It’s almost Valentine’s Day and I’ve been on the hunt for a homemade, candy-free, nature inspired gift that my son can hand out to relatives and classmates. These DIY Valentine Bird Feeders check all of those boxes and were super fun to make! This easy, 3 ingredient recipe is also an awesome cold weather activity for the thick of winter.
And bonus, we’ve included some FREE Printable bird-pun tags to attach to the feeders. You’re welcome!
I love how this project can inspire some serious bird watching and outdoor activity. We definitely kept some feeders for ourselves and our backyard is chirping! If you want to get really serious, here is a great book for bird watching beginners. Keep scrolling for a full ingredients list and step by step directions. Most importantly, enjoy!
You will need:
2 cups of birdseed
2 packets of gelatin
1 cup boiling water
Mixing bowl and spoon
Heart shaped cookie cutters
Tray covered in foil
Bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Pour the boiling water into mixing bowl, and slowly ad the gelatin. Once the gelatin has completely dissolved, pour in the birdseed. This is where you can get the kids involved. Have them mix it up well! Be sure to cover all of the seed in the gelatin mixture, as this is what holds it together.
Next, take the foil covered tray and place the cookie cutters on top. Then, spoon the birdseed mixture into each cutter and pack it in until it is flat. We used heart and arrow shaped cutters, but feel free to get creative! Stick the straws (see picture below) into the mixture, as this will create a hole for the ribbon hanger. Cool in refrigerator over night or until hard.
When the feeders are good and hard, remove them from the cookie cutters carefully. Our creations popped right out of the cutters just fine. Next, remove the straw and string the hangers through the hole.
Presto, your DIY Valentine bird feeders are complete!
If you’d like to add the FREE printable tag to your DIY Valentine bird feeder creation, find the downloadable PDF below!
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With the turn of a new year tomorrow, its a time of reflection and goal setting for many of us – and not just for adults. Today, we are sharing New Years Reflection and Goal Setting Worksheets for your kids!
This is the perfect opportunity to discuss with your children the importance of reflection and setting personal goals for the year. Our worksheets are designed to be thought-provoking, fun and encourage personal growth and development. They include:
Year End Reflection Questions – Before your child decides how they want 2020 to look, dig deeper into the past year. Surprisingly, some of the answers can be a catalyst for major goal motivation. This worksheet is also a great conversation starter with family and friends (and you know we love a good conversation game.)
S.M.A.R.T. Defining Sheet – S.M.A.R.T. goals is a simple way to assist in goal setting. It is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals helps to clarify ideas and focus efforts that ultimately increase the chances of achieving accomplishments.
S.M.A.R.T. Worksheet – Have your child work through the S.M.A.R.T. process questions to plan out their 2020 goals.
This is the perfect opportunity to discuss with your child the importance of reflection and setting personal goals for the year
Teaching goal setting can be a challenge, so consider these simple tips:
Break big goals into little goals. If your child has a challenging goal they want to achieve, break it down to a step-by-step process. That way, they are continuing to accomplish small wins as they go.
Keep them short term. An important thing to keep in mind for younger kids, is to focus on a small goal that is easily achievable within a short amount of time. For example, a goal for a kindergartner may be to learn tying his/her own shoelaces within a week.
Celebrate the wins. Hitting goals is exciting. Be sure to acknowledge the great accomplishment that your child has made and let them know how proud you are of them. They will certainly want to achieve more.
Share your goals. Use this activity as a way to be candid and give examples of some of the goals you plan to achieve.
After the activity is done, have your child hang their worksheets on the fridge or in their room; this will serve as a daily reminder and motivation for the goals they plan to achieve!
If you enjoyed this activity, check out our other kids activities here.
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The time where we reflect back on all the opportunities, endeavors and experiences we have had in 2019; and a new opportunity to set goals and prioritize what we hope to accomplish next year!
Enter: New Years Resolutions.
Now I am all about turning over a new leaf – and my intentions with resolutions in the past have always come with high motivation. However, I have realized that I have consistently set unrealistic goals for myself.
So this year – I am nixing resolutions altogether and practicing affirmations instead. Why you ask? Let me explain.
First let’s define New Years Resolutions: Noun – A promise that you make to yourself to start doing something good or stop doing something bad on the first day of the year.
And now Affirmations: Noun – Consciously choosing words that will either help eliminate something from your life or help create something new in your life. Every thought you think and every word you speak is an affirmation.
To put it simply – A resolution is basically a make-it-or-break-it promise. For example: You decide in 2020 you will go to the gym 5 days a week. Blessings to you, as that is highly unrealistic for myself, and sets the bar high (:::slow handclap::: if you can do that). BUT, the caveat is, if you don’t go 5 days a week, you have “failed” your resolution and likely will not continue.
When you change your mindset, you are able to overhaul thought patterns that typically hold you back.
An affirmation on the other hand is a consciously directed thought for the present moment; one that will manifest or attract something into your life. A comparable affirmation for your resolution would be something like “I feel healthier and stronger when I exercise regularly and take care of myself”. When you change your mindset and make a commitment towards a disciplined thought, you are cultivating your subconscious mind with positivity, happiness and success and are able to overhaul thought patterns that typically hold you back. Those positive thoughts and reminders you give yourself then translate into prolific actions and goals!
So every morning starting January 1st, I plan to set aside a few moments and go over the affirmations that resonate with me – and I encourage you to do the same!
To make it easier, I have created a few of my favorite affirmations for you, for FREE. Find the ones that reflect who you are and your future goals and with consistent use, see the changes you want come to fruition!
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With my child’s emotional health at the forefront of my parental priorities, positive parenting solutions have been a saving grace. Positive parenting allows for behavior correction while simultaneously building self-esteem and emotional intelligence. A key strategy of positive parenting is logical consequences.
Logical consequences include a cause and effect relationship. They emphasize poor behavior without disparaging or belittling the child. And get this: they actually work! If you’ve hit a wall with discipline and are finding that punishments just aren’t working, give logical consequences a shot and watch as the relationship (and poor behaviors) improve.
First, let’s distinguish the difference between consequences and punishments. Punishments are designed to shame a child into compliance and are unrelated to the bad behavior or damage done. Logical consequences are related to the behavior, and should be reasonable for the offense committed.
The message is clear with logical consequences; the behavior is unwanted, not the child. The behavior is bad, not the child. The behavior needs correction, not the child. The goal of logical consequences is to stop misbehaviors and allow children to make more constructive choices in the future.
When implementing logical consequences consider the 3 Rs.
Reasonable: the consequence should come from sound judgement, and needs to be fair and sensible. Try not to go overboard. A good way to ensure that a consequence is coming from a good place, is to step back from anger. Implement the reasonable consequence once the situation has deescalated.
Respectful: the consequence needs to be free from shame or disparagement, and should not be intended to manipulate or coerce. Logical consequences should provide an opportunity for a child to grow and learn from their mistake without stifling emotional development.
Relatable: the consequence should have a definitive correlation to the behavior itself. The child needs to be able to connect the bad behavior to its consequence, in order to understand the wrongdoing.
Examples of Logical Consequences:
If a child doesn’t brush his teeth, he isn’t allowed dessert.
If a child throws a toy at someone, the toy is taken away.
If a child receives a poor grade, they must spend extra time after school studying.
If a child is mean to little brother at bath time, they are no longer allowed to bathe together.
For instance, in a fit of frustration, my son threw a straw from his capri sun at me. The logical consequence to that action, is no capri suns for lunch the next day. Reasonable, respectful and relatable. Those are the key elements of a logical consequence.
Another component to logical consequences is setting expectations and following through. Be sure that the child knows what the standards are for good behavior, and call out when they exceed those limits. And remember, a logical consequence that is simply a “threat” with no follow up will be ineffective. Consistency and execution are crucial to implementing logical consequences that work.
Subsequent to logical consequence are restorative practices. If a bad behavior causes damage or harm, a good way to teach and rectify, is to use restorative practices. A key element of restorative practices or justice is empathy. When a child is obligated to remedy a wrong-doing, they begin to understand the extent of the damage caused by their poor choice and the effort it takes to fix it.
Examples of Restorative Practices:
If a child colors on the walls, she cleans the wall.
If a child knocks down another’s tower, she rebuilds it for them.
If a child dumps their milk out, they clean up the mess.
If a child throws trash on the floor, they come back to take it to the proper receptacle.
It makes perfect sense, right? You break it, you fix it. You dump it, you clean it.
With restorative practices, the offender is responsible for making things right, which builds the kind of character we want to see in our children. In addition, restorative practices can develop personal responsibility and accountability. Two important things that imposing punishment alone, will not accomplish.
As the old saying goes, “If you don’t listen, you feel.”
What we “feel” is the natural consequence of not making a good decision.
Similar to logical consequences yet slightly different, natural consequences happen as the result of an action, but aren’t implemented or enforced by a caregiver.
Examples of Natural Consequences:
Not wearing a coat and feeling cold.
Leaving toys outside and finding them ruined by the rain.
Forgetting homework at home and not receiving credit for it.
As parents, we often feel the urge to remove obstacles our children face in order to spare them discomfort. The reality is, it can be beneficial to let kids experience things firsthand in order for it to have a lasting impact. If a child has their stuffed animal ruined or stolen after leaving it outside, the pain or discomfort they feel will propel them to consider a behavior change, such as leaving stuffed animals inside next time.
Natural consequences can be hard to allow without parental interference. However, allowing a consequence to happen naturally can build resiliency and encourage healthy decision making skills.
A few key components to natural consequences:
There are definitely situations where allowing a natural consequence would not be appropriate. When a child’s safety or overall well-being is in jeopardy, another form of discipline should be implemented. For example, a child playing in the road or refusing to brush their teeth. The danger of playing in the street and the health implications of not brushing teeth override the learning experience of a natural consequence. The child should also be old enough to comprehend the reason for the consequence.
Additionally, a parent should not participate in “I told you so” shaming of a child after experiencing a natural consequence. Always approach a child with empathy and validate their feelings to promote emotional health. Respect works both ways! The goal is not to shame a child into making better choices, but to provide them the opportunity to do so.
Christmas is just around the bend and we’ve got some helpful gift giving ideas for you today.
I have put together a list of 50 Christmas gifts under $10 AND 75+ stocking stuffer ideas for the whole family!
This post may contain affiliate links, which means that I may receive a commission if you make a purchase using these links.
Every year the holiday seems to sneak up on me and I am left scrambling to come up with ideas to put under the Christmas tree. But this time, I have compiled a list of ideas to reference and I want to share them here in hopes that it makes gifting a little easier for you as well.
Below you will find a list of 50 Christmas gifts under $10 that I have been loving in 2019. I have listed this in sections for him, her, teens, kids and babies. Some of the items may be a tad over $10, but totally worth the purchase. Also – be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post to see my Christmas “cheat sheet” with over 75 stocking stuffer ideas for the entire family!
Below is our list of 50 favorite Christmas gifts under $10!
Give the gift of sensory stimulation for baby’s first Christmas with this brightly colored and super durable toy! Babies will love poking and grabbing the colorful silicon bubbles while developing fine motor skills. Easy to take on the go and a fascinating attention keeper, this Dimpl is a wonderful gift for baby’s first Christmas!
You can’t go wrong with a classic! This multi-purpose radio flyer is a gift for babies and parents alike, as it is fun to ride in and easy to pull. It’s compact design folds for simple storage and it includes the UV protective canopy (for rainy days too). Plenty of room for 2, the radio flyer 3-in-1 can also be used as bench for seating. Buy it now!
It is never too early to instill a love for reading in a child, which makes this board book boxset the perfect gift for baby’s first Christmas. These brightly colored reads cover all the basics, including numbers, the alphabet and animals. Great for language development and an awesome introduction to the wonderful world of literature. Baby needs this set like yesterday!
Just look at this adorable spike the Hedgehog in all of it’s colorful, fine motor glory! Watch as baby’s skills grow with this super cute peg-in-the-hole toy. The quills are easy to grasp and simple to store when play time is over. Spike is highly educational with it’s sorting, counting and color recognition building features. Exceptional!
What’s not to love about this interactive learning baby walker that features a removable toddler play panel and pretend telephone handset? Help babies learn to walk with this light up, musical push toy that sings songs and spouts fun phrases. Durable wheels work on carpet and hard floors. Intended for babies and toddlers from 9 months to 3 years old, it is also available in pink!
Bath time just got more fun with these awesome waterproof books and squeeze toys! This gift is not only educational but unique and guaranteed to keep baby entertained. The first page even squeaks when you press it! Tough but bendable, the books’ smooth edges are safety checked and mold resistant. Great value for everything included. Blub Blub gift these bath toys for baby’s first Christmas and enjoy some fun in the tub!
Personalized learning, 40+ melodies and lullabies, and night time soothing are just a few of the incredible features to this multi-faceted, educational cuddle toy. Sync with a smartphone or tablet, and Scout will say your child’s name and favorite things. Bedtime just got a lot easier!
A beautifully crafted childhood classic, the Battat wooden activity cube is a must have for babies and toddlers. With 5 sides of fun and rounded corners, this child favorite will keep baby safely entertained. Playtime with this toy encourages hand-eye coordination, imaginative play and cause-and-effect. Winning gift right here!
What can’t we say about Melissa & Doug? Their products are amazing. Get back to the basics with these stackable blocks with eye catching alphabet letters and animals. And when baby is finished they store away seamlessly. This toy is an incredible value under $10 and is guaranteed by Melissa & Doug. Talk about a no brainer!
Kids have a mental, emotional and physical need to learn how to explore by investigating their physical environments. What better place to do it than in this stimulating and safe ball pit? They can learn depth perception and to differentiate colors. It folds up quick and easy and comes with a handy storage bag so you can take just about anywhere!