Mother’s Day cards are a huge part of this occasion, and there are always hundreds of cards to choose from in stores. But if you want to go for something more unique, here are three original ideas for you.
1) Personalized Card Services
Want a card that’s a little different this year? Or just don’t have the time to go out and buy one? Another option is to take advantage of the many online greetings card services. These have become extremely popular in recent years and allow you to personalize Mother’s Day cards in a number of ways.
One of the best ways to use these card websites is to upload a photograph – perhaps one of you and your mom together. You can also personalize the text on the front of the card with her name (or yours) and choose your own greeting for the inside. Once you’re ready, order your card and it can either be sent to you to sign before giving it to mom, or it can be delivered straight to her.
2) Humorous Mother’s Day eCards
Although Mother’s Day is a serious occasion in that we all need to show our moms just how much we appreciate them, there’s nothing wrong with adding a little humor to the day! One great way of doing this is to send your mom an eCard in addition to her Mother’s Day gifts.
Services like JibJab are guaranteed to get a laugh! These are more than just digital cards – they are videos that allow you to add your mom’s face to a special character. That could mean you’ll be sending her a funny video of her rapping, singing, dancing or even flying! There are plenty of eCards to choose from and it’s well worth the small fee for the smiles you’ll get.
3) Homemade Mother’s Day Cards
What’s more unique than giving your mom a card you made yourself from scratch? Depending on your artistic skills, you could put your card together in a number of different ways. For a simple Mother’s Day card, go online and do some searching for a printable template. There are plenty of these available for free. Follow the instructions and it shouldn’t be too difficult to put together something respectable!
If you’re feeling more adventurous then why not paint a postcard for your mom? This could be a beautiful scene, or even a flattering portrait!
No matter which of these Mother’s Day cards you choose, the message inside is just as important as the design on the front. Spend some time writing something about what your mom means to you, or even find an appropriate Mother’s Day poem. It’ll be well worth the effort when you see how happy it makes your her.
Rainy days can be a drag for children and adults alike. Despite the weather outside though, there is fun to be had inside as well. Rainy days are the perfect time to break out the arts and crafts that will drive away the rainy day dreariness. Crafts are perfect for all ages and ensures that nobody is left out.
Crafts for Small Children
Children age two and up can sit at the table with paper and crayons. While the younger children may not have a long attention span, coloring will help to keep a child entertained when it is not feasible to play outside. Cut out some shapes on paper and let the children decorate the shapes. For more fun, break out some glitter markers and some stickers. Foam is also a good option for younger children. Foam does not tear easily and is very versatile which makes it a good material for young children to craft with.
Crafts for school aged children
Children who are attending school are likely more adept at handling items such as scissors and glue. Popsicle sticks are a great item to have on hand for rainy days. Popsicle sticks can be used to build houses, picture frames and many other things. The possibilities are unlimited and your child’s creativity is the limit. Paints are also a good idea. Lay out some paint, brushes, paper and some water and paper towels for cleanup and let your kids paint the day away.
If the children are in middle or high school, they are adept at doing more than coloring or painting. Craft ideas for older children include painting on a canvas, scrapbooking and other paper crafts, as well as building crafts out of wood and other items. Cross stitching and fabric arts are good deterrents from the weather outside as they are time consuming.
Crafts for adults
There are many different crafts that adults can do. Jewelry making and scrapbooking are two of the most popular activities. Sewing, whether by hand or machine, is an activity that can take up a lot of time and therefore drive away the rainy day blues.
Crafting does not have to be and is not age oriented. There are many different craft types, with different levels of difficulty available for pre-school age children all the way through adulthood. Keeping craft supplies on hand will make a rainy day easier on everyone.
Toddlers love to learn new things. What better way to help them learn than to introduce new crafts. Crafts do not have to be labor intensive. In fact, many crafts are designed for toddlers and are available at the local crafts store. In addition to finding kits at the local craft store, you can also use regular household goods such as crayons, paper and even pasta to encourage your toddler’s creativity.
* Foam containers – there are many projects available at Michael’s and AC Moore for children that involve foam. Foam is very easy to maneuver and does not rip as easily as paper making it a versatile project for children. Consider making foam masks or even foam characters such as dinosaurs, dogs, etc. Save the building activities for a later age when children are more adept to working with glue.
* Toddlers love to draw and color. Provide a box of crayons, some paper and watch the children get inspired. Children can be taught to draw new items or simply left to doodle on their own. Ask them to describe what they are drawing; it will fuel their imaginations even more! To add another element to the drawing, give your child stickers to play with and place on the paper. Be sure to give your child a variety of stickers so they can choose what they want to use.
* Pasta creations – There are many things that toddlers can create with pasta. Wheels can be used as tires on cars, ziti noodles and some string can be used to create bracelets and necklaces. Use markers to color the pasta before using the noodles to craft, your child will come up with a colorful creation for sure.
* Paper Crafts – let your toddler create a card for someone special. Cards can be made with glitter, with adult supervision of course. Help your toddler spell out what they want the card to say, then have them trace the lines with a glitter marker. Glitter markers are better than actual glitter because the markers already have the glue in them – easy cleanup!
Using the above ideas is a great way to introduce arts and crafts to your toddler. Since toddlers love to learn and absorb new information, crafts are the perfect idea to spark your child’s creative side. All of the ideas provided are quick and easy and allow for minimal mess as well as quick clean up. Crafts can be introduced on a regular basis to keep your child entertained.
Some parents are skilled crafters. Others are doing well to cut paper in a reasonably straight line. No matter which group you fall into, crafting with your kids can be beneficial for all involved.
Few things bring families together like crafting. Here are some of the good things that come out of crafting with your kids.
* Crafting builds creativity. Developing minds need a creative outlet, and crafting provides the opportunity for kids to use their imaginations. It helps them learn to solve problems, and it could lay the groundwork for a lifetime of interest in art. For parents, getting creative can help reduce stress and promote using the brain in ways that we don’t have a reason to use it every day.
* Crafting teaches kids to follow directions. This seems like a very basic skill, but we all know adults who can’t seem to follow directions. When kids craft, they learn the consequences of not following directions when their projects do not turn out as expected. This instils in them the importance of doing things the right way the first time.
* For young children, crafting is fabulous for learning basic skills. Almost any type of craft promotes hand-eye coordination. Kids can also learn to use scissors, measure and do lots of other things they will eventually do in everyday life.
* Parents and children have a chance to talk. In our busy lives, it seems that we know less about our kids than previous generations of parents did. Passive activities such as watching TV do little to encourage conversation. But when you’re crafting together, talking comes naturally. You can seize the opportunity to discuss such things as your child’s interests, his concerns, and how he’s doing in school.
* Crafting is a great way to wind down. It’s wonderful for kids to be active, but there are times when they need to calm down. If you find your child getting agitated or exhibiting an overabundance of energy near bedtime, try bringing out the craft supplies. Crafting engages kids’ minds, giving them something to focus on and a good reason to sit still for a while.
* Creating things is a confidence booster. Parents who craft regularly know the feeling of accomplishment when a project is complete. Multiply this feeling by ten, and you have a pretty good idea of how your child feels when he makes something. For kids, crafting can help build positive self-esteem.
* Working on a project together is a great way to teach your kids teamwork. This will help them develop skills needed to resolve disputes peacefully and effectively. It will also help them discover their strengths and teach them that doing their best will make the entire project turn out better.
* Crafting creates treasured family memories. The finished product will serve as a reminder of the fun you had making it together.
Crafting as a family provides opportunities for us to interact with our children. It is also a valuable learning experience for them. Don’t worry if you aren’t the world’s greatest crafter. Simply being willing to try anyway is a lesson to your kids in itself.
4 Ways To Protect Your Kids From The Sun
You can never be too careful when it comes to sun safety for kids. Although we all know that children need to be protected against the sun, familiarizing yourself on the details (such as what SPF to use) could make all the difference. Use this as a guide for keeping your kids happy and healthy through the summer months (and don’t forget to follow the advice for yourself, too).
We all know that sunscreen is essential for protection against harmful rays. However, the number one rule when it comes to sun safety for kids is to stay out of the sun altogether – sunscreen should only be used as a last resort, and not as an excuse to stay in the sun for longer! Try to seek shade or create it with an umbrella between the hours of 10 am – 4 pm when the sun is at it’s strongest.
It can be difficult to keep kids in the shade for too long, so be sure to protect them with sunscreen while they’re playing outdoors. Help avoid this risk by using SPF 30 or above for children aged 6 months or over, and always use a sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays. Reapply once every couple of hours, and after swimming (even if using waterproof sunscreen).
Another easy way to protect your children from the sun is through the clothing they wear. Start by making sure they wear a sun hat whenever they’re going to be in the sun for any length of time. These protect vulnerable areas such as the face, ears and neck (that are often missed by sunscreen). Wearing long clothing will also help to protect your child’s skin, though not all clothing is created equal.
You can buy specific clothing for the sun, sold with a UPF rating to help determine how much sunlight gets through. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends choosing clothing with a UPF rating of 30 or above. You should use sunscreen in combination with standard clothing to get maximum protection against the sun’s rays.
4) Don’t Forget The Eyes
Your kids should be wearing sunglasses too! Long term exposure to the sun can increase the chance of cataracts, so make sure your kids are protected with sunglasses offering 100% UV protection (not just any darkened lenses). If your child really won’t wear sunglasses then a wide-brimmed hat is another option.
Sun safety for kids is even more important than for adults. A child’s skin is especially delicate, and overexposure to the sun in early years can have a huge impact on their risk of developing skin cancer later in life. Remember, the sun’s rays can still do harm even on a cloudy day, so it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Building block toys have always been a favorite among children thanks to the fact that they are both fun and challenging, especially for toddlers and preschoolers. However, other than just being an entertainment tool, building block toys offer several benefits for your kids. Here are 5 of those benefits:
1. Better Motor Skills – Using building blocks requires your child to put them in a position so that they do not topple over. As a result, hand-eye coordination improves the more the child plays. The act of grasping the blocks itself serves as good practice for gripping objects, and strengthens the fingers and hands of the child.
2. Mental Stimulation – Your child learns to think logically when playing with building blocks. After a few tries at building something and watching the blocks topple over, your child will learn that the blocks have to be arranged and placed properly to prevent that from happening. An older child will also realize that a stronger base can be made if you arrange most of the blocks at the bottom. Logical thinking skills are crucial in a child’s intellectual development.
3. Math And Vocabulary Skills – Studies have shown that the inclusion of building blocks in playtime helps develop language and mathematical skills among children. Language skills develop when the child learns the names of the colors, shapes and sizes of building blocks. Mathematical skills are sharpened when a child learns to add up or subtract the number of building blocks required to build a structure. As such, it’s easy to see why building blocks are a great preschool learning tool.
4. Improves Creativity – Children learn how to create different structures using building blocks, and this stimulates their creative mind. Thus building blocks offer a good base to encourage a child’s creative abilities and not just the logical.
5. Encourages Positive Social Interaction – Building blocks are the type of toys that a child can share with others. By encouraging them to play together they learn how to interact and cooperate. This is among the first forms of teamwork your child can engage in.
It may be difficult to comprehend how toys as simple as building blocks offer so many benefits, but it’s wonderful to know that age-old, simple toys can serve such good purposes.
With the economy suffering, and most people finding it harder than ever to make ends meet, keeping the kids entertained isn’t always easy. Whether your kids are young or well into their teens, they’ll often turn to you for ways to be entertained. If you’re running out of ideas, here are 6 cheap but fun ideas to keep you going.
Family Games: Games are some of the best sources of fun for the whole family. Board games are an excellent example. If you’ve got any board games lying around, get them out and give them a whirl. Games like these encourage interaction between family members and help with bonding, which we often find ourselves doing too little of these days.
Apart from board games, other alternatives include card games (cards are readily available and cheap to get hold of. If you don’t know any good card games, it’s also easy to find the rules for some on the internet) and activities like charades. Family games are great for children of all ages – even teenagers will often take part (with a bit of resistance to begin with!)
Build Camps: For younger kids, something fun to do is building indoor camps. Get some clothes pegs, some strings, and some bed sheets and you can help your kids build their own bedroom camp. Once built, kids will often play in these for hours. Many kids also love to sleep over in their own home-built camp.
Arts And Crafts: This is a classic, but it’s a great option because arts and crafts can be really cheap. Why not go on a walk with your kids and get them to collect interesting sticks, stones, shells, feathers etc. Once home, you can get them to string them together to form hanging ornaments, or use them to decorate home-made picture frames and so on.
Playing Ball: Another classic, ball games are great when the weather is good. Balls are cheap, and generally provide a lot of entertainment, as well as giving kids (including teenagers) a chance to blow off steam, use up energy and get some exercise all at once.
Invite Friends Round: Let your kids invite a few friends over for the day. It’s true that sometimes a group of kids can end up causing a riot, but generally things don’t get out of hand and your kids will always have a lot of fun with a few friends around. The more friends there are, the more easily they come up with their own (usually free) entertainment. It’s a winning solution. And, if you really want to make the most of the opportunity, why not let your kids plan a feast and have their friends each bring something along to eat?
Get Cooking: Some kids will be more resilient to this idea than others, but many kids enjoy cooking once they get started. So why not try and teach your kids a bit about cooking? Make it fun for them in the process and they’ll love it. Pizzas are a great option as kids can decorate them any way they wish with the ingredients you’re using.
4 Ways To Save Money On Organic Food Shopping
Although many of us would like to consume more organic food, whether for environmental or health reasons, unfortunately the cost can put people off. Although organic food can be more expensive than traditionally produced food, there are some simple ways to save money on your organic food shopping.
To do the best you can for your family, why not limit your organic buying to those products that are known to absorb the most chemicals? For the rest, carry on buying traditional products to save money.
Here are a few of the most important fruits and vegetables to include in your organic food shopping:
If you want to know which foods are most resistant to the absorption of chemicals, meaning you may still buy non-organic versions, these are:
2) Grow Your Own
If you have the space and the time, then growing your own organic food is the best way to stay green and healthy – and save a huge amount of money on your organic food shopping! You have complete control over what you grow, and what you use to grow it, and you’ll save energy on driving to the store, as well as reducing food miles that also contribute towards your carbon footprint.
Even if you don’t have a back garden with space to grow your own, you could grow a limited amount of organic food yourself, such as salad and herbs inside.
3) Eat Food in Season
This is extremely important if you want to be eco-friendly, as it means you can get fresh food that hasn’t had to be transported for miles overseas. It also makes your organic food shopping cheaper, and it tastes great, too!
4) Shop At Farmers’ Markets
If you’ve never visited a local farmers’ market before then you may be surprised at what they have to offer. Simple markets are great for picking up fruit and veg – just make sure to ask them about their farming methods and whether they are organic.
As you can see, there are many ways to save money on organic food shopping if you take the time to change your habits and learn a bit more about where organic food comes from. Every little effort you make will make a difference to the environment.
The sense of sound develops even before a child is born. Babies in the womb respond to music, their parents’ voices and they even startle when hearing loud or sudden sounds. Even before you meet your baby in person, you can start to develop and learn the importance of sound for babies.
Everyone has heard that doctors recommend playing music or reading to your baby in the womb, but not many people actually do it. What you read or the music you play isn’t important as long as you actually do it. You can play rock and roll, read a dictionary or even play the trombone and all of these things your baby will hear and start to develop preferences for certain sounds. Once an infant is born they can recognize their mother’s (and father’s) voice, as well as other sounds they remember from inside the womb, such as the family dog or other siblings.
Newborns and Infants
Babies love new sounds, music, songs and voices, however their sense of hearing is new and a lot more delicate. Most children’s toys such as mobiles, exersaucers, baby seats and playmats come with music at different volume levels. Try to keep the music varied and at different volumes to keep your child from getting bored with repetitious sounds.
One of the best sound activities you can do with your child is just singing to them, no matter how off key you may be. You can sing an actual song or just sing about what you are doing at the moment. Your baby will start to hear different tones as well as vocabulary.
Before six months of age is also the perfect time to introduce a foreign language to your baby, even if you don’t speak one yourself. Play music in Spanish, put on a French movie or search youtube for speeches in other languages. Your baby doesn’t have to understand the words, but his ears and brain will begin to record the new sounds they are hearing.
Older Babies and Toddlers
Older babies and toddlers recognize simple words and commands and have a longer attention span. Board books with sound buttons combine sounds with pictures while they use their motor skills to turn pages. Baby Einstein and Leap Frog brands also offer toys catered to babies and toddlers such as musical instruments, simple video games (yes, even for babies!), and audio books. Many of these toys also come in more than one language.
Traveling with young children can be a challenge, especially on long trips in a car, airplane, or train – it’s really hard for them to sit in one confined position for a long period of time. The trick to making traveling fun and exciting for children is to keep them entertained and their tummies full.
With boredom, comes restlessness, and with hunger comes crankiness. A combination of this can mean an unpleasant trip, not only for the children, but for everyone traveling together. If you take some time to prepare before embarking upon a long traveling venture, you might have a much happier experience.
1) Pack Travel Bags
Pack a travel bag specific to each of your children. Some important items to remember are your child’s favorite stuffed animal, blanket, and toys. Nothing comforts a child more than his or her favorite blanket and stuffed animal. Just these items alone can make a big difference when traveling.
Also include snacks and water in spill proof containers for those in-between moments when your child may be suddenly hungry or thirsty. This may help in keeping your child satisfied until the next available meal time.
2) Bring Along Activity Books
Purchase some portable trays, so each child has his or her own personal activity center. Children can use these trays as tables when traveling. Bring along new coloring books and other fun writing activity books that your child can draw, write, and color in. Remember to also bring the colors, pens, and pencils along.
The importance here is that these activity books are new. The reason for this is that your child will be more excited and entertained with something new, than drawing books that have already been marked up.
3) Purchase Toys and Games Designed for Traveling
To avoid the crying or nagging of dropped toys or other items, purchase games and activity centers that are designed specifically for traveling. These items will usually have pens attached by a string to an activity book, and have magnetic pieces for games or puzzles.
By keeping everything within your child’s reach, and taking precautions for the unexpected, your child may have so much fun that he or she will not even realize how long you’ve been traveling. Having a variety of different engaging toys and games are even great for children to enjoy together.
4) Pick up a few Disposable Cameras
Investing in a few disposable cameras can create hours of fun for children, without the worry of it breaking or becoming damaged by an accidental drink spill, especially if you purchase the waterproof type. Give each child a camera and ask him or her to take pictures of items that he or she has never seen before. This makes it fun and can keep children occupied for hours if traveling by ground.
Once you arrive at your final destination, have your child’s pictures developed so he or she can immediately see what kind of pictures were taken. Younger children, especially, really enjoy taking pictures, so stocking up on a few disposable cameras can be a worthwhile investment.
5) Bring Along Electronic Items
Both older and younger children enjoy electronic items, such as DVD players, music players, and handheld gaming systems. Depending on the age of your child, a movie, for example, can easily deliver two hours of non-stop entertainment. If deciding to pack along electronics, always remember to pack extra car chargers or batteries.
Keeping children entertained when traveling is easy with some pre-planning. Children love to be busy seeing things and doing things, so making frequent stops if traveling by car can also be a great way to break up a long trip. Be creative and think from your child’s perspective. After all, no one knows what your child loves more than you.