"A tiny package..."

...that requires lots of love.

Explore and Bond With Your Family in Nature

Posted by on Sep 26, 2014 in General, Toddler | 0 comments

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For many places in the country, fall is the perfect time of year to get outside and have some family fun. Perhaps you’ve been cooped up for the last few months because of the sweltering heat or you anticipate months of winter hibernation to come. Whatever your situation has been, take this time to get your family out of the house and into nature this fall. Family bonds are grown in fresh air and in forests. Don’t worry about getting dirty and have some fun watching your kiddo’s explore and learn more about the world around them. Read on for two fun family activities designed to help you teach your children how to appreciate all of the wonderful things nature has to offer!

#1: Looking for Leaves:
Take your children outside and ask them to find as many different types of leaves as they can. Encourage them to only pick leaves from the ground but ask them to take notice of each leaf’s unique characteristics as they add them to their basket. Once the leaf hunt is complete take all the leaves inside and sort them into groups according to the characteristics your children determine. Have your kids trace their leaves onto paper to color or they can scan their leaves to create digital images to be used again and again.

Ask your children questions to start a larger conversation: What do the leaves have in common? Do any have veins? Where? Who found the biggest leaf? The narrowest leaf? The smallest leaf? Can they trace the veins on their leaves with their fingers?

#3: I Spy – Nature Edition:
It’s good for your children to understand the world around them. Create a list of items for your children to search for outdoors and have them record their findings in a notebook. Ask that they take notes and draw sketches of what they find – or if your kiddos are high tech you can have them use a digital camera to take pictures. Have them search for things such as spider webs, insect holes, animal tracks, animal dens, or bird nests.

As your children questions to start a larger conversation: What kind of spider would make a web like that? What type of insect would live in that hole? What type of animal makes tracks like that? What type of bird would build a nest like that?

Can you think of other ways to encourage your children to explore outside? What family activities can you plan for your family outside this fall?

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Plan Ahead and Create Themed Halloween Costumes for Your Family

Posted by on Sep 19, 2014 in General, Holidays, Toddler, Toddler Tips | 0 comments

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Regardless of whether your kiddos are big or small, perhaps you can talk the group into dressing up together this year! It’s a great way to get the family into the Halloween spirit and just think of how great you will look trick or treating though your neighborhood or at your community Halloween festival. Once you get everyone on board, it’s a great idea to start planning your family costumes early so you have plenty of time before Halloween to get everything together. Especially since you want the holiday to be stress free and full of fun!

Once your family has agreed, get together to come up with your family theme –  this part is the most fun! Some fan favorite ideas include: a band of superheroes, The Addams Family, Charlie Brown and the Peanuts Gang, a group of ghosts, or Harry Potter characters. Planning in advance gives you plenty of time to be creative. You could also come up with your own version of Star Wars or be the Pac-Man Pack! Perhaps your family wants to be extra spooky this year so flashback to Beetlejuice and incorporate some monsters into your group! The possibilities are endless.

Planning in advance allows you to have options about how you shop or if you have enough time to do things yourself. If you wait until the last minute you will be in a bind and be more likely to make rushed purchases with larger than desired price tags. I prefer to hit my local thrift shops and to scour my home for pieces that can be as a costume. For example, if your family decides to go as a ghastly group of ghosts – you can easily upcycle old sheets into a fun ghostly costumes.  A lot of times you can find unique items to incorporate into your look that will separate you from the crowd! Plus, hitting your own closet or the thrift store is great way to keep costs down and you are helping to save the environment too.

Planning in advance gives all you DIY parents out there time to glitter, sew, bead and braid your costumes to perfection! When it comes to ordering costume pieces online, make sure you give yourself plenty of time. You may think you know your size when ordering but you can never be completely sure. Ordering in advance gives you the ability to return items for different sizes if things don’t fit! You will also avoid having to pay for rushed shipping to make sure everything arrives in time.

The idea is to start early – so you will have great family Halloween costumes that are ready to go at the end of October!

Has your family ever dressed up together? What themes can you see your family dressing up as?

 

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Simple, Fun Ways to Incorporate Games into Your Family’s Daily Routine

Posted by on Sep 12, 2014 in Foodie Fun & Recipes, Toddler | 0 comments

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An altered quote but important nonetheless reads ‘a family that plays together stays together.’ Oftentimes we think of family fun as a grand event scheduled within our busy lives, such as a trip to the beach or the zoo. Regretfully, we can get stuck in routines or spend too much time in a rush to always make the most of our required daily activities such as commuting, dinner time, or bathing kids. However, with a little creativity you can turn these daily events into cherished opportunities to talk with your children and challenge their minds.

If your children are like most, dinnertime can often be a challenge. Some children have difficulty staying seated at the table or get easily distracted by things going on around them. Depending upon how much time you spend with you family you may not have a lot of new information to share or interesting things to talk about as your family comes together at the table-especially if your children are still fairly young. In moments like these, don’t dart for the television or sit in silence. Try something new that will hopefully keep your kiddos seated, happy and ready to eat.

Incorporate a game such as “What am I?” into your dinner ritual. There are several name brand games on the market that you can keep on demand. However, you can always make your own! You or your children could draw different objects (persons, places or things) onto index cards and use soft headbands to post them to your forehead. It’s important that not everyone is familiar with the images prior to the game so no one will have hints as to what their card may be before the game begins. This game doesn’t require your hands so your children are free to eat but they must remain seated in order to play as not to risk seeing their card. It’s a win/win!

20 Questions-another version of this same type of game can be played while commuting back and forth to school or during bath time when index cards really aren’t an option. Don’t always let your kids pick and you be the one to guess (this can get old very quick!) Require up front that you alternate who picks so it seems fair and everything will run smoothly. You should challenge them but pick things they will relate to or think is funny such as a unicorn or pizza.

Can you think of times during the day you can incorporate these types of games into your routine?

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