How to Create Memories with Your Kids

How to Create Memories with Your Kids

Ideas for how to create memories with your kids this summer!

Many of us are now ‘officially’ on summer break.

For kids, it’s a time for popsicles, pool visits and unscheduled adventures!

For parents, it’s a time to reconnect with our kids who have been trapped in a school building for the better part of the year.  

It’s also a time to think about what we might do together this summer.

Now I’ll bet you’re thinking this is going to be one of those ‘list’ posts – as in, make a summer bucket list or a what we’ll do this summer list.

But it’s not.

Even though that’s a great thing to do – it’s not the ONE thing I want you to do –

Scratch that

It’s the one thing YOUR kids really need you to do this summer.

 

The item I’m talking about only requires a pen, a sticky note and 3 minutes of uninterrupted time ….

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100 Fun Things to Do in Spring!

100 Fun Things to Do in Spring!

A HUGE list of fun things to do in Spring -- great ideas for Spring Break and ways to make memories with your kids!

After this wild & wacky winter, we should all pat ourselves on the back :)

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

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 your kids, we've got a list -- one hell of a list -- of fun ways to celebrate the season!

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10 Groundhog Day Activities & Books

10 Groundhog Day Activities & Books

Try these Groundhog Day activities & books that explore shadows, weather and more seasonal fun!

February 2nd is Groundhog's Day - the halfway point of winter. 

If you've got kids, you know that there's some quirky draw to that furry, little creature who pops his head out to see if it will be a longer winter. 

Too bad he didn't predict snow days too ;)

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12 Days of Christmas Activities {with printables!}

12 Days of Christmas Activities {with printables!}

Is life too busy for the holiday traditions you love?

I know, December can just get SO crazy so fast and before you know it, the month will be gone. 

But if you're like me, enjoying those special moments and activities with family is what MAKES the season so special. 

Especially those small holiday moments the kids love so much!

So if all you want for Christmas is some time to relax with your family – we've got just what you need this year.  And the best part -- you can do the activities before or AFTER Christmas! 

No trying to squeeze in MORE stuff before the holiday if life is already too busy -- because spending time with your kids should be enjoyable and not stressful, right?!

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15 Fun Things to do Outside this Weekend

15 Fun Things to do Outside this Weekend

Fall is in full swing and Winter is at our doorstep but that's no reason to hibernate like many of our animal friends do at this time of the year.

There are still LOTS of ways to enjoy some time outdoors and it's especially important during these shorter days. 

So this weekend, grab your favorite sweater and hit the great outdoors with these fun ideas!

 
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100+ Printable Advent Calendar Ideas & Christmas Countdown Activities

 

TONS of ideas and activities for your Advent calendar or Christmas countdown that help you focus on making memories this year!

Every year, I promise myself that I won't get overwhelmed with the busyness of the season. 

The week before Thanksgiving, I start intentionally thinking about what I want for our family  -- peaceful evenings, time each week to connect and enjoy traditions together -- not to appear to be a frazzled, hurried Mom who's trying to buzz through story time because there are gifts to wrap or cookies to bake.

There's always SO much more on our plates during the holidays which is why I LOVE our Advent Calendar Activities -- they keep me grounded and help me to enjoy what we love most about the holidays. 

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Thanksgiving Photo Scavenger Hunt {w/free printable game!}

Thanksgiving Photo Scavenger Hunt {w/free printable game!}

Print this free Thanksgiving Photo Scavenger Hunt and get the whole family involved in showing why they are thankful this year!

Thankfulness is a hard concept for kids to grasp -- even older kids!

We all have so much in our life that we tend to take for granted -- health, a warm house, a hug from our kids -- so I wanted something that we could do this Thanksgiving that highlights why we should be grateful. 

I was thinking a new game would be fun for all ages -- we love to have printable Thanksgiving games around the table or those fun minute-to-win-it games at Christmas.

And I knew it needed to involve photos because when you think about it, every time you snap a picture, you're actually capturing a memory of something you appreciate, something you are thankful for in your life.

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5 Ways to Get Your Kids Outside to Play

5 Ways to Get Your Kids Outside to Play

 

We played outside all the time when I was a kid!  Seriously, those had-to-be-called-in-to-eat type of days.  Even on school days, I remember walking home with friends and talking about what we'd do that afternoon before dinner.

Just like this Come Out and Play! video (definitely brings me back to childhood) -- "going out to play" meant using your imagination, exploring new places and feeling grown up because there weren't any grown ups around -- just kids who were having fun.

Do you remember those feelings? 

Sadly, play is disappearing  with our kids. 70% of moms played outside when they were kids and only 31% of their kids play outside today.

And yet, play is such an important way for our kids to stay healthy & build life skills -- learning to be independent, trying out a new idea to see if it works, negotiating and communicating with friends without an adult jumping in to solve the issue.  Not to mention all the benefits of getting outside.

Play is vital for our kids!

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17 Awesomely Fun Things to do After School

17 Awesomely Fun Things to do After School

Enjoy these fun things to do after school including a free printable set of 20 Questions to ask your kids!

Once our kids started school, I quickly realized that time together during the week was going to be VERY limited.

They don't get home until 3:30 pm here -- and of course there are days when afterschool activities take place, plus homework, dinner prep, gathering things for the next day and bath or shower.

Which leaves a small window of opportunity to touch base and see how life's going for everyone.

And that time to connect is so important! 

But yet, asking them "So, how was your day?" is usually met with "Fine." or in our case "It was schooly."

Yes, my kids resort to making up new words to throw me off :)

I'm on to their tricks and have a few of my own to get them talking and turn a somewhat boring afternoon into an AWESOME time to connect!

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How to Use Children's Books to share Family Stories

How to Use Children's Books to share Family Stories

This is one of those week's when sentiment has crept in and taken over.

The first week in April is the anniversary of the passing of two of my grandparents so I always find myself thinking more about them and family at this time of the year.

And it just so happens that I've been reviewing books for our Picture Book of the Day series on Instagram (we have a great group of Kid Lit bloggers who share book recommendations if you're ever looking for some!)

The author of the story we featured this week shared that she "... use(s) bits of my great-grandmother's passport from Lithuania in almost every painting"

Bits. 

Those things that are left to us when people pass on -- family heirlooms, special momentoes and stories.

My grandfather's family was also from Lithuania so this immediately caught my attention.

What bits do I have from him?

And which of those bits have I shared with my kids?

So I immediately started digging through some of my keepsake boxes and books as I thought about the fact that I should be sharing these bits and family stories with my kids more often.

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20 Playground Games & Activities

This post is sponsored by the Voice of Play.  We are joining them this month to inspire families to get outside & explore their local playgrounds!

 

Spring is in the air and for so many children that means heading back to the playground!

We've already seen an increase in visitors to our neighborhood playground during our evening walks.  Getting the kids outside to climb, swing and slide is beneficial is so many ways:

It encourages them to be active -- a lifelong skill that we all need to keep in mind ;)

Outdoor play has so many health benefits -- fresh air, development of large motor skills and inspiring a connection with nature are just a few.

And most of all, free play time gives parents the chance to "not be the fun police" :) 

I speak from experience here! 

Letting the kids lose at the playground is the perfect opportunity for them to spread their wings while Mom and Dad watch from afar or build leadership skills as they take charge of a game.  Kids are able to practice their social skills with other children, put their manners into play (taking turns is SUCH an important life skill) and have a safe place to explore without being under the constant eye of their parents.

And it's not all about JUST swinging -- there are so many more fun things to do during your next trip to the playground!

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New Kids Movies in Theaters for 2016

We are not much of a TV watching family but when it comes to new movies, we love going to the theater together!

I think the kids get more excited about the previews for upcoming movies than they do the actually film sometimes ;)

So if you're wondering what great kid & family movies are coming to a theater near you this year -- we've got the list along with some of the awesome trailers and online activities the kids will enjoy while they wait for the film to come out!

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14 Valentine's Day Ideas You'll LOVE!

Creative Valentine's Day Ideas that make great gifts for kids!

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 my 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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Reading Tips & the Best Books for Kids

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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Christmas Stocking Ornament Craft for Kids

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 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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