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Sometimes I think it's the minor holidays that might put me under as a Mom!

Take February for example, either I'm trying to find 100 items for the kids to bring for the 100th day of school or I'm wondering how it is that EVERY set of boxed valentines includes 24 cards when my kids ALWAYS have 26 kids in their class.

I solved that last challenge by finding a great selection of Free Valentine Cards that you can print yourself -- as many as you'll need :)

Now for the next challenge -- coming up with a great idea for the Valentine Box! 

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If you've been around these parts, you'll know that we have a fondness for nature activities ;)  Most rooms in our house host some type of nature collection -- shells, rocks, tree seeds, leaves in the Fall, etc.

Collecting is such a great STEM activity and teaches kids so much about categorizing, sorting and observing -- I try to allow as much of it as possible.  But as the items accumulate, sooner or later you have to give it a little 'structure'.

Since "small is the new black" for kids, it's always fun to find a creative way for them to carry around their collection (they love to show them off to friends and family ;) 

So today's activity is a frugal upcycle that will help to organize that nature collection!

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If you have kids, come February 1st you'll hear a lot of talk about 'cool' Valentine's Day ideas! 

Those school parties are so exciting and the thought of getting cards from all of your friends gets kids a little bonkers (if you know what I mean ;)

The challenge:  finding something unique to give to friends and family -- and something "not mushy" as the kids tell me.

So we've rounded up some fun ideas of the no-candy variety for all the 'Loves' in your life!

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I know it might be hard to believe but making shadows is actually a simple science experiment!

Yep, all those shadow puppets you tried as a child or those evening walks with the kids when they're trying to step on your shadow to see if it hurts (does anyone else's kids do this or just mine?!) = Easy Science Experiment :)

And with Groundhog's Day right around the corner, it's a great time of year to play with shadows!

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Today's round-up of FREE Winter games & activities is not only a resource for the next few months but also one of those posts that came about as the result of desperate times.

I'm currently sitting on our couch looking out the window at the GORGEOUS snow fallling. 

The flakes are those big, soft ones that float down and make everything look like a winter wonderland.

And it's so quiet and peaceful ...

... right now, that is.

Because I know this is the calm before the storm (literally!) -- the coming weeks will be full of more indoor time than outdoor time for so many of us. 

Which means it's time to get prepared -- and I've got your back!

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In our home, helping the kids learn to read was what we called 'a full contact sport'. 

Constant movement.

Non-stop questions.

Continuous encouragement (and honestly, even some arguing).

It was not an easy task. 

Both of our kids have always loved books (as you can probably tell with the number of book lists we share) but let me tell you, LEARNING to read can be challenging for both kids and parents too!

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Animal habitats are a fascinating topic to discuss with kids!  I'm sure you've been peppered with questions about where animals live and why --

"Where do all the animals go in winter?"

or

"Why can't we have rainforest animals live near us like Diego does?"

My kids were big fans of all those animals they would see in books and some of the favorite tv shows.  They both loved going out to the backyard or park to do animal observations.  And once we started traveling to National Parks, there were even more amazing habitats to explore!

Today's project is a fun way to create some of your favorite animals habitats and then compare their similiarites and differences.  And I LOVE the versitility of this project because it will work with ANY habitat!

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Today we are combining two things that I really enjoy doing with kids -- hands-on science + LEGOS® !

I love taking a not-so-easy-to-explain topic like The Water Cycle and turning it into a hands-on learning activity where you can see their eyes light up as they begin to grasp the concept!  And hands-on science is fun -- but add in a LEGO® challenge and kids will enjoy it even more!

The water cycle might seem like a complex topic but it's really very simple -- only 3 main parts -- and I always love to explain that the water we drink is the SAME water that the dinosaurs drank too (yea, for some reason the idea of dinosaurs drooling in their water is appealing to kids, who knew?! :) 

But explaining how that's possible can be a little complicated which is why we're going to BUILD a water cycle project to help take a detailed topic and break it into simple learning steps.

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Planes have been a long-standing thing at our house -- paper airplanes, plane games & flying with kids.

My son was BIG into paper airplanes as a kid and both of our kids became proficient travelers by the time they were five.

But I think my fondest airplane memory will be one that happened when my daughter was young -- she had this special family game she would ask use to play -- Going on a Plane!

She would set up 2 chairs next to each other and pretend we were flying off to Disney World (we visited there a number of times as my parents live about an hour from the park) or some other far off place from a book we read. 

It's one of those adorable moments that I'll remember because she & her "flying companion" would have these elaborate conversations about places they would visit and things to do.  Sometimes she would take Nani or her older brother; other times, her favorite stuffed animal would go with her.

So today's book & activity collection is All Things Planes -- for kids who enjoy traveling, flying or wanna-be pilots!

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One of my favorite posts to curate each year is the list of our BEST kids activities and organizational tips that were most loved & read by our readers!

I love knowing that what we do at Edventures with Kids inspires families to reduce chaos, learn together and explore new places.

In case you missed one or two of these great kids activities & organizing ideas during the past year or if you've recently found us and want to dive in to some new edventures, see what's been popular with our readers as we head into a new year!

 

best kids activities and organization tips for families

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The kids are out of school -- time for a master list of entertaining things do over Winter Break to keep them busy!

Whether you're looking for indoor activities, fun things to do outside or a few unique ideas for your winter vacation -- these ideas are sure to please, easy to do and will keep them thinking & creating on those long winter days.

We even have some fun ways the kids can pitch in and help kick-start some organizing for the New Year!

 

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I love to find ways to integrate maps & geography activities for the kids throughout the year! 

I worry that without exposure to actual maps & globes, the next geneneration isn't going to be very map-literate given the ease of websites like Google Maps and all the conveniences of having a GPS in their cars and phones. 

I feel the same way about the use of calculators taking the place of mental math -- technology is a great thing but being able to read a map or subtract in your head are valuable life skills!

And goodness knows if they ever get lost in the woods, they probably won't have very good wifi and may need to find their way home ;)

So our last holiday-themed activity this year is a Christmas Geography Activity!

Yes, it's really for the kids but adults will enjoy this one too.  Just print off the FREE worksheet, grab a map or globe & explore a little of the world this week!

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There's nothing like the holidays to get you in the mood to do some science experiments, right?! 

Actually, it's those long winter break days when the kids need some creative things to do that usually spur some of these ideas.  And although today's science experiment is Christmas-themed, it can be done year round and was a very popular one during our summer science series a few years ago.

So have the kids gather up these common holiday items, print off the free worksheet and experiment with a litte physics over their winter break!

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We love to play Christmas games with the kids over winter break! 

When family visits, we've been known to entertain them with a few good minute-to-win-it holiday challenges and a good game of Christmas charades is always great for getting the kids up & moving.

This year, I wanted a fun game that could be played both inside or outside and one that was super easy to prep & play (the holidays are already busy enough so I don't need to stress myself out with 'complicated').

And the big plus -- this game can be played with kids of all ages!

 

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It's definitely that time of the year when I'm sure someone in your house wants to send a letter to Santa!

Maybe it's your 4-year-old who wants to ask Santa about his favorite cookies.

Or the somewhat doubting 9-year-old who wants to confirm the big guy's existance.

And maybe -- just maybe -- it's Mom or Dad who need to get a letter to Santa to let him know that bringing a pet monkey is probably not such a good idea this year ;)

No matter who wants to send Santa a letter, we've got all the details you'll need (along with some FREE ways you can get a reply back too)!  PLUS, we also have a free printable Letter to Santa for the kids to print & send.

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It's always fun to pull out some simple craft activities & family ideas during the holidays!

Nothing complicated -- just something the kids enjoy creating and that usually involves something sparkly :)

And the kids adore making ornaments to hang on the tree!  I think we have more handmade ornaments on our tree that we do any other type.  We love going through them each year as we decorate and reflecting on when they were made.

We'll frequently hear "I remember making this in Kindergarten!" which is amazing since they can't remember to put their shoes away on most days :)

I admit, those nostalgic memories are wonderful at this time of year.  I remember being in second grade and having the whole class make paper stockings to hang on the class-made "brick" mantle!  It was fun to come to class each day and see our names hanging near that paper fireplace.

So when we joined 70 other creative bloggers this month to bring you some beautiful Kid-made Christmas Ornaments, I knew exactly what I wanted to make with the kids!

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We are always looking for fun & educational websites for the kids to visit especially those that have seasonal themes! 

It's nice to have some go-to sites when the kids ask "Can I have some computer time?" -- I really don't like them just searching Google or surfing around to sites I may not recognize.

And I especially LOVE to find websites that connect to books, life skills or world cultures -- it's a bonus when I can tie some learning to their tech time ;)

This season, we're sharing some old favorites along with a few *new* websites that the kids will really enjoy!!

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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HoneyMaidHouse#CollectiveBias

 

Let's talk Gingerbread Houses today!

Tis the season for family-friendly activities and building a gingerbread house is a time-honored tradition for so many families.  Not to mention, it's a SUPER fun lesson in engineering principles for kids!  Testing out how to balance the walls, construct a roof and put together a fun little structure is the perfect intro to some of those basic physics principles.

And while I love all the building, learning & family connecting -- I'm not a fan of all the sugar icing and candy add-ons when the kids are already coming home telling me about those 'surprise' cookie and candy treats at school.

But there has to be a healthier option for these adorable little abodes, right?

YES!  We found some amazing things to use as you construct a gingerbread house that's a super healthy snack option too!

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Do you know how every kid has some special talent -- a skill that just makes you go "Wow!  Where did they learn that?!" 

It's that thing about your child that impresses you, makes you proud and causes you to stop and think how it will help them in life.

For my daughter, her amazing talent is meeting new people.

She's always the first one to volunteer to sit next to the new student at school.  And every year she goes to a summer camp, she'll come home on the first day and tell us about her new friend.  Granted, sometimes she doesn't know this 'new friend's' name ;) but she's always knows something about them and is excited to see them the next day.

When we saw the trailer for the NEW Peanuts movie that's out in theaters, I was reminded that meeting new people doesn't come naturally for everyone.  As Charlie Brown finds out (and some of us have experienced), meeting people can be a little awkward whether you're the new person at school or the one who wants to welcome a new neighbor.

But my daughter has shared with me that there are some super easy ways to meet new people and help kids to begin those new friendships that could last a lifetime!

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The holiday season is upon us!  It's time to enjoy counting down the days to Christmas and finding ways to slow down and enjoy the season together.

It's also time to get ready to keep the kids from snooping in the closets or under the tree :)

Do you have a snooper? 

My oldest was great - he never wanted to know what gifts he would get on Christmas morning.  My youngest -- a whole different story!  She's one of those 'I'm going to pretend I'm not snooping while I try to gather clues about both my gifts AND everyone else's'.  She keeps us on our toes during the holidays.

It's hard for kids to contain all that excitement -- wrapped gifts in arms' reach, the promise of a school holiday party, family coming -- I totally understand.  Which is why having some fun activities for them to do each day helps them to enjoy the weeks leading up to Christmas.

These totally fun & free printable Christmas activities will be enjoyed by kids of all ages!  You can even wrap them so the kids have something to unwrap each day.  (and hopefully keeps them busy enough that they won't have time to snoop ;)

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