5 Playful ways to practice scissor skills

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

Scissors can be a tricky tool for kids to master. Playful, open-ended scissor activities are naturally inviting to kids, and can lessen feelings of frustration for scissor-newbies. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect – the best way to improve scissor skills is lots of scissor practice.

Tips for success:

• Model the correct way to hold scissors, with lots of gentle reminders. Show your child how to hold the scissors with his elbows close to his body, and his hand turned so the thumb is on top.

• A quality pair of kid scissors is important, too. Nothing is more frustrating than scissors that won’t cut!

• Offer a wide variety of inviting materials and activities for scissor work, and let your child play and experiment.

Here are five simple ways to practice scissor skills and have fun, too:

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Morning activities: start the day with play!

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

What’s the mood like in your house in the morning? My girls happen to wake up early most days, ready to go. I, however, am not nearly as perky as they are. I’m not big on plopping kids in front of the TV first thing in the morning (at least not every day), so I needed an alternative for my bright-eyed and bushy-tailed girls.

When my girls were preschool age, I started setting out an art, exploration, or play activity at night before I went to bed. I chose very simple activities that the girls could play with independently, often using toys that had been tucked away or art supplies we hadn’t used in a while. The set-up time was always under 5 minutes.

When we got up in the morning, the girls could jump right in and start playing. They were always so thrilled by the surprise of seeing a project first thing in the morning – even if it was just a bin of Legos spread out on the table or a stack of forgotten coloring books and new crayons. I could sit with them, have some morning conversation, and wake up over a cup of tea or coffee.

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Simple Gifts Kids Can Make for Father’s Day

The following post is by contributor Amy Anderson of Let’s Explore and Early Bird Homeschool and originally appeared in June of 2010.

My kids look forward to Father’s Day all year.  I think what they love most is the over-the-top appreciation they receive from my husband.  They glow with pride when they give him handmade cards, breakfast in bed, or an extra-long afternoon nap.

Father’s Day at our home sometimes involves a handmade gift, while other years we focus on a fun activity or meal.  My girls plan, shop, create, cook, and serve.  I’m available for help as needed, but the pride of doing something really special for Dad is all theirs.

Whether you consider yourself crafty or not, here are four gifts that kids of all ages can make for Dad with a little grown-up help:
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Playing with words: poetry projects for kids

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

Happy National Poetry Month! From rhyming lines to haiku to free verse, I love sharing poetry with my daughters. We think of poems as paintings made with words, and they are a wonderful way for kids to use their boundless imaginations.

While we love reading poetry, writing our own poems is one of our favorite ways to play and create with words. We try all different kinds of poetry forms, and for the most part, I take dictation at the computer while they compose their poetic masterpieces.

There is something satisfying about putting a few simple words together and creating an amazing poem. Have fun capturing a bit of your child”s creative thinking with two of our favorite poetry activities:

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Fun and Simple Bookmark Crafts for Kids

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

We are bookworms around here – and proud of it! We tend to have many books in progress, and we never seem to have enough bookmarks. Not to mention all the crafts and recipes the girls like to mark for future projects. I was getting tired of grabbing receipts and junk mail to mark our spots. It was time for bookmark craft camp!

Here are three of our favorite bookmark projects. They are fun and easy to make, and the results are lovely and unique. Bookmarks make great gifts, too! One of our favorite birthday gifts for friends is a carefully chosen book accompanied by a handmade bookmark.

Okay, fellow bookworms, let’s get crafting!

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