminum foil

Cookie sheet

Measuring cups and spoons

Mixing bowl and spoon

Pastry brush

Wax paper

2-2-17-pretzels

What To Do:

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 425° F (adults only). Grease a cookie sheet with vegetable oil.

Step 2: Help your child combine the yeast, warm water, sugar, salt, and flour into a large bowl. Mix thoroughly.

Step 3: Work with your child to knead the dough.

Step 4: Give your child a piece of wax paper for their workspace. Help them pull off a piece of dough and roll in into a long rope that they can shape into a pretzel.

Step 5: Place the pretzel on a greased cookie sheet, use the pastry brush to brush the pretzel with the beaten egg, and sprinkle it with kosher salt.

Step 6: When the cookie sheet is full, bake the pretzels for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Source: The Budding Chef

Mini Cherry Pie

Ingredients:

Vanilla wafers

Instant vanilla pudding

Milk (for pudding)

Cherry pie filling

Tools:

Cupcake cups (aluminum foil variety preferred)

Old-fashioned hand rotary beaters, not electric (aka Wisk)

Several tablespoons

Plastic sandwich bags

What To Do:

Step 1: Make vanilla instant pudding according to package directions.

Step 2: Let your child help mix the milk and pudding with the hand rotary beaters (not electric).

Step 3: Give your child a cupcake cup (aluminum foil, if possible). Have them place a vanilla wafer at the bottom of the cupcake paper.

Step 4: Let your child put about 2 tablespoons of pudding on top of the cookie and 1-2 tablespoons of cherry pie filling on top of the pudding.

Step: 5 if possible, chill the desserts in a refrigerator for at least ½ hour. Wrapping them in the plastic bags.

Step 6: Eat and Enjoy!

Source: Giant Encyclopedia of Monthly Activities

2.2.17 mixing bowl.jpg

Easy Rollers

Create a delectable treat that is easy to make and combines the wonderful tastes of cinnamon, sugar, and nutmeg.

Ingredients:

1¼ cups of crushed graham crackers

¼ cup of sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

½ cup peanut butter

½ cup light corn syrup

Powdered sugar

Tools:

Cookie sheet

Measuring cups and spoons

Mixing bowl and spoon

Wax paper

What To Do:

Step 1: Invite your child to combine crushed graham crackers, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl.

Step 2: Once those ingredients are combined, stir in the peanut butter and corn syrup.

Step 3: Show your child how to form the mixture into 1/2 inch balls.

Step 4: Pour powdered sugar onto wax paper and work with your child to roll the balls in it.

Step 5: Place the balls on a cookie sheet and allow them to chill in the refrigerator.

Source: The Budding Chef

Teaching Your Child to be a Superhero

25 Jan

1.25.17 Child Superheros.jpg

Whether it is a muscular man in tights fighting crime or a fireman saving a crying, orphan kitten from a tree, superheroes have a strong representation in the fabric of childhood. With the men and women in capes growing ever so prominent in the media and the popularity of superhuman movie stars at the local theater, children’s fascination with these masked heroes is easily understandable. Teaching little ones manners and values is an everyday practice that comes with raising a child. However, teaching a child to have “superhero” qualities may seem at first, a daunting task, but in reality it is easier than you may assume.

 Why should they be kind?

 Courage, strength, wisdom, compassion—all words you may utilize when describing a superhero to a child. These words also describe elements of a polite, ideal child. Teaching your child manners may seem like common sense, but teaching your child reasoning for those manners can often be neglected in the hustle and bustle of life. The importance of answering the “whys” of actions and reactions develops a well-manner child into a well-mannered child with pure intentions and integrity. It can be hard sometimes for little ones (and even adults) to choose to act with kindness and honesty. Encouraging children to act with integrity starts with explaining the purpose of integrity. So next time your child asks why they should share their toy or why they should hold open the door, try your best to not respond with the easy “because I said so” sentence but instead explain how it assists others and in return helps them. However brief or descriptive that little explanation may be, it can have a huge impact in developing an average kiddo into a super kid.

Be an example worth copying!

 You don’t have to fight crime on a daily bases to serve as an example of how one should act in everyday situations. A fireman’s compassion and a police officer’s courage are just two examples of everyday heroes that can be used for teaching your little ones “superhero” qualities. YOU can also serve as your child’s superhero by turning everyday acts of kindness into teachable moments. Involve your child in charitable acts and encourage them to seek out their unique ways to improve life for others by being a local superhero (and don’t forget that animals count too)! It can be as simple as them helping you “pay it forward” or complex as raising money for a specific cause that they find interesting! Finding compassion in their passions is key to successfully developing “super” behavior.

Product spotlight: DC Super Hero Girls™ 6″ Action Figures

142330pair

Product spotlight: The American Hero Cape & Mask

142097

Know a child who is a superhero? Tell us about them in the comments below!

Healthy Family Living in the New Year!

19 Jan

1-19-17-family-making-salad

With the start of the new year, come the traditional New Year’s resolutions and promises. Eating fewer sweets, drinking more water, traveling more—the list seems to continually grow in both length and intimidation as the months briskly pass. Improving your own personal health, as well as your family’s, can seem like a daunting, never-ending task. We discovered some simple ideas that can help serve as a guide map to achieving your healthy family goals for the new year.

Mental Health

Arguably most important, mental health is often overlooked when thinking about New Year’s resolutions. Your child’s mood is easily influenced by your mental state. For example, if you are under a lot of stress at work, those stressful emotions can follow you when you come home. This often leads to you acting tired and having a short temper, which in turn makes your little one’s emotions run wild in response to what they cannot fully comprehend. Focusing on being less stressed at home, resting more, and identifying when your child is being influenced by you and your family’s mental attitude are key ways for family mental improvement. When you enhance your mental attitude, you are not only helping yourself, but also providing a flourishing environment for your child’s mental health.

Healthy Habits

Exercising and eating healthy are the no brainier aspects of the New Year’s resolution premise. It is quite easy to include little healthy habits, such as drinking plenty of water and taking the stairs, into your busy schedule without thinking about explaining it to your child. To improve your child’s health, you must also incorporate these concepts into their daily lives. Explain to them why you are parking farther away from the store and why carrots are a better snack choice versus cookies. It may seem like a cumbersome task, but to curious young minds, it is critical in developing good habits early on in life. Beyond explaining the “whys” of health, be sure to include your child in your healthy activities. Children learn with their hands and their eyes, so next time, let them help you wash the veggies for your stir-fry dinner and let them join you on your afternoon walk. You can encourage healthy habits in their play as well by providing healthy food sets for pretend cooking and allotting time for active play, such as dancing and running.

New Sprouts® Healthy Snack Set.jpg

Product spotlight: New Sprouts® Healthy Snack Set

It’s snack time! Nourishing snacks encourage children to make healthy choices! The freshly designed play foods in this set are soft and durable—perfect for small hands and big appetites! Snack on fresh fruit and yogurt, a granola bar, cheese and crackers, or veggies and pretzels!

Have a unique New Year’s resolution for your family? Share your ideas with others by commenting below.

5 Ways to Make Warm Winter Memories with Your Kids

17 Jan

1-12-17-fmaily-reading

It is incredibly easy to get the cold, winter blues when the excitement of the holidays has past. Exchanging warm nights filled with family traditions, cheer, and enthusiasm for nights of snow and cabin fever can be tough on little ones. Here are some ideas that you can implement to help combat the melancholy of winter while building precious memories.

Family Photo Sharing Time

Whether you store them in a dusty crate in the attic or in carefully designed and organized scrapbooks on the shelf, looking at family photos can provide an excellent night of indoor entertainment. Your children would love to see the adventures of your youth, important events such as their favorite uncle’s wedding, and even their baby pictures from the not so distant past. If you have fully adapted to the technology age and prefer your photos digital, have no fear! This gives you a fantastic opportunity to invite the grandparents over who are sure to have a few photo books sitting around. Plus, there is nothing like reminiscing past summer vacations to warm up a cold winter’s night.

Reinvent Family Movie Night

Often the go-to staple of family time, especially during the winter, movie night can easily become predictable. Why not reinvent it? Instead of watching that cartoon adventure that you can quote word for word, watch old family films that are sure to be crammed full of memories and stories. If you do not have access to home movies, why not start a collection now? Whip out your cell phone and record your little ones answering questions. You can even host a mini family “talent show” then relive the memories by watching your new film at your next family movie night.

Favorite Food Night

Nothing can lift a mood like giving your child their favorite food. Next time you plan your family dinners consider hosting a family favorite food night. Simply create a meal including at least one favorite food item from each family member. For example, if your favorite food is Italian and another member of the family favorite food is Mexican, perhaps you can enjoy a dinner of spaghetti tacos or something less intimidating such as pasta top with taco meat and queso cheese. Yum!

Family Game Night- Winter Edition!

Playing in the snow is a must do in wintertime. Time to make it a family affair! You can, of course, stick to the “snow day staple” such as snowman building, snowball fighting, and sledding. If you are interested in changing up your snow play, try building snow animals instead of snowmen. You can even play traditional games such as “Tic Tac Toe” and “Hot Potato” but instead with and in the snow. If your house is lacking the white, fluffy, wet stuff; consider artificial snow, all the same fun with less hassle and no need to shovel the driveway!

1-12-17-super-snow

Product Spotlight: Super Snow Bucket (1.5 lb.)

Create snow at anytime, in any climate! Simply add a tablespoon of Super Snow powder to a quart of water and stir. The more it’s stirred, the more it shines and sparkles. Super Snow expands to more than 100 times its size and lasts for weeks without rewetting. Makes over 15 gallons of snow.

Family Fitness

Cabin fever is hard to defeat when the temperatures outside make playtime a challenge. Family fitness is a great way to combat both post-holiday calories and winter restlessness. It can be as simple as pushing the couches aside and stretching as a group or as planned out as a group exercise session. You can even choose to involve your little ones into your already existent home fitness routine, such as having them count your push-ups and “hold down” your feet during sit-ups. Use classic games like “Simon Says” to creatively morph simple exercises like jumpin’ jacks into family fun!

Have other family activities that you use to form special memories and chase away the winter blues? Share your ideas with others and us by commenting below.

12 Days of Learning | Day 1: Decorating Fun

29 Nov

12Days_Blog_0000_Layer Comp 1

Many people, especially kids, love decorating for the holidays because the festive wreaths, Christmas trees, and other holiday decorations are symbols of the holiday season and heighten the anticipation of Christmas morning. Decorating for the holidays can provide plenty of educational opportunities for your kids and is also the perfect opportunity for your family to spend time together. We have some great tips to help make decorating fun and educational for your family:

1. Decide which decorations are best for your family.

The age of your children will help determine which decorations you should put up for the holidays. Young children, especially those becoming more mobile, will require extra safety measures to ensure that they don’t break something or injure themselves. One good safety measure to remember while you’re decorating is to make sure you put kid-friendly ornaments closer to the bottom of your Christmas tree if you have young children. You can still decorate the tree with delicate or glass ornaments, but you need to place them closer to the top of the tree to ensure that children can’t reach them.

If you’re worried your children might accidentally topple the tree over, try to place it in a room where you can shut the door to prevent kids from entering without an adult. You could even make that room a special holiday room in which your family spends time listening to Christmas music or reading holiday stories. If you use garland to decorate, make sure you secure it properly or place it where kids can’t reach because they may accidentally tear it down. You should be able to use a variety of decorations if your children are older. Just make sure that they understand any rules you may have, such as them not being able to light candles without an adult present.

2. Ask kids for their decorating ideas.

Kids can come up with some really creative ideas, so ask them for their input on where things should go or what decorations they would like to see. Being able to help decorate their home will add to kids’ excitement for the holidays and can help them start their own traditions. You can ask kids to pick out the Christmas tree topper or come up with a fun table centerpiece. It’s also a good idea to let children pick a few decorations they want to put in their own room. A small Christmas tree, Christmas rug, or a plush and cuddly snowman would be a great addition to a child’s bedroom during the holidays.

3. Create an ornament tradition.

Ornaments are a major part of holiday decorations, so come up with an ornament tradition that your whole family will love. One idea is to pick out or make an ornament for each of your children every year. When children are old enough, they can then pick out or make their own ornament. This would make a great family time activity and will give your children a collection of ornaments they can hang on their own Christmas tree when they are older. You could also purchase or make a family ornament each year and personalize it with pictures, names, or important dates and events.

shutterstock_123550264

4. Incorporate science lessons while decorating.

There are a plethora of science lessons you can incorporate while decorating with your kids. As you decorate the Christmas tree, for example, talk about how it grew and ask children what they notice about its characteristics. Can they describe the texture, color, or smell? You could even take your children to a Christmas tree farm, so they can see where the trees come from while they pick one to take home. If you have an artificial tree, you can still talk to children about real Christmas trees or other Christmas plants, such as poinsettias and holly. Talking to kids about electricity and light bulbs in relation to Christmas lights is another science lesson you can incorporate while decorating with your kids. Ask them where they think electricity comes from or what they think makes Christmas lights so pretty.

shutterstock_783684

5. Come up with kid-friendly decorating tasks.

One great way to engage children and keep them occupied while you’re doing some of the more difficult holiday decorating tasks is to give them some of their own tasks to do. Have them complete a centerpiece bowl or basket by filling them with pine cones, beads, ornaments, candles, candy canes, or other small Christmas items. You can also have them stick bows onto presents or have them practice tying bows or making their own designs with ribbons. Another great idea is to have them make their own decorations or greeting cards to hang around the house. Consider purchasing a variety of art supplies to help your kids create their decorative masterpiece and to keep them engaged during the upcoming winter months.

6. Have a special holiday decoration for each of your kids.

Having their own decoration or holiday tradition will help children feel more involved in the holidays and increase their excitement for Christmas. Consider giving children a Christmas train set, holiday village, ornament set, or holiday stocking for them to put up every year. This helps children know what their decorating task will be and gives them something to look forward to each year. Regardless of which decorations your family chooses to put up, taking the time to include kids in the decorating fun will make the holiday season more enjoyable for the whole family.

Check back on Monday for Day 2 of our 12 Days of Learning!

Happy Holidays!