Crafts

A Fun Activity at Home for Little Kids

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A Fun Activity at Home for Little Kids

Today, I’d like to share a fun activity at home for little kids this summer…because as much as I love to be an on-the-go mama, with on-the-go kids, sometimes it’s nice to just be at home and enjoy some downtime (especially in the afternoon when it is so HOT to play outside!).

On the flip side, I can only play Legos or My Little Ponies so much before my eye starts to twitch (just keepin’ it real, moms!).  Which means that I am constantly trying to invent (or have the kids invent and create) fun indoor games to play…and if I can get some stealthy learning lessons in there, I will!  Here’s what I call the “Toy Store” game…and it kept them busy for at least two hours!

Prep work

First, I explained that we were going to make a toy store in our playroom – you can pretty much make up any kind of store, but we liked the idea of a toy store the best.  I thought if we played grocery store, they may eat all the “merchandise” before the game even began – lol!

I asked them each to pick seven toys (you can choose any number you want) and set them aside.

“Build” your toy store

Next, I gave them the task of “building” their store.  We have these large play “bricks,” which worked perfectly, but let their imaginations take over.  Part of the fun is letting them create this space!  Get out blankets, blocks, fabric boxes, let them move kid furniture around…whatever they want to do.  My one rule – they had to work together as a team.

Pricing

Then, I had them work on price tags. Here’s where you can sneak in a math lesson and work on fine motor skills.  Each of my kiddos have different things they need to practice, so I assigned each kid a job.  My 5-year-old had to trace rectangles (to immulate price tags) and then carefully cut them out. Next, my 7-year-old assigned each price tag a different monetary value.

A Fun Activity at Home for Little Kids_2

Raid your piggy bank

Here’s my kids’ favorite part – I had them dump out their piggy banks and put handfuls of real money in little ziplock bags. I had them each categorize pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters – then pick them up (a great fine motor building activity!) and put them in their ziplocks.  They thought they were rich!

Set-up your store

Here’s when we put the final touches on their “store.”  I had them place each of their chosen toys in the store space, and then assign each toy a price tag.  Just for fun, I threw in a handful of Dollar Store toys so they had some cool, new things to “buy.”  They were thrilled!

Time to shop!

And, finally…it’s shopping time!  They could each pick out one toy at a time to “buy,” and they brought me (their trusty cashier) the toy and the price tag.  Then, they had to count out the exact change to purchase the item. This was awesome for so many reasons – they practiced counting, money denominations, how they could reach a certain price several different ways (depending on their available coins), adding, subtracting – the math lessons rocked in this game!  Here’s a picture of each of my kiddies, deep in thought (and counting).

A Fun Activity at Home for Little Kids_3

Overall, this was a really fun game that both kids enjoyed…and like I said, it took a good two hours! They worked as a team, used their creativity, practiced math, and even got to “buy” some new toys.  They loved it, and asked if we could play “toy store” everyday.  This is a huge compliment coming from them (even though they had already moved on by the next day – lol!).

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Cute DIY Father’s Day Gift Ideas

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DIY Fathers Day Gift Ideas from Kids

For anyone looking for some cute DIY Fathers Day gift ideas from kids, I’ve rounded up some of my Pinterest favorites.  These are super adorable and super easy to make!

1. Book About Dad

Image and idea found on www.themeasuredmom.com

free-printable-book-about-Dad

This free printable Father’s Day “book” template is perfect for kiddos who are old enough to draw their daddy some fun pictures…and write about what they love most about him.

2. Daddy Tackle Box

Image and idea found on www.redtri.com

daddy tacklebox

I saw this idea and thought it was adorable!  Pick up an inexpensive plastic container with multiple sections, and select candy that resembles anything fishing-related (Swedish fish and gummy worms are my favorite!).  A yummy treat for dad…and a cute spin for daddies who love to fish. A daddy “tackle” box!!

3. I’m hooked on Daddy!

Hooked on Daddy

Speaking of fishing, isn’t this precious?!  I’m little biased since my son made this at preschool.  His preschool teacher had each child dip their hand in orange paint and carefully make a print on a white ceramic tile.  And since (at the time) this was the “3s and 4s” class, she finished up the masterpiece by painting the hook and ocean…plus added the “I’m hooked on daddy,” with my son’s name and date.  My husband LOVED this!

4. Daddy Ties

Image and idea found on www.thecraftingchicks.com

Printable-Daddy-Ties

This is a great way to not only make daddy a new “tie,” but also have your kiddo fill out one of those cute surveys about their daddy.  I loved this presentation.  Plus this site offers it as a free printable!

5. Daddy Art Frame

Idea and image found on www.itsysparks.com 

Daddy Frame Art

You can pick up one of these three tier frames pretty inexpensively at Target or Walmart.  Choose a finger paint picture (or really any art your child has made) and crop it to fit in the first photo spot.  Add your kiddo’s picture in the next space, and finally write a personal message, or print this super sweet poem for daddies (found on the site) and put it in the third spot.  Add any stickers or writing to the matte part of the frame, and voila!  A great keepsake for daddy!

6. “A Chip Off the Old Block”

A Chip Off the Old Block

This is another favorite project from our preschool, back when Elizabeth was little.  Her teachers got a smooth piece of wood and made a “chip” in the wood block. Then each child got to paint/decorate the wood.  Next, they had each child wear something that represented their daddy (for us, of course, was his favorite Wildcats sweatshirt!), printed the picture, and hot glued the picture on the wood block.  The final touch?  A sweet little “Chip off the old block” print-out.  My husband still has this in his office.  Such a cute idea!

7. “Play Ball” Mason Jar

Image and idea found on www.hometalk.com

play-ball-mason-jar

This is so fun for any sports loving dad…you can decorate a mason jar to look like a baseball (pictured above), a basketball, a football, a soccer ball – the sky’s the limit!  For a little extra pizazz, add sporting tickets to an upcoming game!

8. New Daddy Survival Kit

Image and idea found on www.lifewiththesweetmans.wordpress.com

New Daddy Survival Kit

I LOVE this idea for new dads.  Check out the site for details on what to put in this gift basket – they suggest adding a little attached note to each “survival” item…some are cute, some are hilarious!  Great for new dads or dads-to-be.

9. Father’s Day “Scrabble” Frame

Image and idea found on www.zitzmanfam.blogspot.com

Scrabble Frame

Talk about simple…and cute!  Pick a frame you love, print a picture of your kiddo(s) that you love, and hot glue scrabble letters to the frame.  You can spell out any message you want…”I love you,” or “You are my hero,” or “Super Dad.”  The possibilities are endless. Done and done.

10. Kid-Made Scribble Mug

Image and idea found on www.iheartartsncrafts.com

Scribble Mug

Last, but not least, this site walks you through how to make a “scribble” mug.  If you have coffee or tea loving dad, this would be a great DIY gift idea!  Check out the site for step-by-step instructions.  Love this!

Do you have any favorite DIY or easy Father’s Day crafts that you’ve had success with?  If so, please share below!  Let’s show all of the daddies out there some love!

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Adorable Teacher Gift Ideas

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End of Year Teacher Gift Ideas

Okay mamas, we’re in the home stretch.  You know what I’m talking about.  The beloved tradition of counting down the number of schools days left until…SUMMER!  We.are.so.close.  And it’s not too early to start thinking about teacher gift ideas for the end of the year.  Because if you think we’re tired…they have to be exhausted!!!  Let’s show them our love and appreciation.

Recently our “Thanks for Helping Me Grow” end of the year succulent gift was featured in a round up of DIY Thank You Gifts for Teachers, so check out those cute ideas, and here are some more adorable end of year teacher gift ideas to celebrate your child’s teachers this year.

End of Year Teacher Gift Ideas Round-Up

Picture Flower Bouquet
Idea and image found on www.mandydouglass.blogspot.com

Picture Flower Bouquet

How darling is this?!  If you plan far enough in advance, you can ask each parent to bring in a small headshot picture of their child…or “sneak in” one day during class time and take individual pictures, then have them printed. What a fun and creative way to say thank you to your favorite teacher!


“Thank You Teacher” Free Printable
Idea and image found on www.thesuburbanmom.com 

Thank You Teacher Free Printable

I just love this idea because it’s such a cute keepsake.  You can have each child in class fill out this adorable free printable and have them either attach a picture…or draw one themselves.  Then have the printables bound or put in cute folder booklet.

Hands Down Teacher Appreciation Gift
Idea and image found on www.eighteen25.blogspot.com

Hands Down Best Teacher

Sweet-smelling soap, a cute little gift tag, and your child’s cut out handprint with their name.  Super simple, super cute, super sweet.

Summertime Basket
Idea and image found on www.beneathmyheart.net

Easy Teacher Gift Idea - Summertime

I love theme baskets, and I thought this one was really cute for summer. Doesn’t it make you want to have a nice cold glass of lemonade?  Take a peek at all of the items, add your own, and personalize it to what you know your teacher will love and/or use.

Cute Cups and & Printable Tags
Idea and image found on www.crazylittleprojects.com

Teacher appreciation ideas - Cups

What I love about these super cute cups and tags?  They are summery, totally usable…and you can put just about any gift card, candy, bath salts, confetti, etc. that you want to jazz it up.  Voila!

Thank You for Helping Me Grow
Idea and image found on www.snippetsofcreations.blogspot.com

Thank You for Helping Me Grow

I know how much my teacher loves gardening, so this would be such a sweet gift for her. What a fun spin on giving a pretty bouquet of flowers.

Manicure Jar Teacher Appreciation Gift
Idea and image found on www.hip2save.com

manicure-jar-teacher-appreciation-gift-idea-printable-hip2save

Who doesn’t love a mani?!  Such a cute mason jar idea, especially with the free printable tag to go with it.  A manicure in a jar!

Teacher Summer Relaxation Kit
Idea and image found on www.thedecorfix.com

beach-bag-items

How charming is this?  You can “build” your teacher a beach or pool bag with all of her summer “relaxation essentials.”  Lots of room to customize, depending on what your teacher likes.

Coffee Lovers Basket
Idea and image found on www.happyhomefairy.com

Teacher Gifts - Coffee Gift

Ah, the best “go-to” gift in my opinion.  A Starbucks cards.  You can never go wrong with a Starbucks card!  And I love that the card “holder” is actually a Starbucks cup.  A clever and cute way to snazz up the gift presentation.

Free (Funny!) Teacher Appreciation Cards
Idea and image found on www.blog.chickabug.com

Free Funny Teacher Appreciation Cards

And finally…if Pinterest and crafty projects aren’t your deal, take a look at these hilarious teacher appreciation cards on Chickabug!  Print ’em out, slap on a gift card, and you’re good to go.  Done and done!

Do you have any fun or cute end of year gifts ideas to celebrate teachers?  If so, please share below!  And hang in there mamas (and teachers!), it’s almost SUMMER!!!

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Cute Saint Patrick’s Day Traditions

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St. Patrick's Day Traditions for Kids

This past weekend, my daughter announced that we needed to start working on our leprechaun trap for Saint Patrick’s Day…and buy a box of Lucky Charms so when we trap him, he’ll feel at home with a nice breakfast treat.

But to begin, I have a confession – I had never really planned to start Saint Patrick’s Day traditions with my kiddos. Although I love the holiday, I usually put up a couple of cute decorations around the house, buy the kids some adorable green T-shirts to wear at school and call it a day.

That is until my oldest was in kindergarten last year.  And was introduced to the concept of leprechaun traps…in fact, it was a school project for all of the kinders.  And that’s when the questions started…

“Mom, why doesn’t a leprechaun visit our house each year?  Why doesn’t he turn our toilet bowl green? (Ummmm, time out.  Excuse me?!)  What kind of treats is he going to leave for us…real gold???”

Whoa there, cowgirl!  Let’s take a breath.  Green potties?  Real gold???

First, I explained that just like our Elf on the Shelf, Jingles, that leprechauns are all different too…and get into different types of mischief at different houses …and may not even visit some houses.  (Unfortunately, my daughter was SO adamant about a leprechaun visit that I wasn’t getting out of this.).  It was time to put together some new Saint Patrick’s Day traditions – stat.

St. Patrick’s Day Traditions for Kids 

1. Don’t Get Pinched!

First and foremost, I make sure each kiddo has a new green-themed T-shirt or outfit to wear to school.  I usually raid Target, Walmart or The Children’s Place, and find pretty cute stuff.  It’s always fun to get something new as a kid, and it helps them get into the spirit of the holiday.

2. Leprechaun Traps

Yep, we are now a family that has a leprechaun trap each year (because apparently, it really is a thing nowadays!). Actually, it’s a pretty fun project to do, especially if you like crafting with your kids.  I kind of fudged it, and started with a Saint Patty’s Day felt hat I found at Michael’s craft store…and just cut a small piece of the top off.  Then I let my daughter figure out a way to “trap” the leprechaun – you can use small toys around the hours, stickers, pipe cleaners, etc..  There’s really not a right or wrong way to make a trap – and if you Google it, there are hundreds of ideas!  Jen actually wrote a great blog all about easy-to-build leprechaun traps!

Here’s a picture of our trap last year…

Leprechaun Trap_FINAL

We left our “trap” on the kitchen table the night before Saint Patrick’s Day.  And wouldn’t you know…a leprechaun actually found his way to our house, walked all over the table, leaving tiny green footprints (I used a super small green frosting tube from the cake decorating section, dabbed some on each of my pinkie fingers, and made “footprints” all over the table.

Unfortunately, our trap didn’t quite work, because the leprechaun was gone before the kids woke up.  But, he did leave them one chocolate gold coin each.

And no, he did NOT turn our toilet bowl green.  I had to draw the line somewhere…and that was it!

3. Make Gold Coins

I get out lots of yellow contraction paper and have the kids draw all sizes of circles (to represent gold coins).  Then, I have them cut all of the “coins” out.  We left these around the trap as bait.

This is also a stealthy way to practice fine motor skills!

4. Special Breakfast

Speaking of Lucky Charms, yes, I totally let my kids enjoy a nice big bowl of sugary, marshmallow goodness for breakfast on Saint Patrick’s Day.  Teachers = you’re welcome (cringe).  I swear, every other day out of the year I make them eat something healthy before school (okay….most days).

5. Cutsie Crafts

Now that my kids have moved onto leprechaun traps, that tends to take up most of our crafting time.  But, there are SO many adorable craft ideas out there for Saint Patrick’s Day, especially for littles.  Here are a few super cute ones I found on Pinterest.

End of the Rainbow Twirlers
From www.craftymorning.com  – End of the Rainbow Paper Plate Twirler

End of the Rainbow


Alphabet and Number Saint Patrick’s Day Matching
From www.iheartcraftythings.com – Alphabet and Number Saint Patrick’s Day Matching

ABC and Number Match Shamrock


“Fruit Loops” Rainbow & Marshmallows
From sortingsprinkles.blogspot.comSaint Patrick’s Day for Preschoolers – Part 1

Fruit Loops Rainbow

 

Do you have any fun Saint Patrick’s Day traditions to share?  Do you do anything special for this holiday?  If so, please share below!

 

Top photo credit: Flickr,
Copyright All rights reserved by jciv

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Mom! What’s For Dinner?

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 Links in this post are Amazon affiliate links. 

I got a little craft recently with this DIY meal planning board which has has revolutionized weeknight dinners and reduced the “what’s for dinner?” stress in our house.

It was silly simple to make, and I even include a free printable meal planning template. Read the how to below.
DIY-Meal-Planning-Board-

The inspiration for this DIY meal planning board came from a recent BBQ we went to at a friend’s house. She had this ADORABLE framed meal planning board on her kitchen counter and told me it had been a lifesaver for her family. Not to mention the money they were saving from not going out to eat last minute.

I asked her where she got it, and she told me it was an easy DIY project. Basically all you need is a cute picture frame, a piece of scrapbook paper and a dry erase marker.

Hmmm. I am not super crafty, but it seemed even I could do that!

DIY Meal Planning Board Supplies 

1. Picture frame

I loved this one from Amazon:

 2. Scrapbook Paper

My friend had a super cute distressed wood scrapbook paper, so I attempted to find something similar in the gray tones with no luck at Michaels. However, I did find a distressed wood in brown tones. Here is a cute Barnwood Scrapbook Paper I found on Amazon if this look works for you.  The best part is, you can choose a paper/background to match your home decor.

 3. Free Printable Meal Planning Template

I created this free printable meal planning template -> CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD <- and all you have to do is cut the scrapbook paper to fit your printer, and print the template out on your paper of choice.

The scrapbook paper is so cheap you can buy a few designs and actually switch them out every now and again when you want a fresh look.

4. Dry Erase Marker

Last all you need is a Fine Tip Dry Erase Marker and you are good to go! My friend had hers attached to a string and mounted on the back, which is a great idea. I still need to do that. Then, when you are done with your weekly menu, simply erase and plan your new menu for the upcoming week.

5. Board or Frame Stand (If You Need One)

I have a pet peeve about picture frames falling or sliding when just using the built in cardboard stands, so I purchased this Two Wire Display Stand and love it! The white material grips to the surface of our kitchen counter top so it doesn’t slide around.

Happy menu planning!

Homemade Menu Planning Board

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