Three Fun Winter Activities For Families
The winter season is a perfect time to explore different activities for families to do together. Just because it may be cold outside and the days seem shorter is no reason to not spend precious time enjoying each other’s company.
Finding things to do in the winter time may be considered more difficult than spring or summer, but with a little planning there’s plenty you can do as a family!
1) Get out the winter gear and head outdoors
It may not snow in all parts of the world, but there is one commonality during the wintertime, and that is the colder temperatures. This is a perfect time to take out the cold weather clothes, bundle up, and head outdoors if the weather is nice.
If it is snowing outside, the entire family can participate in making a snowman or even having a fun game of a snowball fight. If you live in an area that is cold, but doesnât snow, you can head out on a nature hike taking in the beauty of the season, and the different wildlife/ plants. Spending time outdoors together as a family is a great way to increase the bonding amongst all members.
2) Sit by a cozy fire or heater
So itâs cold and raining or snowing and you donât feel like going outside â grab some warm blankets and comforters and create a cozy spot near the fireplace or heater. This cozy spot for everyone can be a great place for family activities to emerge.
You can get out that family game that you havenât played together in years, or sift through some old movies that you havenât watched in a long time, make some popcorn and hot chocolate and enjoy time together. It can be surprising how fun those old games and movies that you forgot about can be.
3) Go to an indoor ice or skate rink
Many towns have indoor activities, such as ice or skate rinks that can be fun for the entire family. Even if it has been awhile since you all skated, this can be the perfect time to laugh and enjoy the company of each other. This activity relates to the season and has a way of bringing a smile to anyoneâs face.
Many ice or skate rinks allow you to rent skates, so there is no need to spend that extra money on purchasing an item that you will only use a few times a year. Save your money and enjoy a nice hot cup of cocoa with your children after circling the ice or wooden rink a few times.
There is no need to sit in front of the television or computer during the winter season and feel trapped by the cold. This is the season where you just need to be a little creative to engage the entire family in activities that will allow everyone to reconnect.
The Importance Of Sound For Babies
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.
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!
Although you may try to plan your child’s Halloween costume as far in advance as possible, we all know just how unexpectedly the need for a costume can crop up. Perhaps your child is refusing to wear what you already bought her? Or maybe it just slipped her mind to tell you about one of the parties she’s been invited to? Instead of making your child wear the same Halloween costume twice, take a look at these last minute Halloween costumes for kids and see if there’s something you can put together quickly.
This costume isn’t the most imaginative of last minute Halloween costumes for kids, but sometimes you just have to make do if you don’t have the time! Thankfully it’s still a Halloween classic, even if it is simple. For the ghost costume you’ll need a plain sheet with cut-out eye holes. Make sure you trim the sheet so your child won’t trip over the ends.
This clever Halloween costume for kids is one of the easiest to put together, but it’ll still get people talking. All you need to do is blow up a photocopied image of a quarter coin and fix it to some card. Attach this to the back of whatever your child is wearing and you’ll have an instant “quarterback”.
This is always a fun last minute idea! If you’ve got bandages, or even toilet roll, to hand then wrap it around your child to turn them into an Egyptian mummy for the evening.
Cardboard Box Costumes
You’d be surprised at how creative you can get with a cardboard box! One ultra-simple costume is to wrap a cardboard box in wrapping paper, cut out holes for the arms and legs, and have your child dress as a gift box. You can take the cardboard box idea even further if you’ve got a little time to paint it. Your child could go as an iPod, a lego brick, a pizza box or any other famous box design.
Something From Your Wardrobe
If you really can’t think of anything else, then sometimes your own clothing makes great last minute Halloween costumes for kids. You may have to make a few quick adjustments, but this is a good way to pull together a vintage-inspired outfit if you can find something in there that you’ve had for quite a while! Or you could even dress your kids up in old office clothing and let them attend the party as a businessperson. Similarly, you could have a rummage through your jewelry collection to find anything suitable for a costume.
We all want to do the best for our babies, which helps to explain why the popularity of organic cotton baby clothes is growing all the time. If you’re unsure about whether it’s worth investing in these clothes, here’s a quick guide to the pros and cons of doing so.
1) Health: Organic cotton baby clothes have been made purely from organic cotton. This means that the cotton was not grown using fertilizers and pesticides, and has not undergone other chemical processes such as bleaching and dyeing. How does this help to protect the health of your baby? It means that they are some of the most natural clothes you can get, and won’t bring your baby’s skin into contact with toxic chemicals.
2) Appearance: Buying organic cotton clothing doesn’t mean you have to compromise on the way the clothes look. They look just as good as other types of clothing, and in most cases will be even better made and more durable (due to the higher price tag).
3) Environmental Impact: If you want to do your part for the environment then buying organic clothing will certainly help. In the same way that you’re avoiding letting toxic chemicals come into contact with your baby’s skin, you’re also reducing the pollution that takes place as a result of the clothes production.
1) Cost: Unfortunately, organic cotton baby clothes do cost more than standard clothing, due to the fact that organic production costs a lot more.
2) Selection: There really isn’t as much choice when it comes to organic clothing as there is with traditional baby clothes. Organic products aren’t produced on the same mass-scale as chemically treated products, though the tide is changing. By shopping online you’ll find enough choice available to satisfy all of your baby’s needs.
3) Finding Genuinely Organic Products: Another important point to note is that you don’t always know what’s genuinely organic. Some manufacturers may label their products as “natural”, but it’s important not to trust these labels at face value. Instead, look for the USDA organic seal, or try to find out more information about a company and their products from their website. You should look specifically for labels stating that the products are 100% organic (not just “organic” or made from “organic material”).
Organic cotton baby clothes are becoming more popular thanks to the health benefits, though they can still be too expensive for some parents. It’s up to you to do your own research and decide whether organic clothing is right for you and your baby.
Budget Fun For The Family: 6 Cheap But Fun Ideas
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, theyâll often turn to you for ways to be entertained. If youâre 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 youâve 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 donât know any good card games, itâs also easy to find the rules for some on the internet) and activities like charades. Family games are great for children of all ages â 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 itâs 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. Itâs true that sometimes a group of kids can end up causing a riot, but generally things donât 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. Itâs 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 theyâll love it. Pizzas are a great option as kids can decorate them any way they wish with the ingredients youâre using.
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.
5 Ways To Keep Children Entertained When Traveling
Traveling with young children can be a challenge, especially on long trips in a car, airplane, or train â 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 childâs 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 childâs reach, and taking precautions for the unexpected, your child may have so much fun that he or she will not even realize how long youâve 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 childâs 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 childâs perspective. After all, no one knows what your child loves more than you.
Keyword = eco friendly tips
Halloween is a fantastic time of the year for both kids and adults, but with all those decorations, the costumes, candy and more, it can also mean a lot of waste. Luckily it is possible to make Halloween more green if you take these eco friendly tips into consideration and do a little forward planning.
1) Choose Your Halloween Candy Wisely
By choosing your Halloween candy wisely, youll be helping to protect your kids health as well as the environment. Take a trip to your local health food store to see whats on offer. Opt for organic treats that arent full of artificial ingredients, as well as fair trade chocolate or even homemade baked treats.
2) Get Creative With Your Decorations
When it comes to incorporating eco friendly tips into Halloween, you may just find that it makes things even more fun! You dont need to buy plastic decorations from the store: take advantage of what nature has to offer and decorate your home with leaves, pumpkins, apples and natural candles. Dont forget to choose reusable plates and cutlery instead of disposable items if you really want to do the best you can for the environment.
3) Recycle Your Halloween Costumes
Eco friendly tips almost always revolve around reusing or recycling so you dont have to buy new, and Halloween is no different. By renting a costume, making your own from old costumes or reusing costumes youve bought in previous years, youll be doing your bit to reduce waste this Halloween. Try making your costumes out of old clothes that would have otherwise been thrown away, or buy second hand clothing at low prices to use for fabric.
4) Reusable Halloween Bags
We all need bags to carry around our Halloween treats, but they neednt be bad for the environment. Instead of plastic or paper bags, get your hands on some reusable bags that can be recycled for many years to come. Canvas bags are an excellent choice take a look around stores to see if you can find any Halloween-themed bags, or simply decorate a plain canvas bag yourself.
5) After Halloween Is Over
Out of all the eco friendly tips, what you do with everything after the event really does matter. Dont just throw away pumpkins, use them for compost, and try to keep any decorations you bought so they can be used again next year. If you did end up buying a costume and wont wear it again, give it to a friend or donate it. Every little gesture helps!
5 Benefits Of Building Block Toys
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 â 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 â 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 childâs intellectual development.
3. Math And Vocabulary Skills â 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, itâs easy to see why building blocks are a great preschool learning tool.
4. Improves Creativity â 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 childâs creative abilities and not just the logical.
5. Encourages Positive Social Interaction â 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.