Monday, March 14, 2011

Over 3000 Free Coloring Pages - Just Print and Go

Coloring books are becoming more and more difficult to find, and even when you do half the pages are anything your children are interested in. Then after a week they're ripped, torn, and looking fairly... well like the dog ate them.

Instead I've found it's less expensive, and more efficient to just print a coloring page when I need it. In addition you can print a page that has to do with your daily lesson, family home evening,  their favorite TV show, current interest, or something they have recently learned! 

Here's where you can find over 3000 of these easy to print coloring pages. 

This site sorts their coloring pages and activity pages several ways, including topic, and teaching strategies. 

You'll find all of your lovable Sesame Street Characters as well as some number and letter activity pages! 

This site will have exactly what you need for every "baby" and "toddler" lesson! Including colors, seasons, shapes, words etc! Great site! 

Not as easy to navigate but they have TONS of fun stuff! Including coloring sheets for older children, on topics like Bird species, cat breads, cow boys, dog breads, fish, mid evil and more! 

This site has some pop ups which drive me crazy, aside from that their alphabet coloring pages are awesome! They have tons of learning coloring pages but no character ones. 

Exactly what it sounds like. It's like a big printable coloring book! You can print just one page at a time though... which is good because they have a lot! My favorites are the "Food" and "Holiday" pages they have!

Check out their "bible" coloring section if nothing else! 

This site is somewhat tricky to navigate at first so I put the link directly to my favorite page... learning time coloring sheets! AWESOME! They have lots of good stuff though so take the time to look around.

Coloring-Book .info
This site along has more then 5000 pages to print. I am not sure I could name a children's movie they don't have coloring pages for!

Free Coloring
These aren't just your baby coloring pages! They have some incredible detail and pages even I like to color! Marvel, Kung Fu Panda, Dragons etc. If you are stressed consider printing one off for yourself! And for parents with little kids this site offers a bunch of  LITTLE EINSTEIN

Color Me
Check out their Countries and Cultures sections!
Click on your child's favorite TV show and it will give you the option to play games, find crafts or print off coloring pages using that show's themes and characters.

Okay and finally my favorite one... 

You don't need to be a kid to get lost on this site!!! I print these off for myself (shh... don't tell anyone) but this place has some AMAZING coloring pages. They have coloring pages that will challenge any artist to "keep it in the lines" or 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Take Joy In Other Parents

I will full heartily admit that after having so many people tell me I was screwing up before my kids were even born (because we decided to have our children at home) that by the time my kids got here I wanted to have NOTHING to do with other parents and their advice.
The entire first year of my oldest daughter's life I shut out the idea of accepting advice. I just didn't want it. I was determined to do this on my own. I thought to myself "If no one else can support me, then they can't give me advice".

I started looking online at blogs of other mother's who had natural births. They had a lot of my same ideas... and it was relieving to feel "normal" again. So I connected with a few of them. I decided that maybe no all parents were my enemy! Then I discovered something even more magical. Just because you don't agree with someone or they don't agree with you about any one particular subject or maybe even 90% of your parenting styles, doesn't mean that by having kids they don't know a thing or two!
So I started listening to all parents, and taking the little bits here and there that called to me, or that seemed helpful atm and I realized... parents are awesome! We're all a little different and we all have something in common... we're still learning as we go.
Take a moment to smile about some of the parents who have helped you along the way and if you're like me open up a little. No one is going to take your kids from you just because your parenting style is different.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Weekly Winner!

And the winner of the Malissa and Doug Wooden Bear Dress Up Set is "And, Then There Was Five"! Congratulations! 

Check back next Monday because I will have some amazing posts (currently in the works) as well as a new give-away! 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Play Dress Up!

Here's a great way to get kids to learn "more then the basics" when it comes to colors!

Take all your scarfs, dresses (that you don't mind sharing), head bands, shoes etc out and put them in a pile in the front room! Let your little girls (or boys, I promise at this age it's not about sexual prefer, or hey if you prefer play with your husband's cloths) and let them play with the ones they can name the colors too!

are just a few they'll pick up in this game!

Not only that... they'll have fun! And you can snap some great shots for the baby books!


Just remember the more fun it is the more that sticks... kids learn the same way oreos soak up milk, easily, quickly and best done with a lot of mess. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

How To Get Your Kids To "Unplug"

This post was inspired by a reader who said she loved the sites but wanted her family to "unplug"! Such a valid point! I personally am on the computer most of the day working (I work full time) so for me to unplug is really hard. I get addicted to relaxing to my facebook, bloggers, and TV. Even though I've worked for 8 hours, done at least 3 hours of homework with my girls, cleaned house, cooked meals, and gone jogging by the time I hit my very comfortable desk chair at night, even I could use an unplug every now and then...

So here are 10 quick ideas on how to get your children to "unplug" and be happy about it!

1. Don't Watch Kid Shows
I hate it when my 2 year old wants to watch TV, even though we watch Sight Words, Signing Time, and Match Chase regularly (as well as Leapfrog) as part of our homework routine. She wants to watch NickJr. 8 hours a day sometimes, and it makes me crazy. So my newest approach which has been by far the most effective and easiest is rather then argue with her I'll turn on the TV to music, or to the news. It's nothing she cares about so she looses interest and goes to play with her toys!

2. Have Music Going!
If there's already something going in the background my kids often just won't even ask for the TV! So as soon as you get up in the morning put on the iPod, Radio or Music Channel it takes 2 seconds, put it to your favorite music and you'll be amazed at how much more YOU get done!

3. Only Play Educational Games!
It won't bother you that your kids are on the computer so much if ALL you let them do is educational games! Hey the fact my 2 year old is counting to 17 now is impressive to me... so when she asks to do "1, 3, 6 game" I'm good with that!

4. Have Alternatives On Hand!
Telling any kid over the age of 3 months "no" is like saying "no" in a hostage negotiation... IT'S A BAD IDEA! Besides they don't get why you are denying their wish. So don't say "no" instead when they ask to watch TV or play on the computer say "how about we play PlayDough" and pull it out like a magic trick! Hey you can set them to their high chair or up at the table, they are just as entertained and happy to have something to do!

5. Make Sure There's A Toy Out!
Something us clean mom's do, is CLEAN! Once all the toys are picked up they are out of sight out of mind, and guess where the TV is? Promptly on display! So leave a toy or two or three on the floor. Don't put them up where they are out of reach, or on display! Just leave them right there where the kids can play with them. If they are entertained they'll ask for less TV.

6. Make TV A Treat!
I tell my 2 year old she can only watch TV after her home-work is done (she get's to watch Signing Time for reading) then after her room is clean (yep she'll clean her own room), and then again after she helps me make dinner. Each time she get's this reward (which is not everyday) it's for doing something and it's still educational shows! She is proud of herself for accomplishing something, I'm proud she spend less then 1.5 hours in front of the television!

7. Spend A Day Timing How Much TV You Watch!
If you're like I was, you'll be sick. And, quite frankly ready to throw the thing away! Most people don't even realize how much TV they or their children watch.

8. Cover It Up!
If your TV is not in a cabinet then throw a sheet over it for a couple of days... Out of sight out of mind. It might still get asked for but it will be easier to distract their minds if they aren't staring at it while asking!

9. Turn The Computer OFF!
If it's off you won't be on it either. If you aren't on it then you'll be spending more time with them... if they already have your attention they wont NEED to do what you're doing to feel like they are getting attention from you!

10. Spend Time With THEM Not The Computer/TV
Parents often (like me) have the TV or computer on to feel connected with the rest of the world (other adults). By doing so we think we are keeping ourselves sane, however it's easy to get carried away and spend WAY too much time staying connected and not nearly enough time with our little ones! So unplug yourself if you want them to unplug and go for a nature walk!

Thanks Kerry H. for the reminder that sometimes teaching means unplugging! 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Melissa and Doug Wooden Dress-Up Giveaway!

Win this adorable Melissa and Doug Wooden Dress-up Box Set!

This is perfect for teaching children "matching" and working on fine motor skills of getting the pieces in the correct spot! It all stores inside the box so it is contained! I keep one of these in our diaper bag for church, waiting rooms, and more! 

 Here's what you have to do to win!

- Leave a comment on this post (make sure to leave your e-mail address so that I can send the winner a notification) and tell me your favorite post on this blog or any idea you've gotten from this blog you found helpful! (1pt)

- Share your favorite post on facebook/twitter/e-mail! (1pt)

- Follow this blog (1pt)

- Follow our posts on facebook (1pt)

Leave a comment for each of these that you do! Every comment is one entry to win! Comment on each thing everyday, I will be giving this box set away on Saturday!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bilingual Kids - Resources For Teaching Spanish

I have had several people ask me about teaching their kids other languages. My daughters both know quite a bit of sign language and my 2 year old speaks a small amount of Chinese and Spanish. Her father is planning on teaching her Korean next year!

One thing I know that is true for myself is that you don't want to run out and spen $1000.00 on a program with out even knowing if you or your kids are ready to jump into the subject just yet! What if you spend all this money and your child won't do the program for even 10 seconds? What if it's not a teaching style you feel comfortable with? What if the program isn't that great, or you just both feel lost? What if your child just isn't ready for it yet? All valid points. So here's a few places to get started with out spending millions!

First the Programs that Cost Some Money or Investment

(Kids Love Spanish)

*I was first of all shocked to find that there were classes for young children in a huge verity of languages right near my home! I had no idea! So here's a site to help you find classes taught by instructors. What a great way for children to learn from someone who already knows! And, you can either participate (which is a great away to not only learn a second language but strengthen your child's understanding, and your relationship with them), or heck if you just need a brake go get a manicure while they get a great lesson (which is an excellent way to re-charge so you can be super mom again when you both get home)!

*Kids Love Spanish!
These are DVD's that teach Spanish. WOW! These songs will get stuck in your head and weather or not you plan to learn Spanish you'll both be speaking it in no time! They aren't even that expensive.

*Spanish For Kids
Really great DVDs, CD's, Books and sets to get you started!

Now the FREE ONES! Yep this is what most of us want to start with to see if we're even ready.

(From Literacy Center)

Okay you'll have to help young children with this one but if you can do Brill Kids or Your Baby Can Read you can use this program to learn spanish! It's mostly flash cards, easy to use games and other helping tools. You have to register but it's completely free! They do send out quite a few e-mails FYI. But the product is amazing!

*Bilingual Fun
Here's a mother who put together a great blog full of amazing ideas on how to teach and reinforce Spanish concepts in any home! Really you have to read it to believe how unbelievably good she is.

*Learn 4 Good
They have a lot of free Spanish lessons for kids. Then if you want to continue you can purchase other lessons and keep them on your computer for as long as you'd like.

*Enchanted Learning
These people have lots of work sheets you can print off, even if you just use them as coloring pages until your child is reading, they will serve as a great reminder to you of what you are working on! Also I print pages like this and hang them up so that I KNOW what my kids are saying to me!

Great lessons all free! They even have little quizzes!

*Spanish Flash Cards
That's all it is but hey you can print them and they are free. Use these for your kids or for you to keep up with them! The site is a little scattered but they have great flash cards to print! Either from english to spanish or with pictures and then the spanish word.

*Porpose Games! 
Awesome easy to use, easy to find games designed to teach Spanish! Take a little stress out of it for both of you! Let your kids start by exploring Spanish though games.

*Play and Learn Spanish
Great games easy to use and easy to find. Perfect for toddlers, or babies!

Okay here's a few to get you started, I will keep working on more as I find them!