Category Archives: Kids

December Acts of Kindness

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If you’ve been trying to think of ways to get your kiddos involved in acts of service or kindness, look no further! I’ve got you covered with 16 activities – 4 per week – for you to do with your children.

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Download the printable strips, cut them out, and choose how you want to reveal them to your kiddos.   If you don’t want to print them, you could write them on a calendar to plan ahead when you will do each one.

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Download here:

December Acts of Kindness

I put ours in a cute, little stocking.

I hung it in our kitchen, and I’ll let the girls take turns choosing one out of the stocking. If it happens to be something we can’t do that day (ie: take coffee to a teacher on Saturday), we will just re-draw.

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I hope you are able to use this with your kiddos! I would love to hear other ways you are spreading kindness and Christmas cheer this month!

Gift Ideas For 4-Year-Old Girls

After making a gift guide for my 6-year-old and 8-year-old, I thought I may as well do it for the other two girls! These are all items that my girls currently have, but are played with the most by my preschooler.

She received these last year for Christmas and all of the girls get them out to play with pretty often! The little rubbery pieces just pop together. You can make bracelets, rings, necklaces, and crowns!

 

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The most-played-with toy of all time in our house is Magnetiles. The real Magnetiles are pretty expensives, so we usually buy the off-brand. We have 2-3 different brands and they all hold together really well! One Christmas, we bought some windows, small rectangles, and a piece to make a car.

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My 4-year-old is obsessed with every Look & Find book we own. She will probably be getting another one this year because I am bored of doing Minnie’s Look & Find at bedtime!!

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We have a few different sets of these Memory games. Definitely a fun past time for all of the girls!

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I can’t count how many times we have played tic-tac-toe on this little board this week alone!

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Kinetic Sand is more messy than Play-Doh, but it’s super cool how it molds and falls apart at the same time.

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Breckyn does a puzzle a day and especially likes these floor puzzles!

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This little cash register is perfect for playing store!

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We have had a couple of these and they’re a lot of fun for preschool age. They have to match the sticker to certain spots on the page.

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Girls like Legos too!

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Gift Ideas for an 8-year-Old Girl

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I am an Amazon Prime shopper 100%. My memory isn’t as good as it once was, BUT I believe almost all of my Christmas gifts were purchased from Amazon last year. I like being able to find the best price and the “You might also like . . .” feature is amazing for gift ideas.

Below are a few ideas I am considering as Christmas gifts for my oldest daughter…

She is very into making things right now….you know, the “s” word. Dare I say it? Slime.  I’m ready for them to move on from the slime fad, so maybe buying her a bath bomb kit might help?

 

She loves journals and diaries. I have purchased a few in the past that have fun questions and prompts, which were her favorite. This looked like something my journal-loving girl would enjoy:

 

Every girl needs some smelly gel pens to go along with her journal.

 

This summer, she was very interested in trying out her cousin’s guitar so we have been throwing that idea around. We probably wouldn’t purchase off Amazon, but putting this here as an idea!

 

How to draw with step-by-step directions…

We already have this book, but it is worth mentioning incase you don’t own it already. It has been read and reread so many times that the pages are ripping! It’s the best book if your kiddo loves learning and is always asking questions.

I know my 8-year-old would think this book is amazing just because she enjoyed the above book.

All of my girls were obsessed with baking shows on Netflix this summer and decided to have their own baking competition show. I can see her loving to try new, actual recipes!

And to go with the cookbook, an apron!

 

If you missed it, be sure to check out my gift guide for 6-year-olds!

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Gift Guide For 6-Year-Old Girls

My middle daughter’s birthday is this week, and I’ve been hunting on Amazon for a couple gifts. (100% Amazon Prime Mom)

My criteria are 1) it can’t have tiny pieces that I will find all over the house and 2) it can be used more than once.

Here are a few things I found and a couple at the bottom that my girls already have and love.

These are super cute and I know Brynlee would love dressing up in them:

Every little girl is obsessed with unicorns right now (or maybe just my girls?).

This lights up the whole room with multi-colored stars…

My kids love all things Play-Doh, Slime, and Kinetic Sand, and this falls right in that category!

Brynlee has been asking forever for a “tiny purse”. She loves to put things in bags, backpacks, and cases.

Drawing and coloring is a daily event in our house. This looks like a fun addition to all of our drawing supplies.

Unicorns and cotton candy…how can you go wrong?

The girls beg for these every time we see them in the store, and I always say no. Gift material!

The gifts below are items my girls have already received.

We have 3 mermaid tails, and this one has held up the best!

They love playing “salon” with these:

Both of my oldest girls have these. They like setting the alarm on it to wake up in the morning.

You can’t play “salon” without makeup!

 

Be sure to check out the gift guide for 8-year-old girls as well!

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Low Prep Math: Number Order

Skills

Number Order

Counting

Vocabulary: before, after

Materials

Deck of cards

First, I laid out the cards in order and she matched each card.

Next, I had her lay out the cards in order without laying them on top. She did use the previous line of card to help her.

She told me, “Let’s make it harder!” so I laid out 3 cards, and her job was to lay out the numbers that came before and after.

She did a really good job! 

Low-Prep Preschool: Letter Sounds

Since Breckyn is able to identify all of the letters, I thought it was time we moved on to sounds. She has been working on them at preschool, so she has a good head start on them already.

 

I had planned on writing the letters on the big white poster board. She was watching me make the boxes and asked if she could write them, so I thought why not??

I found that she is able to write all of her letters correctly except for a few.

That was enough work for one day, so the next we found things around the house that started with each letter.  Sometimes we searched for an object with a specific sound, and other times we found something and listened for the first sound.

This is all her attention span could handle the first day, so we left it up and worked on it the next.

Low-Prep Learning: Letter Dotting

Last week, we picked up a Bingo Dotter from the Dollar Tree.

I didn’t know what we would do with it at the time, but Breckyn picked it out of her learning box today so I had to come up with something quickly. Luckily, I have the best ideas when I’m forced to think of something last minute or spontaneously.

The first thing that came to mind was alphabet recognition.  I am not organized enough to print out those cute worksheets seen on Pinterest, so we went with handwritten letters.

All I did was tell her a letter and she dotted it.  Super simple, but she LOVED it! Look at that smile!

I chose lowercase letters because she’s got her capital letters down.

She wanted to do it again, but this time I wrote capital letters and had her dot the letters in her name, MOM, and DAD.

I was also thinking to do shapes with her and sight words with my Kindergartner.  How have you used bingo dotters with your little learner?

“What should I be doing to get my child ready for Kindergarten?”

Teachers are a lot like doctors and nurses.

When you have a weird rash or you feel like maybe you’re dying but don’t want to go into the doctor’s office, you ask your nurse/doctor friend for advice or put out a facebook post saying “Doctor and Nurse friends…?”

When you have a question like “Should my kid know how to add yet?” or “What’s with this Common Core crap?” (Yes, I have been asked that.) or “How can I get my child to read more?” you probably ask a teacher friend.

A few months ago, my friend asked me how she should be preparing her son for Kindergarten.

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Disclaimer: Kindergarten is an entirely different world from the rest of elementary and I do NOT and will not teach it!  God bless our K teachers and a big THANK YOU for preparing them for 1st grade so well!! However, I’ve had 2 Kindergarten daughters and have taught 1st/2nd grade for 12 years along with 4 years of college experience + 6 years of summer/after school jobs working with children. (That’s 22 years if you’re keeping track.)

After she asked, she said my blog needed to be up ASAP and I needed to address this.  She totally freaked me out because who am I to tell her what her child needs to know by Kindergarten??? Then I remembered the doctor/nurse thing.

So after much thought, I will be doing two things.

  1. Providing the list of pre-Kindergarten skills my 5-year-old’s teacher gave us.
  2. Start a blog series of what I’m doing with my 4-year-old this year before she starts Kindergarten – labeled Kindergarten Prep.

Pre-Kindergarten Skills:

*Number Recognition: counting to 30 and recognizing 0-10 randomly

*Letter Recognition: Identify both upper and lower case

*Write their name: First and last with correct capitalization and clear handwriting

*Belts & Buttons: Practice these things so they can be independent at school

*Listening to stories: Sit still and listen to a story, and be able to talk about the story

Remember: You can do these things (and more) in a natural way. 

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I never planned “lessons” for my kids because I’m not that organized. Their learning has been through natural, every day ways. We counted steps or objects when we were out and about, drew shapes while coloring, talked about the colors of Play-doh, rhymed silly words, thought of words that started with certain letters, play with dice, learn letters in fun ways, and do workbooks for fun. Most importantly, we read to them every night and talk about the pictures and story.

Also rememberEvery child is so different!

My oldest daughter could read sentences before Kindergarten, and my current Kindergartener can read a few 3-letter words.  The most important thing, in my opinion, is to instill a love of learning and school. As long as my kids are happy at school and enjoying learning, I am not concerned with them being above average learners.

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And, last thing to rememberSocial Skills

What’s more important than what your child knows is how he or she treats the teacher and classmates. Teach your child social skills of showing respect, listening, taking turns, accepting “no” for an answer, being polite, and taking responsibility for things and actions.

To see how I am preparing my 4-year-old for Kindergarten, look for the tag “Kindergarten Prep”.

Low-Prep Math: Dice and Chalk

I have to be honest. Many of the learning activities my kids do are usually thought up by them. This one was totally the 4-year-old’s idea!  She found some dice in the garage and said she wanted to roll it and write her numbers.

So that’s what we did!

My Kindergartener joined right in, and it was fun to see her teaching her little sister. They are 17 months apart so they are often learning very similar things.

Number 5 was difficult, so biggest sister had to get in there to help.

Breckyn had no idea how to make a few of the numbers, so I would write the number for her to trace.

What are some ways you use chalk for learning? We draw shapes, write letters, play hopscotch, and just draw!

Dollar Tree Finds For Learning

The Dollar Tree is one of our favorite spots to find cheap items. They have so many fun things you can use for learning, too!  This was a quick trip – we mostly looked at Halloween items – so there are many more than what is shown here.

Dry Erase Board – Practicing letters, numbers, writing answers, spelling their name or family members’ names, drawing shapes.

Inflatable Globe – All of my kids enjoyed this purchase! Use for identifying countries, continents, and oceans. And for throwing at your sisters.

Bingo Markers – These are great for making patterns if you can find multiple colors.  There are also some printables I have used where you put a dot over the answer. My kids also like to use them for art projects.

Workbooks – We hit the jackpot with this visit! My kids love workbooks!

What are some items you have found at Dollar Tree to use for learning?