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.

30 Family Movie Night Crafts and Activities

watch and make movie crafts for kidsMovies are a fun way to connect as a family and I love to build on and extend those connections with more activities to tackle together.This list of 30 family movie night crafts vary from super simple to just right for school age kids.  In the screen time debate one of the points that is always made is that watching with your kids, interacting while watching and building new experiences on to screen time is a positive thing.  Crafts, sensory play even a little early literacy are included in this round up. The best advice I have is that when you are watching anything with your children that those questions that pop up don’t go ignored. Dive into them. You never know what new learning opportunity may be lurking in your DVD player!

All DVD titles are linked with affiliate links to Amazon. The activity links take you to the tutorials for each activity.

watch & make frozen activities for preschool

Watch Frozen and then have fun with a Frozen Sensory Tub by Nurture Store , Frozen Silly Putty by Paging Fun Mums , Sled Races by Mom Endeavors, and Frozen Fractals by Happy Hooligans.

watch & make monster's university

Watch Monsters University and then explore gooey Monsters University Sensory Play by B-Inspired Mama.

watch & make horton hears a who

Watch Horton Hears a Who then create your own Paper Plate Horton!

watch & make polar express party idea

Watch The Polar Express and then create your very own Winter Train Table  by adding a few simple things your train table!

watch & make madagascar craft

Watch Madagascar and then create your own Penguin Place Mat !

 

watch & make star wars sensory

Watch Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith and then get messy with this rad Molten Lava Slime from Fun-A-Day and Lego Star Wars mini-figs.

 

watch & make star wars craft for kids

Watch Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope and then turn those dollar store bubble wands into a rad Lightsabre !

watch & make the lorax movie activityWatch Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax and then create this fun Lorax inspired math game from Inspiration Laboratories.

 

watch & make antz

 

Watch Antz and then whip up these super simple Egg Carton Ants !

watch & make robots movie craft

After watching Robots make your own robot, then remake it, and remake it with this simple Robot Magnet Set.

 

watch & make the incredibles superhero craft

 

Watch The Incredibles and then get your superhero on by making a Superhero Cuff from a paper roll!

 

watch & make ice age activity

Pop Ice Age into the DVD player then play with your own Arctic Ice Sensory Tub!

 

watch & make cars

I have dozens of ideas for activities to do after watching Cars , but my favorite for the summer is a simple Backyard Car Wash!

 

watch & make Lego movie

 

The LEGO Movie just found its way into our DVD collection and Lego Challenges are equally a hit. They are a perfect pair. watch & make cinderella craft

In the movie Cinderella, the animals help her make a beautiful gown and after watching your child can create one with this Shape Princess craft.

 

 

watch & make a bugs life craft

Like Cars,A Bug’s Life has multiple crafts that would be great after movie activities but these is something special about a classic Egg Carton Caterpillar.

 

watch & make brave activity

 

In Brave Merida is a fantastic archer. You can make and play with your own Backyard Target after watching the movie.

 

 

watch & make despicable me

 

Minions are rad and after watching Despicable Me you can create your own Dry Erase Minion to dress up however you want.

 

 

watch & make despicable me 2

 

If you liked the first movie you will love Despicable Me 2 and why not work on some matching skills after with this simple Minion Match from Study At Home Mom.

watch & make lion king

 

The Lion King is a classic and after you watch you can work together to create this big Scrap Paper Lion. watch & make finding nemo

 

After watching Finding Nemo, you can create your own Toilet Paper Roll Fish. Use white and orange paint to turn one into Nemo!watch & make princess and the frog

 

In  The Princess and the Frog Tiana and Naveen spend a lot of time as frogs in a swamp. So make your own swamp and get gooey! watch & make monsters inc craft for kids

 

Monsters Inc is the cutest monster movie and after watching you can work on letter recognition or even spelling with Letter Monsters. watch & make planes movie activity

 

After watching Planes zoom into play with this fun Airplane Sensory Bin. watch & make harry potter craft

 

There are a lot of crafts for Harry Potter , but I love these simple Harry Potter Glasses and Tie from East Coast Mommy because I can’t help but see the opportunity to practice making patterns!watch & make cloudy with a chance of meatballs

 

I love Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs in book and movie form and this DIY Weather Station gets kids into the role of meteorologist from their own window.

watch & make tangled craft

After watching Tangled you can create your own Cardboard Tangled Tower from Pink and Green Mama and recreate the best parts of the movie.

 

 

watch & make cars 2 craft idea

 

In Cars 2 the characters travel the world and after watching you can make some Landmark Blocks to play with!

watch & make how to train a dragon craft

 

The sequel to How to Train Your Dragon is in theaters now and after watching the either one of the films you can make How To Train A Dragon Playdough from Kids Activities Blog . watch&make toy story craft

There were so many ideas to go with Toy Story, you could make a letter pizza, a toilet paper roll rocket, or even a cowboy vest but our favorite is this Alien headband!

 

 

Lego Math Game For Preschool

lego math roll and build gameDo you know what subitizing is? A lot of people do not and even though we all do it.  When I was studying how to elementary teach math I never learned this it wasn’t something that was focused on but it is now. The easiest way to describe what subitizing is , is to think of it as the numerical equivalent to sight words. It is the ability to recognize total amounts without counting. Tally marks, dice, even fingers are great ways to practice the skill. This Lego math game is great for beginners because it only works subitizing numbers from 1-6. My daughter is our littlest math whiz and loves all things numbers so she was game and dove right in. We played a bunch of times since the game itself can go pretty quickly!  Check out the tutorial below for ways to adapt this game for older children as well.

Gather your materials. You will need a regular die, 12 DUPLO or LEGO bricks, a sharpie, and a tray or wide box to keep the die contained.lego subitizing game

Number your bricks 1-6 with the sharpie. Don’t worry it will come off with a dry erase marker later.lego math for preschool math

Invite your game player and explain the rules – roll an amount , subitize, and find the matching number.

All the bricks are in a loose pile.leho math game for preschool and kindergarten

Roll the die and recognize the amount – say it out loud.Find the brick with that number on it.lego math dice game

Let the other player roll and repeat the steps.lego subitizing lesson

Keep rolling until one person has built their stack and placed it in order.lego brick math game

If you roll an amount you already have skip you don’t grab a brick.

The player who has built their stack first wins.Lego subitizing game for prek

I won the first game and she was not happy. When my kids get upset about me beating them I calmly tell them they can have another chance at beating me if they want to play again. It doesn’t always work but it works more than it doesn’t. Children get excited and losing is disappointing just getting mad at them for being disappointed won’t help. Acknowledge the disappointment and offer some help or ask them how they can get the result they want… practice, play again, take a breather and come back and try again.