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Archive for the ‘Activities’ Category

How to Make Your Own Slime

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Slime can be a great teaching tool that incorporates STEAM learning. Help your children learn about science by creating slime with them. Use technology to research slime recipes, and use math to measure out ingredients.

Try this recipe for making slime, and then use the slime for the fun activities below.

  • Use slime to teach your children about shapes. You can create more than one batch of slime. Use one batch to demonstrate things to do with slime, and encourage your children to use the other batches to mimic your actions;
  • Make silly slime masterpieces. Encourage your little ones to use food coloring, confetti, glitter, various buttons and other trinkets to decorate the slime;
  • Optimize the use of sensory learning. Incorporate scents by adding scented food coloring or essential oils, and ask your children how the different smells make them feel. For example, ask how a discreet calming scent makes them feel compared to a more distinct scent;
  • Boost your children’s exploration skills by having them search for hidden items in the slime;
  • Strengthen your children’s gross motor skills by working with them to imprint objects into the slime, such as letters or numbers.

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

Screen Time Guidelines for Summer Break

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Searching for a summer camp program? A high-quality summer camp provides fun, hands-on activities that aren’t reliant upon technology. Technology may be used to enhance the activities, but screen time is used sparingly. To limit how much screen time your child has this summer, follow the steps below to create a reward system at home.

  1. Select readily available tokens that your child cannot easily access, such as stickers or playing cards.
  2. Think of some helpful tasks that your child can do around the house. Tell her that she can earn a reward for each task she completes without being told to do it. Examples include cleaning up after herself, bringing in the mail, feeding the pets and setting the table. Explain the concept of exchanging the token for a prize or privilege. This system will also help your child learn and understand the concept of spending money to purchase a product.
  3. Explain to your child that each time she wants screen time, she must hand in one of her tokens. Set a time limit for each token that is suitable for the age of your child. For example, one token could equal ten minutes of screen time. You may want to set a limit for the number of tokens that your child can use each day. Write down these rules and explain them well to stop any arguments before they start.
  4. Let your child know that if she has no tokens, she will have to do more chores to earn screen time.

Your little ones will be so excited to earn their tokens that they will not realize how many helpful tasks they are completing.

Goddard School Preschoolers And Families Learn How To Make A Difference On Earth Day

The Goddard School®, the nation’s best-in-class preschool system, is proud to showcase the importance of environmental conservation through its month-long Root for Earth event, which is designed to teach children about daily environmental impacts and give busy families realistic tips for making a difference.

Preschoolers will participate in a new challenge this year to illustrate the environmental effect of single-use plastics. They will upcycle a month’s worth of single-use plastics into works of art to show how much plastic waste they saved. Each creation will be featured on The Goddard School’s national Facebook page, and members of the public can vote for their favorite project from April 22 through April 26. Winners will be announced April 29.

To demonstrate how children can make a difference, preschoolers will plant gardens, participate in recycled runway fashion shows, try glow-in-the-dark yoga and enjoy other eco-friendly projects inspired by science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics. On Earth Day, Goddard Schools across the country will turn off all non-essential lighting for one hour to save nearly four million watts of energy. Since 2011, this Lights Out! initiative has saved up to 25.3 million watts of energy.

“Root for Earth provides students with a great opportunity to focus on the importance of caring for our environment through engaging STEAM lessons,” said Dr. Craig Bach, vice president of education at Goddard Systems, Inc., franchisor of The Goddard School. “Equipping children with the knowledge and leadership skills to meet future environmental challenges is imperative.”

8 Ways to Make a Weekend at Home Feel Like a Family Vacation

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You don’t need to go anywhere to capture the vacation vibe.

Spring and summer school breaks are coming up, and while many of my friends hop on the first plane, train, or rental car outta the city year after year, my family and I have found ourselves stuck at home many times in the past. The thing is: We’re all feeling it, the vacation itch. That’s why I like to bring the vacation vibe to us for special weekends. From decor to activities–and most of all, mindset!–we make weekends at home feel like the best family vacation ever.

Unplug

This is a tough one (at my house, anyway), but at least try. Put your phones, tablets, and computers in a drawer–padlocked if necessary–and spend the weekend like you’re on a desert island, devoid of news updates, texts, and annoying robocalls. You will survive, and maybe even feel refreshed.

Change the Decor

Go nuts with colorful flowers and funky lighting, and hide your regular artwork and rugs to take “your house” out of your house. So maybe you’re not at a fancy hotel in the Swiss Alps, but you’ll barely recognize your digs and will have a blast setting up (and then luxuriating in) this alternate universe.

Eat Exotic Foods

Roll your own pasta (it’s not as hard as it sounds!) and toss in a little Puttanesca sauce to bring the flavors of Naples to your kitchen. If you’d prefer to take a break from cooking, order a lavish Mediterranean meal or a Spanish feast if there’s a tapas restaurant in town, or get something decadent online, like Russian caviar. And don’t stop there. Go the extra mile by bringing in exotic dessert or candy to go with it. After a wedge of Turkish Baklava or a box of Baci (y’know, the delicious Italian chocolates that come with a message inside), you’ll feel like you spent the day anywhere but home.

Switch It Up

Do you usually eat dinner in the dining room? Try a picnic on the bedroom floor. Maybe you’ll get leave some crumbs, but that’s what the vacuum is for. Similarly, skip your queen-sized bed and have a slumber party in the living room or under the kitchen table (maybe vacuum first, in this scenario).

Bring Camping to You

If you have a yard or garden, pitch a tent out there and eat dinner under the stars before cozying up to sleep. Once you’re zipped inside a tent, you really won’t notice if you’re in your yard or atop the Rocky Mountains. This way has some added conveniences in that you can wash your hands after they get covered in s’mores and the beer will stay cold in the fridge.

Have a Rave

Glow sticks: check. Bubbles: check. Techno: Well, my daughter will make sure it’s Selena Gomez–but, check. If you can’t make it to Ibiza this summer, turn out the lights, have a fashion contest to see who can come up with the wildest outfit, and boogie down till sunrise.

Throw a Film Festival

Pick a theme, from beach movies to French thrillers, and hunker down for a lazy weekend of nothin’ but movies. Create a themed cocktail or amuse-bouche for each film and see if you can borrow a projector from a friend to get the full experience. To really build a retro vibe of a drive-in movie experience, serve a classic snack like Entenmanns’s Minis Apple Snack Pies–what’s more of an American staple than apple pie made by a baked goods company founded in 1898?

Make It a Spa Weekend

Go to Sephora and load up on sheet masks, then start lighting scented candles, ripping off rose petals, and running a hot bubble bath. If you really want to feel decadent, find a local masseuse who does house calls and turn those muscles to mush in the comfort of your own home.

*This piece is sponsored by Entenmann’s.

 

This article was written by Alex Richards from Real Simple and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

5 Tricks to Have a Screen-Free Hour with Your Kids

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We get it: Your family has fallen into the bad habit of spending hours on the computer (and iPad and TV and phone) every day. No judgment. Take baby steps: Put down the electronics for an hour and try these (actually fun) activities to reconnect with the tiny humans in your house.

Make something delicious
The only thing kids love more than Angry Birds and Call of Duty? Eating something sugary. So tell them you’re going to help them bake a half cookie, half cake. And that it has rainbow sprinkles. Extra credit: While you’re watching the cookies bake, have them help you wash the dishes.

Do a family reading circle
Maybe your kid loves to read and prefers that to Minecraft. (Didn’t think so.) Get an age-appropriate book they haven’t tackled yet and each read a paragraph or page aloud, passing it around the room.

Play “Roses and Thorns” at dinner
First, sit down at the dinner table. (Yes, we feel you, it seems daunting.) Have everyone go around the table and name their “roses” (things they liked) and “thorns” (bummer moments) of the day. Keep this game in heavy rotation and you’ll never have the “How was your day?” “OK.” exchange again. 

Play a board game about feelings
Sit cross-legged on the floor to play the Ungame, which is a board game with no winners, just a pair of dice, a meandering route to move your little plastic player piece and a set of cards that ask questions like “What are the four most important things in your life?” or “When do you feel most relaxed?”” It’s an amazing icebreaker that helps you learn the secret inner workings of your kid’s mind.

Turn a neighborhood walk into a scavenger hunt
When was the last time you went on an adventure after dinner? Do it tonight by turning a neighborhood walk into a scavenger hunt, with a challenge to see who can find the prettiest rock or locate the yuckiest bug. (Older kids can look for higher-up treasures like leaves or birds.) 

 

This article was from PureWow and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

10 fun winter activities for kids

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Wondering how on earth you’re going to entertain the kids all winter now the nights are drawing in and the clocks have gone back?

Then read on!

I don’t know about you but it seems infinitely easier to entertain the kids in summer, when you can throw open the back door and go to the park with the sun on your faces, than it does in winter when you’ve got to wrap them up and really think about where you’re going and for how long for.

It might be tempting to draw the curtains and switch on the telly, but with a bit of lateral thinking it’s actually easier than you think to make the most of the great outdoors in winter.

This year we’re partnering with Simplyhealth and their #MyEveryStep campaign, which is all about the little steps we can take to lead healthier lives, and as autumn turns to winter we’ve come up with 10 fun winter activities for kids to help keep them (and you) entertained as the days grow shorter and the nights grow longer.

10 fun winter activities for kids

1. Make a bird feeder. It doesn’t have to be super complicated – all you need are three things: a cardboard toilet roll tube, peanut butter and bird seed. Spread the peanut butter over the toilet roll tube, roll it in the bird seed several times so it sticks all over, then thread the tube over a branch outside. Birds and wildlife will come flocking and the looks on the faces of your own little birds is priceless.

2. Go puddle jumping. Just because it’s raining doesn’t mean you need to stay indoors. Put their wellies on, zip their raincoats up and let them jump in puddles until their heart’s content. Trust me, it will keep them entertained for waaay longer than you think.


winter activities for kids

3. Play conker maths. Collect as many conkers as you can – which is huge fun in itself – then charge them with the task of counting them and sorting them into groups from smallest to biggest. If you’ve got a pair of scales even better – they’ll be at it for hours.

4. Go toadstool hunting. Toadstools start popping up in forests all over the UK as soon as the nights start drawing in, and they really are a sight to behold – whatever your age. We recently went looking for some while taking part in BBC Children in Need’s #HatsOn campaign (see 5 easy ways to raise money for BBC Children in Need) which is all about making the most of the great outdoors and the kids walked much further than they would normally do (without complaining!) in search of the much-coveted red ones.


winter activities for kids

5. Clear up leaves. If you’ve got a garden the chances are you’ve got leaves that need clearing away at this time of year. Turn a chore into an activity the whole family can enjoy by collecting the leaves and jumping in them – this is the stuff memories are made of! It’s a brilliant sensory experience for little ones too.

6. Make a bonfire. Autumn is the perfect time of year to gather your garden waste (don’t forget the leaves!) build a bonfire and watch it snapple and crack. They’ll have as much fun building the fire as they will watching it burn – just make sure there’s a responsible adult on hand at all times (ideally one with eyes in the back of their head).


winter activities for kids

7. Have a winter picnic. Who says picnics are just for summer? If you’ve got a bonfire going, make the most of it by taking hot dogs and flasks of hot chocolate into the garden while you watch it burn. Then when the flames have died down toast marshmallows in the embers (don’t forget to make sure the responsible adult is on hand).

8. Sign up to a beach litter pick. We all know plastic is a huge problem in our seas, and it’s easier than you think to help make a difference. Beach cleaning events, where members of the public volunteer to help pick up litter on beaches, happen all over the UK and are a great chance to breathe in some sea air as well as being lots of fun too. Use the Marine Conservation Society’s postcode finder to find a beach clean nearest to you.


winter activities for kids

9. Go ice skating. The ultimate winter sport, the chances are there’ll be an ice rink in your town or city in time for the festive season. Most offer hold-on penguins or animals for little ones (I find them rather handy too!) and it’s great exercise, focusing on lower body movement and leg muscles.

10. Go stargazing. The good thing about the nights drawing in is that the stars come out earlier. Brush up on your constellations, wrap them up warm and take them outside to point out the different formations. If you’ve got a pair of binoculars even better.


winter activities for kids

Do you have any fun winter activities your kids love at this time of year? I’d love to know what they are!

This post was written in collaboration with Simplyhealth. I’m proud to be supporting their #MyEveryStep campaign, shining a light on the little steps we can all take to leading a healthy life every day. As always all opinions are my own and based on my own honest experience. To find out more about Simplyhealth’s #MyEveryStep campaign follow @SimplyhealthUK on Twitter and Instagram.

The post 10 fun winter activities for kids #ad appeared first on Confessions Of A Crummy Mummy.

 

This article was written by crummymummy1 from Confessions of a Crummy Mummy and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

25 Creative Elf on the Shelf Ideas That Take 5 Minutes or Less

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These quick and easy ideas will make moving your Elf so much easier every night.

It’s Elf on the Shelf season again, otherwise known as the time of year when parents everywhere scramble to move the doll before their kids wake up. We don’t blame you if you opt out, or just hide him in the fridge for the 14th time. But if you want to step up your game this year and surprise your kids with the Elf’s impish shenanigans, it’s actually easier than you think. We’ve rounded up some of the funniest and most creative Elf on the Shelf ideas on the Internet. The best part: Creating these funny scenes takes less than five minutes, and if you’ve got string, marshmallows and toilet paper at home, that’s pretty much all you need. Check out everything Elf can do this holiday season:

Trap your kid

Hang out with the Minions

 

Elf on the Shelf Banana

 

All you need is a Sharpie and a bunch of bananas. Via Fancy Shanty

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Get tied to the tracks

 

Elf on the Railroad

 

If your kid’s a train fanatic, just wrap Elf up in tape or twine and toss him on the track. Via Fancy Shanty

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Get all rolled up

 

Elf on the Shelf Toilet Paper

 

Uh-oh, looks like Elf got wrapped up in toilet paper and tossed down the stairs. Via Fancy Shanty

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Hit the gym

 

Elf on the Shelf Gym

 

All you need is a straw and two marshmallows to make it look like Elf is pumping serious iron. Via Dirty Diaper Laundry

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Scarf down popcorn.

 

Elf on the Shelf Popcorn

 

Stash Elf in the microwave and it will entertain your kids for at least 20 minutes trying to find him. Via Just a Little Creativity

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Get tucked in a bun.

 

Elf on the Shelf Hot Dog

 

Elf tastes better with ketchup and mustard. Via Just a Little Creativity

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Make snow angels.

 

Elf on the Shelf Snow Angel

 

All you need is rice, flour, sprinkles, sugar or pretty much anything for Elf to make snow angels. Via Lil Blue Boo

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TP the Christmas tree.

 

Elf on the Shelf TP Christmas Tree

 

But not too much. You still have to clean it up, after all. Via Lil Blue Boo

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Email Santa.

 

Elf on the Shelf Email Santa

 

Just think of all the behavior reports Elf could make to the North Pole! Via Lil Blue Boo

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Do yoga with friends.

 

Elf on the Shelf Yoga

 

He IS pretty flexible after all. Via Picklehead Soup

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Make mischief.

 

elf on the shelf family photo idea

 

All you need is a dry erase marker, your favorite family photo and a sense of humor. Via Mandy with Multiples

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Be the Sexiest Elf Alive.

 

Elf on the Shelf People Magazine

 

Or, he can be on the cover of any other magazine you have lying around. Via Picklehead Soup

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Bust out of a box of Cereal.

 

Elf on the Shelf Cereal Box

 

That’ll give the kids a laugh when they go to make a bowl. Via Picklehead Soup

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Get stuck in the snack jar.

 

Elf on the Shelf in a Snack Jar

 

Any clear jar or container (or even a glass flipped upside down) works for this one. Via Picklehead Soup

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Take a bubble bath.

 

Elf on the Shelf Bubble Bath

 

In marshmallows, that is. Mmmm, relaxing and delicious. Via Bombshell Bling

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Go fishing

 

Elf on the Shelf Fishing

 

Just round up a pencil, string and some goldfish, and you’re done. Via Rocking My 365 Project

Courtesy of rockingmy365project.wordpress.com

Go sledding

 

Elf on the Shelf Sledding

 

All you need is an empty toilet paper roll, cardboard and string, and Elf can have a snow day adventure. Via My Mommy Style

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Lead story time

 

Elf on the Shelf Story Time

 

“See, kids, Elf loves reading!” Via My Mommy Style

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Go on a date with Barbie

 

Elf on the Shelf on a Date

 

Can you feel the love tonight? Via Elf on the Shelf Ideas

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Nurse a milk and cookies hangover

 

Elf on the Shelf Too Many Cookies

 

He partied a little too hard on Christmas Eve. Via Just a Little Creativity

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Toast marshmallows

 

Elf on the Shelf Toasting Marshmallows

 

The best part? You can eat the marshmallows when he’s done. Via Just a Little Creativity

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Climb the Christmas tree

 

Elf on the Shelf Climbs the Tree

 

He’s a pretty rugged little elf. Via Just a Little Creativity

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Sip orange juice

 

Elf on the Shelf Drinks Orange Juice

 

Elf needs his vitamin C too. Via Frugal Coupon Living

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Work as a mechanic

 

Elf on the Shelf Mechanic

 

I hear he charges a very reasonable rate. Via Frugal Coupon Living

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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.

14 Spooky Halloween Treats to Make with Your Kids

 

Two Peas and Their Pod

Sweet and Salty Marshmallow Popcorn

Make like PureWow Coterie member Maria Lichty and have your kids stir in the candy.

Get the recipe

The Mom 100

Mummy Cupcakes

The more disheveled the mummy, the better. (Thanks, Katie Workman.)

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It’s Always Autumn

Cute and Easy Mini Halloween Doughnuts

Bats, monsters and spiders, oh my.

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Sally’s Baking Addiction

Candy Corn Pretzel Hugs

Let the kids assemble, then watch them melt in the oven.

Get the recipe

Working Mom Magic

Marshmallow Monsters

Googly eyes? Check. Sprinkles? Double check.

Get the recipe

Gimme Some Oven

Brownie Spiders

The kids can attach the legs; you can eat the leftovers.

Get the recipe

Five Heart Home

Pretzel Candy Spiderwebs

Much less scary than the real thing.

Get the recipe

Kid-Friendly Things to Do

Halloween Chocolate Pretzel Bites

Grab some forks and let them go wild.

Get the recipe

Damn Delicious

Halloween Spider Cupcakes

Getting your kids in the kitchen has never been easier.

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Dinner At the Zoo

3-Ingredient Butterfinger Caramel Apples

Using pre-made caramel candies makes this kid-friendly.

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Sprinkle Bakes

Monster Popcorn Balls

Bonus points for the plastic vampire teeth.

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Well Plated

Halloween Banana Popsicles

Frighteningly good, and sorta healthy. 

Get the recipe

I Can Teach My Child

Pumpkin Patch Dirt Cups

As fun to make as they are to eat.

Get the recipe

How Sweet Eats

Chocolate Bark Halloween Brownies

Two words: sugar rush.

Get the recipe

 

This article was from PureWow and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

The Easiest Ever No-Carve Pumpkin Decorating Ideas

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These no-carve pumpkin decorating ideas are insanely cool—and there’s no gooey mess to clean up when you’re finished!

Set that knife aside, and resist the urge to toss a carving kit in your cart the next time you’re at the store, because these no-carve pumpkin decorating ideas are worthy of displaying in your home this fall. With just a little imagination and simple art supplies, you will wow the neighborhood, and have fun doing it! Plus, you’ll not only spare your kitchen table from a stringy, gooey mess, you’re bound to get more bang for your buck with no-carve pumpkins because they last longer. Did we convince you yet? Hope so. Here are 7 no-carve pumpkin ideas we love.

1. In a Web of Glue

Nothing beats the awesomeness of a hot glue gun when it comes to crafting (it’s easy to use, too!). You won’t care about any of those excess glue strings with this pumpkin design because the more melted glue and glue strings, the better. The hot glue gun is like a stencil you don’t have to pre-cut or stick on—just let your hands squeeze the trigger, and start designing—the hot glue gun will do the rest!

What You’ll Need:

  • Pumpkins
  • Hot glue gun and hot glue sticks
  • Spray paint, dark blue, teal and aqua

How-To:

  1. Using a hot glue gun, create spider web designs on the pumpkin. You can create large, medium, and small webs, and even a spider hanging from a web. You will find the hot glue ooze is really fun to make webs with.
  2. The glue will quickly dry, so once the design is set, spray the spray paint in a well-ventilated area over the webs. You can make each web a different color, or create an ombré effect over one large web.
  3. Wait about 20 minutes for the paint to dry, and then carefully remove the hot glue gun webs. It will easily peel off the pumpkin to reveal your cool web design.

2. Thumb Print Monsters

Grab the entire family to partake in this pumpkin decorating activity. It’s time to let the kids get messy, and leave their fingerprints all over the pumpkin. There are no fingerprints too small large, small, round, or thin for this project—every fingerprint makes the cutest, more colorful monsters ever!

What You’ll Need:

  • Pumpkin
  • Acrylic paint, pink, yellow, green, blue, purple, red
  • Paintbrush
  • Sharpie, black

How-To:

  1. Paint a thin to medium layer of paint on your thumb, or any fingertips with the colors of your choice, and press it on to the pumpkin.
  2. Continue until the pumpkin is covered in polka dots of fingerprints.
  3. Once the paint is dry, begin to make silly faces, eyeballs, feet, and wobbly hands with a Sharpie marker on the fingerprints to make mini monsters.

3. Flower Power

Trendy foliage inspired by a non-traditional fall color palette makes this pumpkin centerpiece swoon worthy. There is no watering necessary with this arrangement. The cotton stem is a nod to the farmhouse chic designer Joanna Gaines—we all want to have a little Gaines in us when it comes to our home decor, right? An added bonus is that this pumpkin can be made prior to company arriving, and the flowers will last forever.

What You’ll Need:

How-To:

  1. With the foam paintbrush, paint the pumpkin with chalk paint. Let dry and paint one more layer.
  2. Once the chalk paint is dry, use the bristle brush and paint the pumpkin with the Cactus color. Be sure to wipe the excess paint on a paper towel before painting—this will create a texture all over the pumpkin.
  3. Begin to hot glue the flowers on top of the pumpkin. Start with the leaves, and when the base is full, glue the cotton stem, and finally top it off with the flowers. This arrangement can be made however you like, so play around with it until you like what you see, and begin to glue in layers.

4. Black and White Chic

Just because your decorating pumpkins in the fall, it doesn’t mean you have to keep the pumpkins orange. You can have a chic, modern pumpkin by swapping the carving tool for a paintbrush. Create a woodland scene like this one, or add your favorite quote, pattern, or a monogram. The classic black and white colors will catch everyone’s eye.

What You’ll Need:

  • Pumpkins
  • Spray paint, white
  • Acrylic paint, black
  • Sharpie oil-based paint marker
  • Paintbrush

How-To:

  1. Spray paint the pumpkin white.
  2. With a fine-tipped paintbrush in hand, paint a woodland scene on the pumpkin with black paint. The pumpkin is your canvas to make a beautiful piece of art! The white Sharpie paint marker is a great tool if you need to paint white on top of the black, like we did for the fur and eyelashes on the mama bear.

5. Can’t Touch This

Planting cacti is a fantastic low-maintenance plant option for those who lack a green thumb. Well, just like a garden, this DIY mini pumpkin cacti garden is a great option for those who lack artistic skill. This simple no-carve pumpkin is made with cacti pattern napkins, and the end result is a lovely cacti garden that won’t poke anyone!

What You’ll Need:

  • Mini pumpkins
  • Acrylic paint, white
  • Foam paintbrush
  • Cactus napkins
  • Mod Podge
  • Scissors

How-to:

  1. Paint the pumpkins with two coats of white acrylic paint.
  2. Separate the thin, top layer of the napkin from the other layers. It’s likely a 2 to 3 ply napkin, and each layer can be easily separated.
  3. Cut out the mini cactus. The cut does not need to be perfect. You can cut around the cactus, leaving some of the excess napkin.
  4. Once the paint on the pumpkin is completely dry, apply a thin layer of Mod Podge (the size of the cactus) and gently press the cactus on to the pumpkin. Smooth out all edges and bubbles with your finger without tearing the napkin.
  5. Paint a moderate layer of Mod Podge over the entire cactus. Initially it will appear milky white, but don’t worry, it dries clear.

6. Boo-tiful Pumpkin

Your pumpkin will be glowing in no time with this DIY neon sign pumpkin. You don’t have to be an electrician to make this. If you can curve wire, use a hot glue gun and load batteries in a small battery pack, you can make this DIY neon sign in no time. Light up the night (and your pumpkin) this fall. Boo!

What You’ll Need:

  • Pumpkin
  • Acrylic paint, black
  • Wire, pliable with hands
  • Neon el wire, 9 feet
  • Hot glue gun and hot glue

How-To:

  1. Design the word Boo on Microsoft Word in a script font, and then print.
  2. With the wire in hand, follow the lines of the word Boo. In other words, your tracing each letter of the word Boo with the wire, so the wire will look just like the printed word.
  3. Hot glue the el wire to the boo script wire. You will have excess el wire. You can cut it (not at the battery pack end), or wrap the wire to the back of the pumpkin. To keep the wire sign in place on the pumpkin, make small hoops with the end of the wire on each side of the word, and use a tack to hold it in place.
  4. Velcro the battery pack to the back of the pumpkin, or set the battery pack behind the pumpkin on the table.
  5. Turn it on, and watch it glow.

7. Totally Rad

The ’80s are back. This totally rad pumpkin is made with bright vinyl cut into geometric shapes. Put on some good 80’s tunes, such as Bon Jovi, Madonna, Michael Jackson or Journey, and unleash the ’80s in you to decorate this pumpkin with color, pattern and funk. It may or may not help to wear neon leg warmers or sweat bands while you design the pumpkin…just saying.

What You’ll Need:

  • Pumpkin
  • Vinyl, bright multi color pack
  • Scissors

How-To:

  1. Cut the vinyl into geometric shapes such as triangles, rectangles and circles. If you want to layer the shapes with black, cut the color vinyl and black at the same time so the shape is the same.
  2. Peel the backing off the vinyl, and begin to press onto the pumpkin. The more colors and shapes, the better!

 

This article was written by Jessica Gregg from Real Simple and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Is it Better for Your Kid to Join the Gym, or Play a Team Sport?

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Activity is important for kids of all ages. But when it comes to regular exercise, what’s the best way to get them moving?

We all know that kids have energy to spare—the question is, what’s the best way for them to burn it? Is it better for kids to join a gym, or play a team sport? While it may seem like the best thing to do is just let them run in circles in the yard like puppies, the fact is, there’s a time and a place for different physical activities in a kid’s life.

The number one rule when it comes to kids of all ages and exercise: Whatever they do, they should have fun doing it. “We are creatures that are meant to move, and kids should get their physical activity through whatever feels good for them and makes them happy,” says Jessica Glazer, a certified personal trainer and former elementary school phys ed and health teacher. “Not all kids like to play organized sports, but those kids may find joy in simply taking their dog for a walk or playing on the trampoline by themselves. That’s totally okay!”

While unstructured play is important for children of all ages (yes, you too!), once team sports start around age 4, feel free to get your kid involved. “Young kids will benefit more from organized sports more than working out in a gym,” says Frank Rizzo, personal trainer and founder of The Dad Habit. “It’s fine for them to join as soon as they’re interested and they have the attention span to listen to the coaches. Early on, the focus should be on fun, learning the skills of the sport, and being part of a team.”

Team sports, both experts agree, have incredible benefits beyond the physical aspect. “Sports allow children a place to express themselves and find a healthy way to deal with anxiety, stress, and depression,” notes Glazer. “Sports also help teach coping skills, healthy competition, sportsmanship, communication, teamwork, goal setting, and long and short term gratification.”

These are all important skills to take with them into adulthood, emphasizes Rizzo. “Plus, they’re learning how to win with grace and lose with dignity,” he says. “They learn that failing is okay, as long you pick yourself up and keep working.”

For kids out of elementary school, exercising at a gym (or on gym equipment) can be a supplement to their other activity. “I think at around 12 to 14 years old kids can start seeing real benefit form exercise in a gym,” says Rizzo. “Focusing on an exercise program that will help them excel on the field is a great way to get them engaged. But they need to enjoy it, in order to develop a lifelong love of physical activity.”

Rizzo’s advice for taking your kid to the gym: Keep it simple. “A child doesn’t need much equipment,” he says. “Focusing on balance, agility, and calisthenics is valuable for kids. This includes exercises such as push-ups, squats, jumping jacks, running, sprints, lateral movements.”

Glazer notes that some gyms have their own rules about kids. “I’ve worked at a variety of gyms, and it’s pretty standard that anyone under the age of 18 needs an adults consent,” she says. “Many gyms also require an adult or trainer to be with the child during the workout if they’re under 14 or 16.” It’s for good reason, she explains. “Gym equipment can be extremely dangerous if not used properly—plus a lot of the equipment is not made for the dimensions of a child’s body. This can alter the range of motion and proper positioning in a dangerous way.”

Whether you start your kid on sports early, let him or her find her own way of moving on the playground, or introduce your older kid to the gym, your goal should always be to encourage them to find activity they love, and keep doing it. “Don’t overthink it,” says Rizzo. “Just keep them active!”

 

This article was written by Melanie Mannarino from Real Simple and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.