Magnetic Sandcastle

snadpaper craft for kids Building sandcastles is tough , especially if you don’t live anywhere near a beach. This magnetic sandcastle activity is perfect for you no matter where you live. Not only are kids exploring the texture of the sandpaper they are exploring shapes and how they can work together to create something greater. Another side effect is the storytelling that might pop up like it did with my 4 year old. Her sandcastle was a story. If you don’t have a magnetic surface pick up a cookie sheet like we did for a dollar at Dollar Tree. I buy them 3 at a time.

Gather your materials. You will need some sandpaper, self adhesive magnetic sheets ( ours came from our friends at craftprojectideas.com ), scissors, a marker, and a magnetic surface. fine motor activity for kids

Start by drawing your shapes on the back of the sandpaper. Be careful thinner sand paper will show the marker through if you use a dark color like I did. A pencil may be a better choice. magnetic sandcastle blocks

Cut them out. magnetic sandcastle activity for kids

Add the magnets to the back. My little helper showed up at this stage wondering what I was up to and helped.

Peeling the backing off of these self adhesive magnets is RAD for little fingers still developing fine motor skills, it is also fantastic for concentration and building patience. fine motor sandcastle activity for kidsWe can’t expect our kids to develop ways to deal with frustration and patience if we never give them opportunities to face them. She got frustrated a few times and I said ” It’s tough, Mama is having a hard time too. ” that was it. If you think the frustration will block the whole activity step in but it’s OK for kids to try hard things and fail.

magnetic sand castle for kids

This zig zag piece was extra but she insisted on using it so we added magnets to it together.

Time to play.  sandcastle magnetic try activityShe was totally into it. I liked to see how carefully she was placing the pieces. ” They are rough on one side but not on the other mama!”  When my children make observations like that is when I jump on and try to add a little bit more of a lesson without breaking up their exploration. If they are silent I generally let them immerse themselves completely.fine motor tray activity for kids sandcastle When a comment like  that is made I might say something like what else feels rough like that? Or Do you like the feeling? Sparking more learning but using their observations as launching pad. sandcastle building tray activity for kids

Her creation was a pool with diving boards for sand fairies.

 

reading lists for kids

 

Need some books to go with this activity? Check out our Beach Books round up. Click here or on the image to be taken to the full round up with complete reviews of each book.

 

 

 

 

 

Outdoor Math Activities For Kids

math outside Make learning memorable with these hands on outdoor math activities. Math doesn’t have to be all flash cards and worksheets. It can include games, gross motor, and some novelty like water balloons and Nerf guns. These 9 math ideas have been tested by my kids who adore math but even children who are not so keen on math ( me as a kid!) will find something they can enjoy in this list too.

water balloon math activity for kids 3

Water Balloon Math Game

cheese ball math for kids

Cheeseball Math

number line math activity for children

Sidewalk Chalk Number Line

nerf gun math gross motor activity

Shoot & Count Nerf Gun Math Game

math outside for kids

Numbers In Nature

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Hose Down Shapes

Find and Count Bug Hunt

Find & Count Bug Hunt

math games for kids shell game for 3 year olds

Shell Number Memory Game

marshmallow shoot

Marshmallow Shoot & Measure

 

 

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Help Manage Separation Anxiety with a Simple DIY Photo Book

separation anxiety tools for kidsWhen I stared this blog I never dreamed it would become my job or that I would go to conferences and speak about blogging to other bloggers. This week I am heading to BlogHer in San Jose to lead a writing lab about brainstorming. As I prepare I can see that my daughter is getting a little anxious. Over the years I have made different little activities for my children when I go away like this Kissing Hand Necklace and Mailbox Activity. I decided to make a little photo book because my daughter has always found peace in photos. When  she gets upset looking at photos of family has always helped her calm down. You can use this same tutorial for any kind of book not just one for when you are separated from your children.

Gather your materials. You will need some self laminating sheets ( or a laminator), photos or print outs of photo collages ( I used picmonkey.com to make mine) , a hole punch, scissors, and a small binder ring.separation anxiety

Start by making collages in a 4×6 size. As I said above I used picmonkey.com to make these because I like how easy it is to add text to the collages. When we are apart page layoutThis is the text I added :

Even if you aren’t tight in my arms, you are snug in my heart. My love for you is just the same when we are apart.

When I am gone build with cars and Lego, say hi to the deer, take care of your babies, and get some fro-yo.

When I am gone I am going to ride in a taxi, wait at the airport, fly on a plane, listen to speakers, teach some other bloggers, and see Ms. Maya.

If you miss me while I am gone look at all these photos and know that love can stretch all the way across the world.

My heart is always filled with you and I will hold your hand again in a few days.

Mama loves you no matter how far apart we are.

Create a cover page.

when we cover

Print them out and trim to a 4×6 sizephoto book tutorial

Use the self laminating sheets and laminate the photos. This step was SUPER easy and I picked up these sheets at RiteAid.photo book for kids

Time to punch the holes!photo book for children

Add the ring.when we are apart photo book for kids

Read the book.when we are part book for anxious kids I had my husband read the book to my daughter and I will read it to her many many times before I leave so that it’s familiar. We will talk about each photo and tell stories about them as well. I find it really helpful to tell my children what I will be doing while I am away as well. I never say I won’t miss them, instead I always say I will and then tell them how I handle the emotions and ask them how they do. Giving them control and not telling them what to do has always helped my children feel empowered with hard emotions. I love when they explain to me how they conquered something hard.  I also find the following books very helpful when dealing with any sort of separation anxiety.

Books For Separation Anxiety

All book lists include affiliate links.

kishand2

The Kissing Hand by Audry Penn is an absolute favorite . Chester is a raccoon who like most of us doesn’t like change. In his case it’s starting school. He wants to stay home with his mama and play with the friends he already has instead of going to school away from her and his friends. So his mama explains to him the magic of the kissing hand . The real magic is the message that we have to do things that scare us sometimes but that the love of our family is always with us to help us through. Go get this book.

Owl Babies

Owl Babies by Martin Waddell is perfectly written for toddlers who are eager to “do it myself” but still need a loving parent safely within view.  Three baby owls wake to find their mom away and as time passes the three all get more anxious in their own ways. My daughter loves this book and completely related to poor little Bill who repeats ” I want my mommy!” over and over.  At night she is very much like little Bill, but during the day she is braver like the other two owls Sarah and Percy. No matter what level of separation anxiety your child may have at times they will relate to one or all of the little owls. Of course the story ends with mama coming back and reassuring her little owl babies that she always will.

mama always comes home

Mama Always Comes Home by Karma Wilson was a last minute grab at the library that I am so thankful I saw. It starts off with animal mother’s leaving their babies, for all different reasons . A bird gathering food, a dog greeting his master and more. The animal mothers leave, but they also always return to their babies. Then it switches to a child and mother. She reassures the child that she will be back and we watch her leave, and return . I loved this book because my son isn’t the best when I leave him, he related to this book immediately and was repeating ” Mama always comes home!” half way through. { I originally reviewed this in 2009 and have since read it many times to my daughter who also needed those gentle reminders that I would always return. }

Fun Summer Activities { Link Up }

rp_link-learn-2014-455x178111.jpgWhat have you been you up to this week? Don’t tell us , show us by linking up!

I have started a few new Pinterest boards for you to check out as well:

My Classroom  – this board is where I pin ideas I think I want to use or adapt for my 2-3 year old class I will be teaching starting this school year.

Back To School – all different school ideas for parents and teachers.



Back To School with Target {sweepstakes}

back to school sweepstakes with targetThis is a sponsored post. I was compensated by Target for my participation and the sweepstakes.

target logoHave you started your back to school shopping yet? Yesterday I managed to make my way to Target and get all the school supplies we need this year and feel good about it too. I wasn’t just feeling good because I was at Target with zero kids in tow ( oh what a rare day it was) I felt good because Target has come up with a great way of helping those in need with their back to school expenses. Did you know the average American family spends $600 on back to school shopping?! Right now through August 2nd for every select up&up school supply purchased, Target will give one school supply to a student in need, potentially impacting nearly two million kids this back-to-school season. 2 million!

The program was inspired by Yoobi, a Target-exclusive brand of school supplies with a“One for You, One for Me” mission. Target will distribute the school supply donations through the Kids In Need Foundation, which operates a national network of resource centers that provide free school supplies for students in-need.

As I was picking out our supplies I looked for these signs so I could make sure my purchases were doing double duty!

target post 1

Even though dry erase markers weren’t on our list I couldn’t resist. I also grabbed some washable markers for my own classroom since I am returning to teaching in the fall. I am so excited.

target supply

 

What is just as exciting  is that I get to giveaway a $300 Target Gift Card to one reader !

 

ENTER HERE 

Please read the fine print below.

 

This sweepstakes is open to American residents 18 years or older. To be eligible for the sweepstakes you must fill out the form above ( click on ENTER HERE)  1 winning entrant will be drawn at random, using Random.org, after the sweepstakes closes on Wednesday July 23rd . 2014 at 8:00pm PST. The winner will receive one $300 Target Gift Card  After the winner is notified he or she has 72 hours to respond with their mailing address for Target to ship their prize package to,or another winner will be chosen at random. No purchase necessary.The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Any information gathered through the sweepstakes including email and postal addresses will not be used in anyway other than contacting winners and shipment of winnings. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.