Thursday, August 8, 2019

A New Site Has Started -- Visit Kiddo Blogger

Kiddo Blogger Has Started

Well, it's official -- my new blog is kiddoblogger.com

Creative Preschool Time will always be here, but if you want more information and ideas check out Kiddoblogger too! Why not visit both?

This new parenting site will go far beyond just crafts. Kiddo Blogger will have parent resources, along with more product reviews, deals, recipes, health awareness, and much more.

If you land on this page, please CLICK and visit my new blog.  Why not BOOKMARK and SUBSCRIBE too?

I'm excited to share lots of parent/child tips, ideas, reviews and random musings on both blogs.

Happy Parenting,
Tania 



 

Friday, August 2, 2019

Back to School on the Bus Craft




As the summer months come to a close school bells will begin to ring.  Some states begin classes in late August and others wait until after Labor Day in September. When you see the infamous bright yellow school bus on your roads you know that school is in session. Here is a fun school bus craft your child will enjoy making whether he/she rides this iconic form of transportation or not. Why not sing “The Wheels on the Bus” while you are crafting together? With a recycled egg carton and a few supplies that are readily available at home this 3-D bus can be constructed.  So, let’s get started.
Supplies needed to make a School Bus craft:
  • Cardboard egg carton
  • Yellow tempera paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Safety scissors
  • Heavy-duty glue
  • White card stock paper
  • Markers or crayons
  • 2 plastic bottle caps
Directions to follow:
Step 1 – Prepare your work surface with newspaper to avoid paint and glue to mark your table top. You may want to place a smock over your child’s clothes as well.
Step 2 – Cut the lid off your cardboard egg carton. You can also use a yellow Styrofoam egg carton if a cardboard one is not available.
Step 3 – Place the two pieces back-to-back – the top of the lid should be next to the bottom of the egg cups (the open cups should be facing out). Glue these two pieces together. This will give your bus stability to stand up on the table.
Step 4 – Invite the kids to paint the entire bus construction with yellow paint.  Set this aside to dry thoroughly.
Step 5 – While the bus is drying, cut out six circles from white card stock paper. Use a bottle cap or lid to trace around to make the circles the same size. Make sure the circles fit slightly inside each individual egg cup.
Step 6 – Encourage the children to draw facial features on each circle with colorful markers or crayons. Challenge them to draw pictures of their school friends that ride the bus with them.  One circle should be a portrait of your child. Another option is to use photocopies of school pictures you may have of your child’s friends.
Step 7 – Glue these circles into the six egg cups on the top row of the bus.
Step 8 – Place two plastic lid caps on the bottom of the bus as wheels. Glue these securely in place.
Step 9 – The small flap of the egg carton at the top of the bus is a place to write the name of your school, bus route number, or just school bus in general.
Place your finished school bus construction in your home or child’s room as a reminder of the upcoming school days ahead.
How are you and the kids getting ready for school? Tell us in the comment section below.

Photo courtesy of Tania Cowling, all rights reserved

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Back to School Shopping Can Be A Teachable Moment



Parents can get back-to-school shopping done with the kiddos along — and it can be an exciting learning experience for them with these tips.
The mall or department store is a special place for anyone with its sights, sounds, and smells. There are several things to do with children before, during, and after the shopping trip to make it more worthwhile for both parent and child.

Just before leaving for the mall, talk with your children about what they will be doing.  What type of products are you looking for? Clothing? School supplies? It’s best to take an inventory of your needs before planning the shopping trip. Why not take a day to clean out drawers and the closet and plan to donate clothing that no longer fits to the needy.  Work on a shopping budget so the kiddos know the family’s limits and see how many necessities can be purchased within these parameters. Who knows? There may be a little extra cash for a trendy piece!
While wandering through each department or each small store in a mall, discuss the noises, colors, smells (especially in the bakery or cosmetic departments), and textures of things. Pick up free samples so they can be examined at home and let the children participate in any taste or smell tests offered. Shopping excursions are terrific opportunities to help children develop their senses and vocabulary.
While shopping at the mall, ask your child his/her opinion on things. “Which sweater do you like the best?” Don’t forget to ask why she prefers one thing to another. Besides making her feel very grown-up and boosting her self-esteem, these questions help her develop important thinking skills. Let the child be responsible for one purchase. Have her pick out the item, take it to the salesperson, and pay for it. Isn’t this task an ego booster?

Shop ‘Till You Drop Game
Kids love a challenge when visiting the mall. Play this “shop ’til you drop” game which is like a basic scavenger hunt where a list of things is found within a specified amount of time (but the kids don’t actually collect them, they list them). Each child will need a tablet and pencil to write down the name of the store where each item is found. This shopping list gives ideas to plan this scavenger hunt, but it has lots of room for variations and creativity. Here are a few ideas: 

Something from Star Wars
Something people wear “under”
Something that makes music
Something that smells like coconut
Something dated with the year
Something rough and hard
A variety of candy
Something with a Disney character
Something plaid
The coolest backpack


And back at home…
After the shopping trip is over, spend some relaxing time at home with a fun project. Recycle the trip into a collage. Have the kids use parts of boxes, labels, bags, tissue paper, tags, and ribbon to create a permanent record of this trip. Glue these pieces of memorabilia onto a large sheet of construction paper or poster board.
Back to school shopping doesn’t have to be hard and trying, just use some imagination and make shopping days fun and exciting. Kids may even learn something along the way!
When does school start in your area? What are your best shopping tips to share with this group? Please tell us in the comment section below.
Happy Parenting,
Tania J

Adapted from my article, first published on Peku Publications, Your Parenting Info, 8/13/14



Wednesday, July 10, 2019

5 Toys That Foster Creativity and Critical Thinking




When buying toys for children I always lean toward creativity -- things the kids can make and do. It can be an art kit or a toy that challenges creative thinking. Look at your toy list holistically. Try to match the toy to the child’s interest and abilities. And, an important factor is purchasing age-appropriate toys/kits from well-respected companies that will provide playthings that will last and abide by the safety rules.
As a parent/grandparent who looks for money-saving toys – I’m always looking for a bargain. Let’s face it; kids grow out of toys too soon. Either the child grows out of the toy’s age span, or interests change. We need to look for deals – comparison shop!  Here are a few prices I found – but these prices are always changing. So, let your fingers do the shopping, even before you set out your door or online shop.


OnTel Products Make the MagicPad

MagicPad™ features an amazing crystal-clear, light-up screen that not only brings art to life but also makes learning fun! The kids just insert one of the stencils behind the screen featuring games, art or learning. Once their drawing is complete, press the color-change button to choose from 8 different light effects to see their creation glow! They can also create freely without using s stencil.
The MagicPad’s screen easily wipes clean and is portable for fun on the go.  It also has a built-in stand, so kids can display their creations, or it makes for a perfect nightlight. Each set includes a MagicPad™, 3 Dual-Sided Neon Pens (for six total colors), 30 Stencils, a Glow-Boost Card, Eraser Cloth and a Fun Guide.
Recommended Age: 3+ with a MSRP of $19.99
·      Target $14.29
·      Walgreens $19.99
·      Walmart $19.88
·      Amazon $14.29 
Now, if you are shopping online don’t forget to use Ebates/Rakuten to gain cash points (percentage varies per store). Please use my code: rakuten.com/r/TKCOWL
VTech Makes the DigiArt Color by Lights™
Let lights guide the way as you create your next masterpiece with DigiArt Color by Lights™. The light-up board identifies each of the 50 included coloring pages and responds by showing what color to use in each section. Download more pages online for unlimited printing and play. Connect the light-up dots to draw shapes, objects, and animals. The art board features a dry-erase surface and a stencil card for more creative play, plus a variety of melodies to enjoy while creating your work of art. Color and create with light!
Ages 3-6 with a MSRP of $21.99
·      Walmart $19.88
·      Target $19.89
·      Amazon (only by second distributors $30+) 


DigiArt Spirals & Sounds™

Create unique spiral art designs with DigiArt Spirals & Sounds™. Place a piece of letter size paper (not included) inside the electronic art board, choose an animal stencil, then use one of the five included gears and the marker to make fun and intricate spiral patterns. Place an animal stencil in the board and press the talk button to hear creative encouragement, fun facts and a silly rhyme about the animal. Roll a gear inside the animal stencil to trigger funny sounds. Switch to music mode to hear 20 cheerful melodies while you create. Let your creativity soar with spirals!
Ages 3-6 years, $19.99 is the MSRP
·      Target $10.49
·      Walmart $10.49 (out of stock at the moment)
·      Amazon$10.49  

Kidi Secrets Selfie Journal™ by VTech
Protect your thoughts and dreams with the Kidi Secrets Selfie Journal™. Make a photo journal, write diary entries or record messages and keep them safe. Facial recognition software unlocks the journal only when it recognizes your face. Features front and rear cameras so you can take selfies and pictures of your friends. A full suite of mini-apps includes games, photo and video filters, music and utilities that give you a variety of activities to play. Create new looks for yourself and your friends, care for a virtual pet, decorate photos and videos, play learning games and more! You're the key to this diary!
Age 6 Years+, $49.99 is the MSRP
·      Target $31.49
·      Walmart $37.49
·      Amazon$31.49
And of course we can’t forget about making music. This activity enhances the creative side of learning.
Kidi Star Music Magic Microphone™ by VTech

Set out on the path to stardom with the Kidi Star Music Magic Microphone™. Be the lead singer with this interactive microphone that features Music Magic mode, which reduces the main vocal track of your favorite songs so your own voice is center stage! Easily connect your MP3 player or mobile device and sing along to favorite tunes from your collection. The microphone is packed with exciting features like four games, four original songs, a voice changer with four effects and an applause button. Record yourself for up to two minutes and enjoy your performance again and again!
Age 5 Years+, $29.99 MSRP
·      Walmart  $22.99
·      Target $22.99
·      Kohls $29.99
·      Amazon$22.99   
These are just a few of the many toys available that foster creativity and critical thinking. The list is endless.

Note: you have to factor in the shipping costs. Always try to get free shipping if online shopping. 


Photos by Tania Cowling, all rights reserved
Feature photo – Pixabay 

I would like to thank these companies for providing me samples of their products for review. There was no payment for my blog post. Please use the clickable links for online shopping – the affiliate bonus helps to keep this website up and running.





Friday, July 5, 2019

It's All About Family: Activities for Kids



Whether you are a parent who is homeschooling or a teacher needing a lesson plan for the classroom --- family is a good theme. Celebrate this very special relationship by using a variety of activities that focus on the family. Take this theme into reading, writing, speaking, music, and art.
My Family Quilt

There is nothing cozier than a quilt. They feel like home. Begin this lesson by reading The Patchwork Quilt by Valerie Flournoy and discuss the importance of family and what family means to each child. Talk about the making of quilts and how you can incorporate family heirlooms and memories inside this stitched piece of art.

Why not try an art project involving quilts? Cut out squares of pastel-colored paper. Invite the kids to draw and color a quilt block for each member of the family including pets. Draw the person and surround the headshot with things they love. Now, if you have an odd number of family members, just have the child create an extra quilt block (or two) with some of his/her favorite things. When all blocks are done, glue them together onto a sheet of poster board. Next, take a black marker and create stitch marks around each quilt block to replicate the real stitching on a quilt – a work of art that has spanned generations.

Family Fun and Laughs
For this themed activity, read the book The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant. It’s a fun pairing of words and pictures that capture the energy and love that flows from a family reunion. After reading the story together, take time to share memories of family experiences.

For a project, have the kids think of a specific family gathering.  At the top of the page of paper, write the event in a large circle. Next, branch down to the next level and add all the family members who attended. The third row holds circles for things that happened during the event.  The last row of circles includes thoughts of how the children felt during this family gathering.  This “graphic organizer” project helps kids to express how they feel about their family, the events, and even tips for future family gatherings. This organizer design is almost like an outline for when students are asked to write a story.
CONTINUE READING... (a Bright Hub Education article by Tania Cowling)


Books available on Amazon -- Click to Purchase

The Relatives Came
The Patchwork Quilt

Family is always a good theme to engage children in discussion and activities. Children learn through books and art -- get them involved today. 

Happy Parenting,
Tania  :)

This post may contain affiliate links. The money we make from linking helps to keep this website up and running. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Celebrating July 4th With the Kids



July 4th is the birthday of our country and the most important of all our national holidays. This holiday commemorates the adoption on July 4, 1776, of the final draft of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress to proclaim America’s freedom from British rule. Every year Independence Day (July 4th) is the legal holiday celebrated throughout the country with picnics, parades and firework displays after dark. Just as you celebrate birthdays of family members, use this day to have a birthday party for our country.  Decorate the house, prepare festive foods, play Americana games; get the family involved in activities relating to this historic event. Here are some tips to make this a “sparkling” holiday.

Recycled Noisemakers

it wouldn't be a celebration without noisemakers. Here are two simple ones to make from recycled trash and a few art materials. 

The first shaker is made with plastic water bottles. After you clean the bottle (dry it) and take off the label, brainstorm with the kids what you want to put inside for noise and for a pretty display. My gang chose sparkly pipe cleaners, wooden beads, jingle bells, feathers, and such. There are endless possibilities. To make sure the contents do not spill out, run a bead of glue inside the lid before screwing on the top. These bottle shakers are so cute to make for other events such as birthday parties, New Year's Eve, and more. What a fun take-home craft!

The next shaker is using empty soda cans. Clean the cans and let them air dry. Invite the kiddos to fill the can with pebbles, rice, or coins. Tell them to be careful of their fingers when filling the can. The opening is sharp.  When finished, tape the opening closed with heavy-duty tapes, like duct tape. Proceed to wrap the can with construction paper and decorate with drawings, stickers, and other baubles you can glue on. Top the can with a cluster of ribbons. I found that the clusters you buy from the gift wrap section of your favorite store works best (and easy). Sometimes you can find these ribbons at a dollar store.

Around the USA Game
You can't have a successful party without a game or two. This one is fun and makes you think!

Gather the family together and have them sit in a circle.  The first player announces, “I’m traveling around the country and in [state] I visited [place].  For example, “I’m traveling around the country, and in New York I visited the Statue of Liberty.”  The next player must repeat what the first player said (“I’m traveling around the country, and in New York I visited the Statue of Liberty”) and add another phrase like, “and then I traveled to Pennsylvania and visited the Liberty Bell.”  Play continues around the circle with each player repeating previous phrases, and then adding a new one.  As a player forgets an item in the list, he/she is eliminated from play until one winner remains.

Wishing you all a happy and safe Independence Day!
Happy Parenting,
Tania :)

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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Are You Visiting the Beach? Capture a Memory!



Summer is beach weather and the perfect place for fun in the sun, sand, and surf. Whether you live near the ocean, vacation there, or attending a home beach party, this craft is a way to hold onto memories. Your children will love to make this time capsule-type craft that will savor the memories of the beach. If you don’t have a beach nearby, fear not! These supplies can easily purchased at craft stores. It’s an easy project that can be saved and displayed in your child’s room as a great decoration and memory maker. 

Supplies Needed for this Beach Craft:

Medium sized plastic jar with lid
Photo of your child 
Tape
Sea shells
Beach sand
Netting or raffia
Heavy glue or low-temperature glue gun
Seaside favor or decor

How to Make a Beach Memory Jar:

  1. Find a suitable jar for this craft. With young children it is best to use a plastic jar with a lid. I chose a mayonnaise jar. Wash and dry the jar thoroughly.
  2. Look through your photos and find one of your child at the beach. If you are doing this craft at a beach party, the host/hostess can take photos when the children arrive in bathing suits and then download and make prints before craft time. 
  3. Take the photo or photocopy and place it inside the jar. Tape it in place to the back curve wall of the jar with the picture showing through the front. 
  4. Pour a couple inches of beach sand into the bottom of the jar. 
  5. Add some sea shells and arrange them to your liking. You may want to include some sea coral or a star fish. Just make sure if you are using fresh beach finds that there are no living organisms inside your shells. These need to be returned to their natural habitat. 
  6. When you are finished filling your container, screw on the lid tight. You may want to run a line of glue inside the lid before screwing it on. This will prevent spills of beach sand all over your floors.
  7. Now, it’s time to decorate the lid. Glue on some extra shells; a low-temperature glue gun works best. Wrap the side of the lid with raffia or a netting-type ribbon.
  8. As an extra enhancement I added a paper beach umbrella to the top or think about a plastic palm tree as another option. 
  9. With a black permanent marker, mark the child’s name, date, and location to the top of the lid.

Memory jars are awesome projects for children of all ages and various events. Think about making a miniature time capsule for birthdays, visiting a theme park, or to add mementos for any vacation. 

Happy Crafting With the Kids,
Tania 
Photo courtesy of Tania Cowling, all rights reserved


Saturday, June 22, 2019

Closet Cleaning and Poshmark



It doesn't matter the season, it's closet cleaning time any time of the year!

I decided it was time to clean my closets -- maybe the Marie Kondo way. If I don't love something, why am I keeping it? If I haven't worn something in over a year, do I really love it? Well, it's time to trash, donate, AND maybe sell it!!!!

Many towns have really good consignment shops, but for me, I wanted something easy and online. Well, I found Poshmark. It is so easy -- you upload pictures of your item, set a price and wait for a buyer. When your item sells, Poshmark sends you the mailing label. You just attach it to the package and mail. Now, how easy is this? And, the USPS will even send you free priority mail boxes just for asking. Check it out HERE.

Oh, did I tell you -- Poshmark accepts women's, men's, and even children's clothing. Yes, it's time to clean out your kiddo's closet.


Go to Poshmark's website and set up your account. It's free!  In the FAQ they will explain the procedure and how much they take from your sale to cover shipping label help and other efforts to help you. It isn't very much. When I sold a $12 item, they took like $3-$4 from my earnings. I feel like these are clothes I cannot use or do not like. If I make a few dollars -- this is a good thing!

And, if you join please use my referral -- you don't have to, but I would appreciate the love!  @TKC6


Hope you all have a great summer,
Happy Parenting,
Tania  :)

I am not affiliated with the Poshmark company in any way. I'm just a client and voicing my opinion.

Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Fish-Themed Activities For Children



It's summer and many families spend these days fishing, boating, at the beach and maybe visiting an aquarium. Here are ways to help children develop knowledge about the creatures that live under the sea.

Fish Stories
Cut out fish shapes from construction paper. From old magazines, cut out interesting pictures and glue these onto the fish. Place all fish into a box. Invite the children to pick a "fish" from the box. Look at the picture and try to incorporate it into a fish story they make up. This is a fun game for a group of children or with the family.

Pick Up Fish (A fine motor game)
Remember the game of pick-up-sticks? Here is a fish version. You will need two containers, one empty and the other filled with fish shaped crackers. Invite the children to use tweezers to move the crackers from one container to the other.

Fish Dramatic Play
Have the children pretend to be fish swimming in the water. Ask, "What type of fish do you want to be?" Tell them to lie on their stomach with their arms close to their side. Now, have them wiggle their body and try to move. Ask, "How would you rest when you are tired? How would you eat? Where would you hide if there were danger?" Have the children describe what they imagine in their underwater world. Act out the following verse.
There is so much activity beneath the sea.
The crab crawls, the eel wiggles,
The octopus swims, the jellyfish jiggles.
Dramatize the creature you want to be!

Fish Net Mobile
Save one of those net bags that oranges or potatoes are sold in. Hang this in a favorite spot. Invite the children to make colorful paper fish cut from construction paper and decorated with art materials. Punch a hole at the top of each fish. Attach the fish to the net with hooks made by opening paper clips.

Going Fishing (Snack)
Give each child two paper cups. One with fish shaped crackers and the other with peanut butter. Give the children a carrot stick and tell them to dip the end of the veggie stick (fishing pole) into the peanut butter and then go fishing into the crackers. The peanut butter makes the crackers stick to the carrot stick. Kids love to see how many fish they can catch!

Children love fish themes and you can enhance these ideas with books, songs and even movies like the new movie Finding Dory. There is a mysterious and beautiful world down under the sea, so as you are having fun with fish activities, children are learning through play.


Photo courtesy of Flickr  

Friday, June 7, 2019

Author Richard Scarry Celebrates 100 Years



When my kids were young, they would frequently bring Richard Scarry's books to me to read. They are colorful, not too wordy, but full of information. The children loved his "Best Word Book Ever." Anyone remember that one? Full of pictures that relate to words. I think this book helped them to develop their vocabulary.

Well, this week on June 5th, Richard Scarry celebrated his 100th birthday. He was born in 1919 and died in 1994. An author this generation will truly miss. Learn about his life and book collections HERE. Why not allow your kids to share a few of Scarry's books at school, or even with their friends during a playdate?


Are your kids into watching YouTube? Here is a VIDEO all about Richard Scarry's career.

This is a good time to visit the library to read some of Richard Scarry's vast collection of books.

Little Golden Books even has a collection of Scarry's best books. Titles such as Chipmunk's ABC, Best Little Word Book Ever!, The Bunny Book, Just For Fun, Naughty Bunny, Polite Elephant, The Country Mouse and the City Mouse and Other Stories, I Am a Bunny, The Gingerbread Man, Busiest Fire Fighters Ever!, Cars and Trucks, and Good Night, Little Bear.  

This collection can be found at bookstores and Amazon

As a parent and former early childhood teacher, I want to keep Richard Scarry's legacy alive. Please introduce your kids to his books, especially during his 100th birthday celebration happening now.

A selection of his single books can be found HERE.


Enjoy reading with your kids this summer. It's a healthy activity!
Tania :)

This blog post contains some affiliate links. Any profits from these links help to keep this blog post alive. Photos are courtesy of amazon.com.