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Friday, June 27, 2014

3 More Games to Play Around the Campfire

Here are three more games to play around the campfire:
1.  Word Categories: pick a theme and then a word. For example:
The theme is camping
The word is tent
Taking turns, think of a word related to the theme of camping that starts with each letter of your word
T - tent
E - earthworm
N - night time
T - trees

Now pick a new theme and a new word. 

2.  First and Last
Again think of a theme. The challenge is to say a word and the next person has to say a word that starts with the last letter of the previous word. For example:
Theme - Summer
First Word - hot
Next word must start with a T - towel
Next word must start with a L - lake
Keep going until someone can not think of a word. 

3.   First and Last Name Game
Pick a group of people and see how many first and last names you can remember. We like to play First and Last Names of the school staff. You could do people from a certain state, movie stars, musicians, elementary school friends, etc. 

Happy Camping!!!!!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Pool Noodle Sprinkler

First all sorry it has been so long since my last post. After having our sixth child things have been a little crazy around here. I'm finally getting into more of a routine so hoping to be able to post more often.

When I saw this idea at Teach Preschool at  http://www.teachpreschool.org/2014/06/pool-noodle-water-hose-play/ for a pool noodle sprinkler I knew we had to try it. 

It was so simple to make and the kids really had fun with it. All we did was poke some holes in a pool noodle. At one end of the pool noodle we shoved a bottle cap from a plastic water bottle in to close it off. That's it, attach the hose and you're ready to go. 

I love that the water didn't shoot up that high so it was great for the little ones. Therefore you could just cool off a little bit but you could play with the whole hose and get real wet if you wanted to. 

I give this activity five stars - cheap, fun, quick and good for a large age span. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Slime Puppets


We always have some sort of slime, gak or flubber around this house. The kids were playing with it the other day with google eyes....... 

Slime + Google Eyes = Puppet Show?

Worked for them!  Nice easy entertainment. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Planning for New Year's Eve

For the past several years we have spent New Year's Eve at a hotel with friends.  The kids all swim, we play games, eat a ton of food and watch the ball drop.  On New Year's Day we would head to Lake George for the Polar Plunge - swimming in the icy lake!  Well, for many different reasons we are not going this year so we need to create some new traditions.  

I am starting to plan what we will do on New Year's Eve this year.  Would love to get some input, suggestions or other ideas. Here are my ideas so far (background info - 5 kids age range 3-13 years old and I am a cheapskate):
1.  Go to movies - I have a gift card!
2.  Maybe a food cook off challenge for dinner - two teams same ingredients with judges to see who make the best meal
3.  Fill out our Reflections on 2013 page (we do this every year)
4.  Board games or poker
5.  Chocolate fondue station - received it as a Christmas gift, can not wait to use it
6.  Maybe try an International tradition - race to buy lucky underwear in the mall (Italians say red brings luck, Mexicans say yellow brings happiness and Filipinos say dots to attract money) So maybe first one to find red underwear with yellow dots you win a prize!

My main goal is not to fall asleep before Midnight and to have FUN!  What are your New Year's Eve traditions or goals?

Friday, December 6, 2013

Tickets Please

Looking for a cheap idea to add to your pretend play? Buy a roll of tickets from the office store. We have had rolls of these in the house through the years and the kids love them. They create some lovely open ended creative play. Here is what my kids have used them for without any adult suggestions:
1.  Admission to dance shows they put on. 
2.  Admission to art museum they created. 
3.  Pretend money. 
4.  Tickets to use at homemade spa.
5.  Tickets to redeem for prizes at homemade carnival. 
6.  Homemade raffle type games or to pick names out of a hat. 

Great "toy" to add for imaginative play for various ages. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving Challenge Game

Since we are not heading out for Thanksgiving dinner until later this year, I created a simple group game for us to play in the morning to help celebrate the day.  My family loves healthy competition where we team up against each other.  Sometimes it is a game of poker, a cook off or other simple challenges, so this is a just a twist with a Thanksgiving theme.  You can print this Thanksgiving game from GrowingPlay at http://www.growingplay.com/freethanksgiving.html

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tips for Supporting Risk Taking During Childhood

Do you allow your children to explore enough?  Risk taking is so important in childhood. This generation of children is so shielded from many risks that we were allowed to overcome as we grew up.  Taking a risk and achieving your goal provides a child with a strong sense of accomplishment.  Remember back to when you were young when you climbed a tall tree or rode your bicycle down a steep hill.  It feels exhilarating that you did it by yourself.  So next time your child is trying a new skill that might be a bit risky try some of the tips before you say "stop":
  1. Observe the situation closely. See if they can do the task safely without you interfering. 
  2. If you need to interfere to ensure safety can you offer verbal suggestions instead of physical prompts?  
  3. It is the same theory when children are learning any new skill assist as little as possible. Even in situations where it may be easier for you to help in terms of speeding up the task or peace of mind. 
  4. Can someone else supervise or be the teacher for the skill?  For example, my daughter loves to climb across the top of the swing set where there are ladder rungs. It makes me terribly nervous although she can do it. It challenges her balance and coordination. She has shown me she can do it but I truly can not watch. Which is not safe. My solution...  Daddy needs to be here. Dad is much better suited to watch her and cheer her on than I am in that situation. When it comes to riding a bike though I am much more patient than he is. I can repeat the skill over and over until she gets it right. Whereas after two trials he is done. Bottom line is sometimes your child will succeed better if someone else is the teacher.
  5. Stop and make sure that you are not saying "no" due to your own fears.  I remember the first time I had my children go into a grocery store by themselves to buy a few items.  They were so excited to be allowed to do it on their own.  They did a great job and afterwards I wondered why had I waited so long to let them shop on their own?    I think I was 5-6 years old when I was allowed to go and buy candy by myself.  I think I said "no" to them shopping alone due to my own fears from things I have seen on the news of horrible things happening to children when alone.  We can not live in fear. 
What do you do to support risky exploration in your children?