Tag Archives: hints and tips

Family Fun Snow Activities

Winter can be a beautiful yet cold time of year for those of us that get to experience the white fluffy stuff on the ground.  Even if you do not get a chance to frolic in the snow based on where you live, there are still plenty of activities you can do with your family to embrace this time of year! Check out these fun indoor and outdoor activities that incorporate the fun features of winter.

familyfunsnowactivites

Pine Cone Snowman: For those of you that have never had the chance to build a snowman outside, here is your chance to create one!  All you need is a pine cone (if you cannot find any outside, take a trip to your local craft store), plenty of cotton balls or batting, buttons, glue and scrap fabric. Your family can gather around the table and create their own version of Frosty the Snowman! These adorable snowmen will make for festive winter decorations around the house.

Snow Coloring: This colorific activity will amaze the minds and eyes of little artists as they make beautiful and vibrant creations in the yard! Grab an empty spray bottle (or container), food coloring and some water. Mix the food coloring and water into the spray bottle or container. Take a trip outside and begin spraying the snow! If you have the colored water in a container, use a turkey baster to spread the colorful water all over the snow.  All your neighbors will marvel at the multicolored snow!

Pipe Cleaner Snowflake: Snowflakes are so little and hard to see, so why not make them bigger by creating your own sparkly snowflakes! Gather up some different color pipe cleaners and twist and turn them to create your own unique winter-themed masterpiece. This is also another great craft that can be showcased around your house as a decoration.

Snow Dough: Whether you and your family are looking to create snowmen or snowballs, you can create dough that looks like snow with toilet paper, ivory soap and some water. This is a great sensory activity for toddlers to help inspire creativity and stimulate their minds!

We hope these family fun snow activities get you through this chilly season! Do you have any fun crafts or activities that you and your family enjoy during the winter?

 

Family Goal Setting

Goals
The New Year is like a fresh start and as adults we often come up with a list of goals and resolutions that we look forward to accomplishing. Last year, we created a list of resolutions that we wished our little ones would make. As funny as the list was, what if we actually helped our children to set goals for the New Year? Even better, what if we set goals as a family?

First, children must understand what goals are. Goals are something people work toward. For example, some athletes may want to get better at scoring points and some artists may want to become better at painting.

Creating goals together will help children to learn responsibility and ownership for their actions. Also, setting these goals together will build a strong family unit that does not let one another quit or give up on what they intend to accomplish.

Thanks to Breezy Mama and Notes on Parenting, we have compiled a list that will help you and your little ones create realistic goals for 2014:

  • Age appropriate goals: Think of activities your little ones can do based on their age. For example, younger kids can try to put their toys away at least three times a week. Not only will kids be cleaning (which is always a plus!), but they will be learning how to count by the amount of times they clean up their playroom or bedroom each week.  No matter what age your children are, work together to find a goal that they can achieve and learn from.
  • Opportunity to lead: Give your children a chance to make their own goals. What do they think they need to work on? What is it that they think you, as a parent, can work on? These goals can be silly or serious; either way, they will help both you and your children realize that everyone has something they can work on.
  • Have a family goal: Whether that goal is eating more veggies or more active play time, partake in this goal together. There should also be a prize once this goal is achieved – maybe a trip to the zoo or your family’s favorite park.
  • Goal tracker: Make a chart that you can fill with stars. Each time someone in your family accomplishes a goal, put a star next to their name.  After there are a certain amount of stars on the chart, a celebration is in order! Have a family party to congratulate everyone on all their hard work.

Have fun completing your goals together in 2014! Do you have any tips on how to create and achieve goals as a family for the New Year? What is your goal for 2014?

Sun Safety Tips for Toddlers

sun safety tips for toddlers

Summer is just days away! Although the outdoors can be beautiful when it is sunny, this is the time of year when UV rays are the strongest. That is why it is important that your family practices proper sun safety. Protecting a young child’s fragile skin will help teach them about healthy habits when they are in the sun. WhattoExpect.com and KidsHealth.org have great tips and information pertaining sun safety:

Choosing the Best Sunscreen: Choose a sunscreen with at least SPF 30. It should offer both UVA and UVB ray protection, which should say “broad spectrum” on the label. You may be wondering what the difference is between the two rays. UVA rays can cause skin aging and contribute to melanoma. UVB rays can cause sunburn and can affect the immune system.  Making sure the sunscreen you purchase helps protect from both is critical. Also, make sure the sunscreen that you own is not expired. Sunscreen is meant to remain at its original strength for up to two to three years. If sunscreen has an expiration date on it, discard of the lotion if it is past that date.

Every Area of Skin is Important: It is important to put sunscreen on any skin areas that are exposed such as the face, arms, and legs. However, it is important to also apply sunscreen to a toddler’s ears, neck, tops of feet, hands, scalp, and back of legs. Surprisingly, lips can burn too! Protect your little one’s lips with a lip balm that has SPF 15. In addition, the younger children are, the more susceptible they are to sun damage because their skin has not fully developed melanin and at this point in their young lives, their skin is thinner. This is a great reason why it is always a safe idea to apply sunscreen everywhere to decrease the risk of skin damage.

No Such Thing as Too Much: It is a rule of thumb to apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outdoors and then reapply every two hours. It may be a good idea to apply the sunscreen more frequently than that if your child is playing in the water or sweating. It is also a good idea to make sure the sunscreen that you purchase is waterproof based on the activity level and types of activities that your child is participating in while they are outside. Also, just because it is cloudy outside on certain days, it does not mean that sunscreen should not be worn. Up to 80% of UV rays can get through clouds, so it is essential for children to wear sunscreen no matter what the weather is outside.

Timing is Everything: Sometimes, it is inevitable to keep your children out of the sun during the time that the sun’s UV rays are the strongest, which is between, 10am and 4pm. So if they are out there during those times, encourage children to play near the shade or sit under an umbrella while at the beach. And remember, put on extra sunscreen and reapply often!

Cover Up: Clothes offer protection from the sun, however, there is only so much that clothes can protect. If you want to take extra precaution, put sunscreen on your toddler’s skin that is covered by their shirt. Also, when a child is wearing dark clothing, the more UV rays will pass through. Protecting a little one’s face with a hat or cap with a brim will help shield their face. Sunglasses with at least 97% – 100% UV protection will protect the skin around their eyes and, most importantly, their eyes! Plus they will be the most stylish child on the block!

Be a role model: Children will follow by the great example of their older family members. If the adults and older siblings are wearing hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen, younger children may begin to understand the importance and want to participate in sun safety. If the adults are protecting themselves from the sun, than it must be a cool and healthy habit!

What tips do you have for protecting your child(ren) from the sun?

 

The Bedtime Game

bedtimegame

Make a game out of teaching toddlers how to stay in bed! Thriving Early Magazine inspired us to share this great bedtime game you can try with your children.

Follow these steps to start playing:

  • Create a board game on cardstock and grab one color block.
  • Draw a line on one side of the cardstock that says “START” and draw a line on the opposite side that says “FINISH.” In-between the words start and finish draw seven squares to represent the seven days of the week. The objective is to move the one block from start to finish.
  • Each night that your children stay in bed, they will be able to move the block up one space the following morning. Each night that they do not stay in their own bed, they will have to move the square back a space the following morning.
  • Once they hit the finish line for staying in bed, they will get to pick an activity they would like to do as their reward. For example: going to the playground.

It may take some time for children to get to the finish line. It is important for both children and parents to be patient with the progress of the bedtime game. However, once your children make it to the finish line for the first time, it will encourage and provide them with an incentive to continue to stay in bed in order to get their next reward.

What tips do you have for getting your children to stay in bed?

DIY: Adorable Halloween Costumes

Still cannot figure out a costume for your kids this year? There are so many ideas out there! It is hard to choose from. Here at Step2, we searched Parents.com and Pinterest and saw some adorable choices that you can create yourself!

Check out these creative and cute costumes:

Olympic Runner:

In spirit of the 2012 Olympics, why not remember it by dressing your child as a runner! This costume is great to invest in because many of the materials that will create it can be repurposed such as the tennis shoes and sweatbands.

Fierce Tiger:

 

Kids love transforming into their favorite jungle animals. Better yet, kids can even help create this costume by helping to glue and cut out the shapes for the stripes. Here are the instructions!

 

Chicken Little:

 

Cluck, cluck, chicken! The chicken costume will keep infants and toddlers very warm just in case it is chilly on Halloween! Click here to find out how to make this costume.

 

Cuddly Cowboy:

 

Get ready to pretend to be a part of the wild West, this little cuddly cowboy will make you say “YEEHAW!” Click here to find out how to make this costume.

 

Wild Kitty:

 

Do not let this furry kitty fool you, she is dangerous ;). This costume requires an animal print vest, hoodie, ears, tail, and maybe some eyeliner or other method to create whiskers.

 

Flower Pot Full of Posy:

 

Take a trip to the craft store to gather fake flowers and a plastic pot to create this flourishing posy.

Do you have any ideas for DIY costumes for the kids for Halloween? Have a safe & fun Halloween :)

Different Types of Play: How Technology is Affecting Child Development

It is great that children are becoming tech savvy, especially in this generation. However, could a child’s active play and creativity be suffering? “Researchers who have tracked children’s creativity for 50 years are seeing a significant decrease in creativity among children for the first time, especially younger children from kindergarten through sixth grade. This decline in creativity is thought to be due at least in part to the decline of play,” according to the Washington Post.

“Play is a remarkably creative process that fosters emotional health, imagination, original thinking, problem solving, critical thinking, and self-regulation. As children actively invent their own scenarios in play, they work their way through the challenges life presents and gain confidence and a sense of mastery” says  Nancy Carlsson-Paige, a professor emerita of education at Lesley University in Cambridge, Ma. Moderation is important when it comes to how a children play. There are so many ways for children to play due to the advancement of technology. Television is no longer the only issue when it comes to making sure children are getting enough creative and active play.

The Washington Post released an article this week titled “Is technology sapping children’s creativity?” With all the new gadgets that children can play with from tablets, cell phones, flip down car monitors, and computers, children have a variety of options of how they spend their play time. Yet, if children become consumed with these gadgets, they may not realize that there are many other ways to play that do not involve a screen and interactive applications.

The question remains, can technology and play tie together when it comes to child development? The products that are on the market that are technology based for children have a value of being educational and Step2 offers a variety of fun toys that help foster imaginative play and creativity including play kitchens, a puppet theatre, and art easels. We believe that a little tech and a little imagination can help to raise a well rounded little one.

What do you think about children becoming more involved toys that require technology?