help kids start a blog: get them reading, writing, thinking, creating

help kids start a blog get them reading, writing, thinking, creating | teachmama.com

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How old should kids be before starting a blog?help kids start a blog get them reading, writing, thinking, creating | teachmama.com

Should kids even have their own blogs?

What should kids blog about? 

How should kids even set up a blog?

Is blogging safe for kids? 

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Maddy has been asking me to help her start her own blog for months now.

Months and months and months and months.

And just like the awful parent I was when she asked me to let her join the dive team five years ago, I gave her the Um, well. . . let’s just think about it a little, okay, sweetheart? 

Dive team meant early–early!–practices and lots more on our summertime to-do list. It meant schlepping Owen and Cora around the town even more than we already did.

After a year or so of asking, I signed her up.

Now? Dive team has come to mean year-round training and has become one of Maddy’s–and Owen and Cora’s–most coveted activities.

Who knows if the situation will be the same with Maddy’s blogging, but after asking and asking and asking, we’ve finally got her all set up with her own blog.  After all, blogging does get kids reading, writing, thinking and creating. So we thought we’d give it a go.

She’s ten, and she’s blogging.

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • Help Kids Start a Blog–Get Them Reading, Writing, Thinking, and Creating:

You can totally use any device for blog writing, but Maddy has really stuck with our Acer C720P Chromebook.  

help kids start a blog: get them reading, writing, thinking, creating

This spring we were asked to try out the Acer C720P Chromebook, and so far, my kids love it.

It’s small, it’s quick, and it’s light. And? It’s touchscreen which makes it a cool combination of a laptop and tablet.  It’s a paired down version of our Intel AIO–which they also totally love–but which isn’t as portable as the Chromebook.

Anyway, here’s how I helped Maddy start a blog. . .

 

1.  We looked at examples of strong blogs. I’ve talked about the importance of modeling before, and with blog writing, it’s no different. The best advice I can give to parents with kids who want to blog is to start a blog themselves.

The big thing with student blogs is that the turnover rate is super-high.   Kids are busy. It’s hard for them to keep up with things, so it’s hard to keep up with blogging.

There are a few great ones to look at as examples, though:

help kids start a blog | teachmama.com

We also looked at this blog (ours, teachmama.com) and we looked at some of my good friends’ blogs. These are the women whom Maddy has grown to know over the last few years and whose children have become her good pals:

We talked about how these blogs were alike and different, how they covered different ‘niches’ and how they used things like layout, text, and photos.

 

2.  She and I sat down and filled out the blog brainstorm teachmama.com.

I created this handy little packet for a blog writing workshop I led at Digital Family Summit last year, and I have honestly handed it to a ton of friends and family members.

help kids start a blog brainstorm sheet  teachmama.com.png

blog brainstorm teachmama.com.

Essentially, it’s a quick guide for people who want to start a blog.

It has people reflect on a few blog-focus questions:

  • What do you do in your spare time?
  • What do you know a lot about?
  • How can you help others with your blog?

blog brainstorm sheet  teachmama.com.png

And it covers some logistical and safety questions as well:

  • Who will read your blog?
  • Do you want to include your name? personal photos? your location?
  • What adult will support you in your blog writing?

These questions are ones that the family should answer together, especially if your child is 13 or younger.  Every family is different, so every family’s decisions will be different. 

The blog brainstorm sheet also includes an empty calendar so soon-t0-be-bloggers can start an editorial calendar and a sheet filled with thought-provoking questions and topics which will (hopefully) help with blog writing.

If you want to download it and use it, go right ahead: blog brainstorm teachmama.com.dfs

Please, if you use it and share it (yay and thank you!) I’d appreciate if you shared from this blog post and not the pdf itself. Thank you!

 

help kids start a blog | teachmama.com

3.We went to wordpress.com to set up her site. 

Though this little bloggy blog here started on blogger.com, I’ve since moved to wordpress.org and am much more familiar with this platform.

I knew that if Maddy really began to take her blog seriously, we could quickly and easily move her from wordpress.com to wordpress.org.  Though there are differences between wordpress.com and wordpress.org, essentially blogs on wordpress.org are self-hosted so you end up maintaining more control over content and design.

And, even though wordpress.com’s Terms of Service clearly outline that users must be at least 13 years of age, I registered the blog under my own account.  That means that I will always have editing control over Maddy’s posts, photos, and content.

Other sites that are worth checking out for hosting kid blogs:

  • edublogs.com: no age limits with terms of service because it’s designed for students
  • kidblog.com: great for a classroom or very large family
  • Edmodo.com: incredible for connecting students in a class

If you know what you’re doing and want to head straight to buying your own domain name, try GoDaddy.com.

You may want to show your kiddos the video below from Edublogs: 

4. She started designing, writing, and creating. 

We’ve explored and played and created on picmonkey, which is the platform I use to create all of my photos. It’s easy. It’s intuitive. It’s fun for kids.  (And adults.)

And that’s that. I have always been right there, helping her upload photos and talking her through decisions, but really, she’s done it all on her own from there.   She goes in waves, like most kids with most things.

One month she’ll be nuts writing, taking photos and writing posts. Other times, she lets it go for a few weeks.

I have a feeling this summer will be a blog-busy one for one 10-year old in our house–which is fine with me!

 

Having second thoughts? Want a few beginner steps for your digital kid before they take on the blog?  Check out:

 

 

GoDaddy.com
 

fyi: I am in a partnership with Intel AIO . Through this partnership I gain access to content, product, or other forms of value. Affiliate links are used in this post.

 

what to ask teachers before school lets out

what parents must ask teachers before school ends

what parents must ask teachers before school ends

For many, school has already been released for the summer (yay!).

But for others, summer is right around the corner.

That means we have a few more days (or weeks for some of us up here in the Northeast!) to wrap things up and tie together those loose ends.  It also means we have our kids’ teachers on hand for just a little bit longer. 

And really? That’s awesome because come that last day, we know our teachers are ready for a serious break. They deserve it.

But there are a few things parents should ask teachers before everyone locks up classrooms, logs off of email, and heads for the shore.

I shared those two important questions over on Scholastic Parents Raise a Reader blog:

2 Things Every Parent Must Ask Teachers at the End of the Year.

Check it out.

And then? Let me know what you think.

  • Would you ask something else?
  • What do you usually ask teachers? 
  • How should parents better approach this subject? 

 

raising kids who can rock it in the kitchen: 5 tips for every family

kids who can rock it in the kitchen teachmama.com

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It’s a crazy busy time of the year, that I know.kids who can rock it in the kitchen | teachmama.com cover

And for the last few weeks, I’ve had kids home sick just about every day, so believe me when I say I’m ready for summer.

Though summer means no homework, no projects, and no busy after school afternoons, it also means kids home. A lot of kids home a lot of the time.

Which is so totally awesome and also sometimes hard.

It means three kids home for three meals a day. It means lots of food prep and a lot of food clean-up.

So this year, along with our summer of Tabletop Surprises, we’re also doing a whole lot more to get our kids active in the kitchen.  Bam. Just like that.

Kids who know the kitchen, own the kitchen, and enjoy the kitchen.

Maddy, Owen, and Cora are still rocking it out in the laundry department (three cheers for Wash Warriors!), so next up? They’ll rock it in the kitchen. Big time.

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • 5 Tips for Raising Kids Who Can Rock it in the Kitchen:

If we don’t start early with giving our kids some ownership of the everyday household jobs, it’ll just get more difficult to do so as they get older.  Right?  Right.

What do I mean by ‘rock it’ in the kitchen? I mean: Can kids hold their own in the kitchen?

Can they fix themselves a snack? Get breakfast together? Find ingredients to make a cake? Know how to whip up some scrambled eggs or a turkey sandy?

Do they feel like the kitchen is theirs and that they belong there?

They don’t have to be superstars. They just need to be able to rock it if they need to.

Here’s how:

kids who can rock it in the kitchen  teachmama.com

1.  Make your kitchen kid-friendly.

Even if you can’t make major changes in your kitchen layout, designate a few child-only drawers low enough for kids to reach and that hold only their dishes, cups, and flatware.  This will make unloading the dishwasher and gathering plates for mealtime easier.

get kids to rock it in the kitchen | teachmama.com

get kids to rock it in the kitchen | teachmama.com

Keeping and storing food in places that kids can reach also makes sense if you want kids to learn to prepare snacks and simple meals–which we definitely do.

We’ve really tried to keep our fridge kid-friendly by keeping fruits and veggies, yogurt and snacks within arms’ reach, and we have worked as a family to decide the best ‘homes’ for our pantry and staples. 

I’ve been surprised at some of the choices the kids have made, but I’ve gone with it.  And I’ve found that when you give kids a chance to make the choices, the kids are more likely to feel as if the kitchen is ‘theirs’.

kids who can rock it in the kitchen  helper each day  teachmama.com.png

2.  Choose one helper each day.

Make one child your ‘special helper’ each day. That child helps you prepare meals, set the table, and act as your assistant chef.  This is a great way to allow kids to experience serious hands-on learning in the kitchen each day.

One of my friends shared with me that she did this with her kids, and ever since, I’ve done the same.

We align our ‘helper’ with whomever’s day it is, so there’s never a question about whose turn it is. We simply check the calendar, and that person is my right-hand guy (or girl) for chopping, stirring, adding, and tasting.

kids who can rock it in the kitchen  teachmama

3.  Let them make menu choices.

At the beginning of the week, sit down as a family and choose the meals for that week, looking at recipe books, your favorite sites, etc. Make a grocery list, set aside coupons, and get ready to assemble ingredients!

raising kids who can rock it in the kitchen helper   teachmama.com.png

This is easier said than done, I know.  But the menu-planning not only gets all stakeholders involved in the process, but it even saves families serious dinero in the long run.

We honestly don’t go crazy with trying to find new recipes each week, especially during busy times; we usually stick with the staples.

But this summer we’ll for sure explore some new dishes and let each person research, plan, and prepare the meal. We’ve talked about this–and everyone’s totally psyched. Talk about a great way of getting kids to try new foods and learn at the same time!

raising kids who can rock it in the kitchen helper trust | teachmama.com

4.  Show your kids that you trust them.

Give kids space in the kitchen.

Let them help you unload the dishwasher, put away groceries, measure ingredients, and crack their own eggs.   It might not always be pretty, but you will slowly grow confident kids in the kitchen.

I’ll never forget the time years and years ago that a teeny, tiny Owen tried to add ‘a few shakes of salt’ to our banana muffins and dropped the whole salt shaker into the mix.  Or the time Maddy lost her balance while adding chocolate chips to cookie batter and fell into the bowl, tipping the whole thing onto the counter.

Or the time Cora tried to crack an egg and instead crushed the whole thing in her hands.

Mistakes happen, and often, kitchen floors are a complete mess after kids are cooking. But kids need a chance to try because they need to learn.

raising kids who can rock it in the kitchen helper FUN | teachmama.com
5.  Make being in the kitchen fun.

Play music.  Dance around. Play games where and when you can, and make being there a relaxing and exciting place. It’s all about the attitude!

Our kids have always loved having their own child-sized aprons. You can find them inexpensive at thrift shops, or you can even make your own.  (Confession: my amazing and talented mother-in-law made some for our kids–lucky us!)   I have also found some super-cute ones on Etsy.

It really doesn’t matter where you get them, but having aprons makes my kids at least feel like cooking is a little bit more fun. Like when they walk into the kitchen on their day, they throw on their apron, and they’re ready for business.

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get kids to rock it in the kitchen | teachmama.com

check out this cool, easy pdf that I (no joke!) helped Whirlpool create: Whirlpool_5TipsForKitchenKids

What do you think? Are your kids active in the kitchen this way?

Do you think they could be with a little effort?  I’d love to hear it!

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 ones who are learning to really ‘rock it’ in the kitchen.  Affiliate link used for apron.

Want to know more about the appliances we have in our kitchen? We have (and love!) the  Whirlpool® 28 cu. ft. 4-Door Refrigerator, the Whirlpool Gold Series Dishwasher with PowerScour option, the Microwave Hood Combination with AccuPop Cycle, and the Double Oven Gas Range with Convection Cooking. True. Love. Forever with these. Seriously TLF.

5 things every mom needs to know but doesn’t want to hear: what I learned at mom 2.0

what every mom needs to know mom 2.0 summit teachmama.com.png

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This spring has proven to be a crazy busy for us.

what every mom needs to know  mom 2.0 summit  teachmama.com.png

It’s been insanely busy, but we’ve had a whole lot of happy in that mix, and for that we are grateful.

Add a few kids into the equation, along with homework, housework, after school activities, and a husband who’s busy learning the ropes during his first year as principal of an elementary school, and you have a pretty chaotic home front.

Last month, we made it to California as a family for the first time, and then shortly after returning, I ran my first (and most likely last!) half marathon with a few girlfriends. The training was a part time job in itself.

Our family will be rejoicing for Owen’s First Communion this weekend, and, along with Mother’s Day, I’d say it’s hard to top a weekend with plans like that.

But before I move ahead into the weekend’s joyous celebration and before I head to San Francisco next week for the PBS Annual meeting, I do want to step back and share a few things I learned last week.

Last week I was in Atlanta working with Whirlpool at the Mom 2.0 Summit. And though Mom 2.0 is a social media conference connecting bloggers with brands, I learned a ton that could be worthwhile to everyone—bloggers and non-bloggers alike–especially around Mother’s Day.

Sure, we busy moms don’t really want to hear one more thing about what we need to know or do or say, but this list? Worth your time.

These super-important messages were woven throughout the conference–they’re just a few things that every mother needs to know but doesn’t always want to hear.

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • 5 Things Every Mother Needs to Know but Doesn’t Want to Hear:

You are teaching your kids    about beauty and confidence

1. you are teaching your kids about beauty and confidence

This was the most important take-away for me, maybe because I’m the mom of a 10 and 7 year old girl, or maybe because often I look in the mirror and frown back at my reflection, focusing on the wrinkles, tired eyes, and sun spots. This message stuck with me.

Here it is: You are teaching your kids–girls especially–about beauty and confidence, and you don’t even realize it.  You don’t even realize it.

The way you look at yourself in the mirror, the way you frown at yourself–or smile–speaks volumes about how your children should feel when they look at their reflection in the mirror.

A quick, must-see look at how important it is to like our reflections, to appreciate what we see, thanks to Dove:

Dove has been long known for their rockstar body image campaigns (remember the Real Beauty one?), the Girls Unstoppable one that just may feature our favorite roller skater in the whole universe?  This campaign rocked.

Especially during these formative, tween years, what we, as moms, do and say in front of our kids counts. Bigtime.  So? Take a deep breath, and do what you can to accept that #beautyis wherever you are and whomever you are with.

You are what beauty is, no matter who you are, what you look like, or what you may think.  And that’s a beautiful thing. Let’s live it.

 

portrait of amy mascott teachmama #beautyis

portrait of me, by cora, 7 yo. #LOVE #beautyis

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you are allowed to change your mind

2. you are allowed to change your mind

And really? Sometimes change is good.  A lot of the time, change is good.

You once really, really loved yoga and now you don’t? Stop going. Try something new.

You meet the same girls every week for a walk and are getting kinda sorta sick of it?  Take a break. Find a new way of spending that hour, and see how you feel.

Getting tired of the same job, same routine, day after day after day after day?   Change it. Somehow, any way you can.  Try something new.

Ready to take the plunge into the wilds of Twitter or Instagram? Do it and never look back.

Have you secretly, deep down inside, wanted to start your own blog?  Do it, girlfriend, and be proud of it.

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you are not able to do it alone

3. you are not able to do it all on your own

I repeat: you are not able to do it all.

This is one I need to hear and then get tattooed on my arm so I never forget it.

You. Are. Not. Able. To. Do. It. All.

So accept it and move forward.

And if you can’t outsource something, whether it be cleaning or cutting the grass or grocery shopping, find some way of getting help.

Can’t manage all of your work? Hire someone to help, even if it’s a tiny piece.

Think about what’s really important and do that.  Not all of it will get finished.

Channel your inner Elsa and Let. It. Go. Let it gooooooo. 

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you are crazy powerful

4. you are crazy powerful

You have enormous power as mom and influencer in your home.

You have enormous power as a member of the PTA, your church, your bookclub, your neighborhood home association.

You have enormous power as a user of Facebook or a sender of email.

You have enormous power as a woman, no matter your race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status.

You have enormous power as woman who birthed a child, adopted a child, or loves a child.

You have enormous power as a woman no matter who you are or what you do, and?  It’s time you used your voice to speak up for those who need support, those who need a hand, or those who just really need to know they’re not alone.

So take a stand. Speak up about something, even if it’s a tough subject.  I loved what Kelly Wickham said about leaning in and speaking out, even when it’s not easy.

Share a hashtag like #bringbackourgirls or share photos of your red balloons for Ryan. Donate to Amanda’s Army to support a fellow mom who is starting her battle with cancer–and then share the link with others.

Talk about it at the bus stop or on the sidelines of your kid’s soccer practice.  Email a link to your own mom, your mom’s group, or the moms in your neighborhood. Remind them of how good it feels to participate in something larger than themselves.

Encourage your own children to solicit soap donations for the Global Soap Project, to host a toy sale where donations go to a local shelter, or to simply start a neighborhood exercise program, getting families healthy.  All it takes is one person to get the ball rolling. One person can make a big difference.

 

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You are where it's at5.  you are where it’s at

Another Mom 2.0 takeaway is that you, as a mom and primary caregiver for your family, are the bomb diggity.  We always knew that, but now more than ever, the brands are living and breathing it, too.

Brands want to help you. They want to support you during this crazy parenting job, and they want to make your life easier.  

A few cool things some rockstar companies are doing to help you:

  • Whirlpool’s got some awesome coming down the road (ahem. . .  cough, cough. . . ) that will help you get kids involved in kitchen chores, and their new French Door 4-Door Fridge that is seriously flexible enough to adapt to any family.  You’ll love it.  They’ve even got a new microwave with an automatic popcorn sensor so your popcorn won’t burn. Check out my little instagram video of it.
  • Bing has created a Bing in the Classroom program where you can use their ad-free safe search and earn tablets for your kid’s classroom.  They’re making it so easy to keep your kids safe and tech-happy, that it’s nuts.
  • Fandango is on the road to creating a ton of awesome, easy to digest, content on their site that will help parents choose the best movies for their family.
  • National Geographic is creating ExpeditionsFamily Expeditions, even–that are designed to bring families together in engaging, exciting, life-changing adventures.  No planning needed on your part, mom. Just pick a destination and date!  Not up for traveling? Check out the continually improving NatGeoKids site.
  • The National Sleep Foundation is doing all they can to provide moms with resources they need to get the best possible rest (goodness knows we need it!), and Kidde wants moms to rest easy knowing their house is safe thanks to their new 10 year smoke alarms.

Curious and want to learn more? Follow hashtags–#fridgie or #letsbond or #natgeofamilycontest or #talkearly or #evolution or #mom2summit– to learn more.

That’s it.

Five biggie things I’m sharing with all of my mom readers because I heard the messages loud and clear this past weekend.

Want a bit more about Mom 2.0?  Check out some of my photos here:

 

Or check out the entire Mom 2.0 album here.

More to come on what I learned–I cannot wait to share!

 

fyi: Huge and happy thanks to my friends at Whirlpool for sending me to this conference, for supporting my learning there, and for  all they’re doing to help make every mom’s job that much easier.  This is a sponsored post, but as always, my opinions are all my own, influenced only by my experience as an educator and parent. 

getting kids to love reading with a literacy club: LITClub

get kids to love reading litclub teachmama.com.png

get kids to love reading  litclub  teachmama.com.pngThis post about getting reluctant readers to love reading is written by Ali Dent of Courage on the Edge of Tomorrow.

Thank you, Ali, for this incredible post!

____________________

  • Getting Kids to Love Reading with a Literacy Club–LITClub, by Ali Dent

Reading doesn’t come easy to everyone. Is there hope for those of us who would rather be on the playground, soccer field, or climbing a tree?

How important is it for our children to enjoy books?

We have an innate hunger for STORY.

What happens to this craving when reading is difficult, as it was for my daughter who has dyslexia, or as it was for me as a child, because I measured myself against my peers who read much faster than I did? Most of the time, it gets stuffed down inside, and we forget we ever took pleasure in the magic of a story. My daughter believed she couldn’t. I decided I wouldn’t. However, our appetite didn’t die; it went into hiding.

Like a pet rabbit in a home full of hunting dogs, it lurks around in the heart and mind. Now and again, it sneaks out of its hole, hoping to find a solution. Disappointed, it retreats back into the shadows, wishing for a way to enjoy the light without fear.

 

2012, The Hobbit Dinner and a Movie

 

With high school looming in my daughter’s future, we needed a solution that would allow her to read, comprehend, and interpret the classic novels on her high school reading list. In middle school, I read a lot of her books aloud to her, but the high school reading load felt overwhelming to both of us.

After a great deal of prayer, we discovered an answer that met her reading goals and turned out to be a way to satisfy a reluctant reader’s craving for stories.

Whether a child’s avoidance of books is from diagnosed reading issues, or a habit of choosing to do other things instead, a literature club can meet your child’s hidden craving for story.

 

get kids to love reading | litclub

Literature club was the answer to our prayers. It was the solution to Matti’s reading difficulties. We set out to get the books read on time and, hopefully, retain some comprehension. To our surprise, we got way more than we bargained for. Matti accomplished her reading list, understood the books, was able to interpret them, and she made lifelong friends.

It’s been 12 years since that first literature club started. Since then, I’ve seen shy, avid readers transform into confident public speakers (discussions and project presentations draw them out of their shells). Kids who are more interested in sports and electronics than a really good story transform into kids that say, “Mom, if we have to drop an activity, please don’t let it be literature club.”

LITClub kids experience books in a unique way. A literature club is a monthly activity that places a high value on the social needs of children and their parents. This entices the kids to give reading a chance. Interacting with family and friends is important to children. Moms need the camaraderie, too. Hanging out with their friends and sharing a meal together make literature club acceptable, even in the beginning, to those who think their moms have lost their minds when they tell them they are joining a classical book club. In a short period of time, the experience changes their opinion about reading.

LITClub gives the kids something to look forward to. Sure, they had to read an old book before coming to the meeting. They also had to prepare a project. They make this sacrifice, concluding, “The work is a small sacrifice to spend an exciting evening with my friends.” Hanging out is enough motivation during the first two or three months to keep the kids coming back.

get kids to love reading | litclub

After 2, 3, or 4 books, the kids get hooked on more than the social time. They find out that talking about the stories is a lot more interesting than they had imagined. They find themselves looking forward to what their friends have to say about the book, in comparison to their own thoughts. Most kids enjoy batting around thoughts, ideas, and opinions with each other. At first, the kids think that presenting a project to a group is either intimidating, or pointless. It doesn’t take them long to look forward to this part, too.

5 reasons moms love the outcome!

1.  LITClub kids become skilled in rhetorical conversations. When our kids reach adulthood, they will be in relationships with people who aren’t like them. They need to know how to talk with others in away that doesn’t cause a fight. Literature club provides a platform for the kids to express their thoughts about BIG ideas and practice their responses to people who might oppose them. In literature club, we do this through book conversations. In addition, at least once a year, the kids have an opportunity to participate in a formal round-table discussion. After reading Animal Farm, the kids were divided into two teams. One side argued for socialism, the other team for free market trade. In this way, the kids learned a lot about themselves. They realized that they had strengths and weaknesses when put on the spot conversationally. In the end, practicing in a round-table forum, whether casually or formally, equips LITClub kids to talk to others about their faith and lifestyle in a respectful and effective way.

2.  LITClub provides a stage for kids to learn how to be friends with people that are similar to them and different from them. They learn how to discuss their differences, instead of becoming enemies because they don’t know how to love others who aren’t like them.

3.  LITClub kids’ written and spoken communication skills are honed through project creation and presentation. Projects are geared to be fun and require thoughtfulness to complete. The Denver, Colorado middle school club read Death Be Not Proud. Lee, the facilitator, gave them this project: If you were given the news that in 6 months you will be leaving this earth and life as you know it, what kind of important-things-I-want-to-do-in-life list would you come up with? Kind of a bucket list, but preferably not ‘I’d make sure I go to NASCAR or visit Disney World’ (although maybe those could be at the bottom of your list).

So, in other words, if the Lord were to announce to you that He will be here in 6 months to take you Home, what MEANINGFUL and IMPORTANT things would be on your bucket list? Make the list real for you (not everyone has to make sure they witness to 600 people or kiss the Pope’s ring).

get kids to love reading | litclub

 

4.  Projects are designed to mature the kids’ hearts and minds. Another tough, but very fruitful project that stretches the kids’ minds and hearts is the monologue project. After reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the kids were asked to choose a character and write a monologue from the character’s viewpoint.

The kicker was that the monologue had to defend slavery from the character’s worldview. Imagine how absurd slavery is, how much you hate it. Then imagine putting yourself in the shoes of one of those characters and writing a speech from that vantage point. This exercise not only educates, it changes us in a positive way. By stepping into the life of another person, seeing things from his perspective, we become more compassionate and able to love. Writing this type of project, and then presenting it before a group, sharpens speaking skills, while simultaneously building confidence.

5.  LITClub kids’ critical thinking skills are stirred up through planning and implementing cool projects. These projects are less crafty, and more interactive, like pretending to be a news reporter and interviewing a character, or creating an original board game based on the plot of the story, with strategy based on symbols and motifs. Critical thinking is the ability to think in a circular fashion that spirals deep and wide, as opposed to a linear train of thought.

Imagine an idea that is brought to light in a conversation, a newspaper, magazine, news program, or on the radio. Linear thinking hears it and jumps to the first conclusion that comes to mind, and either owns that conclusion, or accepts the commentator’s conclusions without question. Circular thinking, which we sometimes call rhetorical or Socratic conversation, is less quick to jump to conclusions. Circular thinking takes time to listen to the other side. It ponders past, present, and future, and weighs the costs and outcomes.

    • LITClub thinkers learn to ask questions.
    • LITClub thinkers learn and respect for others.
    • LITClub thinkers learn to listen.
    • LITClub thinkers learn patience.

In the end, LITClub thinkers desire to know and love others more than they want to prove a point. This opens up conversations, whereas linear conversations tend to end abruptly and, often, are never broached again.

It might seem that a reluctant book lover would turn up his nose to all of this. My daughter thought she wouldn’t make it through her reading list. I wondered if I would be up for the task. Some kids push against the idea of a LITClub because they are introverts. The idea of presenting a project to a group is terrifying. Another child may insist that he just can’t corral his brain long enough to read a whole book. Regardless of a child’s reason for digging in his heels, hang tough. When it’s all said and done, he will be so grateful to you for the gift of literature club.

How do you transform reading into an experience?

If you would like to share this amazing process with your children, there is a handbook called The LITClub, Transforming Reading into an Experience. All the work is already done for you. It starts out with an explanation of the club, and ends with four classic book studies, along with all the tools you need to enjoy your very own literature club experience.

You might want to try it out before you buy. If so, you can download this free eBook, Transforming the Hunger Games into an Experience. This eBook, completely free, includes a quick-start guide to the literature club experience, a themed menu, a completely ready-made discussion guide, and a project guide.

If you have questions, send a message to Ali Dent.

Thank yoAliDentu, thank you, THANK you, Ali, for sharing your worldview conversations expertise–and totally cool idea with us!

Ali Dent is an author and story lover. She grew up in Georgia and was educated at Berry College, where her heart for writing was trained and nurtured. She currently resides in Texas with her family.  Check out her book, The LitClub, on Amazon. 

 

 

 

This post is part of our new Rockstar Sunday posts.  Each week, I will highlight one ‘rockstar’ in the parenting and education field.  These posts? Seriously awesome.

Have something you’d like to share that in some way relates to fun learning, school, technology, education, or parenting? For a short time we’ll be accepting Rockstar Sunday guest posts.

rockstar sunday promo teachmama

The response to our Rockstar Sunday feature has been overwhelming. I am in awe of the ideas, submissions, and shares!

Having been in the blogging space for 5+ years, we know for sure that our readers are always up for fresh and fun ideas on literacy, math, technology, parenting, and learning in the every day. They love crafts, hands-on teaching ideas, printables, cooking with kids, and anything that makes their job as parents easier, better, and more fun.

You don’t have to have a blog of your own–just cool ideas to share! We look forward to hearing from you!

other posts in the series:

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.

baby shower decorations collage  teachmama.com.png

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.

stay connected: teachmama.com on the web

stay connected teachmama.com

I know you’re out there. stay connected  teachmama.com.png

So let’s get–and stay!–connected!

With all of the crazy changes to facebook lately, I just want to make sure we’re doing all we can to stay connected in whatever ways work best for you–my readers. And for good reason.

Because there’s a ton of awesome going on over on our facebook page, on instagram, and just about everywhere.

So real quick, here’s the skinny. . .

  • Stay Connected–teachmama.com on the web:

I know this is a strange post, but my bloggy pals have done it and have found it successful. Why? They’re reconnecting with all the friends they ‘lost’ through the crazy facebook changes.

So let’s do it.

I’ll run through how best to connect with us on facebook, instagram, youtube, twitter, and pinterest.

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facebook: facebook.com/teachmama

It’s been silly over there lately with the many changes facebook has undergone, but if you’re there, I want to see you.   So here’s what you need to do:

1. Go to the teachmama.com facebook page 

https://www.facebook.com/teachmama

2. Click ‘like’ and click on following. Then on the dropdown menu, click ‘get notifications’.  So two big things: like and get notifications.

facebook teachmama stay connected

3. Then if you’re really up for organizing your life, click ‘add to interest lists’ and add me to, say, a list of your favorite blogs!

Oh, I would be so happy!

https://www.facebook.com/teachmama

4.  I made a list of my top 30 or so blogs, and I called it ‘blogs I heart: education, teaching, & parenting‘. Follow it by clicking the link.

Then, once you follow it, you can find your fave blog updates any time just by going to the left sidebar. You will be so glad you did.

 

stay connected teachmama.com

 

Basically our facebook page is a rockstar place to connect with readers and followers. It’s great–we throw out some questions, share ideas, ask for advice, share other people’s blog posts and cool videos, you name it.  Some days we even give out prizes–just for being awesome.

 

Please head over and say hi! We (cough, cough) just may be giving away something fun for our followers this week!

 

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instagram: instagram.com/teachmama1 

stay connected | teachmama.com

Instagram is pretty simple. If you have an account, simply search for @teachmama1 and you should find me!

I post teasers to things we’re doing over here, our activities, and travel. You’ll see that our life is far from perfect and is often quite messy.

stay connected with teachmama.com | instagram

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youtube: youtube.com/teachmama1

stay connected teachmama you tube

YouTube is pretty easy to figure out, because all you need to do is log in to your google account. Once there, click ‘subscribe’ and you’ll find all of the latest teachmama.com videos.

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!

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twitter: twitter.com/teachmama

stay connected teachmama twitter

If you’re on twitter, super. Just search for @teachmama and click ‘follow’, and we’re friends.

I share a lot of cool activities for kids and families, some fashion posts, and pretty much have conversations with brands, friends, followers, and strangers. Twitter is pretty funny.

stay connected teachmama twitter lists

If you’re new to twitter, don’t be afraid. Sign up for an account, and follow one of my twitter lists: brands I heart, foodie friends, disney friends, we teach members, local folks, you get it. They’re not all 100% updated, but twitter lists make twitter a WHOLE lot easier to use.

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pinterest: pinterest.com/teachmama

stay connected teachmama pinterest

Pinterest is really one of my absolute faves for sharing ideas–anything from food, to education, to holiday decorating. Fashion, travel, gifts, and crafts, pinterest is absolutely incredible. It’s literally an online pin board, a cork board of sorts.

Simply create an account if you don’t already have one, and click ‘follow all‘ in the front center of the board. Then you’ll see all of my pins.

Yay.

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teachmama subscribe by email

teachmama.com:  grab an idea whenever it’s posted | http://bit.ly/teachmama

You’ll never miss a thing when you sign up for freebie ideas in your inbox. And I’ll love you forever. True bff’s.

teachmama newsletter header.png

teachmama news: weekly updates  | http://bit.ly/teachmamanews

Sent every Tuesday morning, you’ll get the week’s posts in one happy newsletter.


7 tips for literacy new promo

And really. Sign up for updates, now, and you can grab a free pdf created by PBS Kids and me–7 Tips for Early Literacy Learning. Bam.

I love you that much.

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Want to know a little bit more about me before you follow one. more. person?

Check out:

meet teachmama on the web

That little tiny bar on the upper righthand corner of the blog says ‘about‘ and ‘on the web‘, and by clicking either, you can find out a little bit more about the gal behind the blog and teach mama media, llc, which is her little biz. 

And that should be it. If you follow me, please do drop me a line, a quickie hello, or share something fun with me.

I’d love to connect with you. And if you follow me and I don’t follow you back immediately, ping me. I’m always a few steps behind.

Think this post was totally annoying, or did you find it helpful? I’d love to know.

Either way, I’m looking forward to connecting!!

earth month programming for kids: resources from PBS Kids

earth month programming for kids teachmama.com.png

earth month programming for kids  teachmama.com.png

My friends at PBS Kids are totally ready for some fun, Earth-happy on-air programming, and my own kids are thrilled.

PBS Kids and the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA) have partnered again to create the Explore the Outdoors! series.  It’s a series full o’ Earth-month love.

Programming that teaches kids how to celebrate and respect the world around them?  

Programming that is so fun and familiar that kids have no clue they’re learning?

Programming that is cool enough that kids talk about it even way after the show is over?

A huge win in my book.

For the last few days, we’ve been screening some of PBS Kids’  new outdoor-themed specials, and each and every one has been watched and re-watched. Tons of our fave pals, like WordGirl and Wild Kratts, and Arthur and Martha, have been getting outdoors, doing what they can to make Mother Nature smile.

And this mama sure is smiling.

All this awesome starts Monday April 7th. Seriously. So set your DVRs!

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • Earth Month Programming for Kids–Resources from PBS Kids:  To ring in earth month programming, we did what we can to get our seeds started.

Easy as pie, in a soup can for larger plants, or in small cupcake holders that you can just drop into the earth, seed starting is easy. It gets kids psyched for gardening when the weather’s not yet warm enough to start backyard gardens.

planting gardening with kids - 11

planting gardening with kids - 11

We’ve been doing this for years. My kids love it.

But as for PBS Kids programming that you don’t want to miss:

  • Wild Kratts: Hermit Shell Crab Exchange
  • Wild Kratts: Bugging Out
  • Martha Speaks: Martha Says it with Flowers
  • Arthur: The Good Sport
  • Dinosaur Train Nature Trackers Adventure Camp

All great choices! Check out the PBS Kids station finder for tv times for your area.

Want a little more to really bring these episodes to life?

  • Check out Plum Landing, a platform created by PBS Kids and Boston’s WGBH where kids can access videos, games, and an entire site dedicated to learning about the great oudoors!  Y.E.S!!!
  • Visit PBS Parents/outdoors for articles, resources, and ideas.
  • Check out tons of cool games and activities for kids.
  • Follow #PBSExplore for the latest!

What do you think your kids will like best–the shows or the websites? Would love to know!

 

fyi: I work with PBS Kids via the PBS Kids VIP group of bloggers. Though I received a box of screeners and planting items, this is an unsponsored posts; all opinions, as always, are my very own.

april fools’ pranks and jokes for kids

april fools pranks and jokes for kids | teachmama.com

post contains affiliate links

 

 

 

april fools pranks and jokes for kids | teachmama.com

Seriously, April Fools’ Day is one of my favorite holidays, and I know that’s not normal.

I just think April Fools’ Day gives us a good excuse to get a little silly and throw a few laughs into your kids’–and our–day.   Because all too often, between  homework, activities, meetings, projects, and work, I don’t think we do enough silly things just to be silly.

So there.

I like April Fools’ Day.

I like good, clean April Fools’ pranks and jokes for kids, especially. I like unexpected, strange, and tricky.

I like April Fools’ pranks and jokes that make us do a double-take, ones that don’t hurt and are never super-scary.

And for as long as I can remember, googly eyes make me laugh hard–so I use them a lot.

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • April Fools’ Pranks and Jokes for Kids:  I say ‘kids’ but really, these little sillies can be used for anyone with a decent sense of humor.

And as with anything you do with–and for–your kids, of course you must use your discretion. Like if your child is totally frightened of flies, don’t play a fly joke on him. Or if your spouse’s worst nightmare is to fall into a pit of snakes, then maybe you don’t pull out the fake snake.

Take a look at a quickie, three-minute look at all things April Fools’ pranks and jokes for kids:

 

 

 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!

april fools pranks and jokes for kids | teachmama.com

Our many hilarious ideas include: 

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Follow our board on Pinterest for more April Fools’ day ideas: 

 

Follow amy mascott @teachmama’s board april fools’ & simple, silly tricks on Pinterest.

fyi: affilliate links used in this post

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

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

sponsored post

 

 

 

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.

3 ways to kick-start your family’s health

3 ways to kick-start your family's health teachmama.com.png

I am blogging on behalf of Walmart.com, but the views expressed here are solely mine, not Walmart’s. Shop online and save money to live better at Walmart.com

 

3 ways to kick-start your family's health | teachmama.com

Spring is around the corner, so it’s an ideal time to kick-start your family’s health.

And, after the brutal winter we’ve had, I know we’re all ready for it. We’re ready for a change.

We’re ready for sun. We’re ready for grass. We’re ready to see leaves on the trees.

We’re ready to start eating healthier and to start feeling better about ourselves again.

So as we close out the last few weeks of wintertime, we must start thinking about how we can prepare our family for a spring and summer filled with fitness and well-being.

I’ve got three ways to kick-start your family’s health.

Three ways that have worked for our family after the long and lazy days of winter, after we’ve eaten one too many cookies, and after one too many hot chocolates.

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • 3 Ways to Kick-Start Your Family’s Health: Three simple ways, because, as busy parents, that’s about all we can handle.

1. Find outdoor activities you can do as a family.  Being outside is key because in the springtime, the weather is nice and people want to be outdoors.

And, if you’re outdoors together, you’re more likely to help each other get moving.

3 ways to kickstart family health activities  teachmama.com.png

What activities should you do as a family?

  • If you want to meet people in  your area, join a family recreational kickball or softball league.
  • If your family loves exploring, grab a compass or a personal GPS and try geocaching.
  • If you are a competitive family, you could train for a local 5K. Many neighborhoods offer ‘couch to 5K’ training programs, and spring is a great time to try it!
  • If you are a rockin’ and rollin’ family, try rollerskating or roller blading!
  • If it all seems too much for you, then challenge each other by seeing who can log the most steps in one day. Chart your progress on a poster in a common area of your home, and track steps with one of those cool Fitbitsicon for each family member!

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2.  Eat healthy and cook as a family.  If one person’s eating healthy, the whole family can eat healthy. With food, it’s so much easier to do as a group, and you can start by swapping junk food and sweets for healthier fruits and veggies.

3 ways to kickstart family health food  teachmama.com.pngHow do you get started, making sure that all family members are on board? 

  • Take turns cooking each night. Assign ‘Dinner Duos’ or ‘Chef Partners’ and have each team plan two meals a week.
  • Visit local Farmers’ Markets or join a CSA.
  • Peruse the Produce Sections of grocery stores as a family for items that look good, smell good, and taste fresh!
  • Eat seasonally. Choose fruits and vegetables that are in season, and explore recipes that celebrate those items.

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3.  Wear weather-appropriate clothes and shoes that fit comfortably.   Since spring weather fluctuates so greatly, it’s important to have clothes that work with weather conditions that come in like a lion and go out like a lamb.

3 ways to kickstart your family's health  clothes  teachmama.com.pngHow can you make sure your family is outfitted with clothes that allow them to get movin’ and groovin’ indoors or out? 

  • Start fresh. Go through drawers, removing clothes that no longer fit and making room for new items.
  • Have a clothing swap! Reach out to friends and family with the sizes of your kids’ clothes that no longer fit, and submit a gentle request for items and sizes that your family needs.
  • Dress in layers.  Layers are key for springtime; wearing a t-shirt under a sweatshirt and cute, fun raincoat allows you to remove layers as the weather warms and still stay comfortable.
  • Get fitted. Make sure everyone is wearing the correct size sneaker from the start. Having shoes and socks that fit are necessary for starting an exercise regime off on the right foot!

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What are some ways your family moves back into a healthier lifestyle after a long winter?  I’d love to hear them!

 

fyi: I am blogging on behalf of Walmart.com, but the views expressed here are solely mine, not Walmart’s. Affiliate links are used in this post.