Handprint Art is super fun to make and it becomes something to treasure for years to come. Honestly, how can any parent can discard anything with your child’s handprints on it! Those little hands are just too precious…
Mother’s Day Handprint Art
Need an easy and inexpensive, yet still adorable and practical gift to make for Mother’s Day? Grandmas and moms will love using these handprint tulip dish towels that the kids made for them.
This Fourth of July craft is super simple and only takes about 1-2 minutes to paint the flag on your child’s hand. I think the free printable you can download, makes it even more special and could easily be framed and featured with your other patriotic decorations!
At the beginning of every school year, my student’s first “homework” was always to make a family tree out of each of their family member’s handprints. The handprints become the leaves for the tree. Here is a fun version of a handprint family tree using our fingerprints as well!
My favorite ornaments on the tree are always ones the kids have made, but nothing can compete with the baby handprint ornaments. We make an ornament each year (see this year’s here), but their chubby little baby fingers melt my heart and always will!
Not only is this activity a wonderful Christmas keepsake…it would also make a great gift for grandparents or other family members! And pretty much any child who can sit still long enough for you to trace their little hands can participate!
Summer Camp Packing List and Printable Hygiene Checklist
My boys (11 and 9-years old) are going to church camp for the first time ever. Aside from staying with grandparents, they have never even been to a sleepover much less been gone from home for an entire week! Needless to say, I am panicking just a bit!
Although each summer camp will undoubtedly have its own directions on things to bring and things to leave at home, I thought it might be helpful to share our packing list as “first time” campers! Many of these items we purchased from Dollar Tree and are things that can just be thrown away at the end of the week.
Bedding (we are bringing along our Beddy’s zippered bedding)
Bath Towel Beach Towel
Clothing for Each Day
The other issue I am internally struggling with is the fact that my boys won’t have us there to hound them to be conscientious of hygiene (I promise I am not a helicopter mom- just a mom who knows how forgetful her boys are when it comes to brushing teeth and putting on deodorant <insert cry laughing emoji here>). So I decided to make a little printable to safety pin on their laundry bag to remind them of all the proper hygiene protocol. After all, nobody wants to smell your stank just because you are at summer camp!
I have included three different options in the Summer Camp printable pack including blue, army green, and pink! Just select the page range for the colors you would like and print! Easy peasy!
The Dollar Tree has some amazing options for summer camp- including everything in the caddy above with the exception of the sunscreen and bug spray. The shower caddy can just be slid under the bunk beds and brought out when needed.
Thinking about fun things to do this summer with your 1 to 3 year old? Summer is the perfect time to get the kids outside and have fun with art activities, messy play, water activities and more. Below you will find over 15 fun and easy summer activities for toddlers.
Make your our own cute DIY Treasure Chest for Toddlers using a baby wipes container and baby food lids. And I just happened to have some gold spray paint leftover from our Solomon’s Temple blocks to make our makeshift “treasure chest” and gold coins a little more authentic-looking.
Creativity at our house majorly suffers during the winter months, mainly because I don’t want to clean up big messes indoors. Thank goodness that with summer comes more creative projects…which can easily be washed away with just rain or the water hose! Our rolling pin art for toddlers was definitely a messy hit!
Little did I know, Little Sister would absolutely LOVE this foamy painting activity. She thought it was so much fun to wash her hands and paint at the same time. This is definitely a toddler art activity that we will do again (I even saved the bottles so they are ready to go next time).
Go fishing…with a toddler spin! Little Sister had a blast with this fun summertime activity! It focuses primarily on hand-eye coordination and fine motor control (by manipulating the net). You can also add some color recognition and counting practice as well.
This is such a simple summer activity for toddlers, take along some paint brushes with you next time you are headed to the pool. Do be warned, you may find even the older kids want to to join in with the fun.
Balance is a tricky thing for a toddler. This is one safe way to ease into learning to balance. Just lay a piece of masking tape (or painter’s tape) on the ground and encourage your little one to “walk the line”. Suitable for indoors or take it outdoors during the summer!
One thing that I love about the toddler age is that you can make anything a game. Kiddos don’t even realize that they are learning because they are having so much fun in the process! This outdoor Alphabet Match for toddlers was a big hit with Little Sister and I was thrilled that she was actually enjoying learning letter names!
Not only is this summer activity for toddlers great for introducing and reviewing letter names (and even sounds), it is also great for fine motor control. Your child will have to use the small muscles in his/her hands to pull the trigger on the water gun while also aiming it to try and hit the alphabet targets!
We tried out this new sensory experience with shaving cream and cornstarch. The boys loved it and if we’re being completely honest…I thought it was pretty cool too! :)
After it is mixed up well, it is moldable. The texture is nothing like I’ve felt before and I can’t even do it justice describing it–you’ll just have to try it out for yourself! Messy outdoor summer fun!
This summer activity is a two-for-one! Your toddler will get some great fine motor practice using the spoon to scoop the lids (which is harder than it might seem) while simultaneously encouraging the cognitive concept of sorting based on similar characteristics (in this case, color).
This balancing on boxes for toddlers activity is appropriate for little ones who have been walking for a while and are ready to attempt walking on uneven surfaces. Little Sister started walking at 10 1/2 months (my earliest walker) and is now 16 months old.
This post is sponsored by Audible. All opinions are 100% mine.
Audible Books For Kids
My husband has been a huge fan of Audible for some time now. He drives a lot for his job, so he will often listen to an audiobook in lieu of music or the radio. As you can imagine, he listens to a lot of books! I have always said I don’t have time to listen to audiobooks (I barely have time to read the old-fashioned way). Now that I have realized what a huge selection of children’s literature is available on Audible, however, audiobooks are quickly becoming a wonderful option, especially for our upcoming road trips (when the kids are ready to take a break from the DVD player).
My boys are definitely fond of audio dramas but we don’t listen to audiobooks all that often. Since we have basically exhausted nearly ever Adventures in Odyssey episode known to man, it is high time to start reading listening to some of these awesome books.
I love this book so much and I can’t wait to listen to it along with my children. I have been waiting until they were a little older, but I think this is the perfect opportunity to enjoy it together. You can’t go wrong with this amazing classic by the brilliant C.S. Lewis.
On the opposite end of the spectrum to C.S. Lewis, this book is sort of silly and ridiculous. This is the first book in the My Weird School series by Dan Gutman. My boys are crazy for these books…they think they are hilarious.
Big Brother has already read several of these this summer and keeps wanting to check more out from the library. They will be thrilled to know they are available as audiobook for kids.
Warning: I am not totally thrilled with all of the language in this book. They use words such as “stupid” and “hate” (among others), which are words that we don’t allow our kids to use in our home. But we use this as a teaching opportunity to remind our kids that just because we hear other people use these words (or read them) doesn’t give us the justification to talk that way.
If you have a reluctant reader (especially a boy), I would highly suggest letting him listen to one of these books with you and then encourage him to read the rest on his own. I’m pretty sure the audiobook will hook him into wanting to read more.
We have not read or listened to this audiobook yet, but it is on my list for our loooooong road trip in July. Although we are not sure if we will be taking our boys to see the movie Alice Through the Looking Glass (I am still waiting to read some of the reviews as the previews look pretty dark), this is a great option for discussions about similarities and differences in books and movies. Either way, however, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a classic that should be part of every childhood whether it is read traditionally or listened to!
This would be another great book/movie comparison! This audiobook for kids is broken up into two separate “books” with lots of shorter tales in each book, making it perfect for listening to in short segments.
I am including this audiobook more for me than for anyone else. I have never read Mary Poppins and have been wanting to read the original book ever since I saw Saving Mr. Banks a few years ago. Yet another classic that is sure to be enjoyed by the entire family!
The Boxcar Children series was my favorite when I was a little girl. I read the first three books aloud to the boys a few years ago, but I think they are now at the ages where they would be more interested and intrigued about how this set of siblings really did survive on their own. This is definitely one I am excited for them to listen to and hoping it will pique their interest to read the subsequent books themselves.
Our boys love listening to Bible Audio Dramas, especially before bed. I am super excited to listen to this version. Big Brother will be participating in something called Leadership Training for Christ (LTC) through our church this coming spring (for 3rd graders through high schoolers) and the theme for the year is Acts of the Apostles. This will be wonderful as he prepares his heart and mind for applying the word of God into his chosen activities.
This is a nonfiction audiobook about a Malawian boy who built a windmill and brought electricity to his tiny village during a drought. I chose this Audiobook for two reasons: it shows the hardships that others around the world face while also showing how one kid can truly make a difference.
This biography of Abraham Lincoln is perfect for kids showing an interest in presidents. Lincoln’s entire life is included, with an emphasis on the character, integrity, and courage exemplified by one of the nation’s greatest presidents.
I bought this book to read aloud with my boys before we saw the movie! Although this book might be a bit too scary for younger or more sensitive children it is really a wonderful and exciting book that captivates the attention of children, and even adults.
As a classroom teacher, I like to maintain order and routine in the classroom by following a pretty regimented schedule. This gives us predictability for the day and ensures that we accomplish everything we needed to accomplish. For some reason, this same characteristic has not transferred over to my stay-at-home mom life.
Since I am not a morning person I am content to just “ease into the day” (as my husband likes to call it) if we don’t have anywhere we have to be. Before I can get my act together, it is nearly lunch time! All I know is that my sanity for the summer depends on some type of schedule!
Summer Daily Schedule
I created this printable summer schedule so that it can be interchangeable for varying days. My goal is to plan ahead the night before what our day will look like and make sure to arrange the schedule accordingly. I have one child who thrives on routine and predictability, so I know this will be very beneficial for him without being too regimented. :)
Table Time (will vary each day: includes handwriting, workbook pages, puzzles, learning games, play dough, etc)
One-on-One time (my goal is to spend at least 30 minutes a week one-on-one with each child doing something of their choice)
Field Trip (zoo, museums, etc)
Reading (independent or audio books)
Read aloud (me reading to them)
Add Your Own Summer Activities
I included blank summer daily schedule template for you to add your own summer activities as well. I did not, however, include dinner or any activities that come after dinner just because this time of day is already a well-established routine in our home.
30 Minute Increments
The printable includes 30-minute time increments from 8am to 5pm but also comes with blank clock faces that you can customize (which I will be using later in the summer to reinforce telling time).
Despite how it may look, there will be a lot of flexibility in our day. Our daily summer activities are spread out enough to allow plenty of “down time” in between. I also asked the boys for some themes that interest them, so we will be doing some weekly activities related to their interests.
Finally, we’re implementing a new screen time policy at our house. The boys can early 1 minute of screen time for every minute that they read (or listen to an audio book/book read aloud). I bought them both book timers and we’re hoping to keep track this way.
The fourth of July is just a few weeks away and it is one of my favorite holidays! It doesn’t get much better than hot dogs, fireworks, and a whole lotta red, white & blue! And here are a few of our favorite 4th of July crafts and activities suitable for toddlers to preschoolers.
I’m sure craft sticks and painter’s tape isn’t exactly what Betsy Ross had in mind when she made the first flag over 230 years ago. But we had fun lots of fun making this Popsicle stick flag…even if all the details (number of stars and stripes) aren’t exactly correct.
These Shaving Cream Fireworks prints were just as fun to make as they are to display! From a toddler to preschoolers, all my kids loved this cool 4th of July activity. It’s messy fun and doesn’t need very many supplies!
This is our first-ever attempt at SLIME!!! Little Brother has been begging to make some “goop” ever since he first played with it at preschool this past school year. This easy slime recipe with a Fourth of July theme was the perfect way to start!
This Fourth of July craft is super simple and only takes about 1-2 minutes to paint the flag on your child’s hand. I think the printable makes it even more special and could easily be framed and featured with your other patriotic decorations!
What are some of your favorite 4th of July activities and crafts?
This “Tips for Preventing the Summer Slide” post was sponsored by Carson Dellosa Education as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
Are you familiar with the summer slide? No, I’m not talking about your local waterpark slide that all the kids flock to when the temperatures start to soar. The “Summer Slide” I’m referring to is also known as “summer learning loss” The Summer Slide is the idea that the retention of what was learned in the previous grade slides down during the summer. The child then begins the next school year behind where they were at the end of the previous year.
I would love to tell you that this is a myth, but the honest truth is that the summer slide is real and it can have a big impact on a child’s overall confidence and their academic performance going into the new school year. In fact, in a study conducted by NWEA (North West Evaluation Association), researchers found that “summer learning loss was observed in both reading and math in third through eighth grades, with students students losing a greater proportion of their school year as they grow older — with a range between 20 and 50 percent!” That is sobering! To add insult to injury, the students most at risk for the greatest loss of learning are lower income children.
Believe me, we all enjoy the lazy days of summer (especially THIS mom)…late nights, sleeping in, no schedules, and lazy days by the pool. After the chaos that the last month of school brings, we are all ready to be rid of schedules. But just a few minutes of reading and math practice each day can have a huge impact on a student’s retention of concepts previously learned!
Here are some tips for preventing the summer slide:
1. Make a (loose) schedule.
Even if you don’t stick to it every single day, having a schedule for the summer days gives everyone a bit of peace knowing what they can expect. I love unscheduled days but I have found my kids are much better behaved when they have some idea of what is coming next.
2. Sign your child up for summer reading at your local library.
Most libraries offer incentives and prizes! Make sure they read for at least 20 minutes each day (or whatever your library program requires). Read aloud to children too young to read to themselves or for kids who just enjoy being read aloud to (I still read aloud to my 9-year old every night before bed…he is a great reader but it is our special time together).
We were given one copy of the Carson Dellosa Summer Bridge books for this post and I purchased two more for my other children. We have done these workbooks for several summers and I really appreciate the structure that they provide to our summer as well as the reassurance that our kids are still retaining what they learned in the previous school year (and perhaps even learning a bit more)!
The books are structured to complete one page per day (front and back) and my children each do one page per day Monday through Friday. We don’t typically take them with us when we leave town, but they would certainly be easy enough to pack! Each day’s work includes some math practice and some type of grammar, reading, or writing exercise in addition to some interesting factoid or physical activity. My kids are typically done within 10 or 15 minutes at the most. I love that each day is different! The Bridge books are challenging enough for my kids but aren’t frustrating even when they present new material.
Bonus: The answer key is in the back of the book, making checking their work a breeze! :)
4. Start a book club for kids.
Pick two or three age-appropriate books for your kids and their friends. Host a pizza party (or choose themed snacks to match the book). Print off a few questions or even create an activity for younger kids. We are trying this book club idea out this summer with my son who will be starting sixth grade and five or six of his friends. Even though I am sure they will probably talk about the book for all of ten minutes, at least they can be encouraged that they are all reading the same book!
5. Encourage your friends and neighbors.
The summer slide can hit children from lower socioeconomic families the hardest. If you have friends, neighbors, or people you go to church with, consider purchasing a Summer Bridge book or offering to drive children to the library to check out books. As parents, we should always be willing to help each other out! After all, it takes a village!
What are some ways that you encourage your child(ren) to continue learning throughout the summer and prevent the summer slide?
My husband is one of the hardest working people I know. I remember marveling at his ability to pretty much fix anything when we were first married. Although he wears a suit and tie to work each day, he is always working around/outside the house or agreeing to help a friend. Because of this, and because there are plans for a wooden launchpad to be made this summer for our backyard zip line, I thought these cute Handprint Work Gloves and Father’s Day handprint poem would make the perfect practical yet sentimental Father’s Day gift.
You can download the free printable poem here (with a wood background) or you can copy and paste and print it out on your own. I just ask that if you choose to share the poem elsewhere, please credit and link this post. :)
Father’s Day Poem
“Your hands are tough and strong They work hard every day To take care of our family In oh-so-many ways.
With your hands you labor And provide for all our needs. But your hands are never too busy To stop and do good deeds.
Your hands are there to help To catch me when I fall To hug, tickle, and embrace You answer every call.
I love to hold your hand To feel your fingers cover mine I feel so safe and loved Every single time.
And when you place my hand in yours And lead me in a prayer I see my Savior’s love in you, I know and feel his care.”
The instructions are pretty simple… just use the foam brush to paint the hand of your oldest child (using acrylic paint only…other types of paints won’t work) and carefully place on top of the glove, pushing their fingers gently down into the glove.
You might need something to hold the thumb of the glove down as it has a tendency to want to fold over on itself. Let each handprint dry before adding the next smaller handprint!
Whether you are looking for a sentimental Father’s Day Gift or something silly to give to Dad this season, here are our best DIY Father’s Day gift ideas. Best of all, you can get the kids involved in making an inexpensive and homemade Father’s Day gift that is sure to tell Dad how amazing he is!
The thing my husband loves to do the most in life is play with his boys. The minute he gets home, they are normally wrestling on the living room floor while I finish up dinner. Keeping that in mind, I thought it would be fun to make him a “play shirt”, which combines two great ideas from two other blogs: A target on the front (from Celebrate Every Day with Me) and a car track on the back on the shirt (from Design Dazzle).
How To Make A Personalized Father’s Day T ShirtHere’s what you’ll need: