Children’s Birthday Parties – Right Off of the Bookshelf!

The following is by contributor Jennifer Brown.

For my birthday this year I’m going to have _____.” What parent of a young child hasn’t heard that phrase?  Birthday parties are a big deal among the younger set.  It didn’t take long for my first child to realize that birthdays equals cake, presents & parties.

On those special years, when you really want to celebrate, and celebrate big, where do you go for inspiration?  Where do you turn for a party theme that highlights your child’s interests and keeps you out of the prepackaged party aisle?

Off of the Bookshelf

I’d like to suggest that you look no further than your child’s bookshelf, as a dear friend and I did for our children’s parties recently. [Read more…]

Sunday Showcase: Link Love

That is my two year old, Lucy, in the photo.  Playing with yarn and knitting needles is a new way I discovered to keep her busy this week. What new discoveries did YOU make this week?

Make Your Own Backyard Obstacle Course

The following is by contributor Amy Anderson of Let’s Explore.

I am always looking for fun, creative ways to get moving with my kids. Since my girls were toddlers we have been making our own backyard obstacle courses. Our whole family can participate in gathering items, setting up the course, and testing our skills in a friendly family competition.

One of the greatest things about a homemade obstacle course is that you can use whatever items you have on hand. A stuffed animal slalom course?  Sure! Hurdles made from rolled-up beach towels? Absolutely! As my girls get older, their creativity inspires more elaborate obstacle courses each time.

Some kids like the addition of a stopwatch to keep track of their course times. Other kids would rather just go through the course for fun.  Either way, you’ll be adding some fun family fitness to your day!

Here are some of the many activities we have incorporated into our courses over the years. Think of this list as a create-your-own obstacle course menu – pick and choose the activities that match your child’s skill level and the materials you have on hand.  Better yet, let your child be involved in choosing the activities and setting up the course. [Read more…]

At the Craft Table with Rae Grant: Recycled Cardboard Summer Scrapbook

The following was written by contributor Rae Grant of My Little Hen.

With summer travel and lots of outdoors adventures still happening, what better way to have your kids preserve these memories than in a scrapbook made from recycled cardboard and paper?

Making and keeping a scrapbook can be a creative entry point for kids into collecting  postcards, letters, or plant specimens. They can also get experience documenting their adventures creatively. Even the youngest can hand and finger print pictures, draw pictures, and collect summer material such as leaves, flowers, feathers, to place in their journal.

Gathering recycled materials for this project is easy and it can show kids  just how much stuff we have around the house to use again! Depending on the materials you have on hand, and how your kids like to put pages together, each journal scrapbook will be unique (which of course can be very cool!)

[Read more…]

Simple Kids Music Review: Dance for the Sun by Kira Willey

The following is by music reviewer Jennifer Brown.

This month I’m continuing my “wish list” series from January with Dance for the Sun by Kira Willey.  I purchased this album during the dark days of winter and it continues to be a source of brightness as the summer sun shines bright through my window as I write today.

Dance for the Sun

I was initially drawn to Dance for the Sun after hearing the song “Colors” which some of you may recognize as a Dell advertisement theme song.  I was pleasantly surprised that we love the rest of the album just about as much as “Colors”—an adorable song about expressing how you feel based on which color you are today.

I am still taken with the idea of being “bright and happy purple,” “chirping with joy green” or “hopping mad like a playground ball red.”

This song is a terrific example of how Kira’s lyrics are packed with vivid and descriptive imagery, and I almost always ask to repeat this song when it comes on in our car; it’s really that beautiful and captivating.

[Read more…]