Educational Games for Kids

We just finished a week long Spring break for our big boys at their schools, and we’ve gotten a taste of how wonderful Summer break will be! Maybe we’ve all wondered, how do we continue to stimulate our kids’ brains, ensure that they’re still learning and exploring and growing even though they’re not in a formal schooling setting? Some families have the whole Summer planned with in-home schooling, chores, and a set routine. While some that take a break from it all and play, play, play. And of course lots in between. Where do you lie on the spectrum? Whether you’re the former or the latter, here’s an awesome collection of educational games to help your toddlers and preschoolers have fun and learn at the same time!

learning games for kids

1. LEARN YOUR LETTERS : Learning Resources Alphabet Pops not only aid in learning letters, both upper and lowercase, but also color matching! Each popsicle snaps together and they are vibrant and sturdy. Definitely a favorite toy over here.

2. LEARN THE ELEMENTS : Uncle Goose’s Periodic Table Building Blocks for building towers, and as they grow, to help teach the elements, too! We could definitely use a refresher on this subject. Uncle Goose goods are made right here in the USA, which is always a welcome feature.
3. LEARN TO LACE & TIE : We’re all in the shoe tie teaching phase. It’s a tricky concept and really hard to visualize when the laces and your hands hide what’s happening underneath. Melissa & Doug’s Wood Lacing Sneaker is perfect because  lacing, and tying the bow from this perspective is so much easier to grasp!
4. LEARN TO TELL TIME : Not only is this Tell-Time Puzzle going to teach your kids about telling time the old fashion way, but it also has a built-in puzzle so even your youngest kiddos can enjoy it!
5. LEARN ABOUT CHEMISTRY : We love this primary Science Lab Set for easy kitchen chemistry experiments. There are so many different experiments you can show your kids using ingredients found in your cupboards. Check out our Pinterest board “Kitchen Science” for great ones we’ve spotted around the web!
6. LEARN HISTORY : You all know how much we love Uncle Goose blocks, but this President Block Set might take the cake. Each block is made with non-toxic ink, safe for that “everything must go in my mouth” stage, and includes each President’s picture, nickname, party affiliation, term and more! All ages can benefit from these blocks!
7. LEARN TO COUNT : Smart Resources is really killing it with all these educational toys! Count ’em Up Popcorn is not only a teaching tool, but it’s pretty cute to look at, too!
8. LEARN BALANCING : We love this block set that shows when each piece has found it’s perfect balance when the liquid is horizontal. Find them here: Plan Toys Water Blocks!
9. MORE BALANCE : Link the monkeys into the tree, but they’ll all topple off if it’s unbalanced, so fun and darling to look at! Another gem from Plan Toys: Balancing Monkeys!
Find all our eductional-based posts right here. And a favorite series’ of ours Summertime School, that we’ll be bringing back this Summer again!

ocean sounds stick

This post is brought to you by Lazoo.

We are such big fans of Lazoo, a site devoted to self-expression, fostering the creative process and empowering the imagination in children. What started as a site to house their award winning coloring books has now launched into an extensive library of crafts to do together!

Their newly launched Lazooniverse shares a new craft and project every single day! With Musical Mondays, Puzzling Tuesdays, Green Wednesdays, Foodie Thursdays, Friday Galleries, Seasonal Saturdays and Stationery Sundays there is no reason to ever hear the “I’m bored!” complaint this Summer.

One thing we love about Lazoo is that so many of the crafts can be done just with items around the house. No special trips needed. This Ocean Sounds stick is one of those crafts, and the boys were simply fascinated by the whole process.

crafts, kids, diy

Supplies needed:

  • Two empty paper towel cardboard rolls.
  • A bag of un-popped popcorn, rice, or beans.
  • Two 4-inch diameter circles of parchment paper.
  • Heavy duty tape (we used 3M colored Duct Tape)

First, start by cutting a 1/2 inch slit into one of the paper towel rolls. Insert the second roll into the first and tape in place.

On one end of the now combined rolls, cover it with a piece of the parchment paper and tape in place.

Now, empty the bag of corn, beans or rice into the tubes, and cover the open end with parchment paper, taping it all in place.

lazoo

To make it extra sturdy, we covered the tube in duct tape, and now you’re ready to let it rain. We’re excited to have Lazoo as a craft resource, and our boys have already picked out their next projects! A rocket, an egg crate critter,

lazoo

Follow along with Lazoo on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

mini art books

There is such an amazing local art scene where we live and we try to share that with our boys, so how excited were we to have local artist Dallas Berry come and paint WITH them?

kids, art, projects, indoors

Dallas knows firsthand, and we agree that creating art is therapeutic. It’s another tool in the box of expressing tricky emotions, and so we set out to create a way for our kids to express themselves and even our toddlers dove right in! Dallas led the boys through a series of questions and let them paint whatever they felt in response. Whether it was to draw their favorite toy, or how they feel when their friends are nice to them, or even sad things that happened during the day. The results were fascinating!

kids, art, projects, indoors

We also loved the little books Dallas brought each of them, and any day they feel like painting or drawing they can add to the book! If they’re too little, mamas could easily add a line or two about what each painting means to them, and wouldn’t it be such a treasured keepsake to look back on?

As they get older we’re excited to continue what Dallas started, to paint their day: the highs and the lows, if they’re angry, sad, excited, worried, surprised, hopeful, or frustrated, they can express it in their book, and create even more opportunities for that open communication we all desire with our families!

Here are some of our favorite Dallas Berry pieces, you can see some of her portfolio here and read her blog here.

Dallas Berry Art

Do you have any favorite methods for helping your little ones express themselves? We’d love to hear!

grateful tree

Thanksgiving is such a wonderful holiday and a great preparation for the rest of the Holiday season. We are really focusing this season on being more grateful and in turn teaching our children to do the same. We can all get carried away with all the things we want to acquire and accomplish each Holiday season, but this simple project is helping us keep it all in check.

Each day we ask our families what we’re all grateful for and put them up on our grateful tree. The boys responses are pretty predictable, but nonetheless the expression of gratitude is an important habit to form for any age!

Here’s how you can make your own grateful tree:

Gratitude Tree

We copied off our gratitude leaves printable (download below) onto white cardstock. Cut each each leaf out, being as precise or unprecise as you wish (we chose the latter.) Keep a stack of leaves nearby and let the bigger kids fill their own leaves out, and ask the tinier ones what they’d like to write! By the end of this month you’ll have a tree full of wonderful blessings and hopefully full hearts all around!

Special thank you to West Elm for the gorgeous Hive vase!

Also thank you to all who entered the Target gift card giveaway, congratulations to our randomly selected winner, Lauren B!

five for fifteen

Do you have a fifteen month old? We have two over here and they are little tornadoes, aren’t they? So curious, so sensory, and always on the go. Sometimes getting five minutes of relative stillness can mean the world to a mom, and here are five ideas that will do just that. Just grab a few household items and prepare to be amazed.

Big thanks to our models Callum and Jude!

Activity: Throw a few small toys in bowl of rice and give your little a shovel.

Benefit(s): This is a great practice activity for hand eye coordination and perfecting their utensil using skills. Hopefully this will aid in a cleaner feeding time as they get more practice.

Activity: Using an ice tray, give them items to put in each ice cube section.

Benefit(s): Watch as their little tongues come out in concentration! Giving them opportunities to focus that aren’t in front of an over-stimulating screen of colors and sounds (ahem, TV) helps develop their brain in a more natural way. Sometimes we think our kids need more stimulation when they’re bored and causing mischief, when it’s actually the opposite.

Activity: Building cup towers just to knock them over.

Benefit(s): Learning to build and create patterns, stacking and unstacking are all great toddler activities. Also, a little controlled destruction can curb their appetite for doing it in the makeup drawers, or the roll of toilet paper, or the cupboards of pots and pans. Or maybe it makes it worse, our theory is still in the experimental phase. Either way, you can’t beat hearing those squeals of delight!

Activity: Transferring bouncy balls from bucket to bucket.

Benefit(s): More hand eye coordination, and more delightful shrieks at the plop! sounds the balls make into the bucket.

Activity: Baby shampoo finger painting.

Benefit(s): This one will sustain most ages, but our little ones love it so much! Get out your paint brushes, Q-tips, or scrub brushes and let them go wild. They will love their new found freedom to make a mess, and using baby soap makes for easy clean-up.

nature hunt

Fall is absolutely all around us this past week and we had to take the kids up in the mountains to see it all. Looking at leaves isn’t exactly thrilling for anyone pre-college years, so we put together an easy scavenger hunt to buy us some time to take it all in and give them something fun to do.

Nature WalkNature Walk BoysNature Scavenger HuntNature Scavenger Hunt

Was a bone on the hunt list? Nope. Isn’t it funny what kids fixate on? Anytime they found something small enough we’d tape it on with washi tape.

Exploring Nature with Kids

This is definitely geared towards a younger crowd, but it was a hit! They held on tight to their papers and ran around yelling “Let’s explore!”  Download your own below! Clip art Images obtained via clker.com

Also, you can see more images on our facebook page!

peach jam sale

What? Another peach post? We know, we definitely took advantage of peach season around these parts. This is the last one, promise. While we would have had no problem eating every last jar of our Peach Basil Jam , one of our own Quinn has been hassling his mom for a big boy bike. We talked it over and noticed that all our big boys have been a little bit “asky” lately. It got us thinking about how we could teach them a little bit more about work and earning fun things. When we asked them, Dash said he’d like to earn Super Fast Running Shoes, and Hayes was thrilled at the thought of earning yet another “Light-bean A-Queen.”

So while the task at hand surely created more work for us then them, they seemed to grasp the concept and were so thrilled to see neighbors lining up to buy their jam.

We set up the stand for them, brought in a festive peach shaped balloon bouquet and bunting flag, and forced them into some tiny aprons with our Peach Basil Jam brand. We topped all our jars with the downloadable labels, printed onto adhesive paper and tied with green baker’s twine.

The neighbors loved it, Quinn is currently riding a two wheeler around the neighborhood, Dash is running in his new shoes yelling “Super Fast! Super Fast!”, and Hayes had his mom tuck Light-Bean into bed with him last night.

If you’re making the Peach Basil Jam, which we’re certain you are, feel free to download our jam lid label below!