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Posts Tagged ‘Activities’

Summer Activities

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.

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  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.

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  1. 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.

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  1. 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.

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  1. Plan a treasure hunt. For more enjoyment, include the whole neighborhood.

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  1. 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.

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  1. 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!

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  1. 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.

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  1. 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!

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  1. 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.

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Baking with Children

  • twenty20 - BakingPut on aprons. The mess is part of the fun;
  • Older children can crack the eggs and measure wet and dry ingredients, while younger children can participate by pouring the pre-measured ingredients into the mixing bowl;
  • Show children that oil and water don’t mix by letting them stir the mix;
  • Create cut-outs with cookies cutters;
  • Be sure to encourage creativity and imagination when decorating your creations. Use festively colored frostings, sparkly sanding sugars, gumdrops, pre-cut fondant or homespun shapes. These are perfect for little fingers and make wonderful cookie decorations;
  • Don’t forget to taste test your creations;
  • Go with your children to deliver a plate of cookies to a neighbor or the local senior center. Giving and sharing can make children feel good.

Fourth of July Fun

It’s the time of year when family and friends join together for barbecues and fireworks. Whether it is a publicly held event or a celebration in your own backyard, twenty20_685fa3e1-fa9e-4338-9905-001d04b7affathe Fourth of July allows for lots of fun and various activities for all ages.

When searching for that perfect spot to lay down a blanket to view the fireworks, consider that fireworks may not be suitable for all children. While many adults enjoy this holiday, loud noises and bright lights can be frightening and overwhelming for young children.

Before attending any event that involves fireworks, discuss with your child what fireworks are and why people enjoy them. Show him videos of fireworks going off so he has a better idea of what to expect. It is normal for children to have a natural fear of loud unknown noises, and some children may also be afraid of fireworks falling on them. Be prepared to help him cope with his concerns.

While waiting for the sky to get dark enough for the fireworks to start, some children may become bored. Here are some activities that will help her stay occupied:

  • Play eye spy with her. In this way you can incorporate learning through play by asking her to find items that are specific colors and shapes;
  • Bring paper and crayons, and ask your child to draw pictures of what she thinks the fireworks will look like. This also may make her feel more comfortable about the anticipated display;
  • Provide outdoor equipment for games and activities such as balls, kites and jump ropes to keep your child engaged while she is having fun. Do not forget the snacks and water.

What are some activities your family does on the Fourth of July?

Three Cute Craft Ideas for Mother’s Day

Attention all dads! Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and the most special gifts are those made by the hands of your tiny tots. Here are three craft ideas to help your child create a special keepsake for mom.

1.   Design a FlowerProcessed with VSCOcam with c2 preset

Gather a photo of your little one and cut it into a circle. Next, encourage your child to choose a color (or two) of construction paper and cut out about ten ovals for petals. Cutting should be done by an adult. Help your child glue or tape the petals around his picture so his face is the center of the flower. Use a straw or pipe cleaner for the stem and cut out two more ovals of construction paper for leaves. For a more advanced activity, help your child write a poem for Mom and attach it to the flower.

2.   Handprint Tote Bag

You will need a blank canvas tote bag and some acrylic paint (encourage your child to choose the paint colors). Put a piece of cardboard (the size of the bag) inside the tote to ensure the paint does not seep through to the other side. Pour the paint on a paper plate. Assist your child in placing her hand in the paint and then making a handprint on the tote. Rotate the handprints in a circle to make a flower or sun, etc. Mom will love the creativity!

3.   DIY Colored Flowers

For this activity, you will need food coloring and a bouquet of white flowers. Encourage your child to choose two or more colors of food coloring. Gather two jars and pour water, about halfway, into each jar. Add 15 drops of food coloring in each jar (one color in each). Cut an inch or two off the bottom of the stems (this should be done by an adult) to help the flowers absorb the coloring easily. Place the flowers into the jars, and after a full day the flowers will have changed colors!

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

Spring Into Fun Activities!

Spring has sprung! Welcome the warmer temperatures, blooming flowers and singing birds with these fun activities.

Watercolor Coffee Filter Flowers

Materials

  • Empty ice cube tray
  • Water
  • Food coloring (many colors)
  • Unused coffee filters
  • Pipe cleaners

Instructions

  1. Lay down some newspaper for easy clean up.
  2. Fill an empty ice cube tray with water.
  3. Add a few drops of food coloring to each section.
  4. Dip a coffee filter into one or all of the colors. Dip a corner, dip the whole thing – be creative!
  5. Once the filter is dyed, lay it out on a paper towel to dry.
  6. After it dries, pinch the middle of the filter, making it into a point.
  7. Wrap part of a pipe cleaner around the point.
  8. Enjoy the flower on its own or make other flowers to form a bouquet!

Wildflower Scrapbook

Materials

  • Variety of wildflowers
  • Transparent tape
  • Blank notebook

Instructions

Go to a park or your own backyard and pick some wildflowers. Select a wide variety of flowers, and when you get home, ask your child questions about each one – what does it look like? what colors does he/she see? how does it smell? Write down the answers in a notebook, leaving some space next to each entry, and lay out each flower to dry. Once the flowers are dried, tape each one next to its description in the notebook. You can even add flowers to it when your child picks new ones. It’s educational, fun and makes a great keepsake!

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

Five Ways to Fend Off Your Child’s Boredom

Sooner or later, your child may utter the phrase “I’m bored.” Should that time come, here are five ways to help your child learn how to entertain herself.

  1. Make a boredom box. Sit down with your child and brainstorm a list of different things she likes to do. Then, write each idea on a different slip of paper and put them all in a shoebox or jar. If your child gets bored, take out the box and ask her to pick out an activity (without peeking).Puzzle_jpg
  2. Play a game. It doesn’t matter whether you play a card game, a board game or a word game as long as you play it together. It will help to alleviate his boredom and strengthen family bonds.
  3. Ask your child to help you with chores. Some children love to help with housework, such as dusting and cleaning. You can make a game out of seeing who can fold the laundry the fastest or who can sweep up more dust.
  4. Head outside. Take a walk, go on a geocache hunt or play catch if your child is old enough. Just remember to bring water and use sunscreen.
  5. Let your child be bored. Some artists and writers say that boredom inspires creativity. Boredom might inspire your child to try an activity she hasn’t explored before. Who knows? Boredom may bring out your child’s inner Picasso!

Playful Parenting: Fun Activities for Newborns

Like all children, babies learn best by having fun. Here are some simple, play-based activities you can do with your infant to help him or her develop motor and learning skills.

  • Encourage tummy time. Tummy time is good exercise and allows your baby to practiceInfant_jpg
    moving. Lie your baby on her stomach and put one or two colorful toys in front of her or around her;
  • Read. Besides being an excellent bonding activity, reading to your newborn also prepares him for reading on his own and introduces him to shapes, letters and colors;
  • Talk to your baby. Simply chatting to your baby about whatever you’re doing keeps her entertained and helps to establish a foundation for language development;
  • Play with toys. Playing with age-appropriate toys helps your newborn exercise his sense of touch. Babies especially enjoy toys with different textures, such as crinkly fabric, satin and velvet.

Celebrating Grandparents

National Grandparents Day falls on the first Sunday after Labor Day every year.  With well over 25 million more grandparents today than in 1980*, it is a holiday worth observing. Grandparents all over the country help care for their grandchildren, and they deserve to be recognized for the support they provide to their families.

Celebrate National Grandparents Day with some creative activities and gifts.

  • Create an ecard online. Ask your children to help you choose the card and compose a message;
  • Help your children write a note or draw a picture for their grandparents. You can also send a photo of your children with their grandparents. Add a stamp and address the envelope, and have your children place the note in the mailbox;
  • Help your little one craft a one-of-a-kind piece of art for their grandparents. You can even buy a frame for the artwork and present it to Grandma and/or Grandpa;
  • Bake something special for your children’s grandparents. If they have a favorite treat or snack, your little chefs can help you whip up something sweet for their grandparents. Wrap it up in a nice tin or container;
  • Schedule some one-on-one time for your little ones to bond with their grandparents. Grandparents love nothing more than uninterrupted time with their grandchildren.

Reading is another excellent way to share stories and bond. Here are some special books to share with your children’s grandparents:

  • Your Mommy Was Just Like You written by Kelly Bennett and illustrated by David Walker – Children wonder what their parents were like when they were young. In this story, a grandmother tells her granddaughter what her mother was like as a child.
  • You’re Lovable to Me written by Kat Yeh and illustrated by Sue Anderson – This story illustrates that parents’ love never wanes, no matter how young or old their children are.
  • One Love adapted by Cedella Marley and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton – This story adapts Bob Marley’s lyrics into a story about a family, including a grandmother, that works with the local community to build a park where everyone can play and enjoy the outdoors.
  • You’re Going to Be a Grandma! written by Deborah Zupancic and illustrated by Joel Grothaus – This book lets a grandmother-to-be record important information about her new grandchild.
  • Grandpa Green by Lane Smith – This special story is about a grandfather who may be losing his memory and his grandson bonding over the topiary garden the grandfather has lovingly maintained for many years.
  • Here Comes Grandma! by Janet Lord – This book whimsically illustrates the lengths a grandmother will go to see her grandchild.
  • The Hello, Goodbye Window by Norton Juster and Chris Raschka – This book is written from the perspective of a little girl whose grandparents are her caregivers. This book is great for grandparents to share with their grandchildren, especially if they often look after their grandchildren.

Make celebrating your children’s grandparents and yours an annual tradition.  While we may show our appreciation for them every day, National Grandparents Day gives us a special opportunity to show them extra love and attention and teach our children about the importance of respecting their elders.

*Source: The MetLife Report on American Grandparents

Make Your Own Ice Pops

Ice pops are perfect for a summer dessert or afternoon snack. Instead of purchasing them at the store, invest in an ice pop mold (or use small paper or plastic cups) and invite your little one into the kitchen to experiment with making your own. After you try the delicious recipes below, get creative and see what tasty flavors you can whip up!

Strawberry Lemonade Ice Pops

  • 1 (12-ounce) can frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 3 cups cold water
  • 1 (16-ounce) package frozen sliced strawberries

Prepare the lemonade as directed on the package. Place the frozen strawberries into a blender and puree them until smooth. If necessary, use some of the lemonade to help the strawberries blend. Stir the strawberry puree into the lemonade and pour the mixture into the ice pop molds. Freeze them until set.

Pudding Pops

  • 1 package sugar-free pudding mix in the flavor of your choice
  • 2 cups cold low-fat milk
  • 2 cups low-fat Cool Whip

Prepare the pudding as directed on the package, using the 2 cups of cold low-fat milk. Mix in the 2 cups of low-fat Cool Whip and divide the mixture into ice pop molds. Freeze them until set.

 

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

Keeping in Touch: Family Newsletters

Nowadays it’s easier than ever to stay in touch with family and friends. Email, Facebook, Twitter, blogs and such allow us to keep our loved ones (and the world) apprised of our every action. But in the age of 140-character limits, sometimes it’s difficult to get the whole story across.

Most commonly used at holiday time, family newsletters are a great way to keep family and friends both near and far up to date on all of your family’s happenings throughout the year as well. Set aside some time every few months (or every month, if possible) to jot down the latest news, with details—trips, activities, milestones, birthdays, promotions, etc. You can send a mass email or post it to your blog, but consider sending “snail mail” versions on decorative paper (preferably decorated by the children) to very special family members like grandma and grandpa. It’ll be a nice surprise in their mailbox and they’ll anxiously await each new newsletter!

If you’d like to take your newsletter to the next level, take a family vote on a name for your newsletter like the “Griffin Gazette” or the “Thompson Times.” Add sections for jokes and riddles, upcoming events and a family photo or two. Working together as a family to compile your newsletter is a great way to foster collaboration and communication while having fun!