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Valentine Card Fun

In one short month, Valentine’s Day will be here.  Giving someone a Valentine is a wonderful way to show how much you care, and when these Valentine’s are handmade, the message is that much more special.  Here are a couple of easy homemade Valentines for your kids to make – for neighbors, friends, relatives and classmates!

  1. Cut hearts from red or pink construction paper, about the size of a 3×5 index card.  Cut two slits in the heart, large enough to slide a stick of gum (such as Big Red) through, much like Cupid’s arrow through a heart.  On the Valentine, write “I ‘chews’ you to be my Valentine” and sign it!  These are always a huge hit with friends and classmates!
  2. As in suggestion #1, cut hearts from red, purple or pink construction paper.  Cut two finger-sized holes in the lower portion of the heart (you can start a hole with a hole punch then use scissors to increase the size).  Decorate the heart with a face, wiggly eyes and cute smile, then pen a message on the back, such as, “You make my heart dance!”  Viola!  A Valentine finger puppet!

Preparing A Child For A Move

Four and a half years ago, we moved our little family across our state.  It was a good move for us – good job, great place to live, close to our siblings – but it still took a toll on our little guy who had just turned 4.  After several months of adjustment, we finally clicked into a routine, but the first weeks in our new place were an upheaval for us.  Here are some tips to keep in mind when moving with little ones:

  • Be upfront and honest with your child.  Do not try to “hide” an upcoming move.  The more time a child has to adjust to the idea, the better off they will be.  Allow them time to get used to the idea.  Telling your child about a move should be a positive experience, no matter what the circumstances behind the move.  Be excited and tell of all the positive things that will happen with the move (new friends, new and fun places to visit, a new room, etc).
  • Allow your child to ask questions and voice concerns.  Make them a part of the discussion.  This allows them to have a say in the overall decision and to take ownership in the move.
  • Present a united front.  If both parents are making the move, make sure both parents are excited and “on board” with the decision.  If the child senses any regret and anxiety on your part about the move, they will take it on as their own.
  • Expose your child to as much information about the new community as possible.  Go for a visit if feasible, visiting grocery stores, schools, parks, churches and other areas of interest to your child.  Or, research it together online.  Call the Chamber of Commerce for the area and request information about the area (your child will love getting mail!).
  • The older the child, the more difficult the move, so keep that in mind as the date approaches.  Your child might act out more or do things they don’t normally do, simply because they are frustrated, anxious and/or scared.  Talk about your child’s feelings and that it is okay to feel this way.
  • If your child has a special friend or two with which they want to stay in touch, make sure to get that information.  Having a get-together before moving is a great way to say goodbye, too.
  • Pack a moving bag for the car.  Include favorites like stuffed animal friends, pictures, familiar books, and add a few new things as well – travel games, cards, maybe a disposable camera.
  • Once you get to your new home, get your children involved.  Check out the local library or parks department for free or low-cost events to hel pyour child meet others.  Offer to volunteer at your child’s school and try to be a presence for a few weeks to help them adjust.

Moving can be a scary time for kids, but adults can alleviate those fears by staying positive and looking on the “bright side” of the experience.

Sleepovers

Today is a school holiday in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr, so last night ended up being the perfect time to offer up a sleepover.

We have had sleepovers in the past with Travis – either friends coming here for Travis going there.  And, when I think back on it, it seems strange to have “boy” sleepovers.  When I was little, I had tons of slumber parties and friends spending the night.  My brother?  Not so much.  In fact, my mom and I can’t remember a single time my brother had a friend stay over for the night.  I, however, was a regular on the sleepover circuit.  So, at least I have my own experience to draw upon for ideas.

Being eight, there’s not too much to plan or prepare for a sleepover.  We keep our events with our guest for the night pretty low-key.  For instance, last night’s little friend got to our house around 4, and the boys played football and hide-and-seek in the yard until it was time for dinner.  They then helped prepare dinner (we made pizza last night) and set the table.  After dinner, everyone cleaned up and I pulled out a fondue pot I had received for Christmas.  We melted the chocolate and dipped all sorts of stuff into the pot: pound cake, marshmallows, fruit, pretzels, and even cookies.  It was messy, but the boys loved it.  (I’m not so sure I’ll do it again, simply because the clean up was horrific – either that or I need a different fondue recipe!) 

Our younger son was hustled into the bathtub while the older boys played quietly, and once we got the little guy tucked into his bed for the night, we set up camp for the bigger boys in the playroom (our boys share a room, so sleepovers get special sleeping arrangements in the playroom).  The sofa bed was pulled out, and sleeping bags were dumped on top.  The boys worked on all sorts of building toys in between putting on pajamas and brushing teeth, and when they were finally ready to settle down, they were allowed to choose a DVD to watch on the computer (they chose from MY selection).  By the time the movie was over, they were beyond tired and fell asleep.

This morning is a Big Breakfast morning: eggs, pancakes, biscuits, bacon, juice, and milk.  The boys will play a bit more before our little friend’s mom comes to get him around noon.  We will have just some low-key playing and possibly some fun outdoors if the weather holds out.

The best part about sleepovers from my point of view is the time I get to spend interacting with my son’s friends.  It puts me in touch with who he plays with at school, what interests this age group, and how well my son gets along with others.  It is a wonderful window into my son’s life without prying or nagging for details.  By passively participating (being a presence without being a PRESENCE), I am privy to my son’s world outside our home.  And the kids think I’m *cool*.

That’s the best part!

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