Summer is approaching and so are the two favorite words of children, “I’m bored.” Head off those words at the pass with a Summer Box. A Summer Box (or bag) is filled with summer-worthy treats, books and coupons to use throughout the summer.
Former preschool and current homeschool teacher, Jennifer Gaines, began making Summer Boxes for her four children several years ago. “It’s a great way to celebrate the end of the school year,” says Jennifer.
Why make a Summer Box?
Obviously there are plenty of outdoor activities to entice kids, but what about the downtime? When the temperature and humidity meet at an unbearable level, grabbing a box or bag with some activities can make the summer days a little more fun. You’re probably going to buy summer gear (goggles, swim suit, extra sunscreen) anyway, why not make it part of a celebration? So many times our kids just “get” stuff. By making some “ordinary” items special, you’re teaching your kids to be appreciative of all the things you buy on a regular basis.
What type of box?
The best type of box (or bag) is one that your kids can reuse. Clear plastic boxes from Target or the Container Store can easily hold multiple items. Bags that double as beach or swim bags are also a good choice.
What to put in it?
Calendar. A calendar with all of your child’s summer camps and activities will help them “see” what’s ahead for the summer.
Reading logs/programs. Many schools provide a reading log or program for children to use during the summer. But don’t stop there, check out local library reading programs. Barnes & Noble and Half Price Books also offer reading incentive programs for young readers.
Summer Gear. New swimsuit and swim pass to local pool, summer hat, sunscreen, new beach towel, goggles
Gift Cards. Barnes and Noble, Half Price Books, Sonic, or movie theaters.
School Stuff. Notebooks and pencils for use as a journal, new reading books, coloring/activity books and new crayons/markers
Summer is quickly approaching, which means camps, sports and 50 cent movies at Cinemark Theaters!
Many theaters offer recent children’s movies during the summer at a discounted rate. Cinemark Theaters are offering 10 movies for $5.00 if you purchase in advance. Hooray! With prices that low, you can afford the movie popcorn (well, if you share with a friend).
My kids and I spent hours (and I really mean hours) trolling around the Pottery Barn Kids store when they were toddlers and preschoolers. The perfect bedrooms, playrooms, toys etc. were only a few purchases away! My kids loved playing with the mini-kitchens and displays, and I loved getting ideas for their rooms. But as much as I loved all of their fabulous finds, the price was sometimes a little high. So I made my on version of their oversized “Paint Pallet”.
I started here:
This is just a regular PVC pipe piece from Lowe’s. (But you’ll find the same thing at Home Depot.) They range in price from about $2-$6, depending on the size.
Spray paint them with whatever colors you have or that matches your playroom/bedroom! Spray paint your wood (from Lowe’s or Home Depot) and then glue. (I chose a 4 foot board, but you can choose 6 or 8 foot depending on your project.)
You won’t believe how fantastic it looks!
I added an extra piece of wood on one side for extra color. (Yes–I still need to make a paintbrush!)
Have you listened to a good radio program lately with your kids? Yes, a radio program. Take a television break and enjoy an afternoon adventure–into Adventures in Odyssey. My kids (10 and 8) discovered Adventures in Odyssey from a friend last summer. It became a great way to “listen” to stories, instead of watching them on TV. We bought several series on CD, as well as downloaded others to my iPhone. Then recently, we discovered that we could listen to the daily podcasts from the Focus on the Family app or on their website.
The stories range from heroes of Bible to mysteries and family challenges. They have a moral message that doesn’t come off as preachy, and best of all, my kids LOVE them. Every afternoon when they get home from school, we pop on the podcast and listen to a new episode of The Green Ring Conspiracy, the current series. It’s been a great way for them to unwind after school before the homework starts. For more information, check out: www.whitsend.org
Bits and pieces of childhood all melded together in plastic alphabet letters. What’s a nostalgic mom to do?
Maybe you’re still in the midst of “plasticlandia”, but when you emerge–put those pieces to good use!
A while ago I saw a Pinterest post about spray painting alphabet letters on a frame. Bingo! I decided to grab a decaying outdoor side table, spray paint my gazillion plastic letters and numbers and voila–new table! I added a round, plain top from Lowe’s to make the table more secure. I also added a bunch of tangram shapes that were lonely in the garage to add a bit of pizzazz.
Is it perfect? No, you can see bits of hot glue and other mistakes–but it’s a fun piece for our playroom! The kids love it, and was almost free to make!
I bought canvas drop cloths at Lowe’s (located in the paint section). They come in a variety of sizes, just choose the one that works for your window. I like to use the 8 oz., it’s cheaper and easier to iron than the 10oz. You can use any fabric, but I’ve found that the thicker fabric is easier to use.
We (my small helpers and me ) used felt pieces that I bought at Michael’s. We cut out the larger bird shapes from felt, and used felt balls to decorate. (Thicker felt and shapes are located near the sewing section in Michael’s.) I also used some butterfly shapes from the Container Store. (They were “gift wrap” tags.)
For the top section I used foam board from Home Depot–this board is similar. I glued batting onto the board and then wrapped the canvas on top. (You can see the seam ) Then we decorated it!
Many second-time parents worry about whether or not their first born will be jealous of the new baby. Spoiler alert: your older child will be jealous of the new baby. Imagine that your husband brings home another woman. He declares that he’s madly in love with her, he wants you all to live together and, oh yeah, he wants you to love her too. How would you feel? We’re guessing “joyful” doesn’t come to mind. So how do you think your first child will feel when you bring home a new baby?
The good news is that you can lessen the jealousy by taking action to make your first child feel secure and well-loved.
Reassure your first child.Say the words they cannot say. Articulate for them how they must be feeling about this life change and reassure them that you still love them more than anything.
Create one-on-one time with mom. Even if it’s lunch together while the baby sleeps, give your older child time with Mom and only Mom.
Put your older child on Dad’s schedule. Whether it’s stories before bedtime or a regular Saturday breakfast at the local diner, make sure that your older child knows he’s on Dad’s schedule.
Go back to the old days. Although it’s logistically harder to organize, ask Grandma to look after your newborn for an hour while the Original Three—mom, dad and the well-adjusted older sibling―take a walk or play at the park.
From the front lines:
“We dealt with my older daughter’s jealousy by getting her involved in the care of her baby brother. We gave her age-appropriate jobs so she didn’t feel left out. Whether she was in charge of bringing the diapers to me or drawing pictures for the baby, she was always given the opportunity to take part.” Liz, mom of Megan, Clayton & Jayden
Whether your big sibling is new to her role or a veteran Big Sib, why not print and present a “Big Sister Award” or “Big Brother Award” ? In the comments below, we’d love to hear how you manage jealousy and keep the sibling love alive!
Happy New Year! We hope your 2013 will be full of magic! Enjoy this free printable–
We hope it will remind you to keep the dream alive in 2013. Share on social networks and spread the love. Remember that you can re-post this on your own blog but please give us credit and a link back. Hooray for Lucky ’13!
Looking for something beyond the bounce house or movie party? Then throw a Painting Party! My kids LOVE crafts, painting, drawing, anything artistic, so it seemed like a perfect way to celebrate.
Little Picassos will love taking their art home as a memorable party favor–a little better than the plastic treats that get lost on the car floor. :) The masterpieces can easily be taken home in paper grocery bags.
Kids can paint what they want–and getting messy is okay. Just lay out the paints, canvases and brushes, and let them go. We were surprised by how quiet they were while painting!
Note the fancy pallets above (plain white paper plates).
This was one of our favorite parties!
Supplies for Canvas Painting Party
White 8 X 10 bulk canvases from Michael’s (regularly 19.99, but I used a 40% off coupon )
Variety of paints (acrylics work best, and they are easy to squirt)
We’re very excited to have one of our role models stop by!