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.

 

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

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.

 

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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 :)

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Earth Month Scavenger Hunt: Teaching Kids How to Make an Impact

April is Earth Month -- with Earth Day celebrated on April 22nd!

It's a great time to teach the 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 Month Scavenger Hunt -- mixes both the How & Why of choosing to 'go green'!

 

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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!

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Can You Dye Brown Eggs: An Unexpected Science Experiment

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

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 ....

 

Can you color Brown Eggs for Easter?

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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

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Sensory Play: Creating a Rainbow

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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How to Build the Eiffel Tower: An Engineering Project for Kids

How to Build the Eiffel Tower: An Engineering Project for Kids

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!

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How Your Kids Can Help with Spring Cleaning {free printable list!}

I am one of those parents who believes that kids NEED to learn how to do age-appropriate chores while they grow up.

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 in a house 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.

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, your kids 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 too!

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28 Things You Can Do with Rocks

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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5 Ways to Inspire Kids to Go Green

"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, easy ideas that any family can adopt and affiliate links to a few of our favorite items!

 

 teaching kids to reduce, reuse & recycle

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100+ Free Online Games & Book Activities

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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50 Memorable Read-Aloud Books for Kids

Today is a double celebration at our house --

first, it's my daughter's birthday so we're doing all the things she loves :)

and second, it's World Read Aloud Day!

Which is very coincidental since my little girl is the BIGGEST read-aloud fan ever!

She's always been one of those kids who would grab a book and hand it to the closest adult --

and then she would go about her business while listening to the story.  She might play or color, draw or build something.  Sometimes she would sit and look at the book but most often, she had other things to attend to :)

So in honor of our double celebration, I thought I would share some of our bestest, most favorite read aloud stories!

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Make Your Own Tinker Box & Build Robots {STEM Project for Kids}

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!

Here are the details so you can pull together you're own Tinker Box at home along with affiliate links for some of the items that will be helpful as you do!

 

Make Your Own Tinker Box & Robot Craft for Kids

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