Faith, Family, Friends, Fellowship, Food, and Fun

Monday, August 29, 2011

Get Ready For School Routine ...a little trick to make it better.

My oldest has ADD. When she was in KG, each and every morning was a struggle no matter how much we prepped the night before, however, we did not know at that time that she had ADD. In first grade she was diagnosed so it made my husband and I more patient, but it was still frustrating, especially since the medicine does not kick in until we have left for school.

Lauren started 2nd grade this year and Caleb started Kindergarten. We wake them both up at 6:30. Caleb is ready no later than 7. Lauren needs constant reminders on eating, putting her socks and shoes on QUICKLY, brushing her teeth, and letting me do her hair. She is sooo sloooow. We even turn the TV off which isn't fair to the little ones. This doesn't make for a great morning for anybody.

I racked my brain for a better system. A picture chore chart might work for some, but she does some things upstairs and some things downstairs. Plus, out of sight, out of mind. The chart must go with her.

It finally hit me.

I bought a package of 5 plastic bracelets at King Dollar, and I wrote a task on each one. 1) Get dressed; 2) Eat; 3) Socks and Shoes; 4) Brush your teeth; 5) Hair. When my husband or I wake her up, we put the bracelets on her. After she completes a task, she takes the bracelet off.

It worked beautifully this morning. I am not sure it made her go much faster, but there was a lot less arguing and nagging on our part and she could look at her wrist to see what was left to do.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Road Trip Fun for Kids

NOTE: For a list of over 200 free and inexpensive things to do with kids, see my Summer Bucket List here.

We are about to go to Austin for a few days and from there we have decided to head to the beach. With 4 kids. Under that age of 7. You know what that means. Fighting. Lots of fighting.

When we drove to my aunt and uncle's house last month, I started making up my own Road Trip Bingo. I brainstormed things the kids would see along the way. I tried not to have too many restaurants. I added water towers and oil derricks. I came home and created my own bingo boards using a simple spreadsheet and pictures I copied from the internet. Since my kids ARE so young, the method of play will be simple. Anytime the kids see one of the items on their sheet, they will mark it off of their board. I'm not sure there will be a prize for the 1st one to finish, but we're thinking of having "good behavior tickets" and we may give them some extra tickets upon completion.

Another idea I'm excited about is one I found on I Can Teach My Child blog. Make your won Paint With Water pages....pack them in a gallon-sized ziplock bag...add a paintbrush....don't forget your cup with a lid and a strawhole for the paintbrush and you're ready to go.

Also going in the baggies are these printable hidden pictures from Highlights magazine. There are 2 pages so be sure you click to see the next page. The 2nd page has about 138 more pages.
I have printed wordsearches for my older kids and here are some "What is Different" pages. Here is another one by Family Fun.
Here are 400 travel game ideas on Family Fun's website.
I am trying to find some "Crack the Code" pages. If I had more time, I'd make my own using my rubber stamp collection. I suppose you could use the symbols on your computer as well.

You could play The Alphabet Game. Start with the letter "A" and find one on a sign, truck, building or license plate, say the word and then move on to the next letter. You can do this as a competition or together as a family for the younger beginning readers. The first one to get to the letter "Z" is the winner!
Another version of this game:
Someone picks a theme (foods, animals, places, girl names, boy names, bands, songs etc) and you pick an item that corresponds with each letter of the alphabet. You can do this several ways... We usually go Person 1: A, Person 2: B, Person 3: C, etc,. But you can do it where each person does A and then each person does B. If you want to get competitive about it, you can do one letter until someone can't think of an item, and that person loses that round!

How about The License Plate Game:Print a U.S. map off the computer and color in the states as you see license plates from each one. For smaller kids, you could copy and paste pictures of each states' license plate.

Pass around a "Treasure Bottle": Use a large soda bottle or a large clean peanut butter jar. Fill it no more than 2/3 full with uncooked rice or birdseed. Then put in about 20-25 small objects (safety pin, plastic bugs, button, M&M, nut, bolt, paper clip, penny, bead, piece of macaroni, tiny lego, and other misc. toy pieces or stuff that is probably rolling around in your kitchen junk drawer.) Keep a count of the items and write down the number of items on the outside of the bottle. Put the lid on tight. Let the kids take turns rolling the bottle around in their hands until they find them all. Kids of all ages love this game. You can make more than one treasure bottle so kids don't have to take turns - put different items in different bottles

Play "Find 100": Choose a color or an object and then count them until you find 100 of that item. Popular Find 100 items are American flags, statues, rivers, water falls, churches, red cars, etc. A competitive variation has each person choose a different item or color of car that passes you, and have a race to 100

There are many more ideas out there. Check out for more ideas with printables.