Category Archives: faith & family

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 


Don’t Be An ANGRY BIRD: Lessons on Anger Management for Kids

aboriginal
 

There are two major things that are prominent in our home right now: the Angry Birds game and a 4 year old learning to deal with her frustrations. Maybe it’s all the hours we have spent shooting birds at stinky little pigs, but I started to see a lot of connections between the Angry Bird game and my own little angry “chick”.  The angry faces, the lashing out at others, etc. Her anger was a big emotion for such a small child to control.
So the idea was “hatched”(pun totally intended): use the Angry Birds as a way for teaching anger management to my daughter!
And so far, I LOVE it. My daughter understands the inappropriate ways of expressing anger as well as strategies to help calm her down.

The background of this technique is simple: like most kiddos, my daughter was struggling with a few different inappropriate ways of expressing her anger. To help her understand this better, I assigned a bird to each inappropriate behavior.  Side note: It is important to explain to our kids that feeling angry is completely normal. Don’t discipline your child because they feel angry…just teach them the appropriate ways of dealing with frustration, and clearly define those behaviors that are unacceptable.

Perfect demonstration of those angry eyes!!
Let me give you a more detailed explanation of each bird:
 

 

The eyebrows say it all… this bird has the meanest glare in town! It is the perfect bird to model inappropriate facial expressions. Although this may seem like such a minor side effect of anger, most parents will understand when I say unruly behavior started with a certain look in a child’s eyes. And if looks could kill, well…let’s just say my sweet, SWEET Boo would be a lethal weapon! 🙂

 

Just like this bird cuts through wood in the game, our mean words can cut through people’s hearts. The old saying “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is thrown out the window (in my opinion). We should speak to others the way we would want to be spoken to… tone of voice included. Yelling and screaming might not cut through my heart, but it definitely cuts through my ears! 🙂

 

 

 

Keep objects to yourself…throwing toys (or in the bird’s case- bombs) is not an appropriate way of expressing your anger! Not only can your hurt somebody else physically- you are not showing respect to your property.

 

 

 

Sometimes anger can build and build inside of us until we just EXPLODE…just like the bomb bird. It is also known as the kicking, pounding on the floor, wailing, gnashing of teeth behavior that we refer to as a tantrum. Our kids need to learn that when they are angry, it is inappropriae to let their body explode.

 

 

Once I had created these birds, I explained their angry behaviors to my daughter. We talked about better ways to deal with our frustrations (We don’t want to be like an angry bird!) When she gets upset now, she can tell me which angry bird(s) she was acting like- which I like because she can recognize the inappropriate behavior.

Boo learning about the angry birds

Here are some of the APPROPRIATE strategies I taught my daughter to help her deal with anger. Teach your child the different strategies, and let them decide which work best for her.

  • Go to the BIRDS NEST (aka bedroom or quiet place) until our body feels calm.

 
  • Breathe, breathe, breathe!  Deep breathing will deliver oxygen to our heart, brain, and the rest of our body. It will relax our bodies so we in turn can relax our mood. To illustrate this techinique- have your child take long, deep breaths to fill their lungs up like the orange balloon bird. Then slowly breath our the air, and repeat as needed. We call this the BALLOON BIRD BREATHING.

  • STOP and THINK. Think about the other person’s feelings and the consequences of inappropriately expressing your anger. OK, what 4 year old is going to understand that jargon, right? Have them think of the boomerang bird. Teach your kiddo that their choices will come back and affect them- just like that bird comes back. For example, if your child chooses to say mean things when she is angry, her friend might not want to play with her again. Her choice is coming back to her. Is that what she really wants? Another phrase I hear parents say to an angry child “How would you feel if someone said or did mean things to you?” Children need to understand that there are consequences for their behavior.  I know this is still a difficult concept for little ones to grasp, but teach and model as best as you can. You may choose to focus on the BIRDS NEST and BALLOON BIRD BREATHING techniques at first.

What do you do if your little angry bird just isn’t cooling down on their own?
It’s times like this that the mighty Mommy Eagle swoops down, picks up the little angry bird, and puts her in piggy tower for a time out (which is currently against the wall).

Here is a short video of Boo learning about the inappropriate behavior of the angry birds via stuffed animals (baby ibex, baby triceratops, and a baby golden eagle- my kiddo loves her unusual animals!)

 


So there you have it: anger management for kids, angry bird style.

 

Just because we love the angry birds game, doesn’t mean we love the angry bird behavior in our little ones!

Happy Teaching!

 

UPDATE:

Click HERE to download the Angry Bird PDF pages 


Quiet Kits: Digraphs Sort

Awhile ago I posted about our Sunday Sorts (sorting folder activity- perfect for quiet kits or just plain educational fun!). These sorts are simple, and only require the cards and a folder. We like these parent/teacher communication folders because of the clear inside and outside pockets!

I created this sort on the computer awhile ago- haven’t printed it yet due to low ink – and for that reason I have been putting off this post. So I apologize that there are no darling pictures of my girl playing with these cards…. maybe when I get around to buying ink (it’s so dang expensive!) I will have to update this post!

To download the free sort, click here: Digraph Sorting Folder Cards and Instructions

These cards took a long time and I am hoping that many of you out there in the blogosphere are able to use them!!

Happy Teaching!

Date Night Kits

Let’s face it-my life revolves around my daughter and I love it. Poor hubby has been left in the shadows!  I made him some date night kits for Christmas to help build our relationship.♄
Each themed date night is organized in a manilla envelope with a card of instructions and some of the materials needed. There is also an extra envelope that holds additional ideas for dates on strips of paper.

Here is a list of our themes and a brief summary. Click on the theme to download the date night card. Each date night card has a list of materials needed, the plan for the evening, and an “additional ideas” section to further extend your date.  I created these just for our little family, so you will see some references to my daughter.

Prehistoric Date: Completely inspired from my dinosaur loving daughter- this date takes place at the dinosaur park while afterwards eating a spaghetti dinner sans utensils. And no computers/cell phones/ anything electronic during the date. Can we do it?
Service Date: Service brings people closer together, so why not incorporate it into the date night experience? This date centers around donating our talents, material items, and time to others. FYI: one of the additional items is to do the Kmart layaway challenge. This is inspired from this story, where anonymous donors are paying other people’s layaway accounts- especially toys and clothes purchased for impoverished parents. Incredible, right?
Play Date: Unsure of what this date is about? Pretending to be a kid again! Playing games like tic tac toe, MASH, jump rope, hopscotch, and hide and seek.  The menu for this date: peanut butter sandwiches or macaroni and cheese.
Random Date: This date is driven by chance. (hmmm- does that make sense? I shouldn’t be posting after midnight! Geez!) Flipping a coin, rolling a dice, and using a colored spinner will decide the outfits/restaurant/dessert for the evening.
Blind Date: No, this is not a date with someone you don’t know… it’s a date in the dark! Choosing an outfit, eating dinner, and decorating cookies needs to be done while blindfolded.
80s Date: Inspired from our childhood… blizzards, pizza, and a good 80s movie.
Digital Date: This is the date I am most excited about- not because it will be the most fun, but it is TOTALLY something my geeky hubby will enjoy. And I do blog, so therefore I myself am somewhat geeky :).  This date is a nerdy movie/pizza/video game night with a twist. No talking. Only texting. Unlimited texting may be a requirement for this date- especially if you decide to play go fish or another game!
Night Under the Stars: Great time to learn about the phases of the moon and constellations! This will be a spring/summer date spending the night under the stars roasting marshmallows and gazing at the sky. And maybe even pitch the tent out in the backyard.
Musical Date: Oh, the sweet sounds of music! The plan is to play Name that Tune with the iPad AND live performances using kazoos. This is a perfect time to watch a musical and sing along. 🙂
Game Night: Not your typical game night…. take a variety of board games, mix them all together, and create new games. I thought it might be fun to watch old game show clips on Youtube, too 🙂 The avid gamers might enjoy this challenge: try and play at least one game from these categories: card game, board game, dice game, word game, children’s game, and brain game.
Color Date: This would be the artistic date. We plan on playing the skittles game (similar to the M&M game) because of all the colors (hence the theme name) and creating works of art for each other.
Class Act: The teacher in me just HAD to do a scholastic date! Sharpen your pencils, because a written exam is involved…as well as making carmel apples. Yummers!
Mission Impossible: This theme is centered around things we love about our church missions. We both served in Toronto, so it is pretty much a Canadian date with doughnuts, hockey, and reading through our old mission journals. I didn’t include the date night card here because everyone’s missions are different, and not everyone has served a mission… but if you are interested in seeing a copy of this date night card email me and I will gladly send a copy your way!

Have a fun Valentines Day! Enjoy!

Valentine Mailboxes

Valentines Day is coming up! Yes, I am excited!!! And not because I am expecting flowers or chocolate (although hubby if you are reading this post I would love them!) I absolutely love celebrating the holidays with children. There are so many fun ideas and creative projects that are out there (thank you Pinterest), and I delight in seeing the excitement in my daughter’s eyes.

We have LOTS of Valentines plans this year. One of the new traditions we are starting is sending each other love notes throughout the month of February. I found these cute mailboxes in the dollar section at Target and I already had the pink mailbox letters.

Although the letters have a sticky back, I added a little krazy glue to ensure they would stay. So far so good….

I put the finished mailboxes on some candlestick holders. I think they turned out really cute and I am excited to start using them! And the entire project cost me three bucks- while the messages that will be left inside of them will be priceless 🙂 
Cheesy, I know.
Happy Valentines Day!
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