Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Gardeners of Tomorrow

Why is it that our kids will eat dirt and rocks from the playground but won’t eat carrots and broccoli from their plate? If you’re like most parents getting your kids to eat vegetables can be tricky. We wrap, stuff, cover, hide and hold noses to try and get a tiny portion into their mouth. We won’t even mention the gag reflex that comes with most of these procedures!

For many families, planning time for lunch and dinner can get in the way of busy daily schedules. Case in point, “Hurry up we’re going to be late for school! Hurry up we’re going to be late for soccer! Hurry up we are going to be late for dance”! And then the classic, “Let’s just stop and grab a quick bite before we have to go.” Sound familiar?

Our days are so full of rushing around that we look forward to anything that can make our day easier. With all the extracurricular activities modern families are involved in, guess who picks up where busy families leave off? Yep, it’s billion dollar food industries followed by billion dollar media companies! Frustrating as it is, these billion dollar companies are taking advantage of our families and our extracurricular habits! While they are busy making billions off of busy families there’re putting us and our kids health at risk and getting rich while doing it! They want you to believe their food is fresh, fast, and tasty. Ha! Fresh right off the frozen truck! Oh, and what about the new Taco Bell diet? Seriously? They must think Americans are stupid! That’s where they’re wrong! We're not stupid, we are simply accustomed to things that make our everyday life easier and more convenient. Fast food just so happens to be the one thing that makes this possible and many families rely on it with their busy schedule. Sad as it may be our hard earned money and our “convenience factor” for grabbing a quick bite is our choice. It's not the billion fast food companies that make our family unhealthy, it's the choices we make for our family that makes our family unhealthy! All we have to do is simply make better choices.

Sometime we lose sight of the big picture. We believe our children's activities, outside of the school schedule, will give our children more education and better skills for their future. We do all this so they can have “all the things” that we never had. I for one am very happy with how I was raised and how I turned out, thanks mom! But so often, we find our self caught in a rat race trying to catch the Jones’s and don’t realize that in fact we are hurting our family by rushing and eating unhealthy food along the way. Think about your family for a minute and answer these questions honestly. How many nights a week do you cook and eat as a family? How often do you grab lunch or dinner for your kids on the run? Would your kids rather eat fast food or a home cooked meal? Would your kids rather eat rocks from the playground or their broccoli? :)

Were you surprised by your answers? Truth is, we will never be able to give our kids more if we are clogging their little arteries with all our rushing around . It’s OK if you’re offended, I want you to be. Now let's do something about it!

I’m not saying that I’m against extracurricular activities for kids and families, quite the opposite actually. I'm just looking for a balance to get some stolen family time back and keep families healthy. Do we have to give up our families extracurricular activities? NO, we only have to prioritize differently. If we choose our families activities differently, we can choose to be closer to our family, show our kids how to eat better, live longer, and save money all at the same time! Your money is now saving your family instead of harming them. Let’s empower our kids by giving them the right tools for their future, their families and a healthy life. Healthy food = healthy bodies, unhealthy food = unhealthy bodies. Simple enough right? Good, let’s do it! Let’s change our families "one dinner at a time”!

OK, hopefully by now you’re asking how and what activities can my family do? Again, let’s keep it simple. Vegetables = health food therefore; start by growing a garden with your kids! Spring has arrived and now would be a great time to plan it, build it, grow it, and harvest it. Get your kids involved from the start by planning what to grow, digging and tilling the dirt, planting the seeds, watering frequently, checking on it daily and harvesting it when ready.

Carrots, potatoes and cucumbers from the garden sure taste better than rocks and dirt from the playground! Let your kiddos play in the mud, dance in the puddles and run around outside while they maintain their garden. Create it just for them or create a spot that is just theirs. Crating a garden for your kids will teach valuable life skills such as responsibility and patience. It will teach them all about colors, numbers, science, and nature too. The learning possibilities are endless if you use your imagination. Your kids will learn so much from their garden and from you and they just might learn to like their vegetables too.

Dinner talk now turns into great family conversations about how fun the garden is and how much they learn. Not to mention how dinner will become naturally healthy because what else are you going to do with all that fresh produce straight from your back yard. No more rushing around grabbing a “quick bite” and heading out. Instead, head straight out your back door and get your family happy and healthy.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Chugga-Chugga- Choo-Choo!

If you are like most moms or party throwers you know the secret to throwing a good party lies within the details. Every party should have balloons, cake, food, party favors, games and FUN crafts! Tying in a craft that goes a with the theme of your birthday party will be your “icing on the cake” and keep your kids entertained and parents saying "WOW that was an AWESOME party"!

I recently hosted a party that had a train theme so I thought I would share the craft that I provided for our guest. It's a fun easy craft for your kiddos and here is how you make it! Just follow the pictures below. I have included a train cut out for you too! Enjoy! To give proper credit, I saw this craft on Awesome Moms website. They have tons of birthday party themes for you to follow.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

B is for BEE! Buzz! Buzz!

Second letter in our Animal series. I have included the template for the letter B. This idea is from Totally Tots and you can find all of their letters in their blog. Check back every Thursday for a new letter as we make our way through the alphabet.

B is for Bee! Here is what you will need.

Wax paper
black tissue paper
pipe cleaner
black crayon, or marker
letter B cutout
hole punch
glue stick
googly eyes

Print on Yellow Cardstock, or use yellow foam. Tie in with a cute book on Bee's or the letter B!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Rainbow Art

This rainbow art project is very simple and cute.
What you will need:

White small paper plates
Red, blue, yellow, green, pink streamers
Glue stick
Hole punch
Pipe cleaners or string
A,B,C stickers to add a special name to the plate.

Cut streamers to desired length. Cut out center of paper plate. Wrap and clue streamers around bottom of plate. Punch a hole in the top of the plate. Insert with a colorful pipe cleaner and hang up and enjoy your colorful rainbow art!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A is for Alligator

We are kicking off a new series called Animal Letters! The bossy A is going first! Join us every Thursday as we make a new animal for each letter. I will provided a template for every letter as we make our way through the series. Thank you to Totally Tots for sharing this wonderful crafty way to learn our ABC's!

A is for Alligator! Print on green paper and use triangles down below for the eyes on the side of the A. Place googly eyes on the inside of each triangle. Tie in with a book on the ABC's or Alligators.

Teeth- Print on white paper and use 2 on each side of the inside of the letter A.

Monday, March 8, 2010

St Patrick's Day Activities & Songs

How Many Leprechauns? Original Author Unknown
Sung to: "Twinkle Twinkle Little star"

How many Leprechauns do you see?
Can you count them, one, two, three?
How many Skinny ones?
How many fat?
How many leprechauns with out a hat?

Leprechaun Fingerplay Original Author Unknown
Leprechaun, leprechaun,
Hiding in the hay. (Hide pointer finger under opposite hand.)
Leprechaun, leprechaun,
Don't you run away. (Hop pointer finger around.)
Leprechaun, leprechaun,
Let's go out and play. (Hop both pointer fingers together.)
Leprechaun, leprechaun,
It's St. Patrick's Day! (Dance pointer fingers up and down.)

Do your Ears Point Up? Original Author Unknown
Do your ears point up? (Pull on tops of ears.)
Do you have a lot of luck? (Cross fingers.)
For gold do you dig? (Pretend to dig.)
Can you dance an Irish jig? (Dance a jig.)
If you answered, "Yes," (Nod head.)
You're a leprechaun, I'd guess! (Wink eye.)

Five Green Shamrocks Original Author Unknown
Five green shamrocks growing outdoors
(Child's name) picked one, and that left four.
Four little shamrocks, green as they can be.
(Child's name) picked one and that left three.
Three little shamrocks playing peek-a-boo
(Child's name) picked one and that left two.
Two little shamrocks nodding in the sun,
(Child's name) picked one, and that left one.
One little shamrock for St. Patrick's Day fun.
(Child's name) picked it, and that left none.

Cut 5 flannel board shamrocks and let the children make shamrocks on a
stick and place the numbers on the shamrocks for math count.

Shamrock's and Pot of Gold Patterns -FREE printable
This activity is great for matching, sorting and counting in your math centers during March.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Mommy and Me Classes

With our Mommy and Me Class you and your child can have fun together in an educational and stimulating environment. The program gives your child the opportunity to socialize with peers and gives you the opportunity to share and grow with other moms. At each session the children enjoy curriculum-based crafts, songs, movement, storytime and snack. We also have a parent development lesson during separation time.

The class is limited to ten children per session and the child must be two years old by December 1st of the school year we are working in. Moms and their children join together on Tuesday's for an hour and a half of activities led by a certified teacher who holds a Master’s degree in education and is certified in early education and English as a second language. Classes start at 9:30 am and last for 1 and half hours ending at 11:00 am. After the class ends you are free to stay n play afterwards and visit with other parents. For more information, please contact us 512-971-PLAY Sign up now space is limited!

About the class

ABC’s and 123’s: fun and creative ideas for teaching basic concepts and building basic skills such as letters, numbers, colors, shapes, counting, patterning and much more!

Circle Time: creative activities developed to focus on early childhood skills and concepts in inviting and playful ways.

Movement: age appropriate movement activities designed for indoor play to improve gross motor skills by leaps and bounds.

Songs, Rhymes, & Storytime: popular tunes, fingerplays, and action rhymes just right for little learners.

Snack time: Little ones enjoy a yummy healthy snack brought from home.