Sick Day Activities To Do With Your Little Ones

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Sick Day Activities 6

Cure boredom and blahs, while keeping them happy and occupied!

I was recently reminded how crummy sick days are with your kiddos…especially by day two or day three.  So here are my sick day activities to do with your little ones.

Not only do your babies feel awful, but you’re also quarantined at home. With sick kiddos. Who are cranky, tired, blah…and antsy.

Yes, antsy.  Just last week, my little man was fighting a virus  Day one = sleep and snuggles. Day two and three = antsy, with side of cabin fever.

Too sick to leave home, he was crawling up the walls.  And so was I.

There are hundreds of ideas to entertain your kids during sick days at home…and here are a few of my favorites I keep in my back pocket.

Play Doh

Keep little hands busy with this very chill activity.  I break out every Play Doh tub we have, add in a few of my little guy’s favorite trucks or trains, and we create roads, bridges, animals, shapes, and different colors all over our kitchen table.

We also like to include our cookie cutters from all of our different holiday collections…he gets such a kick out of pushing down and making a cool shape.  Especially a snowman in August.

Catch Up on Your Cards

Instead of the typical coloring book activity, why don’t you catch up on any thank-you notes?  Have your kiddo draw a picture, leaving room for your handwritten note.  If your child is old enough, have them practice writing simple sentences.

Or, have them color or create pictures for future birthday cards or any upcoming holiday cards.  Get as creative as you’d like – stickers, markers, crayons, glitter…whatever you have in your craft/junk drawer.

Then, file them away for when you need them – an easy way to finally get ahead on correspondence. 

Still Feeling Crafty?  Make Your Own Memory Game! 

Help your kiddo pick a category…depending on their age and what they need to work on.  Ideas include shapes, colors, numbers, letters, etc.

You can make this as simple or as challenging as you’d like.  For example, I’d have my five-year-old pick out construction paper, practice tracing squares, then cutting the “cards.”  Once you have 20-30 cards (close to the same size, if possible), have them draw their chosen items on one side of the cards, mimicking the traditional “memory” game format (i.e.  two cards with circles, two cards with hearts, two cards with triangles, etc.).

Mix them up, lay them out face-down, and voila!  Your own homemade memory game.  The creative process will keep them busy for a little while…then they actually get to play a game!

Go on a Scavenger Hunt

What about a good old-fashioned scavenger hunt…at home?  My kiddos LOVE finding things…especially when it’s a little competitive.  Make a list of fun things around the house, give them each a bucket or bag, and let your little ones find everything on their list.  Each kid that completes the list gets a small prize. (of mom’s choosing).

Here are some ideas to include:

– Something fuzzy (really anything sensory…hard, soft, bumpy, etc.)
– Something that is a [insert shape, color, etc.]
– A book with an “N” in it’s title (or whatever letter you want)
– Something with their name on it
– Something that smells good
– Something that they would find in a pocket
– Something from under their bed
– Something they’ve made

Really, the sky’s the limit…it also depends on your child’s age.  Make it easy or challenging.  Just have fun with it!

Play with Chop Sticks

This is such a fun idea that I am borrowing from a wonderful friend…who is also a fabulous homeschool teacher and mama of three. She filled a big mixing bowl with small craft “pom poms.”  Then she ordered easy-to-squeeze kid chopsticks from Amazon (see the picture below).

Munchkins can use these chopsticks to pick up the pom poms…an excellent activity to practice fine motor skills for eventually writing!  Both my toddler AND my kindergartener loved this activity.

Sick Day Activities 1

What are your sick day go-to’s?  Share below so we can all benefit from each other’s tips!  

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Throwback Thursday

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fun things to do with kids in Orange County

I thought I would do something fun from time to time and do a Throwback Thursday post where I post an oldie by goodie for those new readers, and today’s post is on fun things to do with kids in Orange County.

29 fun things to be exact.

I compiled this list of 29 fun things to do in Orange County in honor of Leap Day last year, and now looking back, it is a pretty fun list!

You can click here to find my 29 fun things to do.

I heart OC so much. From children’s museums to beaches, jump places to petting zoos, we live in an area where there is so much to do!

Do you have any to add?

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The Scoop on Where Kids Eat Free in OC

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Where Kids Eat Free in the OC 1 Our family loves having meals together…and I especially love when I don’t have to always cook it for them!  Read here for my tips on where kids eat free in Orange County.

Yum!  Check Out these Kid-Friendly Restaurants…

Denny’s Restaurants (Mission Viejo location): Two days of fabulous kid meal deals!  Your kids can eat free every Tuesday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 10p.m. at participating Denny’s..I know the location in Mission Viejo honors this promotion…so if there’s a Denny’s closer to you, just call ahead and check first. Up to two kids can eat free per one adult entree purchase – sweet!

Farrell’s (Mission Viejo Mall location)Ice cream sundaes for dessert, anyone?  Pop on over to Farrell’s on Wednesdays…because kids eat free all day off the kid menu (with the purchase of one adult meal and one adult beverage, counted per child). 

Fred’s Mexican Cafe (Laguna Niguel location): Every Sunday evening from 4-9 p.m. your kiddos can eat off the kid’s menu for half price (there are a variety of items).  Valid with one adult meal per child’s meal.

El Torito (Irvine  location, MacArthur Blvd.): Munch on chips, salsa, guacamole…and order some delicious kids meals for your kiddos!  Your children can eat free on Wednesdays, with every regular adult entree purchase. (ages 12 and under).

IHOP Restaurants (Orange location): Select IHOP locations have “Kids Eat Free” afternoons – this one in Orange honors this promotion everyday after 4 p.m., when you buy an adult entree and an adult beverage. Since this great deal is restaurant specific, always make sure to call ahead and confirm if you are visiting another location.

Pasta Pomodoro (Newport Coast location): Feel like some pasta?  Visit Pasta Pomodoro, and your kiddos (12 and under) will receive a free kid’s meal on Tuesdays (all day!) with the purchase of an adult meal.

Ruby’s Diner (most locations – call ahead):  What’s better than red vinyl booths, burgers, fries and shakes?  Kids 12 and under eat free from the kids menu every Tuesday evening after 4 p.m – one free kid’s meal per one adult entree purchased.

Stadium Brewing Company (Aliso Viejo location): Start your week off right…every Monday after 5 p.m., kids 12 and under eat free with each adult entree purchase.

TGI Friday’s (Costa Mesa location) – I’m excited to share that this location offers TWO days of kids eat free!  You kiddos will enjoy a free kid’s meal every Monday and Tuesday (all day!), per purchase of an adult meal.

Z’Tejas (South Coast Plaza location):  If you’re doing a little shopping at South Coast, keep in mind that kids eat free on Sundays from 4 p.m. to closing  (per one adult entrée off of their regular menu).

*Note – Different chain restaurant locations may vary their promotions, so please always call your closest location ahead of time to confirm!

Where do you take your kids to eat?  Any other places that you know of where kiddos eat free in Orange County?

If so, share in the comments below!

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Cool Book for LEGO Lovers

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LEGO building book for kids

Recently I was contacted with the opportunity to review  a new book called Cool Creations in 35 Pieces, a LEGO building book, by LEGO artist Sean Kenney.

I immediately thought of my 4-year-old nephew, A.J., who at a very young age became a LEGO fanatic. I asked my sister if she would like to put this new book to the test on her LEGO lover, to which the answer was an enthusiastic, “YES.”

Cool Creations in 35 Pieces Review

by Suzanne Burns, mom of a 4-year-old LEGO fan

“I was excited to be able to test out this new LEGO building book by Sean Kenney as I was desperate for some indoor quiet activities while baby brother napped during the last (LONG) week of summer.

My 4-year-old is LEGO crazy so the idea of this book is so smart. Sean re-uses the same 35 pieces to make a variety of images in all different categories.

LEGOS

When starting out, the first thing you do is find these 35 pieces in your own Lego collection. If you don’t have them, you can also order from his website.

I love this because you don’t need the specific piece with the suggested colors ~ but you can mix it up with what you have available. Done…here’s what we dug up!

LEGO pieces for Lego Building Book
Then, let the building begin!

It is separated into sections of robots, silly faces, vehicles, farm animals, etc. And with 35 pieces, the steps are very simple for a 4-year-old to complete on his own. Heaven!!

I actually told him to surprise me with his favorite one and then I went….to shower!! A long shower that wasn’t interrupted through the curtain asking me to find a piece for him or help him when he finish a step.

Over the course of a few days, my little guy kept going back to the book and finding new ones to build.

Here he is in action and with a few of his creations. Most importantly, the Pirate Policeman finally had a giant mouse to ride. I just love to see my kid’s imagination at work!

Lego Building Book
So if you know a Lego fanatic, this would be a perfect birthday or holiday gift at a fantastic price point…only $13!!! It is sure to keep them busy and entertained! We will for sure check out some of his other books in the future!!!”

Sean Kenney is an artist who creates scultpures and models out of LEGO bricks at his studio in New York City. He has toured the world with his creations and produced six inspirational and instructive children’s books. For more info and to see his books and art, visit www.seankenney.com.

[Disclosure: Complimentary copy of Cool Creations in 35 pieces was provided for review. 110% of our opinions are our own. My sister on numerous occasions has remarked on how much she LOVES this book. ]

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A Getting Ready for School System for Stress-free Mornings

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Getting Ready Morning Checklist

Right before school started I was at a friend’s house and noticed a getting ready morning chart of tasks for her daughter. I thought it was a really great idea, so I decided to try it myself with my girls for this new school year.

I don’t know about you, but many mornings in the getting ready for school rush I would hear myself constantly barking out orders or questions. 

Did you brush your teeth? Is your bed made? Get dressed! Where are your shoes? Get in the car! We’re going to be late! 

One of my goals this school year is to have more peaceful, stress-free mornings, because isn’t that a better way for everyone to start the day?

Our getting ready for school mornings so far have been a big success – thanks to these getting ready morning charts for kids – so I am very excited to share this new system with you.

First Things First: The Night Before 

Before I get started on the charts, from experience, I have noticed doing a few things the night before will give you a head start as your go into your day. Namely,

1. Have them choose their outfit and lay out the items from head to toe, from hair accessories to socks.

2. Put their homework folder and any other items that need to go to school in their backpack.

And of course, if you have time:

3. Pack lunches to save precious morning minutes. Now onto our new getting ready morning charts…

Getting Ready Morning Chart for Grade Schoolers 

I have two daughters, ages 4 and 7, so although the getting ready tasks are generally the same, I had to tailor them to their ages.

For my second grader Emma, I did her chart and also put in times.  Now, we are only two weeks in, but each day she has gone into her room to start her getting ready list at 7:30 on the dot, and the mornings have been dreamily smooth.

She loves following her list – I don’t know WHY I didn’t do this sooner!

gettingreadymorningchart

Another thing that is working for us is having her make her bed and tidy her room BEFORE getting dressed. Last year,  if we were running late and the bed was not made, it would not get done as it was more important to get out the door on time. If she does it before she gets dressed, it gets done.

Getting Ready Morning Chart for Preschoolers 

Since my 4-year-old can’t read yet, I still wrote a list for her, but also pulled little pictures off the web to put next to the words so she knew what she had to do.

She was so excited when she got it, and quickly named off each thing to do from the pictures.

preschoolergettingreadychart

Now on the mornings when I take Emma to school, my husband stays Morgan while he is getting ready for work, and I have enough time to come by from Emma drop off to pick up Morgan to take to preschool.

While I am gone on the first school drop off – she will do most of her list on her OWN.  It has made me realize how she is more than capable of doing many of the things her older sister can do.

I have learned they are capable – we just have to give them the direction!

A Carrot Just for Fun 

Just to give following the getting ready morning checklist a fun incentive, I printed out blank calendars for the month, and taped one for each girl on the side of our washer/dryer in our garage, along with a ziploc baggie with stickers. This is the last thing they do before getting into the car.

I told them that each school day where they got ready nicely, completed their checklist, and made it in the car on time, they would get a sticker on the day.

For every 2o days that have a sticker (hopefully about once a month) they will get to pick a prize from our treasure box.I haven’t been to get the treasure box yet, but I plan to fill it with little inexpensive items like pencils, $1 bin Target finds, erasers, stickers, etc. I don’t think the items really matter, I think it more fun working towards a goal!

gettingreadyrewardcharts

 Do you have any getting ready for school tips to share?

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