Playground Scavenger Hunt

 

You know how kids get so excited when you visit a new playgroud? 

One that has 'monkey bars that are cooler than the ones at our old playgroud' or 'the biggest slide in the world', right? 

So why not take them on a Playground Scavenger Hunt!

 

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Finding Free Kids Books Online

 

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We're heading out for summer vacation soon and I asked my daughter what she wants to bring in her suitcase - her 'very important items' include a swimsuit, blankie & 32 books! 

So, as a parent, here's where I jump up and down saying 'Yea! She loves to read!" but the practical side of me says there's no way we can pack that many books. 

Not to mention, she's a voracious reader (finishes a book off faster than an ice cream cone!) so she'll tear through those in the first few days of our trip and then need more.

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Family Camping Activities in Your Own Backyard

Planning to camp-out with the kids? 

A backyard camp-out might be the perfect start for your family!

Why the backyard?

It's a great place to 'test the waters' when the kids are young -- for both parents & kids :)  You're close to home in case you forget something (like that super-special-can't-sleep-without-it blankie) or need a bathroom but yet it's a new experience if you haven't camped before.

Camping is also a fun way to get kids excited about being outdoors and connect with nature - so get ready to grab your tent and those marshmallows for a night under the stars!

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License Plate Game: Games to Play in the Car

The License Plate Game is a great game to play in the car with your kids -- print this free US map of the states and play today!

Our family started looking for license plates in our own hometown whenever we were in our car during the long summer months. 

Seems that we were frequently heading to some fun local attractions, taking my oldest to golf tournaments or running errands (they are endless when you have kids, aren't they!). 

So in order to pass the time, we started a friendly family competition -- at the beginning of each summer, I'll print off a map of the US and we'll keep it in the car.  Each time one of us sees a plate from another state, we 'claim' it on the map.  Then at the end of summer, we tally those 'claims' to see who has found the most license plates!

It's fun, there's some learning involved and we have a great time finding all those cars from other states who've decided to visit our area each year.

Plus it's a great way to keep the kids entertained on short or long road trips :)

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Books for Summer Fun

Heading to the beach this summer?  Or maybe you're planning a camp-out?  We've got some great reads for you to take along - explore a picture book, bring a chapter book to read aloud or grab a guide book for ideas on games and activities!

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35 Educational TV Shows for Kids

We've all heard about the research on kids and tv - too much is bad, SpongeBob is worse. 

But let's face it, kids are going to watch tv. 

So, what should you choose? 

Remember, as parents we have the opportunity to help form some of the habits our kids develop. 

Here are a few suggestions for great kids television that they'll enjoy and you'll feel good about letting them watch. 

 

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How to Organize Your Family's Summer Schedule

Every year we look forward to summertime at our house!  The excitement of the 'we can do what we'd like' days that we all love to enjoy.  But, of course, the kids do want to do some activities that require us to keep track of what day it is :)  So, here's a quick and easy way to pull together all those papers, camp schedules and items needed for on-the-go summer fun!

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How I Became The Fun Police (Or What I Learned While Overprotecting My Kids)

 

Anyone who’s met me, or my kids, will tell you that I’m a fairly protective parent. 

Or as my kids lovingly refer to me, 'The Fun Police'

I didn’t plan to be this type of parent – one who monitors what they eat, where they are and how much sleep they get.  But plan or no plan, it's happened.

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Great Books & Activities for a Night Under the Stars

Do your kids love space?  Are they asking questions about the moon, stars and other celestial wonders?  In celebration of some cool astronomy events this year, we put together a list of books and activities for an educational and enjoyable evening under the stars!

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Why We Love the National Park Jr. Ranger Program

Do you have plans to visit a national park or national monument this year?  If so, don't overlook the Junior Ranger programs offered at more than 200 of these locations!  Kids can learn about nature, history, science -- and earn some very cool patches!

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8 Indoor Things to Do Outside

 

Discover the Forest put out a great ad campaign encouraging kids and families to get outside - and we wholeheartedly agree! 

Spring is here and it's a great time to get outdoors.  Here are a few traditional indoor activities that can easily be transformed into outdoor fun!

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Amazing Books that Introduce Kids to Space

When our kids were 6 & 12, we took a trip to a local observatory for one of their public viewing nights.

Talk about a view!

We were each brought up a very tall set of circular stairs to peek into a HUGE telescope.

What did we see?

A triple star, a galaxy "far, far away", nebula and the moons of Jupiter!

It was an awesome experience for my 12-year-old -- one of the scientists showed him a dead star -- a star that was no longer emitting light HOWEVER we could still see the star's light because it was so far away (light-years away) that to us, it still looked like it was a shining star.

He asked questions for days about what we saw and what other possibilities might exist.

And he started reading tons of books about space.

He's now a teenager who follows SpaceX launches, listens to Neil deGrasse Tyson and is heading to college to study engineering physics next year.

You just never know what's going to spark your child's interest and impact their life.

 

Many of us were raised at a time when space travel was new and exciting! 

You know, back when Pluto was still a planet :)

So to encourage this continued interest and wonder with future generations, our newest book list includes some out-of-this-world reads about space! 

 

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10 Ways to Recycle Plastic Easter Eggs

Try these creative ways to recycle & reuse plastic Easter Eggs!

The Easter Bunny has visited our house for more than 14 years, each time hiding a bunch of (plastic) eggs. 

Sometimes the egg hunt is inside, other years there will be eggs in the yard. 

And somewhere along the way, my kids got the idea that the Bunny brings different eggs each year.  Not sure where it came up but there were very specific --

"We have to leave out empty baskets for him to fill but he'll bring different eggs Mom, don't worry" :) 

I hate throwing things out -- so with more than 100 of these crazy plastic eggs in the house, I really needed to find some good ways to put them to use!

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12 Important Things to Tell Kids

 

We had a mishap at our house this week - our youngest leaned on the soap holder while showering and ripped it (along with some tiles) off the wall! 

I realized that I have told my kids to rinse their hair really well, check the water before getting in, and step on the bathmat when getting out - but I never said anything about leaning on the soap holder. 

So, I got to thinking about other things that kids should know that we may have forgotten to tell them - here are a few:

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Why Every Home Needs a Map

Lately, some of the most common questions in our house are "Mom, do you know where this country is?"

Or "I heard about this place on the news/in school, how far away is it?

And with the Olympic Games this summer, I imagine that we'll have a lot more of these geographic questions.

My response "Let's find it on the map."

 

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