Monday, September 30, 2013

the most wonderful place i've been: kids spell it out

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welcome to the Kids Spell It Out series! every monday will be a post filled with funny and adorable answers that kidlets give to questions. this week's question is:
 
What's the most wonderful place you've ever been?

Great Wolf Lodge!  That place is awesome!
Bear {4.5} Crayon Freckles

A hotel.
Lily {4} MamaSmiles

Upside down world.
Big Brother {4} Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails {FSPDT}

The last hotel we stayed in on our road trip.  Because I really liked that place!
Emma {7} MamaSmiles

Disney World!
Honor {4} PlayDrMom

Special zoo.  {Park Safari}
Nico {4} Glittering Muffins

Disneyland!
Elizabeth {7} Enchanted Homeschooling

Nana's house.
Henry {7} PlayDrMom
 
My favorite place was the Japanese Party.  That was a beautiful place!
Tristan {5}

Disneyland!

 
 
if you'd like to participate in this series, leave a comment below and i'll get in touch!
 
 
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.
Check out Why Does My Teen?, which is an informational site for the parents teens.

Monday, September 23, 2013

what's the nicest thing someone has told you: kids spell it out

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welcome to the Kids Spell It Out series! every monday will be a post filled with funny and adorable answers that kidlets give to questions. this week's question is:
 
What's the nicest thing anyone has said to you?

I love you.  Then she just kept hugging me.
Bear {4.5} Crayon Freckles
 
That I'm cool.
Micah {8}

I love you.
Big Brother {4} Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails {FSPDT}

You are awesome and cool!
M {4} Pennies of Time
 
I love you. {by Maman}
Nico {4} Glittering Muffins

What a lovely young lady!
Elizabeth {7} Enchanted Homeschooling

When Bear told me he loved me.
J.D. {5}

Welcome to our class.

I love you.
Tristan {5}

You are so well mannered.  It's nice to see such a respectful young man. {at the post office recently}

I love you.
Royal {4} Royal Baloo
 
 
if you'd like to participate in this series, leave a comment below and i'll get in touch!
 
 
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.
Check out Why Does My Teen?, which is an informational site for the parents teens.

Monday, September 16, 2013

what are you proud of: kids spell it out

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welcome to the Kids Spell It Out series! every monday will be a post filled with funny and adorable answers that kidlets give to questions. this week's question is:

What is something about yourself that you're proud of?

That I'm 5 now.
Bear {5} Crayon Freckles
 
I'm a great big brother.
M {8}

I can speak English now.
Nico {4} Glittering Muffins

I like that I can dance and leap!
Lucy {5} Buggy and Buddy
 
I'm a good swimmer.
E {6} Pennies of Time

I'm proud of me because I'm good at sewing.  I really like to sew!
Savannah {9}

Cut lines and write my name.
Big Brother {4.5} Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails {FSPDT}

I can climb the monkey bars and swing to the high deck of the playground.
Beck {9} Enchanted Homeschooling

I'm proud that I'm really good at building Lego sets.
Carter {7}

I'm the best soccer player in the family.
L {5} 

I am a good finder.
M {4} Pennies of Time

I save up my money and buy something big instead of something small.
Baloo {6} Royal Baloo

That I can color in the line.
Aiden {4}
 
Just the things I'm good at, that's what I'm proud of.  How many books I can read for the book challenge. {he read 25 this past summer}
Tristan {5}
 
I like doing math and I am good at doing lessons on the geo board.
Elizabeth {7} Enchanted Homeschooling

I lke being able to read really well.
Emma {7} Mama Smiles

That I got a black kitty.  That's my favorite cat, by the way.  Of course, it's my favorite cat.  And I love him!
Royal {3} Royal Baloo
 
 
if you'd like to participate in this series, leave a comment below and i'll get in touch!
 
 
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.
Check out Why Does My Teen?, which is an informational site for the parents teens.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

How to Teach Stewardship to Children

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i'll be the first to admit that i've not always held the plight of others in the forefront of my mind.  i can't count the number of times that i've chosen to do for myself and my own interests over them.  i didn't truly develop a servant's heart until i had my son.  that's when stewardship started to take on a new meaning to me.  the thought of not being able to feed, diaper, or clothe him struck a nerve deep inside me... giving birth in me the heart of a servant of God.  as Bear has grown older, i've tried to give him as many opportunities to be hands on to serve others. 

our church and community often receive calls of action to help with various causes.  these provide immediate opportunities for us to give and do as a family.  and that's important to me.  i want my children to learn how to be year-round stewards instead of just putting spare change in a red pot because someone is ringing a bell. 
 
here are 3 ways that i help my children be givers throughout the whole year...

make it personal
our church partners with a phenomenal organization called The Raining Season, which runs an orphanage called The Covering in Sierra Leone.  those children are beautiful, faithful, and oh so loving.  Bear knows that when he's old enough {15 yrs}, we'll go to Sierra Leone on a mission trip.  until then, we have to be content with sponsoring two children there.  child sponsorship through them is $40 a month.  and we get to Skype with our kiddos once a month.  these 15 minute sessions allow us to connect with these children, to see the light in their eyes when we first say hello, to see their growing openness with us as we forge a relationship, and to make funny faces that create laughter across those thousands of miles. 

The beautiful children at The Covering orphanage.
Photo Source
 
follow through
some of the activities we do at home involve food.  our sensory bin bases are rice, dried beans, and pasta.  sometimes it's hard for me to rationalize to myself playing with food when there are so many hungry in our world.  so the way i try to keep my son service-minded while evening the scales is by visiting The Hunger Site and FreeRice.com.  a mouse click on either site provides a food donation sponsored by bigger companies.  another thing we do is pick up $5-$10 of hygiene products on our biweekly trips to the dollar store.  these items either go with our missionaries to Sierra Leone or to my monthly trips to our local emergency pantry. 
 
the heart of a servant
though it's painful and somewhat embarrassing to admit, i forget all too much just how blessed my family is.  in our mealtime and bedtime prayers, we try to include those who are cold, hungry, lonely or struggling with various other issues.  with a five year old, sometimes it's hard to keep the connection between the words that we say and our service-seeking hearts.
 
when i tuck Bear into a warm, comfy bed with a fully tummy and a happy heart, my soul aches when i realize that there are parents, many in my own community, who can't do the same.  i don't want to weigh my children down with the burdens of the world, but at the same time, i don't want them to take our blessings for granted.  i want them to be aware of our privileged life and for their hearts to ache for the cold, the hungry, the lonely, and the struggling.  Because it's only by the Grace of God that it is not us.
 

 
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Check out Why Does My Teen?, which is an informational site for the parents teens.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

playdough activities for kids: read & link

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Bear {5} loves playdough.  i love playdough.  it's just good fun.  so i thought i thought i'd share some of our favorite playdough activities, a great playdough activities ebook, and give you a chance to link up your playdough posts.
 
i think that the most fun activity we've done with play-doh was to make a play-doh catapult
 
then there's the time that chocolate playdough became mud.
 
in our bird unit, Bear made a bird's nest using playdough and sticks.
 
Bear especially loved when we created our own playdough construction site using CandyLand figures.
 
we've also used playdough to explore shells and ocean animals.  and to create another play-doh construction site with wooden blocks.
 
NurtureStore has a great ebook called The Homemade Playdough Recipe Book that has a year's worth of playdough fun all in an easy to download format.  i've got a copy for us.  it's really nice to be able to open up the file and just pick an activity to explore and have fun with.  you can buy your copy here for $8.99.
 
and now, here's your turn to share your fun playdough activities:
 

 
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.
Check out Why Does My Teen?, which is an informational site for the parents teens.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Kids Spell It Out: if i were invisible

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welcome to the Kids Spell It Out series! every monday will be a post filled with funny and adorable answers that kidlets give to questions. this week's question is:

What would you do if you were invisible?

I would go into an airplane and go up and see Jesus and God, then I would come back down and tell people.
Bear {5} Crayon Freckles

Kick bad guys' butts.
M {8}
 
Turn myself un-invisible.
Henry {4} PlayDrMom

I would sneak out of school.
Carter {7}

I would play hide-and-seek and you would never find me.
E {6} Pennies of Time

I would try to get people to notice me and talk to them.
Lucy {5} Buggy and Buddy

I would spy on people.
Baloo {6} Royal Baloo

I would go to God and Jesus.
Aiden {4}

I would poke my brothers all day and kick them in the tushies.
Savannah {9}
 
Move out of the way if no one could see me.
Tristan {5}

Sit until someone found me.
Big Brother {4} Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails {FSPDT}

Put myself in a shadow.
Royal {4} Royal Baloo
 
 
if you'd like to participate in this series, leave a comment below and i'll get in touch!
 
 
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.
Check out Why Does My Teen?, which is an informational site for the parents teens.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

why competition is good for kids: the sunday parenting party

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i saw an article on friday that made my brain started spinning at lightning speed.  i'm gonna let you know, i'm not usually so strong spoken on here.  i try to stay off my soapbox as much as possible.  but i just. can't. let. this. go.
  
an ontario soccer league, is trying to make sure every child "wins" by actually taking the ball out of soccer games.  yeah, you read that right.  the kids play soccer without a ball.  don't believe me? check out the article here.  soccer without a ball, is just kids chasing each other and kicking each other in the shins.  where's the sport in that?
  
so these kids are "winning" by never having to face the disappointment of losing with grace.  by never having to learn one of life's most important lessons:
it doesn't matter that we fall down, it matters that we get up. 
  
a missed goal or strike out doesn't have to be the end of the world in little kids' sports.  and it doesn't mean that the child is inherently bad at whatever game they're playing.  it means that they're going to need to practice if they want to get better.  by looking at our weaknesses in comparison to others, we can sometimes see what we're striving for and it pushes us to be persistent and work harder for the goal.
  
the soccer association spokesperson said: "We want our children to grow up learning that sport is not about competition, rather it's about using your imagination. If you imagine you're good at soccer, then, you are."
  
i have two points of contention with this statement.  the first being that sports are not about imagination.  sports have rules that teach children to keep their actions within the parameters of the game.  that's one of the reasons why they're so great to involve children in if they're interested...you have to follow rules. 
  
secondly... if you imagine you're good at something, then, bam! that's it! you are.  so right now, i'm imagining that i'm good at basketball, but that doesn't mean that i'm ready to join the NWBA.  it's not true.  it's a way of thinking that is not only a lie, but a delusion of grandeur that's deceiving and a disservice to the child.  we're entering into an age where many kid's self-esteems are being inflated beyond realistic proportions.  don't get me wrong.  it's great for kids to think that they can do anything.  but when they're made to believe that they are good at everything by the adults they trust, they're being set up for hurt and disappointment. {think those people on American Idol who are tone-deaf, but their parents allow them to embarrass themselves on national television}.
  
character is built with humility.  everyone has weaknesses, skills that aren't are great as others.  by teaching our kids to be realistic and humble about their skills, whether they be weak or strong, they're learning how to carry themselves as adults.  no one likes the person in the office that thinks they can do your job better than you.  so why create that misconception and harmful thinking so early in life?
  
how many times we, as adults, are disappointed throughout the week.  how many times things just don't go our way.  you can't always win.  it's a life truth.  that doesn't mean telling little johnny that he sucks at soccer.  it just means letting them try and praising their effort, and then helping them to handle their disappointment if the outcome isn't one they liked or expected.
 
it's the real world, baby.  let's help our kids be comfortable with and love who they honestly are. 
 
and that ladies and gentleman... is my two cents. 
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
Now onto The Sunday Parenting Party! This week’s hosts are denoted by the word {host} behind their link’s name in the list below. The SPP is place for readers to find ideas on nurturing, educating, developing and caring for children, as well as honest posts on the stresses of being a parent or caregiver. Reviews and Giveaways are welcome as long as they are relevant to the topic.

All parenting philosophies are welcome with one exception, please do not link posts promoting physical discipline as this is something we would feel uncomfortable having on our blogs.

PS: By linking up you agree that your post and photos are Pinterest, Sulia, G+ and FB friendly. We will be showcasing ideas on our The Sunday Parenting Party Pinterest board.

my favorites from last week's party:
 
     
                       

 
 
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.
Check out Why Does My Teen?, which is an informational site for the parents teens.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

why should my child learn to color inside the lines?

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if you've been at Crayon Freckles a few times, you know that my motto is to think outside the crayon box.  as in, find ways to explore, learn, and have fun with children that are beyond the normal scope.  i'm going to take a different view of that today.  we hear all the time how children should be able to express themselves freely with art and how worksheets are bad for young kids.  though i agree for the most part, i also think that these things are imperative to do at home for children headed to public schools.

but why?
why should my child learn to color inside the lines? 
why should they be made to do worksheets and structured art projects?

the answer.
because that's what public schools do.  i'm not bashing public schools.  but worksheets are used.  "follow these steps" art is done.  so, if we spend our whole time home-educating our kiddos on outside-the-box learning activities and free creative expression, we're doing them a bit of a disservice.  i think entering public school will be harder on them as they are made to work on photocopied papers and within creative parameters.

how to teach coloring in the lines, product art and worksheets.
this is a tough one.  ultimately, we have to assess our child's learning style and structure our teaching surrounding it. 

"you're scribbling," the 4 year old girl said to Bear at vacation Bible school.  "why are you doing that?"  i saw my sweet boy's face crumble with embarrassment at the situation and newfound disappointment in his picture.  thus began my internal struggle over encouraging him to try to color inside the lines.  i don't like telling him that he should try to do it.  so i had to create a game out of it.  i got a brand new box of crayons and let him pick out a new coloring book. (his options were ones created by the do-a-dot company as they have bold, solid lines and fairly large spaces.)  coloring book pages laid out in front of us, i playfully challenged him to "paint" the vehicles without getting the "paint" (crayon) on the "room" (white space) around it. 

the product art is a tricky one for me, as i hate it.  with a passion.  the best technique i've found for this is to surf Pinterest with Bear at my side.  he usually finds something that he likes and wants to recreate.

Bear {5} loves our learning activities. but he rejoices in doing worksheets because it makes him feel more like Pip, his 17 yr old sister.  so when he wants to do workbooks, i get them out and we find a few pages that appeal to him or that can help him further work on his skills.  he gets to focus independently on his "work" and i get a few minutes to work beside him on my own projects. 
 
 
 
do you encourage your child to try and stay inside the lines and/or use product art or worksheets? why or why not?
 
 
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.
Check out Why Does My Teen?, which is an informational site for the parents teens.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

5 Tips for Creating a Work Station for Kids

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Bear has needed a decent work station at the house for some time now.  We have a foldable table that we use, but I thought that a "real" desk might help him get into his preschool activities more. I have a rough-looking desk that I scored at a garage sale for $2. 
 
 
After a few coats of white spray paint, some Velcro, and a length of bright colored fabric, I created a much needed area that provides space for him to work and an area to hide lesser used items underneath. 
Here are some tips for creating
a kid-friendly work and/or learning station. 
 
keep most used items in easy access
These are the items that you see on the desk in the picture below.  Most notably, the markers in the flower pot and the I Spy books under the globe.  We also put a shaker sensory bottle on the desk in case he needed something to keep his hands busy or to mess with during a break.
 
display the child's work
Letting Bear pick what projects from preschool, Sunday school, and homeschool makes him happy and boosts his confidence.  It also allows him to "own" his space.  You can display it in whatever way works best for you.  You can use a bulletin board or an old empty frame (like we did) to create a display space.
 
follow children's organization
Ever go into someone's home or office and look for something in the place that you would put it?  It's tough for me.  By allowing Bear to express his preferences in where things are put, they're easier for him to find because they're based on his logic. 
 
easy to access storage
Like many, we've got more learning and craft materials than we have room for.  It was important for me to create something that would allow for storage that was friendly to the eyes.  What i came up with was to refinish the desk and to attach a fabric skirt on the desk.  Bear loves the fabric because he thinks it looks like a blue giraffe.  I attached it underneath with Velcro so that the items underneath could be easily accessed without risking it getting ripped.
 
looks count
This space before was an eye sore... A mess that made me feel anxious just looking at it.  The new set up makes me smile.  It's so pretty that I want to set my laptop on it and write away.
 
 
Work stations are great for kids because they create a space designated for focused work. All the supplies are readily on hand, which eliminates the need to get up and down. I'd love t see how you organize your spaces! Share your links or pictures in the comments!




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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

the 12 best cds for kids

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i love music!  even more, i love sharing music with Bear {almost 5}.  as a former preschool teacher, i've had some favorite cds for kids.  but, being a momma and having to listen to the same few cds over and over again began to wear on my ears even though i loved them.  so i became motivated to add to our children's music collection.  many of them stemmed from shows that Bear was interested in.

here are our 12 favorite CDs for kids:

Laurie Berkner Band
in our house, she's known as Miss Laurie.  her music was the first that Bear ever sang along with.  that's just one of the reasons why i love her so.  our favorite CD of hers is Whaddaya Think of That because of songs like "We are the Dinosaurs", "Doodlebugs, and "I Know a Chicken".

Imagination Movers
our most memorable Movers moment...we were dancing in Bear's room to Bounce from In a Big Warehouse.  as i was dancing around, waving my arms, a sheriff happened to drive up our street.  seeing me flailing in the window, he stopped for a minute, then i'm sure laughed as he realized that i didn't actually need assistance.

Hap Palmer
at one of my old preschools, we used to do morning large motor to several cds.  one of them was to Hap's "I'm a Pretzel" and "The Rock & Roll Freeze Dance" songs from So Big.  that was 13 years ago, and you know, i can still sing all the words to those songs.  love. love. love.

VeggieTales
i'm not sure how these cute vegetables came into our lives, but it was a great moment in my history as a mom.  their cds practically live in our car's cd player.  the best thing for me is that not only do they do silly songs, they also have lots of faith-based songs that teach children stories from the Bible.

i will admit to having some hesitation about these guys before i actually listened to them.  but something about their Aussie accents and catchy beats reeled me in.  not to mention the fun song names like Nicky Nacky Nocky Noo and Di Dicki Do Dum from the  Dance Party disc.
  
there are so many warm memories of Raffi's music for me.  his songs are both warm and fun. many of them have a much deeper meaning.  One Light One Sun is probably my most favorite song of his as it says, "One world, one home... one world home for everyone.  One dream, one song...one song heard by everyone."
 
the cd In Tents is a fairly new find for me.  and i don't even recall how i stumbled upon them.  i adore the song "Covered in Bandaids" and love how the topics of children's imaginations is covered in "Invisible Friend."  it has a lot of resonance with me as Jetta {Bear's imaginary friend} still holds a place at our dinner table.
 
i can't tell you how excited Bear and i were when we found out there was going to be a Pajanimals show close to us.  the idea of singing The Pajanimals songs in a theatre with Bear warmed my heart.  but then it got cancelled = total bummer.  but it seemed i was more disappointed than Bear was.


this is another one of those shows that i really didn't "get" at first even though Bear loved it.  the music from their show usually has a theme of working together and overcoming obstacles, that's great for little ones to hear.  they're another band that i would love to see in concert. but we missed them when they came to our city.
 
Wayne is funny, charismatic, and for this post, really relatable for kids.  his cd, Radio Wayne, has songs that touch on life points that kids can connect with.  plus it's a bonus that i appreciate him as a star that does comedy geared towards adults, so it's a win-win situation.

Ziggy Marley
it's no secret that Bob Marley is a cornerstone in music.  the musical talent that's passed down to his son Ziggy is clear in Family Time.  i love that it maintains the reggae style that the senior Marely is noted for, but presented in a format that the whole family can enjoy.
 
Greg & Steve
their Kids in Motion and Kids In Action cds are another set of songs that we did large motor activities to at my old center that i mentioned above.  i think that the Animal Action songs are my faves.  but they also have some great songs that incorporate bean bags in them, which gives an added appeal to kiddos.


 you can also find some great music activities for kids on my Music for Kids Pinterest board
 
the amazingly talented Deborah Stewart from Teach Preschool also has a cd for kids called  Simple Songs for Preschool. 
 
  what are some of your favorite children's artists or songs?
 there are going to be a few more music posts coming soon! don't forget to check back to see them!
 
 
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.
Check out Why Does My Teen?, which is an informational site for the parents teens.
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