Keeping Kids Busy During the Holidays.

With all the excitement and preparation that takes place BEFORE the holidays, our kids often seems to bounce around, get bored, or underfoot.  If you’ve exhausted the usual “let’s decorate or bake together” options, try some of the great activities found on the BuzzFeed website:

https://www.buzzfeed.com/karstenschmehl/parenthacks?bffbtasty&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Parents%20115&utm_content=Parents%20115+CID_c09d605cdb68bccd3579e75dd3333d69&utm_source=BuzzFeed%20Newsletters&utm_term=.pjeLxyXY7#.ftrXAdLmp

Here is also a quick and EDIBLE Gingerbread Play Dough option that kids will love.  This recipe comes from Hannah Holt at Lightbulb Books:

Gingerbread Playdough

Ingredients

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cloves
1 packet unsweetened orange […]

You may view the latest post at:  (It also includes a recipe for peppermint snow
http://www.lightbulbbooks.com/blog/2016/12/two-holiday-playdough-recipes-peppermint-snow-and-gingerbread/

Hannah Holt
hannah@lightbulbbooks.com
 

50+ Easy Ornaments and Crafts For Kids.

Every year, when I take out my many Christmas ornaments, I relive the moments I shared making many of them with my kids.  The collection has grown over the years and my son and daughter now have boxes of their own to take with them when they are ready.

If you haven’t already, why not start a tradition of crafting some simple ornaments this year.  There are  plenty of sights with numerous ideas to get you started. Here are some of them.

From Play Ideas:  http://www.playideas.com/25-christmas-ornaments-kids-can-make/?utm_content=buffer4636d&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

From Red Ted Art:   http://www.redtedart.com/category/christmas-2/

The walnut owls are easy and delightful.

From Family Fun:  https://family.disney.com/crafts/

There are crafts for every skill and interest, using on hand materials such as paper, felt, pipe cleaners, walnuts, yarn and more.

Why not create some holiday memories with a few hand-made ornaments.  Here is a sample of my own from past years.     2015-12-10-00-24-21

If you’re interested in a specific one, leave a comment and I’ll send directions.

 

Halloween Treats and Fun Activities.

Looking for something to keep your little ones busy before or after Trick-or-Treating?  Check out these ideas from BRIGHTLY.  Plenty of activities and coloring pages for all ages.

http://www.readbrightly.com/halloween-printables-activities/?ref=PRH0563577803&aid=randohouseinc13256-20&linkid=PRH0563577803&cdi=2AEB03AD52D94BE9E0534FD66B0A7FAD

You can also make some yummy BITE SIZE HONEY POPCORN BALLS to keep or give away as treats.  Here’s the simple recipe.

  •  Bite Size Honey Popcorn Balls
  • 20 cups air-popped popcorn (from 2/3 to 1 cup kernels; see Notes) $
  • 1 1/4 cups butter, cut into chunks, plus more for your hands $
  • 1 1/4 cups honey
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract        temperature-popcorn-pop-120x120

Preparation

  1.  Preheat oven to 325°. Put popcorn in a large roasting pan. Line a large baking sheet with waxed paper.
  2.  In a medium saucepan over medium heat, use a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon to stir together 1 1/4 cups butter, the honey, and salt until butter is melted. Increase heat and boil honey mixture gently 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in vanilla.
  3. Carefully pour honey mixture over popcorn in roasting pan and stir gently to coat. Bake popcorn, stirring every 5 minutes, until deep golden all over, about 25 minutes.
  4.  Let popcorn stand 5 minutes, or just until cool enough to handle. Working quickly with lightly buttered hands, press small handfuls of the mixture into 1 1/2-in. balls, occasionally loosening popcorn from bottom of pan with a spatula. If mixture cools too much to be malleable, return it to oven for about 45 seconds to soften.
  5.  Put popcorn balls on prepared baking sheet and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Note:  If you don’t have an air popper, you can pop the popcorn in the microwave: Working in 2 batches, put kernels in a brown paper bag (any size). Do not add oil. Fold the bag’s opening several times to seal, then microwave at full power in 1-minute increments, checking popcorn and removing popped kernels as you go (they burn easily). Be careful when opening bag; it will release steam.

 

Easy Peasy Party Pumpkins + Wheelchair Costumes.

Last year I volunteered in a Kindergarten classroom for a Halloween party and the room mother made these simple, festive snacks to celebrate the season.  You know your kids will get tons of candy.  So these CLEMENTINE PUMPKINS  are a welcome break from all that.  Better still, kids love easy-to-peel-and-eat clementines.

pumpkinYou can have a clementine decorating party of your own.  Be sure to use WASHABLE NON-TOXIC markers.  Happy snacking!

I came across an amazing article in the October 2016 issue of Family Circle Magazine that featured a dad who makes wheelchair costumes for his son.  He decorates the entire wheelchair to look like a pirate ship, dinosaur, or superhero. When his son went trick or treating, people saw past the wheelchair to the boy  in it.  Since then, Ryan Weimer launched a Kickstarter program with chapters around the country to build costumes for other children each Halloween.  Magic Wheelchair now has chapters in 10 states.

For more info or to donate to this worthwhile cause check out: http://www.magicwheelchair.org

Check out some of the amazing costumes here: https://www.buzzfeed.com/rachelzarrell/this-nonprofit-creates-whimsical-halloween-costumes-for-kids?utm_term=.dur5owMka#.bjXyGEKA9

Great Fall Crafts For Kids From Pre K – Teens.

I’ve mentioned the awesome website Red Ted Art many times on this blog. The wealth and variety of craft information and ideas makes me visit it again and again.  And what better time for “crafting” than the fall season?  Take the kids on a NATURE WALK and collect leaves, pine cones, acorns and sticks, and you’ll have all the makings of some great crafts to decorate your home for the fall, Halloween and Thanksgiving season.

You’ll find plenty of things to do with LEAVES, ACORNS, PINE CONES, such as an adorable Pine cone Hedgehog.  Origami Bats will fly at Halloween, and Cork Penguins can hang around through winter.  Check out the site and have some family fun creating great fall crafts.

http://www.redtedart.com/?s=fall+crafts+for+kids

Celebrate July 4th With Fruit Salads, Play and More.

Many of us will be hosting or attending parades and picnics to celebrate our nation’s birthday this July 4th.  Happy 240th USA! Besides the usual burgers, hotdogs and salads that are part of every picnic, why not have you and your children add a delicious FRUIT SALAD to the menu?  There are so many tasty summer fruits available now and what better way to get those good vitamins than with sweet and juicy fruit? 

Here are two that I mixed up after a trip to my local farm market.

Strawberries, kiwi, and blueberries.

Strawberries, kiwi, and blueberries.

 

Strawberries, mango, blackberries, cherries and coconut.

Strawberries, mango, blackberries, cherries and coconut.

Try what ever combination you like…there is no wrong way to make a fruit salad.   And while you’re enjoying some salad, here are some sights that have plenty of holiday games and activities for kids of all ages.

Check out my previous posts for more fruit salad ideas.

 

From How Stuff Works: http://lifestyle.howstuffworks.com/crafts/holiday-crafts/fourth-of-julycrafts-for-kids.htm

 

From Teach Preschool http://www.teachpreschool.org/2010/06/preschool-ideas-for-fourth-of-july/

From Enchanted Learning: http://www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/july4/

Have a Happy and Safe Fourth of July!

Father’s Day Fun!

It’s not too late to do some memorable things to honor the dad in your child’s life.  Any dad will love being treated like a king for a day.  A fast and easy gift can be as simple as a book of homemade “coupons” dad can redeem for things such as A FREE CAR WASH, BACK MASSAGE, FOOT RUB, DESSERT OF YOUR CHOICE,  and anything else you think the dad in your life might enjoy. 

You can also check out some great books about dad’s and Father’s Day at this site:

http://lifeatthezoo.com/2016/03/fathers-day-books-kids/

You and the kids might also want to make an awesome FOOTBALL HANDPRINT PHOTO keepsake.  It’s made using a simple salt dough recipe and a cookie cutter.

http://www.teach-me-mommy.com/2016/06/football-handprint-photo-keepsake.html

For awesome gift ideas, you can also check out: http://www.familycircle.com/fathersdaygifts

Make DAD feel special…have a Happy Father’s Day!