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Activities for Kids

  • First Day of School Book Favorites (+ activities too)

    We all know that the first day of school can be an emotional time for parents and kids alike. This year brings its own challenges, with virtual learning, social distancing requirements, and block scheduling planned for students across the country.

    This is new territory for everyone, and children are not immune to the uneasiness surrounding reopening schools. However, by staying positive and proactive, it’s possible to carve out an optimistic outlook for the upcoming school year.

    One of the best ways to ease a child’s anxiety is through literature. By introducing characters with feelings and situations resembling their own, they are able to ascertain insight and expand their perspective.

    And by forming character connections through literature with your child, you will be able to affirm their feelings and create open dialogue on topics of concern or excitement.

    Below we have listed some of our favorite first day of school books you can read to prepare your child for the new year. With comprehensive subjects such as first-day jitters, meeting new friends, learning the new school rules; we’ve listed a book for it all.

    You will also find some post-reading activities to stimulate follow-up conversations and engage your child even more with some of the characters and topics.

    See Our List of Favorite First Day of School Books and Activities Below!

    1. Have You Filled Your Bucket Today? 

    Through sweet, simple prose and vivid illustrations, this book encourages positive behavior as children see how very easy and rewarding it is to express kindness, appreciation, and love on a daily basis.

    Activity:

    How Full Is Your Bucket childrens activity picture Have you child create a bucket of their own by thinking and writing down the things that make them happy and placing them in their bucket.

    Clickable link to download How Full is Your Bucket book activity

    2. First Day Jitters

    Sarah Jane Hartwell is scared and doesn’t want to start over at a new school. She doesn’t know anybody, and nobody knows her. It will be awful. She just knows it. With much prodding from Mr. Hartwell, Sarah Jane reluctantly pulls herself together and goes to school. She is quickly befriended by Mrs. Burton, who helps smooth her jittery transition. First Day Jitters is sure to be treasured by anyone who has ever anticipated a first day of school.

    Activity: 

    Picture of boy holding First Day Jitters book activityHave your child make a “Jitter Juice”. Cut out all the emojis that your child feels about starting school and put them in the jitter juice. You can also make a “Jitter Juice” of your own with Hawaiian Punch and Sprite!

    Clickable image to First Day Jitters book activity

    3. Llama Llama Misses Mama

    It’s Llama Llama’s first day of school, and he’s not too happy about it. Still, he trudges along and makes his bed, brushes his teeth, and eats his breakfast.

    But once he arrives at his classroom — with so many new faces, new names, and new games — little Llama doesn’t know what to do. And when Mama Llama leaves, the little guy feels even more shy and alone. What will this lonely llama do? Will Mama ever return?

    Activity:

    Boy holding up Llama Llama paper plate craft

    With two paper plates, make an outline of Llama Llama’s head, ears and scruffy hair. Cut out the eyes, color and glue together to create a Llama Llama mask!

    4. Brand New Pencils, Brand New Books

    It’s the first day of first grade! Gilbert is looking forward to learning how to read and making new friends, but . . .

    Will the teacher be nice? Will first grade be too hard? Will he like his classmates? Will they like him? Gilbert is excited and nervous at the same time and maybe your littles will relate.

    Activity:

    What's in My Backpack book activity exampleDownload the below activity to help your little one prepare their backpack. They’ll need more than just books and pencils!

    Clickable image to Brand New Pencils, Brand New Books book activity

    5. David Goes to School

    In this sequel, young David heads off to school for the first time and David’s teacher certainly has her hands full! From running, yelling, and pushing with abandon to chewing gum in class, David’s high-energy antics fill each day with trouble. David’s unruly romp through school is sure to bring a smile to the face of even the best-behaved reader. Read along as David learns the school rules.

    Activity:

    Picture of David Goes to School book activitySchool rules are very important. See if your child knows the difference between good school behavior and what is not allowed with this “Yes, David – No, David” activity.

    Clickable link to David Goes to School book activity download

    Our List of Back to School book FAVORITES!

    Interested in more back-to-school posts? Check out this post to download a free first day of school printable!

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  • 7 Nature Activities and Exploration Ideas for Kids

    Picture of natures activities

    With the cold weather letting up, now is the perfect time to get outdoors! We’ve put together some fun, yet simple activities that incorporate nature to encourage creativity, learning and exploration!

    Flower Petal Suncatcher

    This adorable idea by Messy Little Monster gets the kids out to hunt for different kinds of flowers to create their own suncatcher. This is a great way to encourage pattern building and putting a picture together, while making a beautiful piece of art to show off at home!

    Backyard Dollar Tree Fairy Garden

    Decorate your backyard with a fairy garden. Your children can use their imagination to come up with what they think a garden fairy would love at a home. In this project, Glitter on a Dime was able to find cheap accessories at Dollar Tree and then used existing branches and plants to create their landscape design.

    Nature Scavenger Hunt + Free Printable

    This is such an adventurous activity and one you can knock out while taking a nature walk. Encourage your children to find all the items on the list, which prompts them to use their senses (sight, touch, smell, sounds) and identity color and shapes. My son loved this scavenger hunt and we plan to do many more in the future!

    Spring Outdoor Challenge + Free Printable

    Picture of Spring Outdoor Challenges for Kids

    Activity by We’re Parents

    This challenge looks incredibly fun! We’re Parents put together this Spring Outdoor Challenge which gives you and your little one 10 places to go, 10 things to find and 10 things to take pictures of. This is not only a spring challenge to get your kids outdoors and active, but is a great bucket list for spring!

    Cardboard Tube Bird Feeder

    What’s a nature activity without making a DIY bird feeder? This simple activity can be made with common households items and brings more of the nature to you! We love making this easy tube bird feeders and seeing all the different bird species that stop by, you’d be surprised how many there are!

    Stick Craft Nature Paintbrushes

    Nature can create some amazing art. Encourage your child to go on a nature walk and collect different materials with interesting prints. Then make your paint brush and experiment with paint and see what crazy types of patterns your nature paint brushes make!

    Park Bingo + Free Printable

    Picture of Park Bingo

    Activity by Coffee & Carpool

    Make the most of your park visits by turning it into a Bingo game! Use this game by Coffee & Carpool to discover new parks!

    Do you have any nature activities that you love to do? If so, feel free to share, we are always looking for new ideas.

    If you enjoyed this post, you might like these indoor crafts for preschoolers.

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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!

    For the simple, printable version, use the form to download below!

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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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  • 5 Awesome Ideas for Thanksgiving Day

    I seriously feel bad for Thanksgiving.

    I mean, every year we’re driven to leap into Christmas (or whatever your celebration!) and bypass Turkey day. It’s almost as if we will eventually dismiss the Holiday all together.

    In recent years, I’ve tried to give Thanksgiving its due recognition, but I’m ashamed to admit I’m guilty of pulling out the Christmas gear in the second week of November.

    Alfie the Elf on the Shelf has already graced us with his presence. The tree is up, Santa’s face is plastered everywhere, the stockings are hung tenderly with care…you get it.

    Picture of 5 Awesome Ideas for Thanksgiving Day

    Because it’s so easy to get wrapped up in the magic of the holiday season, we’ve listed 5 Awesome Ideas for Thanksgiving Day that’ll allow you to fully acknowledge Turkey day, and perhaps begin a new tradition with the ones you love.

    1. Volunteer

    What could be more appropriate on a day designated for giving than to volunteer and give back to the community.

    I like this idea because you can put in a few hours of the day volunteering for an organization you’re compelled to get involved with and still have time to feast, drink and spend time with family as you desire. If you’re looking for local charities and non-profits this is a great resource. A couple of tips:

    • Choose a cause you’re passionate about
    • Find an opportunity that matches your skills, interest and schedule
    • Get the kids involved
    • Check with organizations about their Covid-19 policies to be sure they’re complying with CDC regulations**

    To make things even simpler, piece a Thanksgiving meal together for a family in need. Each day add a canned good item to a basket or donate a gift card. Reach out to local food banks to see where there is a need for Thanksgiving meal donations.

    thanksgiving

    Volunteering can also be as simple as donating goods to a local food bank.

    Usually in need of assistance, hospitals offer a variety of volunteer opportunities suitable for all ages. I hope to incorporate this idea into our future Thanksgiving plans as Covid-19 restrictions are hopefully lifted. It always feels good to pay your good fortune forward. 

    2. Turkey Trot

    Want to go for seconds and thirds guilt free this Thanksgiving? The average American will consume 3,000 calories on Turkey day (and honestly you should because, duh, it’s Thanksgiving!).

    An awesome way to kick off the day, get the endorphins going, and burn some pre-meal calories is to run a turkey trot! My husband and I did this a few years ago and I have to say, indulging was that much sweeter after a solid 10k. You can find fun races in your area using this convenient tool.

    Turkey trots range in size from a just a few runners to thousands. The organizations hosting the event usually use the entrance fee to fund local charities and in some races the 1st place prize is a frozen turkey! Dust off those running shoes and get trotting!

    With Covid-19 restrictions in place, Turkey trot races are offering virtual options. I’ve also considered mapping out a 3.1 mile race in our neighborhood for our family to run without paying to enter an actual race.

    3. Celebrate Native American Culture

    If you’ve never been, I highly recommend a day trip to the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. I find it immensely important to educate myself and my family on Indigenous People and their many contributions to  modern day society. You can find Native influence in our arts, agriculture, and even modern medicine.

    Make it a quest to discover local tribes or plan a trip to a reservation. Try a Native recipe. Watch a movie starring Native actors. Here is a great list of children’s books to help explain a history that is often depicted inaccurately in school teachings and otherwise.

    The Best Thanksgiving Traditions

    4. Game Time

    Some of my favorite memories from childhood Thanksgivings is playing football with my cousins and family after our feast. It became such a tradition that a trophy was made for the winning team each year. So fun!

    Whatever game you play, because it certainly doesn’t matter, make it light and fun and try and get everyone involved! Play a board game, create a scavenger hunt, or enjoy a round of cards. Pro tip: Put the electronics down and get back to the basics!

    Our Table Talk Printable is an awesome way to dig deep with the people you spend the holiday with. This conversation generator will have everyone at the table involved! Simply print out the questions, cut, and throw them in a container.

    Ideas for thanksgiving day

    Pass the container around to each guest until all of the questions are answered, OR have everyone at the table answer the question pulled. You’d be surprised at the level of intimate conversation these questions inspire!

    Link to download our Table Talk Printable HERE!

    5. Get Away

    And I don’t mean to your Great Aunt Linda’s house to have an uncomfortable political discussion at Thanksgiving dinner that ends in hurt feelings and family in-fighting!

    It is 100% okay to ditch the gatherings and do your own thing. Maybe you need a getaway. You’ve likely been rewarded extended time off for the holiday, so why not use that time to explore?

    Pick a place you’ve never visited. Numerous secluded resorts countrywide offer Thanksgiving deals to travelers who, like you, need an alternative.

    Plenty of awesome destinations and fresh ideas offered up right here. I’d also advise bringing a friend or two to make it a Friendsgiving trip!

    We hope you’ve been inspired by one of our awesome ideas for Thanksgiving Day and decide to include it in your future Turkey day festivities. 

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    If you enjoyed our 5 Awesome Ideas for Thanksgiving Day don’t forget to create The Grateful Tree!

    The Best Thanksgiving Traditions

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