The Dollar Tree

I know that I’m not able to resist a trip there and surely, if you’re someone who’s able to shop at high-end establishments, you share no such desire or interest with me.

Oh but how I personally love perusing the aisles for coloring, crafting, toiletries, office supplies and/or home goods!  I think the toys as well, are pretty neat for the price and they really run the gamut.  Keeping a small stash always comes in handy for little visitors or for extras inside of goodie bags.

There’s also a ton of early learning items to be found there.  For example, even with today’s technology, my child was still very excited when I showed him the item below.  He was able to conveniently practice letters during car trips and I myself enjoy this childhood relic on occasion.

My plan is to present my child with a twenty-dollar bill along with instructions to choose twenty items from anywhere in the store that he would like me to purchase.  Of course, the exact total will be a bit more than that after tax, but you get the idea.

If you have more than one kid with you, then divvy up the total as you see fit.

You can do this with a five or ten-dollar bill (we happen to have a $20 that his grandmother gave him to spend as he so wishes.)  If you have money to burn, then by all means, count up even higher.  I think I would personally go bonkers if I had $50 to spend in the Dollar Tree but that’s simply not in the budget.

Or go in the other direction.  If they only have one dollar to spend then maybe they’ll focus on picking a single item that is really special!

Another idea is to have them choose one item per each person they know for surprise gift giving instead.  They can put down on paper the names of each person beforehand as a way to incorporate writing practice to the project.  The options are endless.

For instance, they can also sort by category and collect things like faux flowers, cups, pencils or a notepad.  Speaking of, I simply can’t get enough of writing instruments, folders and clipboards (color coordinated at that!)

 

Sidebar.  I hope when I return they still have a jumbo eraser I spotted but forgot to throw in my cart that had a message on it about making big mistakes.  I want to display it for symbolism.  If only we could invent something that truly wipes out the real errors we’ve made in life (since Mr. Clean’s little white sponge is not really magical.)

Anyway, we hope you enjoy this outing/activity suggestion over the summer months (assuming you won’t be on holiday in the South of France) at the time.

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Busy with business cards

While going through a file box I came across a stack of something that needed another purpose.

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And so, my old business cards have been colored, counted and cut.  We’ve used them to play memory games and arranged them to form different shapes.  They’ve been converted into small flash cards, a mini pennant garland and tools for setting the table.

Future activity ideas will include writing practice (one card per each letter that can be shuffled later for the child to spell their own name) as well as to count how many.  I also thought to save all the colorful dots left over from all the hole-punching for easy table confetti to decorate our next birthday party.

As they’re made out of sturdy card stock, the possibilities are endless.

Thunder, Lightning.

It’s not just the little ones that want to run under the covers during a thunderstorm. It’s pretty scary for everybody, even when you’re indoors.

Trying your best to calm a child through one isn’t always easy and even more difficult once you lost power (it happens.)

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Photo Image Source: https://aviation.stackexchange.com/questions/16700/why-is-the-cumulonimbus-cloud-formation-so-dangerous

We’re always talking about the weather, but it was time to go beyond the temperature and what to carry with us when its raining. Mainly because I wasn’t able to explain this intimidating force of nature to myself, much less a child. I think we all know at the very least, that it’s dangerous to be outside at the time.

I knew thunder was loud and frightening, but does it always follow that flash of lightning? Thankfully, the Weather Wiz Kids had us covered, like an umbrella. You’ll find the answer to the question under Thunderstorms along with the causes, patterns and helpful safety tips. We also learned a new math game we can play during the next storm to find out how far away it is from us.

Also, try saying cumulonimbus clouds really fast? Soft Schools has more facts about them. Ever heard of Upward Lightning? Find it in this list of 10 Natural Phenomena You Have To See To Believe.

When the lights finally came back on, we sang about electricity leaping toward the ground / lightening is the flash of light / thunder is the sound:

 

 

Mega Bloks & Dice

I made a trip to the dollar store in search of a dust pan for the sole purpose of scooping these up, which in of itself became a game too.

We have a ton of Mega Blocks that that all ages seems to enjoy.  When we’re not building fortresses, we’re knocking them down with the help of a bat, stick or ball.  Inevitably, they also get scattered across the room, although not nearly as overwhelming as those tiny Lego pieces that torment most parents.

However, it’s beneficial to have them around for their fine motor development and Preschool Inspirations lists 10 reasons you may be interested in.  I didn’t realize that Lego has something called Duplo and if you’re as confused as I was, check out Mummy’s Reviews on the subject.   By the way, the Lego Group recently celebrated its 80th birthday and they released this short animated film about how it all began.  I always wondered about their story!

18121626_775387029296131_446824032315902541_o (1)I made a trip to the dollar store in search of a dust pan for the sole purpose of scooping these up, which in of itself became a game too.

18119264_774851866016314_1491292095600120682_nSince we also have a table for the set, I thought about incorporating a set of fuzzy dice that we’ve used in a variety of ways already for early learning fun.  I simply taped small notes to represent each color of blocks we have on each side, along with a wild card (“?”) and skipping a turn.  The question mark symbol replaced my initial note for “Pick” (the color of your choice) because it was being confused with pink and we don’t have those (need I say) yet.

Obviously, there are no fixed rules for this.  We pretty much played it by ear.  Whenever we threw our set of dice (one had the color coded notes, the other just their original number dots) it determined how many blocks we’d use in that color.

18198275_774851922682975_2671903230977208028_nThe winner of our little game would have been the first person to complete a section or level but we honestly never got that far.  What mattered most is that as we kept playing and taking turns, everyone was busy counting and that’s always a win.

Hope you like this activity idea!

Kids keep me busy with things like this but so does the kitchen and food happens here.

ABC States

… they exist in an alternate universe and we get to name them!

We love puzzles and while putting together some large pieces on the floor to form a map of the United States (Melissa & Doug has one we like very much) I thought of some other things we could do.

First, I looked up an alphabetical list of the 50 states I printed to keep visible.  Then, I created a table format in MS Word to have cut out cards for each state.  They can be categorized by each letter in the alphabet they represent.  For the letters that don’t have any states associated with them, we’ll play a game of make believe.  Naturally, they exist in an alternate universe and we get to name them!  What did your kids come up with?

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We’ll learn new things about the state we live in, as well as, those where any of our friends and family reside.  (You can find fun facts for each state on the wonderful website aptly titled A to Z Kids Stuff.)  We’ll also talk about places we’d like to visit (Hollywood, California to be exact) or mom & dad’s retirement plans for the Florida Keys.

The younger ones can lay out or hand us the alphabet cards (we happen to have a sturdy jumbo set) while the older ones associate them with each state.  Team work!  Hope you like this activity idea.

Follow on Facebook to view our ABC states photo album and more.

Kids keep me busy with things like this but so does the kitchen and food happens here.