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I'm sure you're familiar with the old saying idiom --

"March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb."

In the month of March, life seems to revolve around the crazy weather. 

And every once in a while, if you're lucky, you are treated to something beautiful ...

 

rainbow

a rainbow!

 

The thing about rainbows is that they are fleeting and something that you can only enjoy with your eyes.

And yet so darn beautiful!

So I thought we'd round up some beautiful color as we close out the month -- 35 rainbows that kids can touch, taste, smell, see and even hear!  

Now you can have rainbows even on those not-so-sunny days.

 

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This past week, I was looking for a fun engineering project for us to do over Spring Break.

Both of my kids loved to build with blocks and Legos when they were younger but as they got older, they were more impressed with 'having a challenge'.

I think it's really important to continue and offer kids various challenges that help them to 'think outside of the box' so to say.  Most kids really enjoy creating and putting things together.

I wanted something that was a challenge but not too much of one (I mean, it was Spring Break -- so kicking back was part of the plan ;)

And also something that would be 'cool' and grab their interest --

So one morning at breakfast, I said ... 

"What do you think about building the Eiffel Tower today? 

Maybe one as big as you?"

And the eyes got as big as saucers :)

"What?!"

"That would be cool!" 

"But how would we do it?"

And there it was .... challenge accepted!

 

engineering activity for kids

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We made it -- today is the official start of Spring!

Woo hoo!

After this crazy winter, we should all pat ourselves on the back :)

Now it's time to enjoy all those things we LOVE about the season --

Birds chirping, warmer temps, the fact that it's usually still light out after dinner and being able to wear flip-flops without freezing your toes off -- plus the kids now hear a "yes" when they ask if they can wear shorts to school.

Spring is also the time to make a few memories together.

So to inspire you to push aside that spring cleaning and enjoy some time with the kids, we've got a list -- one hell of a list -- of fun ways to celebrate the season!

 

101 AWESOME Things to do with the kids this Spring

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I am one of those parents who believes that kids NEED to learn how to do chores.

And not just those "pick up after yourself" kind of jobs -- but the BIG, heavy, put-some-elbow-grease-into-it kind of work.

I know this is not always a universal belief but hear me out for a second ...

When we were all younger, we didn't grow up with many of the conveniences that our kids have today.

Some of us grew up is houses without a dishwasher.

Some of us had to help hang the laundry outside to dry.

NONE of us had the convenience of texting a friend to complain about "all those chores" we had to get done before we could hang out together.

And honestly, sometimes I get the feeling that because of all the conveniences that exist, kids think that things will just 'automatically' get done for them -- but that won't be the case.

One day, they will leave the house and find out that they won't be able to afford a cook, housekeeper and lawn service on their income (not that most of us can afford those -- but as parents, we often tend to serve in these roles ;)

So at our house, we have this saying "Everyone lives here; everyone chips in to help"!

That goes for weekly chores and also the big, once a year jobs like Spring Cleaning.

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Rocks!

You find them in jacket pockets, lined up on window sills and creating havoc in your dryer.

And yet, when you had one over to the kids and ask them to return it to the yard, their faces gasp in horror ...

"MOM!  This is --

-- the newest in my collection! 

-- a dinosaur fossil!

-- the one that I found on our trip to Grandpa's!"

It's amazing how much promise can be found in one little stone :)

 

Gathering rocks is a right of childhood. 

They are easily found, come in a variety of shapes & sizes and when you're a pint-sized person, they are simply too close to your grasp to not pick up and pocket any time you get the chance.

But what to do with that growing group of gemstones?

We've got a few ideas that will inspire the kids and 'rock' your world (sorry, just couldn't resist ;)

 

Rock crafts and activities for kids

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This #BringingInnovation shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser. As always, all opinions are mine alone; we only share items we love and use at home! 

 

"We have not inherited the Earth from our fathers, we are borrowing it from our children."

~ Lester Brown

 

Being eco-friendly takes on a whole new meaning when you read this statement.

As parents, we all work so hard to provide our kids with a good future -- 

we save money to send them to college

we help them to learn how to eat right and stay healthy.

But sometimes we need to realize that we can't always do FOR them -- it's important to teach them to do for themselves.

And that's exactly what we need to do when it comes to environmental issues.  Teaching our kids how to reduce, reuse and recycle are important life skills that they will use every day.

So today, we're sharing 5 ways to involve kids in eco-friendly behaviors around the house!

 

 teaching kids to reduce, reuse & recycle

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I love getting kids excited about books! 

Sometimes it's not as easy as just handing them a book though.

Getting kids into books isn't just about reading -- it's also about making the story interactive.

And there are quite a few children's book publishers who know this and also love to get kids excited about reading. 

So this week's 5 Fun Finds features some of the top Children's Publishing websites and the amazing games & activities they offer -- all linked to great kids books.

 

 100 Free Books Activities

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Spring is coming!

It is -- I promise :)

And with Spring comes that super nice weather (not too cold, not too hot), those perfect days when we can open the windows, listen to the birds and feel those gentle breezes.

It's a time to toss the kids outside -- watch them run through the yard, climb a tree, chase bugs and explore nature!

So today we have an awesome list of activities, nature crafts and games -- 50 ways to enjoy the outdoors.

PLUS!

Oh, this is a really BIG plus ...

Today is also our awesome SPRING GIVEAWAY -- you can be one of 3 people to win $500!!

 

Best Spring Activities for Kids

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This #BigHero6Release shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser. As always, all opinions are mine alone.  We only share items that we love and use at home!

 

My kids love to learn how things work!

You will frequently find them taking things apart or weilding a screwdriver to help Dad with projects around the house.

And yes, we have had our own share of mishaps as a result of their explorations -- but we've learned that those broken items are just a part of life when you're raising curious kids.

In order to give them the opportunity to 'tinker' and explore, we've offered the kids a variety of ways to get hands-on as they build, explore and create new inventions.

One of their favorites is to have their own Tinker Box -- an activity that offers them the opportunity to use tools, learn how things work and engineer to their hearts content!

 

How to Make Your Own Tinker Box & Create Robots

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I don't know about you but I've kinda had it with winter this year -- I am ready to move on to a change of the seasons!

So here's my plan --

I think if we all think 'sunny' thoughts,

and ignore the not-so-great weather,

Mother Nature will certainly notice and Spring will be here before we know it!

Are you in?

In an effort to boost those sunny thoughts, I pulled down our Spring-themed books this week!!  Beautiful pages with illustrations of green grass, leafy trees, cute baby animals and no on in a winter jacket ;)

Kids enjoy reading about the changing of the seasons -- so join me as we ring in Spring with a fun book list that features stories about nature, weather, baby animals and fun ways to explore the season!

 

Spring books kids will love

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My family will tell you that I'm an amateur weather buff -- I like to observe what Mother Nature dishes out to us :)

While watching the Weather Channel one morning, the forecaster was talking about the rain/snow ratio -- basically 1 inch of rain would be equivalent to 13 inches of snow.

Wow!

So I thought it would be interesting to test this during our next snow.

Wouldn't you know it -- we had to wait until mid-February for a good snow to fall!  Which I know is not the case elsewhere this year (apologies to our friends up North & back East who could probably fill up their bathtubs with snow!).

This is such a quick & easy science experiment that kids from preschool to high school will really enjoy -- only 2 minutes to set-up and some GREAT results!

 

snow science experiment

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When do you do storytime at your house?

I know most families (ours included!) choose to read right before naptime or bedtime.  The kids are winding down and it's a great opportunity to snuggle up with a story.

That's usually when we do most of our reading.

BUT -- at one time in our house, storytime also happened during breakfast.

It all started because the breakfast table was a little chaotic -- kids reaching for things to do while they were eating or jumping off their chair to play with something.  Milk spills every morning! 

I needed to find a way to get them to focus on eating -- and sitting -- so we could move on with our day.

So one morning, I innocently said "How about if I read a story while we eat?  As long as you sit and eat, I'll keep reading".

And that's all she wrote folks! 

Those wiggly, active kids sat and listened and ate -- and loved it!

Here's why this worked for us plus a few of our favorite 'breakfast' books.

 

 Best books to read at the breakfast table

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

 

This week's one of those quiet times -- not too much on the calendar.

But I know it won't last long --

We're waiting to hear about college acceptances, looking into a few new attractions and counting the days until Spring Break (less than a month away for us!) which means things are going to pick up quickly!

And I can smell a road trip somewhere in the near future.

Ahh ... I love the thought of exploring someplace new with the kids!

When it comes to taking a car trip, I'm one of those "need to plan ahead" type of people.  I don't like to get on the road and worry about whether we might have any car problems or worse yet, run out of snacks before we reach our destination (heavens no!! the kids might not last until the next stop ;)

Having what we need, taking care of car maintenance and turning the car into a 'home on wheels' makes the trip so much less stressful.

So today I'm sharing the checklist we use before heading out on our trips, whether it's a day trip or cross-country vacation -- PLUS you'll find a free printable version to help you prepare for your next trip!

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For some people, the sight of green grass or tulips popping up means Spring has arrived --

but for me, it's the sight of a seed packet.

Sometime in February, I realize that Spring is only weeks away (yea!!) and it's time to think about garden prep.

Now, I'll be the first to tell you that I am not someone who was blessed with a green thumb.  I don't have this amazing garden by any means.

However, I do love to have flowers and veggies in the yard.

And I really love to see the kids get involved in growing veggies or choosing a cool new plant.

It's pretty amazing when you can send them outside to "pick the tomatoes you grew for the salad tonight"!  Or to watch them count the number of cucumbers that are growing on a vine.

So let's ignore the winter weather and start some gardening prep today!

 

Early Gardening Activities for Kids

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I've mentioned before that we are big fans of the The Cat in the Hat's Learning Library!

This newer Dr. Seuss series makes it so easy to introduce science, geography and other real life concepts to young children --

just take one familiar and loveable book character (The Cat),

insert TONS of cool facts and details on a non-fiction topic, 

add in some kid-sized humor ;)

and you have the perfect books that transition kids from picture stories to non-fiction reading!

Today we are starting a 5-week series featuring books from The Cat in the Hat Learning Library along with crafts, science experiments, learning activities and other hands-on fun!

Since we've used them so many times, I wanted to give you a peek inside some of our favorites along with some great activities you can do at home to bring the books to life!

 

55 Science Experiments & Activities for Kids

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I'm one of those people who hates to throw things away. 

I always try to think of some way we can use up an item instead of just tossing it in the trash.

My husband is the same way -- he packs my son's sandwiches in all the old bread bags (it's a running joke at the lunch table at school now ;)

When I was cleaning out our spice cabinet during one of my recent organizing stints (I'm loving my new approach to getting organized!), I discovered a number of outdated spice containers.

Although they were way passed their prime for baking,  the spices still smelled nice.  And they HAD to be good enough to use for something, right?

So I tossed them into a basket and what do you know!  Inspiration struck a few days later -- spice-scented Valentines!

 

 Creative Valentine Ideas for Kids

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Sometimes the weather makes it difficult to connect with nature.

And the winter months present several challenges -- nature is no longer in 'full bloom' and cold weather has set in which usually means less time outside.

But I love a good challenge ;)

Whatever the weather, I think it's important to encourage the kids to learn about the world around us. 

Plus, there's all those amazing benefits toconnecting with nature whether you are inside or outside - increased creativity and problem-solving, enhanced performance at school, improved eyesight, lower stress -- we all need a bit of nature in our day. 

So today, let's take a peek inside nature with this easy INDOOR science activity.

 

Take a look inside nature

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In our house, we really don't do cute.

Creative, yes ...

Corny, oh yea ...

Geeky, totally!

But not so much with the cute.

So Valentine's Day can be a bit of a challenge.

Like when you have a son who wants to give valentines with pictures of monsters.

Or when your daughter wants to give "super cool" valentines to the girls but only "regular" valentines to the boys (goodness knows we don't want those boys to think we might 'like' them, right?!)

And then there's the whole "But I have 28 kids in my class and there's only 24 cards in the box!"

Ugh!

Needless to say, buying "standard, one-size-fits-all" valentines doesn't always work.

So we've gone in search of some awesomely cool (and Free!) printable valentines that kids will LOVE to give to their friends plus some fun ideas for families too!

 

Valentines Ideas for Kids

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Wouldn't it be wonderful to travel the world?  To be able to visit beautiful places and experience new cultures would be amazing!

But world travel is also expensive ... and not so easy once you have a family.

Which is why I rely on using a variety of children's literature to introduce our kids to different cultures and places around the world.  Books are a great way to explore the world with your kids!

Today, we are celebrating Multicultural Children's Book Day with bloggers and children's book publishers from around the world!

It's a day when we share some outstanding children's books, fun activities from a variety of world cultures and tips on bringing diverse literature into your home and school.

 

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We love doing simple science and every once in a while, we find a GEM of an experiment! 

So many of the activities we do are ones that I've experienced before but are new to the kids.  

But THIS ONE!  This is one of those really cool experiments that even I was impressed with (and as my husband will tell you, I'm not easily impressed ;)

I should have titled this "Make Your Own Gong Using a Spoon and Fork" -- because that's exactly what you'll get to do!

It's a simple, fun and pretty awesome activity that explores the science of sound waves and how they travel. 

 

Sound Wave Experiment for Kids

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