All Posts By:

Jenna Mugridge

  • Spring Scene Terrarium Activity for Kids

    Spring has (basically) sprung in our neck of the woods, accompanied by all of the outdoor activity we love about warmer weather. Yet with this lovely season of growth and renewal comes a fair share of rainy days as well. With that in mind, we decided to capture and bottle up our own spring scene for the days that outdoor play isn’t optimal. This Spring scene terrarium activity is the perfect creative undertaking, and a wonderful way for kids to exercise the imagination.

    Spring terrarium for kids

    A terrarium is typically a glass vessel that contains real plants and soil, sometimes used to illustrate how an ecosystem works. Because the real ingredients can get a bit messy, we’ve come up with our own kid-friendly version that is also re-usable. We’ve decided to focus on the aformentioned, blooming season of Spring as our theme.

    The best part is, all of the supplies needed to make this springy terrarium can be purchased at the dollar store for a whopping $5. Unless of course, you already have these basic supplies around the house! The base is play-dough, and can be used multiple times to create new spring filled environments. Have kids dream up their own sunny scenes, and add elements they find laying around the playroom or just outside the door.

    Below you’ll find everything needed to create a Spring Scene Terrarium for kids. May the fun ensue!

    Dollar store shopping list:

    1. Glass jars
    2. Play-dough
    3. Green moss (found in seasonal section)
    4. Rocks (or go outside and find your own!)
    5. Various spring elements (butterflies, flowers, bunnies, eggs, etc.!)

    Directions:

    1. Pack the play-dough at the bottom of the jar
    2. Add the rocks for texture
    3. Place the green moss on top of the rocks as the third layer (you can add more rocks later if desired!)
    4. Insert spring elements. Be sure to press them into the play-dough so they stay put
    5. Close the jar and your spring scene terrarium is complete!

    Spring terrarium

    The play-dough serves as a great foundation and sticking element so the eggs, butterflies, flowers, etc. stay nicely in place. Each terrarium creation has it’s own theme. You could use bugs, easter, or fairy garden as concepts; the possibilities are endless. I love watching my son’s imagination run wild while coming up with new ideas. Don’t forget to display them proudly as Spring decor until the next idea comes along!

    Stickers could also be a fun way to add life to the terrarium. Use a sun sticker, clouds or rain drops to capture typical Spring weather patterns. Include a conversation about the changing seasons for educational value.

    As you can see, we’ve done this more than once!

    The finished products!

    One proud little artist happy with the end result. A sweet Spring Scene Terrarium!

    For the sunnier Spring days, check out these 7 Ideas for Nature Activities and Exploration

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  • 11 Life Lessons We Can Learn From Dr. Seuss Quotes

    Today we celebrate National Read Across America Day, as well as the birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel, commonly known by his pen name Dr. Seuss.

    Dr. Seuss was an American children’s author, political cartoonist, illustrator, poet, animator, screenwriter and filmmaker. His work in children’s literature included more than 60 children’s books, published in over 20 languages, making him the most beloved and iconic children’s author in households today.

    picture of boy reading Dr. Seuss Oh The Places You'll Go

    Those who have read books such as “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish”, “The Cat in the Hat”, “Oh, The Places You’ll Go”, and “Green Eggs and Ham,” are well aware of Dr. Seuss’s repeated patterns and rhymes, fantastically unique illustrations and important life lessons sprinkled within his books.

    Today, we are sharing 11 quotes from Dr. Seuss and the teachings we can walk away with from them. Also, be sure to download our FREE Dr. Seuss Quotes Coloring Book below!

    “Don’t give up! I believe in you all. A person’s a person,
    no matter how small!”

    “Today you are You. That is truer than true. There is no one alive that is You-er than You!” – Dr. Seuss, Happy Birthday to You!

    You are unique and like no other. You have special talents and capabilities to give to the world! Always be yourself and don’t try to be someone else, they’re already taken.

    “The more you read, the more you know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go!” – Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

    Reading is a powerful tool. You can educate yourself in endless subjects, and spark imagination through storytelling. Fun doesn’t have to be physical!

    “I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead, and some come from behind. But I’ve brought a big bat. I’m all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!” – Dr. Seuss

    The road of life can be challenging. But with focus and perseverance, you will be ready to face those challenges head-on.

    “Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.” – Dr. Seuss, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

    Don’t be sad when the day is done. Tomorrow is a blank slate and the perfect opportunity to make it just as great!

    “You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes, you can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go.” – Dr. Seuss, Oh The Places You’ll Go

    You know yourself more than anyone else; you are the only one who has been in your shoes. You have the power to determine your future and what paths you must take to create it.

    “You do not like them. So you say. Try them! Try them! And you may.” – Dr. Seuss, Green Eggs and Ham

    You may be hesitant to try something new, like a food or a scary activity, but you never know if you’ll like it if you don’t try it just once!

    “I know it is wet and the sun is not sunny, but we can have lots of fun that is funny.” – Dr. Seuss, Cat in the Hat

    Not every day is going to be butterflies and rainbows. Some days and situations may seem dreary or hard. But if you change your perspective and attitude, you can still have a lot of fun!

    “Don’t give up! I believe in you all. A person’s a person, no matter how small!” – Dr. Seuss, Horton Hears a Who

     Don’t feel discouraged. Believe in yourself – you are capable and you matter!

    Picture of boy reading Green Eggs and Ham, Dr. Seuss 

    Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” – Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

    The world needs caring and passionate people. If there is something you feel strongly about, do something about it!

    Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh the thinks you can think up if only you try.” – Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Thinks You Can Think!

    There are no limits to the imagination. It has the power to motivate and turn desires into reality. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box or march to the beat of your own drum.

    So open your mouth, lad. For every voice counts!” – Dr. Seuss, Horton Hears a Who!

    Each and everyone of us have feelings and opinions that matter. Your voice can make all the difference. If you have something to say – say it!

    Download our FREE Dr. Seuss Quotes Coloring Book Below!


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    If you enjoyed this post on Dr. Seuss, you will enjoy our 6 Ways to Celebrate National Reading Month with Preschoolers.

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  • Bedtime Affirmations – for Kids!

    If your household is anything like mine, bedtime is a serious struggle. As much as I try to wear my kids out during the day and keep their night time schedules high and tight, it feels like they avoid sleep like the plague. Whether it’s my oldest son sneaking out of his room, or my youngest having a hard time winding down, bedtime can be difficult.

    Some of the ways I attempt to curb the struggle include nightly gratitude practices and bedtime affirmations. These simple phrases help promote a full heart, clear mind, calm nerves and thus, peaceful slumber!

    The affirmations on the list rhyme and are easy to remember, but we’ve done our readers a solid and created a printable that kids can keep bedside. I framed one to have on my son’s night stand so we always have it handy after stories!

    ease bedtime struggles

    For clarity let’s define the practice of reciting affirmations as 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.

    So if the goal is to ease bedtime struggles, we can do so by providing kids positive affirmations that expel negative thoughts, and soothe the anxiety that often accompanies bedtime.

    positive affirmations for kids

    Additionally, when practicing intentional gratitude, children build a foundation for positive behaviors that will enhance their lives down the road. Studies show there are many benefits to exercising gratitude.

    Introducing this practice early on in a child’s life may increase mental strength, boost empathy and augment overall well-being. It may also reduce aggression and alleviate negative emotions such as envy and resentment. Is there a better way to end the day?

    My son and I enjoy reciting affirmations aloud together, and we’ve quickly made this gratitude practice part of our nightly routine. Typically we choose two or three per night, but vocalizing all seven certainly can’t hurt.

    We hope our bedtime affirmations help foster good sleeping habits!

    Now it’s your turn, mama. Check out these Positive Affirmations for Moms to overhaul those thought patterns that could be holding you back!

     


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  • How to Discipline your Child with Logical Consequences

    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.

    Photo of Logical consequences

    Logical Consequences

    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.

    Restorative Practices

    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.

    Natural Consequences

    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.

    We hope these strategies work for you and improve the relationship you have with your child! For more positive parenting advice, check out our Positive Language Alternatives to Tame a Child’s Tantrum.

    More guidelines for positive parenting here.

    Positive parenting

     

     

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  • DIY Valentine Bird Feeders – for Kids!

    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!

    DIY Bird feeder

    Photo of DIY bird feeder

    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
    • Ribbon
    • Straws

    Directions:

    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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    For some more Valentine’s Day fun check out our Fun Valentine’s Day Activities for Preschoolers!

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  • New Years Reflection and Goal Setting Worksheets for Kids

    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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