Photo A Day Challenge! #CapturePlay

capture play instagram challenge Happy New Year!

I don’t really believe in resolutions but I do believe in always trying to do better and one thing I need to do better at is to play simply with my kids. I know I have a blog filled with ideas for my kids but my goal is to sit on the floor and play Lego, lay in bed and make up stories, and other simple kid directed things. Don’t worry I am not abandoning all these other ideas and activities but in the time between them I am trying to play more. I may end up staying up til 2am cleaning some weeks but I think I’d rather that than saying ” In a minute… just a sec… after I finish this I will play…” as much as I think I did in 2014.

So I created this photo a day challenge to keep myself accountable and inspire others. I tried to think of words and themes that weren’t so specific that you have to create the play, but rather just capture it. These are words that fit in with my kids daily and I hope they will for your kids too. So capture one shot, add it to your Instagram with the #captureplay hashtag and then put that screen away and PLAY.

You in??

Follow me on Instagram here : http://instagram.com/allienoflashcards

Don’t forget to use the #captureplay and if you would like me to feature your photo tag me @allienoflashcards and I just might!

Our Favorite Fine Motor Activities of 2014

fine motor activities

I try to work in activities with some element of fine motor work every day. It’s not hard when you have a child who loves to draw and color but when you don’t you might need to get a little more crafty. Fine motor work is important for many daily activities like writing, tying shoes, and eventually typing too. In the short term it’s also important for getting dressed and other tasks that help kids feel independent. What I am trying to say is that these skills are important so working on developing and fine tuning them is worth your time.

Here are the posts that we think are the very best fine motor activities of 2014.

cutting station

This is one of our most popular posts of 2014 and for good reason, it’s easy to do, fun , and functional. My daughter’s been using our Cutting Station for months and it’s found a permanent spot in our playroom.

fine motor activities

Simple is important because if an activity is simple parents will do it with their kids and teachers can throw it into a lesson plan no problem. That is why I LOVE this simple idea from Sugar Aunts.  Check out their Feather Beading here.

fine motor activities

Our Halloween Lego Challenge was a huge hit. You may not be making vampires and pumpkins for a while but this post can still inspire you to make your own Lego Challenge with any theme.

fine motor activity

Are you seeing a theme with these posts? I love simple activities and this one from Hands On As We Grow is no exception. This easy Fine Motor Activity will keep your kids busy while working on their skills.

lego fine motor

Use your kid’s Duplo for these super fun Lego Fine Motor Activities from Fun At Home With Kids.

fine motor activities

This Sticker Station is another fine motor activity I shared this year that was such a hit with my preschooler that we still use it months later.

fine motor activities

Why not use up those caps you can’t recycle for a little fun fine motor activity? This Plastic Cap Water Play from Fantastic Fun and Learning is a great little idea that kids will love.

fine motor activities

These little Dotted Snowflakes don’t look like much but the highlighters on the foam almost glowed. My daughter was in heaven and carefully dotting them was great practice for writing. She had to carefully hold the highlighters with a proper grip.

fine motor activities

This Zipper Board  from Laughing Kids Learn caught my eye on Pinterest and I added it to my Fine Motor board immediately. Now I am adding it to my favorite posts of 2014!

threading for toddlers

Imagination Tree wrote this lovely tutorial for Toddler Threading & Beading.
fine motor activities
For kids a little older than toddlers they can use twigs and beads to make these rad Fairy Wands! They will be having so much fun they won’t know they are working on some serious fine motor skills.

 

 

Our Favorite Book Lists of 2014

best book lists for kids 2014So far we have covered alphabet activities, math activities, and now today our favorite posts of 2014 takes us to book lists! It was hard choosing my favorite book lists because I adore picture books. I decided to include the book lists that moved me the most, that I feel are the most useful for families, and ones with hidden gems that you might not find on the best sellers list even if I think they should be.

baseball books for kids

This list of books about baseball is filled with history and wonderful lessons as well as fun books about a great game!

diverse christmas books for kids

This list of Diverse Christmas Books was a labor of love finding books with all sorts of families, and children to share with my own kids and yours.’s

books about divorce for kids

We did a list of books about divorce but I think Fantastic Fun and Learning’s Books About Divorce list was better, so I am listing it here!

books about children with disabilities

The Measured Mom has a wonderful book list about Children with Disabilities. I immediately pinned this awesome resource!

LGBT picture books

Every year during pride month I post a book list that is inclusive of families with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered members. This year I was thrilled with the overwhelmingly positive response, even if I lost some followers. I am passionate about filling bookshelves with diverse books even if it costs me some followers in the process.

books around the world

KC Adventures posted this amazing book list of Around The World in 30 Books and I fell in LOVE!

books about worrying

Books About Worrying is a list that I made in response to reader need. There are a lot of anxious kids out there and I hope this list has helped a few. I know the books have done wonders in my own home.civil rights books

Another list that I think is vital for families to explore is this list from What Do We Do All Day of Civil Rights Picture Books.

books about cancer for kids

I have never been thanked via email more of any post than this books list of Books About Cancer. It struck a chord and I am happy I could help.

books with role models for girls

Role models for young women in books aren’t always the best. This book list is all about great role models for girls in books you may not have heard of .

best kids activities

 

 

 

Don’t miss tomorrow’s post where we will be sharing our favorite fine motor activities from 2014!

Our Favorite Math Activities of 2014

best preschool math activities Did you see your favorite alphabet activities in our Friday post? Check it out to aee all the alphabet activities that made our list. Today we are talking all about math. I love math and one of my absolutely most favorite things to do with it is to turn math into a game. Lots of math games made it onto this list of favorite math activities for kids because games are such a wonderful tool for developing mathematical skills.  Let’s see if your favorite is on the list

LEGO math lesson

  • This Lego Math Game was not only popular at our house, it was our most popular math activity of 2014! preschool math game
  • My kids love to hit things so when I can work that into a math game I pretty much feel like I have just won the lottery. This Count & Pound Math Game will be a huge hit at your house too!
  • Buggy and Buddy had a lot of great posts this year but I fell in LOVE with their Pete The Cat inspired Subtraction Game.
  • At Easter we did a fun math game that also worked as a egg decorating activity. Color by Number Eggs! gross motor number line
  • Our Outdoor Number Line was a wonderful way to take math outside and my kids LOVED it.
  • Frugal Fun 4 Boys has a rad little game called Fill The Cup that works on preschool math skills while having fun! math game with monsters
  • We wove math into a monster theme with this Monster Math Craft. I love that they worked on math skills while getting crafty!
  • This bead craft is actually a math game! Fun Bead & Roll post from PBS Parents.place value worksheet
  • Volunteering with 2nd graders inspired this Place Value Robot Activity and my then first grader adored it!
  • He liked this Pokemon Math activity even more.

Don’t miss tomorrow because we are sharing our favorite book lists!

best kids activities

Link & Learn – Best Kids Activities From 2014

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I am on a plane right now headed to Texas and I remembered I hadn’t written my Link & Learn post yet. This week I am featuring all the very best activities for 2014 and today is no exception. I  would LOVE to focus on your very best post of 2014.  Best can mean a lot of things from most popular, most pins, most views… or just your favorite. Whatever measure you use is all up to you but I just want to see what you think your best post was.

For more fun ideas check out our No Time For Flash Cards Facebook Page

Also I want to ask you – does Link & Learn work for you? Is this something we want to keep doing every weekend? I am open to all opinions as I am re-evaluating this in the new year.