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Archive for February, 2019

How to Make a Heart-Shaped Bubble Wand

Add some bubbles to your Valentine’s Day celebrations with a heart-shaped bubble wand!

Materials

  • 6mm pipe cleaners
  • Scissors
  • Chopsticks
  • Pony beads (any color)
  • Colored tape (any color)

Instructions

  1. Create a loop with one of the pipe cleaners, twisting to create an oval shape. Leave about two inches on the ends.
  2. Thread three pony beads onto pipe cleaner so that both ends go through the beads.
  3. Wrap the ends of the pipe cleaner tightly around the top of a chopstick.
  4. Wrap colored tape around pipe cleaner ends to ensure a secure fit.
  5. Bend pipe cleaner oval into a heart shape.
  6. Repeat steps for second bubble wand.
  7. Blow bubbles using bubble solution!

 

 

*An adult should oversee all activities. Activities may not be appropriate for all ages.

10 Valentine’s Day Books That Teach Kids How Wonderful It is to Love

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Because February 14 is so much more than red hearts and candy.

Valentine’s Day is around the corner and like every other holiday season, it’s the perfect time to captivate your kids through stories of delight. From tales about robotic romantic adventures, to a whimsical story about secret letters, these heartwarming books will teach your child about the many ways to express love, especially amongst family and friends.

I’ll Love You Till the Cows Come Home, by Kathryn Cristaldi and Kristyna Litten

Love knows no bounds in this delightful read aloud that sends cows to Mars and has sheep steering ships. Fun wordplay and a rhyming refrain will soon have little ones chiming in. Perfect for Valentine’s Day or saying I love you any time of year. Ages 4-8 ($15, amazon.com).

I Love You, Little Pookie, by Sandra Boynton


I Love You, Little Pookie by Sandra Boynton

With an affectionate tale and funny drawings, this book is ideal for little ones.

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Bestselling author Sandra Boynton is back with a new board book, just in time for the holiday of love. Little Pookie is one of Boynton’s most beloved characters and he is reassured over and over as mom tells him just how much she loves him on nearly every sturdy page. Ages 2-5 ($6, amazon.com).

Robot in Love, by T. L. McBeth


Robot in Love by T. L. McBeth

A robot love story with a splash of color that’ll surely catch your child’s eye.

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It’s love at first sight in this playful picture book about a robot who spots his soulmate, loses her and then finds her again. Love can look different for every one of us, and in this case the robot’s object of affection is a shiny toaster with whom he discovers various shared interests. Including toast. Very sweet! Ages 4-8 ($13, amazon.com).

The Littlest Things Give the Loveliest Hugs, by Mark Sperring and Maddie Frost


The Littlest Things Give the Loveliest Hugs, by Mark Sperring and Maddie Frost

Nothing is cuter than a snuggly tale from your favorite animals.

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Bright and colorful, this picture book celebrates hugs across the animal world. From snuggly seals to beetle bug hugs, these little critters are all happy to be with their families, sharing an embrace. Warm, rhyming text opens the door for telling our own little ones how much their hugs mean to us. Ages 3-6 ($13, amazon.com).

How Do I Love Thee? by Jennifer Adams and Christopher Silas Neal


How Do I Love Thee? by Jennifer Adams and Christopher Silas Neal

A sweet ode to beloved friends and family.

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A delightful reimagining of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “Sonnet 43” with its famous opening lines, as a trio of children explore their world and the love of friends and family around them. Christopher Silas Neal’s illustrations carry the poetry of Browning’s words beautifully. A book to keep … Ages 4-8 ($16, amazon.com).

Love, Z, by Jessie Sima


Love, Z by Jessie Sima

Home is where the heart is in this adorable adventure.

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A mysterious message in a bottle and the young robot who finds it spark a remarkable exploration of what love means, and all the ways we can express love for one another. Charming and uplifting, this picture book is a joy to read and share all year round, and especially for Valentine’s Day. Ages 4-8 ($13, amazon.com).

Duck and Hippo The Secret Valentine, by Jonathan London and Andrew Joyner


Duck and Hippo The Secret Valentine, by Jonathan London and Andrew Joyner

This heartfelt story teaches kids about kindness and sharing.

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It wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without valentines! A humorous story of secret valentines and speculation that culminates in a delightful heart-filled celebration where everyone is welcomed. An entertaining holiday read aloud. Ages 3-7 ($14, amazon.com).

Mirabel’s Missing Valentines, by Janet Lawler and Olivia Chin Mueller


Mirabel's Missing Valentines by Janet Lawler and Olivia Chin Mueller

A spark of unexpected kindness can bring the best of joy in this story.

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Giving Valentine’s Day cards to classmates can be scary, and Mirabel the mouse is so nervous that she accidentally drops some of her cards on the way to school. Her mistake brings some folks unexpected moments of joy thinking the cards were meant for them. A sweet story about how a small kindness can make a big difference for others and ourselves. Ages 3-7 ($12, amazon.com).

A Caboodle of Cuddles, by Roger Priddy


A Caboodle of Cuddles by Roger Priddy

A visually captivating book with raised pictures for your child to check out on every page.

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Perfect for tiny hands to explore, this board book about cuddles and families has bright, raised illustrations that fit together for lots of interactive fun. A Valentine’s Day treat for little ones. Ages 1-3 ($8, amazon.com).

A Hug is for Holding Me, by Lisa Wheeler and Lisk Feng


A Hug Is for Holding Me by Lisa Wheeler and Lisk Feng

Your child’s curiosity will surge as they explore the meaning of hugs in this lyrical tale.

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A unique way of looking at nature, where hugs can be found nearly everywhere if we know how to look. A nest can be a hug in a tree, a seashell is a hug in the sea; each page is thoughtful and will help little ones see their world in a whole new way. Interspersed between the pages about nature are all the things a hug between this father and daughter mean to them: safety, home, love. A tender tribute to the humble hug. Ages 3-5 ($11, amazon.com).

 

This article was written by Seira Wilson of Amazon.com from Working Mother and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Indoor Beach Party

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Getting tired of the cold and anxiously waiting for spring? Not a problem, host an indoor beach party for your family and friends.

Crank up the heat, put on your bathing suit and blast some summer tunes. Get everyone in the ‘warm’ mood by inflating beach balls, adding seashells around the house and offering grass hula skirts for your guests. Consider having a tiki bar with decorative cups, silly straws and fruit punch. Here are a few activities to help get you started:

  1. Get sand from a craft store and fill a bucket with the sand. Hide jewels and riches in the sand, and then have a treasure hunt. Provide mini shovels for your littles to use for digging.
  2. Take a laundry basket and use it as a basketball hoop. Have your children use beach balls to play indoor beach basketball.
  3. Play some beach bowling using a beach ball and empty paper towel rolls.

 

Enjoy the endless possibilities of indoor beach fun with your little one!

How to Take Advantage of Your Neighborhood Library

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Did you know that your local library is a hidden gem right in your backyard? Nowadays, it’s not just a place you go to check out a book or use a computer – it’s so much more. March is National Reading Month and we are celebrating with sharing four ways to take advantage of your local library.

Attend events and programs. Looking to attend a mindfulness meditation yoga class or join a cooking club? Libraries offer so many fun (and free!) options for children and parents. Get involved with fitness groups for children and adults, family music classes, parent-child workshops, story circles, puppet shows, special events and summer programs. Look into what your local library provides and what events they are having in your community.

Use it as a resource for learning. Your local library is a helpful resource that’s available whenever you need it. Many libraries offer tutoring, reading buddies, writing circles and volunteer opportunities. Your child can use the library as a fun way to get involved socially and academically. The staff and the librarian can also be helping hands when you have questions or when you simply need a new book recommendation.

Explore the aisles and stay a while. Many libraries have cozy and colorful sections for children, filled to the brim with books, electronics, games, toys and puzzles. This space is great for sparking your children’s curiosity and getting them stimulated, engaged and ready to learn. Get your children comfortable with going to the library, and teach them that this is their space to have fun with and utilize as a resource. Help them pick out a book, and let them explore from there.

Make it a habit to go often. With a bunch of great opportunities and events provided by your library, you can turn your outing to the library into a fun adventure for your little ones. By creating a routine, soon they will be looking forward to their weekly time spent at the library. Remember to sign up for a library card to make checking out items easier, and so you can have access to other countless privileges and perks that may be associated with your local library.

Boost Your Children’s Excitement to Read

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Being a skillful reader can increase your children’s self-confidence, allowing them to transition into a new dimension. Reading will improve their speech, critical thinking and creativity. Encourage your children to turn off the TV and open their books. Use these tips to transform your little ones from staring at a screen to diving into a world of words.

  1. Designate a daily reading time for your children who cannot read yet, establishing a routine of reading every day. Hopefully, this practice will continue after they can read on their own.
  2. Choose books that feature your children’s interests such as animals, planes or trains.
  3. Keep your children’s attention. Books that include activities such as sensory sections or finding the missing character will hold your little ones’ attention throughout the story. Additionally, consider acting out some of the scenes with your children to get them up and moving while keeping their attention on the storyline.
  4. Ask your children questions about what you have read to ensure the story is holding their attention.
  5. Show your radiant readers how excited you are about story time. Seeing your boost of energy to read will encourage your children to feel the same way. Fictional books can be a terrific way to put reality on pause and delve into a new realm of wondrous
  6. Read books aloud together when your children begin learning to read. To create a feeling of togetherness, switch readers for each page. This habit will leave your children with lasting memories of reading with their parents.

 

What are some ways you take reading to the next level with your child?

Executive Functioning: Skills for “Adulting” and How to Help Develop Them at Home

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If reading academic journals isn’t part of your daily routine because you’re too busy chasing your children around, packing lunches, working, picking up your children and making dinner, you might not be aware that executive functioning is one of the hottest topics in education right now. Executive functioning, also known as executive control, includes the abilities to control yourself, plan ahead and pay attention. In other words, executive functions include the necessary skills for “adulting.” Helping children develop these skills prepares them for success in school, careers and life. Here are four ways you can help your child develop these crucial skills at home.

  1. Play memory games with your child. Start with something simple, such as peekaboo, and move on to other developmentally appropriate games, such as hide-and-seek, as your child grows. Playing these types of games will sharpen your child’s working memory, and they’re fun, too.
  2. Develop routines to get your child to help with household chores. Requesting your child’s help with simple tasks, such as taking out the trash, sweeping and helping wash dishes, can help strengthen your child’s ability to focus on one task at a time and filter out distractions. Make sure these chores are developmentally appropriate, of course.
  3. Find fun ways to engage your child’s executive-function skills, such as assembling puzzles. Whether you’re working on a 1000-piece picture of Mt. Everest or a simpler one, assembling a puzzle can help your child develop the abilities to focus, plan and organize.
  4. Talk to your child about your day. A great way to do this is when you’re at the dinner table – each family member can talk about his or her day and highlight any favorite moments. Discussing what you do on a day-to-day basis and how you accomplish various adult tasks can provide your child with insight into how you use your executive-function skills. You can also ask your child how she would handle some of the situations you’ve encountered, which allows her to reenact real-life scenarios in a safe, consequence-free way.

Ten Fun Summer Activities to Help Engage Your Child’s Mind

Have you found a summer camp program for your child yet? A high-quality summer camp can help prevent summer learning loss. These ten fun activities can also help engage your child’s mind during the warmer months!twenty20_93e07c5c-6dba-4320-9c6d-fb1446f53b6d

Ten activities to do with your child this summer:

  1. Ride your bikes around your neighborhood or in a local park to increase family togetherness and to emphasize the importance of exercise.
  1. Have a picnic. Encourage your child to help pack the basket. You can talk to him about the different types of food you are putting in the basket, where the food is from and what foods are best for his health.
  2. Go on a leaf hunt. Your child can learn about different types of trees by their leaves, and she can observe how the trees grow. To create a lasting memory of your wonderful walk, you can collect a few leaves, place them on a sheet of paper and color them with a crayon. This will produce an imprint of the leaf to have for the future.
  3. Volunteer in your community. Many communities have public gardens where children and parents come to plant their own flowers to contribute to the beauty of the community. If your community doesn’t have a garden, consider starting one. This will teach your child the importance of being involved and giving back.
  4. Plan a treasure hunt. For more enjoyment, include the whole neighborhood.
  5. Prepare new summer recipes. Encourage your child to use his skills to help with the ingredients and measurements. Soon, he’ll be cooking meals for you.
  6. Take some of your old clothes and place them in a chest. Now, you can have a dress-up day, which is a perfect inside activity for a rainy day. Your child will love dressing up just like mom!
  7. Create a craft table. Prepare a corner in your child’s playroom or bedroom with a table for craft activities, such as drawing, painting or building. This makes for another great indoor activity for rainy days.
  8. Stargaze. On a warm, clear night, sit outside with your child and observe the various Talk about what you can and cannot see with the human eye. Enjoy the starry night!
  9. Teach your child to conserve water during her daily activities. Since we enjoy pools, oceans and lakes during the summer months, this is a good time to teach your little one about the dangers of pollution and the effects it can have to our oceans and lakes.

Teachers Agree: Kids Who Travel Do Better in School

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Here’s a good reason to book that overseas excursion.

If you’re looking for an excuse to book your dream family vacation, here’s one you’ll love: Kids who travel do better in school, according to a survey of those who know best—teachers.

More than 1,500 teachers were surveyed as part of a poll commissioned by the Student and Youth Travel Association, and more than half (56 percent) said travel has “a very positive impact on students’ education and career.” And almost three-quarters (74 percent) of educators agreed that travel has “a very positive impact on students’ personal development.”

The survey specifically took a look at the benefits of student travel—i.e. far-flung field trips. Surprisingly, teachers are a fan, even though the trips take kids away from the classroom.

Students don’t usually have time to practice their reading, writing and arithmetic while traveling, so just how does it help them get ahead in school? According to the survey, 53 percent of teachers say the first-hand experience of exploring a new area or culture helps students better understand the curricula, while another 54 percent say it positively impacts their performance at school.

That’s because travel often inspires a “transformation”—an increased ambition to know, learn and explore, they report.

It makes sense. Traveling to another state or country is an eye-opening experience. Learning about other regions, cultures, religions and languages help children grasp big-picture concepts like tolerance and curiosity—and those skills can help tremendously in the classroom. Teachers said student travel led to more intellectual curiosity (55 percent), increased tolerance of other cultures and ethnicities (52 percent) and increased tolerance and respect overall (48 percent).

Learning how to navigate a new place also helps build self-reliance. Teachers also reported that student travel led to increased independence, self-esteem and confidence (56 percent) and better adaptability and sensitivity (49 percent).

While the survey mostly focused on student travel, it’s easy to imagine the same benefits apply when traveling with family. So don’t feel guilty about booking an exotic getaway with your kids. After all, teachers agree: It’s educational.

 

This article was written by Audrey Goodson Kingo from Working Mother and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.