bing classroom twitter event: learn and win big!

bing in the classroom twitter event cover teachmama.png

This post was created in partnership with Bing.

bing in the classroom twitter event cover teachmamaBing in the Classroom is something that I truly think every parent and teacher should know about.

It’s one of those situations where I think that if parents knew better, they’d do better. If schools knew better, they’d do better.  

Bing in the Classroom is an ongoing program focused on helping kids use technology to inspire and satisfy their curiosity. It provides ad-free, safe, private search in schools, daily lesson plans that inspire critical thinking, and a rewards program that community members can use to earn tablets for their schools.
How can Bing in the Classroom help your child’s school? How can they help your child stay focused and safe when using the Internet to help with homework?
We will discuss these topics and more at our Twitter party!
  • Bing in the Classroom operates through three main principles
  • Bing in the Classroom provides ad-free, safe search for schools.
  • When you join Bing Rewards, you can donate earned points to donate Surface tablets to schools.
  • Bing in the Classroom provides digital literacy lesson plans for teachers.

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • Bing Classroom Twitter event, 5.28.14:

Who: Parents, teachers, caregivers, expert panelists, and YOU!

What: We will be chatting about why Bing in the Classroom rocks and why you should use it
Why: Because we all want great resources for our kids this summer and for them to have ad-free search in school!  (And we’re giving away some great prizes–two Visa giftcards and a Surface tablet!)
Where: Twitter! (http://twitter.com) #BingClassroomChat
When: Wednesday, 5.28.14 from 7-8 pm ET
How:

  1. Before the event, rsvp here: http://twtvite.com/77dtwxh7uymqtg8 
  2. On 5.28.14, log onto twitter
  3. Follow the hashtag #bingclassroomchat
  4. Tweet, re-tweet (RT), and tweet some more!
  5. Optional: Share YOUR fave photos, tips, tricks, and ideas for using Bing!

 

 

Helpful hints:

  • use tweetchat (http://tweetchat.com/room/bingclassroomchat) to make it easier for you
  • visit the panelists’ sites and bring questions, comments or concerns to the event
  • visit our we teach Twitter event how-to for answers to your Twitter event questions.
  • make sure you are following the hosts (@Bing and panelists @teachmama & @TechSavvyMama & @rockinmama) so you don’t miss a beat!

We look forward to chatting with you on Wednesday, May 28th, and we are psyched to connect with you!

RSVP HERE Everyone who RSVPs will be in the running to win some great prizes!! 

fyi:  this post is sponsored by Bing.

first steps to writing: teaching grip to first letters and words

first steps to writing cover collage teachmama.com.png

I just shared a cool series over at the Scholastic Parents Raise a Reader blog, and I think it will be of interest to many parents.

It’s all about first steps to writing and what parents can do to help with teaching their kids proper grip to first letters and words.

Super-quick reads.

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • First Steps to Writing–Teaching Grip to First Letters and Words:  It’s hard to know where to start and what to do as a parent when it comes to writing. How are we supposed to know what to do? Don’t kids just know how to hold a pencil properly? What’s the deal?

No. Humans aren’t born with the innate ability to hold a writing tool and they really do need help learning the proper positioning.

And? There are tons of easy ways parents can support this learning at home. Early in the game.

Click on the images to read more.

first steps to writing fine motor skills

first steps to writing: build fine motor skills

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early writing skills how to teach grip

first steps to writing: how to teach grip

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letters and words to teach your kids first scholastic

first steps to writing: letters and words to write first

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Need some more name-learning inspiration? Check out:

Want some other cool ideas for creating words and sending messages? Check out:

Have fun and feel free to link up any other ideas you have–I’m always up for more sneaky fun ways of spending time with my kiddos!

creative ways to keep kids busy on sidelines

keep kids busy on the sidelines teachmama.com

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keep kids busy on the sidelines  teachmama.com

 

Many families spend a good chunk of time bussing kids around town, from dance class to music, from soccer to t-ball.

And though it’s awesome that our kids are busy, burning steam, and having fun with their friends, all these activities often mean that siblings are in tow, trying to stay out of trouble on the sidelines.

If their little buddies are there, that’s one thing. But if they are stuck for an hour or more just hanging around, with no park or playmates, it’s tough.

Many of us know that sideline entertaining isn’t always the easiest thing, especially for busy and tired parents.

Sure, we can all hand our kids a cell phone, iPad, or tablet to keep our kids busy, but what to do if you want to keep kids busy but unplugged during their siblings’ activities?

What if we want our kids to (gasp!) be unplugged while their siblings are having their activity?  I have some ideas. Tried, tested, and true.

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • Creative Ways to Keep Kids Busy on the Sidelines:

When you’re heading out to practice or a game or the dance studio and you know you will have kids in tow, grab a bag and throw in a few essentials.

creative ways to keep kids busy on sidelines: teachmama.com

You always should have a blanket, a bag of snacks, and some paper and a few pencils or crayons. Always. With only paper and a pencil, you can play:

  • Tic-tac-toe: Mix it up by using letters, numbers, or simple pictures as your markers. So fun. And so old school but so great for early writing and thinking skills!
  • Guess the picture: One person draws a picture and the other person guesses what it is. Challenge yourselves by setting a timer or allowing only a handful of steps in drawing the picture.
  • Silent conversations: Super-simple conversations composed on paper, with no talking permitted. This game is great for quiet hallways during music lessons.

creative ways to keep kids busy on sidelines: teachmama.com

  • Strike it out: Fun math game that builds skills and requires no set-up or space. Critical thinking along with computation skills are practiced and kids have no idea!
  • Keep score: Teach your kiddos how to use tally marks by keeping track of each team’s score. Or keep track of the number of blue cars to red cars in the parking lot or the number of moms to dads on the sidelines.

creative ways to keep kids busy on sidelines: teachmama.com

Or grab these few items to make your sideline entertainment even more fun:

  • Melissa and Doug Sticker Collection – Fashion: The amount of hours Maddy and Cora have spent with this set is unbelievable.  They’ve made fast friends on the soccer sidelines with these sets; a few sticker sets, a big picnic blanket, and a bunch of kids make an hour long practice zip by.

creative ways to keep kids busy on sidelines: teachmama.com

  • Pinball Arcade – ON the GO Travel Activity: My kids love this. Yes, it’s a little loud with the bouncing ball and the snaps of the pinball handles, but with a background that can change and the math fun that can happen if you challenge your kids to keep score, Pinball Arcade is a winner.

The possibilities for sideline fun is endless, and really–unplugging isn’t as difficult as you may think!

What are your favorite ways to entertain your little loves while big sisters or brothers are at practice? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!

melissa doug blog ambassador button

 

fyi: This post was written as part of the Melissa & Doug Blog Ambassador program. All opinions are my own, influenced only by my experience as an educator and parent and longtime toy lover. Huge and happy thanks to Melissa & Doug for their willingness to work with bloggers in this way and for always creating awesome, meaningful products. 

Affiliate links are used in this post. 

quick, cool teacher appreciation gifts

quick, cool teacher appreciation gifts | teachmama.com

Teacher Appreciation Week is here.quick, cool teacher appreciation gifts | teachmama.com

Teacher Appreciation Week is a time to give a little something extra to all of the teachers in your life, whether your kids are in preschool, elementary school, middle, or high school. 

You do not need to go crazy here. Teachers are thankful for any simple token of appreciation.

And if you’re anything like me, you’re a little bit behind in just about everything in life.

This parenting thing is hard.  And add in activities, work, meetings, and a very busy spouse, life is, well. . . busy.

So this year, though I would have loved to have worked hard with the kids to make something crazy cool like our flower pens, butterfly pens, or fingerprint note cards for teachers, we just didn’t have the time.

Instead, we found a quick, cool teacher appreciation gift that I am sure our kids’ teachers will love because it is definitely something they’ll use.

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • Quick, Cool Teacher Appreciation Gifts: We were rockin’ the yard sale front this weekend. It’s that time of the year, so I always have my eye out for a few things–my must-have’s from yard sales–and I found one of ’em.

We spotted a brand, new Scrabble game, and I grabbed it for fifty cents.

$.50.

50¢.

Bam.

quick, cool teacher appreciation gift | teachmama.com

I wasn’t sure how we’d use it, but I had seen tons of super-cute ways of using Scrabble tiles that I thought it might come in handy for a last-minute, quick, cool teacher appreciation gift. And they did.

Maddy, Owen, Cora and I talked and talked about how we could use them. We considered:

  • Scrabble tile necklaces  (nah)
  • Scrabble tile bracelets (nope)
  • Scrabble tile bookmarks (but how?)
  • Scrabble tile pencil holders (yikes. not enough time. . . )
  • Scrabble tile tissue box covers (nah)

But nothing seemed right.

quick, cool teacher appreciation gift | teachmama.com

quick, cool teacher appreciation gift | teachmama.com

So when the kids were at school yesterday, I ran to our local Home Goods store, much like a TJ Maxx or the like, and I grabbed three super-cute wooden desktop filers, similar to this unfinished desktop filer.  I know that most any teacher can find a way to use something like this.

And very simply, I hot-glued the teachers’ names onto the holders.  The kids loved them.

quick, cool teacher appreciation gift | teachmama.com

quick, cool teacher appreciation gift | teachmama.com

 

They were 110% sure their teachers would love them, and I think they’re correct. With a kid-made thank you card placed in the slot, they’ll be cool teacher appreciation gifts that we’re pretty sure the teachers will use.

They’re super-simple and quick to make, but the added personalization touch makes them pretty special.

And really, with teacher appreciation gifts, you want to give teachers something that they’ll use.  For all their hard work and dedication, they deserve as much as we can give them.

 

fyi: The teachmama.com youtube channel is all about sharing quick teaching tips, reading strategies, and parenting tricks with parents and caregivers. It’s about empowering parents to be the best teachers they can be for their children. Subscribe here so you don’t miss a thing!

 

What are some of your go-to gifts for teacher appreciation day?  I’d love to hear your ideas!

 

fyi: affiliate links are used in this post. . . use them, and we over here at teachmama.com get a teeny, tiny percentage of your sale. thanks so much, friends!! 

 

Follow amy mascott @teachmama’s board school & teacher appreciation on Pinterest.

teachmama
 

baby shower decorations, treats, & games: 3 ways to get your kids to help

get kids involved baby shower treats, games, and decorations teachmama.com.png

I am blogging on behalf of Walmart.com, but the views expressed here are solely mine, not Walmart’s.

 

get kids involved baby shower treats, games, and decorations  teachmama.com.png

My three kids were the first grandchildren on both sides of our family, so for five years, they were pretty much the stars of the show.  They had lots of doting aunts and uncles and grandparents. But no cousins.  Until now.

Five years after our first child was born, we have experienced a baby explosion of sorts: seven new babies have joined our extended family in the last four years.

Seven!

That’s a lot of babies.

We are thankful, grateful, and blessed.

It also means that my kids, as the older cousins, have been able to help out with the planning, organizing, and hosting of baby showers. As Maddy, Owen, and Cora have become older and experienced new cousins arriving, having their hands on board to help throw baby shower parties has been a lot of fun.

However, Maddy and Cora have admittedly been more a part of the events, and Owen has enjoyed some serious ‘guy time’ with Dad and Pap during baby showers. I get it.

All in all, my kids have wholeheartedly loved to help with the super fun parts of baby showers: decorations, treats, and games.

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • Baby Shower Decorations, Treats, & Games– 3 Ways to Get Your Kids to Help:

baby shower decorations  get kids to help teachmama.com.png.png

1. Kids can help with decorations.   We have planned two baby boy showers and one baby girl shower, and each time, we’ve stayed with a monochromatic color scheme. Greens and blues for the boys, pinks and oranges for the girl.

Choosing a color scheme right from the start has helped us narrow down decorations and accessories.

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baby shower collage - teachmama.com 2

Any time you’re looking for ways kids can help with baby shower decorations, consider giving them easy, repetitive jobs.

Easy is good and repetitive is even better.

baby shower collage decorations | teachmama.com

Kids can:

  • Add flowers to vases
  • Puff up tissue paper pom-poms
  • Tie ribbons onto balloons
  • Sprinkle confetti on tables
  • Create welcome banners or flag buntings
  • Help arrange gifts on table and bring gifts to mom-to-be

 

baby shower treats  get kids to help teachmama.com.png

2.  Kids love to help with baby shower treats.  Though each of our showers has been slightly different—some were catered and some were not—we did throw one where we made the majority of the food.

Maddy and Cora love to help with the mixing of ingredients for dips like spinach or artichoke crab dip. They love dipping strawberries in chocolate or drizzling chocolate on pretzels.   They love adding candy to bowls (and sneaking a few along the way!).

baby shower treats collage  teachmama.com.png

Kids are expert sprinkle-sprinklers, and they’re great at adding toppers to cupcakes.   One thing we have often done for showers is ordered plain cupcakes from the local bakery and then decorated them ourselves with personalized toppers and sprinkles to match our color scheme.

Arranged on a simple cupcake treat towericon, they looked professional and fancy.

baby shower games  get kids to help teachmama.com.png

3.  Kids love to prepare and run baby shower games Only one of my sisters has approved baby shower games, so we kept it pretty simple for her.

We played ‘Baby Food Challenge’, where our baby shower guests had to look closely at ten different baby food jars and guess the food inside.  We simply used a white mailing sticker to cover the label on the jar and numbered the jars 1-10.

baby shower baby food game  teachmama.com

baby food game _ teachmama.com

Maddy and Cora were super psyched to help with this game. They picked out the jars of baby foods, and we tried to choose a range of colors, textures, and sizes. At the shower, they had a blast handing out our Baby Food Challenge sheets to guests and walking around with the tray of baby food jars for each person to see.

You can download Baby Food Challenge here for your own shower: baby food game _ teachmama.com

The winner of Baby Food Challenge was the person who guessed the most baby foods correctly. Easy, quick, and lots of fun!

Other great ideas for baby shower games are:

Or here’s one last one: Bring out BABY!

baby shower game  teachmama.com

baby WORD shower game _ teachmama.com

Though our baby shower planning days may be over, we are certainly looking forward to hearing other ways that families have included kids in the baby shower planning and partying!

What worked for you? How did you get your kids involved in this special event? Do let us know in the comments!

fyi: HUGE and happy thanks to my incredible, amazing, and crazy-crafty mom and sisters–Jenny, Mary, and Katie–each who helped do just about everything for all of the showers above and who threw me the world’s best shower ever–way back when. In most cases, my mom and sisters researched, planned, and organized the showers from start to finish; Maddy, Cora, and I just filled in as necessary and did what they told us. Thank you, girls! xoxoxo

I am blogging on behalf of Walmart.com and received compensation for my time, but the views expressed here are solely mine, not Walmart’s. Shop online and save money to live better at http://www.walmart.com.

kids doing laundry: 3 secrets to success

kids and laundry 3 secrets to success teachmama.com.png

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We are about six weeks into our laundry re-vamp, and things are going well.kids and laundry | 3 secrets to success | teachmama.com

To be 100% honest, we have had some roadblocks.  A traveling weekend here and an activity-filled weekend there forced the laundry job to fall on my shoulders for two consecutive weeks, since I am home eating bon-bons all day.  Ha!

But aside from that, the kids have pretty much taken over the laundry job.

Friends have asked for my secret:

  • They handle the whole laundry, from start to finish? What do you do–pay them a million bucks?
  • What  I wouldn’t do to have this job shared by my family  and not rest on my lap—I hate laundry.
  • There’s no way my kids would do laundry. How do I even begin?

After thinking about it, I realized that getting kids to do laundry isn’t top-secret material. It’s just a few things we’re doing to make laundry more enticing. More approachable. More kid-friendly.

Like a lot of what we try over here, it’s about setting our kids up for success. Because really? Don’t we all want to do things well?

And it’s also about consistency, follow-through, and support.  Three things that are really, really hard for busy families. But we’re trying.

The bottom line is that if our family can have kids doing laundry, any family can do it.

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • Kids Doing Laundry–3 Secrets to Success:  Granted, like most of parenting, getting kids to do laundry–and like it!–is a work in progress.

Each day is different.

But for the most part, these are our three secrets to success.

kids and laundry  3 secrets to success jobs  teachmama.com.png.png

1.  Give them jobs.

Give your kids specific, clear, manageable jobs.

We have our Wash Warrior poster up on the wall in our laundry room so the kids can reference it at any time, and it helps.

The Wash Warrior, Super-Fly Dry Guy, and Put ‘Em Away Triple Play jobs each have distinct components with step-by-step directions. That way, there’s no question.

And if they hit a roadblock–a stain!– the Stain Fighter information is right there, too.

Bottom line is that though the jobs are outlined and info right there, they know that they can call for help (me!) at any point in the process. We’ve made the laundry job light, fun, and not at all scary for them.

 kids and laundry 3 secrets to success technology teachmama.com.

2. Get techy.

Adding a bit o’ tech to the mix has helped make this job more kid-friendly as well.

Whirlpool’s Wash Squad app seriously rocks. And it only takes a minute to learn.  It allows kids to sign in, get their job assignments, and then earn points when they’ve finished their job.

For some kids this might not work because they respond better to #2–the personal celebrations of success and an actual hug, high-five, or shout-out. But for other kids who thrive on earning points and who enjoy playing with numbers, and getting their handds on the iPad, this tech piece is huge.

Again, it’s what works best for your family.

the special plate  celebrate success as a family positive  teachmama.com

3.  Celebrate success. 

Celebrate success if someone totally rocks one load from start to finish–solo–then we really make a big deal of it.

Doing laundry isn’t the quickest job in the world, so it does take time and patience. And Maddy, Owen, and Cora are still little. They need to listen for the buzzers, be aware of the movement from washer to dryer and from dryer to basket and from basket to bedrooms.

So we celebrate in the ways that work for our family: 

Other ideas:

  • a shout-out at mealtime;
  • an extra scoop of ice-cream for dessert;
  • a big hug from Mom or Dad when they return from work;
  • a ‘freebie’ tv show;
  • an extra book at bedtime;
  • . . . whatever works for your family.

For my family, all three of these ideas work together as our ‘secret sauce’.  Each of my kids are so different, that these three pieces seem to work for them all.

And?  Because kids are kids and every day is different, what works one day may not work the next. So having me consistently on the sidelines seems to help tremendously.kids doing laundry laundry can be fun  teachmama.com.png

It’s a win-win. Not only are the kids doing the laundry and helping our family, but they’re also learning a life skill. And maybe when they get to college, they’ll be the stars of their hall because they’ll know how to do laundry from start to finish and can save their pals’ shirts from nasty stains.  We shall see!

 

How does your family manage the laundry? Do the kids help? Run the show? Do tell!  We would LOVE to know!

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also part of this Wash Warrior series:

(click on the image to visit the post!)

teach kids how to do laundry wash warriors teachmama.com.png

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teach kids to be stain fighters: laundry from start to finish

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fyi: This is a sponsored post, written as part of the Whirlpool Ambassador program. As always, opinions and ideas are my own, influenced only by my experience as an educator and parent and my three little wash warriors. 

2 easy ways to teach reading at mealtime

2 easy ways to teach reading at mealtime

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Believe it.

You can teach your kids how to read while you’re sitting down to breakfast.

You can teach your kids to read while you’re making lunches.

You can teach your kids to read while your family sits down for dinner.

It’s about making reading fun and making it part of your entire day. 

Using the environmental print in your kitchen or dining room, and playing with the boxes, bags, and familiar items from foods and snacks, your kids will soon be reading. And they’ll be thrilled.

You don’t even need to tell them you’re teaching them to read; rather, just start playing.

Play with rhyme. Play with word hunting. Play with letters.

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • 2 Easy Ways to Teach Reading at Mealtime:  Though it might not be rocket science, these two ways you can teach reading at mealtime will have big pay-offs.

Check it out:

 The teachmama.com youtube channel is all about sharing quick teaching tips, reading strategies, and parenting tricks with parents and caregivers. It’s about empowering parents to be the best teachers they can be for their children. Subscribe here so you don’t miss a thing!

 

And for more sneaky, fun ways of teaching reading, check out:

 

Be sure to follow us!

Follow amy mascott @teachmama’s board literacy on Pinterest.

Capitalizing on this time when kids are sitting down, taking in what’s around them is a huge must for parents. Let’s get reading!

What are some other ways we can sneak in reading at mealtime? Would love to hear your thoughts!

teach kids to be stain fighters: laundry from start to finish

teach kids to be stain fighters: laundry from start to finish

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teach kids to be stain fighters: learn laundry from start to finish | teachmama.com

I’ve been working with my friends from Whirlpool, sharing what we’re doing over here to teach our kids to do the laundry.

In just a few short weeks, my kids have become serious Wash Warriors.

Laundry is one of their expected chores, from start to finish. And really? It’s become one of their favorite chores.

This week, we took it a step further and taught Maddy, Owen, and Cora to be Stain Fighters.

Especially with rainy, fussy spring here before we know it, knees will be muddy and grass stains will color pants and skirts alike.

I’ve never been too crazy about making sure my kids’ clothes were stain-free and perfect, and unfortunately I’ve never made a big deal about ‘play clothes’ vs ‘school clothes’. But as the kids get older and clothes become more expensive, it really is a skill that kids should learn.

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • Teach Kids to Be Stain Fighters– Learn Laundry From Start to Finish:

Expense aside, our kids’ growth starts to level out a bit once they hit elementary school, so taking better care of clothes makes sense.

They need to wear the clothes longer. Plus taking care of their belongings a lifelong skill and responsibility.

Not to mention, stain fighting can be an exciting, at-home, anytime science experiment of sorts.

Through it all, I honestly learned more during our stain fighting than I ever expected.  I (gulp) did not know that you could remove stains without a stain stick. Or stain spray. Not joking.

Check out the how-to of teaching your kids to be Stain Fighters:

The teachmama.com youtube channel is all about sharing quick teaching tips, reading strategies, and parenting tricks with parents and caregivers. It’s about empowering parents to be the best teachers they can be for their children. Subscribe here so you don’t miss a thing!
 

Preparing our stained cloth was probably the most fun.  Deliberately spilling fruit juice, pasta sauce, and mustard on clothes?

Rubbing mud and grass onto clothes? Writing on clothes with a ballpoint pen?

stain fighter kids before | teachmama.com

So fun.

We had a ton of bandanas from Brady’s trips to the groomer, so we used his bandanas for our experiment.

stain fighter kids before after .

stain fighter kids before after .

We followed the How-To’s word for word. Thank goodness that Whirlpool has all of this information online–for anyone and everyone.

I simply grabbed the information from the Whirlpool Institute of Fabric Science page.  There you can actually search for individual types of stains and material or print out the whole Stain Removal Guide as a pdf, which is what we did.

stain fighter kids before after

Maddy puts in a load of stain-filled into our our Whirlpool Duet.  Mind you, the material is all properly stain-treated! We’ll see how it turns out!

Can you see the folded laundry behind her? My Wash Warriors were hard at work this week!

And of course, our Dr. Seuss hat is close by. It was, remember, Read Across America Day earlier this month!

stain fighter kids before after .png.png

Believe it.

Our stain-fighting helped. Gone is the pasta sauce. Gone are the mud and grass. Gone is the ballpoint ink. Gone is the fruit juice and mustard.

So crazy.

stain fighter kids before after .

stain fighter kids before after .png.png

Are their Stain Fighters in your family? Who takes care of the hard-to-erase stains on your kids’ clothes? 

Would you ever consider letting your kids at ’em?

I’d love to hear it!

And that’s it–just a wee bit o’ at-home science mixed with some serious life-learning for my kids this week.  I’m thrilled that they’re getting so into doing laundry, and I look forward to lots of clean clothes ahead!

One thing we’ll keep close at hand? The Whirlpool Institute of Fabric Science Stain Removal Guide. Printed out and hung right next to our Wash Warrior How to do Laundry sheet. 

Bam.

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also part of this Wash Warrior series:

(click on the image to visit the post!)

teach kids how to do laundry wash warriors teachmama.com.png

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kids and laundry | 3 secrets to success | teachmama.com

 

fyi: This is a sponsored post, written as part of the Whirlpool Ambassador program. As always, opinions and ideas are my own, influenced only by my experience as an educator and parent and my three little wash warriors.

lent ideas for kids and families

lent for kids and family teachmama.com

post contains affiliate links

 

 

 

lent for kids and family  teachmama.com.png

Lent is here.

And this year, rather than have Lent be a time when my kids complain and moan because they can’t have dessert every night, I wanted it to be a more meaningful time of the year.

But Lent ideas for kids and family? Sometimes hard to come by.

Lent is super-important for many of us, as we prepare for Easter. It’s a time for sacrifice and reflection.

But it’s also a time for giving and kindness, which I think is especially important for our kids to learn.

So I’ve searched the ‘net and reached out to many friends this year, asking for ideas about how best to use these 40 days, the seven weeks of Lent.

Here’s what I found. . .

  • Lent Ideas for Kids & Family:

I have long brought books to mass with us, even when my kids head back to Children’s Liturgy of the Word.

Books like The Mass for Children or the Children’s Book of Saints or my kids could flip through dozens of times.

But this year, I wanted the season of Lent to mean more for them–for us.

I found these great resources for us to use:

  • 40 Acts: Love this. I printed the kids’ calendar and the 7-Week prayer book, and I just 100% love the focus of family time and giving.
  • Good Deed Beads: I ordered a few sets of these beads, because I like that kids are keeping track of good things they’re doing. And they’re tiny enough to keep in their pockets each day.   The cool thing is that you don’t need to order them–the site has instructions for making them at home!

how to teach the easter story to kids: resurrection rolls

  • Lent for Children–A Thought A Day: I printed this and bound it with ribbon, and it was great to take to Ash Wednesday Mass. Cora declared herself in charge of reading our daily prayer.
  • Crown of Thorns: a girlfriend gave this to me, and the Salt Dough Crown of Thorns is a very hands-on, visual representation of how your family can make sacrifices during Lent. I think we’ll do this next year.  Or maybe this weekend.

And of course, we’ll make Resurrection Rolls like we did last year. The kids really loved that!

Have a blessed and peaceful season!

Do you have any other Lent or Easter resources that work for you? Do share! 

fyi: affiliate links are used below

turn your kids into grammar sharks: national grammar day

become a grammar shark | teachmama.com

be a grammar shark | teachmama.com

I have been as sick as a dog–sick as a dawwwwg— for the past few days, but today I had a little spring in my step because it was National Grammar Day.

And this old gal, though she may have strep and she may have spend the last few days in bed, sure does love her grammar.

But what I realized is that my kids do not. 

My kids don’t even have the opportunities we had–way back when–to hunt down misplaced modifiers or to diagram sentences.

They’re too busy learning other super-important big stuff, analyzing poems for author’s voice and decomposing numbers and then composing them back up again like little magicians.

So what I decided was that, because our Word-A-Day Cards went over so well, why not get a little grammar-happy with something similar? Could I create Grammar Sharks out of my kids, just by hitting them with a little dose o’ grammar at breakfast time?

I am going to try!

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • Turn Your Kids into Grammar Sharks–National Grammar Day:

First of all, what’s a ‘Grammar Shark’?

A Grammar Shark is a person who in the blink of an eye can spot the misspelling on the restaurant menu.

turn your kids into grammar sharks: national grammar day

turn your kids into grammar sharks: national grammar day
A Grammar Shark is a person who has to bite her tongue in order hold back a

‘OhmygoshwillyouPLEASEstopsaying’feelbadly’whenitreallyshouldbe’feelbad’??!! or a ‘Sohelpmeifhesays’awholenotherstory’onemoretimeIamgoingtolosemymind!!!’ so as not to lose friends on a daily basis.

A Grammar Shark is a person who can clean up a misplaced modifier in no time flat, who knows the difference between who and whom and who likes to talk about the 7 Comma Rules.

turn your kids into grammar sharks: national grammar day

Really, there aren’t many of us out there, and I’m not planning on brainwashing my kids into becoming hard-core grammarians. I will, however, do my best to make sure that they move through life knowing the basics of our English grammar.

I am hoping that by capitalizing on that precious mealtime that they will read not only the cereal boxes and the Kids Post but also my teeny, tiny little Grammar Shark Cards.

So turn your kids into grammar sharks: national grammar day

I’ve included a ton of grammar hang-ups that everyone should know, including the ever-challenging:

  • to vs too vs two;
  • a lot vs alot;
  • they’re vs there vs their;
  • who vs whom;
  • are vs our. . .

And some cards have little ?’s — questions to ponder.  Not all, but some.

All I did was print the grammar shark cards cards onto brightly colored cardstock (because grammar is FUN! and BRIGHT! and EXCITING!), punch a hole in one corner and throw a ring clip to keep them secure.

Feel free to print, share, email to a buddy, pin, tweet, whatever. And if you tag me (@teachmama or @teachmama or @teachmama1) I’ll respond! Give you a virtual high five! A huge and happy thanks hug!

I’ll chest bump ‘ya–from one mama who’s trying to another!

And that’s it. We keep our Grammar Shark Cards  on the snack bar open to one card a day.  Slowly but surely, we’re creating Grammar Sharks over here. Slowly but surely.

Do you have a grammar hang-up or pet peeve? Let me know! 

If it’s not currently on the Grammar Shark Cards, I’ll make sure it’s on the next batch. And happy National Grammar Day, my friends!

teach your kids how to do laundry: become wash warriors

teach kids how to do laundry wash warriors teachmama.com.png

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My kids are learning how to do laundry.teach kids how to do laundry  wash warriors  teachmama.com.

And they love it.  Love it.

No joke.

And I want to dance!

At 10, 8, and 6 years old, I think it’s about time to teach kids how to do laundry. Don’t you?

Actually, it’s more important than we realize that we all teach our kids how to do laundry–and the earlier, the better. There’s no reason our kids should head off into the wilds of ‘real life’ without having mastered this essential skill.

And honestly? There’s no reason that laundry needs to be Mom’s job or Dad’s job. It takes a lot of time, and we all wear the clothes–so it should be the family’s job.

The laundry, like many chores, can be fun. It’s all in the delivery.

And having pretty decent appliances helps, too. We have Whirlpool to thank for that, as we have fallen hard for our Whirlpool Duet.

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • Teach Your Kids How to do Laundry–Become Wash Warriors:

Maddy, Owen, and Cora have put their clean clothes into their drawers and closet for a while now, and though Cora does need help, they do pretty well with it.

teach kids how to do laundry 2  wash warriors collage 3 teachmama.com.

Aside from the occasional ‘drawer check’ when we make sure clothes are still folded and in  some semblance of order, we kind of let them go with it.

But after our new washer and dryer were delivered last month, my husband and I decided that it was time for our kids to take on a more meaningful role in our family’s laundry. They were going to become–with our help–Wash Warriors.

We started cold turkey. Out of the blue. One totally random Sunday.

teach kids how to do laundry 2  wash warriors collage 3 teachmama.com.

Okay. Everyone downstairs for a lesson in how to rock the laundry and use our fancy new washer and dryer. Dad and I are finished doing all of the laundry. Today? You are all becoming Wash Warriors. 

It wasn’t really enticing enough for them to drop what they were doing and head to the laundry room. So with a few more ‘tugs’ and a little bit of unplugging, I rallied the troops and gave them their first laundry lesson.

You guys have it good. You have great lives, doing lots of awesome activities, and your social life is pretty much awesome. And because all three of you are smart, strong, and healthy, it’s time you became Wash Warriors. 

teach kids how to do laundry 2  wash warriors collage 3 teachmama.com.

Mom. C’mon, Mom. What do you mean? was the collective groan from my small army.

You’re going to be doing the laundry. It’s a job for bigger kids, and you’re bigger kids. It’s a job that requires some patience, and understanding of technology–because you’ll be controlling these two fancy appliances (I patted our Duets). And not every kid gets to do that.   You get me?

They did.

I showed them step-by-step how to rock the laundry. I literally walked them through everything that first day, and they got it. They liked it. They liked pressing the buttons, moving the clothes, and turning the knobs.

So with the help of my handy-dandy We are Wash Warriors poster, they seemed to manage fine.

teach kids how to do laundry 2 wash warriors teachmama.com

Want to print it out? Here you go: teach kids how to do laundry 

Owen even asked me to leave the laundry room so he could ‘do his work in peace’.   I did not, but eventually I will.  Once they prove to me that they can work the machines.

We’ve just started using the Wash Squad app to keep things fun and exciting, and so far? It rocks.  Will definitely share more later.

teach kids how to do laundry | family job | teachmama.com

Why has this worked?  Why are my kids digging the fact that they’re ‘Wash Warriors’?

  • We’re empowering our kids to take on a ‘big’ job around the house;
  • We’re showing them that we trust them;
  • We’re making them active stakeholders in an important household chore– their clothes!
  • We’re tying their Wash Warrior duties to their allowance and Gem Jars;
  • We’re making laundry FUN–silly names help!–and who doesn’t want to be a ‘warrior’?
  • We have broken down a big job (laundry) into three more manageable jobs: washing, drying, and putting away
  • We’re setting very specific, clear expectations with jobs and have a reminder sign close;
  • We’re allowing them to use electronics, which they love.

So that’s it. Looking forward to sharing more in the next few weeks.

How does your family manage the laundry? Do the kids help? Run the show? Do tell!

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also part of this Wash Warrior series:

(click on the image to visit the post!)

teach kids to be stain fighters: laundry from start to finish

kids and laundry 3 secrets to success teachmama.com.png

fyi: This is a sponsored post, written as part of the Whirlpool Ambassador program. As always, opinions and ideas are my own, influenced only by my experience as an educator and parent and my three little wash warriors.