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.

 

 

Backyard Safari and Map Activity

map activity for preschoolThis map activity was a huge hit because it included pretend play. Preschoolers love jumping into a fun pretend play scenario and adding a big dose of imagination to a regular old activity. My daughter loves going on safari when she plays dress up so I used that love to turn a simple hunt into a map activity. Reading maps is an important skill not just for the future but it teaches directions ( as we played we practiced left and right)  and uses spatial thinking skills . This took less than 5 minutes to set up and even if you don’t have a yard you can pop the toys in a backpack and try this at the park, beach, or even inside your home.

 

Gather your materials. You will need some toy animals, toy binoculars ( or make some like these binoculars), safari dress up, a clip board, markers and paper for making the map.backyard safari supplies

I started by mapping out our yard. It took me two tries before I got a somewhat accurate map. You could probably google earth your house and get a great shot of your yard but I don’t plan that far ahead so I free handed it.map activity for kids backyard safari

Then I added and X for each animal. Some spots have two Xs because there are two animals together.safari map for kids

Invite your little explorer to get ready for the safari!backyard safari dress up

Show them the map and go over it with them by asking them if they know what it is. What each part represents etc… don’t explain it all to them, let them explain it to you and you can fill in any big blanks if they arise.safari map activity for kids

Get ready to find some animals. I only helped once when she was really getting frustrated. The little alligator was tiny and well hidden. backyard scavenger hunt for kidsEvery time she found an animal she kissed it and put it back. gross motor safari game for preschoolI explained that when you go on Safari you observe the animals but you don’t take them with you.map activity for preschool  As we went along she found them even faster as well as got into the character , she was running so fast from one to the next.gross motor map gameMake sure you take a few moments to talk about what kind of animals they are and a little bit about them. We talked about herbivores and carnivores and how they are different.  She was very proud of herself for being able to read a map. For older kids have them create their own maps of the yard and add the Xs on after.back yard safari scavenger hunt

Story Books Featuring Safari Animals

all our book lists include affiliate links.

books about being different

Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae is a very sweet story about a giraffe who gets laughed at because he doesn’t know how to dance. A cricket gives him some great advice and with new found confidence that different isn’t always bad he starts to dance!  This has been a favorite in our house for years!

Elmer
Elmer by David McKee is another book with a great message. Elmer is different, he isn’t gray like all the other elephants, and he’s a little bit of a goof too! He’s not so sure he likes that though. Like all of us it takes some time for Elmer to accept who he is but in the end he sees that patchwork is just who he is!

Hilda Must Be Dancing

Hilda Must Be Dancing by Karma Wilson is a lovely story about a big hippo that loves to dance, although her neighbors aren’t as keen. See Hilda is bog and when she dances she shakes and rattles everything, it’s noisy and disruptive and is making her friends very angry. They suggest that she try new hobbies, but knitting and singing won’t do it’s simply not in her heart, Hilda needs to move and groove!  I loves that a solution is found that makes everyone happy, that Hilda doesn’t have to give up her passion, but that she isn’t so selfish as to simply say ” too bad” to her friends either.

Summer Learning Activities – Link Up!

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Play is learning as are new experiences, reading books, creating art… there is very little if any time when a child isn’t learning! The trick is choosing what you want them to learn about. Luckily we have Link & Learn to point us in all different directions. There is no way one blog can provide you with everything so every week I invite like minded bloggers to come share activities on Link & Learn. This week I would love to see learning activities that were huge successes with your kids linked up. Maybe it’s something like our Sticky Easel activity that started out simply but turned into a wonderful storytelling activity or another simple lesson that your children created into something much bigger.

If you are new here jump right in. There are very few rules or hoops to jump through, just link up and if you have time check out some of the other links too!