40 Free Printable Road Trip Activities for Kids

Grab these free printable road trip games & activities for your next car trip and keep the kids busy!

We are gearing up for a HUGE family car trip this summer & I'm on the look-out for some road trip activities for the kids.

The trip is going to be much longer than we thought -- 10 days through 11 states covering 2600 miles!! 

I know - crazy!  But we're really looking forward to it -- we believe that family travel is a great way for kids to learn all kinds of things.

This year, we'll be seeing lots of family, celebrating my in-laws 50th wedding anniversary and attending freshman orientation for our oldest who is starting college in the Fall.

It's going to be a monster of a trip with lots of overnight stops and quite a few hours in the car.

Soooo .... time to start planning on how to keep everyone busy, happy and fed ;)

Continue reading
251867 Hits

9 Totally NOT Boring History Movies for Kids

Inspire kids to learn about the past with these great history movies that are perfect to us in the classroom or at home!

Welcome back to the 2nd part of our Summer Movies for Kids series!

Last week, we featured outstanding kids books that were made into movies -- this week, we're focusing on movies that make history FUN!

When I was younger, I would complain to my Grandmother about my history homework all the time!

I hated memorizing all those dates. 

I never understood why we had to know what happened in the past.

It was all so boring to me.

But there was a method to my madness -- you see, my Grandmother LOVED history!

When I started complaining, she would tell me super interesting stories about the topic -- things they never taught in the classroom.  I was instantly intrigued and wanted to know more.

And I quickly learned THAT was the key -- find a way to make learning about the past interesting!

Continue reading
80154 Hits

Exploring the Parts of a Flower: A Science Project for Kids

Today we are going to have a look INSIDE nature at the parts of a flower with a fun hands-on science project – flower dissection and pollination.

As Spring sets in, we are all treated to blossoming trees and beautiful flowers.

I'm sure your kids will pick flowers, smell their scent and then give the bouquet to Mom.

Ahh... to receive a handful of wilted but picked-out-of-love blooms is a mother's delight ;)

We've had more than one dinner at our house spruced up with a home-picked bouquet, whether they were the wild orchids growing in the backyard or the dandelions that popped up all around (much to my husband’s chagrin).

With the recent plight of the disappearing honeybees , some plants and flowers are in danger of not being pollinated.  So I thought this would be a great opportunity for kids to learn more about the process of how plants reproduce.

Continue reading
30878 Hits

How to Start a Mother Daughter Book Club

Tips & book recommendations for starting a Mother/Daughter book club!

As much as I love read aloud sessions with my kids , I also know that I can’t read to them forever – although I’ll certain keep trying ;)

As kids get older, the next logical step in having a ‘book relationship’ with them is to start a laid-back parent-child book club.  

Why continue to read with them as they get older?  

Parent/child reading sessions can be a crucial step in keeping kids reading as they enter their tween and teen years.  It’s also  a wonderful opportunity to kick-off discussions about issues they will face as they get older that they may not readily want to discuss but will happily talk about if it comes up in a story you are reading together.

Continue reading
38605 Hits

30 Games & Activities to Play at the Park

Enjoy these fun games & activities you can play at the park this month!

Spring is here which means Summer is not far behind so it's time to hit the great outdoors.

And you know how much we LOVE getting outdoors and exploring so we're helping the National Trust to celebrate Kids to Parks Days this month.

Today we're sharing some fun games & activities that are perfect for your next park visit.  Then later in May, we'll be highlighting some of the awesome experiences your family can have during a park visit.

Continue reading
47713 Hits

25 Best Children's Books Made into Movies

A list of favorite children's books made into movies -- perfect for family movie nights!

This week we are beginning our Summer Movies for Kids series!

I know you're looking at the calendar right about now thinking "What?  Summer can't be here already!"

It always sneaks up on us too -- in fact, our kids only have 19 more days of school left until they are officially on summer break (that countdown gives me a bigger jolt that my 2nd cup of coffee on these mornings ;)

One of the resources we have on the website is a master list of kids books that have been made into movies --  more than 100 titles!

I've often used (and recommended) the technique of pairing reading with a movie during the summer -- an incentive to get kids to pick up a book and also (once they've seen the movie) have a great discussion about which they enjoyed more. 

But I know a list of 100 can get overwhelming and with limited time over the summer, you really want to offer kids books & movies that are engaging so they'll want to read more.

So we've narrowed down the list to our top 25 book/movie combos that are perfect for summertime!

Continue reading
53314 Hits

12 Amazing Citizen Scientist Projects for Kids

Happy Earth Day!

I love days like today -- everyone across the globe can celebrate together regardless of their location, religion or beliefs -- because we all love the planet we live on :)

We've already shared a great list of eco-friendly books & websites for kids and also have some easy ideas on how to involved kids in 'going green' at home so I wanted to share something different today.

Since celebrations like Earth Day are about protecting nature, oceans, clean air and all the other great stuff we sometimes take for granted, it's important to help our children find hands-on ways to experience what is happening to the world around us.

 

One of the best ways to offer kids real life opportunities is through Citizen Science Projects where they can learn firsthand what is happening in the world!

I know that the name 'citizen scientist' can sound kind of, well, super research-y but it's really not -- there are hundreds of great projects that any of us can be involved with no matter what our age or background. 

And today, I'm going to introduce you to a dozen family-friendly projects that you can do at home or in your own backyard while teaching the kids about nature, the environment and a little bit of science too!

 

Continue reading
30303 Hits

How Can I Tell if My Child Needs Glasses? Making Kids' Vision a Priority

Wondering how you can take care of your vision and help a child in need of vision care? One in four children has an undiagnosed vision problem.

Right now, when you purchase an individual vision insurance plan from VSP Direct™ for as low as $17/month, a child in need receives a free eye exam and glasses, up to a retail value of $1 million. Find out more at VSPDirect.com/EyeGiveBackThanks to VSP for sponsoring this post.

 

When’s the last time your child has their eyes checked?

If you’re anything like me, I’ll bet you said “at school, when they do the yearly eye check-up”

Every Fall, my kids have the nurse at school give them an eye exam.

Trying to get kids to sit still in the dentist's chair pushes me to my limit but an eye exam?  I didn't think I needed to worry about that until they were much older.

When my daughter was in 3rd grade, she came home one October day announcing that she had “perfect vision”!  

Great!  All was well so I just put it out of my mind and figured we’d have her eyes checked again the following Fall when she was back at school.

Oh, if life were just that easy ...

Continue reading
25575 Hits

Exploring the Library: Finding Cool Stuff in the Non-fiction Section {free printable}

The library is a magical place for kids!

So many wonderful books holding everything you've ever wanted to know -- and some things you never knew you wanted to know until you get lost in a book.

But sometimes the library can be a little overwhemling for kids, especially when they are looking for specific information.

Where should I look for books about animals? 

I want to learn a new magic trick - is there a book on that?

Mom, I need to read everything about Greek Myths!

 

The non-fiction section has a wealth of knowledge just waiting to be discovered!

My kids really enjoy non-ficiton books -- especially ones that have beautiful illustrations and engaging text. 

I promise, not all non-fiction books are boring ;)

In order to keep the magic in those library visits, we're sharing a fun printable to help kids learn how to navigate the Dewey Decimal System and non-fiction section of the library.

 

Continue reading
34312 Hits

10 Camping Books for Kids + Where to Camp for Free!

Find free places to camp with your family and great books for camping for kids!

Planning a family camping trip this year? 

Or just pitching a tent in the backyard? 

Camping with your kids can be tons of fun -- sleeping under the stars, cooking over a campfire and spending some time unplugged to enjoy one another's company.

Not to mention all those great life skills the kids learn -- how to pitch a tent, navigate the trails and entertain themselves without electricity!

Plus marshmallows and flashlights -- always a big hit when you're a kid :)

Spring is a great time for a camping adventure with the cooler weather and longer daylight hours.  So I wanted to share a few fun ideas for (FREE!) family-friendly places to pitch a tent along with a great booklist to take along with you.

Continue reading
18416 Hits

Getting Kids Ready for a Sleep-over: What to Pack in Your Overnight Bag

When my son had his first overnight at a friend’s house, the phone rang at 10 pm.

"Mom? I forgot my inhaler".

"No problem", I told him, "I’ll run it over".

Good thing he was right next door :)

So I hop over to the neighbors where I’m greeted at the door by two very awake boys.

"He also forgot his toothpaste," announced his friend, "so I let him borrow mine".

I thought things might be a little more organized with my daughter since she was older at her first sleep-over.  But when I got there to bring her home the next morning, I could tell a few things hadn’t gotten into her overnight bag.

"Any chance you packed a brush?"

"Nope.  But I remembered my toothbrush!" (score 1 for no cavities after cake & ice cream) – one of the other girls had forgotten hers and it looked like two others had also forgotten their hairbrush :)

Continue reading
21803 Hits

Earth Day Activities: Free Printable Scavenger Hunt

Grab this free printable Earth Day Scavenger Hunt activity and inspire kids to learn more about our environment!

April is a great time to teach our kids about going green, eco-friendly behaviors and ways they can help the environment.

When we were young, environmental issues weren't as well discussed or researched -- now, our kids learn about these issues in school as part of the curriculum and are inspired to do small things that will benefit the Earth.

As we introduce eco-friendly behaviors to our children, it's not only important to teach them HOW to do the behavior (such as recycling a plastic bottle) but also critical that we share with them WHY we are doing these things.

Why do we sort out our recycling?

Why shouldn't be let the water run when we brush our teeth?

We sometimes miss the opportunities to discuss the impact our behaviors can have on the world around us.

So today's activity -- an Earth Day (or Month) Scavenger Hunt -- mixes both the How & Why of choosing to 'go green'!

Continue reading
21009 Hits

30 Life Cycle Activities for Animals & Insects

Explore the life cycles of animals and insects with these fun hands-on activities!

Did you catch our post on Exploring Animal Habitats earlier this year?

Kids just love to explore all the places that animals live and observe their behaviors.

And they love baby animals!

Heck, I love baby animals - they are so darn cute :)

And of course, we get all those wonderful questions --

"How do the animals have babies?"  

"Does the animal have eggs or a live baby?"

"Why does a caterpillar turn into a butterfly?"

There's that wonderful sense of curiosity coming to play again!

So today we're exploring life cycles for all types of animals with some great books, crafts and hands-on science activities!

Continue reading
82050 Hits

Can You Dye Brown Eggs: An Unexpected Science Experiment

Can you dye brown eggs for Easter? Thanks to my not-so-quick thinking last Easter, we were treated to an unexpected science experiment.

During my grocery run the week before Easter, I had eggs on my list (of course ;) 

Plus a few more fun items I still wanted to tuck into the baskets!

Well, I guess everyone else who visited Target had eggs on their list too because when I got to the dairy department, there were only brown eggs left on the shelves.

Being the "get in and out quick" type of shopper I am, I quickly scooped up a carton of brown eggs knowing that I had a few things I would be baking that week....

.... and not even thinking about the fact that we dye Easter eggs every year (duh!)

So, home I go and begin to unpack the groceries, when my daughter nearly falls over ...

"Mom!  The eggs are brown?!!!"

So I remind her that yes, eggs come in two colors -- white & brown.

"But can we dye brown eggs?!"

Huh, I really had no idea -- and thus our science experiment began ....

Continue reading
15036 Hits

5 Ways Moms Can Find More 'ME' Time

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Best Western. All opinions are 100% mine.

 

Do you know a hard-working Mom who deserves some ME time?

I hope you just said "yes, ME!"

And I'm sure quite a few other names popped into your head --

your sister who's raising three kids all under the age of 6,

your best friend who's managing a full-time job outside of the home and a hectic daycare schedule for her toddler,

or maybe one of the moms in your church group who is taking care of her own family along with her older parents who also need quite a bit of her time.

Life can get busy for us Moms and sometimes we deserve some time for ourselves.

So how can we make Me time more of a priority?

 

Finding more time for yourself

Continue reading
8403 Hits