Posts made in April, 2013

Posted on Apr 30, 2013 in Activities For Big Kids | 0 comments

ALEX’s Doodle Cake Crayons are Doodles of Fun!

ALEX’s Doodle Cake Crayons are Doodles of Fun!

As an occupational therapist and parent, I love checking out new crafts. My favorites are the ones that keep the kids happily occupied, while working on their motor skills without them even knowing it. ALEX’s Doodle Cake Crayons delivered all that and more! The kids really enjoyed it and it didn’t take much work on the part of the parent either. I get a little intimidated by craft kits you have to cook, and I have to admit I also became a little afraid when I saw all those crayon crumbles. But the preparation and cooking was a breeze and keeping the mess under control was pretty easy too. We... Read Post

Posted on Apr 27, 2013 in Science for Kids | 0 comments

A Little Science Project: Growing Crystals

A Little Science Project: Growing Crystals

My kids recently grew salt crystals using colored salt water on a sponge, and the ALEX Kid Concoctions Grow a Crystal Dino set was a great way to expand their understanding of crystals and how they form! The set comes with a small pouch of crystal liquid and two trays to hold a cardboard dinosaur and two cardboard trees. My four-year-old and six-year-old worked together to set it up. Once it was put together, it was time to hypothesize about what would happen when we added the crystal liquid. They looked at the clear liquid, and decided that nothing would happen. We added the liquid around... Read Post

Posted on Apr 25, 2013 in Printables | 0 comments

Printable: Paper Chains

Printable: Paper Chains

Paper chains are a fun craft for kids to make and the results are beautiful! We’ve designed ours specifically for little kiddos, so they’re super easy, yet allow for tons of creativity. Let them go wild with the crayons, creating different looks for our chain robots and princesses! Print out and color multiple pages, then string them together to make one long chain. Decorate a bedroom or use them as a party garland. Or, invite some friends over for a play-craft date and some pretend play afterwards….princesses protected by the robots in a futuristic, techno castle!! Provide some suggestions... Read Post

Posted on Apr 24, 2013 in Activities For Big Kids, Parenting | 0 comments

How To Organize Your Home For Reading Fun

How To Organize Your Home For Reading Fun

I knew I needed to get organized when a babysitter told my kids to clean up their rooms and my oldest daughter said, “Why? Just look at our house!” Gulp. So, the piles of books got organized and our house feels much tidier. I’ve found that organizing our children’s books (in more than piles) entice my kids, even the youngest, to read. To make reading even more fun, we created cozy reading spaces in the kids’ rooms and in the living room. You can do it, too. Here are our tried and true suggestions.   1. Create a Cozy Reading Nook for Kids Create a reading corner for your kids to curl up... Read Post

Posted on Apr 23, 2013 in Developmental Skills | 0 comments

ALEX Jr. Stack Me Up is a Stack of Developmental Fun!

ALEX Jr. Stack Me Up is a Stack of Developmental Fun!

As my belly begins to expand (literally more and more every day!), I am steadily getting excited about bringing out the baby toys again.  So when I saw the Stack Me Up toy from ALEX Jr, it was love at first sight. Not only is it adorable, but it really is a great developmental toy!  While it is geared toward kids six months to one year of age, I believe that this toy is perfect to grow with your child during the first two years of life.  Younger children love the sensory elements while older kids love to explore the more imaginative side of the toy. Here are developmental skills that I... Read Post

Posted on Apr 22, 2013 in Activities For Big Kids | 0 comments

5 Easy Ways to Go Green

5 Easy Ways to Go Green

Any day is the perfect day to set green goals and make some changes for your family; becoming more eco-conscious is a goal we should all make, not just on Earth Day! “Going green” doesn’t have to be an entire lifestyle change, though. There are many easy and simple things you can do as a family to get the “green” ball rolling! Here are five easy ways to go green. 1. Recycle – Some people think that recycling takes too much time and effort and does it even really help? The answer is, “YES!” Recycling keeps tons of trash out of landfills every year, and it takes very little time if you have an... Read Post

Posted on Apr 20, 2013 in Activities For Tweens | 0 comments

Using Crafts to Teach About Different Cultures

Using Crafts to Teach About Different Cultures

Crafts are a fun and creative way to teach your children about a variety of topics. Children are hands-on learners, and always learn best when having fun! In our homeschooling classroom, I keep plenty of craft supplies at the ready to create a variety of projects. Recently, I’ve been using my craft supplies to teach the children about different cultures. You can create a craft from almost any country and spark a lesson or discussion about an interesting new culture! Here are a few to get you started.  1. Australia: Craft your own wooden or paper boomerang. Let your child paint it in bright... Read Post

Posted on Apr 19, 2013 in Activities For Big Kids | 0 comments

DIY Spin Art Bunting in Five Easy Steps

DIY Spin Art Bunting in Five Easy Steps

I fondly remember making spin art with a little machine when I was a kid. So it’s been on my list of toys to get the kids for some time. I knew they’d have just as much fun as I did watching the paper spin and the colorful paint splatter. And ALEX’s Fantastic Spinner definitely didn’t disappoint. The kids had so much fun spinning and squirting paint they didn’t want to stop. We ended up with a whole bunch of colorful spin art that we had to find a creative DIY craft solution for. So I decided to use them to decorate Sawyer’s room by turning them into a long spin art bunting. Here’s how I did... Read Post

Posted on Apr 17, 2013 in Activities For Big Kids | 0 comments

Shrinky Dinks Magic

Shrinky Dinks Magic

My kids had a fantastic time making these “Cool Stuff” Shrinky Dinks! Shrinky Dinks are made out of a special “paper” that shrinks down in the oven, so it’s like making your very own toys! This particular kit has fun robots, vehicles, and other pre-cut shapes to color. The colored pencils come included, so it was a simple project to pull out on a rainy afternoon – and it was also a quick enough project to let the kids do as a reward for getting ready for school really quickly in the morning! It was interesting to watch how my three kids approached this project. My son Johnny (four years old)... Read Post

Posted on Apr 16, 2013 in Developmental Skills | 0 comments

The Magic of Floor Puzzles

The Magic of Floor Puzzles

Today we played with ALEX’s 3D Cityscape jumbo puzzle.  It’s a 41 piece floor puzzle geared toward kids ages 3 and up.  Aside from the fun colors and designs depicting a cute little city, this puzzle also has a 3D component consisting of 3 vertically standing buildings. The kids loved the 3 dimensional buildings, which my niece reported “make it look like a real town.” Your 3 year old will more than likely need your help to get all the pieces together. I liked that it was a little more challenging so children can continue to enjoy it as they get older and become more independent. The puzzle... Read Post

Posted on Apr 15, 2013 in Parenting | 0 comments

Get Dressed with Success!

Get Dressed with Success!

Lately my 4 year old, Lori, has insisted on picking out and putting on her outfits all by herself. Sometimes she actually puts together an outfit that matches and looks half-decent, and sometimes… not so much! As she has gotten older she has become more and more independent. She takes great pride in being able to do things, like getting dressed, completely on her own. But she is still learning and sometimes she gets very frustrated trying to zip up her hoodie or button her pants! It is not always easy for her to ask for help because she is SO determined to get it on her own, but I think I... Read Post

Posted on Apr 13, 2013 in Parenting | 0 comments

5 Tips for Dining Out with Kids

5 Tips for Dining Out with Kids

Sometimes parents just want to dine out for a change of pace and a break from cooking, but with young kids it can be a daunting thought. Fear of the dreaded melt down, thrown food, and top of the lungs “talking” are all reasons why some parents avoid taking the plunge. If this sounds familiar, then don’t despair, here are five tips for dining out with kids that will help you prepare and avert disaster! 1. Time it Perfectly:  Eat early to avoid the 8PM “restaurant rush hour”. Less people and noise in the restaurant at earlier seatings cut down on kid distractions. Also, earlier in the night... Read Post

Posted on Apr 12, 2013 in Parenting | 0 comments

Fun Ideas for Bad Weather and Sick Kids

Fun Ideas for Bad Weather and Sick Kids

There are two times when I find parenting particularly challenging: dark, gloomy days that my kids and I are tempted to reflect in our moods and that period of illness where a child is too sick to go to school but not quite sick enough to simply rest. Here are my favorite ways to conquer the gloom whether it is due to sickness or weather! Sensory Play Sensory play is my go-to strategy for really young kids who don’t feel well. You can set up an invitation to play, like the tray with colored rice, cars, and marbles. Always make sure that your invitation to play is developmentally appropriate,... Read Post

Posted on Apr 11, 2013 in Printables | 0 comments

Printable: Build A Monkey

Printable: Build A Monkey

Inspired by our popular and cuddly Learn to Dress Monkey, this week’s printable craft is Build a Monkey! He’s lots of fun, way cool (check out his shades) and a great way to practice zipping, snapping, buttoning and lacing with your little one at the same time you’re having fun making the craft. If  you have young kiddos, help by cutting out the pieces first and then let them paste away! Or, this can be an excellent opportunity for your child to hone both cutting and pasting skills. Feel free to let your creative juices flow…paste pockets where ever you like or paste... Read Post

Posted on Apr 10, 2013 in Pretend Play | 0 comments

6 Ways to Pretend Play Birthday All Year Round

6 Ways to Pretend Play Birthday All Year Round

If your kids are like mine, their birthday is their favorite day of the year. In fact, my kids make elaborate plans for crafts, parties, and gifts months and months before the actual birthday date. All of which are subject to change at any moment. Birthdays are the best. So, I just go with it. We pretend play birthday all the time. We sing Happy Birthday in the car to them, to me, to all our relatives, to our pets, to our toys. We play birthday party, too. And do you know what? It’s great to play birthday because while you’re playing, you’re sneaking in lots of learning opportunities. Here... Read Post
Using Tots Art Start to Foster Toddler Creativity

Using Tots Art Start to Foster Toddler Creativity

It’s sometimes hard to get all the way through an art project with a toddler.  My 2 ½ year old daughter is constantly bubbling over with excitement about wanting to do “a project”, but it’s not always easy to come up with something appropriate to her level of fine motor skills as well as something that can be done from start to finish in 15-20 minutes, or before she loses interest. Enter Tots Art Start kit from ALEX. In this box are the makings of 6 art activities – some shaped pieces of paper for decorating, a little baggie with some shredded paper for collaging, assorted tissue papers and... Read Post

Posted on Apr 5, 2013 in Babies | 0 comments

Busy Bodies in Busy Town

Busy Bodies in Busy Town

As soon as I saw the ALEX Jr. My Busy Town activity center, I fell in love! The bright colors, the insanely cute artwork, the endless activities… I knew the kids would love playing with it and discovering all its hidden treasures! We invited Julie’s super-cute friend, Aeden, over for a play date to try it out! The girls seamed to really enjoy all 5 sides of the busy town. Aeden loved playing peek-a-boo with the different people hiding behind the doors and Julie especially liked moving the rainbow colored beads through the curvy maze. It was definitely big enough for both girls to play with... Read Post

Posted on Apr 4, 2013 in Printables | 0 comments

Printable: Raining Cats & Dogs

Printable: Raining Cats & Dogs

It’s not fun to be stuck inside the house on those cold and rainy days that come with the beginning of Spring. So what do you do to keep the kiddies occupied, when it’s raining cats and dogs out there? Turn it into a craft activity, of course! Put a fun spin on those gloomy April showers with this printable craft! It’s vibrant colors and cheerful characters are sure to brighten up any rainy day.   What You Need: Safety Scissors Glue 3 Page Printable – (Click  images to download) How To Make It: There are new ALEX Printables coming out all the time so make sure to check back and follow... Read Post

Posted on Apr 3, 2013 in Science for Kids | 0 comments

Imaginative Play with Mix N Blast Volcano

Imaginative Play with Mix N Blast Volcano

Over spring break, my family and I visited the beautiful island of Maui, Hawaii. The trip had been one that we had been planning for a long time and we were all very excited.  For my son who is 7 years old and extremely curious about science nature, the buzz about our upcoming trip, naturally stemmed to conversations about volcanos. He had lots of questions about how volcanos worked and if he would see one while we were on vacation. Maui’s volcano has not been active in many years and is surrounded by a rainforest, so I knew getting a great view of it while we were away would be unlikely. So... Read Post

Posted on Apr 2, 2013 in Developmental Skills | 0 comments

Five Games to Teach Telling Time

Five Games to Teach Telling Time

When I went to my first grader’s orientation at school, I was surprised to hear that their new district-wide math curriculum did not include life skills like telling time.  So I knew I had to bump time telling up on my list of things to teach my kids. I was really excited to have a little help in that area when I received the Ready, Set, Tell Time! activity set in the mail. I was surprised to find that what I expected to be just a simple learning clock, was actually a bunch of time telling games in one set. I loved how versatile the set’s pieces were in making up time telling games and... Read Post

Posted on Apr 1, 2013 in Parenting | 0 comments

Tips for Encouraging Creativity in Kids

Tips for Encouraging Creativity in Kids

Creative thinking is so important for a child’s development, therefore encouraging it is a core feature in my parenting strategy. Creativity has more benefits than I can count, but here are few, and also some tips on how you can build it into your daily lives. Benefits to Stimulating Creativity: Encourages self-expression – drawing, and engaging in other creative pursuits, gives kids a voice. I have learned a lot from and about my children by listening in as they create. Builds fine motor skills – many creative pastimes help children develop the fine motor movements that are important... Read Post