Some More Eggucational Activities

Compiling the eggceptional list  of eggucational activities really got me brainstorming. Here are the descriptions of my personal additions!

Babies:

Pick an egg, say the animal sound and have the child choose the picture of the animal that says that sound.

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Toddlers:

Match the beginning letter sound with the picture.

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Preschoolers:

Match the geometric shape with the number of sides.

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Match the picture with the word.

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Work on division skills by sharing eggs equally amongst a specified number of people. Work on classification by sorting eggs by color and graphing the results.

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Find rhyming words and put them together. Extend this activity by asking them to add another rhyming word to the pair. IMG_2531

Primary Grades K-2

Match the shape with the correct name. Incorporate a variety of geometry terms such as acute angle, line, vertices, etc.

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Intermediate Grades 3-5

Match Equivalent Fractions

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Match a mixture of decimals, percentages and fractions. This is an incredibly valuable skill in the “real world”!

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Really challenge them by doing this mixed math activity. It can be adapted to any academic level and really gets them thinking in different ways.IMG_2570

Help reinforce memorization of states and capitals.  IMG_2522

Make big numbers by placing varying digits on each egg half. Have students grab any 2 halves and put the egg together to create a new number.  Have them write the number out, emphasizing proper comma placement and then read the number aloud. You can even make it into a game by seeing who can make the highest number.

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Middle And High School

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Here is a list of ideas for middle and high schoolers:

  • Balancing chemical equations
  • Inventors and inventions
  • Famous literary quotes
  • Bible Verses
  • Sports teams and mascots
  • metric conversions (cm, mm, dm)
  • foreign language vocabulary

Please add any other eggcellent ideas you come across. Be sure to #strollersavvy!

Stroller Savvy I am

       Today is Theodor Seuss Geisel‘s Birthday. A beloved children’s author, celebrated by many, I thought we should join in on the fun. Having been sick all weekend, it was as basic and make-shift as could be. My childrens’ joy in this simple effort proved to me, yet again, that these gestures don’t have to be elaborate and can still be just as special.

       Last night, when I told my four-year-old that we were going to have a birthday party for Dr. Suess in the morning he got so excited. I explained that we were going to make green eggs for the celebration and since he loves to help, he asked how we were going to do that. After telling him we were going to use kale and spinach, a look of dismay came across his face. This angst was NOT because of the ingredients (we eat them all the time)-  rather it was because he couldn’t understand why we weren’t invited to the real party! (I didn’t have the heart to tell him that Dr. Suess passed away 24 years ago, or that even if he was living we most likely wouldn’t have been invited anyways.)

      There was a time when in order to make green eggs and ham I would have busted out the food coloring in order to dye them the correct hue. However, with our healthy eating lifestyle, I knew there had to be a better option. Thanks to one of my favorite blogs by Lisa Leake, I came across this easy nutritious recipe.  Fortunately we always have spinach or kale in our fridge and freezer (a daily staple in our smoothies). I didn’t have an onion so I subbed in garlic and omitted the butter. It was so incredibly simple- took no longer than it would have  to make our usual smoothie or scrambled eggs- and it was delicious!

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         As for the rest of the party, I quickly thawed out some frozen strawberries, sliced up a banana, and stacked them to make Dr. Suess hats. My son and I gathered some of our favorite Dr. Seuss books and together we read aloud as we ate our yummy, wholesome breakfast.

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          Never has a party been that simple and nutritious!

So in summary:                  

                                                           It’s Dr. Suess’s Birthday, so you say.                                                                                                              We weren’t invited, but had a party anyway!

                                                       We keep fresh produce in the house.                                                                We do not welcome any mouse.

                                                               We did not have any ham.                                                                          Certainly not Spam in a can.

                                                      So we made green eggs and party hats.                                                                                                          We read his books and laughed and laughed.

                                                          We read, we ate, we had fun.                                                                                                                                  A great healthy party for everyone.

                                                   We do so love green eggs and ham,                                                                                                                     Time to clean up- Stroller Savvy, I am 🙂

Even the most discerning firefighter loved it!

Even the most discerning firefighter loved it!

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The babies even joined in on the fun!

Put Your Heart Into It

This Valentine’s Day, save your money, spare your waistline and give a truly priceless gift- the gift of love and memories for the entire family. (Note, this works just as well whether you are single and dating or have a huge family). This idea is so simple, that even the artistically challenged like myself can quickly and easily execute it. What it lacks in difficulty it makes up for in its substantial benefits.

I plan to start this on February 1st, so that everyone will get a warm fuzzy each day leading up to Valentine’s Day. If this seems too daunting, you could always shorten the time frame to one week or even just a few days.

“Everybody likes a compliment.”   -Abraham Lincoln

1) Cut out 14 hearts for each family member. If you don’t remember how to cut out a symmetrical heart, channel your inner grade school self and take a trip down memory lane:

Valentine Blog Post

2) Write the person’s name on the bottom corner or back. You can assign a color to each family member or do it at random. I chose to color-code so it will be easier for the kids to hone in on their own hearts on the wall.

3) Put the hearts into a bin.      IMG_0824

4) Each day, have each person close their eyes and pull out a heart. (We plan to draw in the morning to give us the day to think about it and work on it as time permits.)

5) Write something on the heart that you love about that person. Try to be specific. Instead of “you are a great father”, say “when J needs help you patiently give him your undivided attention.” Obviously you will have to help younger children write, but let them provide the ideas. For the non-talkers, put yourself in their shoes and think about what they would say. (Daddy, I love when you hold me high in the air and make me feel so special. Sister, I love when we play blocks together. Brother, I love that sometimes you hug me in the middle of playing. )

“I can live for two months on a good compliment.” ~Mark Twain

4) Display it. I plan to post them after the kids go to sleep so they can wake up to see their new heart each morning. I chose to display it on a wall by the kitchen table where everyone is sure to see it at least three times per day. It doubles as an adorable seasonal decoration!

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Many simply do the project and stop at that. Have you ever considered what really goes into these seemingly basic ideas? This simple project benefits each person in so many ways. Not only do the warm fuzzies boost our egos and strengthen our love, but they also provide myriad other benefits. Here is a sampling:

Children:

Children thrive on positive reinforcement. They beam with pride upon receiving a compliment and it motivates them to keep doing those great things. Each day they will wake up in eager anticipation to see what compliment their new heart holds. Making the hearts for family members teaches them selflessness and thoughtfulness while further developing their writing, drawing, literacy, creativity, language development, and fine motor skills. The notes from siblings will validate them as big(little) brother(sister).
Today I asked my 4-year-old what he loved most about his little brother. As he pondered it, a slow smile crossed his face, and he emphatically drawled out, “everything!” <3

Babies:

Okay, I’m a realist, they will have no clue what is going on and will most likely try to eat it. But I promise, this WILL benefit them too. It will serve as a great memory source providing a glimpse back to what they were like at this moment in time. This is a great way to record the minutiae that may not get recorded in a journal or baby book. Instead of writing “you are sweet” to my baby girl, I am going to write “I love that you say ‘tank oooo’ when you hand us something”. When I look back years later, I will vividly remember her waddling up to us with a toy, handing it to us and saying “thank you”. It is also an opportunity for their older siblings to really look at them as people on the inside rather than just playmates. If they are able, let them hold a crayon and scribble on their heart to work on their grip, fine motor skills, focus, hand-eye coordination, and self-expression. Remember, they are little sponges at this age. They are just taking it all in, so continue to set good examples!

Adults:

Let’s face it, being parents is a pretty thankless job sometimes. And when you are caught up in the daily insanity of raising young children, the compliments don’t always roll off the tongue. (Can I get a ‘holla’ from anyone who has ever said “mmm, this dinner is good, isn’t it?” or “Did you see that I cleaned the house today?”) The sad truth for adults is that if you don’t ask for it, you don’t always get it. But a compliment is a compliment, so fish away! This will be a great way to show each other that we DO notice the little things and that we appreciate those just as much as the big ones. It will be insightful to hear how the kids see us and a great opportunity to share the unseen with one another (like how happy C looks when he is atop Daddy’s shoulders.) Perhaps this little project will rekindle something between us, as compliments and acknowledgements are something we desperately need to work on. Just the other day we were discussing how authentic our four-year-old’s compliments are (“Wow, you look AMAZING”) and how forced ours often seem. It will make us slow down and reflect on all of our blessings. It will warm our hearts to see the appreciation on our children’s faces. It will provide a creative outlet.

If done well, this project will capture a moment in time. It will provide memories that can’t be seen in a picture. I never want to forget that Tink makes a purring gurgling noise when we rock in the glider, that Cubbie stops whatever he is doing to run up to us with a huge hug and smile when we enter the room, or that Jake’s quick-witted comments crack us up daily.

When you finish them, and are ready to take down your Valentine decorations, remove them from the wall, and make them into a keepsake book.

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I feel like it is Christmas Eve. I am so excited to hear what they say about each other. I can hardly wait to get started on this tomorrow morning!

Seems much better than over-priced roses and chocolates, doesn’t it?

If you love them, ask.

2Ifyoulovethemask

 

It is no surprise that in light of current events, news feeds are abuzz with articles, debates, strong opinions, and controversies. (Let me be INFINITELY clear that I do not plan to touch those subjects, nor will I allow commentary to turn accusatory or demeaning.) As a firm believer that everyone has a right to their opinions paired with a strong dislike for controversy, I never thought I would even come close to tiptoeing near some of these subjects, but a topic came up in one of my mommy circles that I felt needed to be addressed.

The discussion essentially revolved around the question of how to protect our children from less visible but extremely harmful things without seeming invasive or neurotic? We have all read heart-wrenching stories of children who accidentally shot themselves with unprotected firearms, or kids at a sleepover who died from a carbon-monoxide leak. Of course the measles outbreak is terrifying. Life IS scary. As much as we would like to keep our children in a bubble, we cannot protect them from everything. We can’t control the rest of the world, but there are measures we can take to protect our loved ones just a little bit more.

My response to the initial question is this: what is more important, your pride or having the unimaginable happen because you were too afraid to ask?

But asking is hard. It is awkward, and yes, people might take offense. However, if someone doesn’t want to be friends with my children or me because I asked if their firearms are secured, then I don’t really need to be their friend. Quite frankly, those people probably don’t want to be your friend either because they will find you “annoying” and “over-protective”.

There is a line, and only you as a parent can know where to draw it.

One suggestion was to make a questionnaire. It started with these two questions: 1) Are your children fully vaccinated? 2) Do you have guns in your house? If so, are they locked up?

The more I thought about it, more and more potential dangers popped in my head.

3) Do you lock your medicine cabinet? 4) Do you lock your liquor cabinet? 5) Are your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors working? 6) When kids are playing in the house, do you lock all of the exterior doors?

And then I got really carried away. 7) Do you dumpster dive and is that cake you are serving my child weeks old? There is a line, and only you as a parent can know where to draw it.

You are more than welcome to use these questions as a springboard for a survey or discussion to hold with your child’s friends’ parents (sister’s great uncle three times removed.) Pick and choose what is important to you. Now here’s the truly hard part: what are you going to do with the answers? Keep in mind, they may not be what you personally want to hear. It becomes your responsibility to decide what to do with that information. If your friend doesn’t vaccinate, will you still allow your kids to play with her kids? Will you avoid all public places? For me, there are certain things I am adamant about and others on which I am more flexible. It is truly a personal decision that only you can answer.

Yes, this is still awkward, but hopefully it will soon become the norm. I assure you, parents of children with life-threatening allergies will make their concerns infinitely clear to you and hand you an epi-pen without hesitation. Parents of children with peanut allergies rallied so far as to instigate peanut-free zones, and even entire schools. They have no shame because they are protecting their child. Well guess what? Everyone’s kid has an “allergy” to a misfired bullet. By asking whether their firearms are locked up you are not judging them for having them, but just ensuring your children, and theirs, are protected.

There are so many unknowns in life and as much as we want to, we cannot protect our children from everything.

God Grant Me the
Serenity
To accept the things
I cannot change
the
Courage
to change
the things I can
and the
Wisdom
to know the difference.
-Reinhold Niebuhr

While we cannot force change on other people’s viewpoints, we CAN control who our kids hang out with at a young age with the hopes of guiding them to make good choices when they are older. We CAN begin to normalize the act of asking the questions that are important to us with the hopes of it becoming more commonplace without repercussion or stigma. Above all, YOU can listen to your gut and heart; trust your instincts. When you do both, you are usually doing what is right for you and your family.

What suggestions do you have to help make it acceptable and less intimidating to ask these important questions? What are some other questions we should be asking?