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16 Last-Minute Halloween Costumes for Busy Moms and Kids

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Easy outfits you can create with stuff you probably already have in your home.

Whether your child or you had a change of heart about your initial Halloween attire, or you just haven’t thought about costume ideas until now, no worries—it’s going to be all right. With limited time and supplies, you just need to get creative with what you’ve got. And you know what? Sometimes DIY costumes look better than their in-store equivalents (even if they did only take 10 minutes and a few dollars to make). We’ve gathered 16 adorbs Halloween costume ideas for both your kids and yourself to make last-minute, using clothes and materials you already have at home (well, maybe just a few supplies from your local crafts store).

The Aerobics Instructor

Even your baby can get in on dressing up for Halloween by going as a rad, retro aerobics instructor. So cute! The recipe for this costume is super simple: put your baby’s pants on before putting on the bodysuit, and then add DIY legwarmers and a headband. Make sure, of course, to keep the color scheme fun, neon or bright. To get even more festive, create a felt boombox—it’ll make your already adorable Halloween pics of your baby even better.

You’ll Need:
Neon-colored baby suit or Primary The Baby Suit ($8, or $7 for 3+, primary.com)
Neon-colored babypants or Primary The Babypants ($10, or $9 each for 3+, primary.com)
Headband
Old socks to be cut into leg warmers
Scissors

Directions:
For the headband: Any soft headband will work here. Fun colors and patterns are the best!

For the legwarmers: Cut the feet off of old socks for instant baby leg warmers.

Pro tip: Make sure the baby pants are UNDER the babysuit for the full effect!

To dress up your kid or yourself, wear a tank or t-shirt in a neon color and shorts layered over funky patterned leggings. Complete the look with legwarmers created from old socks, a headband and sneakers.

The Scarecrow

 

Scarecrow Halloween Costume

 

Dressing up as a scarecrow never fails.

Photo: iStock

Scarecrows are supposed to be frightening, but on Halloween, they’re totally cute! For this unisex costume that works for adults or kids, pair jeans with a flannel plaid button down, boots and a floppy hat. Tie a bandana around the neck, draw on some scarecrow makeup, and, if you can, have cornhusks stick out from your hat, sleeves and jeans.

You’ll Need:
Plaid shirt
Jeans
Boots
Floppy hat
Corn husks
Black eyeliner

Rosie the Riveter

 

Rosie the Riveter Halloween Costume

 

Girl power!

Photo: iStock

To represent this cultural icon on Halloween, it’s all about the blue button down (chambray, preferred, and with sleeves rolled up) paired with black or denim pants and work boots. Then tie a small red bandana or red and white polka dot scarf around your head like a headband. The finishing touch: a swipe of bright red lipstick. And don’t forget to flex those muscles for every photo op!

You’ll Need:
Chambray or denim button down
Black pants
Work boots
Red scarf
Red lipstick

The Crayons

 

Primary Crayons Halloween Costume

 

For a group costume, have every person in your family dress up as a different colored crayon.

Courtesy of Primary

Here’s another costume idea requiring clothes you can easily use for another purpose outside of Halloween, or clothes your kid already has in his closet. All you have to do is create a hat and anklet.

You’ll Need:
Regular long sleeve solid-colored pajama top or Primary The Long Sleeve PJ Top ($12, or $11 each for 3+, primary.com)
Regular solid-colored pajama bottom or Primary The PJ Pant ($12 or $11 each for 3+, primary.com)
Sturdy paper to match the PJs
Scissors
Ribbon in color matching the PJs (about 40 inches)
Glue Black felt (long enough to wrap around both ankles)
Double-sided fabric tape

Directions:
For the hat: Find sturdy paper the same color as your PJs and form a cone. Trim the top of the cone to create a blunt, flat top. Cut out a circle for the brim of the crayon and place it over the cone and trace cone in the center. Cut out the center circle, leaving a ring that will become the brim. In the opening of the cone, make a series of 1-inch cuts around the open edge of the cone and fold them outward to create tabs. Fit the brim ring over the top of the cone and attach the tabs to the brim using glue or tape. Cut a series of 1-inch strips of paper and join them to make one long strip. Wrap the strip around the brim of the hat and use a few pieces of masking tape to fit it snugly. Then glue the seam together and allow to dry completely before removing the tape. Finally, glue two ribbons (about 20 inches on each side of the brim) to tie under the neck.

For the anklets: Cut a zig-zag pattern out of a strip of black felt and attach to ankles using double-sided fabric tape.

The Skeleton

 

Fiskars Halloween Skeleton Costume

 

If there’s time, draw skeleton makeup on your child’s face, or buy a skeleton mask.

Courtesy of Fiskars

Does your kid have an old black shirt your kid he never wears anymore? Flip it inside out, and use it to create this creepy skeleton costume. Be aware though: you’re going to have to cut it up!

You’ll Need:
Fiskars RazorEdge™ Easy Action™ Fabric Shears for Tabletop Cutting or other scissors
Black t-shirt
White t-shirt
Marker
Freezer paper

Directions:
Trim a piece of freezer paper to approximately the size of the front of the black t-shirt. Use a marker to draw a rib cage design on the freezer paper and iron it to the front of the black t-shirt. Use the shears to carefully cut out the rib cage design. Cut through the fabric of the t-shirt and the freezer paper together. Remove the freezer paper. Wear the cut black t-shirt with a white t-shirt underneath for a quick spooky homemade costume idea. Add any skeleton mask for added eeriness.

Audrey Hepburn

 

Audrey Hepburn Halloween Costume

 

To make yourself look even more like Audrey, fill in and define your brows with brow powder or pencil.

Photo: iStock

For this elegant retro look, now is the time to bust out your favorite little black dress and pearl necklaces so you resemble Audrey Hepburn’s character Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Put your hair in a bun, wear heels, add some long black gloves, and you’re done.

You’ll Need:
Little black dress
Black heels
Long black gloves
Pearl necklace
Optional: Tiara

The Clown

 

Primary Halloween Clown Costume

 

Bright red wig not required.

Courtesy of Primary

Dress up PJs in with pom-poms and a paper collar for a fun and cute kid’s clown costume.

You’ll Need:
Solid-colored long sleeve pajama top or Primary The Long Sleeve PJ Top ($12, or $11 each for 3+, primary.com)
Solid-colored pajama pant or Primary the PJ Pant ($12, or $11 each for 3+, primary.com)
Sturdy cardstock
Pom-poms
Scissors
Glue
Double-sided fabric tape
Optional: clown nose and clown makeup

Directions:
For the hat: Glue a pom-pom on top of a simple paper party hat. Easy peasy.

For the collar: Use sturdy cardstock to fold into a fan and attach it to a paper collar, measured for the child’s neck. Secure the collar with sturdy tape or a paper clip.

For the clown suit: Use double-sided fabric tape to attach two or three big pom-poms down the torso.

The Ballerina

 

Halloween the Leotard Boutique Ballerina Costume

 

Adding glitter is totally optional.

Courtesy of the Leotard Boutique

For this kid costume, you can use an actual leotard and tutu, or substitute in a short-sleeve top and flutter skirt. Add in tights and ballet flats, put your kid’s hair in a bun, and you’re good to go.

You’ll Need
Pastel-colored short sleeve top or The Leotard Boutique Short Sleeve Leotard ($15, theleotardboutique.com) Tutu skirt or The Leotard Boutique Flutter Ballet Dance Skirt ($13, theleotardboutique.com)
Tights
Ballet flats

The Unicorn

 

Primary Halloween Unicorn Costume

 

Again, glittery is totally optional, but very preferred.

Courtesy of Primary

What child doesn’t own a hoodie and pj pants? The key here is choosing a pastel color for these pieces that’s reminiscent of the shades you’d find in My Little Pony—and of course, DIYing a horn, ears, mane and tail.

You’ll Need:
Plain, pastel-colored hoodie or Primary The New Hoodie ($20, or $18 each for 3+, primary.com)
Plain, pastel-colored pants or Primary The PJ Pant ($12, or $11 each for 3+, primary.com)
White felt
Pink felt
Gold metallic cord
Headband
Glue gun
Scissors

Directions:
For the horn and ears: With white felt, create a tall cone, then wrap it in gold metallic cord and hot glue it to the cone. Cut a small circle of white felt and glue to the bottom of the cone to close the hole. Tape or glue the horn to a headband. Next, cut 2 large tear-drop shapes from the white felt and 2 smaller tear-drop shapes from the pink felt. Glue the pink felt on top of the white felt, then use a drop of hot glue and pinch the bottoms together creating an ear shape. Add the ears to the headband on either side.

For the mane: Cut 1×4 inch strips of white felt and adhere in a straight line down the center, from tip of the hood down to the hem.

For the tail: Cut a handful of 1×10 inch strips of white felt for the tail. Knot them together and adhere to the seat with a safety pin.

The Witch

 

Witch Costume for Halloween

 

The Halloween costume that never goes out of style.

Photo: iStock

Ahh—one of the most classic costumes of all: the witch. For this extremely simple costume, all you have to do is buy a witch hat, wear all black, put on some very dark red lipstick, and call it a day.

You’ll Need:
Witch hat
Head-to-toe black clothing
Optional: dark lipstick, broom

Bubbles

 

DIY bubble costume

 

Just make sure your kid is careful wearing this costume!

primary.com

Your child will get all the fun of a bubble bath, minus the soapy suds with this quick-to-make Halloween costume. Add some toys from your bathtub at home and you’re done!

You’ll Need:
Plain white long sleeve shirt or Primary The Long Sleeve Pajama Top ($12, primary.com)
Plain white leggings or Primary The Legging ($14, $13 each for 3+, primary.com)
Plain white shower cap
White balloons
Clear balloons
Bath toys or a rubber duck
Tape or safety pins

Directions:
Blow up enough white and clear balloons to cover the shirt. Tie the balloons closed securely, and use safety pins or tape to attach the balloons to the shirt. Attach the mix of white and clear balloons randomly to the shirt to look like suds.

The Cat

 

Cat face paint

 

Another Halloween outfit idea that’s classic.

iStock

Meow! No one can resist an adorable cat on Halloween. This look requires stuff you already have at home, allowing you to put this costume together in record time.

You’ll Need:
An all-black outfit
Black face paint or black eyeliner
Optional: cat-ear headband

Directions
Using the face paint or eyeliner, draw a nose and whiskers on your child’s face. Add the optional cat-ear headband and you’re set!

The Mummy

 

Mummy costume

 

For a secure fit, strategically add safety pins.

iStock

Halloween is the perfect time to dress up as the living dead—especially if the costume is as easy to make as this one!

You’ll need:
A plain white bed sheet or a yard of plain white fabric
An all-white outfit
Scissors
Optional: Coffee or tea water and large pot or container

Directions:
Cut the white sheet or fabric into long strips. If you and your child want an older-looking mummy costume, use coffee or tea water. Make the colored water by either brewing coffee and watering it down to the desired shade of brown or by using tea to do the same. Then put the liquid in a large pot or container and soak the strips for about two hours. Rinse the strips and let them air dry. Once the strips are done, simply tie them one-by-one around your child, attaching the end of one strip to the beginning of another.

The Nerd

 

Nerd.

 

You can also apply gel to flatten your child’s hairstyle for geek-chic effect.

iStock

Hey, who said being smart wasn’t cool? This DIY nerd costume will bring out the brainiac in any kid, and the best part is, you probably have all the materials already.

You’ll Need:
Glasses with or without lenses
Sweater Vest
Dress pants
Bow tie
Optional: math or science textbook; pencil

Pro Tip: The 3D glasses you took home from the movies make for awesome nerd glasses! Tuck a pencil behind your child’s ear for an added smarty-pants effect.

Emoji

 

Emoji Costume

 

Add another expression to the back of your emoji, so you can “change moods” throughout the day.

Photo: iStock

We all know and love emojis, so why not honor them on Halloween too? Cut out a large circle from poster board, paint it yellow, and paint on some expressions. To make carrying it around easier, glue a paint stirrer to the back to create a handle. You can wear it with yellow clothing to further emphasize your costume.

You’ll Need:
Poster board
Yellow, black, brown or blue paint (depending on the expression)
Scissors Paint brush Optional: paint stirrer

Mime Costume

 

Mime Costume

 

You can add a beret if you want to go more traditional.

Photo: iStock

Pair a black-and-white striped shirt with black pants, and then put white face paint all over your face. Apply black eyeliner to eyelids, and use the eyeliner to draw thin lines for brows. Finish with a coat of bright red lipstick.

You’ll Need:
Black-and-white striped shirt
Black pants
White face paint Bright red lipstick Optional: striped or red scarf, white gloves

Updated on

October 17th, 2018 at 10:30am

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

Pumpkin Lanterns! Skeleton Flamingos! Here Are the Top Decor Trends for Halloween 2018

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Time to scoop up some pumpkins and bust out ye olde witch garb, friends: All Hallows’ Eve is comin’ up fast. Looking for some spooky inspiration for this year’s decor? Below, the freshest, most-buzzed-about Halloween hooks—according to Pinterest’s 2018 Pinfrights report.

Courtesy of Polka Dot Chair

FLOATING WITCH HAT LIGHTS

We love this one: Use a fishing line and LED clip-on lights to turn witches hats into front porch phantoms.

Get the tutorial on Polka Dot Chair

Courtesy of Modern Parents, Messy Kids

Spider Eggs

This yarn, glue and water project couldn’t be simpler. (We love the idea of filling a cauldron with them—or suspending from a lighting fixture.)

Get the tutorial on Modern Parents Messy Kids

PHOTO: GIEVES ANDERSON/STYLING: REBEKAH MACKAY

Drip candlestick holders

Psst: These chic vessels will get eerier and eerier as the wax melts down.

Get the tutorial on PureWow

Courtesy of Melo-Drama

Skeleton flamingos

Skeletons are spooky—but we think these little flamingo versions are pretty darn cute. 

Get the tutorial on Melo-Drama

Courtesy of Design Love Fest

Pumpkin lanterns

The prettiest and most festive of DIYs: Drill bit, pumpkins, done.

Get the tutorial on Design Love Fest

 

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

13 Healthy Halloween Snacks That Won’t Scare Kids Away

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If you’re anything like us, then you know what it’s like to spend Halloween trying your hardest not to consume the entire candy stash before the first kid knocks on your door.

But if you can’t trust yourself sitting beside that Costco-size box of chocolate bars all night (who can?!), consider stocking up on these 13 healthier Halloween snacks. They offer kiddos more balanced options but also won’t make you feel like crap if you can’t stop at just one.

This list is 100-percent dietitian-approved: Some are allergen-friendly, vegan, or gluten-free; others are organic, non-GMO, and void of artificial colors or flavors. And a bunch of them pack a wide range of lower-sugar, antioxidant-rich ingredients. So whatever your Halloween vice, whether it’s sweet, salty, or something in-between, we’ve got a healthier Halloween treat for you. Oh, and the kids.

 

1. YumEarth Organic Pomegranate Licorice

A common source of food sensitivities, red food coloring isn’t usually a fan favorite among parents of candy-loving kids. Thankfully, these little licorice nibs are flavored with organic pomegranate and cherry juice and colored naturally with organic fruit concentrates, yielding a gluten-free, vegan, and nut-free treat.

($19 for 6 bags; amazon.com)

 

2. MadeGood Halloween Chocolate Granola Minis

Halloween can be a nightmare for a kid with severe food allergies, so we love these limited-edition chocolate chip granola minis from MadeGood. Free of the top eight allergens, organic, gluten-free, and non-GMO project verified, these bars are a breath of fresh air for concerned parents. They’re also a charitable choice this Halloween since 2 percent of all proceeds from the bars goes directly to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

($19 for 36 minis; amazon.com)

 

3. Veggie Go’s Organic Fruit and Veggie Strips

Packed with a half-cup of organic fruit and veggies per strip, plus fiber-rich flaxseeds and a touch of cinnamon, these no-sugar-added snacks are a smart way to get your sweet fix on October 31. They’re also gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO, and have less than 20 calories per bar (not that we are counting, but that’s pretty good).

($23 for 20 strips; amazon.com)

 

4. Free2b Dark Chocolate Mint Cups

Ready to trade that classic (massive) Peppermint Patty for something a little lighter? We love these vegan dark chocolate mint cups because they’re free of the top 12 allergens (nuts, dairy, gluten, oh my!) and are made with fair-trade unsweetened dark chocolate so we can feel good about where they came from.

($32 for 24; amazon.com)

 

5. Annie’s Organic Orchard Cherry Apple Fruit Bites

With organic fruit pureé as the first ingredient and no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives, moms and dads won’t mind popping these fruity bites into kiddo’s lunch for a healthier post-Halloween snack.

($5 for 5 packs; walmart.com)

 

6. KIND Minis

With just 2 grams of added sugars per 100-calorie bar, along with 3 grams each of fiber and protein, you can feel good about these KIND minis making an appearance in your kids’ stash. Sweet, salty, chocolaty, and crunchy, they check all the boxes for a healthier Halloween treat.

($22 for 20 bars; amazon.com)

 

7. The Good Bean Sea Salt Crunchy Chickpeas

Need a savory option for the chip fans in your life? We got you. These single-serve bags of addictive crispy chickpeas pack 4 grams of protein and fiber into every 90-calorie pack, making them an awesome choice for your kids (and you, of course).

($30 for 50 packs; amazon.com)

 

8. Unreal Dark Chocolate Crispy Quinoa Gems

Getting your chocolate fix doesn’t have to mean tossing junk food into your grocery cart just before checkout. These tasty chocolate rounds are made with organic, non-GMO, fair-trade dark chocolate and are vegan and gluten-free. They’re also colored naturally with fruit and veggie extract instead of the standard food dyes and offer a delicate crunch from protein-rich quinoa.

($26 for 6 bags; shop.getunreal.com)

 

9. Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Neighborhood mamas and dads are going to be pumped when they find these in their kids’ candy bag. The better-for-you cups are made with organic dark chocolate and organic peanuts and offer 4 grams of protein per two-cup package. Sorry, kids, we might have to confiscate your bag for these.

($25 for 12 packs; amazon.com)

 

12. Skinny Dipped Almonds

Finally, a Halloween option that could make its way into the holiday season too (seriously, these are great stocking stuffers). The dark chocolate-dipped almonds have just 60 calories per pack and only 2 grams of sugar. The almonds are coated in an antioxidant-rich dark chocolate for a healthy treat that will give Almond Joys a run for their money.

($35 for 24 packs; skinnydipped.com)

 

13. Fruits in Chocolate Dark Chocolate Covered Coconut

Each individually wrapped truffle features a whole dried fruit coated in rich dark chocolate with just 50 to 70 calories per piece. They’re available as a mixed box with prunes, cranberries, and apricots, so you can give ’em to the kids who could use a more natural chocolate fix this fall (so, all of them).

($23 for 46 pieces; fruitsinchocolate.com)

Every editorial product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through one of our links, we may earn a commission. But don’t worry, it doesn’t cost you anything extra, and we wouldn’t recommend a product if we didn’t love it as much as we love puppies.

 

This article was written by Abbey Sharp from Greatist 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.)

Get the recipe

It’s Always Autumn

Cute and Easy Mini Halloween Doughnuts

Bats, monsters and spiders, oh my.

Get the recipe

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.

Get the recipe

Dinner At the Zoo

3-Ingredient Butterfinger Caramel Apples

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

Get the recipe

Sprinkle Bakes

Monster Popcorn Balls

Bonus points for the plastic vampire teeth.

Get the recipe

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.

10 healthy family rituals to cultivate

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Family rituals can make all the difference when family life gets tough. You may think you don’t have time for rituals. Some days you barely have time for the essentials, which is why it’s important to keep things simple.

Here is a list of rituals that you should implement in your everyday life to enrich family time:

Family dinner

Family dinner used to happen every night, in every family. That was before the days of working moms, a twenty-four hour society (and the constantly changing shift work that comes with it), and the crazy schedule of extra-curricular activities many kids are involved in these days.

Family dinner has an impact though, so it’s worth preserving. According to this Washington Post article, simply eating dinner with your family is the most important thing you can do with your kids. It doesn’t have to happen every night, and it doesn’t have to be elaborate or even home cooked. Take-out pizza on a Friday night is still family dinner, as long as you all gather around the table to eat it together and enjoy some conversation and bonding.

Family game night

One night a week, or month, devoted to playing games as a family can be a ritual you all will enjoy. They don’t have to be board games. You can play cards or do something physical like playing Twister or Charades. You can even make a family game night about video games. Anything goes, as long as everyone’s involved.

Family movie night

Many families spend way too much time in front of the TV, without necessarily watching anything worthwhile. Instead, try setting aside a regular night where you all watch a movie together. Take turns picking out the movie. Make popcorn. Snuggle under an old quilt. Do whatever it takes to make it feel like a ritual rather than an ordinary night in.

A driving ritual

As kids get older we spend a lot of time driving them around. So develop a driving ritual. It could be a game you play, or a favorite soundtrack you always listen to (and sing along to) in the car. As a parent, you can have a different, and highly personalized, driving ritual for each child, especially if you regularly drive them to an activity where it’s just the two of you.

A change of season ritual

Everyone can find time for a change of season ritual. It only happens once every three months, after all. Again, it doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. It could be a family trip to the lake on the first day of summer, or collecting and preserving the most dramatically colored fall leaves in your backyard each year.

An achievement ritual

Many families have a favorite restaurant they go to when they have something to celebrate. Put a twist on it by incorporating a few things you always do to celebrate an achievement. A small gift or a printable certificate for younger kids works. As they get older it might be something as simple as the child who’s achieved something gets to ride in the front seat of the car.

Be careful with this one. Some kids achieve more than others, or they achieve more of what society sees as important. But all kids hit milestones or shine in at least one or two areas. Done right, an achievement ritual can be a way to show the less academic or sporty kids in your family that you recognize and value their achievements too.

A holiday ritual

Every holiday should have a ritual, and most have quite a few, but they’re very generic: trimming the Christmas tree, making the Valentine’s cards, carving the jack-o’-lantern. Try and develop at least one ritual for each holiday that is unique to your family, or just take one of the common holiday rituals and do it in your own way.

A bedtime ritual

Bedtime happens every night and it’s a great time to implement a simple ritual you do together as a family, or that you do with each child. Many parents will read a story or say a prayer with their child before bed, but it could just as easily be a fist bump and saying a “love ya.” That’s a ritual that might even last through the teenage years.

A daily ritual

Technically, this could be your bedtime ritual, but sometimes it’s inspiring to make the mundane or necessary parts of life sacred and enjoyable. Can you think of one thing you have to do every day that you can make into a daily ritual with your kids? It could be walking the dog with your teen after dinner, strolling to the mailbox hand-in-hand with your preschooler every morning, or sorting laundry with your toddler after nap time. Make the mundane everyday stuff into lovely little rituals you look forward to.

A self-care ritual

Teaching your children self-care is a wonderful gift. Whether it’s a pampering evening with your daughters, a short relaxation and meditation session with your teens, or a weekly trip to the farmer’s market to pick out healthy food, showing your kids that it’s fun to take a little time out to look after yourself is a great ritual.

No matter how strapped for time we are, we can all find a few family rituals that don’t take up too much time, but help all family members connect and communicate.

 

This article was written by Karen Banes from Family Share and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

7 Nag-Free Ways to Get Your Kids to Sit Down and Do Homework

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Going back to school after a holiday break is always tough. Getting your kids to dive back into that pile of math worksheets and book reports when they’d rather be playing with their new toys or watching YouTube? Torture. To help ease everyone through the transition, we asked moms for their best tips on how to get the kids to focus on their homework—no screaming, pouting, or bribery involved.

Be a study buddy.

“Remember how much more fun it was to be in a study group in college or high school? You can be your child’s study buddy. Plan 30 minutes a day when you sit at the kitchen table and work together. Your child can do homework and you can catch up on work you brought home, write out shopping lists, or do whatever it is you can get done in a half hour. Your child can continue on if needed after you’ve finished, but getting started is always the hardest part.” —Tracey Hecht, a New York City mom of one

Let them run off their excess energy first.

“I make sure my kids have an hour or so of play time outside with their friends right when they get home. Another mom once told me that because they’re cooped up so long in a classroom each day, trying to obey all the classroom rules, kids need some time to let off steam when they get home. This is especially helpful for our son, who seems to be better able to focus on homework after he has run around with his buddies.” —Erin Myers, a Baltimore mom of two

Use fun props.

“On the days when my 7-year-old daughter is feeling less eager to get her homework done, I’ve found it helpful to incorporate fun bits of home life into homework. For example, learning subtraction with M&Ms or using her alphabet puzzle to help learn alphabetization makes it feel less frustrating and more fun.” —Larissa Pickens, a New York City mom of one

Get out of the house when you can.

“I alternate where my kids do their homework and I find it helps keep them motivated. For example, on certain days we go to the children’s section of the local library. The result: Inspiration from other children doing homework!” —Melva E. Pinn-Bingham, a Chesapeake, VA, mom of three

Create a kid-friendly workspace.

“A homework station is a low-tech solution that cuts down on clutter, time and waste. It’s a one-stop-shop to find what you need, when you need it. In our home, the kitchen table is our family hub. It’s the spot where my daughters do their homework each evening and we use magazine holders for activity books, library books and homework sorting and pencil cases to keep supplies separated but contained.” —Rachel Rosenthal, a Washington, D.C., mom of twins

Set a timer.

“When one of my kids starts complaining about how long their homework will take, I set a timer for 15 minutes, and tell that child to work as hard as he or she can until the timer goes off. More often than not, the dreaded homework assignment is finished in less than 15 minutes. Then I get to point out that they spent more time complaining about the homework than it took to just do their homework!” —Maureen Paschal, a Charlotte, NC, mom of four

 

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

How To Fold a Paper Boat

Ahoy! Are you looking for a fun Valentine’s Day craft?! Look no further! Have your children practice their fine motor and math skills while they fold a spare sheet of paper into a floating masterpiece. Let your children decorate it with hearts or fill it with candy, then sail right into Valentine’s Day!

1. Fold a piece of paper in half crosswise.

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2. Fold paper in half lengthwise and open it back out.

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3. Fold the corners down the center crease.

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4. Fold the long bottom strip up and fold the corners over.

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5. Flip the paper over and repeat the previous step.

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6. Fold the opposite corners together and turn it sideways to make a diamond.

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7. Fold the bottom corner up halfway, turn it over and repeat.

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8. Open the triangle and fold the opposite corners together.

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9. Hold the paper at the tip and gently pull the sides apart.

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Ship ahoy!

 

 

New Year’s Resolutions

The start of every new year brings the excitement of the unknown and offers the opportunity for reflection on the year that has passed. The idea of a clean slate, even a new beginning, gives us the opportunity to create goals that we want to accomplish over the course of the next year.

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In 2018, you can make creating New Year’s resolutions a family event. Give your children a pen and paper for them to write out three goals that they want to accomplish. You can ask questions to help get them started:

  • What hobby, sport or instrument do you like?
  • What is your favorite food?
  • How many books did you read this year?

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While they develop their goals, work on a few of your own. Make this time together a chance for your children to experience your “grown-up” life. When all of you are all finished writing out your New Year’s resolutions, take turns reading them out loud to each other. Reasonable, well-thought-out goals can empower your children to achieve something that they had not considered before.

Tack up your lists on a pin board or put them on the fridge. Review them occasionally throughout the year to see how everyone is doing. At the year’s end, have a celebration, whether you hit your goals or not, and start planning for next year!

GODDARD SYSTEMS MAKES ANNUAL DONATION OF TOYS TO TOYS FOR TOTS

Franchisor of National Play-Based Preschool Donates 230 Toys Following the 2017 Toy Test.

Goddard Systems, Inc. (GSI), the national franchisor of The Goddard School preschool system, is pleased to announce that it surpassed last year’s donation to Toys for Tots by 50 toys.

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Two hundred and thirty toys, including 100 of this year’s winning Toy Test toy, Melissa & Doug Star Diner Restaurant Play Set, were donated to Toys for Tots this year to help Toys for Tots fulfill its mission of providing gifts to less-fortunate children during the holiday season.

GSI employees donated 130 toys, which is up from the 80 toys donated in 2016.

Following the November announcement of the winning Toy Test toy, GSI purchased 100 Melissa & Doug Star Diner Restaurant Play Sets to donate to Toys for Tots. Every year, GSI purchases 100 of the winning Toy Test toy and donates the toys to the program, which is run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve.

Since 2008, Goddard Schools have hosted an annual Toy Test to determine the best educational toys of the year with help from the most discerning toy critics: preschoolers. The Goddard School Toy Test Committee evaluates dozens of toys submitted by the world’s most popular toy manufacturers every year. Committee members select educational toys that best support child-initiated play and collaboration, among other criteria, to pass to the next round of judging. Preschoolers from 50 Goddard School locations nationwide then play with the toys, and their teachers help them select the top 10 toys. The public then votes on the best toy from the 10 finalists to select a winner. 

“Fun, interactive programs like our annual Goddard School Preschooler-Approved Toy Test are successful because they allow children to think critically while developing their social, creativity and collaboration skills,” said Dr. Craig Bach, GSI’s Vice President of Education. “This experience provides children with the opportunity to engage with the top educational products on the market that are aligned with The Goddard School’s philosophy of learning through play.”

Past preschooler-approved Toy Test winners include Laser Pegs, K’NEX, Learning Resources and the 2016 Toy Test winner, the John Deere’s Gearation Board.

For more information on The Goddard School and the Preschooler-Approved Toy Test, please visit www.goddardschool.com/toytest.

 

Toys for Tots Donation 2017!

Each year Goddard Systems, Inc. holds a collection for the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. In addition to the toys collected from our employees at the corporate office, Goddard Systems purchased and donated 100 of the winning toy from our Preschooler-Approved Toy Test, the Melissa & Doug® Star Diner Restaurant Play Set!

Thank you to all of those who donated and those who helped vote for our top toy! We wish everyone a very happy holiday!

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Pictured from left: Bob Scopinich, CFO; Rich Agar, VP, Operations; Craig Bach, VP, Education; Joe Schumacher, CEO; Jim DiRugeris, VP, Franchise Development; Renee Benedict, VP, Information Technology and Paul Koulogeorge, VP, Marketing, Advertising & PR.