Garanimals Blog

Archive for the ‘kids’ tag

August 1st, 2014 at 2:51 pm

Displaying Medals and Trophies

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With two boys who are actively involved in sports, we have to anticipate that sooner or later, medals and trophies will be won and the kids will be eager to display them. My son recently earned his first medal in a soccer tournament, and I wanted to find a fun way to display it so he can remember his accomplishments.

I took a regular towel bar found at your local hardware or department store and attached it to the wall. Then, I looped the medal over it so it hangs nicely. A quick and easy way to display! As you can see, I have displayed his trophies on a shelf underneath as well. I think I might even add some type of quote or word art about hard work or success to finish it off!

It’s important to remind your kids that with some hard work they can accomplish so much!

How do you organized/display your kids’ trophies?

 

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June 13th, 2014 at 6:57 am

10 Reasons to Visit a Farmer’s Market

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Farmer’s markets are not only a source of healthy and often organic produce, they’re also a source of learning for kids! Supporting local businesses helps your community as well. Here are 10 reasons you should visit a farmer’s market with your kids.

Talk With Real Farmers – One thing I have found is that the vendors at the farmer’s market love to talk about how they grew their food. Have the kids talk to them and ask questions.

Teach Kids About Farms- In the city, a lot of children don’t know about farms or have never been to one. Take this time to talk about people who farm, what they do, and how the food gets to their plates.

Spend Family Time Together – Set an hour or so aside to walk through the market and talk about the items. Sometimes there is even music and other activities for your children to participate in.

Learn About Your Community- Connect with others and learn all the different things that go on in your town. At our market, one of our favorite restaurants does cooking demonstrations. Our kids have learned that much of the food they eat comes from the market.  Our farmer’s market also takes place on our downtown main street. This gives us an opportunity to explore the stores and restaurants that are in the area as well.

Develop Healthy Eating Habits- Open up a possibility of options for new foods that your kids will eat.

Learn About Nutrition- Talk about the importance of eating a rainbow of colors.

Introduce New Foods- Discuss any new foods you may see. Some even YOU may not know about.

Teach Kids About Money – Give each child some money to spend on things they want to try.

Teach Kids About When Certain Things Grow- Certain fruits and vegetables are available at certain times of year according to weather and growing conditions.

Cook Your Purchases – This is a great way to get your kids involved in the cooking of the items you found. It is known that kids are more likely to try new things if they had a hand in preparing them.

Have fun exploring your local farmer’s market!

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May 26th, 2014 at 9:00 am

Summer Fun Bucket

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One of my favorite things to surprise the kids with is a summer fun bucket! I take a bucket and stuff it with all the fun items we need for summer vacation. Here is a list of fun things to fill your bucket with:

  • Sandals or flip-flops
  • Inner tube or pool float
  • Goggles
  • Beach towel
  • Water balloons
  • Sidewalk chalk
  • Bubbles
  • Fun craft set
  • Tickets to the zoo, pool, or another local attraction
  • Popsicle sticks and dixie cups
  • Water gun
  • Sparklers
  • Journal to document summer activities
  • Water bottle
  • Sandbox toys
  • Frisbee
  • Cards – to play War, Go Fish or other games
  • New coloring book and crayons
  • Sporting items
  • Glo sticks

What other things would you fill your bucket with?

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May 16th, 2014 at 6:30 am

Coming To Terms With Kid Mess

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Do you feel like you constantly have a mess somewhere in your house?

Is your furniture all scratched or torn?

Are your walls colored on or covered in dirty handprints?

Do you constantly walk on bits of things and need to sweep ALL. THE. TIME?

Do your windows show little hands, nose prints, or even look like someone licked them?

If they are, I know you are a mom. As soon as you clean something up, a little tornado comes behind you and the mess returns.

Does it drive you crazy? It feels like you could clean all day and it doesn’t stay clean for long. As soon as you buy some new stuff, it gets wrecked… so you figure “why bother?” I feel like I struggle with this every day. Sometimes you just need to take a step back and realize that letting those things go will lead to wonderful memories. There will be a day when we will all long for a window to be covered in handprints, a dirty wall, or even toys all over the floor. Take the time now to treasure this time a little more!

 

 

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April 14th, 2014 at 2:27 pm

Celebrating Library Week

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Did you know that April 13 through 19 is National Library Week? Books are so important to a  child’s development. Besides teaching them how to read, they also foster bonding, creativity, and imagination. Libraries have a lot to offer their communities, and they are a great learning resource for families. Check out your local library this week and see what kind of events and classes they offer for your little ones. In honor of National Library Week, here are some of the most popular kids books of all time that you can check out at your local library or bookstore!

  • Where the Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak
  • The Giving Tree – Shel Silverstein
  • Goodnight Moon – Margaret Wise Brown
  • Green Eggs and Ham – Dr. Seuss
  • Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs – Judy and Ron Barrett
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle
  • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day – Judith Viorst
  • Guess How Much I Love You – Sam McBratney
  • Pat the Bunny – Dorothy Kunhardt
  • Love You Forever – Robert Munsch
  • The Lorax – Dr. Seuss
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? – Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle
  • Harold and the Purple Crayon – Crockett Johnson
  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom – Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault
  • Corduroy – Don Freeman
  • Stellaluna – Janell Cannon
  • Oh, The Places You’ll Go – Dr. Seuss
  • Strega Nona – Tomie dePaola
  • Curious George – H.A. Rey
  • Jumanji – Chris Van Allsburg
  • The Little Engine That Could – Loren Long and Watty Piper
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit – Beatrix Potter
  • If You Give A Mouse A Cookie – Laura Joffe Numeroff and Felicia Bond
  • The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales – Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith
  • The Runaway Bunny – Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd
  • The Rainbow Fish – Marcus Pfister and J. Alison James
  • The Snowy Day – Ezra Jack Keats
  • Madeline – Ludwig Bemelmans
  • The Napping House – Audrey Wood and Don Wood
  • The Cat and the Hat – Dr. Seuss
  • The Polar Express – Chris Van Allsburg
  • Hop on Pop - Dr. Seuss

There are so many other great books, both classics and new, that kids around the world enjoy every day. Which is YOUR favorite?

Photo Credit: American Library Association, www.ala.org

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March 28th, 2014 at 8:23 am

Multi-Use Foam Bath Letters

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When they were younger, my boys loved playing with foam bath letters during bath time. They helped them learn to spell and read simple words, as well as recognize letters. Now that they take showers, we don’t play in the bath tub much, but we still love to play with the letters. I want to share with you some ideas for using this great learning aid outside of the bath!

  • A great way to repurpose foam letters is to glue magnets on the back. Use them with a magnet board to make word play fun!

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  • You can also use them to practice words on the kitchen table, floor, or other flat surfaces.
  • Sensory bins are a great way for children to explore shapes and other items. Ever think of using the letters inside of a sensory bin?
  • Make baby photos cuter by using the foam letters to spell out their name or current age in months.
  • Decorate your child’s room by mounting words like FUN, PLAY, or even SLEEP in shadow boxes to make word art.
  • Let your kids use them in art projects by gluing them to their pictures.
  • Make letter flash cards by gluing the letters to one side, along with a picture of a recognizable item that starts with that letter.

Our foam letters are well used and loved at our house…how do you use yours?

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March 20th, 2014 at 12:48 pm

DIY Cleaning Products

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Let’s face it…when you have kids, you do a lot more cleaning. These messy little creatures always seem to find a way to make things dirty! Unfortunately, all the cleaning supplies can add up. You can save money by making your own cleaning products! Some of them are so simple, requiring only two or three ingredients that you probably have around the house already, and they work just as good, if not better! Check out some of these DIY cleaning products and let us know what you think!

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February 24th, 2014 at 8:31 am

Keeping Your Kids Active When Stuck Inside

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This winter has been an extremely long one for my family.  Living in Wisconsin, most days the temperatures aren’t even hitting zero, so playing outside isn’t always an option and we have had to get inventive to help rid the boys of their never-ending energy.  I want to share some ideas with you to get some physical activity into your children’s day when you are stuck inside.

Do you have a room big enough to blow up that bouncy house inside? We move all our furniture out of the way and on our “cold” days when school was canceled we ran the house inside. The boys had hours of fun jumping up and down.

My parents have a heated sunroom that is covered with tile. When the kids were infants and toddlers we would sometimes blow up a baby pool on a sunny day and fill with some warm water. Stick on the boys swim trunks and its time to go swimming, or at least splash around.

If you have a basement in your house, there are so many great things you can do!  Hang some swings from the ceiling joists and bring outdoor fun inside. Also, if you have a lot of empty room in the basement bring in bikes, scooters, or even roller skates. I used to love roller skating through our basement growing up. The basement is a great place to practice dribbling a basketball and if you have decent ceiling height you may even be able to perfect your jump roping skills! Also, if you have a cement floor and accessible floor drain play with sidewalk chalk or even draw a hopscotch or foursquare area.

As moms, we like to limit our children’s electronics time. I don’t mind a little extra time though when they are playing active games. My kids love to use the WiiFit or play Just Dance. If you don’t have these it is just as easy to find some Just Dance videos on You Tube or run a family exercise class using online exercise videos. One night we had a competition to see who could plank the longest. Needless to say, I did not win.

Get inventive when trying to keep active and wear out some of that energy while the Polar Vortex takes over. We are in the home stretch; Spring is right around the corner.

How do you stay active inside?

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

 

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February 14th, 2014 at 12:06 pm

Last Minute Valentine’s Ideas

IMG_3183I feel like Valentine’s Day sneaks up on me every year. I always have the best intentions, but alas it is Valentine’s morning and I am still trying to figure out how to “treat” the boys in my life – big and small. Valentine’s Day is always last minute. We were completing our actual cards for school just last night. (You can guess how thrilled the Kindergartener was to write 21 names in one sitting)

Here are some of my last minute ideas:

Decorate the kids bedroom door with reasons I love them – I cut out hearts and wrote reasons that I love the boys. Then I taped them all over their bedroom door to surprise them in the morning!

Special note in their lunchbox – There were so many great ideas on Pinterest that I just found a printable to use. I put this note and a special sweet treat in their lunch box. I also cut their sandwich in a heart shape using a cookie cutter. What a fun surprise! I also love this idea to add some fun to milk.

Valentine waiting for them after school – When we get home at the end of the day I will have some homemade cookies along with a special Valentine book surprise.

Valentine Coupons for my husband- Since we don’t really do presents (although he always gets me flowers) I am surprising him with some valentine coupons I found here or here.

Special Valentine’s Day Dinner – I’ve toyed with the idea of cheese and chocolate fondue, a heart shaped pizza, or maybe even some heart shaped grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup. One of my favorite treats for the kids is a Cherry Soda float!

Here are some other good last minute Valentine ideas I found:

Last Minute Toddler Ideas

Homemade Valentine Socks

Last Minute Valentine for Older Kids

Hope you have a great Valentine’s Day!

 Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

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January 30th, 2014 at 5:00 am

Rediscovering Favorite Movies of your Childhood

IMG_3040There may be certain movies that you love from your childhood… “The Goonies”, “Mary Poppins”, “Bednobs and Broomsticks”, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”, “Harry Potter” or even ”Star Wars”.  These movies carry a special place in your heart. You may have acted out scenes as a child with your friends. Now you are a parent with children of your own. My husband and I have discovered that so many years later you can create new memories of old favorites.

Locally, we have an old theater that plays old movies a couple of times a month. We have started to take our boys to experience these movies as we did on the big screen. Although, instead of finding myself engrossed in the movie, I am engrossed in my children. What are their reactions during some of my favorite parts? Do they like the same character that I may have hooked on to as a child?

Then there is the discussion after the movie. It is so much fun to hear them describe the movie and talk to you about your favorite parts. Some movies are even more fun because they might have toys that go along with the movie. My husband is a huge Star Wars fan, because of this he has many of his old toys packed away in our home. Watching the movies led to pulling out the old toys and sharing a part of his childhood. It was fun for the boys to see how toys used to be made.

Our Christmas was filled with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for my youngest son. Never did I think my knowledge of the turtles names and their catch phrase “Cowabunga” would ever enter my life again. Plus, my kids truly thought I was cool because I knew so much about the turtles.

It’s fun when your present takes a little trip of reflection into your past.

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

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