Friday, June 11, 2010

YEA! Schools Out! Let's Keep the Kiddies Busy!

Hurray! Hurray! Summer is finally here! School is out, now it's time to keep the babes busy, but how?! Well we're going to try to help you out in that department with fun simple things and crafts for those busy hands and minds called KIDS!. Some times just that little bit of stimulation and giving special attention can go a long ways to help have a calmer happy day with having the kids home all day now. Plan some activities to spend some fun time together each day, and you might find you can still have your own moments doing what you want to do too. Children are much happier when they aren't so darn bored day in and day out all day long! And TV, computer games, WII, and the likes shouldn't be their only diet of entertainment moms and dads. Remember school kept them busy and learning everyday, all day. They still need that even if it is summer vacation. Those little brains need the exercise.

Here is one simple idea that kids might just find fun and, you can make this a learning adventure too. This is fun for any age child, made with one thing I believe almost every kid loves, and most every home usually has it in the pantry. What is it you may ask? ......Why it's Cheerios of course! Dry or with milk, Cheerios has been the cereal treat packed in most diaper bags across America for generations! It is the perfect treat for quieting a child in the car, the doctor's office, the grocery store or shopping, when visiting friends, and a great snack at snack time. My mother gave them to my sisters and I and she also seem to magically have them in her hands no matter where we were right in the all mighty baggie. When my kid's were little cheerios were a NECESSITY, and you could usually find them hidden in some room of the house by the little hands that ate them until they were too big for the cheerio gig. My grandbabies are no different. It was always the first thing given as soon as they were able to eat table foods back in my day, my kid's day, and now today with the grandbabies. It was better than medicine! It cured every situation a mom could find herself in with little ones, or just about anyway! They seemed to be perfect for not only eating but a play tool too by my son anyway.

When my son was little he use to love to see how high he could stack them, and then get a kick out of them falling down so he could try again. Kept him busy for quite a while most times lol. Well here's another thing to do with cheerios! CHEERIO GARLANDS! Have the kids make "cheerio garlands" for the birds outside. They're fun to make, it's a snack while they're doing it, and they will have lots of fun watching the birds eat their creations too. This would be a great time to teach your little ones about birds and nature also. Teach them how to identify what type of birds are visiting, and then you can also do a little research with the kids on the birds habits through each of the seasons and how they live and behave. This can be great fun along with teaching children that caring and knowing about nature is important to life.
Here's what you need for this fun time and a memory of time well spent together for you and the kids too:
(A) Cheerios cereal (regular; or use fruity for colorful pattern-making)
(B) String (small enough to fit through Cheerios)
(C) Plastic straw or stick
(1) Cut a piece of string about two feet long.
(2) Tie one end tightly to the middle of the plastic straw (to keep the Cheerios from sliding off).
(3) Slide the Cheerios onto the string one at a time, pushing them down toward the straw as you go.
(4) When there are only about six inches of bare string remaining, untie the end from the straw.
(5) Hang your garland outside from a tree branch. You can tie the two ends together to make a loop, knot one end and tie the other to a branch to make a straight line, or tie both ends to the branch to make a swag (shown in photo).
(6) Have the kids watch the birds enjoy their new treat!

Now lets take it a step further!

Lets make a "Birds of my Yard" mobile to hang in the children's room or on the patio to keep track of all the birds the children see! Every time you see a new bird just continue adding it to the bird mobile.

Here's what you need for this:
(A) 2 straight sticks or dowels, each about 18 inches long
(B) Lightweight string
(C) Bird photographs, computer prints, or drawings on heavyweight paper
(D) Scissors
(E) Pen
(1) Cross the two dowels or sticks so they form an "X." Bind the point where they cross with string, going around and around each stick several times in all directions. Tie a knot so the sticks stay in place.
(2) Tie a piece of string, about two feet long, to each of the four ends of the sticks.
(3) Bring all four strands up to a single point, and adjust them so the "X" is balanced. Tie a knot in this spot.
(4) Hang the mobile someplace where it may move freely.
(5) Now, for the birds: Online or in a reference book, find pictures of the birds that you have seen in your yard. Either print the pictures on heavy paper, or make a drawing of them.
(6) Cut out the bird along its outline.
(7) On the back of the bird, write its name, the date you saw it, and any other information you want.
(8) Punch a small hole near the top edge of the bird, at a point where you think it will allow the bird to hang evenly.
(9) Cut a piece of string between 4 and 12 inches long. Thread the string through the hole, and make a knot on the other side so it is secure.
(10) Tie the other end of the string somewhere on your "X" mobile structure.
(11) Repeat steps 5 to 10 with different birds that you identify. Hang them at different lengths, and on different parts of the mobile, trying to keep the balance.
(12) Now enjoy the birds you've identified spin and flutter in the breeze!
Inspire your children to learn and care and have a great summer!

Celebrating the Little Hands that Hold Our Hearts
and the Memories We Make With Them!

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