Category Archives: kid stuff

Preschooler School Work

My favorite starter workbook for my Preschooler’s has been School Sparks.  You can purchase it from Amazon (free shipping with Amazon Prime), and it’s HUGE.  Yes, it’s expensive ($28), but it covers every area of learning in one workbook.  The sheets tear out (nice for copying).  It has the following sections in it:

  • Fine Motor Development
    • Tracing, cutting
  • Visual Discrimination
    • Learning colors, shapes, letters, same/different
  • Math & Number Awareness
    • Skip counting, sorting, classifying, patterning, etc.
  • Auditory Processing
    • As in following directions
  • Reading Skills
    • Including sight words

If the price tag of $28 for a workbook doesn’t sit well with you (but seriously, this thing is like War & Peace thick), they have a blog & you can print EVERY.SINGLE.WORKSHEET from their website!  I should point out here that you’d spend far more on paper & toner than if you purchased their book though.  They even create worksheets around the holidays that are specific to that holiday, which I personally love.  I was originally turned on to their site from my oldest daughter’s preschool class who used worksheets from the book.  I went & sought out the book they came from because I thought the worksheets were really well done.  For example, here’s their Valentine’s Day worksheet options (which incidentally is a great look into their format for worksheets):  Click the photo & it will direct you to School Sparks website (and these Valentine’s day worksheets):Valentine's Day Worksheets

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I searched Pinterest for ideas on what to do for end of the year teacher gifts.  I found a cute idea here & decided that was easy enough.  I simply bought to clay pots Michael’s for next to nothing (I think they were $1.50 each).  I used Rustoleum’s blackboard spray paint to do the exterior of the pots.  Once I had 2-3 coats on the pots, I then covered the top portion with some latex craft yellow paint I had already (but can easily be purchased at Michael’s).  I then used a tape measure to mark of the inch marks on the top & used a Sharpie Pen to do the actual numbers & to finish off the lines.  I then used a chalkboard pen which I had purchased from Ben Franklin Crafts to write the teacher’s names.  These pens are nice, because if you mess up the name or don’t like how you wrote the name, you can simply wipe it off & start over.  It won’t rub off like a normal piece of chalk would, but get it wet & it comes right off.  This project was SO easy to do…and rather inexpensive.  The most expensive part was the flowers themselves. I did have to use about 6 coats of the yellow paint (to cover the chalk board spray).  And one item I would NOT skip is to spray the INSIDE of the pots.  I used Krylon acrylic crystal clear cover.  You want to use this so that when the flowers are watered, your paint doesn’t bubble.  Normally, clay pots allow moisture to come right through the clay, so if you skip this step, say bye-bye blackboard! I also added a sticker that said “Thanks for helping (insert name) to Grow” on Avery labels (front & back).  Then I used those plastic lawn stakes that companies like TruGreen or Chemlawn use to advertise their work.  I borrowed mine from a neighbor that had just had their lawn treated.  You could easily skip this step & use the chalk board pen to write your child’s name on the pot itself. Here’s the final project:

 

Teacher Gifts: End of the Year

I searched Pinterest for ideas on what to do for end of the year teacher gifts.  I found a cute idea here & decided that was easy enough.  I simply bought to clay pots Michael’s for next to nothing (I think they were $1.50 each).  I used Rustoleum’s blackboard spray paint to do the exterior of the pots.  Once I had 2-3 coats on the pots, I then covered the top portion with some latex craft yellow paint I had already (but can easily be purchased at Michael’s).  I then used a tape measure to mark of the inch marks on the top & used a Sharpie Pen to do the actual numbers & to finish off the lines.  I then used a chalkboard pen which I had purchased from Ben Franklin Crafts to write the teacher’s names.  These pens are nice, because if you mess up the name or don’t like how you wrote the name, you can simply wipe it off & start over.  It won’t rub off like a normal piece of chalk would, but get it wet & it comes right off.  This project was SO easy to do…and rather inexpensive.  The most expensive part was the flowers themselves.

I did have to use about 6 coats of the yellow paint (to cover the chalk board spray).  And one item I would NOT skip is to spray the INSIDE of the pots.  I used Krylon acrylic crystal clear cover.  You want to use this so that when the flowers are watered, your paint doesn’t bubble.  Normally, clay pots allow moisture to come right through the clay, so if you skip this step, say bye-bye blackboard!

I also added a sticker that said “Thanks for helping (insert name) to Grow” on Avery labels (front & back).  Then I used those plastic lawn stakes that companies like TruGreen or Chemlawn use to advertise their work.  I borrowed mine from a neighbor that had just had their lawn treated.  You could easily skip this step & use the chalk board pen to write your child’s name on the pot itself.

Here’s the final project:

 

FBI Child ID App

 

Are you a parent?  Then you need to download this app!  I just saw this on the news & quickly downloaded it.  What’s so great about it?

God forbid your child EVER go missing, but in the event they do, time is of the essence.  The app allows you to upload your child(ren) photographs, pertinent info (height, weight, eye color, birth marks, nicknames, etc.), and your contact information.  Let’s just say your child goes missing, just hit the “Emergency” button on the app (it will allow you to call 911 or the National Crime Information Center (NCIC).  You can then easily transmit the information you’ve entered into the app & email it to anyone (think police, FBI, NCIC).  In an emergency, you can’t think about details (I’m not in an emergency typing this & I have no idea without looking it up how much either of my kids weigh or how tall they are).  When minutes are of the essence, who has time (or the where with all) to go find that information?  Why not gather it (and store it within the app) when you are not in panic mode?

DOWNLOAD THE APP BY CLICKING HERE

 

Birthday Party Favors & I Cheat on Thank You Notes

Gah…the birthday party upon us & I struggle to think up a party favor for my girls’ 2nd & 4th combined party.  I refused to give out another bag full of bubbles & plastic toys from China.   I really wanted to do something creative & cute, but let’s face it, I didn’t really feel like I could have 30 kids attend a party & afford to give them wildly expensive party favors.  I mean, throwing a party for your kids doesn’t come cheap.

I scoured Pinterest, Etsy, Google, anywhere searching for an idea.  I got nothin’.  So, along comes an opportunity some months ago to buy some mason jars on a website group I’m on.  I buy the 12 jars on the inexpensive side & think…”I could do something with these for the party”.  About 8 of them had chalk board stickers on them, which fueled my fire to incorporate the jars.

After much debate (thinking parents might be mad…), I went with my idea anyway.  Goldfish.  Yep, I took regular old mason jars, put colored gravel in the bottom, bought 36 goldfish (c’mon…they won’t all live to make the party…I needed 5 “extra” just case!), and put them in the mason jars.  I had to buy several more jars to make it all work, but they turned out so cute!  I then faced the problem of the lid.  You can’t exactly screw a regular mason jar top on (the fish gotta breathe!, so I found these darling daisy lids.  I bought them from Amazon & they’re the perfect solution to not pouring out your goldfish onto your car’s leather seats on the drive home from the party, all while allowing Goldie to breathe, how nice.

So, without more typing…here’s the final product:

I also defaulted to an easy version of the thank you note (thanks due to my friend Anna on the idea).  My mom taught me early you have to say thanks with a note for gifts…so I refuse to let my kids get away without doing the same.  However, at the ages of 4 & 2, you know who actually “writes” those notes (no, my husband ain’t it!).  So to encourage the 4 year olds budding writing skills & to get me off the hook from penning them all: I present to you my form letter (Birthday Thank You):

Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 2.25.10 PM

Side note: I don’t use the word “ain’t” (except in my slang language above), my mom also loathed that word…but it’s actually a word in the dictionary these days…ugh.  But, thank you iMac computer for underlining it in red as a misspelled word!  I love you, Apple!