6 DIY Outdoor Furniture Ideas You Can Build Yourself!

6Great DIY Outdoor Furniture Ideas - @tipsaholic. #DIY #outdoorfurniture #patio #summer

 

Have you seen the price tag of outdoor furniture these days? It’s crazy how expensive they can be, even on Craig’s List. Avoid emptying out your wallet by building your own DIY outdoor furniture! What’s more, you can build them to fit your patio or porch. Here are 6 great DIY outdoor furniture tutorials you can use to create your dream outdoor space.

 

1. DIY Outdoor Sectional

Ana White is the queen of the DIY furniture world and this outdoor sectional is a great example of how wonderful her creations are. It includes two plans, one for armless sections and one for corners and ends. These two simple plans combine to create a DIY outdoor sectional that can be as big or small as you want it to be. You can build one piece at a time, at your own pace, and create a sectional that perfectly fits your space. Bonus: cushions from Target will fit these sections, unless you want to make your own cushions.

 

2. DIY Outdoor Sofa

Here’s another plan from Ana White, which we couldn’t leave out because this beautiful sofa only costs $30 in lumber! You can easily adjust the measurements of this plan to fit whatever cushions you plan to buy or make.

 

3. DIY Outdoor Bench

This just might be the easiest DIY outdoor furniture ever. It requires no drilling or extensive cutting. All you need is concrete blocks, concrete glue, and four 4x4x10 pieces of lumber to build an outdoor beach for only $40. Nice!

 

4. DIY Tile Outdoor Table

This gorgeous outdoor table is made with lumber and glass mosaic tile. The coffee table is fairly simple to build, but if you already have an old coffee table laying around you could cover it with your favorite glass mosaic tile following the instructions in this tutorial!

 

5. DIY Tree Bench

Have a tree in your backyard? Build a bench around its trunk to add extra seating to your outdoor space! This plan is a bit extensive and will cost a tidy sum of money, but its cool factor is out of the world and this nifty bench can add so much charm and function to a backyard.

 

6. DIY Hammock

Okay, a hammock isn’t exactly a piece of furniture, but it’s something to sit on and can be left outside, so we’re including this great tutorial for a DIY hammock! The tutorial includes two different ways to make your own hammock – one that requires a sewing machine and one that doesn’t.

 

For more DIY outdoor furniture ideas, check out Outdoor Pallet Projects Ideas and Build a Patio Table with Built-In Ice Boxes.

Have you built your own DIY outdoor furniture before? What other DIY outdoor furniture plans have caught your eye lately?

 

Featured image via Better Homes and Gardens.

 

“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!

 

15 Tips for Organizing Your Garage

15 Tips for Organizing Your Garage | Tipsaholic.com #home #organization #garage #storage #solutions #cleaning

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Most garage designs offer around 500 square feet of space. Not unlike many homeowners, you have most likely faced obstacles when it comes to keeping this large storage space under control and organized.

You may not be able to work a professional organizer into your budget, but that doesn’t mean you can’t experience a garage with complete organization systems. Here are 15 tips to organize your garage from the ground up!

 

1. Create a showroom-style garage, starting with new garage flooring.

If you aren’t completely confident that you can do the installation yourself or you are too busy to complete new flooring yourself, hiring a professional is the route to go!

New innovative garage floor materials are much more maintainable than traditional concrete flooring and easier to clean.

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2. Use your lids!

Keep your nuts, bolts, screws and other small objects organized and within easy reach. Install plastic lids to the bottom of a shelf, then just screw the jars on and off for easy access.

hanging-jars-garage-storage-diy-n-crafts

3. Clear view makes it easy for you.

What!? You don’t have x-ray vision?! Clear labeled tubs (like those below, from Frazzled Joy) can solve your searching problem quick! Use this calculator to check your garage measurements.

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4. Stretch, hook and voila! Instant storage!

Stretch bungee cords from the floor to 2x4s attached to the wall to make a frame and store all your sports equipment!

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5. Upcycle your gutters for garage organization!

Old gutters can be recycled into a garage storage solution! Install them up high in the garage to hold spray paint and cleaning products to keep out of reach of the kids. (Here are more tips to organize a house if you have kids.)

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6. Closed doors can keep your belongings safe and out of sight!

Custom garage companies can install floating garage cabinets that are easy to clean underneath and protect your belongings from pests and water damage. If you decide to install the cabinets yourself, remember to provide a strong anchor, so you can protect from a possible fall!

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7. Pegboards can hold a plethora of items!

Utilize a pegboard to store your hand tools on the wall and off the garage floor! You can install a single pegboard or you can get innovative and make pegboard pages for multiple storage solutions! What a great use of space! Find more cool pegboard ideas here!

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8. Don’t walk under an open ladder or prop it against the wall.

A ladder propped up against a wall is not safe storage. The ladder can fall and cause injury or property damage. As an alternative way to store your ladder, suspend it on sturdy hooks that are part of a wall attachment system or hang it from your ceiling!

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9.Off the floor and on the wall seating.

Okay, so you can’t actually sit on the wall, but you can hang up your folding chairs, lawn chairs, etc. on the wall! You most likely have extra chairs stuffed in the corner of your garage. With a magnetic strip you can attach to the wall, chairs are easy to hang up and pull down when you need them!

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10. Hang a magnetic strip.

Keep tiny items in place with a magnetic wall strip. You can hang it horizontally or vertically, depending on your storage needs.

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11. Everything has a place and there is a place for everything!

Find the exact place you want your tools and trace around the outer edges. This will help keep you and anyone working in the garage organized by reminding you where to put tools away.

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12. Are you a biker? You need a bike rack!

Overhead bike racks are stylish, functional and sturdy so you can keep your bike hanging high and off the garage floor! Utilizing a bike storage rack is a fantastic way to remind yourself to hop on and cruise!
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13. Keep your chin up.

Overhead storage is another great way to make the most of your garage’s available space. Take a look at this system for attaching bins to the ceiling.

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14. Get on a roll with this unique trick.

Put up a simple paper towel holder, and your bags will be where you need them every time.

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15. Get it all off the floor.

Don’t risk ruining your pristine chip flooring. Get your items off the floor with garage wall racks!

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Don’t set limits upon your garage storage. From floor to ceiling, you have plenty of options to achieve complete organization. Just get creative! Check out some more DIY ideas for the garage here.

Here are more helpful resources for organizing your garage:

 

Special thanks to Arizona Garage Design for submitting this article. 

Featured image courtesy of Arizona Garage Design

 

6 Clever (and Useful) Travel Souvenir Ideas

6 Clever (and Useful!) Travel Souvenir Ideas

 

 

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When you travel, do the colorful souvenir booths always seem to call your name? Do you go to them like a moth to a flame and buy whatever catches your eye? Or do you look at them and decide not to buy anything because you don’t know what to buy… and then regret that decision when you’re back home and you don’t have anything to remember your trip by? Here are 6 ideas to show you how to buy the right travel souvenirs and how to display them in your home long after the vacation has ended.

 

1. Tiny Souvenirs for Shadow Boxes

Buy only small souvenirs that will fit in a shadow box and then create a shadow box collage for every country that you visit. This is a great idea to display your travel souvenirs in an attractive way and will help reduce the amount of souvenirs you’ll need to lug back home.

 

2. Key Chain Souvenirs as Christmas Ornaments

You can easily find a nice-looking key chain souvenir at any location, but what do you do with them once you’re home? You only have so many keys, right? Turn them into pretty and memorable Christmas ornaments with the help of a ribbon! Try a red velvet ribbon or a gold ribbon and tie up your key chains. Every Christmas, you’ll be able to sit down and enjoy all of your traveling memories with your family. How nice!

 

3. T-Shirts for a Quilt

Collect unique t-shirts from hotels, restaurants, museums, and other locations you visit while traveling and turn them into a quilt that keeps you warm and keeps your travel memories fresh! Souvenir t-shirts are easy to pack up in your luggage and you can find them anywhere.

 

4. Pressed Pennies as Jewelry

The thrill of watching a penny get pressed with the image of the location you’re visiting is so fun, but putting them to a real use is a lot more fun. Turn your pressed pennies into a pretty charm bracelet! You could also choose one special pressed penny and create a simple necklace with it. See many more ideas for pressed pennies as jewelry here. If you’re not a jewelry person, you could put all of your pressed pennies in a frame or in a glass vase.

 

5. Beer Bottle Caps as Magnets

If you enjoy trying a new local beer for every place you visit, you’ll like this way to incorporate travel souvenirs in your home decor. Bonus: it’s practically free! Just pack up a bottle cap from every beer you drink and turn them into magnets with hot glue and magnet circles.

 

6. Postcards for a Travel Journal

Postcards are cheap, light, and everywhere. But when you fill out a postcard and mail it to a loved one, you’ll probably never see it again. Even if you keep a couple of postcards for yourself, what do you do with them once you’re home? Here’s a great idea: write out what you did on a postcard and mail them to yourself! When you get back home, you’ll have a pile of postcards from the cities you’ve visited with your memories written on them. Punch out holes and attach them with binder clips or decorative tape and you’ve got yourself a beautiful travel journal you’ll always cherish!

 

What do you think of these travel souvenir ideas? Do you have any smart travel souvenir ideas that you’d like to add to the list above? Are you looking for a few more ideas for traveling? Try these tips for creating a Family Travel Kit for Hotel Stays!

 

Featured image via Better Homes and Gardens.

 

“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!

 

7 Tips for Preparing a Guest Room for Company

Preparing a Guest Room @ Tipsaholic

 

 

prepare a guest room

 

If you’ve moved more than once in your life, chances are you’ve acquired friendships that have continued across the distance.  Or, you may no longer live by your family.  It’s time to open up your home to visitors!  It can be a stressful experience to host long-distance family or friends, but preparing for their stay doesn’t have to cause headaches!  With a few simple touches you can really brighten their stay.  Whether or not you’ve got a separate bed and bathroom for your guests, these 7 tips for preparing a guest room are sure to help you out.

 

1. Freshen up.  It can be tricky to know how your house really smells, since you are so use to it. To freshen up the room, I always wash all sheets and bedding the night before guests arrive, and give the furniture in the room a good dusting and vacuum the floor.  I also give the bathroom that guests will be using a thorough cleaning using a good-smelling cleaner like Mrs. Myer’s.  The finishing touch is adding a candle on the nightstand beside the bed.

 

2. Try to anticipate your guest’s needs. That might mean ensuring that a glass cup and bottle filled with water is beside the bed ready for that needed drink in the middle of the night. Or you could make sure that there is an extra roll of toilet paper readily visible in the guest bathroom, since nothing is worse than having to open up cabinets and search through other people’s things when toilet paper is needed. Also, lay out a stack of fluffy towels, and provide a few travel sized soaps and shampoos in case they forgot something.

 

3. Dress in layers.  Or rather, dress the bed in layers. You never know if your guest will be hot or cold when sleeping in the room. Make the bed with a light blanket, then drape a heavier quilt or comforter at the end of the bed making it easily accessible to the guest if they need it. Consider adding two types of pillows to the bed – one a soft down pillow and one that is more firm, so the guest can choose which one they prefer.

 

4. Lighten up.  Add a night light to the bathroom and leave the door open, especially if it’s easily visible from the guest bedroom.  If they need to find the bathroom in the middle of the night, they won’t grope for switches and can easily see where to go.

 

5. Try some light reading.  Set a pretty tray on the dresser or table, and add a book and few current magazines. Also, if this is their first visit to the area, include a few brochures about local attractions or a book about the history of the city. This will give your guest a few things to read at night if they need some down time.

 

6. Give them space.  Make sure your guest have enough space to unpack their suitcase if needed, especially if the guest room does double duty in your home. If you regularly utilize spaces in the guest room for extra storage, clear out a few drawers and make room in the closet.  Your company will appreciate it.

 

7. Accessorize.  For a finishing touch, add a vase of flowers to the room. It doesn’t have to be a formal bouquet; you can find in season flowers at your local grocery store, and after simply arranging the flowers, they look lovely. Also, add a short note beside the vase of flowers, thanking your guest for the visit and welcoming them to your home. It’s the small touches that truly make your company feel welcomed.

 

Photo Source: Better Homes and Gardens

 

I’m Frances. I am a mother, a wife, and a community volunteer. I work as a scientist by day and moonlight as a blogger. Making lists helps me keep everything on track. While I have a good life, there is always room for improvement. Join me as I decorate, organize, and try new things over at my blog Improvement List.

8 Ideas for No-Cook Camping Breakfasts

8 ideas for easy, no cook camping breakfasts, #camping, #breakfast, #easyfood

 

no cook breakfasts

 

Cooking while camping – some love it, and some just don’t. If you tend to be on the “don’t” side of things or are just looking for some simple early-morning meals, these no-cook camping breakfasts are perfect for your next adventure in the woods. Simplify your camping trip by leaving the eggs and frying pans at home for Sunday brunch. If cooking anything but hot dogs over an open fire makes you cringe, take these 8 great ideas and get your breakfast on!

 

1. Yogurt parfait bar

A container of yogurt and some sliced fruit are all you need for this light and healthy camping breakfast. Layer your favorite yogurt with your favorite fruits – try peaches, strawberries, or blueberries for starters – and top it with granola for a bit of crunch.

 

2. Fruit and make-ahead dips

It doesn’t get much simpler than fruit for breakfast. It’s light, healthy, satisfying, and you can always choose your favorites. If plain fruit doesn’t appeal, try making this easy cherry fruit dip to go with it or this even easier two-ingredient “Strawberry Fluff” dip from Oh, Sweet Basil.

 

3. Cereal and milk

You heard me. Throw a box of your cereal of choice in the camper and a carton of milk in the cooler and call it good. Or, if you’ve got a crowd, try the miniature boxes in a variety pack like this  that carries a little something for everyone! Oh, and don’t forget the spoons!

 

4. PB&J or other simple sandwiches

It might sound like more of a mid-day meal, but nothing beats the simplicity of a sandwich. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich can easily replace toast and jam on a campout, particularly where the kids are concerned. Even your favorite sliced meats and cheeses go great with fruit.

 

5. Make-ahead refrigerator oatmeal

Oatmeal doesn’t have to be cooked with this great idea! Whip up a batch of refrigerator oatmeal breakfasts with this recipe from Happy Go Lucky and pack the jars in the cooler. If your group of campers enjoys trying new meals together, you might consider simply bringing the ingredients and jars along and letting everyone mix up their own the night before.

 

6. Tortilla roll-ups

Grab a package of flour tortillas on your way out of town and give this simple breakfast a try! Spread a tortilla with peanut butter, hazelnut spread, or cream cheese, then add bananas, strawberries, or other fruits you like.

 

7. Bagels, donuts, or muffins

A store-bought breakfast should never be underestimated. When the campers are hungry and anxious to start the day, you can bet they’ll be ready for anything. Bagels and cream cheese, donuts, muffins with butter, and other quick breakfast options will be welcome in the campsite. Add in a side of yogurt or fruit to round out the meal.

 

8. Breakfast cookies

If you’ve got the time, a couple dozen of these breakfast cookies from Sally’s Baking Addiction can be made ahead and used for a quick meal while enjoying the great outdoors.  These compact finger foods are also great for hikers!

 

Looking for more great camping foods for your summer? Try these 8 Easy and Delicious Camping Food Ideas!

Featured image via Sally’s Baking Addiction.

 

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 www.utterlyinexperienced.blogspot.com, 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.

6 Ways to Make Over a Concrete Patio

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Concrete patios are very durable, but they’re just not very exciting. If you have a concrete slab in your backyard and you’re itching to jazz it up a bit, here are 6 ways to make over a concrete patio!

 

1. Paint a Pattern

Yes, you can paint your concrete slab. The Handmade Home scored their concrete slab with a circular saw to create a diamond pattern and then painted it with two shades of gray using concrete paint. What a transformation!

 

2. Lay Decking Flooring

Did you know you can lay decking over a concrete slab? And that it’s not as hard as it sounds! Here’s how you can do it. To finish it off, you can attach white fascia boards along the sides. This is a really great way to make over a concrete patio, because decking flooring will instantly warm up your outdoor space.

 

3. Add Curves With Pavers

A square concrete slab is standard, but you can add curves around your concrete patio with the help of pavers. For instance, you could add a half circle to one side to create a fire pit area. Or use pavers to border off a circular garden at one corner of your patio. This is such a pretty way to make over a concrete patio.

 

4. Lay Slate Tiles

Concrete is already a great base for tiles, so you could lay slate tiles to completely transform your concrete patio. First, check for any cracks or weak spots and repair them. Then you’re good to go! Tile your concrete patio just as you would tile any other space in your home.

 

5. Stain the Concrete to Look Like Tile

If you love the look of tiles but not the hard work or the expense, you could stain the concrete to look like tile! Use 1/2 inch tape (try car shops to find this size) to create “grout” lines on the floor and then stain over it. Peel off the tape and ta-da, instant tile! Just make sure to clean it beforehand and seal it afterwards and you’ll have a concrete patio that looks nothing like concrete.

 

6. Add a Beautiful Outdoor Rug

The easiest way to make over a concrete patio is to invest in a large and striking outdoor rug. Here’s a great example. The eye will instantly go to the rug and the concrete patio will disappear into the background. Put some great outdoor furniture on top of the rug and you’ve got yourself an outdoor space you can be proud of. If you like a beachy color scheme of blue and white, you’ll love this rug.

 

For some more inspiration, check out this painted concrete floor. And if you’re actually itching to get a concrete patio because you have nothing in your backyard right now, see how you can DIY a concrete patio!

 

Featured image via Better Homes and Gardens.

 

“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!

4 Moving Tips to Ease Your Stress

4 Moving Tips to Ease Your Stress | Tipsaholic.com #home #moving #packing #tips #diy

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Moving has many stressful aspects. There are the big changes of moving to a new location and the many small details of the moving process. Here are four moving tips you can do to make your move go more smoothly and to eliminate some of the stress.

 

Keep a Notebook

Keep track of your move by having all the details in one place. Being organized is one of the best ways to stay calm and keep on top of things.

Purchase an organizer with pockets for loose papers and multiple section dividers. Make daily records of what you’ve accomplished, and keep lists of what you still need to do. You can use the pockets for receipts, business cards, and even swatches of fabric for the new house.

 

Pack a Travel Bag

Before you box everything up, set aside three days worth of clothes, toiletries and other essentials. Pack these separately. Have a bag for every member of the family. You can do this for kitchen items and food as well.

This way, when you arrive at your new destination, you have a few things to “camp out” with. Whether you are moving yourself or hiring a mover, this saves you having to search through boxes before you spend your first night in your new home.

 

Rent a Temporary Storage Unit

As you go from room to room, you will find big items of furniture and many smaller possessions to pack. Again, organizing will make the process less stressful.

It can be very helpful to rent a storage unit near your home for large items that are hard to move or may need to be moved on a second trip. You can also use the storage unit to hold already packed boxes and to give you more room to deal with what’s left. Finally, you can use the unit to store items you don’t have a place for right away. The items will be held safely until you are ready to retrieve them. Yellowhead Self Storage a company that does self-storage in Edmonton has said that storage units come in all shapes and sizes. There should be an option that suits your needs.

 

Give Yourself a Break

Even though it seems there isn’t enough time to get everything done, make a pact with yourself to take occasional breaks and stick to it. Go for a walk through the neighborhood. Take the kids to a family movie for a treat. Make a cup of tea, put your feet up and call a friend.

Keeping organized and allowing yourself extra time and space for the move will give you more energy and less stress.

 

Special thanks to guest, Chaleigh Glass, for submitting this article. Chaleigh is a freelance writer that lives in NYC. She writes about anything from Home Redecoration to how spice up your love life. In her free time she enjoys golf, snowboarding, and photography.

How To: Camp With Kids (8 Tips for Success)

camp with kids

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Now that summer is here, it’s time to pack up the gear and head into the woods for a night of camping. With young kids though, a little more is involved to guarantee a successful  camping trip. With a little preparation and some advance planning, the whole family will enjoy this adventure into the outdoors. Here are 8 tips for success when you camp with kids.

 

1. Read a good book.

A few days before the camping trip prepare your young kids for what the outing will be like by reading a few books. Some good ones to try are S Is for S’mores: A Camping Alphabet, Camp Out!: The Ultimate Kids’ Guide, The Camping Trip that Changed America, or Curious George Goes Camping

 

2. Stake the tent in the back yard first.

Ease into this adventure by starting out slow. For the first excursion, keep it close to home. Set up the tent in your backyard so the kids can get used to the idea of camping, but the comforts of home are only a few short steps away.

 

3. Make a Check List

After a successful backyard camping excursion, the kids will be ready to venture out into the wild. Just make sure YOU are prepared, too, by making a check list.  Confirm that you have everything you need. Be sure to include tents, bedding, clothes, toiletry items, cooking supplies, food and water. Also, the list should include all things related to activities you plan to do while camping – like fishing gear.

 

4. Bring a first aid kit

Include a first aid kit with your camping gear, because you never know if it might be needed. A well stocked first aid kit includes medical tape, antibiotic wipes and creams, bandages, burn ointment, eye wash, hydrogen peroxide, pain relievers, scissors, snake bite kit, insect repellent, sterile gauze, sunburn lotion, sunscreen and tweezers.  You’ll feel more at ease knowing you can take care of your kids if needed.

 

5. Pick easy foods

Bring food that is easy to prepare. Hot dogs are always a big hit when roasted over a camp fire. And of course,  S’mores are a must have for any camping trip with young kids. Be sure that all food is stored in waterproof bags or containers and kept in an insulated cooler. Insure that food is cooked to the proper temperature. Also, bring plenty of drinking water if a reliable, clean source will not be available at the camping site.

 

6. Wear the right things

Dress appropriately for a trip into the woods with long pants and long sleeved shirts. Also, include a wide-brimmed hat to minimize exposure to the sun’s rays. Kids can get cold easily, so bring extra sweatshirts or jackets for cooler nights. And as much fun as it is to run barefoot through the grass, it’s best to keep shoes on the whole time since there are lots of things in the woods that can injure unprotected feet. Hiking boots are great for long walks, swim socks can be used when swimming in a lake or stream, and flip-flops are appropriate for hanging out at the camp site.

 

7. Be aware of potential harm

While camping can be fun, there are still a few things to be wary of.  Show young kids how to avoid poisonous plants such as poison ivy or berries they might want to eat. Also, teach them that they cannot approach wild animals or attempt to feed them. The animals might look cute, but they can be unpredictable, territorial and protective.  Go over camp rules ahead of time and reinforce them once at camp.

 

8. Plan Up-Past-Bedtime Activities

Of course this camping trip with young kids is supposed to be fun, so plan in advance a few activities for when the sun goes down. Flashlights can easily be used for a great game of tag. Singing or telling stories (not too scary) around the campfire are always a must for any camping trip. End the evening with some star gazing. There are always so many more stars to see away from the bright city lights.

 

Hopefully with the completion of a successful first camping trip, your young kids will be begging to do this get-away again soon!

 

Photo Source: www.bhg.com

 

I’m Frances. I am a mother, a wife, and a community volunteer. I work as a scientist by day and moonlight as a blogger. Making lists helps me keep everything on track. While I have a good life, there is always room for improvement. Join me as I decorate, organize, and try new things over at my blog Improvement List.

7 Tips to Make Camping Easier

7 tips to make camping easier, #camping, #summertime, #campingtips

 
tips to make camping easier

Summertime, the weather is fine, and it’s time to head into the great outdoors. But the outdoors can be anything but great without the proper preparation and organization for your group.  If you’re in charge of this year’s camping adventure, use these 7 tips to plan ahead, turn camping into “glamping,” and ensure that this summer’s wilderness vacation will be the best ever!

 

1. Prepare ahead of time. Anything that takes a while to do at home will take even longer when you’re camping if you don’t have the right gear! Consider setting up tents and other gear at home to check for broken zippers, holes, and missing parts that might really ruin your campout. Make-aheads like these DIY firestarters are definitely worth the prep time. Consider bringing glowsticks or even solar-powered stake lights to make it easier for everyone to find their way around tent stakes and long anchor cords that always seem to trip people up. Old rugs or pieces of carpet can be placed outside tents to keep dirt inside to a minimum. Extra tarps, garbage bags, and sturdy rope and string also come in handy more often than not. Use this basic camping checklist if you’re not quite sure what else you might need.

 

2. Organize, organize, and stay organized. The organization should begin as you pack for your trip. Try to use boxes or bins that will stack together well and take up the least amount of space possible. Pack the paper plates, cups, and utensils in one box. Pack the cooking tools in another. Pack bug sprays, sunscreens, and first-aid gear together. Pack foods like chips and bread that don’t require refrigeration in the same box.  You might even go so far as to create a small box of supplies for each of the meals you have planned. Organize and pack in a way that makes sense to you, because you will most likely be the one that everyone will run to when they need something.

 

3. Designate areas within your campsite for different “stations.” Handwashing, food preparation, cooking, first aid, drink, and snack stations are just a few suggestions. Take into account that you probably don’t want high-traffic stations near food prep or first aid areas, as these places require a certain amount of sanitation. Food prep and cooking areas may be best kept under a canopy or within a shelter of some kind to reduce the amount of insects, animals, and dirt.

 

4. Institute some “camp rules.” Especially if you’ve got a large group, are camping with small children, or are near water, you’ll want to let everyone know what to expect from the get-go. Does everyone have a “buddy?” Do the kids know water safety rules? Is the group aware of hazardous plant and animal life around your campsite? Make sure the rules are clear and be consistent so that everyone stays safe.

 

5. Establish a “restroom” if there are no man-made facilities at your campsite. Chances are, this is one of the first things your campers will need! Always check the waste disposal requirements for your area before you hit the road – you may be required to remove all waste or at least any toilet paper that may be used. In general, you should select a spot at least 200 feet from water, camp, and hiking trails to avoid contamination and plain old nastiness. Dig a hole with a shovel or rock and use it as your toilet, burying the waste afterwards. If you plan to be in your campsite for long, you may want to use a shovel to dig a deep hole to be used by your group for the entire trip. A hanging tarp or an old sheet can serve as an extra privacy measure if bushes aren’t enough. When the trip is over, top the hole off with dirt. Other campers will thank you.

 

6. Keep the meals basic. It can be tempting to try to feed your campers the same way you would at home, and there are lots of “camping recipes” that seem easy enough, but try to think ahead. Keeping ingredients and pre-made items cold enough can be tough if all you’ve got is a cooler, and refrigerators in RVs and campers are usually limited in space. The preparation and cleanup required for meals can be messy and time consuming when you’re out in the wilderness. Consider making a simple menu with lots of pre-packaged and easy to store items, and don’t be afraid of old camp favorites like sandwiches, hot dogs, and pre-made tinfoil dinners like these.

 

7.  Plan simple entertainments for kids. The wonders of the outdoors will keep them busy for quite a while, but there’s sure to come a time during your campout that the kids need something new to do. Bringing tons of toys and books from home takes up a lot of storage space and you can bet they’ll come home with camp grime on them. Inspire the kids with some simple nature crafts instead, like these 10 No-Fuss Camping Crafts for Kids, or hold a camping scavenger hunt!

 

Remember that your area’s weather, your family’s needs, and the activities you enjoy together while camping make a big difference when it comes to getting the most out of the experience. Use these tips and add to them to make your campout unique and special to you! And if you’re looking for more great ideas to make camping easier and more fun, try these tips from Remodelaholic!

 

Featured Image via Kayla Lilly

 

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 www.utterlyinexperienced.blogspot.com, 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.

6 Fun and Stylish Home Office Organization Ideas and Tips

6 Fun and Stylish Home Office Organization Ideas and Tips | Tipsaholic.com #home #organization #office #storage #diy

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Has your home office become a dumping ground for old bills, pens, office supplies, computer and electronic gadgets and their accouterments, kids’ drawings, receipts, photos, and more?  It’s easy to let an office succumb to the chaotic activity – especially since it’s a highly used area with a lot of uses.  Chances are, if you’ve got a dedicated office space, you can use some organization inspiration.  Don’t let the clutter overtake your work area, and don’t let storage turn things drab  - use these tips and handy list of 6 fun and stylish home office organization ideas and whip that space into shape!

 

1. Everything Chalkboard

The chalkboard fad isn’t going away anytime soon.  And why should it?  Chalkboard paint and vinyl make it readily accessible and DIY-able.  You can even make your own chalkboard paint – in any color!  It goes on just about anything, from labels to boxes.  Since you can easily change what’s on it, it’s ideal for labeling office items, like these great drawers from Polka Dot Chair, or keeping lists.

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Check out these other chalkboard projects, too!

Giant Chalkboard Calendar Wall from Tatertots and Jello

Chalkboard Paperweight from Assemble

Chalkboard Clipboards from Anderson and Grant

 

2. Unique Shelves

Every office requires some kind of shelving.  Small spaces can take advantage of vertical height by building shelves up instead of out. Really tight spaces can install small shelves under desks or on the back of doors.  Shelves hold our storage bins and boxes, keep our books tidy, and offer us a place to display some decor.  They don’t have to be boring either; just take a look at these beautiful reclaimed wood shelf drawers from Not Just a Housewife.

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Here’s more fun shelf ideas!

DIY Ladder Shelves from Woonideeen

25 awesome DIY shelving ideas from Remodelaholic

 

3. Repurposed Utensil Holders

A home office inherently builds up tons of office supplies, writing utensils, scissors, punches, you name it.  The clutter from utensils can get way out of hand, if you don’t find a way to corral it.  A great idea is repurposing other household items (like this pencil holder made from cork trivets by Design For Mankind); it’ll save you money and have unique personality.

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Here are some other great solutions using items around your house:

Stemware Rack Caddy System from Better Homes and Gardens

Lazy Susan Tin Can Caddy from Cynthia Shaffer

 

4. Peg Boards,  Cork Boards, and Magnet Boards, oh my!

One easy way to get smaller items neat, organized, and out of the way – but still within easy reach – is to put up some kind of organizational board.  This makes use of wall space instead of surface space and keeps things tidy.  Bulletin or cork boards are typical options for offices, but you can use magnet and peg boards as well.  Or a combination, like this one from My Blissful Space!

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Here are a few more fun examples:

Fabric Cork Board with Nail Head Trim from Beach House in the City

Clear Lucite Pegboard System from Fashionably Organized

Oil Pan turned Magnet Board from Nic and Kate

 

5. Unexpected Filing Systems

Maybe you don’t have room for a large filing cabinet.  Or maybe you think ordinary filing cabinets are cumbersome, bulky, boring, or even downright ugly.  You can find ways to file those necessary papers that don’t involve your typical beige, metal rectangle.  Just look at this beautiful and stylish solution from Erica Lee Style!

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Check out these other smart filing solutions!

DIY Pull Out Filing Drawer from Beneath My Heart

Striped Filing Cabinet (with CHALKBOARD labels!  See?) from bugaboo, mini, mr & me

 

6. Recycled Baskets and Bins and Catch-Alls

Obviously you’ll have to store some items.  Whether in baskets, bins, totes, jars or bowls, storage containers don’t have to be ordinary.  And they are definitely not one size fits all.  Baskets can be hung on a wall instead of placed on a shelf.  Some storage totes are perfect from hanging on a rod with hooks.  Recycle diaper boxes with duct tape or fabric.  Look at normal items in new ways, like these magnetic dishes that A Girl and a Glue Gun used!

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Here are some more creative storage solutions:

Large Glass Jar Storage from Remodelaholic (check out the awesome wire baskets, as well)

Embroidery Hoop Storage Bins from Curbly

Belted Storage Totes from Brit and Co.

 

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

 

Featured image courtesy of Polka Dot Chair.

How to Create a Family Travel Kit for Hotel Stays

How to Create a Family Travel Kit for Hotel Stays | Tipsaholic.com #travel #kids #hotel #ideas #packing

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Summer is here and that means fun vacations with the family! If you’re planning on staying at a hotel with kids, here’s how to create a travel kit for hotel stays. These 6 items can all fit in a tiny travel bag, and they will help make your hotel stay so much nicer.

 

1. HDMI cable

Bring an HDMI cable to hook up your tablet or laptop to the hotel TV. You’ll be able to watch anything you want on your Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon subscriptions. You could also rent a DVD from Redbox, put it in your laptop, and connect that to the TV. Another idea is to download a couple of kids’ movies before you leave home and stream that to the hotel TV. Then relax on your bed with your kids and watch good TV without having to deal with bad and often inappropriate hotel TV channels.

 

2. Outlet adapter or extension cord

There are never enough plugs for all the phones, tablets, laptops, handheld game consoles, camera chargers, and other devices that we bring with us on hotel vacations. Pack an outlet adapter or extension cord and everyone will be happy to have their favorite gadgets fully charged.

 

3. Sound machine (or app)

When you stay in a hotel room, you might get woken up by other vacationers who are staying in the rooms next to yours. Bring a travel sound machine for ambient noise so you can sleep in peace and be fully energized for traveling with kids. Or you could download an app on your phone and pack one less thing. Try the Sleep Machine Lite app or the Sleep Pillow Sounds app for the iPhone and the White Noise Lite app for android devices.

 

4. Night light

Don’t forget a night light for your kids if they can’t sleep in the pitch dark. Plus, a night light will help you be able to move around your hotel room without bumping into things and waking up the kids. You might also want one in the bathroom for nighttime visits.

 

5. Oatmeal packets

A couple of oatmeal packets is a great addition to a family travel kit. If your hotel room has a coffee maker, you can whip up a quick and satisfying snack for the kids (and you) in a pinch with these instant oatmeal pouches and hot water. What’s more, the packaging of these packets are so convenient — they’re actually also measuring cups. You’ll easily cook the perfect bowl of oatmeal every time.

 

6. Denture cleanser tablets

Traveling with a baby? Include a box of denture cleanser tablets in your family travel kit to easily clean pacifiers, sippy cup lids, baby spoons, and other baby or toddler items that need cleaning. Simply grab a cup and fill it with warm water and then add the item and a tablet. Your baby’s things will be completely clean in just a few minutes.

 

What other things do you consider essentials for vacations with kids?

 

“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!

 

Featured image courtesy of Hotel Chatter.

5 Steps to an Organized Playroom

5 Steps to an Organized Playroom - Tipsaholic

An organized playroom can encourage creative play, imagination, teamwork, cooperation, and of course, playfulness!  These are all great qualities we want in our kids.  If you don’t want your playroom to fall flat, you’ll need to focus on more than the toys.  Make your space fabulous and organized with these five simple steps!

5 steps to an organized playroom

1. A place for everything, and everything in its place.

The old adage rings especially true in spaces for children. Kids need to know there are designated spots for every toy and tool they use, so labeling is key. What you store things in is secondary to the kids being able to easily find what they need.  This will save you from headaches when you ask them to clean up, too! There are tons of ways to label. Try clear bins, so the kids can easily identify the toys inside.  Use pictures and words for little ones who can’t read yet. Try chalkboard labels so you can easily change them. If there are wire baskets or handles, use tags that can be tied on. If your bins are plastic, use vinyl cutouts:

2.  Organize top to bottom.

Think about organizing the space “top to bottom”. Consider items that might best be stored up higher, and those things you want within easy reach of toddlers and other kids. For instance, you might want art supplies or fragile toys up on a shelf, while books and puzzles could be in a bin or rack near the floor. Thinking top to bottom not only helps you to focus your attention on where best to place items for safety and ease of use, but it also forces you to utilize the entire space. Take advantage of all that vertical area. Don’t forget about corners, closets and doors, which can easily be fully utilized for storage.

3.  Go for double duty.

Let your storage be part of the design. Use bins or buckets that are artistic and work well with the decor scheme. Stick to storage that matches the color palette. Use toys as art.

4.  Keep it colorful. Keep it playful.

It is a playroom, after all. Kids love color and this is a space just for them, right? Colorful storage solutions begged to be played with. You don’t have to decorate in a rainbows, but sticking to a fun, colorful palette makes the space more kid-centered. This is a room that should be geared specifically toward fun–even your storage solutions can do that!

5.  Think outside the box.

The toy box, that is. There are so many interesting, fun and unique ways to store all the items that come along with childhood. Recycle old crates. Paint antique suitcases. Put wheels on old drawers. Try reusing items in unexpected ways, like rain gutters or spice racks for book storage.

Thinking about adding a designated reading nook to your playroom or other space? Check out the ideas and tips for great reading nooks here!

 

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

Feature image via BHG.com

Packing Tips (for camping trips)

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Camping is a great way to create a relatively low-stress, low-cost, low-maintenance vacation.  It takes just a bit of forethought to plan, register, pack and execute a camping trip as opposed to months or more of budgeting, researching, planning, mapping and creating a more elaborate vacation experience.  Camping can help you reconnect with your family and yourself, creates lasting bonds and memories and instills relaxation and calmness to what can be an overworked, overstimulated lifestyle.  If you want to make the most of your camping trip, you’ll need to know how, what and WHERE to pack all your gear and equipment.  Follow these 10 packing tips for camping trips and take the stress out of planning your next getaway!

 

1. Back to Basics.

Part of the fun of camping is forgetting about all the extras in life – electronics, toys, games, equipment, utensils and STUFF – that we get bogged down with.  Get back to basics by keeping your packing simple.  Consider everything you’re planning on taking carefully and think, “Is this NECESSARY for 3 days (5 days, 7 days, what have you) away?”  Take what you need and leave the rest behind.  If you realize you’ve left something that really is essential, most campsites or state and national parks have stores for your convenience.

2. Don’t go overboard.

Over-planning is one way to stress-out any family vacation, but it also makes packing a million times harder.  If you’re going camping for a few nights, chances are you won’t have the time (or energy!) to play every single outdoor game in your garage, do every single sport-related activity, or make every single gourmet meal and campfire treat you’ve got on your “ideal” list.  Limit yourself.  Pick just a few favorite games, activities, meals and treats and save the rest for another time.

3. Become ONE with nature.

Guess what?  You’re camping, not spending the night at the Ritz.  You’re going to get a little dirty.  There will be bugs.  You’re hair and clothes will probably smell like campfire from the minute you get there.  So don’t worry about bringing a new outfit for every single day for every single person.  You won’t need accessories and tons of shoes.  You’ll probably want some soap, but don’t worry about cosmetics and the whole beauty regime.  Don’t be afraid to be RUGGED!  That’s what camping is all about.  The biggest key when picking clothes is to remember you want to be warm and dry.  Pack extra socks and a sweatshirt for everyone, along with just a few items to wear daily.

4. Make a List.  Check it twice.

Camping doesn’t require a ton of fancy gadgets or equipment, but there are some definite things you don’t want to be caught without.  To make sure you pack what you NEED and leave what you DON’T get a complete list of gear.  You can find some sample lists online.  The Packing List Place has one, as well as Love The Outdoors.  Keep in mind that any pre-made list will likely need to be altered to fit your family and your particular geographic area so look it over ahead of time, whittle it down and add on as necessary.  It’s also a good idea to make two checked columns – one you can check off for “checked and ready” and one you can check off for “packed in car”.  That way you’re covering your bases and are less likely to accidentally leave something behind in the driveway.

5. Be prepared.

Check ahead for area conditions – weather, area emergency issues that might be a problem (wildfire probability, flooding, avalanche, etc.), park or camp site maintenance issues that might affect you, etc.  The more prepared you are, the better able you will be to refine your packing list.  When you check the forecast, for example, there may be no rain indicated for the week so you can likely pare down your wet weather gear.

6. Don’t lug your luggage.

Instead of packing a different suitcase for every family member, consider packing items into plastic tubs with lids according to category.  This is perfect since they come in different sizes for different amounts of things (extra large bins like these are great for bigger camp items like lanterns, emergency radios, skillets, hot plates, camp stoves, etc. while medium sized bins are good for clothing), stack nicely together, have flat tops, are water resistant, and pack up well since they aren’t odd shapes.  They are also easy to identify by using large labels such as these or simple tape with permanent markers.  Consider using bins for clothing, cooking, food, games and activities, and weather-related gear (ponchos, boots, warm sweatshirt, etc.).

7. Pace yourself.  

Don’t plan on throwing everything together willy nilly at the last moment.  While camping can be a relatively stress-free family vacation you’re simply asking for trouble if you don’t give yourself time.  Begin packing preparations two weeks in advance.  It might seem excessive, but you’ll want to make sure all of your gear and equipment is in working order before you actually pack it away.  You’ll also want to replace lost or broken items, make sure you have the right amount of things for your whole family, and create a “map” for packing your car.

8. SPACE yourself.  

Chances are you’ll be driving to your destination, so make sure to leave plenty of room for passengers.  Crowding can make people (especially little people!) crabby!  So don’t try to cram so much into the passenger area of your car.  Use storage areas for smaller items (like the pockets on the back of the front seats for small backpacks or bags) and fill up your trunk or cargo area with clean, well-packed, boxes and bags.

9. Think outside the box.  

Utilize the space outside your vehicle as well.  This will ensure that you have ample room for your passengers inside!  While clean and sturdy boxes, backpacks and bags are great in the cargo area, you can pack dirty, cumbersome or large items outside.  Use a bike rack on the top of your vehicle and consider getting a cargo carrier for the top of your vehicle, like this one.  You can carry other large items for outdoor activities (like kayaks, canoes, folding tables, etc.) with various types of carrying racks.

10. Make a map.

A packing “map” can be super useful when planning for your trip.  Essentially, list the items you’ll need based on bin, bag, box, etc. along with WHEN you’ll need them.  Following the “first in, last out” rule, decide which items you’ll need to access right away and which can be accessed later.  Then either draw the items in a diagram or simply number and label them according to when they will be packed in the car – this way you’ll know ahead of time what needs to go where in order to not only make everything fit efficiently, but also to have what you need WHEN you need it.

 

Looking for more helpful ideas for camping? Try these 7 Tips for Easier Camping!

 

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

8 Hands-On Math Activities for 3-6 Year Olds

Hands-on Math for Toddlers and Preschoolers | Tipsaholic.com #education #math #kids #games #fun #learning

 

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Supplementing your child’s math education is a big job, but reinforcing school-taught concepts is important.  Fortunately, math concepts can be fun and easy to review – all it takes is a little creativity and imagination.  You can make abstract math much more concrete and natural for your child with just a small effort. Here are 8 clever hands-on math activities your 3-6 year old will love!

 

GAMES

1. Delia Creates has a post dedicated to “Chalk Games”.   Here you’ll find “Math Race” with bikes (or just running!) that works on number or shape recognition and “Number Twister,” a mathematical take on the classic party game.  And be sure to check out the sundial using a paper towel holder where she keeps track of a daily routine.

2. Adventures in Learning shares a great matching game using beans as manipulatives that will help with counting and number recognition (or simple equations).  It’s called Apple Seed Math.

3. Teach Preschool shows how to use dominoes for teaching math – work on patterning with black and white dominoes, or use giant foam board dominoes and plastic lids to work on matching dots and to talk about number recognition.  (Colorful dominoes - like the ones shown here – are sure to attract kids’ attention!)

4. Also from Teach Preschool, check out her Salt Box Shapes.  They are a fun take on the salt box sensory learning activities usually used for letters or to write numbers.

5. Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational has a phenomenal idea called “Catapult Math” that you can apply to number or shape recognition.  She includes directions for making your own mini catapult!

6. Nurture Store uses “Lego Math” to measure and graph things, work on symmetry, add and subtract, sort colors and shapes, and create patterns.  (side note: you can find legos in bulk right here for a great price!)

 

SONGS

7. Songs, rhymes and finger plays are excellent ways to get your kids counting.  Find the lyrics and music to the following examples (and more!) at Topmarks.

  • Five Little Monkeys
  • Five Little Speckled Frogs
  • Five Bears in the Bed
  • Six Little Ducks
  • Once I Caught a Fish Alive

 

PROPS/TOYS

8. The best hands-on experiences can also be the simplest!  Give your children small items they can touch and manipulate in order to count, match, sort, pattern, etc.  This is the easiest way to introduce addition and subtraction, too.  You can see an example of this type of manipulative play at No Time For Flashcards – Candy Apple Math Game.

Here’s a list of favorite inexpensive or free manipulatives: buttons, dried beans, plastic lids, beads, craft pom poms, legos, edibles (chocolate chips, goldfish, raisins, m&m’s).

Just make sure they are easy for little hands to grasp.

 

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