Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Easy Summer Learning Activities to get ready for school {#StreamTeam}

Thank you to Netflix for Sponsoring this post

We have 4 weeks left of summer... so it is time to get ready for school.  We will still be doing lots of fun summer stuff but we will be mixing in some learning time for the kids so their brains are ready when school starts.  We actually do many of these learning activities during the whole summer so that the kids don't lose the skills they learned. But we skip days if we have a lot going on, and we skipped the whole week of VBS.

Here are some simple learning activities that you can do at home.

Journaling:
I have a 1st grader and a 4 year old pre-schooler and they both LOVE to keep journals.  At this point it is mostly pictures.  I tell them to draw a picture after giving a journal prompt.  (I just google Kindergarten Journal prompts if I need ideas) but keep it simple like: "What is one thing you want to learn?" Or "What is something fun you want to do today?" My mom took the kids on a "nature hike" and the kids took their journals to record what they saw.
I get my journal books from either the Target Dollar Spot or the Dollar Store.  Or you can make your own by stapling paper together.  

Worksheets:
My kids love to do worksheets.  I let them use markers to write on them and they think it is the best.  I got some workbooks from Target (They have some for $1 in the dollar spot right now!) and I also print off FREE worksheet from online.  Just google "Free printable "___ grade" worksheets".


Reading:
We try and read 20 minutes a day.  My son is just starting to read so we started with The Bob Books Sets.  We also go to the library to pick up beginning reader books.  We made some goals for the summer like "Read 100 books" to earn some thing fun.  I also make my kids earn their screen time by reading:  1 book = 6 minutes of screen time so 10 books = 1 hour.  My kids are still little so their books are short you can adjust as need for your kids. 

Puzzles:
The kids love puzzles and it promotes problem solving.  They can do the 24 - 50 pieces by themselves.  I usually set a timer for 15-20 minutes and have them do as many puzzles as they can in that time.  I get my puzzles from the Dollar store and Target Dollar spot (sensing a pattern here?) 

Educational Shows:
When my kids do get screen time I try to get them to watch some educational shows.  We have NETFLIX so we have lots of shows to watch with no commercials!  Some of our favorites are 
Anything Leap Frog (my kids learned their letters and sounds from The Letter Factory), The Magic School Bus, Super Why and Word Girl. 

Now don't start thinking that I am a super mom that only has my kids doing educational activities and my kids join in without complaint.  It is usually like pulling teeth to get some son to read (don't let the picture above fool you!)  and not all of their screen time is educational - my son watches plenty of Pokemon too. But I know if I have some educational activities planned then it is more likely that we will do them.  Plus they are nice fillers through the day for when you hear "I'm bored!"  

What kinds of things do you do with your kids to promote learning?  


Monday, July 21, 2014

Easy Travel Mini Puppet Show -15 minute Kids Craft


I have a super easy Kids Camp Craft for you today! 
Travel Mini Puppet Shows made from recycled Envelopes!  We always have extra window envelopes that come with our bills, since we pay online so much, we always have extra.
I must give credit to my husband who came up with this idea.  It helps to have a creative husband!  I came home and he was playing with the kids with these - melt my heart! 


Here is what you need:
1. Gather used window envelopes, scissors, crayons/markers and scratch paper 
2. if possible cut off the top part of the envelope.
3. Fold in half (with sticky sides on the inside) and draw a little person on it.  Use the window to help with size.
4. Decorate the envelope with a scene. 

If your envelope does have the flap you can use the scratch paper to create the puppet.

You can create so many different story lines:
Mermaids, Princesses, Spaceman, Pirates... and so many more!  Let your kids imagination flow! 

I am joining in with:

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

PEEPS® S'mores - Show your #PEEPSONALITY!

Thank you to PEEPS® for providing me with the PEEPS® used in this post.


PEEPS® sent me a little summer care package: 
Lots of fun stuff for the summer, we have used the towel for swimming lessons and I use the cup to drink lots of water but I decided to share a fun way to take your S'mores to a Whole. Nother. Level.
(see Mad TV Clip here for reference)

Necessity is the mother of all invention.  We were out of marshmallows and I had promised my kids S'mores.  We had the chocolate we had the gram... what could we use for the mallow? PEEPS®!  
They have come out with some fun new flavors in a Mini size and they are perfect for a marshmallow substitute! 


First heat up your PEEPS® Mini over the fire.  Don't get it too close or it will burn... you just want to warm it up. 

Put it on top of your gram and chocolate

Put the other gram on and EAT!  So ymmuy!  

We made the strawberry and chocolate PEEPS® and both were good! 


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Mod Melts and Collage Clay Tutorials!

This is a sponsored post written on behalf of Blueprint Social and Plaid.  All Projects and opinions are 100% mine.

One of the best parts of my blogging job is getting to try out new crafting supplies!  And these new crafting supplies from Plaid are so FUN!  Plaid has 2 new products you are going to LOVE: Mod Podge Collage Clay and Mod Melts

Decoden is the new crafting craze that started in Japan 
and now is making it way through the USA! 

Decoden is the art of decorating anything with trinkets, and "the more the merrier" is the name of the game in designing an over the top look in this 3D collage technique. Use Collage Clay with Mod Melts, trinkets, buttons, rhinestones, and anything else you can think of!

First up is Mod Melts! Super easy to make little charms that can be used to embellish so many things!

Here is the How-to:
1. Supplies: Mod Melts, Mod Molds, Hot Glue Gun (optional: craft paints)
2. Heat up your glue gun and put one of the Mod Melts in it in place of a glue stick.
3. Use the glue gun to fill the molds with the mod melts.  Use an old gift card or plastic knife to scrap off the excess.
4. Wait 5 minutes and pop them out of the molds

You can just leave them plain or you can decorate them too!  You just need some craft paint and small brushes.
5. I painted all mine white as a primer.  It took a couple coats.
6. I used different colors to embellish the different charms.
Then you can glue them to all sorts of things to make the extra cute! 

Bobbie Pins

Paper Clips

Push Pins

Hair Clips

Magnets

Next up Collage Clay:
The Collage Clay is lightweight whipped clay great to use for Decoden, 3D Collage, Assemblage Arts, 3D Stenciling and more. Available in two trend right colors, Vanilla White and Strawberry Pink

Here is the how-to:
1. Supplies: Collage Clay, Collage Drizzle Paint, trinkets to decorate with (Buttons, gems, charms etc), Tin box or some thing to embellish.
2. The Collage Clay comes with 3 tips to use. 
3. I used the wide tip to cover the tin box.
4. I used an old used up gift card to flatten out and spread the Collage Clay smooth.

5. I used the Star tip to make little stars around the edge
6. I used the drizzle paint to drizzle some color on.
7. I added my trinkets to embellish the box
8. Let dry for at least 1 day


I also made a frame using the star tip and some buttons!  
Collage Clay is not recommended for children ages 12 and under, and the product is not edible. Small parts are a choking hazard for children

Here is a video tutorial on how to use the Collage Clay:


Plaid’s giving away a wonderful collection of Mod Podge goodies to make your own Decoden crafts! Enter here!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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More Mod Melts and Collage Clay fun:



Friday, June 27, 2014

JournalWays

This is a sponsored post for JournalWay, all opinions are 100% mine.

If you are like me, you have a lot of digital pictures of your kids and family... I mean I have a bunch on my phone, on my camera memory card, and on my computer.  Some times the pictures end up on my family blog but mostly they stay digital... and that is not right!

That is what I am excited to introduce you to JournalWays!  It is a great way to get your pictures off your phone, camera, and computer and printed for all to see!  And it is also a great way to record life, journal about everyday things to remember for always!


Because JournalWays works on your iPhone and computer.  You can take pictures on your iPhone and create a page for your book on your iPhone, or use your computer.


In a nutshell, the JournalWays app allows you to pair up to four photos with 700 characters of text in entries from your iPhone or iPad.  The books are created through JournalWays by choosing pre-made template designs that look like real scrapbook pages.

And JournalWays has video tutorials to help you know how everything works.  It is easy to navigate the site and the tutorials make it even easier!


I was able to create and sample a photo book.  The one I made was able to cover a year of our life and the kids LOVE looking through it!

It is amazing how much the kids change in a year (especially when they are little) and now I have this fun book to remember it all!  You have a choice between hardcover or soft cover (right now the hardcover are half off!)  The book I got was high quality and we love it!

It is just so great that you can record journal entries along the way and then use them to publish a book when you are ready.  Creating the book in bits and pieces is very doable.  JournalWays saves all your entries for when you are ready to use them.

Here a few of my pages for you to see:



The JournalWays team is very open to feedback too so if you don't see what you want they are willing work with you!  They are adding new templates all time! 

You can find JournalWays on:

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