Learning About Presidents’ Day {Plus a DIY Presidential Timeline!}

This Presidents' Day post was brought to you by Oriental Trading Company.  All opinions are mine.  This post contains affiliate links at no additional cost to you.

The Captain and D are both very intrigued by countries and leaders.  They love learning about the different countries, capitals, and lately, the presidents of the United States of America.  Presidents' Day is coming up in February, so I wanted to provide them with many opportunities to become acquainted with some of our great leaders from the past!  Homeschooling this year has given me freedom to teach different things that the boys show interest in, at their levels, and tie it in to other subjects and things they need to learn.

The first thing the Captain wanted to do was play this presidential matching game from Oriental Trading Company. There were far too many cards to begin with, so we found the matches and only played with about 1/4 of them.  It was fun to find the different matches and hear the Captain try to pronounce their names.  He does pretty well, but it is still very cute!  Each president has two cards – one blue and one red – with different, interesting facts.  We learned a lot about the presidents this way, plus it was fun.  Fun education is the best kind! 

presidentialmatchinggame2The boys also flipped over the presidents door border, (which is a steal at $1.38 right now, if you're interested!)  All of the presidents are displayed, along with their names, years that they served as president, and they are all in order, as well.  What a great way to capture the history of our country and a fabulous way to introduce the boys to a love of history.  The Captain loved quizzing my parents via FaceTime about some of these men, too!presidential door frameThe most fun the boys had in our study of the presidents was the fun masks!  12 presidential faces were fun to play with.  From George Washington and Abraham Lincoln to Barack Obama….they love to pretend to be the presidents and try to talk like they think they might have talked.  These masks would be great for plays or pretending to give important speeches. 
presidentsday

That's definitely not all, just search for "presidents" at Oriental Trading and see the great teaching tools you can find.  

I used one of the 12 president rulers that came in a pack to create our very own presidential timeline.  I simply cut the presidents' faces out, which had their names and years served underneath, and made a timeline using sentence strips.  Each year was represented with a half of an inch (great since I had a ruler right there, ha!)  Then, I wrote each president's name in red marker and the Captain came along and matched each picture to the name.  Seeing it all on a timeline was educational to me, too, because I could see how many years (or days – some presidents didn't get to serve for very long!) each president was in office, how many terms, and incouraged the boys to ask questions about each president.  I mentioned earlier how the Captain was excited to talk about the presidents with his grandparents and show them his timeline….what a great way to learn even more and practice skills like math, writing, matching, measuring, and much more, all while having good conversation with his relatives!  

DIY Presidential Timeline for Presidents' Day

Materials needed:

DIY Presidential Timeline

Instructions:

  1. Write the years that began each presidential term, counting 1/2" for each year, using the presidential timeline ruler.  
  2. With a different color, write each corresponding president's name above the spot on the timeline that they served as president.
  3. Cut out each president's picture.
  4. Match each president's picture to the time period that they served and glue or tape to secure.
  5. Display your timeline and enjoy being able to visualize the history of our nation!

 

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Simple Textured Paint Football Craft for Kids

Simple Textured Craft for Kids

We are gearing up for the youth group Super Bowl party at our house on Sunday.  The boys want to decorate and have made a few posters for the big event already, but we needed some more football decor.  The Captain created this adorable textured paint football craft for kids and it turned out great!

Materials Needed:

Directions:

  1. Cut a football shape out of a plain piece of white paper.  (Can freehand or use a template.)
  2. Lay football cutout on a sheet of bubble wrap.Simple Textured Craft for Kids  
  3. Wrap more bubble wrap around the end of a glue bottle, then secure with a rubber band.  This will be your "brush."
  4. Use the bubble wrap covered bottle to dab into paint and onto the football.  This creates the texture effect.
  5. Once the football is covered in brown paint, let dry.
  6. When paint is completely dry, cut felt pieces for the lines and stitching on the football and glue on.
  7. Allow to dry overnight and hang for your Super Bowl party or wall art!

Simple Textured Craft for Kids

Simple Textured Craft for Kids

Looking for more fun Super Bowl activities for kids?  Print a copy of my free Super Bowl XLIX Word Search!

 

 

*contains affiliate links at no extra cost to you*

Three Ways To Keep Your Children Learning Over The Holidays (With Little Effort On Your Part!)

ImagicademyWe are going through a major slump in the homeschool area these days.  November and December are jam packed with the three boys' birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, travel, and more.  It is hard for me to stay focused on what I am supposed to be doing, but it is even harder for the Captain.  Understandably, he and D would rather be playing, making Christmas crafts, or talking about our plans for the holidays.  It is times like these that I want them to enjoy learning and have fun without even realize they are practicing their math skills and learning.  

shopping

1.  Let them get involved and ask questions.  If you're shopping, let them create a list.  Let them weigh some apples.  Let them add the items with a calculator. If you're baking, talk about what you are doing.  Let them help, if possible.  I KNOW it can be stressful to let littles help, but letting them dump in a cup of flour is not going to hurt anything, I promise.  Talk about how four 1/4 cups make a whole, just like four quarters make a dollar.  Another good idea is to talk about how many miles to Grandma's house, how long it will take, etc.  Talk about math and other subjects and repetition will make it stick!

book

2.  Have them create a book.  Staple some printer paper together, lay out some markers, and let them draw and write to their heart's content.  Tell them to write a story and illustrate it.  Make it a gift for Grandma or even you and your spouse for Christmas.  They will put more effort into it if they are allowed full creativity and ownership and even MORE if it is a gift.  

3.  Quality learning apps.  I have always believed that using technology for education is a good thing.  The boys can sometimes learn things from apps that I have a hard time explaining.  Last week I downloaded a new app – Mickey's Magical Math World from Disney Imagicademy for this purpose exactly.  It has been great for the Captain!  It is great review and because D is always looking on, it's a great learning tool for him, as well.  The games are created where you need to use your math skills, but you don't even realize you're using math!

Mickey's Magical Math World

There are five major areas of Mickey's Magical Math World:  Shapes, Sorting, Add & Subtract, Problem Solving, and Count Along.  There are different levels to each area, which makes it great for the boys.  I am also able to track and monitor their progress with the Disney Imagicademy: Parents' App.

MickeyMickey's Magical Math World is a fun-filled space adventure where kids can explore, recognize, and identify shapes with Mickey's Rocket Build.  Minnie's Robot Playground is where kids play with numbers and patterns.  This part is great for D!  Other areas are Donald's Alien Number Line, and Donald's Sleepwalking Aliens, where kids make patterns and use sorting skills with Goofy.

I mentioned the Parents' App earlier.  Imagicademy: Parents is a free app that allows parents to connect with other parents in the Imagicademy community.  It also gives us parents inspiration and ideas to encourage our children to learn and grow.  And of course, it allows us to monitor our child's progress and see their creations!

Disney Imagicademy

I'll be honest in that I do not like to pay for apps because the Captain goes through them so quickly.  However, Mickey's Math World is very engaging and there are many different parts to explore.  He loves to play it!

Download Mickey's Magical Math World (exclusively for Apple iPad) and Disney Imagicademy: Parents today and keep kids learning and engaged over the holidays!  Also explore the Imagicademy website.  Imagicademy is the new learning brand from Disney created for families with children ages 3-8.  The purpose is engaging and enriching children through the power of imagination and creativity.  The interconnected system of apps will build on each other to reinforce learning concepts in immersive and playful ways.

Imagicademy has great advice, apps, and activities to encourage learning and togetherness with your kids!  You can also sign up to receive news, updates, and special offers.  There is a free community parent portal, free Disney Store events, books and magazines, and hands-on learning tools that extend the digital experience to the physical world.  

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

D is FOUR! {birthday interview}

birthday interview

"Baby" D is F-O-U-R years old!  It is absolutely crazy that my sweet baby is so OLD.  I started this blog when he was about four months old, so he really has grown up here.  He is a great middle child….a great little brother and best friend to the Captain and big brother to his Baby Brother.  He is protective, sensitive, joyous, and keeps us laughing all of the time.  Happy birthday, sweet boy!  Here are his answers to our family tradition – the birthday interview:

How old are you?  four

What is your favorite color?  blue and yellow and green

What is your favorite thing to drink?  water

What is your favorite toy?  Duplos

Who are your favorite friends?  my brothers and cousins

What do you like to do?  play with Duplos

What do you want to be when you grow up?  "youth group" (youth minister)

What color is your hair?  brown

What color are your eyes?  blue

What is your favorite sport?  every sport

What is your favorite song?  "In A World Like This"

What do you like to do with Daddy?  play wrestle time

What do you like to do with Mommy?  hug her

What do you like to do with the Captain?  tickling

What do you like to do with Baby Brother?  hold him

What is your favorite restaurant?  Pizza Inn

What is easy for you to do?  color

What is hard for you to do?  do math

What is your favorite think about homeschool?  math

What is your favorite thing about church? singing

What is your favorite thing to wear?  my rock star shirt

What is your favorite show?  Diego

What is your favorite book?  "Harold and the Purple Crayon"

What has been your favorite place to visit?  Grandma and Grammy and Grampy

What was your favorite thing to do when you were 3?  go to Grammy and Grampy's house

Homemade Christmas Gak Recipe (Scented With Thieves Oil)

Homemade Christmas Gak

Christmas will soon be here but until then, there is a lot of time to fill!  Kids who are out for the holidays plus parents who have a lot to do to get ready for the big day means that we have to pull a few tricks out of our hats.  Here is a fabulous DIY for something the kids love and can spend hours creating with!  Homemade Christmas gak is perfect for preschoolers (who aren't tempted to eat stuff) all the way through adults who love to play with squishy gak.  And, it can be scented to smell like Christmas with thieves oil or cinnamon spice.  

Ingredients:

  • two 4 oz bottles of Elmer's school glue
  • one tsp Borax
  • food coloring (we used green and red, but the red only turned out pink so I abandoned it)
  • warm water
  • 3-4 drops of Thieves oil (I use Eden's Garden) or a few dashes of cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Pour both bottles of glue into a bowl.
  2. Fill each empty bottle with warm water, shake them up to get the rest of the glue off, and then pour into the bowl with glue.
  3. Add food coloring.  (It took a LOT of green food coloring to get the color in my picture, and like I said the red was just pink forever, so I gave up on that.)
  4. Fill a cup with 1/2 cup of warm water.
  5. Add 1 teaspoon of Borax to the warm water (not the glue mix yet) and mix well until it is dissolved. 
  6. Pour the Borax/water mixture to the bowl of glue/water mixture and stir with a wooden spoon.  Then ditch the wooden spoon and mix with your hands.  Keep at it until it is all mixed well and it is all the same color.
  7. Let the kids have at it!  Bring out cookie cutters, pizza cutters, rollers, anything to make it more fun!
  8. Store in a jar when done.

Notes:  *The thieves oil might make it harder to mix well, but keep at it and it will turn out fine.  *Remind kids to not put the Gak in their mouths and to wash their hands after playing with it.  *If the kids get it on their clothes like mine did, (because doesn't everyone love to SIT on their Gak? Ugh!) just immediately pick off any that you can and rub with warm water and then wash.  It came out well and didn't stain, but with the food coloring and oil, it made me a little nervous.

Homemade Christmas Gak is a great way to pass the time during snow days and would make a great, inexpensive gift or stocking stuffer!

Purchase the Perfect Christmas Outfit at OshKosh B’gosh With This Coupon!

This post was brought to you by OshKosh B'gosh and Influence Central.  All opinions are mine.

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Are you still looking for the perfect Christmas pajamas or outfit for your littles?  Enjoy this 25% off coupon to OshKosh B'gosh and stock up!  The coupon is good through the end of the year and can be used in store and online!  Have fun shopping and Merry Christmas!

Educating Kids About the Environment with the Help of The Green Kids Club

Disclaimer: I am a member of The Social Media Panel, LLC, who was given the opportunity to review this product. However, the brand or company has not influenced me in any way to provide any type of review other than my true and honest opinions. I am disclosing all information provided in this review according to the information provided in Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."  Thank you to MilkSplash for sponsoring this post. #BooksforGreenKids
 
Green Kids Club
We are always trying to think of ways to help our kids understand the importance of taking care of the environment and living greener lives.  I always find that children's books are the best way to convey important messages that we want the boys to learn, because they're captivated and pay attention to books, if they're written well.  Imagine how hard it is to teach a 3 and 6 year old about habitat encroachment, poaching, and extinction without pictures and fun stories.  I was thrilled to be able to review the Green Kids Club books because they are the perfect way to teach our kids about protecting habitats, ecosystems, and animals.  And how important preserving the environment is to humans, too!
 
The Green Kids Club books have captivating pictures and interesting storylines.  They are geared for elementary aged children, but D loves to flip through the books and look at the Green kids and all of the animals.  Green Kids booksThe Green Kids are led by Victor and Maya Green, who received the ability to talk to animals by drinking from the magic spring.  They also share that ability with other kids so they can have the same power!  Different stories focus on different areas on the world which is great for geography lessons, too!  In the back of each book, you'll find photographs of animals and important vocabulary from the book.  These really are very good educational books.  There is even a book in English and Spanish, "Minas Chilenas," which is Spanish for "Chilean Mines."
Green Kids Club books
The Green Kids are easy to love because of their fun adventures and animals that they meet!  And the Green Kids website goes above and beyond by offering online coloring pages, games, toys, DVDs, and more!  These books would be great for any classroom, homeschool family, or just any child that loves animals and loves animals and learning about the environment.  And above all, these are great books for green kids!
 
What do you think about the Green Kids Club books?  

 

 

Creating Christmas Traditions: Family Game Night with Northpole

This Christmas traditions shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.  #NorthpoleFun #CollectiveBias

#northpolefun I love the Christmas season as much as the next person, but I also find myself really struggling for creativity during this time of the year.  I want to create fun memories and traditions for the boys, but admittedly need a lot of help.  After the cold, winter-like temperatures last week, we all needed a way to release the energy and just have fun.  So, we had an early Christmas family game night!  The boys definitely take after thier daddy in that they love playing games and being silly, so that was my inspiration.

I picked up a few Northpole games and activities, snacks and ingredients for  cranberry soda (see recipe below) at Walmart (toward the front of our store in the Christmas toys and gifts area) and surprised the boys by loading up and heading to church where Daddy works and we have more space to run and play.  

Northpole toys at Walmart

Everyone's favorite activity was the Peppermint Ring Fling game.  One person wore a cute pointy Christmas hat while another person tossed soft rings and tried to land them on the point of the hat.  Daddy was especially good at this game, but the boys learned that it takes two to make it work.
family game nightChristmas games

We also played Rooftop Drop, where you toss three beanbags that look like gifts into a cardboard "chimney."  D was good at this game!Northpolebeanbag

I turned both games into a fun relay and put the Rooftop Drop game at one end and the Peppermint Ring Toss game at the other.  The boys had to run (aka burn energy) back and forth to get all of the rings and beanbags where they belonged.  I also incorporated a fun game with the Magic Snowball that lights up when you toss it!

When they needed a rest, we had snacks and opened up the adventure map that came with Christmas goggles.  The map came alive with the 3d goggles!  The Captain loved the adventure tasks on the side and putting the stickers where they belonged.  
IMG_0109 3d glasses Northpole
Then, I read "Once Upon a Northpole Christmas" (that came with a super awesome Find me Santa! snowflake that flashes so Santa can find you on Christmas Eve!  We will be saving that for later!)  The pictures are just beautiful and the story is a good one.  The boys really loved listening to it!

#Northpolefun

#Northpolefun

Here is a sweet commercial about the Find Me Santa! snowflake:

What truly made our new Christmas tradition of family game night was this "Snow Now!"  You add water and it turns into this fluffy white "snow" that is fun to play in and decorate with.  It obviously isn't real snow, so it took a little effort to clean it up, but the boys have been wishing for snow for so long that it was so awesome to see the look on their face when they saw it!

IMG_0105

The special Christmas items from Northpole made our family game night so much fun, plus it was so easy for me.  The best news is that there was a whole aisle of products to choose from, so I may head back and buy some more products for Family Game Night Part 2!

The boys favorite snack/beverage item was this cranberry soda, so I wanted to share the recipe!  It's easy to make and oh so good!

homemade cranberry soda

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 cups washed cranberries
  • 1 cup whole sugar
  • sparkling water or soda water 

Directions:

  1. Mix water, cranberries, and sugar in a small pot.
  2. Cook for about 6 minutes on medium-high heat, until berries pop.
  3. Mash berries with a spoon or potato masher.
  4. Turn off heat and let syrup cool for a few minutes.
  5. Pour cooled mxture through a mesh strainer.
  6. Save the cranberry pulp for homemade cranberry sauce or dessert topping.
  7. Store cranberry syrup in a glass jar with a lid and refrigerate.  Syrup keeps for a few weeks in fridge.
  8. To make cranberry soda, add 4 TBSP cranberry syrup to a glass.  Pour about 6 oz of sparklng water or soda, stir, and enjoy!

**Makes about 1 1/2 cups of syrup**

What is your are some of your favorite family Christmas traditions?

Engage Your Children With Noah – a Wordless Picture Book

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.  Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

noahIf there is one thing that never gets old, it's reading books.  We love to sit down with a good book and read it together.  The Captain is a good reader and he loves to read, too.  I never knew how refreshing it would be to open and explore a wordless picture book, though!  We were sent "Noah" by Mark Ludy to review and the pictures truly do speak for themselves.  Looking at the detail that the illustrator put into these pictures is just amazing.

Noah bookThe boys are already familiar with the story of Noah, but even if a child isn't, they will be intrigued and engaged with these beautiful pictures.  Children can use their imaginations and what they know about the story of Noah already to tell a full story with this book.  It has also inspired us to open the Bible and reread the story of Noah to see the inspiration Mark Ludy used when drawing.  (Read more about Mark Ludy.)

The following picture is my favorite in the book.  Noah is looking up at God with a look of awe, fear, and undoubtedly has many questions running through his mind.  But he trusted God.  Noah knew that God was in control and he wanted to do whatever was asked of him.  What a wonderful lesson for this kids.  Trust in Him and you will be richly blessed!

Noah

I highly recommend this beautiful hardcover picture book for you or a someone you know.  I guarantee you will find yourself getting lost in the book – all 64 pages, thinking of what it must have been like for Noah so long ago!  (Bonus:  Find Squeakers the mouse on every page!)  Purchase NOAH on Amazon for less than $15.  It would make an awesome Christmas gift!

Official NOAH page

Enter to win "Noah" in the giveaway below!

noahgiveaway

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What’s The Hottest New Tablet For Kids This Season? The VTech InnoTab MAX! {giveaway, too}

This post was brought to you by VTech.  All opinions about the VTech tablet for kids are that of my guest reviewer or my own.

If you have been to the toy section at any major store recently, you will see lots and lots of great products to choose from.  If you have narrowed it down and you have decided you are buying your child (or a child you know) a tablet, you may wonder how they are different and what advantages one tablet has over another.  Well, I had a guest reviewer check out the new VTech InnoTab MAX with her twin six year-olds and they were sold within the first hour of opening it. 

The VTech InnoTab MAX is recommended for children ages 3-9 and sells for around $109.  It is VTech's 4th generation kids' learning tablet, featuring its fastest processor yet.  It has up to six times the processing power of previous generations and a 7" high-resolution, multi-touch screen display.  It's the perfect size for little hands!  The InnoTab MAX also has enhanced their Premium VTech Kid Connect and at no additional charge, allows kids and parents to exchange voice and text messages, photos, drawings, and fun stickers in real time between the InnoTab MAX and a smartphone.  How awesome is that?

VTech InnoTab MAX

Okay, aside from the cool, techie side, the InnoTab MAX is excellent for educational purposes, too.  It is NOT just a toy.  Kids have access to more than 650 educator endorsed, age and stage appropriate learning titles as well as carefully cultivated educational Android apps that can be purchased and downloaded through VTech's Learning Lodge app store.  Parental controls allow parents to manage their child's apps, web access, and tablet time, as well as view a progress log.  This is so helpful because kids and parents alike can get carried away, so it's helpful to have all of that information in one place. 

Other great features include:

  • ​​The tablet comes with 15 onboard apps including Premium VTech Kid Connect, My Magic Beanstalk, Movie Maker, Art, Wonder Cam Max, E-Reader with Story Dictionary, and more.
  • comes with one free Toca Boca app and two additional free apps that can be downloaded from the Learning Lodge
  • built-in rechargeable Lithium battery
  • kid-safe Wi-Fi
  • durable kid-friendly cover that can be removed, also acts as a stand
  •  plays videos and mp3 songs
  • 180° rotating camera
  • 8 GB memory – expandable up to 40 GB with a 32 GB microSD card
  • and much more!

VTech InnoTab MAX2Both of the kids absolutely loved the InnoTab MAX.  It is very kid friendly!  They were able to figure out almost everything on their own.  It is something that they can use together, alone, or with their parents and that is a major plus!  It's great for waiting for her brother at baseball practice, the doctor's office, or when you have a few minutes to reward the kids for positive behavior.  They really love it!

Check out the VTech Kids website, Facebook, and Twitter to learn more about the InnoTab MAX!  Purchase it on Amazon, too!

Enter to win this season's hottest new electronic toy in the Rafflecopter below.  You don't have much time, so I've added some extra entries to help you out.  Good luck!

VTech InnoTab Max Giveaway

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