DIY Stamps for Kids: Ideal for Busy Bags and Quiet Time

Kids love stamps. There’s something so satisfying about creating a perfect drawing on paper using stamps. They can be combined to create something fantastic and unique. Somehow, kids never grow bored using stamps.

It’s hard to find regular old stamps around here (in Guatemala). Most of them are made for teachers and have something like “Excelente!” written on them. So, I decided to put together some DIY stamps for kids…specifically for Peanut with some of his favorite things. I put them together for his birthday. He was thrilled!

DIY Stamps for Kids - Ideal for Busy Bags and Quiet Time (1)

These DIY stamps for kids are ideal for throwing into a busy bag for church, a meeting or long car ride. You could also break them out when you need a bit of quiet time at home. Peanut loved getting these out while his sister was napping – which was perfect timing. He was quietly busy, and his sister didn’t get in his way trying to destroy  play with them as well.

How did I do it?

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Hug Your Way to an Independent Child

“Mama! Mama! Mama! Mama!” is about the way a few hours of every day goes for me with my 17 month old. She insistently calls for me and wants to be held, hugged and paid attention to. So, we read books, sing together, cuddle, and sometimes often times I find myself completing tasks with one hand while she’s happily perched on my hip.

But, like many moms, I put up with it and try to enjoy it as much as I can. She’ll only be this little so long. I know that it’s only a matter of time before she becomes more independent.

My nearly four-year-old on the other hand is quite independent. He likes the occasional snuggle and asks to be played with from time to time. But, most of the time he can be found happily digging with his  trucks in the dirt, coloring pictures beside me while I work or making up an intricate story line with a few model dinosaurs. He also likes to help wash dishes and hang up laundry or page through a book.

As a baby and toddler, my son was similar to my daughter. He was attached to me or his father at most times. While he enjoyed wandering off on his own to play for a while, he was more often than not like velcro.

That’s my real life experience that shows me that being close and connected leads to independence. But, there’s more to it than one mom’s journey.

Hug Your Way to an Independent Child (1)

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A DIY Magnet Busy Board For Story Telling Fun

One of our favorite activities with the kids is making up stories, retelling stories and just general fun playing pretend. We often find ourselves using props such as model dinosaurs, cars, blocks to build houses, castles and bridges and dishes for making food. When we made our Clifford story retelling puppets we had such a blast I knew we had to come up with another story telling tool. So, I give you our very own DIY Magnet Busy Board for Story Telling Fun!

A DIY Magnet Busy Board For Story Telling Fun

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Story retelling and story telling is such an important skill for little ones! It improves their reading comprehension, promotes a greater understanding of sequencing and increases creativity and vocabulary. You can’t go wrong spending time story telling with your little ones.

Our DIY magnet busy board was fun and easy to make, and we did it with a few extras we had lying around. All we had to purchase was some spray paint and magnet strip. Follow the steps below to make your very own.

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Freedom: What Did Montessori Have in Mind?

Freedom- What Did Montessori Have in Mind-

Freedom. The ability to move around. Freedom to choose. Picking what activities to complete and in what order. This strikes fear into the hearts of many parents. Perhaps you think that the absence of control must certainly result in mayhem and chaos. Perhaps you wonder how this freedom thing could possibly work?

Whether at home or at school, freedom is an integral part of using the Montessori philosophy. However, this freedom shouldn’t cause you anxiety. It serves a purpose.

Freedom- What Did Montessori Have in Mind-

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What are Sensitive Periods and How Can You Use Them? Montessori Applied to Parenting

What are Sensitive Periods and How Can You Use Them? Montessori Applied to Parenting

It must be some sort of rule. All toddlers seem to LOVE water play. And have you ever noticed how at a certain stage, babies become determined to move on their own, struggling until they achieve the ability to walk?

These are examples of sensitive periods.

Throughout childhood, children experience a number of sensitive periods. Some last for years at a time, and others may only last several months. Montessori coined the phrase “sensitive periods” to refer to times when children have an especially strong motivation and interest to learn about a particular subject or master a certain skill. In her observations, she discovered that many children share a lot of the same interests around the same time in their development.

What are Sensitive Periods and How Can You Use Them? Montessori Applied to Parenting

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How Can You Use Them?

As parents and teachers, we can take advantage of these sensitive periods to help guide our children’s learning. A perfect example is language. Montessori noticed that children experience a sensitive period in language from birth through about age 6.

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5 Unconventional Parenting Hacks That Keep Me Sane

unconventional parenting hacks

There are so many parenting hacks out there, but not all of them are mainstream. Each parent finds their own unique ways (or parenting hacks) of dealing with the joys and challenges of parenting. Some of mine are on the wacky side – I’d definitely say some of them are unconventional…but they also keep me sane (well, most of the time, anyway). These are the parenting hacks I notice others occasionally give me a raised eyebrow about…but hey, to each their own and I’m glad to say that I’ve found what works for me. Here they are:

parenting hacks

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How to Make Positive Reinforcement Helpful: A Montessori Perspective

How to Make Positive Reinforcement Helpful A Montessori Perspective

Positive reinforcement is a popular parenting technique. Basically it means parents and caregivers praise good behavior. This way, children are motivated to continue their good behavior due to the positive attention they’ve received. Positive reinforcement can also include sticker charts and other similar incentives. All sounds good, right?

Yes and no.

Positive reinforcement can be very helpful for children. It can help them learn that good behavior is appreciated and that their efforts pay off. But, it can also turn into a big happy praise fest that teaches your child that they are the BEST, in the worst cases resulting in narcissism.

How to Make Positive Reinforcement Helpful- A Montessori Perspective

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A FREE Snake Book for Kids and Snake Unit Ideas

snake book for kids

I’m preparing some more educational materials for Peanut since we haven’t placed him in preschool yet. Maybe in 2018…we’ll see. For now, home is the place to be for learning!

If you know Peanut, you know some of his favorite things are dinosaurs and snakes. Insects and other reptiles are also high on his list. So, I decided to come up with a snake study unit. In this unit we will use or do:

  • A snake book for kids
  • A mini study on the biggest snake in the world
  • A measuring project
  • Worksheets and coloring sheets
  • A snake counting activity
  • Snakes around the world with the continents
snake book for kids

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Ready to rock it?

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An Advent Calendar for Kids PLUS Activities

advent calendar for kids

One of my parenting goals this year is to teach my oldest about advent. What better way than through an advent calendar for kids plus daily activities? The combination of reading a bible verse and doing some fun holiday activities such as making decorations, baking cookies and setting up the nativity scene not only teaches about the meaning of Christmas, but will also bring us closer together as a family.

Make Your Own Advent Calendar for Kids

We had lots of fun making the advent calendar together. The basic idea of this calendar is that each day we’ll break open one of the numbers. This is very appealing to Peanut…he can’t wait to punch through the paper to see what’s inside! I also find it quite tempting, I must admit. Inside are 2 slips of paper, one is a Bible verse and one is an advent activity, and a small piece of candy for each of my kids.

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How to Stop Hitting, Biting, Kicking and Throwing: Practical Techniques for Teaching Little Ones How to Handle BIG Feelings

how to stop hitting biting-kicking-and-throwing

First of all, relax. If you want to know how to stop hitting, biting, kicking, etc. you’re on the right track.

Second of all, it’s highly likely your precious little one WILL stop hitting, biting, kicking and throwing soon. As a very wise school counselor once pointed out to me, “How many adults do you know that hit and bite?” So, yes, there will be an end to this.

Third, know you’re not alone. All experts seem to agree that hitting and biting are common in young children. Although it can be tiring and frustrating to deal with, it is relatively normal.

But…there’s always a but…

What will also happen is that your child will learn other coping mechanisms for dealing with big feelings. One big factor that will help your child leave these behaviors behind is improvement in their ability to communicate. Language is often a point of frustration for little ones who can’t say what they feel or what they want. As language skills improve, so does behavior.

It’s also likely that your child will adopt a coping mechanism learned from you or other influential adults in their life. Some common coping mechanisms for big feelings such as anger, fear and frustration include:

  • Bottling it up (which can often result in a tummy-ache, stress, headaches, etc.)
  • Aggressive behaviors such as yelling
  • Positive outlets for feelings such as taking deep breathes, exercising, etc.

I think most people would opt for teaching their child positive outlets for anger, fear and frustration, but maybe you’re not sure how to do this. Luckily, teaching these techniques goes hand in hand with eliminating hitting, biting, kicking and throwing things.

Now, let’s discuss those techniques for teaching your little one how to stop hitting and handle strong feelings:

how-to-stop-hitting-biting-kicking-and-throwing

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