How to Support a Blogger

The blogging world is a foreign entity for so many. As a person fully submersed in the ins and outs of it I often forget this. Although this is not my typical type of blog, I find it important to share with you how you can support a blogger. If someone has written something that resonates with you or if you follow along with a blogger who you feel connected to, I want you to know what things you can do to help them be more successful in this challenging, competitive network. You may not even realize that there are very simple things that you can do that makes that blogger do a happy dance!

Sharing is Caring:

I say this in a cheeky, teasing way but in all honesty, sharing means SO much when it comes to supporting a blogger! It spreads the word, gets more people engaged, and drives traffic to the blogger. So how do you go about sharing what they write? There are little icons for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. on most blogs. If something connects with you hit one of those buttons and it will allow you to post that article on your social media. And feel free to do more than one! Share it on your Facebook and your Twitter and then Pin it to your Pinterest! We will be throwing our hands up in excitement and jubilation.

Why Pin the blog post?

The more people that pin a post, the more it gets suggested to others. It’s a dog-eat-dog numbers game out here on the web. Everything is about the numbers. More pins = more exposure just like more shares/tweets = more engagement.

This shows that my pin has been saved to 218 boards and has had a total engagement of 464 people.
If you look at the little gray bar graph to the right under the pin you can see the number of people each pin has reached.
How can you use Twitter to help?

Twitter is a pretty straightforward way to share. Simply click the heart and then hit the retweet button. The more people that like the post or retweet it, the more chances we have that they will read the blog.

The Messy Instagram Algorithm:

Instagram has been playing a hard numbers game lately. Posts aren’t getting shown on newsfeeds the same way that they were before and everyone is fighting to get likes and followers. It’s complicated. If you know someone that you enjoy seeing their posts, you may have to search for them. You may see that they have posted a few posts and you never saw them in your feed. Like their posts if you see them or if you have time search for them to double check if they have posted recently. Adding a comment by clicking on the speech bubble will also help increase the chances that their post will be shown on more feeds. You could even snap a picture of their Instagram feed and put in on your story encouraging others to check them out!

What about their Facebook page?

First and foremost like the page and follow it! Suggest to other people to do the same thing! I can’t tell you how important it is to have people liking and following your page. Silly I know, but like I said, numbers matter in this internet word.

After you like the blogger’s main page, when we post something, a simple thumbs up (like) on the post is important. Yes, I know it is crazy but even getting more likes on a post drives traffic. Love it, then let us know! Did it make you laugh out loud, then hit the reaction for us?  Want to score major points, add a comment for us. You will make our day.

And once again sharing things that we post is huge! Sharing right on Facebook is easy. Just hit the share button and it will end up on your page. Don’t feel like you have to share everything but, if it is something you connected with or something that the person you care about personally wrote and spent hours poring over as they selected the correct word choice and found the perfect image to portray their feelings…and you share it, it MEANS SO MUCH TO US!

Facebook Breakdown:

Since we are talking so much about numbers, let’s break down the importance of your help on Facebook. To put it into perspective, let’s say that a Like = 1 point, Comment = 7 points, and a Share = 14 points all of which impact engagement and increase our reach!

If you compare the next two posts you can see the difference sharing and comments can make in the impact or reach of a post.
The first post reached 375 people by being liked 84 times, commented 33 times, and shared 2 times. The second post reached 764 people by being liked 71 times, commented 55 times, and shared 6 times.
What it all means…

Basically, it’s a numbers game out here and it’s ruthless. In some ways, it’s petty I know. But those numbers are what support a blogger and push us forward in our blogging careers. And hopefully, you now understand a little better how you can support the people in your life who put their souls out there for all to read.

Mommy Dates: One-On-One Time with Your Child

With a million Mom jobs and life that rushes full speed ahead, making that one-on-one time for your children can be a challenge. You blink and your baby is starting school, the years seem to melt together and at the end of the day, you lay awake wondering if you connected with your children enough. Did their eyelids sink closed in peaceful slumber knowing they are special and loved by you? Or with all three clamoring for your attention, did you find a way to give each of them what they deserve? Making special time for each child strengthens your relationship with that child, helps you learn new things about them and see them in a different light, and allows them to know that they special to you. That is why we try to create a monthly Mommy Date for each child.

What is a Mommy Date?

A Mommy Date is exactly that…a date with just you and Mom! Special time together where you can do things that you enjoy to fill their memory bank with moments. It doesn’t need to be big or elaborate, expensive or lavish. It just needs to be focused and purposeful one-on-one time with that child. The time where all of life’s distractions (including your phone) are put aside and your undivided attention is on that one child.

Why is a Mommy Date so important?

Everyone needs to know that they are important. Your child is no exception. In this busy world where the internet is at your fingertips connecting you to friends, social media, and work your child is now not only competing for your attention with their siblings but with technology as well. With all distractions aside, your child will know that they are more important than any of those other things.

Your child will open up to you and share things with you that you otherwise might not know. It will feel like a safe space to share their worries, celebrate their successes, and discuss their challenges. Children will flourish in this setting and you may see them in a whole different light. My best example of this is when I take my middle baby girl on her Mommy Dates. She is normally my strong-willed child. She has learned to “fight” her way into this world, continually competing with a big sister and a baby sister. When it is just her and I, she is the sweetest little soul. Things that would normally erupt in temper tantrums or outburst are simply shrugged off. She models the behaviors and the word choices that some days I feel like I’m a broken record reminding her to do.

Ideas for Mommy Dates:

  • Go to the park.
  • Visit the library and snuggle up with a bunch of books.
  • Jump into your Mommy/Daughter matching DREAMLAND COMPANY LUXE cotton nightgown and snuggle up to a movie. Of course, don’t forget the popcorn!!! Plus, when you are cozy in your nightgowns, you can tell your little girl that they were sewn by women in a female-owned factory in the USA. It’s always important to discuss strong females in the world and this is the perfect opportunity! And I can honestly say that my daughter looked super cute in her little red nightgown and was glowing with pride because she matched her mommy.  There is a DEAL FOR MOMS if you use the code ‘ihelpmoms’ you get $5 off!
Us in our matching DREAMLAND nightgowns on our most recent Mommy Date!
  • Take a walk together.
  • Try out a class. Maybe you will both find you have a hidden talent for pottery.
  • Visit a museum.
  • Kick the rest of the family out and enjoy special time together in your own home.
  • Go shopping.
  • Escape to your bedroom, shut the door and play games.
  • Go out for ice cream.
  • Volunteer together

The list could go on. Sometimes I simply ask the child what they want to do and if it is feasible we do that.

Our time here on Earth is fleeting and our days are not guaranteed. My hope is through these Mommy Dates, I’ve filled their memory with moments that they can treasure forever.

Educational Games for Kids Ages 2-8

Educational games are great for integrating skills into play! Not only that but they are a great way to build memories together! Some of my favorite memories are playing games with my family. (True fact: we played some wicked uphill games of obstacle course croquet. Cribbage and 500 would keep us up until the wee hours of the night. And don’t even get me started on the competition that happened when we all gathered to play spoons!)

I’m all about creating memories, hence the post about memory making gifts! 

I’ve compiled a list of our favorite games to use to create memories and to foster learning through play! I must give you a fair warning though that I do not pay close attention to the age guidelines on things. My experience in the classroom and with my own children has shown me that if you hold your children to high standards and give them challenges they will continue to strive to reach those goals. They will most likely surprise you with what they are capable of doing. And with most things, there are ways to modify it so that it will work for everyone!

Educational Games We LOVE:

Djeco Little Cooperation Game

Djeco Little Games, Cooperation

This game came to us in our Toy Exchange Bin and we immediately fell in love with it! It has the cutest little figures and is a game that is quick and fun for everyone. I’m a big fan of cooperative games instead of fueling the sibling competition. Together you help the little animals get to their igloo on the ice field, but the ice bridge could collapse at any time!

SmartGames Three Little Piggies-Deluxe

The logic games are fun for all ages! Help the pigs build their houses, find a way that allows them to play outside, and if they spot the wolf, get your pigs safely inside their homes. The Three Little Pigs game gradually gets more challenging as you complete each level. This helps build confidence and allows them to work through challenges without giving up. The skill of perseverance is crucial and it is so important to teach children at a young age that it is okay to struggle or have a challenge.

SmartGames Little Red Riding Hood

Help Little Red find the path to Grandma’s house! A great thing about this game and the Three Little Pigs game is that kids can play independently. This makes for a great challenge during quiet time!

Stone Soup Peaceable Kingdom

Stone Soup is another great cooperative game where everyone is working as a team to “cook” a soup by making matches of ingredients. They need to match all ingredients before the fire under the kettle goes out. It creates a non-stressful play environment for everyone!

Stack Up! Peaceable Kingdom

If you haven’t noticed, we are a big fan of Peaceable Kingdom in our house! Children work together to stack 12 blocks before the Stack Smasher “smashes” the tower. Challenge cards can add a tricky twist and the instructions come with three different game levels so the game can grow as your child grows!

Qwirkle

Mindware creates this fun game that is great for all ages! Simply build lines by matching tiles based on color or shape, and earn points as you build. This game will be a great mental challenge for your child!

Sequence for Kids and Sequence Letters

Sequence for Kids is very similar to the regular Sequence game. Play a card from your hand and place a chip on the matching space on the board. When you have four in a row, you win! A unicorn card is wild and a dragon card allows you to remove an opponent’s chip. This is a great game for building strategy skills!

Orchard Toys Shopping List

In this game, you must carefully watch and remember where items are placed so that you can be the first to complete your list and fill your cart!

Wash My Underpants

Wash my underpants!

Who wouldn’t be giggling during this game! Practice your colors as you spin to find out if you can fill your basket with clean undies. Watch out every once in a while you will be yelling out “wash my underpants”.

Camelot Jr.

SmartGames does it again with Camelot Jr.! Children must build a path that connects the Prince to the Princess. The game becomes more challenging the further you go. Children will continue to develop their problem solving and logic skills. This is another great game for independent strategy building. I love pulling this one out when I need to make dinner since it is another game that they can play by themselves.

Castle Logix

Castle Logix is very similar to Camelot Jr. but this time you are given the outline of the castle and you must figure out how to piece it together. Check your work in the booklet and continue on to the next puzzle that gradually gets harder and harder. Strengthen your spatial reasoning with this fun independent game.

Dominoes

I included Dominoes because not only is it a fun, classic game but the piece can be used for some many great math activities! I’m a big believer in multiple uses for your games and materials! Search “Domino Math Games” in Pinterest and you will be flooded with a whole bunch of fun ideas!

Bananagrams

Yet again another game that I included for the pieces! Most of the kids in this age range are not able to play Bananagrams yet but the pieces can be used in so many different ways! Search “Bananagrams Activities” in Pinterest and I promise you will be inspired. And you will be thankful you have this game later on. Scrabble is great, but you have to be SO PATIENT! It can take FOREVER! Bananagrams is a much more fast-paced, fun twist to the classic Scrabble.

Boggle Jr.

Boggle Jr. is a great game that can grow with your child as they develop letter and word recognition. My little one who just turned three showed no interest in letters. After bringing this game out she has built up her confidence and has blown me out of the water with the number of letters she now knows. For my four-year-old, I’m able to cover up the word and have her sound it out to try to spell it on her own. Before long they will be begging to play the adult version!

Uno Moo!

Uno Moo! is another twist on a classic. Children match up the farm animals by either color or type. They push the figure already in the barn door into the barn and replace it with their own match. If they don’t have a match or farmer (wild) then they must draw from inside the barn. When someone gets down to one figure left they shout, “UNO Mooooo!” The first to get all their animals in the barn wins!

Shutterfly Memory Game

I’m a huge sucker for pictures and anything that can help me recall memories. I created a Shutterfly Memory Game for my children with pictures of them with their great-grandparents. The pictures are priceless and the children love to see themselves on the pieces!

Count Your Chickens

Peaceable Kingdom does it again…I know you must be seeing a trend with a few companies that are my go-to! In this cooperative game, you must work together to get all the chickens into the coop. As you spin and move, count the number of spaces and collect that same amount of chicks. Continue to guide your children as they learn the skills to work in a group. Help them see how important it is to talk through your strategies and to listen to everyone’s opinions. These skills will be so valuable.

Super Why ABC Letter Game

PBS has my heart! Super Why is an amazing show that works on letter recognition, sounds, rhyming and so much more. Bring the TV show to your living room with this game.

HiHo Cherry-o

Fill your bucket with fruit but don’t “spill your bucket” and watch out for those pesky animals that steal them out! Kids don’t even realize that they are practicing their counting skills as they excitedly plunk the fruit into the bucket!

Super Stretchy ABC

We love this game because it gets us up and active. It’s a twist on Twister (sorry I couldn’t help myself) all while learning the ABCs.

Hoot Owl Hoot

Besides the adorable little owl pieces, this is another great cooperative game from Peaceable Kingdom. Work together to get all the baby owls home before the sun rises! Children will reinforce their colors, work on strategies, and continue to strengthen skills needed to be a team player. This game also has two levels so you can make it more challenging as your child grows.

Seek-A-Boo

Seek-a-Boo is a game from Mindware, a company you will see featured on the blog a lot as well. It is a large scale version of memory in which children must go out and find the match. For younger children you may only choose to put out a few cards or to challenge the other kids you can put them all out!

Engineering Ants

Engineering Ants is a great STEM game. Use your creativity to help free the ants. In this game, kids must be ready to invent, design, and build. Work together as a team to find the best way to get your ant out of trouble.

**(There are a lot of pieces to this game but it does say that if you contact the company they will send you any replacement pieces that you may need.)

Sneaky Squirrel

They had me with that adorable Squirrel Squeezer! Again…so many uses for this thing and think about how you are building their fine-motor skills! Help the hungry forest friends by spinning the spinner and squeezing the matching colored acorn to place it into your log. Fill your log and you win!

Pete the Cat Groovy Button Game

We LOVE Pete the Cat in our house! Even the one-year-old will find the books and dance along to the groovy beat! This game is based on the book and reinforces colors, counting, and decision-making skills all while having fun rocking out with Pete!

Pete the Cat and the Missing Cupcakes Game

Continue on Pete’s misadventures based on the book Pete the Cat The Missing cupcakes. Search for the missing cupcakes in this game of luck and memory that changes each time you play it!

Cat and the Hat I Can Do That!

Let’s just say this is another game that gets everyone up and moving and getting Grandpa to play with surely leave everyone laughing!

Horton Hears a Who

Horton Hears a Who! is another silly action game. Players search for the clover while wearing the Horton Hat. Then they must pick up the clovers using only the trunk and hurry to carry it back before the time runs out! The player who rescues the most Whos wins!

Trouble

A classic game full of strategy and counting as you race to get all of your colored pieces to their home base. But if you get landed on you must bring that piece back to start! Once again kids don’t realize they are working on counting and number recognition because they are having too much fun!

Hullabaloo

Turn it on and listen carefully to the directions. This game can be played alone or with friends but the key is to follow the directions! You will be spinning, dancing, crawling, and giggling by the time you are done.

Zoo on the Loose

My husband and I love this game from Mindware because not only does it teach a bunch of different directional words but kids love going and finding the animals so much that they will find ours so we can play and still enjoy time together too! Sit back and enjoy the best of both worlds with this game!

Smart Start Cheese Dip

The teacher in me couldn’t resist these cute cheese shaped letters! Just think of all the uses! Use the little mouse tail to hook the cheesy letters as you race to be the first to spell the word on your card!

 

Whew! There you have 32 of our go-to educational games!

What would you add to the list?

 

Plus plan ahead and order this game for Easter:

Hoppy Floppy’s Happy Hunt

For more Easter basket ideas click here!

Trading More Kids’ “Stuff” for Christmas Gifts That Make Memories

Christmas is here and with it comes the search for the “perfect Christmas gift”. Often time’s children get inundated with trinkets and toys that pile up and become overwhelming from a parent standpoint. Unique experience Christmas gifts are a great way to alleviate some of this holiday anxiety while at the same time making lasting memories. I know as a parent I would personally be elated if someone did some of these things for my children instead of getting them more “stuff”.

Here are some ideas that I think would be valuable to fill their memory bank instead of the clutter your house!

Experience Gifts:

A Membership to the Children’s Museum and/or Science Museum

We LOVE our local Children’s Museum!

These museums are gems, filled with play-based learning that you can do with your children. They become a great haven for kids to explore and learn with new materials. Get a family pass for them to go any time throughout the year or just a few passes for them to go with you! Set aside the time to go with them and get in on the action as they create projects, do experiments, try out hands-on stations, and have tons of fun! Best of all you are helping foster their love of learning!

A Membership to the Local Zoo, Playgroup Areas, Pools, Arboretums, etc.

Do a little digging for some fun local areas to take kids. Many of these places sell memberships or passes that you can give as Christmas gifts. As a Mom who loves to take the kids on adventures, having memberships to different places can be very helpful. Often pools, zoos, arboretums, nature centers, and playgroup areas have season passes that might not normally be in the budget but if they receive it as a gift they may be able to experience it more often.

My girls loved experiencing the Butterfly House at Beaver Creek with their Mema and Grandma-Great!

In our local area, we have unique places such as Tiny Tots or the Indoor Sports Center, where kids are able to play. These venues are especially nice in the winter or on rainy days! We also have Beaver Creek Reserve which has a lot of fun nature trails and activities, as well as an area for the kids to play. Our local pool also sells summer passes that might be a fun idea, however, living in the midwest this gift wouldn’t be used until summer…or for a winter option, we have a local volleyball complex that turns the sand area into an indoor kids’ beach party! They sell passes for that as well!

Indoor beach parties are perfect for March in WI!

When we were in Dallas, we fell in love with their Arboretum. It had a whole area dedicated to children where they could explore and learn in an outside setting that was similar to a children’s museum. You can bet that if we lived there, we would LOVE a membership!

Each city has its own unique venues for children!

Dig around the area that the children live in and find out what are the great family-friendly places. There might be a whole bunch of hidden gems that you can help them experience. Any of these places would make great Christmas gifts! Parents would be thankful and kids would be reminded of you each time they visit!

Classes for the Children

Swimming lessons were a hit with this little fish!

Cooking classes, dance classes, karate, soccer, piano lessons, painting classes…all of these are fun activities for kids but add up for parents. It is such a blessing when a family member says that these lessons will be their Christmas or birthday gift!

We have a fun place called The Lily Pad lab that offers a variety of different classes geared towards younger children and their parents. As a mom of three, I struggle with providing a class for one and not the other. Taking all of them to class would break the bank! Having the flexibility to do this because it was given to them as a Christmas gift can be such a relief as a parent. You want your children to have experiences, but they must fit in the budget as well! You can feel good that you are helping out the parents and helping give them experiences to make them a well-rounded person.

If someone does give them a class as a gift, we always make it a point of talking to the children each time we go to the lesson how lucky they are that they are able to go because “Grandma Susy” got them these classes. And as an added bonus, if you are able to go with them to the classes that would be even better! Then you are making memories with them!

Day-Date

My oldest spent an evening packing meals for people in need with her Mema.

Taking the children on a date is a great Christmas gift! They will be so excited to have that special one-on-one time with you. It will be something you can be sure they will talk about for days and they will remember for years! Do something they enjoy together whether it is going to dinner and a movie, go bowling, play at the library, checking out a park, or picking out a craft at the craft store to go home and complete together. Giggle, have fun, and let their youthful excitement rub off on you!

What kid wouldn’t like a date to Chuck E. Cheese?

Trampoline Park Pass

Trampoline park Christmas gifts

Winter time and rainy days make for lots of cooped up energy! Give them the gift of time at the Trampoline Park! By the end of it, they will happily have quiet rest time and their parents will be so thankful!

Theater Productions

Get them tickets to see a live theater production! Support the local arts while providing the children with a cultured experience of viewing a live theatrical performance. This year we are giving our girls tickets to go see the Annie at our local theatre, ECCT. They are so excited and so are we!

Tickets to Unique Events

Christmas gifts
Tickets to the Princess Tea for a gift!

Is someone a big music buff? Does another one love princesses? Is one in love with a certain sport? Get tickets to a concert, Disney on Ice, Princess Tea Parties, or a local sports game. Take them to the event and invest in that time together. Not only are you investing time with them but you are also showing them you are in tune with what things they like and care about their interests.

Hotel Stay/Water Park Night

What is more fun than spending the night at a hotel and hitting up their pool!? Rent some movies, pop some popcorn, and swim to your heart’s content! Enjoy the time together. That is more important than any toy that will lose its luster after a few days.

Kids Love Mail:

Millennials are big into things coming to them in the mail. Subscription boxes are in big demand. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t love it when something shows up in your mailbox or on your doorstep? They are also a great Christmas gift that keeps on giving for months! It can be something easy for relatives that are farther away or who aren’t as familiar with local venues. Here is my tip since I’m all about making connections and going the extra mile…have them Facetime or Skype when they open the box or get the subscription each month! You can still be a part of the excitement from afar.

Magazine Subscriptions

My grandparents did this for me as a child and I loved it! Now our children get a magazine a month sent to them and it is so fun to watch their excitement when it comes in the mail! Here are some great magazines to look into:

Box Subscriptions

Christmas Gifts

There are so many fun subscription boxes to choose from. My current favorites are The Story Box and the newly launched Little Feminist Book Club for kids. I love books and these provide questions and interactive activities that go with the stories! And while you are at it maybe you want to look at a Date Night In subscription for the adults!

Why These Types of Christmas Gifts?

I recently was at dinner with a good friend whose Aunt was passing away. One thing she said really resonated with me. She said, “She was the Aunt that got down on the floor and played with us and spent time with us.” It was in the little things that she did to foster a relationship by creating experiences together that she honored and remembered at the time of her passing.

At the end of the day, it will not matter how many things you bought them, but what will stand out is that you connected with them!

A Mom’s Jobs

They say, “A Mother’s work is never done.” I’m realizing more and more how true that is. It got me thinking the other day…what exactly are a Mom’s jobs?

Pre-warning…pour yourself a LARGE cup of coffee and sit back and marvel at all that goes on in a day. I recommend putting your coffee in a SIC (Seriously Ice Cold…but don’t worry it keeps things seriously hot too!) mug. If your day is anything like mine you won’t get to just sit and drink your nice warm coffee. Thankfully this mug can keep my coffee toasty hot for hours! Before this mug, I would retrace my steps after getting sidetracked by twelve of my other jobs only to find my coffee cold. I, of course, go for the BIG 20 oz. mug since I need all the caffeine kick I can get to fuel me through all my Mom jobs.

Mom's jobs

Okay, got your coffee? Grab a seat, this may floor you a little so it may be best to be seated as you read.

Awhile back I wrote a post about my little girl telling me that I don’t work. Her comment really resonated with me. It left me pondering life through her eyes. I wanted to be a good role model to her and show her that:

*Women work and work hard!
*The jobs that are happening here at home are work, and they are important.
*A Mom’s jobs impact us in so many different capacities of our life.

After reading the post, my sister-in-law said something to me that really stuck. She said, “Ash, you have so many job titles. Some days you are a cook, a taxi, a nurse, a housekeeper all wrapped in one.”

LIGHTBULB!!!! She was SO right!

I may not call the things I do by those names, but she was exactly right!

Wait. Please don’t close the tab and think I’m just on my soapbox complaining about all the work that goes on in my day. I promise this is not that! I want it to be known to everyone what goes into a Mom’s job. It is good for everyone to be aware so that they can be as responsive, helpful, and thankful.

As you read this, think about the Moms in your life.

A Moms’ Job consists of being:

CEO of the Family

We manage it all. We are the go-to, main contact, household manager.

Taxi

Shuttling to and from activities and playdates is no joke. Getting four kids under the age of five in and out of the car in Wisconsin winters should be an Olympic sport. I’m not going to lie when I say I literally have to climb in and out of the back hatch to get one in and out! You should see some of the looks I get! Thankfully my SIC 12 oz. travel cup fits nicely in my cup holders so my coffee can go with me to help keep me fueled up! It’s either that or a caffeine IV at this point in the day!

Check out my post with some helpful car seat safety tips with all your winter gear!

Chef

“Order up!” Seriously, I swear kids are always eating! I try to limit the times that the kids can eat to one snack between meals, but some days it feels like I’m always in the kitchen cooking something! We eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner and two snacks a day. If they are hungry between those times I have to tell them, “the kitchen is closed.”

And then, of course, you slave away on a good, healthy meal and the first thing you hear is, “I don’t like this!” When I look back on my childhood, I’m so sorry to my own mother for all the times I have said those exact words to her after she worked hard to make us dinner.

Culinary Prep Cook

Finding all the recipes and ideas for what to eat is daunting. Some days I feel like we come up with the same five ideas! I love Tater Tot hotdish, but we have to change it up every once and awhile! After the meal planning, you must make sure you have all the ingredients and most likely make a quick run to the grocery store, but anyone with kids knows that there is no such thing as a “quick run”. So with that being said if you have a good go-to dinner suggestion, send them my way!

Personal Shopper

Of course, along with shopping for the groceries, someone has to make sure that the hubby has deodorant and all the kids’ shoes fit! Thankfully Target has my back on this one! Nothing beats a one-stop place to get ALL the things you may need!

Wardrobe Assistant

Getting a squirming toddler dressed and ready for the day is my morning work-out. Finding clothes that aren’t “too tight” or “itchy” some days seems impossible. Then don’t forget that between the spills, messes, and accidents this process will happen multiple times a day.

I also have to make sure that the sizes still fit. You would think that it wouldn’t be that hard, except no two companies size things the same! Currently my four-year-old is wearing a 5t shirt and 3t pants and her drawers are filled with a wide range of sizes. That doesn’t even begin to touch on the fact that the I need to keep two bins constantly out, one to grow into and one for clothes they have outgrown.

Meteorologist
One week we were all eating ice cream and the next we were making snowmen and snow-witches!

In WI, one week we will be eating ice cream cones in shorts and the next we will be making snowmen. Living in the Midwest, we have all four seasons with a wide range of temperatures. This means I need all types of clothing (short sleeve, long sleeve, shorts, pants, etc.) out and organized. Planning and preparing for all elements is a must. Layering is a lifesaver.

Couponer/Deal Finder

As I’ve mentioned before, much of what we own has come from “Treasure hunting”. I have gotten almost all of my clothes and the girls’ clothes from thrift sales or thrift stores. All the toys and much of the decoration and furniture we have acquired the same way. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy this job but it takes planning to buy things ahead that the kids will need. As a Mom, we are always looking for the best way to save money and cut corners. Cost and budgets are swirling in our head.

Interior Decorator

Although I love my husband to death, if it were up to him there would be nothing on the walls except the TV. But without complaint, he allows me to find unique pieces of furniture to redecorate, and he dutifully hangs the pictures that I insist need to adorn our walls. I will admit, as many of my friends and family will tell you, that I often re-arrange the house. I’m always looking for ways to change it up. It is the running joke that the next time you come over, everything will be in a different arrangement.

Nurse

With kids, there is always something to worry about, a rash to examine, a bug bite to question, a scrape to kiss. The list is endless. I am the administrator of the medicine, the one on hold for the on-call nurse, the late night fever checker all wrapped into one.

Counselor

All these new emotions, experiences, fears, and adventures call for a good listening ear to sort through all the feelings. It is my goal to be the “Lorelai Gilmore” type mom in which my girls can come to me and talk to me about everything! I want to make sure that I make time to talk about the day with them. I want to listen intently to their worries and triumphs. My hope is that home is always their safe landing place.

Referee

Sibling battles can be brutal. We fearlessly dive in and separate everyone. We listen to both sides and help them work through the struggles to come to a compromise. Some days it may feel that this is all we accomplish.

Secretary

Whether it is extracurricular activities or just making sure everyone is staying on schedule with their well-visits, it’s my job to keep the schedule up-to-date and make sure it’s adhered to. I can only imagine as the kids get older this job will become even more of a task!

Teacher

As you have probably seen on my Instagram, I make a point of planning a lot of play-based learning for the children. As a former 2nd grade teacher, education runs thick in my blood and there isn’t a day that goes by that we aren’t reading books, practicing some skill, or trying out a new project. Don’t get me wrong, my main focus for these babies is play since they are so young but there is so much you can do through play to help them learn! All of these things take careful planning and prep. They are worth all the time and effort when I see the excitement and knowledge the kids gain!

Housekeeper

That daunting pile of laundry that never seems to go away. Yep, I do that. The floors that need scrubbing after the sticky juice and little feet running in and out. I got it covered! All those little tasks to keep a house clean are for the most part a Mom’s job.

Photographer

A Mom is a daily documenter. We take a lot of pictures of our kids and our lives. We want to soak it all in and remember every detail! With these photographs, we can look back and relive all the moments.

I have made it a personal goal of mine to do what I did for the first for every child.

Many people have told me that the first child will have an elaborate scrapbook filled with pictures and details and the third or fourth will have none. I have decided that won’t happen with my children. Each one has pictures of each month of their first year as well as photo books of their birth and other photobooks recapping adventures we had together. Trust me it takes a long time but the fact that we can go back and relive these memories any time is priceless!

Cheerleader

No one else will love your babies like you do! No one else will build them up and stand by their side for everything. A Mom’s job is to push them to be the best that they can be. We give them the encouragement to take risks with the security to know they have a safe place to land if they fail.

Hairstylist

The haircuts, the tangles, the ponies, and braids we have it covered.

Professional Party Planner

Baptism, birthdays, and all the unique things that make each holiday special do not happen by themselves. Behind each great party is a Mom that has racked her brain for the best ideas. A mom who has coordinated the food and make sure the decorations were hung just so. A mom who lost countless hours of sleep to make that day special.

Professional Organizer

Organizing the wardrobe is one tiny aspect of the day-to-day organizational skills we possess. Everything in the house needs a place. All the projects need to be filed into what is kept and what is stored in the recycling bin. Trinkets and toys need to be stored in a way so that the house doesn’t look like it is filled with toys when we all know it really is!

But beyond the physical things that we organize, we keep a filing cabinet in our brain of so many important things. We know who needs what each day, how many diapers we should pack, who loses it when they are “hangry” and the warning signs to recognize that a meltdown will ensue if we don’t act fast. We can spot the signs of the potty dance a mile away and have already planned out the quickest route to the bathroom no matter where we are.

A Mom’s Job or Just Being A Parent?

Some may feel that all of a Mom’s jobs do not need to be listed or posted since it is what we signed up for when we become parents. While that is true, we made that choice… sometimes all we need is support and acknowledgment. In a job, there are many ways that you are recognized during the day in the workforce. There is built in acknowledgment. Salary, bonuses, awards, thank-yous, lunches, treats in the lounge…These things are not received when you are at home as a parent.

Acknowledge the Invisible

It is hard to see what a Mom does during the day. As a working parent, you can see them getting up early, going to meetings, scheduling, planning, answering emails, and responding to phone calls. It is more traditionally valued being the breadwinner in society. Keeping the humanity of their children, raising humans to become mature adults. It may sound like our days are filled with playdates, trips to the park, construction paper crafts, and snuggles. What may not be seen is that it was an emotionally taxing day.

Acknowledge the invisible. Many of the things that are considered Mom’s jobs are not noticed. Be cognizant of the things that Moms do every day. Things that are expected. Sometimes we just need to know that you see our value in the family.

It is not a competition of who is working harder. We all work hard during the day. Sometimes all we need is our day to be acknowledged.

We Do A LOT!

That’s correct Mom’s out there, we do A LOT! We have a lot of different roles and job titles. We do it 24/7 without raises or pay, but it is hands down THE BEST JOB we will ever have!

By now you have hopefully finished your coffee and are floored with all the things that you do. Your mind is buzzing thinking about each job that you do and didn’t even realize it. Pour yourself a glass of wine in your 12 oz. SIC cup and sit back and relax a minute. Marvel in what you have accomplished. Watch those tiny humans and be in awe of how far they have come and all the things that you do for them each day.

If you can read this….bring me more wine….

 

The next time my little one ponders the idea of Mommy having a job, I now know the answer for her.

Cheers to all your jobs Mama!

Do you have other jobs to add to the list? Let me know!

Where To Get One of These Awesome Cups…

If you are interested in ordering your own SIC cup please check out their website. Use the discount code ihelpmoms for 15% off! Plus, your product comes with a lifetime warranty so you never have to worry. You can choose from 12 powder coated colors to get the perfect cup to match you!

Winter Car Seat Safety with Cars.com

It’s happened…the first snowfall of the season. A pre-Halloween trick Mother Nature placed on us in which she seems to have forgotten what season we were in. With that comes the digging out of all the dreaded winter gear. The time it takes to now get everyone out the door has doubled and if your children are anything like mine the thought of stuffing them into a car seat in their padded winter coats is anxiety provoking. Not only does it cause them stress to be smooshed like little sardines into a seat, but it’s anxiety provoking for us parents because the reality is it isn’t safe! Winter car seat safety needs to discussed because the repercussions are too costly not to.

With snow before Halloween, we didn’t know if we should make a snowman or a snow-witch so we made both!

The Stakes Are High…

There are on average 3,287 car fatalities a day! A DAY! According to the CDC,  663 children ages 12 and under died as occupants in a car in 2015. Now as a mom who is ultra-paranoid about her children a.k.a. has some major “mom-xiety” I need to add that 35% of those kids were not even buckled up! It is so important to be educated on car seat safety.

A Push for Correct Installation

I’ve found that people are much more informed on the importance of correctly installing your car seat. It was even a focus the other morning on the Today Show. And there are valuable resources to help make sure car seats are correctly installed. In fact, Cars.com gives you get tips and tricks for installation. And as an added precaution, you can always schedule a car seat check in your area to double check that it is installed properly.

car seat safety

What people aren’t talking about is winter car seat safety! As a Midwesterner, this is super important to me.

Here me out…I am not going to say to take the baby to the store without a coat in negative three-degree weather.

It’s cold. Trust me, I know. I don’t want my babies exposed to that cold either, but there are other ways to be safe in these frigid winter months. Frankly, a big bulky coat and a car seat can be a deadly combo. Often what happens is the harness becomes too loose and therefore doesn’t restrain the child in a crash.

Put it to the Test

Those that are a little skeptical right now I challenge you to do this little test. Put your child, winter coat and all, in the car seat and tighten the harness until you can’t pinch any excess from the straps. Now without loosening it, unbuckle the straps and have your child take off their coat. Put them back in the seat and see how it fits. If you can now pinch the straps when it is buckled that means that the coat is too bulky to be safe. What happens in a crash is that under impact the coat compresses and all that excess room makes it so that the child is no longer restrained.

I mean seriously, in the Arctic Tundra of Wisconsin, we dress like the kid from A Christmas Story who can’t get up when he falls down!

What Other Options Are There Besides Giving My Child Hypothermia?!

  • Put a blanket over the child in the car.
  • Once the child is buckled in the car seat, put the coat on backward so that their arms are in the armholes and the back of the coat acts like a blanket.
  • A car seat poncho coat

My Thought…

I don’t want to be taking coats on and off because frankly, it takes too long with three kids under the age of five. We would NEVER make it to preschool unless we got ready and left an hour before school started. My vote is for the car seat poncho.

There are so many different Pinterest instructions on how to make your own. In fact, I’m thinking this will be my next craft night project. I just searched “car seat poncho” and found the CUTEST plaid one!!!

They are basically a fleece blanket with a hole for your head. Fancy ones even have a hood. When they are in their car seat you just flip the back up and buckle them in under the poncho.

UPDATE:

Check out our ponchos! I’m in LOVE with them and we get compliments on them all of the time! And after two different trips to the WI Dells I can tell you that they make amazing swimsuit coverups too!

It’s a winter car seat safe alternative that keeps the kids warm! That’s a win for everyone!

How do you battle the cold but keep kids safe at the same time? Share your thoughts and tips with us in the comments!

 

25 Spook-tacular Halloween Kids’ Activities

Activities connect adults and children and allow them to build memories as they play and learn together. I’ve compiled our favorite Halloween kids’ activities for you to try out at your house! Or put them all together and hold a smashing good Halloween party for your kids and their friends!

Frightfully Fantastic Fetticini

Halloween Kids' Activities

Boil a box of fettucini noodles and after draining them, rinse them with water. Separate the noodles into two large galloon zip-lock bags. Put a bunch of orange food color dye into one of the bags and green in the other bag. I used neon food coloring to get the lime green color. Add a few Halloween trinkets. I got eyeballs, spider rings, and glow in the dark bats from the Dollar Store to add to my noodles.

Water Adds a New Element…

When the plain noodles lost their luster, I added about an inch of water and a few tools that I keep in a cup.

Walmart has a bunch of small kitchen utensils that work great for this! I also found a pack of plastic ones at the dollar store too. Medicine syringes work great for kids as well! We all know we have a lot of extra medicine syringes in our drawers!

A helpful tip…always put sensory bins on a large reusable plastic tablecloth. It makes for much easier cleanup! This Halloween one I found in the Target Dollar Spot.

Eerie Eyeballs

Water and food coloring in a tub with different sized googly eyes makes for some fun exploring. Work their fine motor skills as they try to scoop or pick up the eyes with a kid’s tweezers. Then extend the activity further by having them sort the eyes by size!

Insects in the Grass

The Dollar Store is one of my go-to places for materials for the kids! I use the shredded, crinkly paper strips that you use in presents for sensory bins all the time. For this bin, use green and brown to look like grass. Add plastic bugs and magnifying glasses for the kids to explore.

Halloween Moon Dough

Moon Dough is exciting for kids to explore in. It’s so soft and fun to touch! You might find yourself as excited to play in it as your child!

You can easily make it by mixing 8 cups flour with 1 cup baby oil. To make it smell good you can also include a packet of Kool-aid.

Another way to make it smell like pumpkin is to use 4 cups flour, 1 cup vegetable oil, and 1 cup pumpkin puree.

We put Halloween cookie cutters, googly eyes, small pumpkins, and Halloween sprinkles in our bin but you can add whatever you want!

For an added challenge for those kids that are a little older, have them draw letters, numbers, or words in the dough with their finger or a large paintbrush.

Pumpkin Washing

After all this messy exploration, it is time to clean up all those pumpkins. My kids love cleaning things in bubbles. I filled their water table with gold glitter, water, scrub brushes, and sponges. We cleaned off the messes on the pumpkins that we had experienced earlier.

Fall is for the Peas

Green split peas are perfect for a fall sensory bin. We added some homemade caterpillars and leaves printed in different sizes. To extend the learning further, have your child sort the leaves by large, medium, and small or have them collect their own leaves in nature! I also put some bugs in our bin which are fun to pick up with little tongs or pincher to strengthen our fine motor muscles!

A Tangle of Spider Webbing

My one-year-old was thrilled with this bin! I got webbing from the Dollar Store and stretched it out. Then I dumped in some Halloween rings and spiders that I also found at the Dollar Store. She enjoyed stretching out the webbing, pulling it around the house, and trying to get the little figures out of the tangle.

As you can see, my oldest had a different plan for this! It then became or mad-scientist wig. We all took turns wearing it and laughing.

Extend the learning further for little ones by having them put the rings on and off of each other’s fingers. Or give them a straw and have them use their fine motor skills to put the rings on the straw.

Playdough Pumpkin Tray

Setting out trays that have the materials all ready for them to explore is my making dinner life-saver! I am able to get so much done while they constructively play and learn. This tray has orange and black playdough, cut brown pipe cleaners, googly eyes, and Halloween colored beads. Kids can create pumpkin faces any way they would like.

Halloween Cookie Cutters

I keep all of my Halloween cookie cutters together in a tote with all my Halloween decorations. This makes it easy to pull out during the month of October. I set out a large tray and grab playdough in Halloween colors. Using a small rolling pin they roll out the dough and cut out bats, ghosts, cats, and pumpkins.

Life Skill 101-Raking Leaves

The kids absolutely LOVE this activity. Once again the Dollar Store comes to my rescue. Thye have these fake leaves that people must use for decoration and a plastic rake! The kids dump them out and rake them into a pile, they throw them up in the air, they roll in them laughing…it’s overall just a good wholesome time!

Spooky Stamp Scenes

We love creating different scenes with stamps and colors. Often we look through books and try to re-create the pictures. These little stamps were at Target in the dollar area. I keep them all together with my Halloween decorations to pull them out during October.

Spider Web Tangle

My three year old actually put this whole web together by weaving white yarn in and out of the holes of a laundry basket. She pretended she was a spider and had a blast getting it prepped. We threw in some plastic Dollar Store spiders and let the baby try to get them out of the tangled web.

Extend it further by using a clothespin to see if the older ones can pinch the spiders out of the web. This will work on their fine motor skills and strengthen those muscles.

Ice Tray Eye Counting

 

 

 

 

 

These cute trays are also at the Dollar Store. I labeled them with numbers along the edge. The kids filled the pumpkins and skeletons with the correct number of googly eyes (or Halloween colored beads) depending on what number was underneath it. Pincher or scoop tools add another element to this idea as well.

Spine-Chilling Slime Comparison

 

If your kids are anything like mine, they are obsessed with slime. I have our favorite recipes here and a bunch of others here. I know so many blogs have these cute print out that you can print and do with your children but I’m all for simplicity. Grab a piece of paper and make your own quick T-chart to compare how the slimes are similar and different. Help the children explore using their five senses.

Pumpkin Decorating

Pumpkins make a great canvas! This is an easy way to decorate your pumpkin and can have every age involved.

Drip Paint Fail Turned Pumpkin Painting

I’m sure you have seen this around the internet. The cute drips of paint that slide down so nicely on the pumpkin. Well, let’s just say that it was a #pinterestfail at our house. The paint squirted out in big globs.

So we made the most of the situation and just used a paintbrush to spread the globs of paint all around. They turned out to be a beautiful, paint swirled pumpkins.

Melted Crayon Pumpkin

Together we peeled the wrappers off the crayons that were broken in our box. (Peeling wrappers takes patience and works those fine motor skills!) I love incorporatin the kids in as much of the project and prep as possible. Then I hot glued the crayons around the stem of the pumpkin.

**If I were doing this again, I would use smaller crayon pieces since my pumpkin was relatively small.

Together we melted the crayon using the hot air from a blow-dryer. I rotated back and forth from the high setting to the lower setting watching to make sure it wasn’t splattering too much.

I love the way they turned out! And of course my science brain husband had to inform us how some of the crayons had different melting points and that is why a few of them were harder to get to melt.

Melting Ghosts

We did a different version of this with our science experiments. It just so happened that biodegradable packing peanuts came in the mail shortly after posting that. I saved them and we colored ghosts on them as well. Since they are biodegradable, it only takes water to make them “melt” away. I used children’s medicine syringes for the kids to suck up and squirt out the water. The girls played with this for a good hour as the melted ghosts and made up stories!

Brain Jello Smash

The Dollar Store has this cool brain mold. We made jello and after enjoying it a bit we used it for a little sensory time.

We aren’t huge Jello fans at our house so after we ate a bit, I let them have some sensory time!

For the baby, we stripped down to our diaper and decided exploring would be easiest in the bathtub where it would be much easier to clean up!

Check out what other fun Halloween food we had fun with!

Games Galore…

After Halloween, I always check out Target’s clearance section for games and materials that make great Halloween kids’ activities. I found a bunch of this stuff last year! The ring toss game is always a huge hit! You could make your own with cones from the Dollar Store and a little spray paint.

Also, check out your local thrift stores for fun things to do, this puzzle was found at Goodwill.

I keep all the Halloween books together and pull them out for the month! I set up a fun little reading nook with all my favorite books!

Check out some fun crafts and a few of our favorite Halloween books!

Tic-tac-toe is fun! This set I got at Target but you could easily make your own using felt. Or for a simple twist…use paper and stickers.

Lacing cards were also another Target treasure that is great for working our fine motor skills.

 

Try keeping all your things together in a Halloween bin and collecting materials to add each year. The kids will be excited to dive right in and explore when you pull the tote out!

 

 

 

Halloween Snacks to Please Little Monsters

Halloween snacks get everyone excited this time of year! The look on those little faces when you do something so simple is truly priceless. Changing up a normal food and giving it just a little twist can make their day! Plus, I’ve added a special adult treat to the blog as a little extra!

Spider Sandwich:

Materials:
  • Bread
  • Pretzel Sticks
  • Peanut Butter
  • Blueberries

Cut the bread into a circle using a butter knife. Spread peanut butter on one slice and stick four pretzels to each side. Add the other slice on top and stick two blueberries on for eyes. We found that a dab of peanut butter helped the eyes to stay put.

My four year old actually learned how to make this one herself and she was so proud! She even added a candy corn nose to hers!

Halloween Cookie Cutter Sandwiches:

Materials:
  • Bread
  • Halloween Cookie Cutters
  • Anything you want to put in your sandwich

Stamp out your bread and meat using Halloween cookie cutters!

For more fun ideas to add a twist to your plain PB&J check out this blog. 

Pumpkin Quesadilla:

Materials:
  • Tortillas
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Take two tortillas and using kitchen scissors cut out the face and a stem! Spray some cooking spray on a pan and fry up the quesadilla!

Finger Dogs:

 
Materials:
  • Hotdogs
  • Ketchup
  • Hotdog Buns

Cook the hotdogs the way you normally do. Using a sharp paring knife cut off the casing near the top to create a fingernail. Then make little slits in the hotdog to create the look of the knuckles and wrinkles. Chop off the end and squirt the ketchup primarily in that area.

Mummy Dogs:

Materials:
  • Hotdogs
  • Crescent Rolls

Take your hotdogs and wrap them up with a crescent roll. I stretched my crescent rolls sections out so they were a little thinner and stringy before I wrapped the hotdog. Then pop them in the oven as directed on the crescent roll package. Just leave them in a little longer to cook.

Halloween Snacks

Mummy Fruit Pouches:

Materials:
  • Fruit Pouches
  • Toilet Paper or Crete Paper
  • Googly Eyes

Wrap the paper around a fruit pouch and tape the end on the back. Glue on two googly eyes and you are all set!

Pumpkin Fruit Cups:

Draw a pumpkin face on the bottom of a mandarin orange fruit cup with a black sharpie marker! Display them upside down until the kids are ready to eat them!

Ghost String Cheese:

Halloween snacks don’t get much easier than this one…

With a sharpie marker draw a ghost face (basically three circles) on the outside of a white string cheese package.

Witches Brooms:

Halloween Snacks

Materials:
  • String Cheese
  • Pretzel Sticks

Cut a string cheese in half using kitchen scissors. Then cut slits into the bottom of the cheese. Spread them apart a little and stick a pretzel stick in the top!

Frankenstein Grape Cups:

Materials:
  • Clear Cup
  • Hot Glue Gun and Glue
  • Googly Eyes
  • Black Sharpie
  • Green Grapes

Draw Frankensteins face on a clear cup using a black sharpie marker. Attach googly eyes using hot glue. Then fill the cup up with green grapes!

Pumpkin Oranges:

(Pictured above with the Frankenstein Grape Cups)

This is such a simple little thing you can do for the kids. Take a sharpie marker and draw silly pumpkin faces on their oranges or cuties! They will love it!

Dessert

Jello Brains:

Materials:
  • Brain Mold (I found my at the Dollar Store.)
  • Jello
  • Water

Prepare three boxes of Jello as directed on the package. I mixed green and red to get this black color. Pour into the mold and refrigerate until it becomes solid. Tip it over onto a plate and enjoy!

 

We aren’t huge Jello fans at our house so after we ate a bit, I let them have some sensory time!
For younger ones, you may want to do the Jello exploring in the bathtub.

Candy Corn Cupcakes:

Find the recipe for these cute cupcakes Halloween snacks and many other festive ones here!

Beverages:

Glowing Kid’s Drinks:

Click the picture to find out how to make these glowing drinks for your kids!

I’m Here for the BOOS…For the Adults Only!

I set up a Bloody Mary bar for the adults the night of the Halloween Science Experiments. I simply attached stickers to the pitcher for the saying and then added other fun ingredients (pickles, ghost string cheese from above, beef sticks, olives, pepperonis, etc.) on the side for them to add to their Bloody Mary.

There you have it! Halloween snacks that are fun, festive, and full of memories for everyone! Give it a shot and let me know how it turns out!

 

 

 

10 Halloween Crafts Inspired By Halloween Books

‘Tis the season for Halloween crafts to get kids excited! I love holidays and to extend the fun we always do crafts and activities throughout the month. The kids learn so much from them. I’m all about learning through play! It also gets them in the holiday spirit!

Five Little Pumpkins:

Five Little Pumpkins Halloween activity

After reading Five Little Pumpkins , we made this cute little Halloween craft! And then, of course, we listened to it again on YouTube as we created our project!

Also, check out our fun pumpkin experiment to go with the book.

Materials:
  • 9 Small Popsicle Sticks
  • Blue and Green Construction Paper
  • Markers
  • Pumpkin and Ghost Stickers (I got mine from Target Halloween department.)
  • Scissors
  • Glue

Give each child a blue sheet of construction paper. Draw a curved, hilly line on green construction paper and have your little one practice their scissor skills cutting on the line. (Trust me, their Kindergarten teacher will love you for this practice!) Glue down the hill on the bottom of the blue construction paper. Glue down three popsicle sticks vertically on the grass. Then glue or use your hot glue gun and have the children press them down horizontally to form the fence. Children should count out five pumpkins stickers and one ghost. Have them attach five pumpkin stickers to the fence and add one owl to the sky. After that, they can color in a moon or draw in a house like the illustrations in the book.

 

Monster Mask:

Halloween activity monster mas

Materials:
  • Paper Plate
  • Markers
  • Scissors
  • Cotton Balls
  • Google Eyes
  • Glue

Color only the edges of the paper plate with a marker. Don’t worry about being particular. Poke a hole in the center of the plate and cut out along the center circle of the plate. Use the center to cut out oblong semi-circle teeth and two horns. Color the horns and glue them to the top of the plate. Glue the teeth on the top and bottom of the inside of the circle. Stick cotton balls all around the circle using dobs of glue. Then glue google eyes of different sizes to the cotton balls. Once it dries it can be a work of art or a mask!

Read “Goodnight Goon” a parody based off of “Goodnight Moon”. You will be rolling with laughter as you read about one little goon who isn’t ready for bed.

 

 

Dem Bones Skeleton:

skeleton Halloween activity

Dem Bones Halloween Activity

Another simple but fun craft that has a great book, song, and video to go with it!

Materials:
  • Black Construction Paper
  • Q-tips
  • Glue
  • Scissors

Create a skeleton using Q-tips. If you need smaller sections for feet or hands just cut the Q-tips into smaller sections. Arrange the skeleton first to make it the way you want and then glue each Q-tip to the black construction paper. Add a skull either by a sticker, printed out skull, or draw one with white chalk or crayon. Read the book “Dem Bones” and then watch the song on YouTube.

Chalk Skeleton:

chalk Halloween craft

Materials:
  • Black Construction Paper
  • White Chalk
  • Q-tips
  • Glue

We traced each other’s hands on black construction paper using white chalk. Then we colored in the hands with the chalk. Glue Q-tips down for bones. For older children, you could also label the different bones with their names.

I enjoy reading Steve Jenkins nonfiction book titled “Bones” to go with this craft. It compares human bones to bones of different animals. Many of the pictures are shown in actual size! Check it out and create your favorite one!

Ghost Footprints-Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet:

footprint ghost Halloween activity

Materials:

This cute craft not only is fun but it also preserves those little footprints that grow WAY TOO FAST! Paint the bottom of the child’s foot. I usually just have them step into the paint on a paper plate and then rub it around all the toes and everywhere with my finger. Then I have the black paper ready on the floor and have them step down on the paper. Once the paint dries, draw a mouth and eyes with the black marker. Add the cute little saying and it’s the perfect Halloween card.

The cute book “Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet” is a great story with a lot of wonderful lessons to discuss with your children. Gilbert accidentally switches costumes with his sister and has to be a ballerina at school. We enjoyed talking about making the best out of a situation and being confident with whatever you want to be!

Spooky Forest:

spooky forest Halloween activity

Materials:

  • Black Construction Paper
  • Sticks
  • Googly Eyes
  • Elmer’s Glue
  • Hot Glue
  • Hot Glue Gun

First, we went on a nature hunt for sticks and twigs. We broke them so that they were about the same size as the paper. Then the adult can hot glue the bottom of the twigs and the children can push them down on the black construction paper. With Elmer’s glue, the children can glue googly eyes between the sticks.

Enjoy the story “Where’s My Mummy” to go with this craft.

Room On the Broom:

Halloween activity

Materials:
  • Jumbo Popsicle Stick
  • Brown Ribbon
  • Brown Construction Paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue

Trace each other’s hands on a piece of brown construction paper. If the child is capable have them cut out the hands. Glue them to the jumbo popsicle stick so the fingers point down. Tie a bow with the ribbon and glue that to the top of the hands. (Use the picture as a reference for placement.)

Read aloud the book “Room on the Broom“. We even found little puppets or figures that fit the story to act it out. We love to interact with stories, find out more here.

It is also showing right now on Netflix.

 Tape Mummy:

mummy Halloween activity

Material:
  • Masking Tape
  • Black Paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Googly Eyes

Cut out a person shape in the black paper. Tear a bunch of small pieces of masking tape and have the children stick them to the person. Then have them glue googly eyes on for the eyes. Then enjoy the funny book “Skeleton Meets the Mummy“.

 

Marshmallow Mummy:

marshmallow mummy Halloween craft

Materials:
  • Orange Construction Paper
  • Black Marker
  • Glue
  • Small Marshmallows
  • Large Googly Eyes

Draw a large oval on an orange piece of construction paper. Draw in the lines of the mummy’s wrapping. Glue a line of small marshmallows in each section. Add googly eyes and you let it dry.

There Was An Old Mummy Who Swallowed a Spider” is another book with a cute spin on the original “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly“.

TP Ghosts:

Materials:
  • Paper Plate
  • Toilet Paper
  • Black Marker
  • Tape

Tear six pieces of toilet paper about arm’s length long. Tape them around the edge of the front of the paper plate. Draw a ghost face and you have fun, easy dancing ghosts!

Inspired by one of our absolute favorite books “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt“, we enjoy “We’re Going on a Ghost Hunt” this time of year! Kid’s enjoy chiming in on the predictable pattern as they listen to the adventures of four kids going out to find ghosts.

 

What is your favorite Halloween book? Do you have a fun project to go with it? Share below! We would love to hear from you!

8 STEM Halloween Science Experiments

Halloween is the perfect time to get everyone interested in SCIENCE! Check out these fun and engaging STEM Halloween science experiments that are sure to have everyone screaming with excitement!

SLIME:

Everyone seems to be in love with slime projects right now. This gooey, gross sensory experience is enjoyable for all ages. Slime will entertain my girls for an hour while I make dinner. That is a win for me!

We made a fun, glitter glue slime that is fairly mess-free and a great consistency. Directions are on the Unicorn and Rainbow birthday blog. That same week we were at one of our favorite hang-outs, the Children’s Museum, and the activity was making slime!

The greatest part about making different types of slime is that you can take them out and compare and contrast them. I make a T chart where we write things that are the same and things that are different between the two types. This gets kids observing like scientists by using their senses.

This great blog from Little Hands, Little Minds has a whole bunch of great slime recipes to use!

Suspended Silverware

Materials:

  • Fork
  • Spoon
  • Glass cup
  • Toothpick
  • Lighter

This is an old bar trick, with a lot of physics involved and a spooky levitation-like charm. Interlock the tines of a metal fork with a spoon. Insert a toothpick in between one of the tines. Carefully balance the fork and spoon on a glass (it is easier than it looks). Then for an added effect light the end of the toothpick on fire and watch the fire creep toward the glass. The flame will extinguish itself at the edge of the glass. Knock off the ash and observe. Hypothesize why this works, discuss the concept of balance and all the elements needed for a fire to exist. For your more advanced scientists, discuss the concept of center of gravity.

Frankenstein Hair

Materials:

 

This chemical change is one that will”wow” the kids! Order Poly A and Poly B from Loose in the Lab. Mix 1/2 ounce of each in a plastic cup using a popsicle stick to stir. The two chemicals will react and rise to form hot, foam that quickly hardens. Kids will be able to feel the heat of the cup and after it cools they can touch the large foam Frankenstein hair.

 

Bubbling Magic Potions

Materials:

Halloween science wouldn’t be complete if it didn’t include dry ice experiments! Many grocery stores and department stores like Walmart carry dry ice. I would call ahead to make sure. You want to pick up the dry ice as close to when you will use it as possible. Store it in the freezer until it is time for the Halloween science experiments. Warm a large pot of water on the stove. Place the hot water in each vase or container and then add a few drops of food coloring. Then drop in a little piece of dry ice and watch it bubble. The fog will roll off the container creating a spooky Halloween look!

Screaming Pennies

Materials:

Put a small piece of the dry ice on top of a Styrofoam cup. Place the edge of a penny on the ice and listen to it scream and howl. The kids can touch the penny and observe how cold it gets just by putting it on the dry ice for a few seconds.

**Don’t hold the penny on the dry ice for too long or it will freeze to your finger.

Disappearing Ghosts

Materials:

I modeled how to draw a ghost on the packing peanut with the black marker and then the children each drew their own ghost face. Then they dropped their ghost into a glass cup filled with about an inch of nail polish remover with acetone. Immediately, the water turn bluish from the ink of the marker and the packing peanut started to dissolve. After we had stuffed a whole bunch of ghosts into the cup and watched them all dissolved, we wanted to find out what would happen if we lifted up the residue. We made our predictions and then picked it up with the fork.

Ghost Droppings

Materials:

  • Baby Diaper
  • Scissors
  • Large Zip-Lock Bag
  • Plastic Cup
  • Water
  • Plate

Cut the diaper up into sections and place it in a large zip-lock bag. Zip it up and have the children shake the bag. Then remove the large diaper pieces. You should be left with a white powder. Have the children tell you what they think it looks like. Talk about the job of a diaper. What is it’s purpose? Pour the powder into a small plastic cup filled halfway with water. Swish it around slowly for a little while. Tip it on its side and notice that it has formed a gel. Dump it onto a plate and allow the children to touch it and observe the different qualities they notice.

 

Magic Pumpkin

Materials:

  • Reese’s Pieces
  • Plate
  • Cup of Warm Water

Arrange four brown Reese’s Pieces at the top of the plate and then create a circle of orange Reese’s Pieces. Pour a small amount of warm water into the middle of the circle. Then let the magic happen. Talk with the children about what they are noticing. After the center is completely orange, flip over one of the Reese’s Pieces and look at how the shell has dissolved.

Glowing Bubbly Brew

Materials:

 

These glowing drinks are sure to be a hit with all the little scientists! Turn off all the lights and make the area as dark as possible. Fill the cup 1/4 full with ice. Pour tonic into each cup just over the ice. Top off the rest of the drink with Sprite and toss in a Halloween eyeball. Enjoy!

 

These spooky STEM Halloween science experiments will definitely leave your kids yelling for more…SCIENCE!

In fact, at our party, anytime someone said, “science” we all responded by throwing our hands up and shouting back, “SCIENCE!”.

Safety Reminder:

As with anything, be sure to follow all safety regulations. Wash hands after working with chemicals and never allow kids to handle dry ice directly, as it will harm the skin if exposed to for a long period of time.