Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Kindness Week: Activities to Teach Kindness to kids {#StreamTeam}


Thank you to Netflix for sponsoring this post.

I love my kids.  But lately they seem to only be thinking about themselves.  They are acting very selfish and were getting mean to each other.  It's probably because we have spend the whole summer together, still, I knew I had to get this turned around.  So I came up with KINDNESS WEEK.  A week with activities to focus on kindness and service and not on selfishness!  

We used the verse as our theme: 

Matthew 7:12 

In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you


I choose different people groups to focus on each day and then we spent some time doing kind things for those people.  

Day 1: Be Kind to Friends.
We wrote letters to their friends to mail to them.  While they were writing their letters and drawing their pictures we talked about what it means to be a good friend.

Day 2: Be Kind to Family:
With each kid, I sat down and we made a list of 3 things we could do for their siblings that would be kind.  Then during the day we made sure that they did those 3 things.   Our lists included: Give hugs, help clean their room (our kids rooms are always messy!),  share your favorite toy.  And all day I would have to remind them: "We are being kind to our family today!"  And I wanted to add: "And your going to LIKE it!" :) 

Day 3 Be Kind To Service People:
We made goodie bags with different candies and gave them out to the people with help us with our day. We left one in our mailbox for our mail man, gave some to the Child Care workers at the YMCA, gave some to the bank tellers.  And we just put a simple note on it that said "Thanks for all you do!"  I kept them in my purse and we gave them out as we did errands on our day.

Day 4 Be Kind to People in Need: 
We had a family friend who lost their baby recently.  It is so sad, and I knew I wanted to help out some how,  so we brought them a meal.  I had the kids help me make some cookie-brownies (from a box mix) for dessert, and come along to deliver the meal.  Bringing a meal to a family who needs it is a great way to show your kids how to show love to others.  It can be any need, a busy week, having a new baby, lose of a job... anything, there are always people who could use a meal! 


Day 5 Be Kind to Your Neighbors:
We made a bunch of the cookie-brownies and we made little goodie bags for our neighbors and attached a note that said "We are so glad you are our neighbors!"

Day 6 Be Kind to People Who Have Less: 
We took a trip to our local dollar store and picked out items for Operation Christmas Child Boxes.  We talked about how there are lots of kids in the world who don't have toys like we do, and they don't get Christmas gifts like we do. We talked about how we were going to pick out toys and things for a little girl and boy to have (we don't get to keep it) we are going to give it away.  I got a lot of "Mommy can I have one too" while I was at the store but I just brought it back to the fact that we have toys already and this child did not.  Both my 4 and 6 year olds did great with it. 

  
Day 7: Be Kind to Strangers.
We also did some Random acts of kindness one day as we were out and about.  We happen to be going to a park that had rides.  You could buy a card of points to get on the ride.  On one of the rides we paid the points of the kids behind us with our card.  We also opened doors for people, and let people go in front of us in line.  Just little things to be kind.  

As we were going about our kindness week we watched some shows on Netflix that promote kindness.  I notice that when my son watches too many super hero shows he ends up acting more violent and mean.  So we were careful about what we watched this week.
We love Netflix because there are no commercials!  Commercials often lead to selfishness! 
Here are some of our favorite Kindness shows:

We had a good time during Kindness Week and I think we may make it a regular event around here!  How do you teach kindness at your house? 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Easy Paper Towel Butterfly Craft


This post is sponsored by Viva Vantage and Walmart, 
but my love for their stretchy towels is all my own!
Here is a super easy kids craft that used things your probably already have: Paper towels and markers!  
Also below I put Viva® Vantage Paper Towels to the test when I clean I messy stove top!  Check it out below! 

Here is what you will need:
Markers
Pipe Cleaners
Spray bottle

1. Have your kids design their butterfly wings using markers.  Try to get them to cover most of the paper towel with color.

2. Spray the Paper towels with water.  We did ours outside

Here are our designs and how the came out after we sprayed them with water. 

3. Fold accordion style, wrap a pipe clean around the middle and puff out the wings. 
If you want you can wind the pipe cleaner around a pencil to make fancy antennas.


The Viva® Vantage Paper Towels are Awesome!  
I was skeptical that they would live up to all the hype.

So I put it up against my stove top.  Tough, burnt-on stains.  With my other brand of paper towels I could go through 6-10 paper towels and I only used 3 of the Viva® Vantage Paper Towels (it is select-a-size so it is 3 small ones that make 1 big sheet)  and it lasted the whole time.  I was able to rinse it out and reuse it several times.  I also used baking soda and natural cleaner to help too. 

And if you have a baby that eats dirt like mine does... you know you need a good paper towel!  

Check out 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Family Night and focusing on the importance of Emotional Intelligence

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and EQtainment, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia  #Qsracetothetop http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV
We are being intentional with our family time.  We plan to a family night once a week where we spend the night with just our family.  My husband comes home early, we eat dinner together, have family devotions and do some activity together.  We keep dinner simple- usually pizza.  Family Devotions are out of a 5 minute kid devotional book.  And the activities range from hide-and-seek to drawing pictures to camp fires to playing with Legos to watching movies... we mostly let the kids pick.  

We also want to be intentional on parenting well rounded kids.  And while we know that academics and IQ are important, we also know we need help with our kids emotional IQ.  Emotional IQ covers: self control, motivation, empathy, and social skills. All those skills are just as (if not more) important to getting a job, being successful, and having good relationships as your academic IQ.

EQtainment has created the game: Q's Race to the Top, to focus on teaching kids these skills and has a Kickstarter campaign starting today (Aug 12th, 2014). I love a good Kickstarter campaign and this one is very worth while.
We used EQtainment's new game Q's Race to the Top as a Family Night activity to help teach our kid's good behavior, social skills and physical coordination.  It is perfect for kids ages 4.5+.  My kids are 4.5 and 6 and they loved it!  

They also love the book that came with it.  It is a story about Q, the genius monkey, that does not understand the social behavior of his human family.  So even though he is really smart, he needs help navigating though some normally family issues.  It is a great way to open the door to talking with your kids about good social behaviors.



The game pieces are Q, the monkey, and the die is over sized and fun!

The game board is of Q's tree house and you work you way up to the top.  As you land on a space you pick the color card that coordinates with the space you landed on.  There are also "power up" spots that send you forward or backward.  



The Red cards are the Do cards.  These cards offer activities to work on balance and coordination.  Children must develop balance and coordination before they can master mental and emotional self-control.  These cards will have you practice: teamwork, balance, coordination and self-control.  These are fun and help keep the kids moving during the game.  

Here are some of our Do cards:


The Blue cards are the YOU cards.  They ask questions about you.  This gives kids the opportunity to practice manners and positive behaviors, communication skills, and self- awareness. 
The Green cards are the Q Cards.  These have you give advice to Q on what he should do in different social situations.  This gives the kids the opportunity to practice: social awareness, managing emotions, coping skills and positive attitude. 

The game is a great safe way to talk about a lot of social behaviors when you are not in the middle of a conflict.  The kids can think about what to do and offer advice.  

Check out EQtainment's Q's Race to the Top Kickstarter Video and be sure to support this great game!

As a mom, I really liked how this opened up some conversation with my kids about different social behaviors.  As a teacher I also love how it is working on manners, social awareness and attitude.  These are things that everyone needs to be successful! 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Mother-Daughter Ombre Skirts made from T-shirts {Tutorial!)

Thank you to ILTC and Blueprint Social for sponsoring this post
I am so excited to participate in Tulip's Tie Dye Your Summer!  Even though summer almost over these skirts are so easy and fun to make and would make a great Back-to-School project as well!  Tulip One-Step Tie-Dye kits are so easy to use!  They come with everything you need!  Just add water to the pre-made bottle and you are all set.  The dyes are permanent and color-fast, so they won't fade in the wash! Tulip One-Step Tie-Dye is America's Favorite Tie Dye! Perfect for multi-color projects,  group activities and family fun!

Here is how to make your own skirt!
For the "mom" version

1. You will need a Large t-shirt (I wear a medium skirt) 2" elastic, Tulip One-Step Tie Dye Kit.
2. Cut you t-shirt right under the sleeves. (I used 2 shirts to make the length longer so you can also cut 2 if you want)
3. Measure around your waist and add 1". This is how long you should cut your elastic. Sew the elastic to make a loop with a 1/2 inch seam.
4. To finish off the edges of the elastic fold the unfinished edges out and use a zig-zag stitch to finish them off.

5. Your Elastic will be smaller then the top of the skirt - that is good.  Pin your elastic on each side and in the middle of the front and back with some slack in the middle of each pin.  
6. As you sew on the elastic you want to stretch it as you sew.  This will "gather" the skirt for you.  Use the pins as a guild on how much to stretch it - you want to pull on the elastic and the fabric should be taunt but not stretched. 

 Now we are going to Dye the Skirt.  Use gloves so that your hands wont get dyes too, and you will probably want an apron or use your paint clothes because these dyes are permeant!  
7. Set out a big piece of plastic on your table.  Fill up the pre-made Dye bottle with warm water to the fill line and shack until it is mixed well.  Squirt a lot of dye on the top of the skirt.  
8. Pout some water on the line of the dye.
9. Use your (gloved) hands to draw the dye down the skirt.  
10. Wrap it up in the plastic and let it set for at least 6-8 hours.   

11. I dyed 2 pieces of fabric to make my length longer.  I dyed my separately.  I just inserted the bottom layer into the skirt for the length I wanted and sewed around it with a zig-zag stitch.  
12. To add the gathers on the sides I cut a 10 inch piece of 1" elastic.  and lined it up on the side of the skirt.  
13. Starting at the bottom sew a couple stitches (zig-zag) to anchor it and the pull on the elastic (but not the fabric) to stretch it as you sew.  This will create the gathers. 

See how it adds the gather detail on the sides?



To make my daughter's skirt- I used a skirt she already had to help with the sizing.  I cut out a rectangle out of the t-shirt and sewed up the seam (I only had one since I cut it on the fold).  I attached the 2" elastic the same way as I did my skirt and also dyed it the same way too.  I did not add the second layer since it was already long enough.   

This was a super fun project and my daughter always loves it when I make stuff for her! 

Check out other fun stuff you can make with Tulip:


You can find Tulip:




More fun Tie-Dye Projects! 

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, so you can adjust as needed 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 my 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?  


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