Tag Archives: games

Websites for Homeschoolers…or for Anyone!

12 Apr

I’m not sure if I’ve ever technically been considered a homeschooler, but I do know that even before my kids were born, I never intended for them to wait until they got to school to start learning.

Their entire short lives (they’re 4 and 6), I’ve stocked up on educational supplies, created lesson plans, and scoured the internet for craft ideas.  We’ve made countless trips to museums and zoos, attended story time, and sought out just about every educational opportunity at our disposal.  Long ago, I also turned our office into a “classroom”—so maybe I am a homeschooler at heart!

Part of our "classroom" at home

Now that my son is in kindergarten full-time, and my daughter is in preschool part-time, I don’t need to put so much thought into planning out educational activities for them.  But I don’t think I’m capable of leaving everything in the hands of their teachers – it’s just in my nature!  I like to be involved as much as possible, which also includes volunteering at their schools whenever I can.

So from time to time, I still hit my favorite homeschooling-type websites for ideas on lessons, activities, crafts, and other ideas for fun things to do with my kids.

Check these out – I guarantee you’ll be inspired!

www.notimeforflashcards.com – craft ideas, book suggestions, and songs from a homeschooling mom

www.confessionsofahomeschooler.blogspot.com – activities and downloads from a homeschooling mom

1plus1plus1equals1.blogspot.com – lesson plans from a homeschooling mom

belladia.typepad.com/crafty_crow – art activities for kids of all ages

www.artprojectsforkids.org – art activities for kids of all ages

www.preschoolexpress.com – activities and printouts for preschool kids

familyfun.go.com – crafts, activities, and recipes from Disney’s Family Fun magazine

sippycupcentralmom.blogspot.com – crafts and activities from a homeschooling mom

www.schoolbox.com – educational supplies

www.learningpage.com – lesson plans and worksheets for various ages

www.worksheetlab.com – free printable worksheets for preschool and Kindergarten children

I like to have as much of a role in my kids’ education as I can.  Much of the time, education comes in the simple form of fun.  My kids won’t be little forever, and I want to fill up our time with as many enriching activities as possible to create a lifetime love of learning!

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Traveling with Kids

22 Jun

All summer long, parents will be traveling with their kids.  Automotive or air travel can bring a family closer together and be a really positive, fun experience with kids, or it can be a complete and total drag (we’ve all been trapped somewhere with a screaming kid at some point- NOT fun!)

Every year, our family takes a road trip to the coast, which entails being in a car upwards of twelve hours (with plenty of breaks along the way!)  On the trip this year, I turned around and flew with my youngest to Austin for a 24-hour period to watch my Godson complete his First Communion.  Overall, it was a very pleasant experience and I’ll tell you what worked for me.

Any travel takes planning.  The more I plan, the more I feel prepared.  This time around I made a ton of lists (I know, I know, I’ve already broken one of my resolutions for the new year, but I just didn’t see any way around it).  I made lists for what I needed to do to prepare for the trip as well as a running list of what I needed to pack as well and what would need to be purchased.

I organized the way the car was loaded.  I made sure the kids had snacks and drinks that were accessible to them at all times.  For the older two kids, I filled baskets with things to keep them busy on the long trip.  For my 5 year old, I packed activity books with markers, sticker books (Usborne makes some awesome ones), regular books for reading, her school work, an MP3 player with headphones, and a book of mazes.  For my three- year old, I packed tons of little trinkets she could play with (a mini lunch box filled with dinosaur figurines, mermaids, etc,), a mini etch a sketch, dry erase activity books, lift the flap books, and a TAG pen with books (and ear buds to attach).  For the baby, I loaded the seat back pocket nearest him with baby toys, a scarf, touch and feel books, etc.

When the going got tough and I needed some quiet time, I would pop in a DVD movie.  (In fact, a friend of mine very generously loaned me a complete system that attaches to the backs of the headrests).  It was a life saver on the way home!

I also purchased a few decks from Usborne books, one of which is called 50 Travel Games and Activities.  The kids enjoyed taking turns drawing from that deck and playing new games together as a family.

As far as traveling with my youngest (11 months), I had to get creative at times.  He had a blast for almost an hour playing with an empty water bottle!  When we were at the airport, I made sure he walked/crawled around as much as possible before we would get on the plane.  I packed a carry on with a small inflatable ball, which I blew up while waiting in the terminal, and we would literally play “fetch” with it.  I packed lots of clean healthy snacks (like dried fruit) in the no spill snack cups that he could reach in and help feed himself with.  I made sure he had a sippy cup with water in it (just in case), but he ended up nursing both times on take off and landing, so we did not end up having any trouble with his ears popping.

On the actual plane, I used the mystery box toy Jen had made.  It completely entertained him for an hour.  He would pull one toy out; discover it for a few minutes, then move on to something else.  There was a scarf inside, which was a big hit too, because we could play peek a boo and hide the other toys with it as well.  Because I had worn him out so well in the terminal, he slept the entire leg of one flight.

In the carry on I also had lift the flap & touch and feel books, as well as a travel pouch of tissues (I figured if I got really desperate, I would let him pull them out one by one and/or tear them to shreds), a glowing spinny toy we got at the circus, a Cheerios board book (it’s really cute- there are cut outs in the book where you put actual Cheerios and the baby can eat them while you read) and a few baby toys he hadn’t seen in a long time.  (I tried to think ahead and put away things he really liked for about a month before we traveled, so he’d be really excited to see them).

In the past, I have exchanged books and toys with friends of mine (meaning I would lend them things to take on their trip that would be “new” to their kids and they have done the same for me).  That’s nice because then you don’t have to go out and buy anything and typically other moms have a ton of things that your kids love to play with.  Jen also has a really cool Hang Man puzzle by Melissa and Doug whereby the letters and hangman pieces are tethered to the board with bands.  It would be great for road trips.  I’ll be looking for one in the near future!

Feel free to share what works for you!

Texas Scottish Festival and Highland Games

3 Jun

The 25th Annual Texas Scottish Festival and Highland Games will be held this weekend, June 3-5, at UTA’s Maverick Stadium.

Come and enjoy music, Scottish athletic competitions, fireworks, kids’ games and activities, dancing, art, and plenty of Scottish food!  Hours are 5 pm to midnight Friday, 9 am to midnight on Saturday, and 9 am to 6 pm on Sunday.  Click here for more information.

Taste Addison

17 May

Taste Addison 2011
May 20 – 22, 2011

Taste Addison offers a tasty weekend blend of food, music and family fun.  This three-day festival features over 60 Addison restaurants serving generous samplings of their menus at reduced prices, national musical entertainment, celebrity chef demonstrations and wine tasting seminars, carnival rides, midway games, award-winning children’s entertainment, and more.

Fri., May 20 – 6 pm to midnight
Sat., May 21 – Noon to midnight
Sun., May 22 – Noon to 5 pm

For more information, click here.

Night on the Town in Mansfield

27 Apr

Come to Town Park in Mansfield this Spring for “Night on the Town” movie nights!  Pack a picnic dinner and join the fun.  Along with other activities, movies will be played on a giant outdoor screen.

All movie nights will have games and prizes centered around the theme for that evening, and concessions will be available.  The playground at Town Park is brand-new and has lots of great features.  Sand volleyball and basketball courts are available for the older kids.

Town Park is located at 500 North Main Street in Mansfield. For more information please contact the Mansfield Activities Center at 817-453-5420.

April 30: Dog Show Extravaganza, Pet Parade & Vaccine Clinic at 5:00 p.m.; Dog Show judging at 6:00 p.m.;  Movie at 7:00 p.m. – “Alpha and Omega”
May 7: The Music Place & Arts Conservatory performs at 6:00 p.m.; Movie at 7:00 p.m. – “Cats and Dogs, Revenge of Kitty Galore”
May 14: Car Event at 6:00 p.m.; Movie at 7:00 p.m. – “Cars”
May 21: 1-mile Dragon Fun Run at 6:00 p.m.; Movie at 7:00 p.m. – “How to Train Your Dragon”

Healthy Kids Day at the YMCA

14 Apr

Come to any of the Arlington YMCA branches on Saturday, April 16 from 10 am to 1 pm for Healthy Kids Day!  It’s a day for parents to share the gift of good health with their children – have fun with games, activities, demonstrations, and more.  You don’t have to be a member of the YMCA to attend – it’s open to the public and it’s FREE!

In Arlington, the YMCA has 3 locations:

Central – 2200 S. Davis Street

Cooper – 7120 S. Cooper Street

North – 100 Skyline Drive

For more information, visit their website by clicking here.

Radio Disney Day at the Dallas Zoo

11 Mar

March 12
11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The gang from Radio Disney returns to the Zoo for this annual kick-off to the Spring Break season! Enjoy music, celebrity guests, games, and prizes while exploring all the changes at the Zoo.

For more information, visit www.dallaszoo.com.

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