8 valentine’s day activities for kids

I love planning lessons around holidays to break up our routine and add some fun to the mix and Valentine’s Day offers a perfect opportunity to add an assortment of fun activities and projects!  My kids love experiments but they also love crafts so I put together a fun selection of both!    The majority of my children are under 7, but I do have a 12-year-old so I added a few fun things for her as well.  I hope you find something that you can enjoy with your family!

This is a fun experiment to do with all those candy hearts hanging around.  I personally don’t like candy hearts so I feel like dissolving them is a perfect use!  Plus the kids love experiments like this. 

Check it out here!

 

 If you have vinegar and baking soda hanging around at your house then you are ready to do this art project!  I love simple activities that use things around the house!  

 

We have a million pipe cleaners bouncing around at our house so this art activity will be the perfect use!

 

 

It has been suggested to me that bird feeders are a great asset in keeping your kids occupied and learning during the long winter.  Put out a bird feeder,  make some hot chocolate, and watch the birds come and go!  So I will definitely be making these with the kids.

 

 

 

This will be a HUGE hit for my 1st grader!  Oh, my goodness, does he love to build things and I know that my 2 and 4-year-old will enjoy this activity as well.  It’s sure to be a hit!

 

 

Here’s a fun Valentine math activity that will be perfect for your younger grades like kindergarten through 2nd.  You can adapt it for preschoolers to enjoy as well!

 

 

This adorable bouquet is something my 7th grader would love to make for her friends!  

 

 

How fun is this idea!  Valentine delivery ZIP LINES!  My kids will be all over this idea!  

 

I hope you found one or two things to do with your kids this Valentine’s day.  Any one of these ideas is sure to be a hit!  

 

How to fly with a toddler

I was recently talking with a friend who was getting ready to fly across the country with her one-year-old.  I have been on many flights with a toddler or two and she was asking me for my tips on how to fly with a toddler.   After I gave her my list of ideas and what worked and what didn’t I thought  “Hey! This could be a blog post! “.  

My first flight with a toddler was 11 years ago with our oldest child and she was my easy going, easy to please, but still 18 months old and a prone to tantrums if she was tired or hungry- like any 18- month- old.  She also loved movies and cartoons.  So I packed a portable DVD player, some snacks and we were on our way.  She did well the first three hours before we switched flights for the last leg of our journey.  That’s when she had a complete come apart.  It was way past her bedtime and she was just tired so it was a battle to try and get her to sleep.  So lesson learned- try to fly during happy hours- not night time!  

Our second flight with a toddler occurred when we took our three children to get their new baby sister that we were adopting.  The flight was 2- 2-hour flights with a layover in between.  We had a nine-year-old, a four-year-old, and a 16-month-old.  The flight there went beautifully and all my tricks worked.  Even the flight attendants commented on my amazing snack trays each of the kids had.  On the flight home, we also had our new baby who was 2 months old.  We were a crazy lot traveling through the airport and all the people there were giving us crazy looks because I think most people with that many kids and those ages just stay home!  But we managed to get all our car seats, two strollers, and baggage checked in and all 6 of us through security.  Oh man, it was exhausting.  Once on the flight, we were doing pretty good until my 16-month-old lost it.  He was tired and it was at night, and unfortunately we had to have the later flight home.  He screamed for what seemed like an hour while my husband tried to quiet him.  As soon as the seatbelt sign went off he stood up and walked him down the aisle where the flight attendants gave him some candy and a kind passenger rubbed Lavender oil on his back.   I am not sure if it was the candy or the Lavender oil, but he was happy and quiet after that!  

We have since flown with our youngest baby when she was 14  months old and here’s our list of what has worked and what hasn’t.  

A variety of snacks, some old favorites, and some exciting new ones.  Have salty, and sweet.  You never know if a child will be motion sick and salty snacks tend to help nausea.   We put a variety of snacks in these craft boxes that you can buy pretty much anywhere, this one is from amazon and I love the handle!  I packed fruit snacks, crackers, pretzels, cereal, dried fruit, granola bars and some candy.  You can have a variety of old favorite treats and some fun new snacks. 

 

They each got a water bottle or a sippy cup (depending on age) which you can go through security with if it’s empty and the lid is off.   Baby bottles can go through full, but they will test it.  Also, do not use the soft form ice pack, use a hard pack.  They gave us an exception on this but they almost took away my ice pack for my bottle of milk.  

 

                                                  

 

New toys!  This one is a hit at our house and was perfect for long hours on the plane.  

 

These last two tips were a serious favorite!  If I could only pick three things that you should bring, it would be the snack case and these games below! 

You just take a cheap container cut a small hole in it that is big enough for buttons to go through.  This provided long term entertainment for my toddlers.   When you’re done, you just store the buttons in the container and if you want you can add tape to the hole but our hole was just the perfect size that nothing fell out. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take an old spice bottle with the large holes in the lid and cut pipe cleaners to fit.  My 16 month old loved this!  I was surprised at how long it kept his attention.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have a layover, find a quiet place open place for them to run around and get their wiggles out.  Some airports have kid zones and even mother’s lounges with changing stations and rocking chairs.  Bring favorite blankets and get a window seat so that they can’t easily escape and the window shade makes for great entertainment.  

Homemade Slime

This our homeschool week off where we take the week to do tons of projects and use a more “hands-on” approach to our homeschool days.  It is a much-needed break from textbooks and the demands on mom.   Each child plans some crafts or projects they want to work on and this homemade slime was what my 1st grader picked to make with the family.  I have to say that I am impressed at how easy it is to make homemade slime and it wasn’t nearly as messy as I thought it would be.  My two-year-old and four- year -old tested it out by dropping it on the carpet and it came right up!  So yay!  Another exciting aspect of this project is that I had all of the ingredients!  I love it when I don’t have to go to the store to buy more items for some of these crazy projects.  

how to make homemade slide 

What you will need:

Solution A

1 cup of water

1 cup of glue

food coloring

Solution B

1 1/3 cup warm water

4 tsp. Borax laundry booster

Mix ingredients of solution A together in a medium bowl.  In a second medium bowl mix the ingredients in solution B together until Borax is completely dissolved.  Slowly pour solution A into solution B but DO NOT MIX!  Roll the solution around 4-5 times.  Lift solution A out of B and knead for 2-3 minutes.  Throw away solution B and store the slime in an airtight container or ziploc bag.  

 

 

Hands-on ant lesson

For our science this year we are learning about arthropods.  Currently, we are on the unit of ants.   My first grader is full of energy and likes to be creative.  He is definitely more of a hands-on learner and our lesson was missing some of that.   So I added the “hands on” part to our science lesson.  We watched a few youtube videos about ants. I love how awesome youtube is for teaching your kids.  Always use adult supervision of course but there are some great resources there.  

 

 

 

This one was SO interesting.  I have never seen the inside of an ant hill but this gives you an amazing visual:

 

 

 

This video showed us how ants are used for medicine and research:

 

 

This video showed us how ants survive in a swamp:

 

 

 

We had a few more pieces to our lesson but in the end, he really wanted to make something.  So we tried a new playdough recipe with only 3 ingredients!  

 

oatmeal clay recipe

 

Oatmeal Clay

1 cup of oatmeal

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup water

Mix ingredients and add more flour if it is too sticky.  

That’s it!  Super simple and quick to pull together.  

Vanilla Snow Ice Cream

easy to make vanilla snow ice cream

We are on our Christmas break and good heavens we have SO much snow!  The kids go out and play in it every afternoon when it finally warms up to a slightly warmer temperature.  But all this snow makes for the perfect treat-  vanilla snow ice cream!  It is so easy and if you have snow then your set!  Most of the ingredients for this recipe are usually in your fridge or pantry.   If you are expecting ice cream texture you may be disappointed.  It is more of like thick milkshake in texture and just as delicious!  

Vanilla Snow Ice Cream

Vanilla Snow Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of snow
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients together and enjoy!
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http://www.howtomakeyourown.com/vanilla-snow-ice-cream/

10 Christmas themed learning activities

Looking for great history, reading, math, and science to explore during this Christmas season?   I have compiled a list of 10 great Christmas themed learning activities that my kids and I are planning on using this month.  I am really excited to dig in and try these and I know the kids are going to LOVE them.   The ones we have already tried have been a huge hit  in our home and I hope in yours.  

This is another reason I love homeschooling is trying and learning all of these things either again or for the first time WITH my kids.  We are building such a close bond with each other by sharing in this time together.

 

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A WWII Christmas from Free Homeschool Deals.

First off, a little history which is my favorite subject and WW II is so interesting.  They have a 4-part series put together from rationing and recipes to V-mail and more.  

 

 

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This Frosted Crystal Wreath looks like fun and some science is involved.  

frozen-bubble-feature

These frozen bubbles have been on our list to try since summer!  We have waited for months for it to get cold enough to try it and we are super excited!

 

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Snow Volcano

I am pretty sure my 12-year-old all the way down to my 2-year-old will enjoy this experiment and we have enough  snow to actually try it this week!

 

snow-globe

Christmas Snow Globes by Reeko Science

My kids have already made their Christmas Globes and had a blast making them.  My husband didn’t appreciate the glitter that seems to cover everything when it comes out but the kids had fun and helped clean up so it was worth it!

 

winter-science-snow-melting-experiment

Another fun science experiment with melting snow from Mom Inspired Life.   I love how simple and easy this one is to pull together. 

 

writing-prompts

123 homeschool 4 me has pulled together some great writing prompts.  I’ll adjust accordingly for my 7th grader but I know my 1st grader will love these.

 

Christmas Math Worksheets

Here are some great Christmas themed math lessons that I know my 1st grader will enjoy and give him a break from his textbook.  

 

Build a sled STEAM project

I love this building challenge from handmade kids art!  What a fun idea.

 

Christmas Math Game

Math Geek Mama incorporated a story and a math lesson and I LOVE it!  What a great idea!

 

Over 24 Thanksgiving games for all ages!

I really enjoy planning fun Thanksgiving games to enjoy.  This year I was looking for some great ones that we could play at our family dinner and get all the young kids as well as the adults involved.  It always makes for a fun day and I really feel like it brings the family together.  It has always been a hit in the past and I feel it is now a tradition to have something fun planned.  The best is when everybody has to be a little bit crazy and get out of their comfort zone a little bit.  

 

12 Thanksgiving Games Kids (and Adults) Will Love!

 

thanksgiving-games-for-kids

Source: Britco

This site had some awesome ideas, many of them perfect for the littlest of kids.  So even those toddlers that tend to feel left out will enjoy these games.  

 

 

Turkey Trivia

turkey-trivia-cards-by-paperelliSource: Craftaholics Anonymous

This looked like a fun game to play after dinner or maybe even during dinner.  I know my kids love games like this while we eat and it helps my highly energetic crowd actually enjoy sitting for a change. 

 

Pumpkin Twister

1474039678-edit-make-your-own-pumpkin-twister-game-with-these-free-printables-1024x1024

Source: Pint Sized Treasures

This game looked like SO much fun!  I loved Twister as a kid and this is a fun spin on the game… pun intended. 

 

Thanksgiving Bingo

 

thanksgiving-bingo-hero

Source: Catch My Party

Head over and print this adorable FREE printable and enjoy some fun with your kiddos.  I know my 6-year-old loves games like this and it helps with his reading skills so a win win!

 

 

12 Hilarious Thanksgiving Party Games

 

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Source: Play Party Plan

I saved the best for last because I believe the most fun times are when everyone gets to embarrass themselves a little bit.  Where everyone can let loose and just have a good time, especially for the adults in the crowd.  This site had some amazingly fun games that I cannot wait to try. 

 

I hope you all enjoy your Thanksgiving and hold your loved ones close this year.  It is always a wonderful thing to be able to reflect on your year and see the many things there are to be grateful for.  

 

Gluten Free Waffles

 

Gluten-Free-Waffles_1214Adult 5 stars-Kids 5 stars

I’ll be honest and tell you that the first time we tried gluten free waffles and it was huge flop.   They just fell apart in the waffle maker and so we thought we could add a little more milk and try to make them into pancakes.  FAIL.  

When I told my husband I was going to try again, he wasn’t very enthusiastic to say the least.  
But as they say, “never give up”, and I didn’t and guess what?   I made the BEST gluten free waffles ever!  

 Gluten-Free-Waffles_1293

The kids love these circus waffles!  This is my waffle maker, 3 Circus Waffle Shape Maker.

Gluten Free Waffles
Yields 10
A perfect waffle
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Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 3/4 cup Almond Flour
  2. 3/4 cup tapioca flour or arrowroot
  3. 1/4 cup Coconut Flour
  4. 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder Aluminum Free
  5. 1 teaspoon salt
  6. 1/4 cup butter, melted
  7. 2 eggs
  8. 1 1/2 cups milk
  9. 1 teaspoon honey
Instructions
  1. Mix ingredients together until combined. Drop by spoonfuls onto hot waffle maker. Cook 3-4 minutes. (Depends on your waffle maker.)
Notes
  1. You can separate your eggs and beat the egg whites until fluffy and fold into batter for a more light and fluffy waffle.
How to Make Your Own http://www.howtomakeyourown.com/

 

 

 

Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread

Gluten-Free-Pumpkin-Bread_59

This gluten free pumpkin bread was a definite hit in our home.  My husband took one bite and said “this is really good, is it gluten free?”.   He didn’t believe that it could taste so much like the original, and still be gluten free.  So hear ya go!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread


6 eggs (separated)

1/3 cup kefir, milk, or yogurt

1/2 cup whole cane sugar

1 Tablespoon vanilla

1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, melted

1/2 cup  Almond Meal / Flour
1/2 cup  Organic Coconut Flour
1/4 cup tapioca

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon celtic sea salt

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 cup pureed pumpkin

Preheat oven to 400ยบ, adjust rack to middle position.    Separate eggs, putting the egg whites in a separate bowl.   Add yolks and add all wet ingredients  to a large mixing bowl.   Sift all your dry ingredients together in a separate bowl.    Slowly add dry ingredients to the wet and mix just until combined.    With beaters, mix your egg whites until stiff and small peaks form.  Add to your batter and fold in carefully until all combined.

A few notes, sifting the dry ingredients help with the fluffiness of the bread as well  as folding in the egg whites.  That is what helps this bread have the height and light texture that you are use to with your regular version.   Otherwise it could be quite dense.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin-Cookies-Gluten-Free_1141

Adults 5 star–Kids 5 star

Today was cold and cloudy, the autumn leaves are blowing off of the trees and fall is definitely in the air.    So when my 4 year old asked to make cookies, I immediately wanted something with pumpkin.  But I also wanted to stay within the guidelines we have set for our family with going gluten and sugar free (processed sugar).   So we experimented and came up with the perfect and healthy pumpkin chocolate chip cookie!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Serving size– 36 cookies

1 cup melted butter or 3/4 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup honey or

4 large eggs, room temperature

1 can of pumpkin puree

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups    Almonds Natural (Unblanched) Almond Meal / Flour

1 cup tapioca flour

1/2 cup  Organic Coconut Flour 

2 teaspoons baking powder

3 teaspoons baking soda

6 teaspoons pumpkin spice blend

1 teaspoon celtic sea salt

chocolate chips (approx- 1 1/2 cups)  put in what you want to suite your tastes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   In a bowl mix together wet ingredients.   In a small bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together.   Slowly add dry ingredients to the wet, and whisk, just until mixed.   Add chocolate chips.   Using a cookie scoop put on baking sheet and press down slightly, so they flatten out while baking.  Otherwise you will have a nice round cookie.   Bake for 10-12 minutes, cool for 2 minutes and then put on cooling rack.

These freeze well too!