Posts by christy:

Cute Fourth of July Crafts for Kids

Let’s Make Fun Fourth of July Crafts for Kids! 

Our family is getting excited for the Fourth of July – we have our festive outfits (okay, the kids have their cute outfits), we have our flags to wave, we have our super fun beach plans, and the kids have been practicing the Pledge of Allegiance.

All we’re missing?  A cute Fourth of July craft.  I googled and surfed Pinterest and asked my mama friends.  Here’s what I stumbled upon:

Make a Flag

What you need:

– A popsicle stick or wooden craft stick
– A medium white rectangular piece of construction paper (you can either have it pre-cut  for itty bittys, or have your preschooler practice cutting a pattern – make the lines straight or wavy, your choice!)
– A washable red and blue marker
– Silver sparkle paint, red paint and blue paint (you can find at any craft store)

We just got a Pretend City membership in Irvine (if you haven’t been, check it out – SO fun for little ones!), and on our first morning there, they had a craft station set out after story time.  A “make-you-own-flag” craft.

Have your kiddo make their red stripes on the white rectangle paper, then they can trace the red lines with red paint to add a little pizazz.  Have your kiddo color a small blue square in the upper left corner , then add the silver sparkle paint as the stars (dots).

Glue the “flag” to the “pole,” have your little one write their name on the “pole” (or help them), and let it dry.  Voila!  Each kiddo has a new flag to wave.  Thank you Pretend City!

Firework Pictures

Thank you for the great idea, “No Time for Flashcards” – I found you on Pinterest and I love all of your adorable craft ideas!  You can find this cute idea here on No Time for Flashcards.

What you need:

– Cupcake liners (any color is fine)
– Washable markers (for any “firework” color you want)
– Glitter
– Black construction paper
– Safety scissors
– Glue

Have your little ones color all over the on the cupcake lines – the more color, the better!   Then, fold your cupcake liners into little cone shapes and cut several mini slits.  Glue your liners to the construction paper and then go glitter crazy!!  Ta-da!!!  You have your own “fireworks” show.  (Just make sure to let it dry.)

Quick Tip – Sooooo, we started this craft and quickly realized that our glue sticks were dried up – ugh.  Don’t you hate when that happens?  Instead, I broke out my glitter paint sticks, which ended up being even more fun…because my little girl has a rule.  There is no such thing as too much glitter!

What is your favorite Fourth of July craft?  Has anyone successfully made those adorable “flag” sheet cakes with the white frosting and fruit?  Share your ideas below so we can all enjoy before the big day!

Easy Summer Crafts for Kids

Easy Summer Crafts for Kids!

I’m constantly checking out Pinterest for cute ideas to keep little minds and little hands busy and now that we’re done with school and both kiddos are home with me, I really need to up my craft game!

I’ve compiled three easy summer crafts for kids that have been a hit at my house…hope they work out for you!

Pudding Paint

I actually “borrowed” this idea from a “Kate Plus 8” episode I watched a million years ago (back when it was just “Kate Plus 8!”).  Pudding paint!  There are SO many things you can do with this.

Simply mix up different flavors (colors) of pudding (or just buy those little pudding cups from the grocery store), break out the paint brushes (big and small)…and get creative!  You can corral the kids in your backyard and let them “paint” each other…then hose them off!

Or, use the pudding as “paint” on construction paper, paper plates…the sky’s the limit.  My little ones had a blast painting – then, eating the “paint” – ha!

Tear Art

My daughter just completed Pre-K, and one of the skills that the kiddos worked on all year was increasing their fine motor abilities.  Of course, the kids didn’t realize this. They just thought they were playing! But, one of my little girl’s favorite art projects was tear art – which really helped the kids work on manipulating small pieces of paper, building their little finger and hand muscles.

And you can make ANYTHING.

Pick a shape.  An animal. Print off a (big)  picture of their favorite character. Then, grab multi color construction paper and have them tear the colors into many small pieces.

Make different “color” tear piles.  Once the tearing is done, have them glue the little pieces in the shape of their project (my princess loved making a rainbow – see below – she made this one at school).  I’ve seen watermelons, suns, flowers, ladybugs, oceans, beaches, fishes, flip-flops…let your kiddo pick and watch their little fingers work their magic!

Magazine Collages – Family Portraits

This is a tried and true fun activity for older kiddos who need to practice cutting.  You just need safety scissors, family-friendly magazines (that you don’t mind being cut up), a large piece of construction paper, and glue.

One of our babysitters had my little girl create this collage for me while I was working – isn’t it adorable?  She had my kids go through magazines and pick pictures that represented our family.  Then, she helped both my babies cut and glue together our family “portrait.”  This was made two years ago.  It is still posted on our art “door.”  I just love it.  And, I hope you’ll love yours!

What’s your favorite, easy summer art project with your kids?  There are SO many to choose from!

Comment below and let’s get an art dialogue going!

 

Fun Summer Activities for Kids in Orange County – Splash, Bounce and Play!

If you’re like me, you’re always looking for fun places to take your kiddos, especially during the summer.  My motto?  Keep ’em active, keep ’em happy!  So take a peek at some of my favorite fun summer activities for kids in Orange County – bounce, splash, play and have FUN!

Splish Splash

Aliso Viejo Aquatic Center (Aliso Viejo) – A beautiful aquatic center that features not only a 25-yard pool, but also an adorable toddler wading pool and a splash pad (see the picture above!)…overlooking a gorgeous golf course and views of the city.  And the best part? You don’t have to be a resident of Aliso Viejo to enjoy this facility – guest passes are available (for purchase) to the public – check out rates and hours here.

The District (Tustin) – Eat, shop AND let your kiddos cool off at The District.  Enjoy a sprinkle of pop-up fountains found right in front of the escalators leading up to the bowling alley and DSW Shoes.

Heritage Park  (Irvine) – I have heard through the “mom grapevine” that this is a GREAT park for little ones – a fun playground WITH a splash pad.  Run, play, splash and pack a picnic lunch – perfect for warm days and fresh air.

Pioneer Road Park (Tustin)– Check out this super fun pioneer-themed park that features two playgrounds, a water section for splashing, a basketball and volleyball court, and picnic areas – can’t wait to bring my little ones to play!

Irvine Spectrum  – What an awesome place to bring the kiddies this summer.  Besides the shopping, besides the restaurants, besides the movie theater, and besides the fun rides (bring your money for a train ride, a spin on the “big wheel” and the carousel!)…you will find a splash area in front of Target.

Time to Bounce!

Jump ‘N Jammin (Mission Viejo) bounce, jump, climb, slide AND fire (soft) balls from a super fun second story tower – you can even purchase a summer passport for additional discounts – check it out!

Pump it Up (Lake Forest, Irvine)inflatable bounce houses, slides, obstacle courses, oh my!  Check out their individual OC locations for specific rates and calendars to see when you can stop by for a “pop-in family jump.”

Scooter’s Jungle (Aliso Viejo) – another adorable indoor bounce extravaganza – run, jump, bounce and slide during open toddler time and “all ages” play time…check out their location in Aliso Viejo for a calendar of open jump times.

I can’t wait to try out these bouncy fun places!

Big Air Trampoline Park (Laguna Hills)jump, jump jump…and jump some more!  Leap, play games, and literally bounce off the walls!  Click here for FAQs and hours.

Frogg’s Bounce House (Fountain Valley) – more bouncing, running, sliding, PLUS a toddler gym, a kids playhouse, a train table, building blocks, Frogalina, a disco karaoke tiki hut, a Little Tykes fun car, frog books, bean bags, beach balls and Nick JR!  Check out their hours and facility here.

Jump Sky High (Costa Mesa) – a trampoline fun center galore!  Flip, bounce, and show off your tricks to your heart’s content.  Take a look at their weekly specials here.

Where is your favorite place to play with your kids this summer?  There are so many wonderful choices in Orange County…comment below and share!

Helping Your Kids Cope with Doctor Fears

As mamas, we can kiss scraped knees, bandage minor cuts, give extra cuddles and run for the iced boo boo pack for owies. But, helping your kids cope with doctor anxiety?  That can be a toughie.

When a trip to your favorite pediatrician is in order (sometimes I swear I need a “frequent visit” card punch) it can cause stress for everyone involved. Does anybody else’s kids freak out when you mention a doctor’s visit?  Well, mine do.

Recently, I was sitting in my daughter’s gymnastics class lounge chatting with the other moms, and this very topic came up.  Turns out, each one of our girls had different fears about the doctor and all of us shared what worked.

It was all such great advice…girlfriend to girlfriend, mom to mom…that I thought I’d compile it and share with all of you!  So, in no particular order, here’s our two cents. I very much hope you find these tips handy in helping your kids cope with doctor anxiety.

Getting Them TO the Doctor…

1. We ALL agreed that honesty was the best policy (on a need-to-know-basis). If you know your little one is scared of the doctor and you tell them you’re going someplace else to get them in the car, then show-up in the doctor’s parking lot, you’ve lost credibility…and future doctor’s visits will be REALLY unpleasant.

2. On that note, we also all agreed that there was no reason to fuel any unnecessary anxiety or fears by telling them they were going to the doctor next week/tomorrow/etc. (for any well checks), or even, we’re going after lunch/nap/etc.  This gives their little minds time to worry and fret…and get really worked up.

3. One mom said she kept their location vague, and when they pulled into the parking lot and her daughter recognized it (because, of COURSE, most children know the doctor’s parking lot), she calmly told her that they were going in to tell her doctor hello and let them know how [insert child’s name] was doing. She told her daughter she could tell the doctor how well she was doing in school, sports, milestones, how much she’s grown, etc.  This made it a little less scary than saying “Dr. so-and-so is going to give you a check-up!”  Obviously, this will only work for planned, well exams or visits.  Not lying, but not explicitly saying “check-up!” Needles!  Shots!

Needles, Shots, Pokes, Oh My!

4. Speaking of shots, one mom handles them this way.  When her daughter asks if she is going to get one (in advance of the appointment), and says how scared she is of needles, the mom will say validate her fear (“I know needles can be scary, honey.  But, they give your body medicine sometimes when you need it.”), and then says they can talk to the doctor together about whether she will need a shot that day.

Yes, there may be a meltdown at the doctor’s office…it may be unavoidable…but we agreed that listening to your child’s fear and saying that you would talk to the doctor together helped advance fear and fretting.

5. If you know your child is due for shots, ask if they have a numbing spray. One mama told her pediatrician that her little girl was terrified of needles and they gave her a numbing spray first to help with any sting or poke. Every office is different, but it’s worth an ask!

Make it a Game!

6.  Bring a favorite doll, train, car, stuffed animal, etc. with you to also get “examined.”  Have the doctor do anything to the toy first, before your kiddo – most likely, they’ll play along!

7.  If you haven’t heard of Doc McStuffins on Disney Junior yet, let me introduce you to your new best doctor friend.  By watching this show, and playing “clinic” at home with doctoring their toys, my kids have made major progress with doctor fears!  Check it out!  I actually turned our front hall closet into a “clinic” – of course, my babies are still pretty little, so a closet is the perfect size for them to pretend for a doctor’s office.

More Advice…

8.  Talk about the doctor at home when they aren’t sick or hurt.  Tell them how wonderful it is to be a doctor, how they help people, times when you went to the doctor and were scared…but didn’t need to be, because they made mommy all better!  Slipping these casual little conversations could help fighting fears in the long run.

9. If all else fails, bribe.  Okay, yes.  Sometimes I am THAT mom who will promise a lollipop or big sticker or Target dollar spot item if they are extra brave.  I figure it’s a decent investment!

Spill it, mamas!  What do you do to calm little minds and big fears about the doctor?  Share in the comments below!

Happy Campers, Happy Summer! [Giveaway!]

Today’s post is all about Tiny Oranges’ Sponsor, Inside the Outdoors and their fabulous Orange County summer camps for kids.  And we have an awesome giveaway as well, make sure to read below to enter to win a FREE week of summer camp for your child!

After about five minutes of chatting about their camps and different summer themes, I started feeling nostalgic for my own camp days. What’s better than fresh air, crafts, hikes, learning about nature and animals, and singing camp songs in the summer?  Anyone else have a craving for a s’more right about now?

In our family, it’s T-minus two weeks until my older kiddo is out of school.  Staring at the calendar, this fills me with a small sense of freedom, excitement, and (a little) panic (three whole months with BOTH kids!).  My mission?  Happy campers, happy summer!

Good news, mamas. Inside the Outdoors has an entire schedule of week-long summer day camps for your kiddos, ages 6-11, this summer.

Better news?  All of the camp counselors are highly trained, college educated, AND first aid/CPR certified, fingerprinted, DOJ background checked/cleared, and TB tested.

Even better news?  This isn’t your any run-of-the-mill camp experience.

Inside the Outdoors is an education program administered BY the Orange County Department of Education…which means that the camps focus on science-themed activities that complement what kids are learning in elementary school.

Reinforcement of learning through super fun camp activities. Um, yes please!

2013 Summer Camp Schedule:

Summer Day Camp at Rancho Soñado

June 24 – June 28, 2013 – Survival of the Kiddest

Summer Day Camp at Shipley Nature Center

July 8 – July 12, 2013 – Survival of the Kiddest
July 15 – July 19, 2013 – “AMAZE”ing Scientists!
July 22 – July 26, 2013 – Eco-Avengers!
July 29 – August 2, 2013 – Mythbusters

Summer Day Camp at Irvine Regional Park

August 5 – August 9, 2013 – Tails and Trails

You can read about the camp themes in more detail, plus download a camp registration form here.

Camps are $195 per five-day session from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m, and $70 for extended camp from 2:00 p.m.- 4:00 p.m.  Your little adventurer will get a camp T-shirt, a tree cookie name tag, and take home eco-crafts everyday (so cute!).

There are also opportunities for your entire family to get involved.  Inside the Outdoors hosts various summer family-friendly fun events like hikes, astronomy nights and craft sessions – just check their website for updated dates and times.

Finally, after we enjoy (ahem…make it through still happy and sane?) this lovely summer with our kiddos, check out Inside the Outdoors programs that they host during the school year…it’s likely that your fifth or sixth graders will participate in their educational camps or field trips at some point during the school year!

Hooray! It’s a Tiny Giveaway!

One lucky winner will receive one free week for one camper at an Inside the Outdoors summer camp session! Winner may choose their choice of week (subject to availability) with advance reservations. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer:  Inside the Outdoors is a new Tiny Oranges sponsor…and we are so thrilled they are!  Perfect timing for us to learn more about what they do, especially summer camps for kiddos!  Let’s keep ’em busy, happy, active, and occupied in the fresh air this summer!

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