Sunday, April 7, 2013

Finding Fun - 26 Days and A to Z Resources

Being a parent is stressful. Okay maybe not for you but for me it is! Dont' get me wrong I love my kids and I love every second we get to spend together. I was looking at my daughter this morning thinking "I don't have much longer left with you do I?" Not that I'm dying she's just getting big way to fast! One of the most important things you can do to teach your kids, is teach them to find fun! Life is way to short, and way to stressful to not find the fun in it! Not only is fun important it can actually save your life, make you smarter, help you loose weight, help you sleep, make your children healthier, help keep your house clean and more... don't believe me?

Having fun is the key to laughter, and according to Health Guide laughing can increase your lifespan. Fitness Diva's says that having fun will increase self confidence and subsequently grades, raises at work, and job oppertunities. And, Sage HMRS says that having fun at work will increase a person's willingness to help, share, and even creativity! So how important it is to have fun with your kids? VERY! Create a bond of understanding, opens up the communication lines for the future, and give them a jump start in life!

Here are 5 awesome sites and articles that helped me really look at what was important with my kids, I had to share:

1. 100 Ways to have fun with kids is an amazing site giving you 100 free or very cheap ways to have fun with your kids. This is also a great site to use for 'daddy/daugher, daddy/son, mommy/daughter, mommy/son date nights;

2. Legislation calling for more fun in education! Great article about why it's important to have fun while learning. Think about it this way, if you associate learning with missery how well will you obsorb the information?

3. Why Having Fun is Important another blogger answers the same question! Why is it so important to have fun...

3. And, if you want to be really moved watch Mr. Rodgers talk to congress about getting funding for the Mr.Rodger's show! This youtube video may make you cry.

4. Funology is a website dedicated to little things you can do to have fun! I personally find that I love their magic tricks!

5. Have Fun Teaching shows some great ways to practice counting, math, reading etc. while having fun! 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Eco Friendly Toddlers - 26 Days and A to Z Resources

Toddlers (in general) go through hundreds of paper towels, unravel rolls of toilet paper, use up laundry soap like it's going out of style, and bring in more dirt than they protect. However, teaching toddlers about the enviroment and how to help out can be fun! Recycling those paper towel and toilet paper tubes, planting trees and flowers, making nature jars, and 'releasing bugs' back into the wild are all great ways to get little minds thinking about big world problems. Here's a list of eco friendly toddler activities to start with:

1. Eco Friendly Kids
This site has a huge list of activites to do with toddlers and older children. Some of their ideas make me giddy! Some of them are a bit above toddler age but they coudl easily be 'scaled down'. Check out all the activities here.

2. Eco Kids
Another awesome site with dozens of activities, discussion topics and more! Check out the site and all the fun ways to get involved in recycling, re-using, understanding, and thinking about the planet!

4. Discovery Kids
Did you know that the Animal Planet and Discovery channel have teamed up to launch the Discovery Kids network and website? Hundreds of articles, projects, videos, topics and more! Learn about topics such as allergies, acid rain, and more. Then learn what you can do to help! Go here and check it out, my kids also love some of the games that teach fun earth science facts!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Drama as A School Subject & Not A Temper Tantrum - 26 Days and A to Z Resources

Drama at our house use to mean someone was on the floor throwing a tempter tantrum. But, with a little re-direction drama with toddlers can be a lot of fun! Check out these resources and pasts posts about things we're using to have a dramatically good time!

1. Playing Dress Ups
Playing dressups can be a great way to practice colors, emotions, and pretend play! You can also practice dressing for the 'ocassion'. Have the kids dress for a fancy ball, to go to work as a plumber, pretend they are a rock star and more. It's a lot of fun, can get out some much needed emotional release and teach a huge variety of concepts. I usually have my kids name the colors, textures, and styles they are wearing during dress up play. Example: green fluffy pants, orange stretchy suspenders, purple lacy dress! Have fun! Here's a previous post on dress ups as well, watch for more posts coming soon as this is one of our favorite games.

2. Puppet Shows
Puppet shows are a great way to re-play stories you are reading, act out problems you are having, or create imagination stations! Here are three great sites for getting you started playing puppets!

3. Drawing Emotions
Last year's D for the A to Z challenge was all about getting emtions out through drawing. Check out the post here!

I hope you have fun and a little drama in your house today!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Cooking With Kids Resources - 26 Days and A to Z Resources

Cooking with kids can be stressful sometimes, eggs (shell and all) going right into the brownie mix, and when you're done the floor is so sticky you're not sure it will ever be the same color. If you don't believe me go read Five Little Monkeys Bake Momma A Birthday Cake it sums up cooking time at my house... only this mom is trying to do damage control. However, for all the stress, and thrown away attempts at delicacies (or just chocolate that was much needed to recover from cooking), it is actually a huge learning tool! Kids learn fractions from cooking 1/4 of a cup is a great way to introduce fractions! Counting out ingredients such as eggs is also in introduction to 'read world' or 'word problem' math!

Here are 5 great resources for cooking with kids!

1. Cooking With Kids
This site has tons of printable to go along with the cooking projects and my favorite part is their recipes by theme! Choose holidays' or specific events in your life to go along with beautiful and easy recipes! Go here to browse this site!

2. Food Network Channel
Did you know the Food Network not only has shows and recipes just for kids but they have an entire slot on their site dedicated to getting kids into cooking? From short videos on clean up and safety to great game ideas, books, demonstrations and of course recipes! Go here to get started with fantastic site!

3. Martha Stewart
Martha does everything right? And, cooking with children is no exception! Her featured recipe during the holidays was home-made hot chocolate! It's to die for and so the kids and I had a lot of fun making it! We made it in larger batches for nights around the fire place and story time but I liked mine more than 'luke warm' and so I would put it in my k-cup maker (I have a reusable k-cup to put your own grinds in) and it was still absolutely perfect! Check out this recipe and many other's here.

4. PBS Parents
From cooking and safety to nutrition and recipes that center around getting your full 'plate' in for the day! Fruit and veggi based meals with little or no meat! My kids love some of these and some of the 'healthy deserts' are the best! Go here to check it all out! And make sure to look into the Dinnertime Diversions section! It really helped us stay on track and think about why we cook at eat together.

5. TLC
Okay I wouldn't have ever looked here but it was recommended to me by a friend via Pinterest. They have the cutest recipes and ideas ever... just don't expect them to turn out looking like this if you are cooking with toddlers! Know you're going into the project with little hands helping and be okay with your ballerina slipper twinkies ending up looking like something you stepped on in the back yard (only maybe with pink and sprinkles). Go here to check it out... 

Tomorrow's topic begins with D! I would totally give you a spoiler but I'm sitting here debating over about three different ideas. Maybe I"ll do them all? See you tomorrow!

Free E-Books or Online Books Part 2 - 26 Days and A to Z Resources

For the A to Z blog challenge this year I have decided to showcase 26 subjects and great resources for each of these subject. One of my most popular posts ever has been the Free E-Books or Online Books in which I outlined over 3,000 free online books! So here is a part 2 with another 3,000 and new book companies, web-pages and resources! I hope you enjoy! Did you know that online there is over 2.5 MILLION FREE TITLES to be downloaded? Don't have an e-reader? No problem use free apps such as Kindle, and Nook to transform your phone, PC, MAC or tablet into an instant e-reader with out every purchasing one! 

1. Kindle App
Download Free Kindle App By Amazon through this link. You can put the app on your PC, Mac, Tablet, Phone, iPad and more! This app transforms the computer device you already have into an instant Kindle! Now you have the power to use thousands of free Kindle books! Here's a list of 10 free books to get you started but don't  stop there, there is currently over 2500 TITLES free books on Amazon to be downloaded! Free Children's Books & Education and Reference

1. The Ugly Duckling (Illustrated)
2. Lily Lemon Blossom Welcome to Lily's Room
3. Orangey the Goldfish (Book 1)
4. Cougar Cub Tales: I'm Just Like You
5. A New Pet in the Family
6. Cougar Cub Tales: I'm Just Like You
7. The Clever Detective: Story 1 (A Fairy Tale Romance)
8. Wiggle Wiggle Boooooom! (free for prime members or members of Amazon Mom .99 cents otherwise)
9. Snotty Crocky: A Slimy Rhyming Children's Picture Book
10. Tongue Twisters for Kids

2. Nook App 
Barns and Noble developed a kindle like reader called the Nook and just like Kindle you can download the app to transform devices you already have into a free version of the Nook. Go here to choose your app and then enjoy thousands of free Nook Books!  Free children's books.

1. The Elephant's Child
2. The Summer Flower That Roared 
3. Little Learner's Sing Along
4. Short Bedtime Stories
5. When Cows Fly 
6. Quack A-Doodle-Baa 
7. Animal Trainer
8. Julio Bunny Goes To The Library 
9. Meet Digger Mole
10. Fergus The Race

3. Many Books Online 
Browse thousands of online books in this library and read them instantly from your computer! Go here to see the site and all their books. You can even read and write book reviews! 

4. Project Gutenberg 
Project Gutenberg is a collection of over 42,000 online e-books ready to read or download. These books were originally published by bona fide publishers. Books were proofed by volunteers so you may run into some spelling or grammar errors although many titles are well known. There is no registration or fees to use the site so go here and enjoy! Also to make it easier here is a direct link to the children's book shelf

5. Open Library Online
Just like Wiki you can write articles, contribute, add your own books, etc. You must sign up for an account although it's free, there is currently over 1,000,000 publications on the site to be checked out. Only so many people can check them out at a time so you might need to add some to your waiting list. 

6. American Libraries 
The American Libraries has launched a full site with millions of titles and works of art. They even have an entire children's library online! Read books right on your computer no need to check them out! 

7. Barns & Noble Story Circle 
Currently Barns & Noble has just over a dozen stories loaded into this online story time circle but they are working on loading more according to blogger sources. These stories are read along with professional story tellers or the book's author reading the story out-loud. This service is very much like the Disney Digital Books discussed in party 1 of Free E-Books post. Go here and enjoy the Barns & Noble Story time Circle and be sure to check back for new stories (I know at least one has been loaded since last month.)

8. Google Play Books 
Google Play is the new Android Market and they have hundreds of books you can download to your phone or tablet, but did you know you can go right to to use the market from your PC or Mac? Read books, listen to music and even play some apps all for free? Go here and see some of the children's books availible online. Many of htese are duplicates from Amazon but there are some 

I hope everyone enjoy's the new list! See you tomorrow for C is for Cooking resources  Did you know cooking is educational, fun, and good parent child bonding time? 

A is for Algebra - 26 Days and A to Z of Resources

For the A to Z blog challenge this year I have decided to showcase 26 subjects and great resources for each of these subject. Now algebra may seem above most toddler's heads, but it's really not! Here are 5 great resources for teaching algebra concepts and pre-algebra to preschoolers!

1. Instructor Web -
Get a variety of pre-algebra and algebra lesson plans and work sheets for free! Follow along with what they say is the biggest step in learning algebra... colors!

2. Guided Math: A Framework for Mathematics Instruction -
One of my favorite books that can teach you how kids understand math as well as easy ways to introduce complex ideas! Sharing a cookie is fractions... so why not make math fun and understandable to children!

3. School Sparks -
With hundreds of work sheets labeled and ready to print off for free you can choose to print or buy their complete book with over 300 work pages!

4. ThinkFun Math Dice Jr. Game
This game helped both my 3 year old and 4 year old get into addition! Adding numbers wasn't anything they grasped very well 3+4 wasn't an idea they understood. But seeing the dots on the dice and getting to add, subtract  and multiply something they could count and feel... worked like a charm! I would highly recommend dice games (don't let your little ones eat the dice). They are inexpensive (less than $10.00 on Amazon) and can be used all the way to about 6th grade (with division, long addition etc.)

5. Team Umizoomi 
Team Umizoomi is a Nick Jr. television show which teaches kids, patterns, shapes, counting, numbers, direction, map use and more! What a great introduction to math when mom's busy! Check out their page here for work sheets, games, and project ideas to continue along after each episode!

Come back tomorrow for resources and information on my second post of over 3,000 free books and e-books for kids! Part one of this post was published last year... see it here.