Friday, March 15, 2013

St Patricks Day Activities and Song

Making a trap or house for Leprechauns can be simple or elaborate fun. Check out this post from last years post St. Patrick's Day Leprechaun Fun

Another fun one for St. Patrick's Day morning could be the String Game of Surprises

This year we wanted to share a fun St. Patrick's Day Song

Song (to Have you seen the Muffin Man)

Have you seen a leprechaun, 
A leprechaun, a leprechaun?
Have you seen a leprechaun
who came from Ireland?

He wears a suit made of green,
Made of green, made of green,
He wears a suit that's made of green,
Oh where can he be found?

Where does he hide his gold,
Hide his gold, hide his gold,
Where does he hide his gold,
To keep it safe and sound.

At the end of the Rainbow,
The Rainbow, the Rainbow,
At the end of the Rainbow,
You’ll find his pot of gold.
So, if you see a leprechaun,
a Leprechaun, a leprechaun,
If you see a leprechaun,
Please tell me where he's gone!

And do you need some gold this St. Patrick's Day? Check out our post We Make Gold!

We Make Gold!

Need some gold? It's easy to make your own. 
Just get dried large lima beans and a can of shiny gold spray paint. Lay the beans out on a piece of cardboard and spray until coated gold. Wait 20 minutes for them to dry, then turn them over and paint the other side to create your own little golden nuggets. 
They can also be used for collages or used to fill up a reward jar.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Halloween Spooky Snack Mix

So many Halloween themed snacks and party foods are desserts. On a day when children are already going to have so much sugar, here's and idea of a snack/activity great for preschoolers and school aged children.

Each child could bring in one ingredient that they have to name as something spooky or gross (avoid candy- could use cereal, crackers, etc.)
(examples- a child could bring square pretzels and say they are windows to a haunted mansion, raisins are dead ants, cocoa crisipies are rat poop,  Bugles are witch fingernails, roasted dried peas are monster boogers etc.)
The teacher can add each child's ingredient into a (clean) trash can (with a fresh trash bag) and mix it together. Then kids can scoop some out for themselves. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Paper Towel Roll Crown

This recycled craft idea was created by a 4 year old.

Unroll the cardboard tube from and empty roll of paper towels. Carefully unroll the cardboard tube.

Lay out flat for the child to decorate with crayons, markers, paints, stickers, feathers, or other collage materials.

Once decorated, staple the ends together.

Monday, September 24, 2012

10 Ways to Reduce TV, Video Games, and Electronic Play in the Lives of Children

Media and technology play a significant role in our society, but media saturation can be problematic in young children. Preschoolers watch an average of 3-4 hours of TV per day. School age children spend an average of over 7 hours a day with recreational media use including TV, video games, and now devices like ipads. Excessive media use has been linked to decreases in learning, creativity and physical health.
If media is consuming your family, or someone you know, here are 10 tips for reducing the amount of media in the everyday lives of children and families.

1. Create a safe, TV-free room in the house where a young child can play safely with you around, but not directly engaged with them for times you need to get other things done.

2. If affordable, hire a babysitter (who agrees not to use media) to care for your children during your busiest times. If budget does not allow for paying someone, make an agreement with a friend, neighbor or family member to do a care swap. ex. - arrange to take her children one morning a week if she takes your children another morning. 

3. Have children help cook meals with you (even a 24 month old can help cook!)

4. Don’t give up naps too early. Developmentally it is still appropriate for a 6 year old to nap. Even if the child doesn’t nap, they can be taught to lay quietly in their bed for a rest time.  Children who know how to read should have 30 minutes of silent reading in their beds each day. Parents can use this as their break time and time to get things done.

5. Make a rule - no TV/Video Games in children's bedrooms and no TV/Games in the car( unless the drive is over 2 hours). Use music or audio books for children who are used to the TV on at bedtime. Play media free games in the car.

6. Keep a Packed 4 Fun backpack (a prepacked activity filled backpack with small games and activities  in the car. Bring this into places where you are tempted to hand over your iphone (restaurants, waiting rooms, other boring places etc.) 
7. If you agree to allow media in restaurants and similar settings, have a rule that it is allowed only at a certain time - not through the whole experience. Work young children up on how many minutes they can sit at the table with manners. Engage them in conversation instead of just talking over them. Play old fashion games while waiting for food like tic tac toe, sliding tick tack toe, hangman, etc.

8. Instead of a Friday night family movie night, set up a Friday night board game night or craft night or living room fort/camping night. Instead of going to the movies, go bowling, ice-skating, or for a sunset trip to the beach.

9. Keep everyone in the family active. Take advantage of free activities through the city’s parks and recreation department. Look for free activities in the community. Go on hikes, walks and bike rides and scavenger hunts. Join recreation sports teams or take lessons- music, dance, karate, art, second language, cooking etc. Join your local YMCA (discounted and scholarships are available for families who cannot afford it)

10. Think creatively, and encourage your children to do so too on how they can use materials you would normally throw away.  Click here for related posts to see recycled fun activities

Sliding Tic Tac Toe

How to play Sliding Tic-Tac Toe
No more cats games!
1. Draw the traditional Tic-Tac-Toe board. Make pieces be your X’s and O’s, but Use only 3 X’s and 3 O’s  (in a restaurant you can use 3 white sugar packets and 3 pink sweet and low packets)
2. Start off as you would playing regular Tic-Tac-Toe
3. Once all 6 pieces have been placed, continue taking turns by siding one game piece to an open adjacent square (horizontally, vertically, or diagonally).
4.The first player to get 3 in a row wins!

Tic-Tac-Toe games with the directions for Sliding Tic Tac Toe are available in select Packed 4 Fun Backpacks.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Find the Sight Word or Spelling Word Game

Another way to make learning sight words, or spelling words fun!

Cut 3x5 cards in half or use post it notes. Write the child's site words, or have the child write a spelling word on each card/paper.

Hide the words around the house for the child to find.

For site words, have another set of cards/notes laid out on a table. As the child finds the words he can put the word next to its matching word on the table