Refraction & Light Experiments: Easy Science for Kids

Learn about refraction of light with this easy science experiment that can be done at home or in the classroom.

Our easy science experiments are back and this week, we're adding a touch of 'magic'!

In my experience, you can AMAZE kids with two types of science activities -- the first type are those that show some behind-the-scenes phenomenon like this How Does a Leaf Breathe? experiment and the second type are those that seem to work like magic.

Today we're going to play with that sense of wonder and highlight the science behind light refraction as we bend a pencil without breaking it!

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How to Start & Organize a Nature Collection

If you've been around these parts, you'll know that we have a fondness for nature activities ;) 

Most rooms in our house host some type of nature collection -- shells, rocks, tree seeds, leaves in the Fall, etc.

And many of these were started on the fly -- a trip to the beach, a vacation in the mountains -- kids are just drawn to natural items.

Collecting is such a great STEM activity & teaches kids so much about categorizing, sorting and observing -- I try to allow as much of it as possible.  But as the items accumulate, sooner or later you have to give it a little 'structure'.

Since "small is the new black" for kids, it's always fun to find a creative way for them to carry around their collection (they love to show it to friends and family ;) 

So today's activity is a frugal upcycle that will help to organize that nature collection!

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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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30 FREE Printable Winter Games & Activities

A great list of free printable indoor games & activities for those days when you can't get outside!

Today's round-up of FREE printable Winter games & activities is not only a resource for the next few months but also one of those posts that came about as the result of desperate times.

I'm currently sitting on our couch looking out the window at the GORGEOUS snow fallling. 

The flakes are those big, soft ones that float down and make everything look like a winter wonderland.

And it's so quiet and peaceful ...

... right now, that is.

Because I know this is the calm before the storm (literally!) -- the coming weeks will be full of more indoor time than outdoor time for so many of us. 

Which means it's time to get prepared -- and I've got your back!

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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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Arctic Animals & Forest Animals: Comparing Animal Habitats

Animal habitats are a fascinating topic to discuss with kids! 

I'm sure you've been peppered with questions about where animals live and why --

"Where do all the animals go in winter?"

or

"Why can't we have rainforest animals live near us like Diego does?"

My kids are big fans of all the animals they would see in books and some of the favorite tv shows (one of the best kids' TV shows about habitats is the Wild Kratts!).  They both love going out to the backyard or park to do animal observations.  And once we started traveling to National Parks, there were even more amazing habitats to explore!

Today's project is a fun way to create some of your favorite animal habitats and then compare their similiarites and differences. 

And I LOVE the versitility of this project because it will work with ANY habitat!

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Water Cycle Project with LEGOs: An Easy Science Activity for Kids

Water Cycle Project with LEGOs: An Easy Science Activity for Kids

Explore science with this water cycle project created with LEGOs®!

I love taking a not-so-easy-to-explain topic like The Water Cycle and turning it into a hands-on learning activity where you can see your child's eyes light up as they begin to grasp the concept! 

And hands-on science is fun -- but add in a LEGO® challenge and your kids will enjoy it even more!

The water cycle might seem like a complex topic but it's really very simple -- only 3 main parts -- and I always love to explain that the water we drink is the SAME water that the dinosaurs drank too (for some reason the idea of dinosaurs drooling in their water is appealing to kids, who knew?! :) 

But explaining how that's possible can be a little complicated which is why we're going to BUILD a water cycle project to help take a detailed topic and break it into simple learning steps.

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18 Paper Airplanes, Plane Crafts & Books about Flying

Planes have been a long-standing thing at our house -- paper airplanes, plane games & flying with kids.

My son was BIG into paper airplanes as a kid and both of our kids became proficient travelers by the time they were five.

But I think my fondest airplane memory will be one that happened when my daughter was young -- she had this special family game she would ask use to play -- Going on a Plane!

She would set up 2 chairs next to each other and pretend we were flying off to Disney World (we visited there a number of times as my parents live about an hour from the park) or some other far off place from a book we read. 

It's one of those adorable moments that I'll remember because she & her "flying companion" would have these elaborate conversations about places they would visit and things to do.  Sometimes she would take Nani or her older brother; other times, her favorite stuffed animal would go with her.

So today's book & activity collection is All Things Planes -- for kids who enjoy traveling, flying or wanna-be pilots!

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10 Best Kids Activities & Family Organizational Tips

One of my favorite posts to curate each year is the list of our BEST kids activities and organizational tips that were most loved & read by our readers!

I love knowing that what we do at Edventures with Kids inspires families to reduce chaos, learn together and explore new places.

In case you missed one or two of these great kids activities & organizing ideas during the past year or if you've recently found us and want to dive in to some new edventures, see what's been popular with our readers as we head into a new year!

 

best kids activities and organization tips for families

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33 Winter Fun Things to Do: Indoor & Outdoor Activities for Kids

The kids are out of school -- time for a master list of fun things do in Winter to keep them busy!

Whether you're looking for indoor activities, fun things to do outside or a few unique ideas for your winter vacation -- these ideas are sure to please, easy to do and will keep your kids thinking & creating on those long winter days.

We even have some fun ways the kids can pitch in and help kick-start some organizing for the New Year!

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Christmas Around the World: Map Activity {w/free printable!}

Christmas Around the World: Map Activity {w/free printable!}

Enjoy learning about Christmas Around the World with this free printable Santa's Name Chrismtas game!

I love to find ways to integrate maps & geography activities for the kids throughout the year.

I worry that without exposure to actual maps & globes, the next geneneration isn't going to be very map-literate given the ease of websites like Google Maps and all the conveniences of having a GPS in their cars and phones. 

Goodness knows if they ever get lost in the woods, they probably won't have very good wifi and may need to find their way home ;)

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Christmas Games for Kids: Gingerbread Scavenger Hunt

Christmas Games for Kids: Gingerbread Scavenger Hunt

We love to play Christmas games with our kids over the holidays and this Gingerbread Scavenger Hunt is SO easy to put together! 

When family visits, we've been known to entertain them with a few minute-to-win-it holiday challenges and a good game of Christmas charades is always great for getting the kids up & moving.

This year, I wanted a fun game that could be played either inside or outdoors and one that was super easy to prep & play (the holidays are already busy enough so I don't need to stress myself out with 'complicated').

And the big plus -- this game can be played with kids of all ages!

 

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DIY Christmas Stocking Ornament Craft for Kids

DIY 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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Healthy Gingerbread House Ideas

Let's talk Gingerbread Houses today!

Tis the season for family-friendly activities and building a gingerbread house is a time-honored tradition for so many families. 

Not to mention, it's a SUPER fun lesson in engineering principles for kids!  Testing out how to balance the walls, construct a roof and put together a fun little structure is the perfect intro to some of those basic physics principles.

And while I love all the building, learning & family connecting -- I'm not a fan of all the sugar icing and candy add-ons when the kids are already coming home telling me about those 'surprise' cookie and candy treats at school.

But there has to be a healthier option for these adorable little abodes, right?

YES!  We found some amazing edibel items to use as you construct a gingerbread house that's also a super healthy snack option too!

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Tips for Helping Kids Meet New Friends

Do you know how every kid has some special talent -- a skill that just makes you go "Wow!  Where did they learn that?!" 

It's that thing about your child that impresses you, makes you proud and causes you to stop and think how it will help them in life.

For my daughter, her amazing talent is meeting new people.

She's always the first one to volunteer to sit next to the new student at school.  And every year she goes to a summer camp, she'll come home on the first day and tell us about her new friend.  Granted, sometimes she doesn't know this 'new friend's' name ;) but she's always knows something about them and is excited to see them the next day.

When we saw the trailer for the NEW Peanuts movie that's out in theaters, I was reminded that meeting new people doesn't come naturally for everyone.  As Charlie Brown finds out (and some of us have experienced), meeting people can be a little awkward whether you're the new person at school or the one who wants to welcome a new neighbor.

But my daughter has shared with me that there are some super easy ways to meet new people and help kids to begin those new friendships that could last a lifetime!

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