Archive for category Quick Tips

As your child’s room/playroom starts to acquire too many toys (perhaps around the holidays), do a big cleaning where they choose one toy to keep and one toy to donate to a child in need. Making children active participants in what they want to give away allows them to be both independent and consider the needs of others less fortunate than they are.

Read More

When reading to your children, keep a dictionary nearby so that when you come across big words that they don’t yet know the meaning of, have them find it in the dictionary and look it up together.

Read More

Pumpkin carving might be our favorite Halloween pastime, but it’s one we know can be dangerous for little fingers. Rather than the traditional carving, why not try something different this year to allow for the extra little ones (almost) total independence in the pumpkin decorating process?

1)   Sketching a “scary,” “silly,” or “spooky” look for your jack-o-lantern on a piece of paper.

2)   Making a template of their sketch and let them use safety scissors to cut it out.

3)   Stick the template to the pumpkin and have them outline the shapes with a marker and color in the outline with markers, crayons, or paints.

4)   You can either leave the pumpkin as is or, for fun, scoop out the insides! Let your little ones help scoop — and don’t forget to save the pumpkin seeds to roast in a pan and eat later for a fun and healthy snack!

Read More

A little bit of homemade summer fun that’s perfect for rainy days or time spent outside on the front porch.

Parents will very much need to be hands on in making this particular play dough recipe with younger children especially, but it’s worth the cooking since the texture is way more fun for kids, and a little bit easier on the clean up in the long run.

Basic ingredients:
2 cups flour
2 cups warm water
1 cup salt
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon cream of tartar (improves elasticity)
Food coloring (liquid, powder, or unsweetened drink mix)

To Make:
In a large pot, mix all of the ingredients together, and stir over low heat. The dough will begin to thicken until it resembles mashed potatoes. When the dough pulls away from the sides and clumps in the center, remove the pot from heat and allow the dough to cool enough to handle. If your play dough is still sticky, you simply need to cook it longer — keep stirring and cooking until the dough is dry and feels the same consistency as store bought play dough.
Once it is cooked, turn the dough out onto a clean counter or silicone mat, and knead vigorously until it becomes silky-smooth. Divide the dough into balls for coloring.

Here’s where younger children can come in to lend a helping hand:
Make a divot in the center of the ball, and drop some food coloring in. Fold the dough over, working the food color through the body of the play dough, trying to keep the raw dye away from your hands and the counter. You could use gloves or plastic wrap at this stage to keep  hands clean — only the concentrated dye will color your skin, so as soon as it’s worked in, bare hands are fine. Work the dye through, adding more as necessary to achieve your chosen color. You can also add glitter to it for a little sparkle.
In addition to playing with it, this particular recipe allows for baking play dough so you can make ornaments, sculptures, and tons of other fun stuff that can be baked in an oven until it hardens, painted, or left plain. This will allow your child to keep your creation forever.
Store in an air-tight container when not in use.

Read More

1. Do something special he normally misses out on due to work, maybe a picnic with a friend of his who is a father, too, and his friend’s family. Play some of his favorite games at the picnic like rounders or footie.

2. Make a mishmash of his favorite foods. Cook a great, tasty breakfast or an evening dish that he loves or is a reminder of when you guys first met.

3. Spa him up! Some guys love a little pampering. If he’s spa shy, do it yourself after the kids are in bed. Maybe a foot, neck, and shoulder massage…

4. What really does Dad like to do? Perhaps it’s to chill indoors and be able to read the paper quietly, or to grab a quick hour down the gym, or a pint over the weekend? If it’s a pint, then find a family friendly beer garden; if it’s an hour to himself for the gym, give him that. Just like Mother’s Day, an hour of quiet “them” goes a long way.

5. Have the kids make cards he will remember. Start them off with a prompt to answer like: My Dad is… A sporty, Foodie, Techie, Homey, or a Movie Guy. Whatever best fits his personality.

6. Make homemade gifts from the kids, perhaps handprints in colored clay or painted pebbles that look like dad.

But most of all, however and whatever you choose do, it with LOVE 🙂

xoxoxo Jo

Read More

Preparing for the end of the school year is just as important as getting your child ready for the beginning of the year. Here are three tips on how to prep for the summer holiday before that last school bell rings.

1. Make sure you have the names/phone numbers/email addresses of all of your child’s friends/parents, so you know how to get in contact with them to set up play dates over the summer.

2. Get the schedules of local story hours/craft times/park events, and more, from your local library/craft store/park website. This will be helpful if you need activities before kids start camp, something for a rainy day, or just a place to cool off from the summer sun.

3. Make decisions in advance about your child’s summer screen time. Set the rules (if they are different from the school year) for TV, computer, smartphone, and video game time.

Read More

Children love to create and they love to get dirty. Let them dig around in the dirt by planting flowers (or better yet, herbs) in the shape of their first initial. Rope out the letter and have them plant seed or seedlings inside this shape. As the flowers or herbs grow, they will have a personalized garden space that only they are responsible for. It will be great time together. An added bonus is the abundance of herbs your home will have all spring and summer long!

Read More

As the weather turns warm and you have the opportunity to spend more time outdoors, it’s fun to get kids involved in nature and teaching them to care for the earth. A fun way of doing this is through gardening. With kids ages 6 and up, put together their own gardening tool set. Have them help choose seeds and bulbs they want to plant and perhaps give them a small space in the backyard where they can tend their own garden and decide what to plant.

For younger children, let them witness the whole process, from starting seedlings indoors, to replanting outside, to weeding to harvesting. Starting seeds indoors allows kids who live in cooler climates to have a longer growing season since they don’t have to wait to plant outside. A windowsill garden of herbs is great for starting (and keeping) indoors and may tempt even the pickiest eater to try some new flavors.

Read More

Turn colorful cupcake liners into Valentine’s Day pins and cards. Simply take colorful liners, flatten and cut to different sizes with pinking shears or scalloping scissors. Then, layer on top of one another on a construction paper card and glue down to adhere. Add ribbons, glitter, and use crayons, markers, etc to write the recipient’s name in the middle of the liner, a glitter heart, or even a conversation heart.

Read More

The first weeks of the new year are a good time to schedule any yearly or semi-annually appointments for your kids, (like the dentist, eye doctor, etc). It makes it easier to remember when their last appointment was and allows you and your family to be ready to go in the new year without having to worry about the last routine doctor’s visit.

Read More

Hey, before you leave...

Don't miss out on the opportunity to get the upcoming scoop!

Please take 10 secs to fill in, you’ll be glad you did!