Teaching Heart Mom

Just a Mom With a Teaching Heart. Find fun activities to do with your kiddos and students (infant to age 10). www.teachingheart.net blog

Monday, June 29, 2009

Organizing Your Summer Junk, I mean Stuff!

I love organization... not everything in my house is organized, but when I make something organized that was once a mess, I smile inside and out! I love little plastic organizers too much... I actually think I may have a problem, I can't leave a Target without getting some sort of plastic organizer (that may be another blog post)...

Anyhow, one of my fave gal pals, Amy (which you all probably think I mention her so much that you would read her blog if she had one -- I know!), made this nice little summer box. Basically a Tupperware box filled with summer things. Most of the things are very inexpensive. Here is her suggested list of things to put in your summer box:

Do you feel like you need a plan for this summer? Start by creating an organized summer fun kit! Here is what you will need to fill your kit:

1. A large Rubbermaid container (to put everything in)
2. Homemade bubbles or store bought
3. A variety of bubble blowers (use kitchen utensils for something different)
4. Shaving cream ( to paint with or spread with hands)
5. Paint for paper (tempera) or sidewalk (crayola)
6. Paint brushes (a variety of small and large) and sponges
7. Paint containers (Lillian Vernon or recycled containers)
8. Paint smock
9. Big pieces of paper (for fence painting)
10. Bug catcher
11. Sidewalk chalk (hopscotch and jelly roll)
12. water balloons (5 and up)
13. playdoh and tools
14. squirt bottles or squirt guns
15. telephone (2 cans with a string)

Along the same lines... My other favorite gal pal - Rebecca (who I mention lots too and has a blog too) has a great post on using laundry baskets to organize her summer toys.

Don't I have the "neatest" friends???

Today I took a picture of my park container... It is kept in my car and contains ready to use toys for the park.So what do I keep in my box???
Big Frisbee
Shoe Box of Sidewalk Chalk and some stencils
Squirt bottles (enough for six kids)
Magnetic Dart Game
Picnic Blanket
Well, I hope this inspires you to get your summer "junk" organized.

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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Summer Challenge: 3 things every little kid should do this summer!

Teaching My Little Bookworm posted a challenge called Summer Challenge: 3 things every little kid should do this summer! I thought I would add three to her list... so far she has

1: take a walk in the rain! The cold front finally came goodbye 90's hello low 80's (daytime) and 50's (nighttime) but it brought a light rain and it was fun!

2: Catch Fireflies/Lightening Bugs! my LO had a blast watching them light up!

3: Look for Frogs and Toads! the baby frogs and toads were out they are SO super tiny and cute! We had fun looking for them too! :)

My Three

1: Run through the sprinkler! I surprised my kiddos the other day when we were on a walk and one of our neighbors had their sprinklers on. I stopped pushing my daughter on her bike and yelled to my son (who was ahead on his bike), "Z, watch this..." and I ran straight through the neighbors sprinkler... My son's mouth opened and yelled, "Mom, you shouldn't do that!" Then I let the kids run through once... I guess being spontaneous with your kids over the summer months would go along with running through the sprinkler.

2: Visit a different park each week! One of the things I love about summer is park time. Pick a park, call a friend, and go! You could even try some of these free park activities!

3. Play in a stream... find a stream in your woods or if you are lucky and have one in your backyard, play in that! My friend has one in her backyard and my son loves going over there to play. You could even take clean meat containers (the kind they pack the ground beef in) and float it down the stream, life a boat.

What 3 things do you think every Little Kid should do this summer? If you list 3 things leave me a comment. Feel free to list your three in the comments section. I'd love to read them and hope over to Teaching My Little Bookworm and let her know too.

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Going Back After 15 Years!

We are taking the kids to York, Maine for vacation this year. My hubby vacationed there as a kid growing up... his family still goes there year after year and stays in the same cabin year after year too... unfortunately the beds haven't been replaced since the 70's too... so ouch, I am not looking forward to that part. My brother-in-law's facial expressions when they talk about the comfort of the cabin we will be staying in is enough to make you run and hide... I know the comfort is going to be a problem -- but I am staying positive!

My boyfriend (now hubby) took me to York in 1994. Those are the pictures you see above... I remember taffy, long walks on the beach, making him eat crab (which I love and he hates), and him drawing a heart in the sand with our names in it.... Ahhhh, young love!!!
Let's see 15 years and I guess I should add 50 pounds and 2 kids...may make this trip a bit different. I am cracking up over P's pants... Ummm.... can you say high waters (click on the pictures to get a better laugh - I mean look). He was a hottie too and still is! ;) This trip should be such an adventure and so much more different... So do you have any pictures of yourself at one place and then there again a few years later?? Sounds like a fun blog post. Let me know if you do and I will visit!

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YOU can live through a LONG car trip!!!

I thought it would be a great idea to revisit traveling with kids, since I am getting ready to spend about 30 hours in the car... Don't worry, I am an old pro! Thought I would take a moment to share some great links. I have big plans to share my traveling with kids tips this summer. I am working on a post that shares some great tips. Until then, these links should help a bit. Keep checking for my tips and happy traveling...

One of my favorite gal pals (Ms. Amy) shared Geocaching, a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups, with a strong sense of community and support for the environment. Looks like a great idea! Go check it out.

Along the same lines... be sure to stop by your local Triple A before a trip and pick up a trip-tick. A trip-tic is a map book that outlines your route. We rely on our GPS now, but this keeps my son super busy and he can tell us where to turn before the GPS does!!!

I shared this site last year around this time... but it is a must see, so I am sharing again!!

The web host has done a great job compiling travel games by age. Babies can definitely travel by car. They are too young to say, “He’s touching me!” If your kids are older and less tolerant many more ideas are here too. There are lots of printables to for those times when you are in the car. We personally have used the tinfoil modeling idea. It is great!
My Son will be on a hunt this trip... armed with a clipboard, highlighter, and this map. Let's see how many license plates he will find!
A few hot items you may not have thought of as being car toys!

Safe Trips to all and I will be back with more travel tips real soon!

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Summer Reading ='s Free Books!!!

Your kids will get lots of learning in just by having fun this summer. Still, don't forget to have them read and/or read to them daily. Plus, there are some great incentives programs out there for all kids and I will detail a few below.

First I think it is important to make reading a daily occurrence. I find that I remember to have my kids read if I have set times during the day for reading. We have silent reading time in the afternoon (after lunch). Sometimes my son will read to my daughter or read out loud to himself. Sometimes we will listen to a story on CD and follow along in the book. Often I will read to the kids. Every night before bed, we read to the kids. My son (six) loves the Magic Tree House series. My daughter (3) loves Eric Carl and Dr. Seuss to name a few.
Also, having some sort of incentive chart helps keep my kiddos want to read. There is one here you can print and use. We are currently using our local library's charts. My son gets to cross off tickets for each hour he reads (or we read to him) and at the end of the summer, he gets to spend his tickets at the library. We try to get in an hour and a half of reading a day with him. About 45 min. of him reading on his own and about 45 min. of us reading to him. My daughter gets to cross out suns for every 20 min. of reading she does and will get a small prize for reading. Many town libraries have programs going on, be sure to check out what your library has to offer.

There are many online programs you could check out...

Join Scholastic’s Summer Challenge and be part of a team quest to eat, sleep, and dream books all summer! Find great reads, play book-based games, and help Scholastic support Save the Children! Your minutes can also count toward the World Record Challenge.

Barnes and Noble Summer Reading - If your kids read 8 books this summer they can earn a free book at a Barnes & Noble store. Children bring their completed Reading Journal to a Barnes & Noble store between May 26th & September 7th, 2009 and are given a coupon for a free book.

Borders Kids Reading Challenge
Kids 12 and under read any 8 books.
List the books you've read on the Reading Challenge Worksheet.

Have a parent/guardian sign the completed worksheet.
Bring your completed worksheet to any Borders or Waldenbooks store between May 26 and August 31 to save 50% or more on selected items.

Chuck E. Cheese
Reading Rewards: Children read daily for a two-week period, log their time on a Chuck E. Cheese calendar, and get 10 free game tokens with any food purchase. Offer expires Dec. 31 and can be repeated every two weeks. Eight O.C. locations. Download and print the reading calendar online at: www.chuckecheese.com/promotions/pdf/RewardReading.pdf

Need some reading lists, check out Amazon's Summer Reading Lists
Pre-K Titles
First Grade List
Second Grade Lists
Third Grade Lists

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

FREE $15.00 if you Shop at Giant Eagle...

If you have an advantage card, follow this link. Watch a short video and then enter in your email and Giant Eagle advantage card number. After that they will credit your card with $15.00 that will be taken off in five dollar increments over three trips to Giant Eagle! I did it and it worked, so I thought I would share!!!


Thursday, June 18, 2009

I Swam With Stanley...

I woke up this AM to an email from my husband with this picture. It is from our pool party on Saturday. We all were having fun swimming with Stanley... The cup floats well.

Anyhow, I had to change the original picture my husband sent because he forgot to include.... ME in the picture. You see my Dad (sunglasses on), My Unkie (In the kids life vest), my husband (touching the cup), and my brother... He forgot to add me so I added myself in the picture.

Man, if I had to put up with him over the playoffs, you think he could have at least let me swim with Stanley too. MEN!



Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Father's Day Trail Mix & Other Creative Daddy Day Ideas!!!

What to make Dad for Father's Day??? Have the kids scoop together this yummy Father's Day trail mix to stick in Dad's golf bag before he heads out for the day!

HERE IS The Printable Tag for the trail mix.
Ramblings of a Crazy Women shares a Father's Day Tool Box card.

Check out these fun and unique Father’s Day gift ideas from Kendra Halterman of My Insanity Blog

Check out the many craft ideas from Family Corner.

Check out Amazon's Father's day Ideas... When in doubt, get a gift card!

Monday, June 15, 2009

We all scream for Icecream...

What could be tastier on a summer day than ice cream?

I bought my parents an ice cream ball for Christmas and this weekend we pulled it out and found out working for your ice cream makes it taste even better!!! With the unique Play and Freeze Ice Cream Maker, you can make ice cream and you don't need electricity to make this great tasting creamy treat, but rather just add ice and rock salt in one end and ice cream mix in the other end. Then, have a ball as you shake it, pass it, or roll it around for 10 to 15 minutes (2x). My kids enjoyed passing it back and forth... I think the ice cream tasted even better due to all the work they did to get it. Actually, I thought it was super easy and fun to do. The recipe that comes to the ball was easy for kids to make. The ice cream was very yummy! All of the family got into the action. Definitely a family fun activity. We rolled the ball back and fourth in the grass... we even gently kicked it to each other.
Below is the link to the ice cream maker on Amazon.

Ice Cream Poem
I like ice cream.
Yes I do!
One scoop for me?
No! Make it two!
Hmmm two scoops of ice cream,
I want more
How about three?
No, make that four!
1, 2, 3, 4,
"oh no! It's on the floor!"
-Author unknown
Click here for some ice cream coloring pages!
Go check out the Teaching Heart Ice Cream ideas!!!!

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Yes We Can and Yes We Did!!!

91, 92, and 2009 Stanley Cup Champs! Yes we did... And yes, this was the year...

For more Pens fun, check out the Pens Blog!!!


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Last Day of School!!

No more pencils, no more book... School is out for summer!

My friend Rebecca just had a sale of her Jewelery at her home and I picked up a bracelet for my son's teacher... among some other goodies. Here are the other goodies... Like her stuff? Go here then!
Too good of deals to pass up. Thanks R! Wish I could have stayed for the wine!!!

For the teacher gift, I wrote a poem and ta-da, I have an easy end of the year gift.

You can download the printable here. My poem goes like this:

You made Kindergarten a super start because,
Your teaching was better than fine,
A positive experience from start to finish!
I thought I would give you something with shine!

If I remember my year,
Stories, colors, numbers, letters and fun is what I see,
Full of friends and learning all around!
I hope this colorful treat will remind you of me!

Some Jewelry to thank you
For helping me to know
The things I needed to learn
To live my life and grow.

I made my son a T-Shirt for the last day of school. The front says, "kindergarten was GREAT!" and has the school mascot on it. I wanted it to say "First Grade, Here I Come!" but he didn't like that for some reason.

The back has pictures of all his classmates and his teacher (I scanned from the class picture). It says, Thank you Mrs. P and Kindergarten Friends for Making This a Great Year. I LOVE iron-on paper!

Happy Summer!!!

O, and if you have time, I could use your vote here!

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Monday, June 8, 2009

Go Penguins!

I am not much of a sports fan. However, if you force me to pick a sport to watch, I would pick Hockey. Pittsburgh Penguins, of course!!! I will admit I tend to actually pay attention to the games during playoffs. The rest of the year, I attend a game here or there and go downstairs to the other TV while my hubby (world's biggest Pens fan) watches the game. I jump quickly on the bandwagon when they are in the playoffs. I want them to win not only for my town, but also so my hubby will be happy and in a good mood. Maybe I can get a new kitchen table out of him if I ask him for it right after Crosby skates around with that cup! Hmmm, may have to plan that out!

In 91 and 92 (click here to remember those days) I was partying hard as the Pens won the cup. Of course fun memories... Skipping high school to go to the Point with a few friends! One of the great thing about Pittsburgh is their love of their teams. It like a high! I was always happy to hop on to that high! I would be happy to hop on it Thursday night when they win the cup.

Anyhow, this is my attempt to blog about a sport and to cheer on my hubby's Pens! I would hate to see Detroit win again on our home ice. That just is not cool. Come on Pens, get your head in the game and tie it up... On Thurs. you can show Detroit how it feels to have the opposing team carry around the cup on your ice.


Click here for Kids Penguins Activity Sheets

Click here to print cheer cards

NHL maze to print!

Hockey Players Coloring Page - Click Here

Hockey Word Search - Click Here

Here is a memory game I made for my kids.
Just print and cut the cards and you can play too. Played like memory.
Just place cards face down and take turns trying to make a match!

Click Here to Print Penguins Memory Game!


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Outside Toys!

Well, the weather is finally delightfully sunny here in the Burgh!!! I have been and always probably will be a sucker for a good toy! I recently have come across three toys that one could use outside on a summer day. I wanted to share these three toys! At the bottom of this post, you will see the links to these items on Amazon.

Gamewright Boochie, a Whole New Ball Game

Love this game. The kids and adults can both enjoy it. It's interactive and fun. Game ages 8 and up, but I think this is just because some reading is required. With help, my 3 and 6 year old can play, too. My 3 year old is fine having my six year old read her the instructions of what to do. My children really like the funny ways you have to throw the objects (laying on your back, with eyes closed, off your head, etc). Below is a video of my son and nephew playing the game.

Hyper Dash

We played this game a few times, and I must say, I was quite impressed! Hyper Dash is actually several different games in one, with a nice mix of physical versus mental challenges. Using the bell-shaped main tagger and the small plastic targets, players are challenged to do things such as tag the identified colors as quickly as possible, remember and repeat a series of colors, and more. Each game has several different levels, making the game appropriate for school-aged children to adults--perfect for parents playing along with kids! Plus, the tagger and targets are small and lightweight, making this game portable and thus great for travel. Highly recommended for kids and families! It could be an outside game or an inside game.

Hurry, pass the original splash out on and if time runs out, you get wet. Fill a balloon with water, place it inside your splash out and wind the timer and if you want to play inside, fill your splash out balloon with air and pass it on. You lose if the balloon bursts in your hands. Includes one splash out ball and 12 balloons. Balloons are replaceable with regular balloons.

Hope these toy ideas give you an idea for a birthday party or maybe keep your own kids busy over the summer months!

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Pittsburgh Zoo

I love the Pittsburgh Zoo... Clean, animals are usually easy to see, kids have lots of fun, and good chicken sandwiches at the snack shop. Five hours of family fun...

Trip Advisor Says, "One of the few major zoo and aquarium combinations in America, this 77-acre facility features thousands of animals in such habitats as "The Asian Forest," "African Savanna" and "Cheetah Valley.""

Big Elephant with her baby... My three year old says, "Smells stinky, elephant tooted!"

Z is for Zebra...
The real reason I blog... can't stand watching my Pens get their butt kicked by Detroit. Look how cute they are in the picture above. We need a miracle! Five to nothing in period 2... My husband may have a heart attack!! Hoping for a lot of luck going into the third period. Although I can imagine the Pens may be a bit frustrated while the Wings are pretty confident. GO PENS!


Friday, June 5, 2009

Going To The Park to Play and Learn...

Summer is here and I am sure you will find yourself at the park with your kids. You may even feel like throwing some learning in while the kids are playing. I have a few ideas that you may wish to try on one of those days when you find yourself at the park...

Bring a box of chalk!
Here is where I blogged about Sidewalk Chalk and all the learning that can go with a box of chalk...
I am sure you will be pushing kids on the swings! Here are a few ideas to help with taking turns on the swing as well as throwing in some learning fun!

Counting: one person's turn ends after the swinger counts backwards, 5-1, counts in Spanish or Dora counting as my daughter call it , counts by 5’s, counts by 10’s.

Spelling: Sometimes turns are over after a swinging kiddo spells first and last names (we help each other out and yell out a letter with each push), sometimes we spell our family's names, our friends' names, or our dog name.

Rhyming: The waiting person calls out a word and the swinging kid calls out a rhyming word with each push, or we all take turns yelling a rhyming word with each push.

Grouping: The waiting person calls out any word (colors, sports, cars, tv shows) and the swinging person yells out words that go with that topic with each push.
Phone Number: My son learned his phone number on the swing. I would only push him after each number he said.

After you are done on the swing, slide down the slide. How fast can you slide. Have your child count how long it takes them to get from the top of the slide to the bottom.

Now, grab a ball and try out some of these ideas for leaning fun.
Wow, you must be tired... you played with chalk, swung on the swings, slid down the slide, and played ball. Take a break and have a seat... How many slides are at this park? How many swings? How many slides and swings altogether? You could even try this printable activity. http://www.scavengerhuntsforkids.com/playgroundcount.doc

Let's play some more. Check out all the outdoor scavenger hunts found here...
Take Your Infant too... Here are ideas!
Some ideas of games to play at the park.
I spend lots of time in the summer at the park with the kids... I better run, I am off to the park!
Some Great Summer Reads:

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Get outside with your CHALK!!!

Sidewalk Chalk =’s learning… Did you realize all the fun that could be had with a box of chalk from the dollar store? Better yet, did you ever think of the summer learning you could trick your kids into with a box of sidewalk chalk.

Counting and Sorting:

First, you can count the pieces of chalk. Then have your child sort the pieces into colors. Ask show your child:

How many whites are in your box? Do we have equal amounts of white and blue? How many whites and yellows do you have?

Jumping Path;
Make a line with things your child is working on. For my daughter (who is three), I would draw a star, triangle, the sound /b/, the number 3, her name, the sound /a/. I would draw this in a path form. Then I would show my daughter how much fun it is to jump on the path. When you jump, make sure you shout out what you land on. My daughter loves this! The video shows this live!

For older kids you could have them jump on sight words you write on the driveway. Or you may want them to jump on math problems and give the answer after they jump on the problem.

Shoot and Score;
You will need a basketball hoop and ball for this and of course, chalk! I draw three numbers on the driveway; 2, 3, 5. I place them in random places where my son can stand on the number and then shoot a basket. She stands on a number of his choice and tries to shoot a basket. If he makes the basket, he writes the number he was standing upon on the driveway(as seen in the picture). Repeat five to ten times. Add up your numbers to get your score.

Toss Game
Draw a board with three rows and three columns. In each square place a sight word. For the younger kiddos, place a number or letter sound. Have the children take a rock and toss it in the box. What ever square it lands on, the child must read, if they read correctly, they color in the square. Play till all squares are colored/

Draw a Road
My son can spend hours drawing streets and then driving either his bike or a toy car on the street. For the younger child, draw a street for them and encourage them to drive their toy car on the street.

Water Bottle Squirt Gun Erase Game
Draw stars on your driveway. Have you children or two teams of children race to squirt their star off the driveway.

Now get outside with a box of chalk!!!

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