Halloween Veggie Pumpkin Heads

Pumpkins are a fun part of Halloween. They can be messy to carve, but don't have to be. Try a different approach this year to create Halloween Veggie Pumpkin Heads via @tipsaholic #pumpkins #pumpkinHalloween Veggie Pumpkin Heads

Not a big pumpkin carver? There are lots of great ways to decorate a pumpkin without carving it. Paint, washi tape, stickers. The list goes on and on. Today Family Fun is sharing with us a tip for an easy non-carved pumpkin.

What you will need to create Halloween Veggie Pumpkin Heads:

  • garden produce (whatever you have, broccoli, peppers, etc.)
  • pumpkins
  • toothpicks
  • metal skewers

Create a colorful pumpkin clan by securing surplus garden produce onto pumpkins with toothpicks. If the pumpkin’s rind is too tough for toothpicks to pierce, drill holes for them with a metal skewer.

Plan out a face before starting on the pumpkin. Then add to it and really make it an individual. Layering the veggies gives the faces a multidimensional look.

These pumpkins are a perfect no-carve and not scary option for little kids. Plus skip all the mess of removing the inside of the pumpkin.

Featured and Title image via Family Fun.

Love this idea? Try one of these:

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Tips For Successful Communication With A Hyperactive Child

Talking to a hyper child can be hard, but it can be done. Insteadof getting frustrated try something different. Here are Tips For Successful Communication With A Hyperactive Child via tipsaholic.com #children #communicationTips For Successful Communication With A Hyperactive Child


What I’ve learned as a parent of 3 is that each one of them approaches life from such a different perspective. It keeps me on my toes that’s for sure! My oldest child is often hyperactive and that seemed to be escalating while she was in Kindergarten. So instead of panicking (okay, I panicked a little bit) we just started to research and put into practice some valuable techniques that helped us communicate with her without losing our ever-loving minds in the process. Ahem.
I’d like to share some with you that were successful for us.

#1 Get Them To Look You In The Eyes

She has this spectacular brain. It’s so spectacular that I think it’s in about 12 different places at once and listening to the sound of my voice is low on her priority list. So when I need to tell her something important or ask her to do something I first say “Honey, look at me”. Sometimes I have to repeat myself a couple of times but I can’t tell you what a difference this makes in effectiveness. I then often follow up by making her acknowledge me by saying “Yes Mommy” or “Okay”.

It may sound silly but there’s something about eye contact that suddenly gives my voice the priority.

#2 Get Them Outside

We live in Colorado where there’s beautiful sunshine almost all year long, but even when it’s cold outside we just bundle them up (or not according to the photo above!) because we are adamant about getting the kids to play outside. Kids are just sedentary way too many hours of the day (especially if they are school age children) and for a hyperactive child this is a recipe for disaster. Fresh air, room to run around and a place they can use their voices to their hearts content – that’s a little slice of heaven for them.

#3 Find Their Focus

Believe it or not, many kids who are hyperactive have some activity that they will have laser focus on, you just have to figure out what it is. I tried dance for my little one and she does love it but when I would peek in the room I could see that she was barely checked in…making silly faces in the mirror and sometimes distracting the other kids. So we decided to capitalize on her love for music and tried guitar lessons.

Holy moly, she sits still and silent for her guitar teacher like I’ve never seen her do with anyone else. She’s tired when she’s done and it just puts her in a calm space.

Talking to a hyper child can be hard, but it can be done. Insteadof getting frustrated try something different. Here are Tips For Successful Communication With A Hyperactive Child via tipsaholic.com #children #communication

 

(Options that don’t require spending any money might be puzzles, legos, drawing or coloring)

#4 Diet and Nutrition

I know I know, you might hate me for this one but I can’t stress it enough. The moment we found out that her hyperactivity and inattentiveness was affecting her performance in school I made the decision to change her diet. Her Dad is gluten intolerant so it wasn’t a far stretch (also given some other symptoms) to think that she might be too. We saw some changes immediately (mostly physical) and slowly, over time we also saw what was almost like a ‘fog’ lifted from her mind. It’s as though part of the barrier that was making it difficult to communicate was slowly disappearing.

For some people it’s dairy, for some it’s gluten, for some it’s processed foods but let me just say this – for almost every child it’s gonna be sugar. Going gluten free was not the end all be all, we also have to monitor her sugar (which, let’s face it, is HARD). Every time you turn your back someone is giving your child sugar so really we just do the best we can. It’s hard on days when she has too much, it’s like her brain is buzzing and she can’t sit still.  Those are the days she spends a lot of time outside :)

We also give her Omega 3’s for children and Focus Fizz and use essential oils in moderation that help keep her balanced. Please note that every child is different and I think it’s important to discuss any dietary or nutrition changes with your pediatrician. These are just the things that have worked well for us. At the very least, eating a balanced diet with minimal processed food and sugar will be beneficial no matter what.

#5 Use Your Imagination (and theirs) And Get Creative

We have what we call ‘witching hour’ in our house.  It’s right about the end of the workday (my husband and I both work from home) right before dinner. The kids are tired, restless and usually starting to fight. The house is also upside down at this point. Witching hour might not be the appropriate term because one hour doesn’t cut it. Getting ready for bed is just as crazy. So during those times my husband often uses the most creative ways to get their attention and in turn get the job done. He gets creative which engages their imaginations and then suddenly the task at hand is fun actually utilizes the hyperactivity.

For instance, the other night he pretended to be a Drill Sergeant and the kids were his soldiers. They had to salute him, say ‘Yes Sir!” and complete their tasks perfectly and in a timely manner. Suddenly picking up their toys and getting ready for bed was a whole new ballgame.

During the Olympics he played a commentator and the kids were athletes in competition. I have never seen them move so quickly to get their pajamas on!!! They were gleeful and compliant all at once.

Kids who are hyperactive are often mistaken for being disobedient and get a bad rap. But the truth is they are smart and amazing and just need to be approached a little differently. With some patience and understanding and employing these techniques we have transformed our relationship with our daughter. We’re doing our best to help her channel her energy and embracing what makes her special!

Author: Jennifer Faris is a photographer, writer, mom of 3 littles and wife to a rock star (at least in her eyes). You can see more of her work at www.jenniferfaris.com and follow her on FacebookPinterest,Instagram.

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38 Inspiring Ideas for Family Command Centers

38 Inspiring Ideas for Family Command Centers ~ Tipsaholic.com #family #organization #commandcenter

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School begins and all intentions to stay organized for the year can quickly deteriorate as kids lug home backpacks filled with art projects, handwriting practice, permission slips, sports equipment, and more. Keep things under control by creating a personalized “command center,” where every family member can unload, reload, and store their everyday gear – and Mom can more easily see what, when, and where everyone’s going. Use these 38 ideas to inspire your family’s command center, drop zone, landing zone, organization station, after-school station, or whatever else you want to call it – and get organized for good!

 

 

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Martha Stewart

1. We love this command center setup with its multi-purpose shelf unit for catching loose items, storage, and hanging coats and bags.

 

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Girl Loves Glam

2. Make your own modern organization board with Girl Loves Glam’s free printables and tutorial for making a fun stained backdrop.

 

p4cc3 The Container Store

3. A great idea from The Container Store to use simple labeled bags to corral gear for individual children, plus some tips on what to include when building your command center!

 

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The Handmade Home

4. This organization station serves a purpose but looks amazing too with its fun abacus feature.

 

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BHG

5. If you’ve got two small areas to use for your landing zone, consider some of these ideas and make both rooms feel cohesive.

 

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Pottery Barn

6. This idea comes directly from the Pottery Barn, and although it’s pricey to buy, it could inspire some fabulous DIY-ing!

 

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BHG

7. A couple of simple storage rails or towel rods can go a long way in keeping a small station together. And the corkboard backdrop? Perfect.

 

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iHeart Organizing

8. Use a basic shelf system and some creative accessories (that mirror!) to give your command center some real flair.

 

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The Yellow Cape Cod

9. A hanging tote for each family member makes it easy to transfer items collected during the week to be carried to their rightful homes.

 

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Achieving Creative Order

10. A kids’ art gallery and a fun set of reminder boards? Clever ideas to add to your landing zone at Achieving Creative Order. 

 

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BHG

11. Sometimes all you need is a pretty shelving unit and a collection of bins and baskets.

 

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Simply Fabulous Living

12. Industrial baskets and an oversized clock are great pieces to use when organizing on a small section of wall.

 

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Bliss @ Home

13. Don’t forget to add patterns, colors, and fun details to add some great aesthetics.

 

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ScatterShot

14. If you’ve got some free time and want to try something permanent, this is a great command center to add to a home! Check out the full chalkboard wall and large photo print.

 

 

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BHG

15. A mounted pocket for homework, permission slips, bills, and more make it much easier for busy parents to keep track of the needs of each family member.

 

 

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Ciburbanity

16. Give an unused kitchen corner a useful makeover by turning it into your organization station. And framing recipes from vintage cookbooks? Pure genius when it comes to personal touches.

 

 

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I Am Momma Hear Me Roar

17. Get access to some weathered wood from an old barn or fence and follow this tutorial to create a rustic command center like this one. Our favorite feature is the painted clothespin family!

 

 

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Sweet Aprils

18. There’s a lot to love in this landing zone – the clipboards, family rules sign, key holder, chest… And if the frames and accessories you have don’t match, give them a quick coat of spray paint for instant unification.

 

 

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Tatertots & Jello

19. The base for this project consists of two cheap wooden doors. Paint, textures, and patterns make it a fun and functional part of the home. Simply lean it against a wall or screw it down for a more permanent, sturdy unit.

 

 

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iHeart Organizing

20. A command center doesn’t have to be elaborate to be useful. Choose accessories that make the most sense for the space and fit your family’s needs.

 

 

 

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The Handmade Home

21. Here’s a unique idea for helping kids keep track of their daily tasks, all made with plexiglass so the pieces can be used like dry erase boards. And take a look at the simple string of photos and artwork adding some family love to the wall!

 

 

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Beneath My Heart

22. If you’ve got a lot of space to work with this command center will give you some great ideas! A big chalkboard painted onto the wall and surrounded by a simple frame makes the perfect background for a three month calendar and some practical add-ons.

 

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BHG

23. Sometimes all you need is to repurpose an old piece of furniture. This buffet makes the perfect organizational unit for a command center and a large mirror can double as a message board.

 

 

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The Elusive Bobbin

24. Can’t quite find the command center boards and accessories you need? Try building your own with these instructions from The Elusive Bobbin.

 

 

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The Elm Life

25. Make use of kitchen appliances in a kitchen command center! The refrigerator that hugs this wall becomes a great place for little kitchen extras like a menu planning system and cleaning schedule.

 

 

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The Crafting Chicks

26. Keep things simple with a coat hook and clip for each family member. This organization station uses a magnet board and magnetic clips.

 

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LegacyStudio

27. This great find from LegacyStudio is up on Etsy—you can buy one or use it as inspiration for your own single-unit command center.

 

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Ana White

28. Another more permanent unit, this one can be built and customized with these plans from Ana White. 

 

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Shaken Together Life

29. Check out these creative customizations – chore boards, baskets for snacks and school supplies, and a special notice board for Mom.

 

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Just a Girl and Her Blog

30. We love the artsy details and crisp colors of this command center. A basket for backpacks is a great alternative to mounting hooks on the wall.

 

 

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So You Think You’re Crafty

31. This build-it-yourself unit has a great old-school look and the pegboards add a lot of versatility. See the tutorial for a list of inexpensive materials and all the details.

 

 

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Inspiration Organization

32. Helping kids keep track of their own gear is easy when they can clearly see their names (and initials!) in the command center.

 

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The Lily Pad Cottage

33. Dress up a plain dry erase (or chalk) board by adding painted frames to highlight important lists. Another fun idea – magnets stating the days of the week that can be moved wherever needed.

 

 

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Kikki.K

34. The clean lines in this command center really make things feel organized, and Kikki.K gives five simple steps to creating yours.

 

 

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Oh So Shabby

35. Oh So Shabby definitely gets the award for sweetest accessories! We’re totally in love with the idea of using mini-mailboxes to stash each kid’s electronics and the cute flower and banner details.

 

 

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Living Locurto

36. An in-box and out-box for each family member is another great organizational tool to consider when designing your command center. Plus you can snag some free back-to-school printables to go with it at Living Locurto.

 

 

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Clean and Scentsible

37. If you’re looking for something versatile but not sure how to put it together on your own, get some inspiration from this command center, then head over to Staples’ Martha Stewart section here  to pick your own pieces!

 

 

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Achieving Creative Order

38. As the family grows and dynamics change, it’s nice to be able to make appropriate changes to your command center as well. Achieving Creative Order does just that with her family’s wall.

 

 38 Inspiring ideas for family command centers ~ Tipsaholic.com #family #organization #commandcenter

 

Remodelaholic has 10 more great ideas for Family Command Centers! Check them out here!

 

Kayla Lilly is a photographer, writer, wife, and mama making a house a home in eastern Idaho. She met her mister while working at an amusement park and married him a year later after deciding there was no way to live without him. The amusement has continued as they’ve added three kids and a passel of pets to their lives while finishing college and starting a photography business. Drawing inspiration from the whirlwinds of marriage, parenthood, and the media, Kayla blogs at Utterly Inexperienced, and spends the rest of her time chasing chickens, organizing junk drawers, diapering toddlers, and photographing everyone willing to step in front of her lens.

 

Featured image via Better Homes and Gardens.

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10 Fun Family Activities for Fall

Fall is a great time to enjoy your family. For lots of ideas check out these 10 Fun Family Activities for Fall - tipsaholic, #fall, #familyfun, #autumn, #family

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As the air gets crisp and you don sweaters and boots, you may be lamenting all the fun your family had last summer!  Trips to the pool, beach days, afternoons at the park, running through sprinklers and fun in the sun dominated your summer days; it may be that family fun seems a thing of the past.  Rest assured, there are plenty of ways to enjoy fall as a family!  You may not be jumping into the lake, but don’t let the chilly weather bring you down.  Here are 10 fun family activities for fall.

 

1. Pumpkin picking.  It may seem like a no-brainer, but there’s something satisfying about finding that perfectly shaped, perfectly colored pumpkin.  Running through the patch with your kids and helping them haul their treasures back to the car can create lasting memories.

 

2. Apple picking.  Much like pumpkins, picking your own apples is a fun and satisfying treat.  Find an orchard that will allow you to pick your own from the tree, rather than simply buy them by the bushel.  Show kids how to find the best apples, decide which varieties you all enjoy, climb and hunt for the perfect specimens, and most importantly make apple pie when you get home!

 

3. Bike ride of colors.  Look on the internet or on local maps to find the best public forests – try state and national parks.  Look for areas with many different trees so you can enjoy the various turning colors.  Pack your bikes and helmets and take a bike trail through the falling leaves.

 

4. Fall picnic.  Picnics can be just as fun in the fall as they are in summer!  Pick a spot that gets a lot of sun so you won’t be too cold.  Dress everyone in layers for warmth, so they can remove clothing if they get too hot.  Be sure to pack all your favorite fall treats – you can use a thermos for hot chocolate or soup, take along pumpkin or apple pocket pies, and find fresh produce like pears, apples, squash and sweet potatoes prepared in a variety of ways.  Don’t forget to pack the flannel blankets!

 

5. Make your own cider or apple sauce.  It may take a bit of prep, but you can buy a cider press or check your local listings for options to rent one.  You could also call around to local orchards as some offer cider-making as an activity.  Making apple sauce is quite a bit easier, as you only need a stove and blender or food processor (try this recipe from The Pioneer Woman).  Cooking together can bring everyone closer and kids love to help creating in the kitchen.

 

6. Corn mazes.  This is likely only available in certain areas, but if you live within driving distance a good corn maze can’t be beat!  It’s a fun, lively activity they’ll love running through, and young ones will be amazed at the height of the corn!  It’s also a great way to get their brains moving as they try to solve the life-sized puzzle.  Plus, they’ll work on interpersonal skills like team work and cooperation.  Check out these famous corn mazes.  Or check online for corn mazes in your own state.

 

7. Leaf pressing.  Go on a leaf hunt with your kids.  Take them to a particularly treed park, or a state forest.  Find leaves of different colors and shapes and collect them gently in a box.  Be sure to collect leaves that are still pliable, not dried and crunchy.  Don’t crumple them in a bag or pocket.  When you get home, place the leaves individually between the pages of a large, heavy book (like a dictionary).  Keep them this way for for a few weeks, then take them out and use them for a mobile or other fun craft.

 

8. Leaf jumping.  Turn a boring chore into piles of fun!  Give everyone a rake and make a giant pile of leaves.  Take turns jumping and throwing.  Have a contest to see who can jump the farthest or fanciest!

 

9. Have a campfire.  If you’ve got a fire pit in your yard, now’s the perfect time to roast marshmallows or sing some camp songs!  A campfire is a great way to get cozy and warm on a chilly night.  Don’t have a fire pit of your own?  Visit a friend or family member with one – or spend the evening or weekend at a nearby campsite!

 

10. Make garlands of dried fruit like apples and oranges to string along the mantel, windows or doorway.  You can find directions here.  Or make pomanders with citrus fruits and cloves, as shown here.  It’s fun to create together, and it will make your house smell delicious!

Kimberly Mueller is the “me” over at bugaboo, mini, mr & me, a blog that highlights her creative endeavors. She especially likes to share kid crafts, sewing attempts, recipes, upcycled projects, photography and free printable gift tags/cards. When she’s not enjoying being married to her best friend, chasing after the natives (AKA her three kids) and attempting to keep the house in one piece, you can find her with a glue gun in one hand and spray paint in the other. Aside from DIY pursuits, she also enjoys writing, reading, music, singing (mostly in the shower) and the color yellow. Kimberly recently published a craft book entitled Modern Mod Podge. You can also find her on FacebookPinterestBloglovin’ and Instagram. Email her at: bugabooblog(at)yahoo.com

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Holiday Family Photos: A What-to-Wear Guide

Make family pictures easy this year. Holiday Family Photos: A What-to-Wear Guide from tipsaholic.com #familyphotos #family #holidayphotos #holiday
Holiday Family Photo Guide

If you’ve mustered up the courage to gather your [reluctant] family members for a photo this holiday season, you’ve probably been brainstorming about the all-important clothing and accessory choices you’ll be making. This simple “what-to-wear” guide will give you the recipe for the perfect look – and once you’ve got the basics, it’s easy to make it your own by adding in your favorite colors, patterns, and textures!
 Holiday Family Photos: A What-to-Wear Guide

1. Avoid the “matchy-matchy.”

Gone are the days when matching Christmas sweaters on every family member was “cute.” Nowadays, the ultra-matching family ensemble has taken a backseat to “coordinating.” While you probably don’t want each person in a different color, variation is the key to achieving a natural, well-planned look.

 

2. Wear layers.

Consider the potential changes in the weather as you plan for your photos. Layers are an easy way to alternate between staying warm and keeping cool if your climate can be unpredictable this time of year. Layers also allow you to change things up in our photos without having to change entire outfits in the backseat of your car!

 

3. Consider basic neutral color combos with bright seasonal accents.

Neutrals are a perfect place to begin when planning your clothing color combinations. They are flexible, they don’t distract, and they can be paired with practically any color or any pattern imaginable. Great neutrals for the holidays could be blacks, grays, creams, browns, tans, navies, and neutral greens. Once you’ve chosen a base or two, you can start adding in seasonal colors – cranberry reds, holly greens, plums and deep blues. Brighter shades and other colors are also appropriate if you want your photo to look great above the mantle no matter the season!

 

4. Mix patterns and solids.

Striking a balance between patterned and solid clothing can really make a family shine. If a simple outfit needs a punch, add a patterned scarf or cardigan. Dress up a pair of jeans by wearing a patterned top. For guys, layering a solid with a pattern is a great way to go. For the ladies, even jewelry can break up an otherwise solid outfit.

 

5. Add texture.

Putting everyone in cotton t-shirts and jeans can be a bit bland. Add a cozy sweater, layer a button-up over a tee, and mix in jewelry, belts and boots, ruffles, lace, or sheer scarves and you’ll be on your way to the perfect combination for the entire family.

 

And above all:

 

6. Keep it simple.

Clothing with large prints, wording, or characters on it will draw the eyes away from your beautiful faces and should be avoided where possible. It’s also a good idea to repress any urges to run out and buy large jewelry and hair accessories for photos. While they can be fun and conversational in person, bold accessories often come across as a distraction in a picture. When people see your family in that photo, whether in your home or on a holiday card, most of them want to see your faces, not be distracted by what you’re wearing!

Kayla Lilly is a photographer, writer, wife, and mama making a house a home in eastern Idaho. She met her mister while working at an amusement park and married him a year later after deciding there was no way to live without him. The amusement has continued as they’ve added three kids and a passel of pets to their lives while finishing college and starting a photography business. Drawing inspiration from the whirlwinds of marriage, parenthood, and the media, Kayla blogs at Utterly Inexperienced, and spends the rest of her time chasing chickens, organizing junk drawers, diapering toddlers, and photographing everyone willing to step in front of her lens.

Feature and title image via Better Homes and Gardens.

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15 Fun Family Halloween Costume Ideas


Make Halloween a family affair this year. Dress up in a group themed costume. Check out these great ideas from tipsaholic.com. 15 Family Fun Halloween Costumes. #halloween #costumes #costume15 Fun Family Halloween Costume Ideas Title

Do you go out trick and treating with the whole family for Halloween? Or maybe you’ve got a big Halloween party to attend with your kids? Instead of coming up with separate costumes for every person in your family, consider dressing up together as one group! Here are 15 family halloween costume ideas to inspire you.

S’mores

Using cardboard, pillows, tape, and some velcro, this creative family of four turned themselves into the delicious ingredients of S’mores: graham crackers, a marshmallow, and a chocolate bar.

101 Dalmatians

Turn mommy into Cruella De Vil and daddy into Jasper and the kids into cute spotted puppies for Halloween! The dalmatian costumes were made with white clothing and black fabric paint.

The Incredibles

The Incredibles are already a family unit, so it’s the perfect family halloween costume! Using lots of felt and red clothing, this family created their costumes with the help of a sewing machine.

Legos

Your kids will love this family halloween costume idea if they like to play with Legos! This family went as a mix of Lego people and blocks. They made their costumes with a cardboard tube for the heads and lots of cardboard boxes and spray paint.

Care Bears

Be comfy on Halloween and dress up as Care Bears! Buy sweatshirts and sweatpants for the whole family in different colors (dye white ones if you can’t find the right colors). Add circles of felt with designs of your favorite Care Bears. Up the cuteness factor by decorating a wagon as a white, fluffy cloud!

Peter Pan

If you have a little girl baby in your family, consider turning her into Tinkerbell! Get someone else, maybe a little boy or the dad, to be Peter Pan. Round out the family costume with someone dressed as Hook! There’s a lot of other characters from the movie that could be a part of your family halloween costume: Wendy, Smee, the Lost Boys, John, Michael, Tiger Lily, and even Nana.

Disney Villains

Instead of dressing up like the characters of a movie, this family dressed up as Disney villains! This family halloween costume included Jafar, Syndrome, Maleficent, and Cruella De Vil. Other Disney villains to consider: Mother Gothel from Tangled, Scar from The Lion King, and Ursula from The Little Mermaid.

Shark Attack

This creative family halloween costume turns your littlest ones into hungry sharks! Have your kids dress up like sharks, one parent dress up as a lifeguard and the other as a surfer who got injured by the bloodthirsty sharks. A lot of fun, especially if the surfer carries around a broken surfboard. You could make one out of styrofoam or even cardboard.

Star Wars

Star Wars is something that both kids and adults love, so this family halloween costume idea will be a hit. There’s so many characters from the world of Star Wars that no matter how many members you have in your family, you’ll be able to find a costume idea for everyone. Some favorite characters: Yoda, Darth Vader, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, Stormtroppers, R2D2, C-3PO, and Obi Wan Kenobi.

Smurfs

Paint everyone in blue face paint and dress them up in blue clothes with white gloves, white shorts, and white shoes. Oh, and don’t forget the white hats. This family halloween costume is great fun and you all will get recognized instantly as characters from the beloved cartoon.

Wizard of Oz

Classic movies are always great inspiration for a fun family halloween costume. The Wizard of Oz is another movie that’s full of exciting characters for your family members to emulate, from Dorothy to the Wicked Witch of the West. Don’t forget Toto, the Good Witch, the Lion, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and of course, the Wizard of Oz himself.

Addams Family

The family that revels in their misery and all things scary makes a fun family to hang out as on Halloween! Dress up your family as the Addams Family, bonus points if you have a pet who can dress up as Thing. For even more fun, dress someone up as the hairy Cousin It.

The Super Mario Bros.

The popular video game series is full of cute characters with colorful costumes that will translate into a truly great family halloween costume. Mario, Luigi, Toad, and Princess Peach are the obvious choices, but other costume ideas include Yoshi, Donkey Kong, and the baddie Bowser.

The Simpsons

If you have two girls and one boy, why not turn your family into the Simpsons family? You could either find masks for everyone or paint everyone’s faces yellow and find wigs for everyone. For even more fun, give everyone a prop – a beer mug for Homer, a skateboard for Bart, a saxophone for Lisa, a red necklace for Marge, and a pacifier for Maggie!

Sesame Street

Do your kids watch the Sesame Street show? Of course they do. They’ll be thrilled to dress up along with the family as their favorite characters from the universally loved muppet show. You could buy the costumes or keep it simple with t-shirts of the faces of the muppet characters. Or you could do what this family did – they used colored feather boas and made eyes out of styrofoam balls. So clever.

Halloween is a family affair, so it makes sense to go all out and dress up together as a family. Do your family like to dress up together or are you considering trying it this year? What other family halloween costume ideas have you seen that you’d like to share?

For more halloween costume ideas, check out 40 Halloween Costumes for Babies and Toddlers and 21 Boy-Friendly Disney Dress Up DIYs.

“I’m Elisa and I live in Austin, Texas with my husband and our two little girls. I used to teach reading and writing, but now I stay at home with my two kiddos and read and write in my spare time. I also love to undertake DIY projects, find new recipes on Pinterest, and dream about someday finally completing our home. Above all, I love to learn about new things and sharing my new-found knowledge with others.”  Please check out my blog What the Vita!

Feature and Title Image via Better Homes and Gardens.

Love these Halloween Tips? Find more right here:

40 Halloween Costume Ideas for Babies and Toddlers via Tipsaholic          10 spooky kids crafts for Halloween via Tipsaholic.com         5 Quick and Easy Halloween Party Treats via Tipsaholic

Baby Halloween Costumes   Halloween Kids Crafts        Halloween Treats

Spooky Halloween Decor Ideas via Tipsaholic.com        10 No-Carve Pumpkin Ideas via Tipsaholic.com         Tips for Perfect Pumpkin Carving via Tipsaholic.com

Halloween Decor              No-Carve Pumpkin Ideas      Pumpkin Carving Tips

10 Hands-On Math Activities for 9-11 year olds

10 Hands On Math Activities for 9-11 Year Olds - Tipsaholic

If you want to start supplementing your child’s math education, but don’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right place!  Hands-on math activities should engage your child in a multitude of ways — physically, verbally, aurally and visually, just to name a few.  By playing and sharing together, you solidify and reinforce difficult math concepts in a fun way that will help kids love math, not just tolerate it.  Here is a list of 10 great options for your 9-11 year old!

10 math activities for 9-11 year olds

Computer Games:

1. Fractions and Decimals – Topmarks

Here you’ll find great games to help your child learn fractions and decimals, including: Magic Math Market, Fraction Beach, Fraction Flags.

2. Shapes, Position and Movement – Topmarks

Activities like Shapes in Space, 3D Exploration, and Sorting on Venn Diagram will capture your child’s attention and imagination.

3. Interactive Tangrams – Interactive Tangrams

A tangram is a puzzle square cut into seven pieces that can be combined to create different figures or shapes.  On this site, you can solve different puzzles by turning the shapes, dragging and dropping them into place.

4. Online practice problems – Adapted Mine

Adapted Mine has a ton of practice problems broken down by category and grade. You’ll definitely want to bookmark this site for future use!

Printables, etc.

5. Tangram Zoo – Annenberg Learner

This link is for a group of printable animal figures to create different figures and shapes.

6. Oxford Owls Activity Sheets – Oxford Owl

Here you’ll find activity sheets on decimals, fractions, and place value. There are also several links to literacy eBooks for 9-11 year olds.

Game and Activities

7. Fraction Cubes, Math Fact Bingo and Dominoes – eHow contributor, Shannon Hill

Playing games like math bingo and dominoes will give your child a chance to have fun while staying challenged.

8. Dry Erase Decimal Activity – Snaps for Fourth Grade

This first-time teacher has some great tips and math activities for you to try with your child.

9. Temperature Card Game – Education.com

Your child will learn about negative and positive integers while determining the direction of temperature on a thermometer with this fun card game

10. M&M Math – Our Journey Westward

Who knew that candy could be such a good teaching tool? You’ll find a multitude of math activities your child can do with M&Ms.

Education.com has a ton of game ideas for this age range.  Check them out here.

 

Feature image via Tutor Nerds

 

Kimberly Mueller is the “me” over at bugaboo, mini, mr & me, a blog that highlights her creative endeavors. She especially likes to share kid crafts, sewing attempts, recipes, upcycled projects, photography and free printable gift tags/cards. When she’s not enjoying being married to her best friend, chasing after the natives (AKA her three kids) and attempting to keep the house in one piece, you can find her with a glue gun in one hand and spray paint in the other. Aside from DIY pursuits, she also enjoys writing, reading, music, singing (mostly in the shower) and the color yellow. Kimberly recently published a craft book entitled Modern Mod Podge. You can also find her on FacebookPinterest, Bloglovin’ and Instagram. Email her at: bugabooblog(at)yahoo.com

10 Math Books 9-11 Year Olds Will Love

math books your 9-11 year old will love

Math isn’t all worksheets and flashcards.  It can be a lot of fun, too!  Reading is a great way to learn together and reinforce concepts.  The following 10 books are a perfect place to start when you’re looking for math books for your 9-11 year old.

10 math books 9-11 years old will love

1. The Grapes of Math by Greg Tang

A book of riddles with tried and true, creative methods for solving math problems by the author.  The vibrant illustrations and fun games will be a hit with kids.  Using effective and simple methods to solve the riddles will give your child confidence.

2. A Very Improbable Story by Edward Einhorn

One morning, Ethan awakes to find an unusual cat – Odds, stuck on his head.  To get rid of the cat, Ethan must win a game of probability, such as pick out two matching socks from his drawer or pull a dime from his coin collection, or some other equally improbable feat.  If he can’t beat the odds, Odds won’t budge, and there’s a 100% chance that Ethan will miss his soccer game!  With this fun plot, entertaining characters and engaging illustrations, this is book is a surefire hit with kids.  It teaches a difficult to grasp concept in a fun way.

3. Math for all Seasons by Greg Tang

More fun riddles and problems to solve in mind-stretching ways.  Great for building Math vocabulary, creativity, and confidence.

4. Math Curse by Jon Scieszka

Do you ever have one of those days where everything is a problem??  This book follows a girl throughout a day filled with “problems” – MATH problems!  A fun look at everyday math.  Charming illustrations with a fun and engaging plot line will have kids begging you to read it.

5. Full House: An Invitation to Fractions by Dayle Ann Dods

Whimsical illustrations and a cast of hilarious characters flow through this book of rhyming text.  Miss Bloom runs the Strawberry Inn and loves to have visitors.  One night, she finds herself with a full house.  Sensing something is amiss, she discovers her guests hungry for a midnight snack.  Will there be enough cake for everyone?  A very inviting read for kids.

6. Mummy Math: An Adventure in Geometry by Cindy Neuschwander

The Zills family is summoned to Egypt to aid in finding the burial chamber of an ancient pharaoh.  When the kids get trapped in a hidden tomb, they must use the geometric hieroglyphics and their knowledge of math to find the burial chamber and escape the tomb.  Will they make it out?  Do they know their stuff?  With a riddle, a mystery and plenty of opportunity for flexing math muscles, kids are sure to find this adventure fun, time and time again.

7. A Remainder of One by Elinor J. Pinczes

When a queen demands that her bugs march in even lines, it’s up to Private Joe to divide and conquer.  Can he split the ants into lines evenly, so he will not be left out?  How many lines will it take?  Fun little drawings will invite young readers in, while the story line engages and teaches a valuable lesson in division.

8. How Big is a Foot? by Rolf Myller

The king wants to give the queen something special for her birthday — not easy when the queen has EVERYTHING.  Except…a bed.  You see, beds hadn’t yet been invented.  The king must figure out “how big is a bed?” – but no one knows!  A cute, fun story with quirky illustrations that will have kids guessing and estimating in measurements.

9. Multiplying Menace: The Revenge of Rumpelstiltskin by Pam Calvert

Follow Peter as he tries to stop Rumpelstiltskin and his multiplying stick.  Can he unlock the secret and rescue the kingdom from Rumpelstiltskin and his mischief?  A fun look at multiplication using familiar characters that kids are sure to love.

10. The Best of Times by Greg Tang

A fun take on the times table.  The author teaches innovative ways to derive solutions to multiplication problems without rote memorization.  The rhyming patterns are easy to remember and the cute illustrations are delightful.

(all photos and links via Amazon)

 

Kimberly Mueller is the “me” over at bugaboo, mini, mr & me, a blog that highlights her creative endeavors. She especially likes to share kid crafts, sewing attempts, recipes, upcycled projects, photography and free printable gift tags/cards. When she’s not enjoying being married to her best friend, chasing after the natives (AKA her three kids) and attempting to keep the house in one piece, you can find her with a glue gun in one hand and spray paint in the other. Aside from DIY pursuits, she also enjoys writing, reading, music, singing (mostly in the shower) and the color yellow. Kimberly recently published a craft book entitled Modern Mod Podge. You can also find her on FacebookPinterest, Bloglovin’ and Instagram. Email her at: bugabooblog(at)yahoo.com

De-Mystifying Math: 8 Tips for Supplementing Your Child’s Math Education (Ages 9-11)

8 Tips for Supplementing Your Child's Math Education - Tipsaholic

 

Math.  It’s necessary, requires higher thought processes, and can be completely intimidating for elementary school-aged kids.  If you have the right approach, attitude and mindset as a parent, you can help your child gain not only an understanding and appreciation for math, but perhaps even a fondness.  In any case, supplementing your child’s education is crucial to help them feel at ease with abstract math concepts.  Here are 8 super helpful tips to help your 9-11 year old with math concepts and learning.

8 tips for de-mystifying math

1. Always consider the individual. 

All kids learn best in different ways — be it visually, orally, verbally, physically, etc.  You can find out more information about each different category at Learning Styles Online.  Keep your specific child in mind when considering your approach and remember to tailor their supplemental learning.  By this age, a “one size fits all” mentality towards education could hinder your child rather than help them.

Kids have started approaching schoolwork in a more individual way at this point in their development.  Worksheets (many which can be found online) might work best for a logical or solitary learner, while active games involving kinesthetics and math concepts would work better for a physical learner.

If you need some help identifying the best ways to teach your child, you can take a “multiple intelligences” quiz online and answer the questions as if you were your child.  The following quiz from Edutopia breaks down learning styles into percentages and offers specific information for each style: Multiple Intelligences Learning Styles Quiz.

Also keep in mind your child’s interests and try to fit their math education accordingly.  If they love cars, for instance, use games, activities and story problems involving cars.  If they love animals, use this as a theme for supplemental materials.

2. Do it together.

Chances are your child will be more appreciative of a unified learning approach, so do math together!  Sitting your child down at the computer to play games all by himself won’t have the same impact as learning together and discussing the concepts as you go.  So whatever the learning style, whatever the activity, be present.  If you find that you yourself are unfamiliar with a concept, look it up together and figure it out.  Oxford Owls Jargon Buster is a good place to start if you need help refreshing your memory about math terms.

3. Use a variety of tools, resources and methods.

Even if you’ve recognized your child’s preferred learning style, using the same method or activity repeatedly can cause boredom and disinterest — the exact opposite of our supplemental learning goals.  No matter how much your child loves timed tests or flashcards or dominoes, they’ll still appreciate a little variety.  Some ideas you can do with the whole family (even older or younger siblings), include: planning and budgeting for family outings, baking, planning a schedule, gardening, crafts that involve measuring and cutting shapes, weighing items, grocery shopping, charting growth with tables and graphs, online math games, video games, iPhone or iPad apps and board games.

4. Focus on key concepts appropriate for age and grade.   

Not sure what they are?  Email your child’s teacher and ask!  Talk with other teachers and parents you know.  Here’s a short list for kids ages 9-11 year-olds:  telling time (including adding and subtracting times), measurements (inches, yards, feet, miles, grams, pounds, etc. and converting between metric and imperial measurements), calculating with larger or more complex numbers (including up to three digits, decimals, percentages and fractions), understanding shapes (including 3-dimensional shapes and angles), and using different types of charts, tables and graphs.

5. Watch your own attitude. 

If you don’t approach supplemental education as a chore to be completed, neither will your kids!  Your attitude, more than anything else, shows them what their attitude should be.  Keep your comments, actions and reactions to math homework and any math activities you plan positive.  If your child doesn’t respond positively to a certain planned activity, take it in stride.  Don’t force it, but do come back to it later.  Say something like: “It’s ok.  We don’t have to do this now.  Would you rather help me cut out some shapes for a project I’m working on?” or something similar.  Wait a few days before trying again.  Whatever you do, don’t give up!  And don’t make it “work” but rather “math fun time” or “project time” — something your child can relate to and have desire to do.

6. Make it fun!  

It’ll be easier to accomplish tip number five if you’re focusing on making your supplemental activities fun for your child.  Play games.  Read fun math books.  Laugh while you learn.

7. Establish math as regular and routine.

How many times did you ask “When am I ever  going to use this in my life?” when you were in a math class?  Show your kids that math is a regular, everyday occurrence.  You can do this by not only having some type of supplemental activity every day (and it doesn’t have to be a long, drawn out activity – simple is better!), but also by pointing out instances when your child is using math skills when they may not even notice, such as when they are paying someone at the store and counting out money or when they are figuring out how many hours until bedtime.

8. Include the teacher.  

Whoever that might be — if they’re home-schooled, this is an easy one, just be sure to include your spouse!  Email the teacher for more information about what your child is learning.  Ask the teacher for extra worksheets or ideas for activities.  Use the teacher as a sounding board if you’re having issues approaching math with your child. He or she might have lots of ideas for engaging students that you haven’t thought of.  Your child’s teacher could also have access to or ideas about resources, books, websites, math nights, etc. that they can share with you.  If you’re a homeschooling parent, connect with other homeschooling parents for ideas.

 

Kimberly Mueller is the “me” over at bugaboo, mini, mr & me, a blog that highlights her creative endeavors. She especially likes to share kid crafts, sewing attempts, recipes, upcycled projects, photography and free printable gift tags/cards. When she’s not enjoying being married to her best friend, chasing after the natives (AKA her three kids) and attempting to keep the house in one piece, you can find her with a glue gun in one hand and spray paint in the other. Aside from DIY pursuits, she also enjoys writing, reading, music, singing (mostly in the shower) and the color yellow. Kimberly recently published a craft book entitled Modern Mod Podge. You can also find her on FacebookPinterest, Bloglovin’ and Instagram. Email her at: bugabooblog(at)yahoo.com

10 Hands-On Literacy Activities (ages 3-6)

 

literacy activities 3-6

 

10litactivities3-6

Most preschool and kindergarten aged children are tactile, kinesthetic and visual learners.  Activities that engage these learning styles are the most effective way to supplement your child’s education at home.  Whether playing games, using flashcards, singing rhymes and songs or drawing pictures, using a variety of activities will engage your child so you keep their interest and have fun while learning.  Need some ideas for age and developmentally appropriate activities for your preschooler?  Here are  10 hands-on literacy activities for ages 3-6.

 

1. Online Games – Playing games on the computer has a general appeal for kids.  Using these resources teaches them technology skills, hand-eye coordination, gets their brain moving.  Check out these cool literacy building online games: Funbrain Reading and VocabThe Magic School Bus Gets An Earful Sound GameScholastic Building Language Game (Naming, Letters and Rhyming), pbs kids: Super Why Rhyme ‘n Roll Game

2. Board Games –  Board games can get the whole family involved!  Teach your kids valuable life lessons while learning about literacy – like taking turns, cooperation, being a good sport, supporting others, and social interactions/communication.  Try these board games: Alphabet Squiggle Game, Grandma’S Trunk Alphabet Game, ABC Cookies, Alphabet Memory, Spot It! AlphabetAlphabet Go Fish

3. Puzzles – Puzzles come in tons of variations, and get small motor skills going as well as improving cognitive skills.  Here are a few ideas:  Melissa & Doug Alphabet Letter Puzzles, Giant ABC & 123 Train Floor Puzzle, Spelling Puzzle Game, See & Spell

4. Flashcards - You can buy alphabet and phonics flashcards at many stores, even the dollar store.  Try Speakaboos online interactive alphabet flashcards.  OR, Course Hero is an awesome online source for creating your very own personalized flashcards!  It’s mainly used by older students as a study tool, but you can make them for your child and print them out or use them in conjunction with the free app.

5. Manipulatives – Manipulative are small items your kids can use in a ton of different ways to learn things from counting to upper and lowercase letters while developing fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.  They usually come in fun, bright colors which are appealing to kids and teach preschoolers colors as well!  You can find manipulatives in lots of stores, and here are a few kits to try out: Alphabet Soup SortersAlpha Pops, Letter Construction SetABC Lacing Sweets

6. Colorful Catapult – Alter this catapult game from Spoonful by writing letters on plates instead of numbers.

7. Fly Swatter LettersDelia Creates shares really fun ideas for learning while playing outside.  In addition to the fly swatter game, she also shows how to play the letter game with squirt guns, how to write letters with a spray bottle, and how to play Number and Letter Twister!

8.  DIY Salt Tray – Check out This Mummas Life for directions on making this salt tray, a fun way for kids to trace letters and practice writing.

9. Letter Walk – This fun take on a scavenger hunt uses super simple, everyday items to teach kids letters and starting sounds, while getting them up and moving around!  Check it out on Learning and Playing in 2 Bedrooms or Less.

10. Flashlight Alphabet Game – If your kids are anything like mine, they’ll go nuts over this fun hide and seek game – played in the dark with the aid of an alphabet puzzle and a flashlight.  It’s super easy to set up – go get the details on Happily Ever After Mom.

 

Playing with kids is a great way for them to learn without even realizing it!  Are you looking for more fun learning activities for 3-6 year old kids? Try these 8 Hands-On Science Activities!

 

Kimberly Mueller is the “me” over at bugaboo, mini, mr & me, a blog that highlights her creative endeavors. She especially likes to share kid crafts, sewing attempts, recipes, upcycled projects, photography and free printable gift tags/cards. When she’s not enjoying being married to her best friend, chasing after the natives (AKA her three kids) and attempting to keep the house in one piece, you can find her with a glue gun in one hand and spray paint in the other. Aside from DIY pursuits, she also enjoys writing, reading, music, singing (mostly in the shower) and the color yellow. Kimberly recently published a craft book entitled Modern Mod Podge. You can also find her on FacebookPinterestBloglovin’ and Instagram. Email her at: bugabooblog(at)yahoo.com

De-Mystifying Math: 5 Tips for Supplementing Your Child’s Math Education (Ages 6-9)

5 Tips for Supplementing Your Child's Math Education - Tipsaholic


Math can be a daunting subject, particularly when learning complicated concepts for the first time. Reinforcing math education at home is clearly important — whether your child is home-schooled, attends public or private school, goes to a charter school or does school online.  Helping your child develop good habits — not to mention a good attitude — toward math early on is key to success. Here are five tips to help your first through fourth grader get off on the right foot mathematically.

5 Tips fo De-Mystifying Math

1.  Always consider the individual:

Everyone learns in different ways.  Keep your specific child in mind when considering your approach and remember to tailor their supplemental learning.

Learning styles quizzes

If you need some help identifying the best ways to teach your child, you can take a “multiple intelligences” quiz online and answer the questions as if you were your child.  The following quiz from Edutopia breaks down learning styles into percentages and offers specific information for each style: Multiple Intelligences Learning Styles Quiz

2. Use all available resources:

In general, kids ages six to nine learn best visually.  There are so many different ways to make math appeal to your child. Technology is used in amazing ways in public schools, and you can take advantage of it too.

iPhone and iPad apps

Visual math 2 is a great option for first through third graders.  It uses pictures, sounds and lots of fun bonus activities that will make math more like a game.

Websites and blogs

Try the website Math is FUN.  There’s tons of information on different levels of math (i.e. geometry, algebra),  as well as different everyday math concepts (i.e. numbers, money, measurements).  Plus, there are puzzles, games, activities, and printable worksheets.  Do a search on Google and Pinterest and tons of blogs and websites will flood your search engine.

Books

There are tons of math workbooks or mind-teaser type books (like Math for All Seasons by Greg Tang) but there are also a ton of great picture books out there that can make math concepts easy to understand and much less frightening (like Spaghetti and Meatballs for All!  by Marilyn Burns).

3. Make it an everyday thing:

Practice number operations with household objects

Find things that come in groups and talk about how they can be grouped in different ways — for instance, a dozen eggs can be grouped in fours, in threes or in two groups of six.  Look for arrays (rows and columns) around the house, like floor tiles, a bookshelf with cubbies, or checkerboards. Have your child split them into smaller arrays — for instance a carton of eggs is an array of 2×6, but if you split it in half it’s two arrays of 2×3.

When you go to the store, have your child calculate how much you save by buying the cheaper of two brands of the same item.  Have him or her total as many items as possible on the receipt.  If your child likes sports, introduce them to statistics.

Find ways to collect, sort and organize information

Create a chart to track your child’s progress as they conquer math concepts.  Have them sort change into separate funds — tell them to put equal amounts of money in each fund but use different coins.

4. Make it a family thing:

Everyone can get in on the action

Make up story problems together.  Point out different opportunities to count, add, subtract or sort.  Play games together, such as board games, computer games, and riddles.  Get siblings in on the action!

5. Play:

Play lots of games

There are many different board games that use logic and strategic thinking: Monopoly, Chess, Checkers, and Clue are just a few examples.  Games that use flat manipulatives help develop deep logic as well as spatial reasoning – Tangrams, Logix, Blockus, or Shapes Up are all good options.

There are also a wide selection of video games that teach math:

  • For Nintendo DS: Junior Brain Trainer, Math Play, Challenge Me Math Workout, Brain Quest
  • For Nintendo Wii: Reader Rabbit, Smartypants, Think Smart
  • For a PC: Knowledge Adventure – Math Blaster

You can also find many free games online.  Playing lots of games as a family not only makes math tons of fun, but learning together reinforces the importance of math and gives your child confidence.

 

Kimberly Mueller is the “me” over at bugaboo, mini, mr & me, a blog that highlights her creative endeavors. She especially likes to share kid crafts, sewing attempts, recipes, upcycled projects, photography and free printable gift tags/cards. When she’s not enjoying being married to her best friend, chasing after the natives (AKA her three kids) and attempting to keep the house in one piece, you can find her with a glue gun in one hand and spray paint in the other. Aside from DIY pursuits, she also enjoys writing, reading, music, singing (mostly in the shower) and the color yellow. Kimberly recently published a craft book entitled Modern Mod Podge. You can also find her on FacebookPinterest, Bloglovin’ and Instagram. Email her at: bugabooblog(at)yahoo.com

 

7 Ways to Teach Kids in the Kitchen

7 Ways To Teach Kids in the Kitchen ~ Tipsaholic.com #kidsinthekitchen #parenting #teachingkidsathome

 

kidskitchen

Children are constantly looking for opportunities in which to expand their independence. Parents are constantly looking for ways to help their children grow and develop knew knowledge. If you’re wondering how to fill both of those needs, look no further than your own kitchen! There are many things you can do to make your kitchen friendly and inviting for kids. Bring your little chefs into the kitchen today and check out these 7 tips for encouraging new skills and independence while planning, preparing, and serving family meals.

 

1. Invite kids to help in meal planning and grocery shopping

Rather than just writing everything down yourself, why not involve the kids in the meal planning part of your month? Kids definitely have an opinion when it comes to the food they like to eat, and making compromises on your end – such as chicken nuggets and fries every other Wednesday – is apt to make them more likely to compromise when it comes to that green bean casserole you keep trying to get them to eat!

Sit down together and make a list of everyone’s favorite meals. Talk about the food groups and how each meal is best if it has lots of color and a variety of foods. Help them select foods from each group to make up each meal, then make your grocery list based on the meals you have created. Kids are great at helping find and retrieve shopping list items while in the grocery store too! Involve them in as many ways as you can.

 

2. Give them choices when it comes to snacks and lunches

Encourage kids to take the lead on their snacks and lunches by creating “stations” in your kitchen that set healthy boundaries while also allowing for individual choice. A basket full of healthy snacks in the pantry is a great option for when children come home hungry from school. Another idea worth considering is a “build-your-own-lunch” station. You can provide the sandwich fixings and lunchbox essentials, but allow the kids to choose and create a lunch all their own from those options.

 

3. Provide them with their own set of (safe) kitchen tools and an apron

What could be more fun than having your own set of tools when it’s time to help mom or dad in the kitchen? Kids will love having their own special utensils, bowls, and an apron. Try this fantastic set – it’s got everything those little hearts could desire.

 

4. Invite them to cook with you

There are many things children can help with when it comes to preparing food. Depending on a child’s age, mixing, pouring, cutting, and measuring are just a few of the skills that can be developed. If you need some ideas for age-appropriate tasks kids can complete in the kitchen, check out this infographic from Cooksmarts. If you want a few great ideas for simple foods you can make together, try these kid-friendly recipes.

 

5. Give them the reins for dinner once a month

Whether it’s macaroni and cheese from a box, peanut butter sandwiches, or something bold and adventurous, just go with it! The kids will love having the freedom to choose what, when, and how to get food on the table. If they ask for help or want to give you an assignment you can join in as “sous chef.” If they don’t seem to need you, be sure you still stick around to supervise and always follow safety rules for tools and appliances.

 

6. Consider growing a small garden

Showing kids where their food comes from and teaching them how to be part of the process is a great way to get them interested in new foods and trying new things. If you don’t have the room for a garden plot, growing herbs in old soup cans or keeping a tomato plant on the porch can bring just as many benefits. Not sure what to grow? Try a few of these ideas for plants you can grow indoors if you’re really stumped! Allow children to help plant, feed, and water your little garden, then show them the many ways you can use your homegrown “ingredients” in everyday family cooking!

 

7. Teach kids how to set the table and serve themselves

Every kid has seen the table set, but not every kid has learned to set it. Teach them the basics of table-setting etiquette – it will give them something to think about the next time they sit down to a nice meal! If you like, you can spend time making a simple table-setting placemat like these made from construction paper, or this one created from dollar store placemats.  And don’t be afraid to let children serve themselves in the right settings. There might be a few spills and plates piled high with Jell-O, but often children just need opportunities to show you what they’re capable of!

 

Did you enjoy learning ways to teach kids in the kitchen? Looking for more great ideas for kids? Try these tips for raising kids who love learning!

 

Featured image via Better Homes and Gardens.

 

Kayla Lilly is a photographer, writer, wife, and mama making a house a home in eastern Idaho. She met her mister while working at an amusement park and married him a year later after deciding there was no way to live without him. The amusement has continued as they’ve added three kids and a passel of pets to their lives while finishing college and starting a photography business. Drawing inspiration from the whirlwinds of marriage, parenthood, and the media, Kayla blogs at Utterly Inexperienced, and spends the rest of her time chasing chickens, organizing junk drawers, diapering toddlers, and photographing everyone willing to step in front of her lens.

 

10 Hands-On Math Activities for Ages 6-9

10 Hands-On Math Activities (for Ages 6-9) - Tipsaholic.com

 

As your child advances through elementary education, math concepts–even the basics–can become confusing, even frustrating to some.  At ages 6-9, kids are not only fine-tuning basic addition and subtraction and continuing with multiplication and division, they are also learning time, measurements, fractions and more.  It’s not merely important to supplement their math learning at this point in their education, it’s crucial.  Here are some excellent math activities from around the web for making math fun and exciting!

10 Hands-On Math Activities

Computer Games:

Math Lines – at different levels this teacher’s basic math equations, but in a cool, fun way.  You shoot a canon with a specific number ball at the number balls moving around the canon in a line, making sure the balls add up to the target number.

Lemonade Stand – helps teach number recognition, addition and counting money.  You create the lemonade based on reading a recipe, set up and manage your stand, and sell lemonade for a profit.  Come to think of it, you could just set up a real lemonade stand!

Fraction Beach – use your knowledge of fractions to build awesome sandcastles at the beach.

Do a Google search to find many more free computer games that are age appropriate for your child.  Try pbs.orgcoolmath.com or topmarks.

Active Games:

Chalk Clock – use the kids as the hands of the giant clock to work on telling time.

Skip Counting by Hand Outlines – hand outlines are perfect for teaching how to count by 5’s, plus they make for wonderful turkey-themed math activities around Thanksgiving time.

Water Balloon Number Target Practice – learn number recognition through play with water balloons and a chalk target board.

Props and Manipulative Ideas:

Golf Tee Math – use golf tees and play dough to work on creating and solving addition and subtraction equations

Addition Number Family Eggs – put leftover plastic Easter eggs to use by building numbers and solving equations

Coin Value File Folder Games – these file folder games are quick, easy, and cost nothing to make.

Free Printables:

Fraction Bars – practice fractions with these color-coded strips.

 

Kimberly Mueller is the “me” over at bugaboo, mini, mr & me, a blog that highlights her creative endeavors. She especially likes to share kid crafts, sewing attempts, recipes, upcycled projects, photography and free printable gift tags/cards. When she’s not enjoying being married to her best friend, chasing after the natives (AKA her three kids) and attempting to keep the house in one piece, you can find her with a glue gun in one hand and spray paint in the other. Aside from DIY pursuits, she also enjoys writing, reading, music, singing (mostly in the shower) and the color yellow. Kimberly recently published a craft book entitled Modern Mod Podge. You can also find her on FacebookPinterest, Bloglovin’ and Instagram. Email her at: bugabooblog(at)yahoo.com

How to Encourage Independence in Your Children this School Year

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As children get older they tend to develop a strong desire to spread their wings a little more and test new boundaries. As school begins again, you may find that it’s a great time to start giving them opportunities to grow by allowing them to take control of some of the tasks, habits, and personal items they require. Assess the needs of each child and use these suggestions to start encouraging independence in your children this school year.

 

Let them take responsibility for their breakfast

Breakfast is something parents often take care of but can easily be entrusted to the kids. You can set the boundaries by choosing what foods go on the table, but most school-age children are ready to start serving themselves. If you want to get creative, consider a “breakfast station” like this one, full of breakfast options like oatmeal packets, bagels, and cereal that they can make on their own. Be sure to include some grab-and-go foods like fruit and granola bars for mornings when there are a few kids in a rush.

 

Allow them to choose their own clothes each day

Help the kids figure out a system for choosing school clothes each day so mornings don’t become too hectic when socks and underwear are nowhere to be found. Will the choice be made right before bed each night? How about choosing five outfits at the start of the week? A simple daily label placed on a hanger – like these free printables from Sweet Bella Roos – with each outfit can eliminate a lot of confusion. It’s likely the kids will become more confident in who they are as they find ways to express themselves through their clothing choices. Let each child find what works best for them and help them stick to it.

 

Put them in charge of their own lunch

Delegate the morning task of lunch-making to the kids! Set out the ingredients in a way that works for your family, with options from each of the food groups. You can see an example of a lunch station here. Every child can put together a lunch they actually want to eat and you can have more time to sign permission slips and comb hair. And if a child doesn’t get up on time, consider letting the natural consequence of missing out on lunch that day be a lesson to him or her. You can practically guarantee they’ll wake up tomorrow!

 

Make them responsible for their “stuff”

Allow each of your children to inventory their own backpacks when they walk in the door. Being in charge of their jackets, school papers, and sports gear takes a load off of your plate and uses natural consequences to teach kids why it’s important to keep track of those things. A family command center is the perfect way to give kids the reins but still provide a bit of guidance. There are many ways to create one and you’ll want to customize it to suit your family’s needs, but some basics might include a coat hook for each child, a calendar, a chalkboard, and a basket for each child’s shoes or loose items.  Keep chalk or pens nearby so the kids can write down project deadlines and things they need to remember. Make it clear that they will be responsible for their own gear, and this is the place to keep it if they want to have quick access to it in the mornings. You can see more great command center ideas on Remodelaholic.

 

Allow them to choose their snacks

Fill a basket (let the kids help too!) with healthy snacks your kids can munch when they get home in the afternoon. Here’s a great example from I Heart Organizing. Kids can choose what they will eat from the basket, but you are in charge of the options that go into the basket. It’s a great solution when trying to balance responsibilities between parent and child.

 

Put them in charge of some things at home

Including a few household tasks on their list of to-do’s is a good way to keep kids involved at home. Assign simple, age-appropriate tasks that they can choose to do before or after school or use a chore chart or chore wheel like these and perhaps a rewards system to help them start to understand the value of contributing within the family.

 

A few tips for children who are less enthusiastic about becoming independent:

  • Create routines – a routine establishes a predictable pattern that a child can learn and become confident in. Guide them through the first week of a new routine and then slowly begin to withdraw, allowing them to take responsibility for following and completing the routine.
  • Ask questions – when your child comes to you with a problem you think they can handle on their own, ask questions that will get them thinking for themselves. For example, if your child tells you a friend is talking and disrupting things at school, you might ask, “What could you say to your friend to help her focus on what the teacher is saying?” Or if a child keeps forgetting their homework, “What could you do to help you remember to put the papers in your backpack each night?” Many children can solve their own problems with a bit of encouragement.
  • Believe in them – it can be difficult to step away as your child learns to take care of him or herself. They’ve needed you for so many things for so long! Trust them. Trust that they can make good choices. Trust that they can figure things out, and tell them you trust them. It may be just the thing that gives them the confidence to take the next step

 

Featured image via Better Homes and Gardens.

Kayla Lilly is a photographer, writer, wife, and mama making a house a home in eastern Idaho. She met her mister while working at an amusement park and married him a year later after deciding there was no way to live without him. The amusement has continued as they’ve added three kids and a passel of pets to their lives while finishing college and starting a photography business. Drawing inspiration from the whirlwinds of marriage, parenthood, and the media, Kayla blogs at Utterly Inexperienced, and spends the rest of her time chasing chickens, organizing junk drawers, diapering toddlers, and photographing everyone willing to step in front of her lens.