Put the Power of Giving in Kids' Hands: Have a Giving Bee

For quite a while now I've been trying to think of a way to teach our kids about giving, particularly at this time of year when kids are naturally fixated on wanting.

I remember when I was young, whenever a natural disaster happened in the world, my parents would put a mug on the shelf and say, "Whatever you kids want to put in that mug to donate, we will match that amount."  That gave us such a sense of power.  Whatever we put in was going to be doubled!  Knowing that our actions had an impact on those in need felt like having a real super power.  We were small but could still make a difference in the world.

Now that we have kids I want to give them that same feeling, that feeling of knowing you have the power to help others.  I want them to have the desire to help others, not just because it is the right thing to do but because they feel the need and want to do it deep down.


Fall Fun: Pumpkin Spice Play Dough

This past weekend I was asked to make some "Pumpkin Spice Play Dough" for my child's classroom.
We made a double batch (below is the "single" but doubling it is recommended because this doesn't make very much) and I loved it SO much that I though I'd share it here!
I've said it before, some recipes for things like play dough can sound so great but turn out horribly... this one on the other hand was the perfect consistency and smelled wonderful!!
There is nothing better on a cold fall day than sinking your fingers into warm soft, spicy play dough.
Here it is... have fun!!


October Roundup!

Here is a collection of all things "October" from "Got Kiddos?" to you!
I've included both Halloween and Non-Halloween ideas and posts.


Just Add Water: Fast Easy Fun!

I've created a list of fast, easy and fun ideas and all you need to do is add water to them and start playing!  I'm going to *highly suggest* you collect the items right now and put them in a bin for later.  Then, when you are in need of something that you can just grab to entertain your kids in those difficult moments... you'll have this bin full of fun, all ready.  And yes, all you'll need to add is water.  You really can't get any easier than that.


Five Faves: A Week of Fun Discovery Bottles

Discovery Bottles (aka Sensory Bottles) might be my very favorite thing  to make for kids (and adults) to play with.  I first learned about them when I was a teacher.  The preschool room nextdoor had made a few and I was completely enthralled.  The ones they had made were just oil and water in bottles.  I say "just" but that is one of the coolest discovery bottles out there.  I could hold an "oil and water bottle" for minutes on end just moving it back and forth and watching the reaction inside.  There are millions of things that you can put in discovery bottles and they are not only fun but can be used to teach LOTS of concepts and (as long as you make them tamper proof) they are great for any age!
Here are five of my favorites!!  It was really hard to pick just five.  There will probably be a sequel to this post.


Eggcelent Ideas for Plastic Eggs!

Through the years as a teacher and as a mom I've seen so many different fun things you can do with a couple of cheap plastic eggs.  I think it is safe to say that there is no other more versatile holiday decor out there.
So here we are.  Easter is done and you have a bunch of plastic eggs lying around your house.  You've probably stepped on at least one... ouch!  Time to put them to some good use.


Acceptance: Giving Children a Belief System

Until recently, I thought that we were bringing up our kids without religion.  We don't go to a place of worship and we don't teach the concept of God by that or any other name.  We also don't teach our children with religion.
For a while I wondered how to introduce these ideas to them since I felt they should understand that there are others who do believe in a higher power.  I'd concluded that I want to buy a book on world religions and read it to them to explain what others believe.

So like I said, I was quite sure we were bringing our children up without religion.
A story I heard a few weeks ago changed that theory.

I was listening to NPR (National Public Radio), the show was This American Life with Ira Glass.  Today's show topic was "Kid Logic." It was essentially "Kids Say the Darndest Things."  Some of the stories were cute, but one was downright sobering.


Five Faves: A Week of Dough and Goo

There are a ton of recipes out there for kids these days.  Play dough recipes and ones for different kinds of fun slime and goo.  The problem is that many of them don't make a very good product.
I've put together a list of 5 excellent recipes.
I've created these "Five Faves" posts so that you can do one project each week day!  These posts are particularly good for school vacation weeks.  Use them however you wish
Have Fun!


A Cure For Mean Words: Warm Fuzzies and Cold Pricklies

If you call a kid out for insulting another they will often say either that they were just kidding or that they didn't say anything.  The insults tend to be used at just the right moment when they are closer to the victim then you are... and they say it just loud enough for the victim to hear it but not you.  This makes addressing the issue difficult at times.
On top of that, kids often don't truly understand what it feels like to be at the wrong end of an insult.  They do, however, know that when they insult another child that they get attention (and power) from it.

Do you remember as a child laughing at that moment that one kid called another a name, even though you knew how wrong it was.  It is similar to when a child sees an adult get hurt and laughs.  It is almost uncontrollable, like a nerve reaction.  No matter how uncontrollable the audience's reaction is... what it does is feeds the ego of the name caller and results in more of the same.

*  *  *  *  *

I remember hearing a story at overnight camp about "Warm Fuzzies" but that wasn't the first thing I thought of when I had a class of five year olds saying not very nice things to each other.
Generally speaking my group had been quite nice to each other but they had recently hit a rough patch and I wanted some new ideas.
I consulted with my coworker who had been working with kids for far longer than I had, and was always full of good ideas.

Here's what she said to do?  Make a "cold prickly" and a "warm fuzzy."  I asked her about it and she explained what that meant.