Monday, April 13, 2015

Pizza Box City - Recycled Materials Small World Play

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In honor of Earth Day, I had to share this activity that my kids came up with all on their own.  After a particularly trying morning of, "Mommy, can we play on our Kindles?" (NO!) and "Mommy, can we play video games?" (NO!), my kids finally figured out that I really meant no screen time. Sometimes, you just need a detox, and this was the perfect activity to remind them that they really are creative, wonderful children.

I told the kids that they could use any of our craft materials and anything that they found in the recycling bin to create a project.

It all started with a pizza box...

 The kids cut the top off of the box and worked together to color it using crayons and markers.  

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Magnet Learning Activities for Kids

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Since Christmas, we have been having lots of fun exploring with the magnets in my son's new Super Magnet Lab .  It was by far one of his favorite presents.  At first, I planned to write a separate post for each of our activities, but since several months have passed, I decided to give you all an overview of some of our favorite activities all in one place!
 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Easy Banana Muffins

Mornings are crazy busy around here. Between packing lunches and greeting Daycare Kids, it can be hard to get breakfast on the table for everyone. I used to be better about serving one breakfast for everyone, but now due to allergies, I have become a bit more of a short-order cook.  Bagel and cream cheese for you.  Over-easy eggs for you guys.  Toast and peanut butter for my picky eater. The list goes on...and on...and on.

One way I've found to save time, and my sanity, is to have the freezer stocked with several options that I can just toss in the microwave or toaster.

Lately, the kids have been clamoring for muffins, and these banana muffins have become a huge hit. Every few weeks I make a large batch with the kids and then we keep them in the freezer for quick breakfasts throughout the week.
These muffins are seriously yummy!  Make a large batch and stock the freezer for busy mornings!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

How We Stretch Our Gift-Giving Budget with Swagbucks

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Seven years ago, I left teaching to stay home to raise my kids.  It was a choice I made knowing that there would be sacrifices.  We don't take large vacations every year.  We don't drive fancy cars and we save money any way we can.  That means that even though it's March, my husband and I are already budgeting for Christmas and birthdays, and lately we've really been rocking the Swagbucks!
This is how we stretch our gift-giving budget!  We're already saving for Christmas and it feels great!
Chances are if you're looking for ways to save money for your family, you've come across Swagbucks. Maybe you read a blog about how people are paying for vacations, earning gift cards, or paying down debt with Swagbucks. Maybe you signed up for an account and never used it. Let me inspire you to visit that account again and show you how you can easily earn them without spending a ton of time on your laptop.  Seriously, this is free money that everyone should be taking advantage of!


Saturday, March 7, 2015

Learning Names Creation Station for Preschool

The past few months, I've been making more invitations to play for the kids and I'm so pleased with the difference it's made in their enthusiasm.  It's amazing how simple it is to put these trays together and how effective it is at sparking their curiosity.  We had so much fun working with this Name Creation Station to practice recognizing and forming the letters in our names.  In fact, we had so much fun that I forgot to take pictures of the kids until we were almost through! Easy activities to help kids learn to recognize and spell their names!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Fizzing Hearts Valentine's Day Science Experiment

Obviously, Valentine's Day is over and we had tons of activities and crafts that never made it to the blog.  That is the problem with trying to work full time, be a Mommy of 5, and keep up with a blog. Sometimes activities that I really want to share just don't make it to the blog in time.  This activity, though, is just too fun and too versatile not to share.  I'm sure you've seen lots of versions of this.  It is all over the blogosphere and for good reason!

A few weeks ago, the big kids were home for a snow day so we decided to have a little science fun. For our exploration we used:
Heart Cookie Cutter Set
Baking Soda
Vinegar
Eye Droppers
food coloring

My older boys love to be my big helpers when they're home so they had fun setting this invitation up for the Daycare kids.  I put a beach towel over the table to help contain spills and we put the cookie cutters on a  cookie sheet.  My 9 and 6-year-olds filled the cookie cutters with baking soda.
Fizzing Hearts Valentine Science Exploration - This would be fun for any time!  Just change out the cookie cutters! 
Then, we filled a few ramekins with white vinegar and added food coloring to make it more fun for the kids.  Setting up was a great time to work with colors and counting with the little ones.  We talked about the different colors of food coloring and made purple by combining red and blue.  Then, we counted how many spoonfuls of baking soda could fit into each cookie cutter, being sure to point out that the big cookie cutters could hold more spoonfuls than the small cookie cutters.  It seems so simple, but this is really how my 2 and 3-year-olds learn their colors, numbers, shapes, and vocabulary.
  Fizzing Hearts Valentine Science Exploration - This would be fun for any time!  Just change out the cookie cutters! 
Once everything was set up the kids took turns (at first) using the droppers to add vinegar to the baking soda.  They were so excited to watch the hearts fizz and bubble.  We did this one at a time at first so the kids could really focus on listening to the baking soda fizz and watching it change colors.  My 3rd grader was able to appreciate this as a chemical change and my 2-year-old was just happy to make it fizz!
Fizzing Hearts Valentine Science Exploration - This would be fun for any time!  Just change out the cookie cutters! 
After everyone had a chance to be the "star scientist", I let the kids explore adding more vinegar and baking soda as necessary.  Fizzing Hearts Valentine Science Exploration - This would be fun for any time!  Just change out the cookie cutters! This was a fun way to work on fine motor skills as the little ones practiced squeezing liquid into and out of the eye droppers.  And, I loved watching the older ones help my toddlers so they could participate in the fun!  This would be a great activity for sibling bonding of all ages!Fizzing Hearts Valentine Science Exploration - This would be fun for any time!  Just change out the cookie cutters! This kept the kids busy for quite awhile even after the fizzing stopped.Fizzing Hearts Valentine Science Exploration - This would be fun for any time!  Just change out the cookie cutters! Everyone was working so well together!
  Fizzing Hearts Valentine Science Exploration - This would be fun for any time!  Just change out the cookie cutters! 
Before we finished, we had to try at least one traditional volcano by dumping some more baking soda in a small cup with a little food coloring and some glitter.  Isn't everything better with glitter?Fizzing Hearts Valentine Science Exploration - This would be fun for any time!  Just change out the cookie cutters!

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Monday, February 9, 2015

Melt My Heart Valentine's Day Science Experiment

I have been wanting to do a salt and ice experiment with the kids for awhile now, so when I stumbled across these Wilton Heart Cookie Treats Pan in my holiday boxes, I knew it was time to act.  The kids had so much fun with this and it was a great way to engage our sense of sight and touch (and yes, some of them got a little taste in there, as well)!
  Melt My Heart Science Experiment for Kids - this looks like so much fun! 
For our experiment, I used two different pans.  One was a Wilton Mini Ball Pan and the other was a Wilton Heart Cookie Treats Pan .  I also used some plastic heart molds to show that size makes a difference in how quickly the hearts melted.  To keep the water from leaking, I used some painter's tape to cover the groove where the sticks would be inserted.  It did the trick for us and I froze everything overnight so it would be ready for our experiment bright and early.Melt My Heart Science Experiment for Kids - this looks like so much fun! To help the ice cubs come out easily, I dipped the bottom of the pan in a shallow pan of warm water.  Most came out perfectly, but a few broke and the kids didn't mind at all.  Just tell the kids they're "broken hearts"!  We put our hearts on a cookie sheet and got to work.Melt My Heart Science Experiment for Kids - this looks like so much fun! Before we got started with the salt, the kids all took turns touching the ice and describing what they felt.  I heard lots of cold and smooth.  Then, we talked about what would make the ice melt.  We decided that we could put them in the sun and they would melt, but then I told them that we could make some melt even faster by using salt.  The kids all took turns shaking salt onto the hearts.  Using a salt shaker helped to keep the little ones from just dumping salt and not being able to see the effects.Melt My Heart Science Experiment for Kids - this looks like so much fun! We were able to see ridges and holes from the salt almost immediately, but then we added some food coloring and we were really able to see what the salt was doing.  The kids loved this part! Melt My Heart Science Experiment for Kids - this looks like so much fun! I held some of the hearts up to the window so the kids could see how the salt was starting to eat through the ice and where the food coloring was seeping in.  This is such a cool effect! Melt My Heart Science Experiment for Kids - this looks like so much fun! After awhile we grabbed the eye droppers and had fun squeezing the colored water back onto our ice.  The kids interacted with this experiment for about 40 minutes, which is amazing when you consider how long 2 and 3-year-olds typically sit still for!Melt My Heart Science Experiment for Kids - this looks like so much fun!

Now, we just need another good snow and ice storm so the kids can really appreciate why the plows are putting salt on the road!

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