Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Joy List

Goldfish has a new campaign, Fishful Thinking, designed to help parents nourish optimism in their children. I signed up for the newsletter and found this idea:

"A simple way to create joy in your family is to ask each person to name three or four activities or situations that bring them joy - and list them on a piece of paper. Call it your joy list and post it on the refrigerator."

"Pay attention to how often you engage in these activities and make sure you spend time doing the things that bring each of you the most happiness." - Tips from Dr. Reivich

My joy list would start with Tillamook Mudslide Ice cream and end perhaps with jumping on a trampoline. I can't wait to take a joy inventory with my kiddies. Ah, so refreshing to put happiness on a to-do list (rather than something like vacuuming the stairs).

Click on the fish for more fun ideas!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Paper Airplanes

Play Equipment:

Gift wrap ribbon

I can't tell you how many paper airplanes I have folded, and yet I have only mastered a few variations. If you are in need of a good airplane tutorial, try this website: (if you are not skilled in origami, like my unskilled self, I highly recommend the simple designs). After the airplane has been folded, add a design with markers and tape the ribbon to the back side of the wings. If they fly the airplanes down the stairs, they will get lots of exercise and not even know it!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Hand Animals

Play Equipment:

Construction Paper
Glue Stick
Googly Eyes

1. Trace the child's hand, using various hand poses.

2. Cut and paste.

3. Look at each shape, and have the kiddies decide which animal the shape resembles.

4. Glue on the googly eyes.

5. Decorate!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Seven Reasons Why Kids Need to Play

After reading an article from Scientific American (full article found here), I found some interesting facts about free time play:

1. Play time cultivates imagination. Without rules, kids can respond more creatively.

2. Playing helps develop social skills, encouraging negotiation, communication, and flexibility.

3. Kids are losing free play time to more structured activities like musical and sporting events.

4. Play is critical to emotional health, relieving stress.

5. Playing makes kids smarter!

6. Here's a shocker: fighting (in a playful way) enhances problem solving abilities! I'll think twice before breaking it up next time.

7. Play is good for everyone! Kids get all the benefits listed above and you get free time as well. Research suggests that kids benefit more from playing with other children than with adults, using more words to describe the imagined game (adults tend to speak for them). So don't feel guilty sending them off to play!

“Curiosity, imagination and creativity are like muscles: if you don’t use them, you lose them.”
- David Elkind (Tufts University child development expert, quoted in The Serious Need for Play)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Jumping Off the Jelly Beans

With all of the plastic eggs cracked and the candy consumed, we had a little excess energy to burn off. Truth be known, I probably ate the most. We were all in need of some exercise. It's still raining here and will continue to rain until June, so I am always looking for indoor play equipment. One of our favorites is the Playskool Honeybee Hop. A game with a spinning stick that you jump, hop, or just run away from. My kids have yet to master the jump rope, so this is a great alternative. With motivational music and various speeds, I even like to play with this one! The best part: no one has to take turns.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Art Gallery

Play Equipment: canvas, paint, q-tips, plastic forks, paint brushes, cotton balls, popsicle sticks.

I love my kids artwork, but there is just so much of it. It all gives me a bit of anxiety. What do I keep and where do I put it? My eldest loves to display his artwork all over the house, using mostly computer paper and masking tape. So I thought perhaps we could display the artwork on something a bit more substantial. They were so excited to paint on canvas! I grabbed whatever I could find to apply the paint (q-tips, plastic forks, paint brushes, cotton balls, popsicle sticks), and experimented with different techniques and textures. We also talked about naming the works of art: the top one is "The Chicken Coop", and the next (influenced by the first artist) is "The Chicken Monster." I think we will classify these as part of the abstract movement.

I saw another great idea on Mom Spark. They took pictures of the artwork and then ordered an 11 x 14 collage poster on Snapfish. All less then $10! Brilliant.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Transparent Eggs

Play Equipment: clear contact paper, ribbon, hole punch, paper egg template, scissors, & scrapbook scraps.

You know all those scraps of scrapbook paper you keep around, thinking you may just find a use for them (or is that just me that does that)? Well whip them out! The kiddies had lots of fun making transparent eggs. The full tutorial can be found on 4 Crazy Kings (and featured on One Pretty Thing).