Banishing Boredom

Photograph of bored childNow that summer has arrived, many children will find themselves with more free time on their hands. If you are worried about hearing “I’m bored!” we have a solution: create your own Boredom Busting Jar! When your kids say they are bored or have nothing to do, send them to the jar, and soon they will have an activity to keep them occupied. It is a genius idea in its simplicity. Children will have a stockpile of activities, freeing caregivers from being put on the spot to think of the perfect afternoon project.

Start with a jar with an opening large enough for a hand to reach in and pull out a piece of paper. If you don’t have a jar, you can use a box, coffee can or other container. Create a list of activities children can do on their own, together or with the family. Cut the individual activities out, and place them into the container. You can label or decorate it as desired. When someone utters the phrase “I’m bored!” send them to the jar for an activity.

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On Your Mark, Get Set, Games!

This year’s Summer Reading theme “On Your Mark, Get Set, Read” could not have been planned for a better year. The 2016 Rio Olympic Games are gearing up and will start Photograph of Mancalain August! There are more than 40 games during the Summer Olympics. Many of the games – such as rugby, water polo, and Taekwondo – originated in other countries. In the spirit of this year’s Summer Reading theme and the Olympics, here are some world games to teach and play with your child.

With an unknown origin, Mancala can be traced back to ancient Egypt. Mancala is a two-player strategy game where the goal is to capture the most pieces in your own storage area. A homemade Mancala board is very easy to make with simple household items! Click here to learn how to make your own board and the rules of the game. Continue reading

Juice Box Robots

Juice BoxesLast month my mom received the cutest Valentine – a little robot made from a juice box and other snacks. We both loved how kid friendly this treat was and how easy it is to recreate. You can also use healthier options, depending on who will be enjoying (aka eating) the robots.This craft is easy for kids to make, and it’s a wonderful project to gift to others. Continue reading

Make Your Own Bird Feeder

birdHere’s a craft that allows you to combine three wonderful things:

1) Young children

2) Fine motor skill development

3) Minimal mess

Don’t believe it is possible to do all three at once? Read on, and find out how you and your child can make a simple bird feeder! Continue reading

2013 Missouri Building Blocks: Let’s Sing a Lullaby With the Brave Cowboy

photo of the book coverJan Thomas’ books are known for their humor, and “Let’s Sing a Lullaby With the Brave Cowboy” doesn’t disappoint. Turning a typical bedtime routine on its head, the parent – played by the brave cowboy – continues to halt the bedtime process. Cowboy’s wild imagination turns flowers into spiders and sticks into snakes. Luckily the cows and a not-so-scary wolf alleviate his fears, and he happily croons everyone to sleep.

Kids love guessing what inanimate object is scaring Cowboy. Their enthusiastic and imaginative guessing reminds me of a simple game I made up as a child. I called it… “The Peek Game.”

filegameHow do you play this marvelous game, you ask?

  • Gather a file folder, scissors and some interesting images from magazines or calendars.
  • Cut several flaps in the front your file folder. Larger flaps are perfect for young ones. Tiny flaps make the game more challenging.
  • Hide an image inside the folder.
  • Let one player pick a flap to open.
  • Given this peek, what could the image be?
  • Continue opening windows and guessing until you guess correctly.
  • Swap places and let the other player pick an image.

Looking for more fun?  In the vein of Throwback Thursday, take a peek at our past blogs for another popular guessing game and my favorite cowpoke lullaby (actions included).