Thursday, June 23, 2016

Biker, Biker: A Game to Teach Motorcycle Awareness to Children

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Car games with children can be fun.  But what if they could save a life also?  I recently saw a meme on Facebook about teaching your children to count motorcyclists instead of Volkswagon Bugs. I will say that I do usually look out for bikers while we are out and about.  But that's simply because I always remember this story I was told about my grandma.  She was driving down the road and there was a motorcyclist in front of her.  She commented that she should keep her distance in case he wiped out.  And guess what happened just a bit farther down the road? Yep.  He wiped out. And because she was farther back and was aware of his presence, she was able to avoid an accident.  That story pops in my head just about every time I see a motorcyclist.

Then one day, about a week later, the inspiration for a fun car game for kids popped into my head. Remember that basketball game, HORSE, that we played as kids?  For every basket you made, you got a letter in the word "horse".  The game Biker, Biker works the same way.  For every motorcyclist you see, you earn a letter in the word "biker".  A few rules we've made are that only one person can get a letter off of each biker.  And when you see someone riding a motorcycle, you have to say "biker, biker".  So far the score is Bear: B-I-K and Momma: B-I. 

It's amazing how much more aware Bear looks out for motorcyclists now. I can only hope that this awareness carries over into his driving years.

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Monday, June 20, 2016

5 Tips for Creating a Nursery Area in the Master Bedroom

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Oh my, friends! Do you know that I've been wanting to share this with you for almost 2 years? When we found out that we were pregnant with Sunny, one of my first thoughts was, "Oh geez. Where are we going to put her and her stuff?" All three bedrooms of our small home were already stuffed to the gills.

When I was pregnant with Bear, I decorated our third bedroom as a darling farm themed nursery.

Then Bear was born. The reality of putting my baby to sleep in a separate room was too much for me and I opted for him to room in with us in a pack and play.  The four month sleep regression hit, and a few sleepless weeks later, we were bedsharing. So, despite the fact that we had no room, I knew that setting up a full nursery for Sunny was a pointless venture.  Instead, I decided to set her up her own little space in our master bedroom. Here are five great tips for creating a nursery space in the master bedroom...

Coordinate colors
Our bedroom walls are white. The curtains, bedding, and artwork provide all the color and texture.  I had already planned on using the same bright colors from the rest of the room in her space. Even though she was a girl, I wanted to stay away from the heavy use of pink and instead go with those vibrant, happy colors. By choosing colors that match or coordinate with existing d├ęcor, it helps the nursery area to blend into the space and look cohesive.

Use a white crib in smaller rooms
I know that some people are wood people.  They love the rich look of cherry or walnut.  But as far as cribs go, I vote for white every time.  A white crib helps to lessen the visual space taken up. It gives a clean, uncluttered look and matches everything.

Skip the crib set
I didn't invest in a full crib set this time because crib bumpers aren't safe and the quilts are only for decoration anyway. I found a darling yellow patterned crib sheet on clearance at Target. As for a crib skirt, I saw some super cute multifabric ruffled crib skirts on etsy, but couldn't get myself to pay the price for them.  So I found some darling fabric and got an old crib skirt from a friend to use as a base and sewed my own. It wasn't perfect, but fairly good for a novice.

Less is more
The simplicity of the space helps the bedroom to not look to overcrowded.  In those first few months, baby doesn't need anything other than a soft, yet firm place to sleep.  No crib bumpers, no blankets, no stuffed animals.  Once she gets older and starts sleeping in her own bed, in her own room, I'll go all out and do some amazing decorating.

I wanted to decorate the wall above the crib in a way that was specific for the new baby, yet still went with the vibe of the master bedroom.  After much trial and error, I went with a vintage dress of mine, a few things that I've made for the Zella Roo shop, and a Katie Daisy print.

And she slept in it until about the six month mark. Since then, it's been mostly bedsharing. But she has a space if she needs it. It's tucked away in the corner, personalized, and inexpensive.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

10 Preschool Activities to do with Laurie Berkner Songs

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The people at Waldmania PR were kind enough to send us a free copy of this CD.  All views and opinions are my own.

Laurie Berkner has been one of my favorite children's music artists for at least the past ten years.  She's fun, energetic, and oh so silly.  One of her most recent CDs, is the The Ultimate Laurie Berkner Band Collection.  Her music speaks to the silliness of kids, often encapsulating messages that ring true to their lives. 

Here are some ways to use Laurie Berkner songs in the preschool classroom or just for fun at home: 

Walk Along the River
Act out the lyrics in this catchy and repetitive song.  Lay a couple of blue blankets/sheets/curtains out length out lengthwise on the floor. (You can get old ones from a thrift store.) Bend and curve parts of it to give it a flowing appearance like a river. Turn on the song and encourage the children to act out the actions to the song. 

Bottle Caps
Use this bottle cap printable for kids to decorate, trade, and build their own paper bottlecap collection.

The Cat Came Back
Create a cardboard cat(s) that goes home with each child in the class for a weekend or during a school break. You may want to include a journal for the cat and its hosts to fill out about their experiences that weekend.  The family can take a picture of the cat participating in an activity with them and email it or text it to you to share with the class and put in the journal.  (Similar to a Flat Stanley) You can find some cat images that would work great for this here, here, and here.

Share all the different ways we can thank people (cards, words, gifts, actions, etc).  Encourage children to make list of things they are thankful for.  

Mouse in my Toolbox 
Using shoeboxes, magazines, scrapbooking paper, fabric, and other craft materials, make a shoebox bedroom for a mouse. 

These are my Glasses
Use this song to introduce children to sign language by showing them the signs for the main words in the song: glasses, book, read, and look. As you sing along with the song, do the signs. 

Running Down The Hill
Explore the scientific concept of gravity by creating ping pong ball flowers.  Using sharpie markers, let the children decorate a ping pong ball so that they look like flowers. Create a ramp out of a wrapping paper tube cut in half lengthwise.  Take turns watching their flower ball roll down the "hill" (ramp).

Create paper dolls with full body photographs. Cut out the person in the photo and laminate to add durability.  Add google eyes onto photos to make them true googleheads!

My Family
This song is one of my favorites because the line "When you’re in my heart, you’re in my family" addresses the fact that family isn't limited to bloodlines.  There are so many activities that could be done with this  Create a family tree using photos and scrapbook paper.  Use small photo albums from the dollar store to create a child-narrated family story.  For teachers, make a classroom book that contains pictures of each child with their family.

Magic Box  
Provide cardboard boxes for kids to make their own magic boxes out of using art materials.  For a special treat have a magic box drive thru where they can pick up their lunch/snack, park, and eat in their magic box while watching a movie.

You can find more great ideas on the Laurie Berkner Band website or follow her on Facebook for lots of great activities, ideas, and more. 

Keep in touch with Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get daily post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest and Twitter.

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