Mommy Monday

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Today in my great state, schools are closed. Not because of inclement weather, but because the teachers are marching the steps of the State Capitol. I absolutely support the teachers in their endeavor to get funding for their classrooms, to create smaller class sizes, and to get paid for the hard work they put in week after week. Teachers deserve our respect and our support.

They’re are so many things I could say, stats I could provide, and stories I could tell to illustrate the need for proper funding, smaller class sizes, better pay, and improved working conditions for educators all around the nation. Instead, I’ll let this video speak for itself.

 

I stand with you, teachers! Keep fighting for our kids!

Mommy Monday

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Most schools are out EVERY DAY this week, which means you, Momma, are home with all the kiddos, wondering how you’re going to survive until next Monday. If you don’t want your little humans plopped in front of the TV all week, I’ve found some great ideas to keep those little hands busy! (Thanks, Pinterest!)

 

Coloring Sheets

ThanksgivingColoringThe link above has a TON of free, printable coloring sheets for your wee ones! Its a great way to stalk about thankfulness and having a grateful heart, seeing as how we’re getting into the season of gift-giving and all.

 

Pattern Block Mats  

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This awesome website is run by a homeschooling momma who was a reading teacher pre-kids. She’s got a great round up of pattern block mats to keep your littles busy! Need some pattern blocks? Get them here!

 

I’m Thankful Sheets

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This is one the whole family can get in on! Go through the alphabet and name something you’re thankful for that starts with every letter! (Pretty sure everyone will be thankful for xylophones and zippers, ha!)

 

Fall Scavenger Hunts

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If you live in the south/midwest like I do, its still warm enough that you can send the kids outside or talk a walk as a family. Print off a few of these fall scavenger hunt sheets and see who can find the most items! Maybe even sweeten the deal with a prize!

 

Thanksgiving Bingo

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I’m considering trying this with Huff the Tot, but changing it around a little bit. Instead of using it as a legit Bingo card, I think I may print one off as a “scavenger hunt” for her to fill in while we go grocery shopping! She loves to have a “list” of her own and mark stuff off. Plus, hopefully it will keep her distracted from putting unnecessary things in the buggy (I see you, three boxes of Cocoa Pebbles.)

 

Are there any Thanksgiving-themed activities your kids love? Share in the comments below!

Mommy Monday

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Here lately, I’ve been trying to make a conscious effort to teach Huff the Tot about kindness and empathy. (Daniel Tiger is a GREAT resource for this! Plus, that kid has a song for errything!) I want her to be mindful of others as well as of her own emotions. I picked up a few books from the library, but this one was my absolute favorite:

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Its called, Have You Filled a Bucket Todayand it is AMAZING! The book describes how everyone, all over the world carries around an invisible bucket. And when your bucket is full (of good thoughts and feelings about yourself) you feel happy. But when your bucket is empty, you feel sad and lonely.

The book goes on to explain how we can fill other’s buckets (and, in turn, fill our own) and become “bucket fillers”.

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It also tells how there are some people who try to take good feelings from others’ buckets, thinking they can fill their own buckets but that will never work. These people are known as “bucket dippers”(i.e., bullies).

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This has been great for Huff the Tot! I’ve read it to her several times and she has said, on more than one occasion, “Mommy, I {insert something here such as “pick up my toys”, “draw you a picture”, or “build you a castle”} and I will fill your bucket up!”

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There are a TON of activities on the book’s website as well as on Pinterest! So you can keep the learning going with fun coloring pages or crafts! I think this would be a GREAT porject for an elementary school class as well! Heck, I think everyone in the nation could use some bucket filling nowadays!

 

Have you ever read this book? What did you think? Have you read one that covers the same premise? Share in the comments below!

Try It Tuesday

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My Pinterest feed has been saturated with today’s Try It for so long that I thought it was time to finally see what all the fuss was with these things:

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I won’t lie, I’m a little skeptical as to how these will work, no matter what some folks may say. But, I’m willing to try it out. I have a few kiddos I work with that I think will benefit from this (if it works) as well as Huff the Tot.

Here’s what I used:

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~ 2 Smart Water water bottles

~ Glitter glue

~Glitter

~Sequins

~Hair gel

 

First, I took the label off of the bottles. Goo Gone really helped get all the sticky gunk off.

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After that, I squirted some glitter glue and gel into one of the bottles. Then, I added different colored sequins:

 

Next, I added some warm water (every site I read was very specific–the water MUST be warm to break up the glitter glue and gel), food coloring, and shook it all up!

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Pretty, huh?

I decided to make a few more and even made a smaller one based on this sensory bottle, complete with glow-in-the-dark stars.

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I didn’t add as much gel to the golden bottle because the pink one seemed too “gel-y”, e.g., the sequins just kind of hovered instead of floating for a second and then falling. You want more of a “snow globe” feel to your bottle.

I still have my doubts as to whether or not these will help some of the kids in my class to calm down, but I’m willing to give it a go! I’ll also be sure to update the blog after I’ve tested them out!

Have you ever made these before? Have you tried them in your classroom or with your own kiddos? What were your results? Share in the comments below!

Mommy Monday

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We all want our kids to succeed. Not only to make their lives better, but also (and we’re all lying if we don’t admit it) because we can look good as parents and thus seem successful to others.

 

You know what I’m talking about. You’re at the park with another mom and her kid. Momma #1 starts talking about how little McKinsley is doing so spectacularly well in preschool and can already write her name as well as recite the Bill of Rights. This of course leads to a “battle of skills” as you start wracking your brain for what your little Pilot Inspektor did that could blow that out of the water (and try desperately to make sure Momma #1 doesn’t realize your Little One is sucking the dust off of the playground gravel).

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Why do toddler milestones have to be about what a child is achieving “earlier than normal” rather than just letting a kid hit those markers when they’re ready? It’s as though if your child isn’t a wunderkind, then he/she is “falling behind” and will never be anything above average.

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When I was young, I didn’t really feel a lot of pressure from my parents to be a child prodigy. Sure, they read to me, worked with me on my ABC’s, numbers, colors, and shapes, but it was not a Tiger Mom scenario. I still went outside, played in the dirt, and climbed fences. I even watched TV—gasp!

 

There are many times I feel an enormous amount of pressure to make sure Huff the Babe is “excelling”. I don’t want her to get to pre-K and not be able to tell the teacher what her last name is or have no idea which shape is a circle. But is that me “feeding the machine” of perfectionist parenting or me simply wanting my child to succeed?

 

And, what’s so wrong about being “average”? I feel like society has turned into a narcissistic mass, all about marketing themselves as something better than everyone else. If we’re constantly comparing our children to other children, what makes us think that our kids won’t do that as they grow? Sure, you may think your kid can’t hear the comments you make about how they are “smarter than most kids their age” and “can do things other kids wish they could do”, but they hear you. And soon, it will become their inner dialogue.

 

“I am so much better than Tabby. She doesn’t even know what a protozoa is.”

 

“Charlie’s an idiot; I made my way through Trig in fifth grade.”

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The truth of the matter is, all kids learn and develop at different stages. Everyone has different talents that they bring to the table. Shouldn’t we just be encouraging and patient with our kids instead of pressuring them to learn the seven continents before they’re 18 months old?

 

What about you? Do you feel as though there are tougher demands now on kids academically rather than when you were a child? Do you feel inadequate as a parent if your kid hasn’t learned what Johnny-Down-The-Block has learned?