Top Kid Apps – KidZui’s Favorites

Hey, KidZui friends! Some of us at Zui HQ got some pretty cool tablets over the holiday break, and we all have one huge question: What apps should I put on this thing?!

Luckily, we’ve scoped out some of the best kid-friendly apps out there and found the 5 that you can enjoy with your little ones. Enjoy!

Top Kid Apps - Monster Life

Raise your own little monsters!

Monster Life

The monsters need to save their world! Raise and train 20 different monsters to compete in mini-battles to regain control of Numa. Kids will love the cute monsters and the challenge of back-and-forth fighting. Review site Gamezebo even went as far as to say that “if this game doesn’t charm you, you very well might be lacking a soul.” Rather high praise, and we definitely think it’s warranted! Available for free on Android and Apple iOS powered phones/tablets.

Top Kid Apps - Let's Color

Less mess than crayons

Let’s Color

This is one of our new favorites. You and your kids can draw your own custom creations and watch them come to life! This free iPad app will stretch your kids’ imaginations and let them become amateur animators from the comfort of the living room.

Top Kid Apps - Brave

For the Disney princess fan in all of our houses

Disney Pixar Brave Explorer Game Cartidge

One of the best things about LeapFrog’s LeapPad2 is that it is both tablet and traditional gaming device. This particular game is still pretty new, so it is currently $24.99, but young Merida fans will love the mini games that take them on this fairytale adventure. Plus, the games teach kids about important science topics including physics, geology, and biology. Game also works with LeapPad1, Leapster Explorer, and LeapsterGS.

Top Kid Apps - Rayman

Now there’s a mobile Rayman experience

Rayman Jungle Run

Ask any kid about Rayman. They’ll know what you’re talking about. And now, Rayman is back for a new adventure on iPad, iPhone, and Android devices. For $2.99, you can run jump, and collect your way through the Rayman universe. Unlock the new levels, download device wallpapers, and rack up the high scores against your friends in this awesome platformer.

Top Kid Apps - Tap Pet Hotel

Teaching kids to care for pets without all of the shedding on your couch!

Tap Pet Hotel

This game is almost too cute for words. In Tap Pet Hotel, users can collect hundreds of adorable pets and start their very own pet hotel. But that’s not all; they can even raise and breed their very own pet families to keep the hotel running and happy. You can even cross breed and create zany new creatures never before seen in this world. Best of all? It’s free on Android and iOS platforms.

That’s it for today. Enjoy your tablets, and happy gaming!

 

 

ChrisZui is a content editor and talent coordinator at Zui.com. He enjoys roller coasters, Toy Story, and traveling the world. He lives every week like it’s Shark Week.

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Holiday Recipes for Kids: Reindeer Cookies

‘Tis the season for decorating cookies, and in our house decorating sugar cookies and gingerbread just isn’t nearly enough, this year we decorated Oreo’s too .

Holiday Recipes for Kids: Reindeer Cookies

Make yummy reindeer cookie treats with the kids this holiday season

What you need:

  • Oreo cookies (we used the red crème Winter Oreo’s)
  • M&M’s (red)
  • Candy eyes
  • Pretzels
  • Chocolate chips
Holiday Recipes for Kids: Ingredients for Reindeer Cookies

Reindeer cookies are simple and fun to make.

Very carefully break the pretzels – I tried using a sharp knife for this but found it cracked the side of the pretzel I wanted intact, so breaking small pieces off them by hand was much easier.

Next, melt the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl (check the package for directions on how to do this).

Dip one side of the pretzel into the chocolate and place on a sheet of wax paper.  Place into the freezer for about 10 minutes.

Holiday Recipes for Kids: Pretzels dipped in chocolate for reindeer cookies

Pretzels dipped in chocolate are a yummy treat on their own, made even more delicious when attached to an Oreo cookie.

While the chocolate dipped pretzels are in the freezer, use small amounts of the melted chocolate to attach the red M&M nose and the candy eyes to the front of the Oreo to make the reindeer face.

Remove the pretzels from the freezer and dip the bottom into the chocolate.  Place it very carefully into the top of the Oreo cookie.  Repeat with the other pretzel antler.  Stand the cookie up in a narrow dish (you could use a mini muffin tin, egg cup, or dish) until the pretzel antlers are set.

Holiday Recipes for Kids: Reindeer Cookies finished product

Holiday Reindeer cookies are easy enough for kids to make.

Do you have any fun treats planned for your kids this holiday season?  Are you going to be decorating cookies?

Tonya
Zui Mom

 

Tonya Staab is a freelance writer, and the creative mind behind Create-Celebrate-Explore where she shares craft tutorials, recipes, party planning, decorating, and travel tips.  She has three kids (twin 1st graders and a teen) and can often be found covered in flour and glitter.

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Discipline Techniques for 5 Year Olds

What are the best discipline techniques for a 5 year old? My husband and I struggle on a daily basis to try to figure it out. There are just so many discipline techniques in which to choose from.  Like many kids, our little one can be pretty darn stubborn when she doesn’t want to do something. Getting her to brush her teeth, leave the playground or dressed for school can be quite challenging. How do we feel when she starts acting like this Frustrated! We either start yelling or bribing her to get her to do what we’ve asked. Neither tactic is very beneficial and makes us feel like we’re failing as parents. I know we could definitely benefit from taking some parenting courses, reading a book (I hear Your Best Child Ever Book is pretty good) or re-watching a few episodes of Super Nanny.  In our defense, it’s not like we’ve been given the best tools from our own parents on how best to raise a child. Like most working parents; we’re just doing the best we can.

Old School vs. Hippy Parenting Discipline Techniques

In my own upbringing, spanking was quite a common consequence when one of us kids refused to do something, talked at the dinner table or stated an opinion that wasn’t asked for. Complete old school and pretty heavy handed compared to our current modern day way of parenting. Yet many of the kids raised in the 60’s were brought up this way. If we had been naughty, fear of a hand slap or a belt made my brothers and sisters scramble to hide just upon hearing our dad’s car pull up in the driveway. The belt ruled supreme in my household growing up. So, with that upbringing my parenting style today consists of making sure I do the exact opposite of what my parents did. In doing that, I find that I can be kind of a push over. On occasion, I must admit, that I do feel a little resentment that she has it so easy. I’ll even try to explain to her in the middle of one of my rants how in my day we got spanked or humiliated by our parents and in some cases even our teachers’ blah, blah, blah… But, she just shrugs off what I’m saying and continues on with her bad behavior.

Old Fashioned Parenting Techniques

Old Fashioned Parenting Techniques

My husband’s parents on the other hand weren’t strict at all. He had very few household rules, no curfew, rarely disciplined and wasn’t held accountable for his grades. When on occasion he was disciplined, he’d get a very strong grumbling or a pack of cigarettes thrown at him by his parents that made him stop in his tracks immediately and do what was asked of him. Though I find that truly hard to believe, my husband swears that was the case. I just think he must have been the perfect child. My husband’s parenting technique today is a bit all over the place. He can be super easy going and just tickle our daughter in to submission, which she absolutely loves or completely walk away from a bad situation to have me step in to resolve it.

The Naughty Step Discipline Technique

My husband and I tried the Time Out or Naughty Step technique for a while. If you don’t know what it is you can find out a little about it on Super Nanny. Many of my friends who are parents swear by this technique and manage to successfully use it on their 5 year olds today. Unfortunately, this technique stopped working for us when our daughter got stronger and could fight back. Not only did my back start hurting having to place her back on the “Naughty Spot” over and over again, I found the technique to a bit too forceful at times. To be fair to the Super Nanny show, I most likely never learned to do the Naughty Step Technique correctly.

Naughty Step Technique

Jo Frost from the Super Nanny – Naughty Step Technique

I’m Counting to 5 or a Toy Gets Taken Away Discipline Technique

Surprisingly, I’m counting to 5 discipline technique works pretty well for us most of the time. Like most children, our daughter loves her toys. What better way to get her attention to do something we’ve asked than to threaten to take her stuff away, if she doesn’t? The counting begins after I nicely ask if she would please help me to do something and she doesn’t. I then say back to her “I’m going to start counting to 5 and if you don’t have that toy cleaned up you’ll have your Barbie bag taken away… 1, 2, 3,4, 5.” It seems that it rarely comes to 5 before she does the task at hand. Although, I must admit that there have been a few stressful occasions where the technique has failed miserably in to a full on pulling and screaming match if I didn’t grab the toy I was taking away in time.

You Better Be Nice! Cuz Santa Claus is Coming Discipline Technique

I think this past August was probably a bit too soon to start using the “Santa Claus is watching you so you better be good” technique. But, it has worked on a few occasions especially if we pretended to call Santa on the phone. We happened to get a great boost on this technique this past week thanks to a site called PortableNorthPole.com. Super well produced! A parent can have a child receive an email with a video of Santa talking directly to them using their name, age and grade they are attending. I watched our daughter awestrucked as she watched Santa talking about the gift he would bring to her ONLY if “She did a better job listening to her Mommy”.  Yes! You can design the video to challenges you and your child may be having. Nice touch PNP!

Portable North Pole

Portable North Pole Website

Whisper Principle & Color Behavioral Clip Chart Technique

I don’t know much about the Whisper Principle technique but my daughter’s Kindergarten teacher uses it quite regularly in her classroom. The only reason I know this is because when my daughter plays teacher at home, she whispers in my ear what I’m supposed to be doing if I’m not doing what she has asked of me.  Her teacher also uses a color chart in the classroom where clips move up and down on different colors depending on how well the child is behaving in class. I’m glad to see that on most days my daughter seems to be in the green. Funny thing, after a few weeks of using this chart at school she actually created her own color behavioral chart at home. Each family member including the dog was assigned a clip that she moved up and down depending on whether we had done what was asked by her.

Behavior Color Clip Chart

Behavior Color Clip Chart

Good Behavioral Chart Discipline Technique

After she created her own behavior chart at home, I started wondering if it would be wise to look for a more sophisticated one we could have at home. So, I went to our local Lakeshore Learning Store to find out.  I was amazed at all the different charts they had. Ultimately, I decided to buy the Good for Me Reward Kit for about $20. This chart is pretty cool in that we’re able to create the tasks we want our daughter to accomplish on a daily basis. These tasks consist of picking up her toys, doing homework, brushing her teeth etc. We also decide how many stars she must earn to receive a particular cash reward.  So far it has worked pretty well for us.  So well in fact, that our daughter is in the process of saving two weeks of good behavior to earn a toy that costs more than just one weeks.

Good for Me Reward Behavior Chart

Good for Me Reward Behavior Chart

Different Parental Discipline Techniques We’ve Tried

Looking back, disciplining our daughter until she was about 2 seemed pretty easy. Though, I’m most likely suffering over what parents like to call Parental Amnesia. But, I truly feel that disciplining her got whole lot harder when she learned to say “No!”  Obviously, we should be more consistent with our disciplining style. But, some times things work and some times they don’t.  So, don’t be afraid to change it up if something isn’t working.

No doubt they’re tons of ways you can help your child make the right choices to not behave badly.  Your approach may depend on your child’s age and maturity level as well. As you can see, I’m definitely no expert. I’m just kind of winging it as I go. Hopefully, if you are having some challenges you can get some ideas from what I’ve tried so far. Truly the best advice I’ve ever heard is that in most situations when you’re child is not listening you should keep your cool. Ignore the bad, unless your child is in danger, and reward the good. It’s easier said then done, right?

In what ways do you keep your cool when your child gets a little out of control and doesn’t listen? Have any great discipline behavioral tools you like to share with our readers? Please share!

In the meantime, wishing you Happy Holidays and the best in luck in all your parenting endeavors!

– KidZui Mom Barbie

Barbie is an online marketer and relishes in all the pleasures (and challenges!) motherhood brings while living in beautiful sunny San Diego with her husband P and daughter H.

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Holiday Toy Guides 2012

Holiday toy guides are a saving grace. It’s difficult to pay attention to the massive amounts of toy commercials that our children watch, but we know that the little ones are receiving those messages loud and clear. Sure, they mention the toys in their letters to Santa, but how do you translate that adorable chicken scratch into a shopping list? That’s when holiday toy guides come in to save us! Several kid-friendly retailers publish gift guides for the eager shopper, so we’ve compiled a brief list of toys that seem to pop up on several retailers’ lists.

Holiday Toy Guides 2012 - Crayola Digital Light Designer

Officially my new favorite way to color

Crayola Digital Light Designer - $59

Crayola products never fail to boggle my mind every toy-shopping season. The light designer is especially cool because it opens our tiny artists’ minds to art beyond coloring with paints, markers and crayons. My hope is that this toy inspires some kid with a digital mind to be an expert lighting designer or the next big animator!

Holiday Toy Guides 2012 - LaLaloopsy Silly Hair Star Doll

LaLaloopsy’s newest doll

Lalaloopsy: Silly Hair Star Doll - $49.99

Billed as “the first ever talking, singing, dancing Lalaloopsy doll,” the Silly Hair Star Doll is big with doll-lovers this year. I know what you’re thinking: for 50 bucks that spinning hair better be made out of strands of gold! But the doll actually looks like a lot of fun, and it comes with multiple hair attachments and a kitty (so this isn’t for your younger, more-eager-to-eat-their-toys children). LaLaloopsy’s slogan is “Sew magical! Sew cute!” so pun-hating parents might hate this brand…

Holiday Toy Guides 2012 - Furby

They see you when you’re sleeping…they know when you’re awake…

Furby – $54

While it’s not with the rage of the late 90s, Furbys are back…with a vengeance. The 2012 Furby is more expressive, more emotional, smarter, more adaptable, and better linked with technology. Absolutely frightening. I totally want one.

Holiday Toy Guides 2012 - LeapFrog LeapPad2

Will your child receive a tablet from Santa this year?

Tablets: LeapFrog LeapPad2, tabeo, Meep!, InnoTab 2S, nabi 2 $99-199

Tablets, tablets, tablets. You cannot outrun the “tablet-for-kids” conversation. There are more on the market this year than in year’s past, so you have your pick of the litter. There are a lot of factors involved: How much are you willing to spend? How much content control do you want? Is the tablet intended to be shared with the whole family? Or just the individual child? I ask the last questions because I don’t love the idea of  sitting in my favorite cafe, sipping my latte, and browsing the web on my nephew’s bright green chunky electronic. But that’s just personal preference talking.

Holiday Toy Guides 2012 - Nerf Hail-Fire

Nerf Blasters are the company’s bestselling products

Nerf N-Strike Elite Hail-Fire Blaster – $44.99

I love that Nerf continues to redesign their popular Blasters every year. We just can’t shoot enough foam darts! Also, John Brenkus endorses them. That has to convince the “Sport Science” loving parents to grab a couple of Nerf guns for their kids.

Holiday Toy Guides 2012 - Nintendo Wii U

Yet another adventure for our old pal Mario

Nintendo Wii U – $299.99

And what holiday season would be complete without a must-have video game console? Check out that new GamePad controller! I can control my game with a touchscreen and a stylus? I can play with up to 5 players using my Wii Remote controllers? And is that dubstep in the commercial? Wii U is so 2012.

By now you’ve noticed that these recurring products aren’t the cheapest, but at least they give you a sense of what’s trending with kids and their crazy toys. Click on the toy guides below to get a feel for other toy options that don’t cost an arm and a leg.

Happy Holiday Shopping!

 

VanessaZui is the Content Manager at Zui.com She’s obsessed with everything pop culture, can’t go a day without completing at least two crossword puzzles, and probably laughs more often than she breathes.

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5 Thankful Crafts for Kids

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching it’s time to teach children about being thankful and appreciate what they have and what makes them happy.

Here are 5 thankful crafts and activities for you to do with your children this Thanksgiving.

5 Thankful Crafts for Kids

Do these five thankful crafts for kids with your little ones!

  1. Make a thankful turkey.  You can make this in a number of ways, either using a paper plate, a pinecone, a hand print, or a printable of a turkey.  Have your child add facial features or color in the turkey depending on the type of turkey you are making.  Cut out feathers from colored paper.  Have your child write what they are thankful for on each feather and then attach to the body of the turkey with glue.  My kids made these fun thankful turkeys last year in kinder.
  2. Make a thankful tree.  Get out into nature for a family walk.  Collect sticks that are on the ground and place them into a vase or container when you get home.  Cut out leaf shapes from card stock and everyone writes what they are thankful for on the front of the leaf, and their name on the back of the leaf.  Attach the leaves to the trees either by hole-punching a hole and tying them on with ribbon or twine, or by gluing them directly to the sticks.
  3. Make a thankful banner.  This is the perfect craft to use up scraps of paper, a paper bag, or even cardboard boxes.  Cut them into circles, squares, leaves, or anything else you want.  You can even trace around autumn-themed cookie cutters to make fun shapes.  Write things you and your family are thankful for on each cut-out.  Hang along the mantel, or on the wall using twine.
  4. Make a thankful paper chain.  Kids love to make paper chains.  Cut strips of scrap paper or paper bags from grocery shopping.  Everyone writes what they are thankful for on the strips of paper along with their name.  Make a paper chain by looping all of the pieces making sure that the writing is on the inside.  On Thanksgiving take it in turns to pull a loop off the chain and read out what people are thankful for.
  5. Make a thankful chalkboard placemat.  Head to the thrift store and purchase placemats, or alternatively use pieces of thin wood from the hardware store.  Paint the placemats or wood with chalkboard paint.  Place jars of chalk on the Thanksgiving table and while waiting for the meal to be served, or while enjoying appetizers, have everyone write what they are thankful for on the chalkboard placemats.

What are you thankful for this holiday season?

Tonya
Zui Mom

 

Tonya Staab is a freelance writer, and the creative mind behind Create-Celebrate-Explore where she shares craft tutorials, recipes, party planning, decorating, and travel tips.  She has three kids (twin 1st graders and a teen) and can often be found covered in flour and glitter.

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Spooky Halloween Eats: Spider Web Cheesecake

This yummy Halloween-themed treat is super fun and easy to make with kids!

Spider Web Cheesecake

All the ingredients you need to pick up at the store for your cheesecake.

Ingredients / Supplies:

  • 2 Pre-made Oreo  pie crust
  • 2 bars of regular Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 8 oz container of sour cream
  • 1 can of condensed milk
  • Vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • Blender
  • Can opener
  • Rubber spatula
  • Teaspoon
  • Butter knife
  • Spoon
  • Plain dark chocolate Hershey’s bar (large)
  • Small Sandwich bag (plastic)
  • Scissors

 

Preheat oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

To make the blending easier, use the butter knife to cut up the cream cheese bar into the blender. You want to use 1 whole bar per cheesecake you plan on baking.

Spider Web Cheesecake

To avoid your blender from getting stuck, it’s best to cut the cream cheese in small pieces like this. It also avoids getting lumpy. Use an entire cream cheese stick for each cheesecake.

With the spoon you want to scoop in HALF of the 8 oz container of sour cream into the blender.

Spider Web Cheesecake

Make sure to only use 4 oz of sour cream per cheese cake.

Next you’ll need to pour HALF of the can of condensed milk into the blender.

Spider Web Cheesecake

Use only half of a can of condensed milk. Some people use a whole can per cheese cake, but doing so will make it too sweet to actually enjoy.

Carefully crack the large egg to add to the ingredients.

Lastly, you want 1 TSP of Vanilla extract.

Start the blender. You want to make sure that there are no lumps left in the mix from the cream cheese.

Spider Web Cheesecake

Put your cream cheese, sour cream, condensed milk, vanilla extract, and the egg in the blender. Once they’ve been mixed, you want to take your spatula or spoon and scrape the edges of the blender glass to make sure all ingredients are mixed in well and that there are no lumps. Blend for a few more seconds.

Use the rubber spatula to go around the edge of the cup to scrape down and blend one more time to make sure you get everything mixed in.

Once that’s done, you want to pour that WHOLE mix into the pre-made Oreo pie crust and repeat steps again for cheesecake number 2.

Spider Web Cheesecake

After you’ve blended everything, you want to carefully pour the mix into the pie crust. With the measurements you followed, you should not have excess mix. It should be the right amount and not cover the edge of the pie crust all the way.

Once you’ve repeated previous steps and poured the 2nd batch of mix into the 2nd pie crust, set your oven timer for 45 minutes at the same temperature and put your cheesecakes in the oven and wait!!

Spider Web Cheesecake

Here’s what your mix and pie crusts should look like before you place in oven to bake.

You want the top of the cheese cake to be a light yellow/gold color. Each oven temperature is different so you might need to add anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes to get the color you want. After you get the cheesecakes the color you need, turn the oven off and pull both cheesecakes out of the oven for you and let the cheesecakes cool for about 30 minutes.

Once the cheesecakes have cooled off a bit, break the Hershey’s bar in half and melt it in the microwave in a small bowl. The melted chocolate might be too hot to handle so pour that into the sandwich bag you have set aside. You’ll need to cut the corner of the bag after the melted chocolate is poured into it. *Note* you want just a tiny bit of the corner cut to avoid a mess. The next step is the spider web!

Spider Web Cheesecake

You want to let the cheesecakes cool off for 30 minutes or until the bottom of the tray is cool to the touch. Then you want to chill the cheesecakes in the fridge. At this point it’s ok to place the plastic covers the pies came with and chill. The reason you want to wait to do the spider web design on your cheese cake is to prevent the chocolate from spreading all over the cheese cake because it’s warm. Doing the design on a cold cheesecake helps the chocolate set and harden.

Begin with a circle at the center of the cheesecake and do a line from that circle, to the bottom. Then go around the whole cheesecake to make your spider web. Repeat with the 2nd cheesecake. Place plastic cover over the cheesecakes (each pre made pie crust comes with a plastic cover) and put them in the fridge to chill for a min of 2 hours. When we bake these cheesecakes, we do them in the evening and let them chill over night and they’re perfect the next day!

 

 

NancyZui is the Office Manager at Zui. She’s addicted to reality TV, enjoys watching chick flicks, and spending time at the beach in the summer time.

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Fun Halloween Treats: Orange Jelly Pumpkins

Kids are going to love these fun treats for Halloween, and best of all they are simple to make.

Fun Fall Treats: Orange Jelly Pumpkins

Jelly in orange rinds was something I grew up, especially for parties.   I don’t know what made me think of it, but as I was driving around the other day I suddenly had an idea to make orange jelly pumpkins with fun jack-o-lantern faces.   Of course I pondered on this for a couple of days because I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to make the faces, but then I found a fun pumpkin cupcake decorating kit at Target that was perfect for this.

What you will need:

  • Oranges
  • Orange Jell-O
  • Pumpkin Cupcake Decorating Kit

Begin by cutting your pumpkins in half.

Fun Fall Treats: Orange Jelly PumpkinsThen using a spoon, remove all of the pulp and pat your orange rind so it’s fairly dry.  Place your oranges in a deep dish, in muffin tins, or in cups.  The oranges need to sit perfectly still and not tip over.

Fun Fall Treats: Orange Jelly Pumpkins

Mix your jelly according to the package directions.  Pour into each of the orange rinds and very carefully place into the refrigerator until set.

Once the jelly is set, and right before you are ready to serve, add the pumpkin face to each.  The reason you want to add these at the last minute is that once they are on the jelly the bottom of the face may bleed just a little especially if the orange is moved around or tilted, you may find the face slides to one side leaving a little trail behind it.

Fun Fall Treats: Orange Jelly Pumpkins

I recommend serving these fun treats either in a muffin tin tray, or in individual cups such as white paper snack cups that you use for nuts at parties, which are stiffer on the sides than cupcake wrappers.

Fun Fall Treats: Orange Jelly Pumpkins

Are you making any fun Halloween treats?  I’d love to hear more about them if you are.

Tonya
Zui Mom

 

Tonya Staab is a freelance writer, and the creative mind behind Create-Celebrate-Explore where she shares craft tutorials, recipes, party planning, decorating, and travel tips.  She has three kids (twin 1st graders and a teen) and can often be found covered in flour and glitter.

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Fall and Halloween Hair Accessories

I was recently looking through my jar of buttons to see if I had any that I could glue onto plain hair clips for my daughter for upcoming Fall and Halloween activities.  The only ones I could find though were shank buttons (they have a loop on the back of them).   Shank buttons cannot be attached to hair clips, so I had another idea to thread a small elastic hair tie through the hole and attach it.

You could make these for any occasion.  I’m currently on the lookout for apple buttons to make hair ties for when we go apple picking soon.

As you can see these are very simple to make.  You simply thread the elastic hair tie through the button loop, then thread the side with the metal clip through the opposite loop and pull it tight. 

My daughter loves these new hair ties so much, especially because she wears her hair up every day for school and we usually use plain elastic ties.  I’m sure she’s going to have me making a lot more of these. 

Hair ties would make a fabulous non-candy treat for little girls this Halloween too, and don’t forget stocking fillers for the holidays.

National button day is coming up on November 16.  Have you made any fun hair accessories using buttons?

Tonya
Zui Mom

 

Tonya Staab is a freelance writer, and the creative mind behind Create-Celebrate-Explore where she shares craft tutorials, recipes, party planning, decorating, and travel tips.  She has three kids (twin 1st graders and a teen) and can often be found covered in flour and glitter.

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Tips and Ideas to Ease Kindergarten Jitters and Fears

As I watched my daughter walk towards her Kindergarten class the other day and wave goodbye, I couldn’t help but feel teary-eyed and proud.  The same girl who cried almost every day for the first six months of daycare was now walking towards her classroom like a warrior.  She looked like she was ready to take on the world.  Well, at least Kindergarten.

Tips and Ideas to Ease Kindergarten Jitters and Fears

Month’s prior, I had totally stressed myself out, envisioning her crying every day in Kindergarten having taken her away from her daily routine of daycare and friends she had known more than half of her life.  Would she cry?  Would she make friends?  Would she be ready?

I realized as I stood next to a dozen or more parents standing there in angst watching their kids head off to class, that my anxiety was obviously shared. Letting go of your first-born to become a little independent person for a long period of time during the day can be incredibly scary for a parent to do. In some cases, it may even be scarier for the parent than for the kid.

Tips and Ideas to Ease Kindergarten Anxiety

But, with my daughter there may be a few things that I had done right this time in order to prepare her for her new adventure.  Here are some tips and ideas to ease Kindergarten jitters and fears:

  1. Got her excited about it months before. “Aren’t you excited to go to big kid school?”
  2. Read her a poem the night before school by her teacher found here: http://lewislearninglibrary.blogspot.com/2011/08/back-to-school-magic-confetti-freebie.html
  3. Made her go to sleep a lot earlier than usual a few days before school started.
  4. Let her call her daycare the first day after her first school day and promised we would go visit over the Thanksgiving holiday.
  5. Introduced her to a girl at school to become her friend.
  6. Made funny faces at her (she made them back) as she walked away in front of all her classmates.

I know some kids will feel scared and cry no matter what tricks a parent tries to make them feel better.  Especially if this is the first time they’re away from their parent for long periods or if they’re not used to being in large groups of kids.  In those situations, only time heals.  For those parents, all I can say is hang in there and stay strong and relish in the fact that you’re truly loved and needed. Some day they just may not want or need your hand to hold.

What did you do this year to help your child go to a new school?

KidZui Mom – Barbie

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Posted in Anecdotes, Education, Family, Growing Up, Parenting Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Make Memory Books

How to Make Memory Books

Handmade memory books hold special childhood treasures

Recently my daughter asked me to get her a sticker book.  At doctor’s appointments, ballet lessons, and occasionally at other activities the kids are given stickers or stamps for a job well done.   She had noticed at ballet lessons that a couple of the little girls had a book to put their stickers in.  I thought this was a brilliant idea.  No more stickers stuck to clothes that end up going through the wash.

Of course this crafty mama can’t bring herself to go out and purchase a book; instead, a homemade one was in order.

These books are very simple to make.  I found a packet of chipboard at my local craft store for less than 50 cents.  There were 4 pieces in the pack which was perfect for this project; I could make two chipboard memory books out of it.

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