Category Archives: faith & family

Little People Nativity Scavenger Hunt

I bought this darling Little People Nativity on sale last October (as in over a year ago) and completely forgot about it. So of course when I pulled it out this year I knew I had to do something special with it. This is what I came up with:
Little People Nativity Scavenger Hunt

We started our FHE by recalling prior knowledge about why we celebrate Christmas. My daughter’s response was along the lines of “so we don’t get bored”. Yes, we needed a nativity lesson!!! After talking about why we celebrate Christmas, I told her we were going to go on a scavenger hunt to find different things that will tell us more about the story of Jesus’ birth. I had her captivated. Mission accomplished.

Each object had a corresponding scripture, song, or poem on a strip of paper. On the back of the paper I wrote where to go to find the next object. (if you want to see what I wrote click here– nothing fancy, but it worked well)

We used the piano bench as our “base”- each time we found a piece to the Nativity we ran it there so we could act out that part in the story.

The objects were hidden in the order they appear in the story of the birth of Christ or where I thought they would appear. I loved the idea of starting at the beginning and acting out the story with the Little People.

don’t forget to have your kiddos have Mary, Joseph, and the donkey walking to Bethlehem before finding the next clue!
the Little People nativity is perfect for this- if you press on the stable it plays Away in a Manger- then you can just sing along!
so our nativity didn’t come with a shepherd, hence the cowboy playing the part. do i get points for creativity?

it just so happened that we ended our story with an animal my daughter has always wanted. it was perfect!

My daughter is absolutely, without a doubt IN LOVE with the Nativity story. Sure, a big part of that is because animals were involved.

She calls Bethlehem her “world” and had to take it to bed with her. I knew it was a victory when she later told me she wanted to play with her nativity instead of going to the dinosaur park ( a place that she loves very much).

I hope this helps you make the story of the nativity come alive for your kids! And of course, if you don’t have a Little People nativity, you could use one that you already have…. or print the pics on this post.
Happy Teaching and Merry Christmas!

General Conference Cups

This weekend is General Conference for my church and we are so excited! And how are we going to keep our little daughter entertained during four 2 hour sessions of spiritual speakers? Well, honestly we won’t get her to sit still for THAT long- but I thought this idea would help!

The basic idea is that every time a speaker says a word (or discusses a topic), you get a treat from the cup. I plan on filling my cups with small treats such as skittles, tootsie rolls, and other dollar store candy. I doubt that I will start with all ten cups- so we will most likely use different ones for each session. I LOVED the idea of using clear plastic cups because (a) they are CHEAP and (b) I have the advantage of taping the categories inside the cup which protects the paper and gives it a semi-professional look.The topics are things that I felt my family and I needed to hear: love, scriptures/book of mormon, family, temples, Jesus Christ, prayer, prophets, faith, and gratitude. And my daughter wanted to learn more about being kind and obeying. Yay for that topic!!! You could also add in other topics as well- such as sacrament, Holy Ghost, fasting, humility, tithing, or modesty.

This cup idea can easily be applied to other areas- you could choose a few different vocabulary words and every time you hear that word in conversation you get a treat. Or use it while watching an educational movie with key words written on the cups. Or use them during FHE while reading the lesson or talks from the Ensign.

Happy Teaching!

Tithing Box Printable

First of all, I am the BIGGEST BLOGGING slacker! Oh my heavens!!!!
Second, my husband and I substituted in my daughter’s church class today. Our lesson was on tithing, and can you believe it- I couldn’t find an easy printable box online anywhere. And we had like 3 hours until church. (I am spreading my slacking skills onto lesson preparation as well. 🙂 ) I created this simple box that I thought I would share with you all! (Just right click and save image- then enjoy!)

One word of advice- don’t mess with gluing the tabs together- save yourself time and mental sanity by just scotch taping the sides together. I promise it is so much easier!

Only problem- there is no easy way to get the tithing money out, you’ll just have to shake the box until it comes out. It’s not a perfect solution, but its an easy one!
Happy Teaching!

June 2012 Holiday Calendar

There are some fun days coming up in June! Here is a calendar with a bunch of cool and crazy holidays to celebrate with your kids and family. Just right click on the image to save it to your desktop!

The goal: print this off NOW, choose the holidays that will be fun for my family, and prepare ahead for the celebratory activities… then sit back and bask in the glory of being a fun mom!
Reality: I will be staying up late the night before to throw something together for the day. 🙂

Some crazy May holidays are coming up-
May 25: National Tap Dance Day
May 26: Blueberry Cheesecake Day
May 28: Memorial Day (Observed)
May 29: Paper Clip Day
May 30: Hole in my Bucket Day (Just the thought of hearing the song “There’s a hole in the bucket, dear Liza” is giving me a headache!)


Happy Teaching!

Summer Bucket List

I have a MILLION plans for my family this summer (thank you Pinterest!) Instead of doing the old plan-the-days-in-advance method, I thought I would try my hand at making a more spontaneous and fun bucket list. And for the record- I hate that these summer to do lists are called bucket lists- I don’t plan on kicking the bucket this fall! Geez! But my ideas of “popsicle pail list” or “random jar of fun” just don’t have the same ring. So I’m callin’ this a bucket list! 🙂

Here is a pic of our summertime popsicle pail (see, it just sounds WEIRD). Notice that there are no cute summertime stickers on the pails- and for one good reason: I will be reusing these for every season. I am bound and determined to cross off some of my pinterest to do lists!!

As you can see from the pic, there are three pails. One pail for our fun activities, one pail for the completed activities, and a third pail to hold extra popsicle sticks and a fine point sharpie. Because I am continuously adding to our list. I think I add about 5 new ideas a day! Which is the primary reason why we have already started picking popsicle sticks. At last count I had a total of 125 things to do this summer!

All of our popsicle sticks are sorted into colored categories. The yellow sticks are things we can do outside in the sun, the blue sticks are summer time treats, the orange sticks are science projects, the red sticks are art projects, the purple sticks are learning activities, the green sticks are places we can go near our home, and the brown sticks are places we can go in Salt Lake (and beyond). This has provided to be SUPER useful already- when my daughter wanted to do something artsy she grabbed a red stick and voila! she had a summertime art project. And I was able to cross of an activity from my Pinterest list! Yay!

When an activity is completed, I have been writing the date on the back of the popsicle stick. That way if I decide to do a journal, I will know the exact dates we did stuff. And when some of the more easy and accessible activities are finished, I write the date and stick it back into the pail of things to do.

I thought I would include the activities we have in our summer bucket list. Of course the list can be easily adapted to meet your family’s needs. And I should mention that the pails are from the dollar section at Target, and the popsicle sticks are from the Dollar Tree. I just love a good bargain!

125 Things To Do This Summer


YELLOW (things to do outside in the sun)
1. bubbles
2. catch a butterfly
3. sandbox
4. paperbag scavenger hunt
5. water pinatas
6. water games
7. hopscotch
8. run in the sprinklers
9. make an obstacle course
10. pull weeds (not everything has to be fun, right? 🙂
11. sidewalk chalk paint
12. mud pie kitchen
13. hunt for predators with water guns
14. sidewalk chalk
15. ride your bike
16. wash cars, scooters, and bikes
17. plant flowers
18. play hide and seek
19. have a race
20. roller skate
21. play red light/ green light
22. play tag
23. plant a garden- even if its just herbs
24. kiddie pool in backyard

BLUE (summertime treats) I have a bunch of dinner recipes that I want to try that I will be adding to our monthly meal schedule (hopefully!).  I wanted to make the summer bucket list fun for my daughter, and pulling out a popsicle stick that said “grilled chicken fajitas” wouldn’t do much for her.
25. smoothies
26. campfire cones
27. cupcakes in ice cream cones
28. make sugar cookies and decorate
29. food paint
30. dip a banana in chocolate and freeze
31. take a picnic somewhere
32. muddy buddies
33. mini personal pizzas for lunch
34. candlelight dinner
35. make homemade taffy
36. indoor smores
37. homemade snow cones
38. frozen grapes
39. ice cream in a bag
40. make popsicles
41. use candy melts to make suckers
42. frozen jr mints
43. gelato
44. fruit kabobs

46. kool-aid ice cubes and 7-up
47. crabby sandwich for lunch
48. frozen fruit bars

ORANGE (science projects)

49. make bird feeders
50. freeze things and dig them out
51. oily fireworks
52. fossil cookies
53. static electricity
54. volcano in a mug
55. m&ms in hot water
56. glow in the dark party
57. weather cloud in a cup
58. blowing up balloons
59. ice sculptures
60. sidewalk egg frying w/aluminum foil
61. floating eggs in salt water

RED (art projects)

66. glitter toes
67. make a treasure map and go on a hunt
68. marshmallow and tooth pick sculptures
69. make slime
70. make a paper mache bowl

72. paint cement with water

74. fingerpaint
75. fingerpaint with pudding
76. self portrait
77. silhouette pictures

PURPLE (learning activities)
80. use a calculator
81. write digits 0-9
82. puppet show
83. sound sorts
84. write name
85. letter bingo
86. write and illustrate a story
87. follow direction cards
88. etiquette factory
89. Dora letter sound flashcards
90. number bingo

GREEN (hometown activities)
91. bowling
92. bounce house
93. aquatic center/ swimming pool
94. dinosaur park
95. splash pad
96. children’s museum
97. playground
98. duck pond
99. city museum
100. train museum
101. nature trail
102. nickelcade
103. Hill Air Force base airplane museum
104. nature center

BROWN (Salt Lake and beyond activities)
105. Symphony
106. Natural History Museum
107. Red Butte Gardens
108. Zoo
109. Kennecott Copper Mine
110. City Creek shopping center
111.State Capital Building
112. baseball game
113. planetarium
114. temple square
115. liberty park
116. aviary
117. childrens theater
118. Park City
119. aquarium
120. Church History Museum
121. Gateway
122. This is the Place State Park
123. ride the bus
124. fireworks
125. fair

I know there are TONS more ideas (Thanksgiving Pointe, Yellowstone, Dinosaur National Monument, hiking, Antelope Island, etc….) And there is NO pressure on accomplishing every single thing on my list. OK, maybe a little pressure- I mean, being able to cross off my entire list would be amazing!
I hope this list inspires you to make some fun memories with your families this summer.

Happy Teaching!

General Conference Easter Eggs

My daughter was extremely excited to watch General Conference this year. I was so proud of her for  desperately wanting to see our prophet and apostles speak. (Or so I thought… she told me later she liked conference because of all the treats. At least she’s honest. I always enjoy the yummy treats, too.)

In order to keep Boo’s interest in watching all 4 sessions of conference, and since Easter was around the corner, I came up with this idea:

Conference Easter Egg Hunt
Supplies: 15 plastic easter eggs, 15 small prizes or treats ( I would make 1 set for each of your children- so if you have 2 kids use 30 eggs, etc)

  1. Print mini pictures (or cut up an old Ensign) of the 12 apostles and first presidency. 
  2. Tape pics to plastic eggs.
  3. Fill eggs with prizes or treats.
  4. Hide eggs. Make sure you hide them in the area that you will be watching conference…. you don’t want to kids to leave the room. That sort of defeats the purpose :).  Or you can be lazy like me and instead of hiding the eggs just toss them all in a basket. 
  5. When an apostle or member of the first presidency speaks, have your little one search for the egg with his picture. Great way to learn the names of our church leaders.
Extension: Write simple summaries of each of the talks. Place each of the summaries inside the conference plastic egg with the church leader’s picture. During family home evening, have each of your children pick an egg. Read and discuss the summary. If possible set goals as a family to apply those teachings.

More “Don’t Be An Angry Bird” Printables

I have finished the newest “Don’t Be An Angry Bird: Lessons on Anger Management for Kids” printables. There are some new pages to be added to the original printable book. These are not intended to just be worksheets, but as a tool to discuss anger with your children. There are also new posters in black and white and color that I am adding to our wiki.

To download these free files, click HERE. You will be redirected to our site’s wiki where you can download any and all anger management for kids files!

sample page from our “Don’t Be An Angry Bird” printable book for kids

I am in AWE with how quickly this idea is spreading. Thanks so much for your sweet comments- I read every one and am so excited that so many of you are able to help your kiddos understand and deal with their anger.

As always- Happy TEACHing!

 

UPDATE:

Click HERE to download the Angry Bird PDF pages (much easier than using the WIKI!)

Don’t Be An Angry Bird: Slingshot, Pigs, Blue Birds, Big Red Bird and Introducing Ice Bird

Ever since I posted my first angry bird/anger management post, I have felt an overwhelming positive response from parents and teachers who needed something to help their kids understand and deal with their anger. I felt SO thankful to know that I am not the only parent out there struggling with this! And I really do appreciate all your comments and emails- they just make my day!

Our anger management system is great- but it felt incomplete. So I would like to introduce you to the slingshot, pigs, blue birds, big red bird, and ice bird (newest bird from Angry Bird Space)… anger management style. I just have to add- these strategies were created to help my daughter understand and deal with her anger- so maybe not all these will apply to your children.

Pigs: They stole the eggs and made the birds angry. What triggers your kiddo’s anger? Is it someone else taking their toys? Being asked to clean their room? Or is it frustration when they can’t complete a task? Maybe its a brother who antagonizes or teases. My daughter’s biggest anger trigger right now is centered around impatience: not getting what she wants when she wants it.
Once our kids are familiar with their anger triggers, you can work with them on creating plans to avoid becoming an angry bird and choosing ahead of time the cool-down strategies they will use. This would make for a FABULOUS role playing experience for family night so everyone can be familiar with each other’s cool-down plans.

 

Slingshot: How will you direct that energy that builds when you’re angry? After your child feels the anger building up inside her, she ultimately is the one who decides her actions. She can catapult herself at her antagonists (aka pigs) or she can redirect that energy into something else: going outside and jumping on the tramp, doing jumping jacks, leaving the classroom and walking to the drinking fountain… for me I catapult my energy into loudly play the piano. Once that energy is released it is much easier to take those big balloon bird breaths. Teaching your child to point their slingshot at something less destructive and harmful will help your child socially cope with their anger.

 

Blue Birds: I had made plans for the blue birds to be something different until I read a comment with a MUCH BETTER idea. Props go to Chanda for coming up with this!! (I just love it when we can help each other be better teachers and parents!!) And if you are Chanda- please email me so I can thank you directly for this idea- I don’t know how to get a hold of you! 
The blue birds teach us that our anger can spread to others in the home or classroom. I can TOTALLY relate to that- when I am grumpy I bring the rest of the family down. And the same goes with our kids- their outward inappropriate expressions of anger can spread and dampen the moods of others. A child gets angry that her younger brother is playing with her toy. She snatches the toy out of his hands, making him mad and hitting his sister. Mother walks in, frustrated with the situation and uses cutting words to her children. Her frustration makes the children feel hurt and more angry.
You can see how that one initial act of anger spread to her brother and mother!
And not only are they dampening the mood of the home, but they are setting an inappropriate example to younger siblings of how to deal with anger.

Big Red Bird: This bird is big, tough, and picks on pigs smaller than him. Don’t be a bully bird. Sometimes a child caught up in anger or looking for attention or lacking self esteem (or whatever makes a person a bully) may think it is OK to take out her frustration on others. It is VERY important to teach our kids that this behavior IS NOT ACCEPTABLE. If your child is being a bully bird, try using these strategies to help her: acknowledge the problem, be a  hands-on parent, decrease violence at home, teach positive behaviors, and seek professional help if needed. These particular strategies are from education.com– check out this informative site for a more detailed explanation.

 

And last, but not least, I would like to introduce you to the Ice Bird- the newest angry bird that you’ll see on Angry Bird Space available March 22. Apparently he will turn things into ice.

Ice Bird: Don’t be an ice bird! Maybe your child’s words aren’t cutting- but her tone of voice and actions are as cold as ice. This is what I consider silent anger- you might not see the tantrums or outward angry expressions, but the big emotion still exists. Whether it stems from feelings of inadequacy (not being the best reader or soccer player) or simply holding a grudge- anger can exist and chill a person’s heart- stopping them from forgiving others including themselves.  And forgiveness is a great way to free yourself from anger, keep a friend, and just be happier.

 

 

Feelings of anger don’t have to be frozen inside. A child should feel comfortable talking with others about how she feels- whether those feelings be good or bad. A child who suppresses her anger because she is not allowed to express it at all can lead to feelings of low self worth and depression. Teach your kids that feeling angry is “normal”. And when she messes up and throws a huge tantrum in the middle of the grocery store- don’t be cold to her. Forgive her.

Love can melt away anger faster than anything else.

Happy Teaching ♥

Don’t Be An Angry Bird: Free Printables

I have been working on some printables to go with our angry bird/ anger management lesson (read more about it here) and thought I would share them with you all! I am SO thankful for all those that have left comments, sent me emails, and pinned this idea. It means so much to me. I just love it when I can share something that inspires and helps others. In a silly way I feel like a teacher again, with the world as my classroom…. cheesy, I know. But that’s just who I am! 😉
Clicking on the printable book picture will take you to our site’s wiki, where you can download each of the four pages. This is not designed to be a worksheet for a child to fill out on their own. Read the book with your child, and discuss the questions on each of the page. The goal of this book is to help your child UNDERSTAND their anger and learn some appropriate strategies to DEAL with it.

dontbeanangrybookpreview

To download the posters, just click on the picture. For a black and white version, or the download isn’t working, check out our Angry Bird page on our site’s wiki. And make sure you read our original Angry Bird post to learn more about each of the angry birds and their role in helping kids understand and deal with their anger.

I hope these help you deal with your little angry birds at home! Don’t forget to comment and let me know how this is working out for you!
Happy Teaching!

UPDATE:

Click HERE to download the Angry Bird PDF pages (much easier than using the WIKI!)

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