CreativeChild RSS Feed http://creativechild.com/ Have a Happy Birthday (Without the Party): <p class="p1"><span class="s1">The day your child was born is a day to celebrate and make them feel special. Birthday parties are fun but they can be a lot of work and the costs can quickly add up. If you decide to skip the birthday party, it doesn&rsquo;t mean you can&rsquo;t celebrate big. Here are some ideas to make sure your child&rsquo;s birthday is special.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">##adbig##</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong> Create anticipation</strong></span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1"> As the birthday approaches, build anticipation by talking about it and planning what the day will hold. You can create a special countdown by making a paper chain and tearing off one chain per day or even just counting down the number of days on a chalkboard in your home. Explain that although there will not be a big birthday party this year, there will still be a lot of fun things planned.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong> Make the cake</strong></span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1"> A great way to save money on a birthday celebration is to make the cake yourself. Choose flavors and colors or themes your child loves and get siblings involved in the preparation. Kids typically don&rsquo;t care about whether the cake is perfectly decorated, they are happy with a cake that is made just for them.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong> Balloon avalanche</strong></span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1"> When your child goes to sleep the night before their birthday, decorate the house with balloons or birthday decor. Try taping a disposable tablecloth to the outside of the door jam and fill the space between with balloons. When your child opens the door, they will be greeted with a balloon avalanche that is sure to put a big smile on their face. </span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong> Kid&rsquo;s choice</strong></span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1"> When you are planning the day, consider your child&rsquo;s favorites. Plan the day&rsquo;s meals around your child&rsquo;s favorite foods. Choose things that you typically do not serve to make the day more special. If you will go on an outing or if you will be dining out, let the child choose the location.</span></p> http://www.creativechild.com/article/1338 Tue, 25 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0700 5 Tips for Raising a Confident Child <p class="p1"><span class="s1">Confidence is one of those qualities easier spotted than defined. I recently spotted confidence so unequivocally in a 16-year-old, it left me pondering what confidence really was. What made Shreyas Parab, an accomplished yet down-to-earth kid, pursue such ambitious endeavors at such a young age? </span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">[Related:<span style="color: #0000ff;"><strong> <a style="color: #0000ff;" href="http://www.creativechild.com/articles/view/what-does-a-confident-kid-look-like" target="_blank">What Does a Confident Kid Look Like: Like Someone Who&rsquo;s Willing to Fail</a></strong></span>]</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">It wasn&rsquo;t easily discernable at first because he was so relatable. It was clear Shreyas had fears and doubts like every other kid. But this two-time entrepreneur, two-time national speller and four-time Tedx talk speaker viewed failure in these terms:</span></p> <ol class="ol1"> <li class="li1"><span class="s1">Even the biggest failures always produce small successes</span></li> <li class="li1"><span class="s1">The sting of failure isn&rsquo;t as bad as missed opportunity </span></li> <li class="li1"><span class="s1">Failure is not the best way to learn, it&rsquo;s the only way to learn</span></li> </ol> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">##adbig##</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">Much of these views are clich&eacute;s we&rsquo;ve all heard before. But it&rsquo;s one thing to hear something repeatedly and quite another to experience and have the epiphany yourself, which he did.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">He attributed his ability to learn firsthand to his parents who supported him yet never told him whether or not his pursuits were the right or wrong move. </span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">&ldquo;I thank my parents everyday for letting me go out there and make those mistakes and learn from them,&rdquo; said Shreyas Parab. &ldquo;Because where I've learned the most is not from someone telling me, this is the answer. It's from me figuring it out myself.&rdquo;&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">The question to ask when raising a confident child is not how to make your child confident, but how to afford your child the opportunities to become confident.<span class="Apple-converted-space">&nbsp; </span>Let&rsquo;s face it, we can&rsquo;t make our child be or do anything. All we can do is encourage him and set good examples. </span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">As grownups, we often forget that confidence is a process, not something you are or some quality you&rsquo;re born with. What we can do as parents, the only thing we can do, really, is to encourage your child to try new things, preferably things that excite them, and provide them with the tools to succeed.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">One of the best things parents can do is to ingrain the habit of venturing out of one&rsquo;s comfort zone at an early age. When you&rsquo;re a young kid, you don&rsquo;t know to be embarrassed, not fully. Besides starting young, here are some other tips to help your child find avenues that lead to confidence</span></p> http://www.creativechild.com/article/1339 Tue, 25 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0700 Gifts Kids Can Give on A Small Budget <p class="p1"><span class="s1">There is nothing more heartwarming than a gift made by a child. Handmade gifts are affordable, fun to make, and can be given to all the special people in their lives. Here are some gifts that are sure to make someone mom (or grandma) smile this Mother&rsquo;s Day.</span></p> <p class="p2">##adbig##</p> <p class="p3"><span class="s1"><strong>Prints</strong></span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">All you need is a child&rsquo;s cooperation, some paint, and a little creativity to make a gift that will be cherished for years. Handprints, fingerprints, and even footprints can be used to make a variety of crafts and art. Try putting your child&rsquo;s prints on an apron, tea towel, oven mitt, or T-shirt to give to a special someone. Make sure to follow the directions on the paint to ensure that the design lasts for years. As a bonus, your kids will love getting messy during the process.</span></p> <p class="p3"><span class="s1"><strong>Tasty Treats</strong></span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">Kids love to help in the kitchen, so why not put together some tasty treats for some sweet people in your life? Get the kids involved in the holiday baking and put together a plate of cookies the kids can help deliver to a grandma or mom. Putting a homemade cookie mix into a mason jar also makes an easy gift that kids can help with. Finish the jar with a bow and instructions and it's ready to be delivered.</span></p> <p class="p3"><span class="s1"><strong>Frame it</strong></span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">Photos make a favorite gift for any proud mother or grandmother. Get kids involved in picking out favorite photos from the past year and putting them into a collage with handmade drawings or a poem. Try making a scrapbook page that can be framed for a special gift. Picture frames can be made with decorated popsicle sticks, clay, or an existing frame can be painted or decorated with mosaic tiles, buttons, or other craft supplies.<span class="Apple-converted-space">&nbsp; </span>Affordable frames can be found at local thrift stores or the dollar store. </span></p> http://www.creativechild.com/article/1340 Tue, 25 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0700 DIY Memorial Day Mason Jars <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Kids of all ages will enjoy making this patriotic, paper stained, mason jar craft. They are incredibly easy to make! &nbsp;Let&rsquo;s grab a few supplies.</span></p> <p>##adbig##</p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Materials</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">3 Mason Jars </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Tissue Paper Sheets (1 Red, 1 White, 1 Blue)</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mod Podge </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Water</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Decorations (Candles, Flags, Paper Confetti)</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">(Total Cost - $10 to $12)</span></em></p> <p>##ad##</p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Directions</span></em></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">(Time - 20 to 40 Minutes) (Drying Period - 8 Hours or Overnight)</span></em></p> <p><strong>Step 1: </strong><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mix mod podge glue with water to make a thin liquid. </span></p> <p><strong>Step 2: </strong><span style="font-weight: 400;">Tear all three sheets of tissue paper into medium sized (approximately 2 inches long by 1 inch tall) rectangles and keep separated. </span></p> <p><strong>Step 3: </strong><span style="font-weight: 400;">&nbsp;Next, dip the pieces of tissue paper in the glue mixture and apply to the jar. Apply one piece at a time in any design you like, and layer if necessary. &nbsp;Don&rsquo;t worry about wrinkles, just have fun with it!</span></p> <p><strong>Step 4: </strong><span style="font-weight: 400;">Once your jars are covered,</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">make sure all pieces are firmly placed against the glass, and let them set overnight (approximately 8 hours) to ensure all the glue is dry. </span></p> <p><strong>Step 5:</strong><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Finally...decorate! Have fun with it. Use candles to make luminaries, or fill the jar with paper confetti and arrange American flags for a perfect centerpiece! You can also add ribbon or buttons to the outside of your mason jars.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">So festive. Aren&rsquo;t they fabulous? &nbsp;Happy crafting!</span></p> http://www.creativechild.com/article/1341 Tue, 25 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0700 Three Tips for Enjoying Toddler Parenting <p class="p1"><span class="s1">That tiny baby you held in your arms just yesterday is suddenly walking, talking, and full of attitude. She&rsquo;s got spunk! He&rsquo;s got style! They&rsquo;ve got you wrapped around their little fingers, and those fingers are on your buttons. Toddlers are a whirlwind of fun, mess, challenge, and lots of love. This <span style="color: #0000ff;"><strong><a style="color: #0000ff;" href="https://www.creativechild.com/articles/view/the-changing-seasons-of-motherhood"><span class="s2">stage</span></a></strong></span> is definitely a transition period as they&rsquo;re learning more about being separate from mom and dad and figuring out their place in the world and we are learning how to parent through a whole new phase! Following these three bits of advice helped me enjoy the toddler years more, and I hope they&rsquo;ll do the same for you.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">##adbig##</span></p> <p class="p2">&nbsp;<span class="s1">1. <strong>Change your perception about toddlers.</strong> Having a toddler comes with lots of dire warnings about how they&rsquo;ll be &ldquo;terrible&rdquo; when they&rsquo;re two and &ldquo;thunderous&rdquo; when they&rsquo;re three. You&rsquo;ll likely hear that you need to &ldquo;put your foot down&rdquo; and &ldquo;show them who&rsquo;s boss.&rdquo; You&rsquo;ll be warned that they will &ldquo;try to manipulate you&rdquo; and maybe &ldquo;take over the house.&rdquo; It&rsquo;s strange, when you think about it, how we view babies as so innocent, such blessings, and then less than 24 months later, they morph into devious tyrants. These toxic cultural messages are poisoning our brains! They cause us to see our toddlers in a negative light, and because we are <strong><em>looking </em></strong>for them to be manipulative or terrible, that&rsquo;s often what we <strong><em>come to see.</em></strong> We end up viewing them not so much as blessings anymore as mischief to be managed. Of course, seeing them in this way causes us to treat them differently. We might feel disrespected when the child means no disrespect or manipulated when she&rsquo;s simply trying to get needs met in the only way her young brain knows how. </span></p> <p class="p2">&nbsp;<span class="s1">Choosing to reject these negative messages and see toddlers in a more positive light automatically helps us enjoy them more and respond to them better. It serves to strengthen our bond rather than strain it. Remember, your perception shapes your reality. Choose a positive one.</span></p> http://www.creativechild.com/article/1337 Fri, 21 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0700 Doing Crafts with Your Kids Has Lifelong Benefits <p>It seems that sitting down together for a little parent/child craft time has more benefits than we realized. Sure, the kids love it and keeps them happily occupied, but did you know that it encourages key visual-processing skills, improves fine motor skills, and even improves their executive function (which helps with focus and memory).</p> <p>##ad##</p> <p>Richard Rende, Ph.D. teamed up with Elmer&rsquo;s Products to explore the impact that creative time has on long-term success. They spoke with 50 experts in the field of child development and pediatrics along with nearly 300 moms across the United States. According to his report (<span style="color: #0000ff;"><strong><a style="color: #0000ff;" href="http://www.parenting.com/parenting-advice/tips-tricks/research-shows-parent-child-craft-time-has-lifelong-benefits">found here</a></strong></span>), moms admitted that things like chores and extracurricular activities got in the way of creative time and 90 percent of the moms surveyed said they wish they had more time to do crafts with their children.<br /><br /></p> <p>Still, it looks like it&rsquo;s worth our effort to clear off that table and spend at least a few minutes every week crafting with our kids. Rende states that your child&rsquo;s academics will be improved as skills like pattern recognition and detecting sequencing are strengthened. Just as importantly, in my view, is the fact that creating together gives you time to present and connected, which is always much needed in today&rsquo;s busy culture.<br /><br /></p> <p>If clearing off your kitchen table just to fill it with loads of crafting supplies that are going to be a mess to clean up seems too stressful to undertake, no worries! I&rsquo;ve gathered 5 quick and low-mess crafts from around the web so that you can start creating now with very little fuss.</p> <p>##adbig##</p> <ol> <li><span style="color: #0000ff;"><strong><a style="color: #0000ff;" href="http://innerchildfun.com/2010/11/time-saving-tip-for-cleaning.html">Colorful crowns by Inner Child Fun</a></strong></span>. These cute crows are made with colorful straws cut up to make &ldquo;beads&rdquo; woven onto pipe cleaners. Talk about simple, cheap, and mess-free! Nailed it! What a great activity to practice those fine motor skills, too!<br /><br /></li> <li><span style="color: #0000ff;"><strong><a style="color: #0000ff;" href="http://www.pbs.org/parents/crafts-for-kids/mess-free-art/">Mess-free art by PBS</a></strong></span>. Now your child can enjoy finger painting without the mess! I remember doing this activity with my boys when they were tots, and it&rsquo;s so much fun. You&rsquo;ll need a plastic freezer bag, paint, a sheet of white paper, and tape. Fill the freezer bag and 1/3 full with paint and zip tightly. Flatten it out to disburse the paint. Place a sheet of white paper underneath the bag (to show contrast) and tape it securely to the table. Voila!</li> </ol> http://www.creativechild.com/article/1336 Thu, 20 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0700 When Children Won’t Share <p class="p1">Sharing is often a big topic among parents of toddlers and preschoolers. There are two big motivations for wanting our little ones to share. The first is that we naturally want to raise generous, kind people who think about the wants and needs of others. The second, if we&rsquo;re being completely honest, is that it makes us look good when they share with others, and any opportunity to shine as a parent in a world that&rsquo;s always telling us what we&rsquo;re doing wrong is golden to us. The truth is, though, that developmentally, young children aren&rsquo;t ready to share. They&rsquo;re naturally possessive of their things, and the ability to put himself in the other kid&rsquo;s shoes is still a few years down the developmental line.</p> <p class="p3">##adbig##</p> <p class="p2"><span class="s1">Go to any playgroup, daycare, or home with multiple children and you&rsquo;re likely to hear the words, &ldquo;You need to share now.&rdquo; Well-intentioned parents sometimes force sharing in the hopes to teach this valuable lesson, but forced sharing is a quick solution that doesn&rsquo;t reap lasting benefits. In fact, it may do just the opposite! Forcing your child to share may make her less likely to share in the future. When she is forced to give up a toy she was engrossed in playing with or an item that is beloved to her, she learns that sharing feels <em>bad</em>. Children, of course, want to avoid things that make them feel bad. She may become even more possessive of her things, feeling desperate to hold on to what she is attached to. In addition, forcing her to share doesn&rsquo;t teach proper boundary setting. It&rsquo;s important for children to learn that it&rsquo;s okay to say &ldquo;no&rdquo; or &ldquo;not yet.&rdquo; Here<span style="color: #0000ff;"> <a style="color: #0000ff;" href="http://www.positive-parents.org/2017/03/great-expectations-holding-children-to.html"><span class="s2">again, we hold expectations</span></a></span> of children that we don&rsquo;t hold of ourselves. I will not share my car with a complete stranger who comes up and asks for a turn with it. I would share my cell phone with someone who needs to make a call, but it would be rude for them to ask for it while I&rsquo;m in the middle of a call! I&rsquo;m not going to trade my grandmother&rsquo;s tea set for the vase you bought at Home Goods. It all seems very silly when you consider forced sharing with adults, doesn&rsquo;t it? </span></p> <p class="p2"><span class="s1">In our efforts to raise kind, considerate, fair people, what can we do if we don&rsquo;t force them to hand over the toy pronto? Here are some ideas.</span></p> <p class="p2"><span class="s1">1. <strong>Be patient. </strong>Willingness to share is really a developmental milestone. While we can encourage young children to be fair and generous, toddlers and preschoolers are very much self-oriented. It isn&rsquo;t naughtiness but a matter of <span style="color: #0000ff;"><a style="color: #0000ff;" href="https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/young-brains-lack-skills-sharing/"><span class="s2">brain development</span></a></span>. Understand that the toddler who snatches toys from others or clings to what he has while yelling &ldquo;mine!&rdquo; may very well be <span style="color: #0000ff;"><a style="color: #0000ff;" href="http://www.positiveparentingconnection.net/sharing/"><span class="s2">Mr. Thoughtful</span></a></span> in a few short years. </span></p> <p class="p2"><span class="s1">2. <strong>Encourage turn-taking</strong>. Rather than insisting that Emma gives the doll to Lily immediately just because Lily asks for it, teach her to use assertive phrases like &ldquo;you can have a turn next&rdquo; or &ldquo;I&rsquo;ll give it to you when I&rsquo;m done.&rdquo; Heather Shumaker, author of <span style="color: #0000ff;"><a style="color: #0000ff;" href="https://www.positiveparentingsolutions.com/parenting/its-ok-not-to-share"><span class="s2">It&rsquo;s OK Not to Share</span></a></span>, say, &ldquo;It helps kids stand up for themselves and learn to set boundaries on other kids. What a terrific life skill. How many of us as adults have trouble saying &ldquo;no?&rdquo; When the first child drops the toy and moves on, remind her that Ella&rsquo;s waiting for a turn (a great lesson in courtesy and awareness of others). The best part of all is when the first child willingly hands over the toy&mdash;it&rsquo;s a joyous moment for both kids. That&rsquo;s the moment when your child experiences the rush of good feelings that comes from being kind to others. It&rsquo;s true generosity. It&rsquo;s a warm feeling. One she&rsquo;ll want to repeat over and over &ndash; whether a parent is watching or not.&rdquo; </span></p> <p class="p2"><span class="s1">She also addresses the waiting children, saying that waiting is hard for impulsive 2-5 year olds but is also an excellent life skill to learn. She goes on to say, &ldquo;Don&rsquo;t be afraid of a few foot stompings or tears. Learning to control behavior and express intense feelings appropriately is really the main job of early childhood. Impulse control (waiting for a toy and not grabbing) is a vital part of brain development and gets stronger through practice.&rdquo; Read part two of <span style="color: #0000ff;"><a style="color: #0000ff;" href="https://www.positiveparentingsolutions.com/parenting/what-to-do-about-long-turns"><span class="s2">It&rsquo;s OK Not to Share</span></a></span> for what to do when children take looooong turns.</span></p> <p class="p2"><em><strong><span class="s1">Continued...</span></strong></em></p> http://www.creativechild.com/article/1335 Fri, 14 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0700 55 Springtime Bucket List Activities for Families <p class="p1"><span class="s1">It is spring at last! Whether you&rsquo;re looking to banish spring break boredom or just searching for fun evening and weekend family activities, this bucket list is sure to give ideas and inspiration! </span></p> <p class="p2">##adbig##</p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">1.<span class="Apple-converted-space">&nbsp; </span>Have a picnic.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">2. Dye Easter eggs.</span></p> <p class="p3"><span class="s2">3. Do a <span style="color: #0000ff;"><strong><a style="color: #0000ff;" href="http://www.glowinthedarkpartyideas.com/ultimate-guide-for-a-glow-in-the-dark-easter-egg-hunt/" target="_blank"><span class="s3">glow-in-the-dark Easter egg hunt</span></a></strong>.</span></span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">4. Fly a kite.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">5. Go on a family bike ride.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">6. Have an outdoor BBQ!</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">7. Watch a sunrise.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">8. Watch a sunset.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">9. Make a bird feeder.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">10. Play a game of badminton.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">11. Built a <span style="color: #0000ff;"><strong><a style="color: #0000ff;" href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Leaf-and-Stick-Fort/" target="_blank"><span class="s4">fort</span></a></strong></span> outside. </span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">12. Jump on a trampoline.</span></p> <p class="p3"><span class="s2">13. <span style="color: #0000ff;"><strong><a style="color: #0000ff;" href="http://www.learning4kids.net/2012/11/11/create-a-spring-play-dough-garden/" target="_blank"><span class="s3">Create a spring play dough garden.</span></a></strong></span></span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">14. Visit a zoo.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">15. Jump rope.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">16. Look for shapes in the clouds.</span></p> <p class="p3"><span class="s2">17. <span style="color: #0000ff;"><strong><a style="color: #0000ff;" href="http://www.messforless.net/playdough-games-spring-playdough/" target="_blank"><span class="s3">Make spring play dough flowers.</span></a></strong></span></span></p> <p class="p3"><span class="s2">18. <span style="color: #0000ff;"><strong><a style="color: #0000ff;" href="http://handsonaswegrow.com/watercolor-coffee-filter-flowers/" target="_blank"><span class="s3">Make watercolor coffee filter flowers.</span></a></strong></span></span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">19. Plant some seeds.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">20. Play in the rain puddles.</span></p> <p class="p3"><span class="s2">21. Make <span style="color: #0000ff;"><strong><a style="color: #0000ff;" href="https://www.creativechild.com/articles/view/11-superb-spring-sensory-bins-for-babies-and-toddlers" target="_blank"><span class="s3">one of these spring sensory bins.</span></a></strong></span></span></p> <p class="p3"><span class="s2">22.<span style="color: #0000ff;"><strong> <a style="color: #0000ff;" href="http://theimaginationtree.com/2011/04/spring-foam-window-murals.html" target="_blank"><span class="s3">Create spring foam window murals.</span></a></strong></span></span></p> <p class="p3"><span class="s2">23.<span style="color: #0000ff;"><strong> <a style="color: #0000ff;" href="http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/bunny-face-cupcakes" target="_blank"><span class="s3">Bake bunny face cupcakes.</span></a></strong></span></span></p> <p class="p3"><span class="s2">24. </span><span style="color: #0000ff;"><strong><span class="s2"><a style="color: #0000ff;" href="http://theimaginationtree.com/2011/02/flower-pot-painting.html" target="_blank"><span class="s3">Paint some flower pots!</span></a></span></strong></span></p> http://www.creativechild.com/article/1334 Thu, 13 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0700 How to Not Go Crazy During School Vacation <p>Ok, let&rsquo;s be honest. Your anxiety may be through the roof at the moment, because, well &ndash; idle time with children.<br /><br />I&rsquo;ll just remind you though, that you <em>did</em> want warmer weather so that you could finally begin to thaw out from the winter. You <em>have</em> anxiously been awaiting summer to rid yourself of the stress of carpool, making lunches, and yet another PTO meeting.</p> <p>##ad##</p> <p>Well, you&rsquo;re almost there, Mamas &ndash; but you&rsquo;ve got one last hurdle to overcome before the backpacks are stored for summer.<br /><br /><strong>April Break.</strong><br /><br />Some states call it spring break. Others refer to it as Easter or Passover break.<br /> <br />That&rsquo;s not what matters here, though. <em>What matters is that you&rsquo;ll have a solid 8-10 days, with your children at home, and nothing to do</em>.<br /><br /><strong>They might as well start calling this time of year &ldquo;Wine Pouring Season.&rdquo;<br /><br /></strong>In all seriousness, though &ndash; what is that you&rsquo;re planning on doing with your time? I&rsquo;ll tell you what I&rsquo;m NOT doing &ndash;spending each day wishing I had made plans or letting my child destroy my home out of sheer boredom.<br /><br />No way &ndash; not this year.<br /><br />The weather&rsquo;s great, I&rsquo;ve got a ton of things I&rsquo;d like to do &ndash; so this year, I may actually do them. Because if there&rsquo;s one thing I&rsquo;ve learned &ndash; <strong><em>not planning ahead is like handing a toddler a red sharpie marker while they&rsquo;re sitting on your beige tufted couch</em></strong>.</p> <p>##adbig##</p> <p>Here are a few ways to minimize the craziness for this upcoming break:<br /><br /><strong>1. Playdates</strong></p> <p>Schedule more than you even want to have, because one of them is bound to fall through. In places other than your own home. There is nothing more exciting (or frankly, bribe-worthy) for your child than knowing there is a playdate scheduled with a good friend somewhere outside of their TV room.<br /><br /><strong>2. Movies</strong></p> <p>If you&rsquo;re like me, going to the movies on weekends becomes more of a hassle than it&rsquo;s worth. Crowded parking lots, long lines, and finding good seats with children in tow is</p> <p>not my idea of a good time. But a 10:30 matinee on a Tuesday morning when the theatre is bound to be quiet? YES, please!<br /><br /><strong>3. Get Local</strong></p> <p>Unless you live under a rock, there are cool things to do in your neighborhood that you haven&rsquo;t done yet! Chances are you have uttered the words, &ldquo;<em>we&rsquo;ll have to go there one day</em>,&rdquo; at least once, to at least one of your children. Now&rsquo;s your chance to check that place out. Whether it&rsquo;s a local museum, park, or Farmer&rsquo;s Market &ndash; you&rsquo;re guaranteed to enjoy as much as your child.<br /><br /><strong>4. The Dollar Store</strong></p> <p>Because you must plan for a rainy day. And because having an arsenal of cheap toys, art supplies, and random goodies to dump out onto the living room floor during a vacation-week lull is always a good idea. <br /><br />Happy vacation!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> http://www.creativechild.com/article/1333 Tue, 11 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0700 6 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day <p>Many families do things to help the Planet Earth on a daily basis. Recycling is now often offered by waste management services and has become a normal part of our children&rsquo;s lives. Our generation has grown up knowing the importance of taking care of the environment more than previous generations. This Earth Day, take it one step further and intentionally celebrate the earth with your kids. Here are some ideas:</p> <p>##ad##</p> <p><strong>Visit a recycling center</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Check local listings for a recycling center near you. Many have visiting hours where kids can learn what happens to all those cans, bottles, and papers after they go in the recycle bin. This helps kids understand why we recycle and what recycled goods are used for.</p> <p><strong>Visit a water treatment plant</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Another fun family field trip is a visit to the local water treatment plant. Workers there teach how our water is treated and why. They also gain a better understanding of the importance of taking care of our water resources and how to protect them.</p> <p>##adbig##</p> <p><strong>Create a compost</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; A great way to recycle your food waste is to create a compost. This can be on a small or large scale and is an affordable project your family can do together. A simple compost bin can be made out of a plastic tub (be sure to drill a several holes on the top and bottom for draining). Fill the container with leaves, grass, weeds, fruit or vegetable scraps, eggshells, and coffee grounds. Turn the bin, shake it, or stir the contents often to begin the compost process. Use the contents to fertilize your planters or your garden. Kids will learn how food decomposes and about the benefits of gardening as well.</p> <p><strong>Plant a tree</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; A common way to celebrate Earth Day is to plant a tree. You could do this in your own backyard or donate one to a local park or common area and plant it there. Also consider planting a garden, flowers, or working in the yard. Try volunteering to help someone who isn&rsquo;t physically able to clean up their own backyard by raking leaves or taking care of outdoor chores.</p> http://www.creativechild.com/article/1332 Mon, 10 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0700