learn to make cookies or cupcakes: online courses from Craftsy

cupcake classes cover teachmama.com

learn to make cookies or cupcakes: Craftsy  | teachmama.com

 

I never would have imagined these courses could be quite so fun, but they are.

This summer, Maddy, Owen, Cora, and I have been exploring the crazy insane range of online classes that Craftsy offers. We love them. The videos are clear, they’re comprehensive, and they’re fun.

Online classes are a super idea for the summer–or any time–and the format of many of the courses really works well for upper elementary aged children.  

So one of the things I’m going to surprise the kids with next week is a bunch of fun new classes to take: we’re going to learn to make cookies or cupcakes.

Or cookies and cupcakes. Yum.

Here’s the skinny. . .

Learn to Make Cookies or Cupcakes–Online Courses from Craftsy:

My kids, at 11, 9, and 8 years old, are at a really fun age for this kind of thing.

We’re way over diapers (phew!), and naptime is a thing of the past. But the kids are also not into having to be with friends every minute of every day, and they’re still big into hanging around us here at home (phew!).

learn to make cookies or cupcakes: Craftsy  | teachmama.com

learn to make cookies or cupcakes: Craftsy  | teachmama.com

So what better way to fill long summer afternoons than with the sweet smell of cupcakes baking in the oven?

There are always very reasonable prices for the courses at Craftsy, but from August 1- August 3, the prices are going to be especially reasonable. Many of the classes on how to make cookies and cupcakes will be on sale. Wooo-hooooo.

Check it out

  • The Custom Cupcake: Make dreamy, custom-flavored cupcakes a sweet reality with new recipes and techniques! Mix and match flavors, frostings, fillings and decorations.

learn to make cookies or cupcakes: Craftsy  | teachmama.com

 

  • Decorating Essentials: Designer Cookies: Be the go-to dessert designer and make any celebration a sweet success. Use run sugar, hand-painting, brush embroidery and more to create adorable, custom cookies.

learn to make cookies or cupcakes: Craftsy  | teachmama.com

 

  • The Perfect Cupcake: Deliver heavenly cupcakes no one can resist. Combine creative cupcake flavors, fillings and frostings with gorgeous decorating for out-of-this-world treats!

learn to make cookies or cupcakes: Craftsy  | teachmama.com

 

 

  • Piping Cookies that Pop: Create all the cookies you can dream up using simple piping skills and vibrant colors. Use custom templates and royal icing to make original designs that will amaze any client!

learn to make cookies or cupcakes: Craftsy  | teachmama.com

Here’s how Craftsy works:

  1. You sign up for an account. (Super easy, right?)
  2. You buy whichever courses you want. (No joke, you’ll want to take about 50)
  3. You watch the class whenever you want. As often as you want. (Really, it’s that easy.)
  4. You wow your friends and family with our newly-acquired skills. (Wow them you will.)

cupcake classes cover  teachmama.com

I think we’ll go for The Perfect Cupcake and Decorating Essentials: Designer Cookies

They look like they’ll be a good fit for us. I’ll let you know how they go!

What looks good to you? Have you taken a course like this before? I’d love to hear it!

______________________

Join us!

summer fun for kids | teachmama.com

Check out our summertime fun posts: 

Find something fun to do this summer by following our summertime fun board: 

Follow amy mascott @teachmama’s board summer fun & cool for kids on Pinterest.
 

Share it!

fun summertime learning for kids: tabletop surprises

 

fyi: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Forever and always I recommend only products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” For more information, please see teachmama media, llc. disclosure policy.

chocolate math: age by chocolate

chocolate math: age by chocolate | teachmama.com

 

chocolate math: age by chocolate | teachmama.com

Our tabletop surprises are rocking and rolling this summer, but one thing that really, truly got the kids’ attention was our first (we have another planned!) chocolate day.

The whole focus was chocolate, and friends, it was pretty sweet if I do say so myself.

Who wouldn’t like to talk math and chocolate?

Here’s the skinny. . .

Chocolate Math–Age by Chocolate:

The premise of this day’s activity was twofold–1. figure out their age by chocolate; and 2. watch the multiplying chocolate video and try to figure it out themselves.

chocolate math: age by chocolate | teachmama.com

chocolate math: age by chocolate | teachmama.com

Figuring out Age by Chocolate is tricky but fun.

Some of the math was a bit difficult for Cora, but we walked her through it, and I’m pretty sure it helped. She hasn’t done big multiplication yet, but she will this year in grade three.

Age by math was simply completing this little printable where no matter what number you choose first, as the number of times that you each chocolate each week, your age should come out in the end.

chocolate math: age by chocolate | teachmama.com

age by chocolate _ teachmama.com

Age by chocolate printable: age by chocolate _ teachmama.com

Please, if you choose to share this printable–and we hope you do!–please link to this post instead of the attachment page. Thank you!

 

chocolate math: age by chocolate | teachmama.com

chocolate math: age by chocolate | teachmama.com

Pretty cool, right?

I think so, too! And Maddy, Owen, and Cora were also impressed.

But they were really, really impressed with the multiplying chocolate videos. Don’t we all wish that this could be true? That we could make chocolate appear simply by cutting and moving candy pieces a certain way?

I sure do!

Multiplying Chocolate is super cool to watch.

Here it is as a .gif: 

DR57onF

And here’s the video: 

 

Both are really interesting–and relaxing–to watch.

Leave some chocolate bars on the table, and see what your kids can do. (Of course, be careful with knives, friends. . . ).

We tried it but couldn’t get the chocolate to cut straight enough–so we broke the chocolate and ate it.

I mean. Come on. It’s summer.

 

I simply placed the following on the table and let the kids go–

chocolate math: age by chocolate | teachmama.com

 

chocolate math: age by chocolate | teachmama.com

It was a hit as far as tabletop surprises go, and I’m thrilled that we have another chocolate day coming up soon. 

It’ll be all about fractions using chocolate bars, and though I can’t wait for the kids to try it, I am already sad just thinking that summer will be ending soon (sob!).  How can we really be on week six of ten of our 2015 tabletop surprises?

Unbelievable.

So there you have it–just a fun and sneaky way to get the kids doing a little bit of mathy math in the middle of summer and thinking about things in a little different kind of way.

Pretty neat, right?

Have you tried this before? Has it worked? Do share!

 

 

fyi: Huge and happy thanks to Murderous Maths for sharing the Age by Chocolate formula. I am not even going to pretend to be a math whiz, friends, and many of  you know it. I am doing the best I can with what I have. Also thanks to this site for the chocolate bar illustration

april fools’ tricks for last-minute prankster parents

april fools' tricks for last-minute prankster parents teachmama

post contains affiliate links

 

 

april fools' tricks for last-minute prankster parents  teachmama

 

Oh, friends.

How I love April Fools’ Day.

And how I love to drag my kids into the April foolery.

This year, I have been so busy that I haven’t had a chance to really sit down and plan like I have in the past–but I wasn’t going to let that stop me.

No way, Jose.

So I’ve got a few good April Fools’ tricks for the last-minute prankster parents in the group. Those people who like to trick their family but may not have remembered that April Fools’ Day was tomorrow until . . . well, just now.

Here’s the skinny. . .

April Fools’ Tricks for Last-Minute Prankster Parents:

I’ve got seven for you–seven pretty easy pranks that will be great for most families with kids who are a little bit older.

1. Brownies for Lunch

april fools' tricks for last-minute prankster parents  teachmama

Last year I made a huge tray of these and brought them out to our neighbors–and they weren’t too happy.

This year, I thought I’d scale it down a bit–make small brown Es so that the kids could have them in their lunches at school. And break all of the cafeteria rules by sharing them at lunch.

april fools' tricks for last-minute prankster parents  teachmama

april fools' tricks for last-minute prankster parents  teachmama

I simply printed out two pages of our ‘brownies’, cut them apart, and wrapped them in foil. At lunch on April Fools’ Day, Maddy, Owen, and Cora will open up their ‘treat’ and have a big surprise!

Hopefully they’ll find it funny and will share them with their friends.

april fools' tricks for last-minute prankster parents  teachmama

april fools' tricks for last-minute prankster parents  teachmama

And because I’ll feel secretly guilty all day long, I’ll have real brownies as an after school snack. No fooling!

You can download our sheet of ‘brownies’ here: april fools' tricks for last-minute prankster parents | teachmama

april fools brownies

And if you choose to share–and we hope you do!–please link to this post instead of the attachment page. Thank you!

2. Basketball Hoop Plug

april fools' tricks for last-minute prankster parents  teachmama

Every single day, Owen and our neighbors are outside shooting hoops.

So I thought I’d put a little wrench in their game today. We’ll see how it goes. . .

april fools' tricks for last-minute prankster parents  teachmama

april fools' tricks for last-minute prankster parents  teachmama

april fools' tricks for last-minute prankster parents  teachmama

All I did was lower the hoop, stand on a chair, and use packing tape to secure plastic wrap to the rim.

Then I raised the hoop back to 10 feet.

Bam. Swoosh! Or not. . .

3. Banded Hairbrushes

april fools' tricks for last-minute prankster parents  teachmama

Maddy and Cora always stand the same way when they’re brushing their hair: they stare at themselves in the mirror, grab their brush without looking, and tear through their knotty hair.

So this little trick will stop them in their tracks a little. Maybe.

april fools' tricks for last-minute prankster parents  teachmama

april fools' tricks for last-minute prankster parents  teachmama

april fools' tricks for last-minute prankster parents  teachmama

I added rubber bands to their brushes. In and around the bristles of their brush. That’s it.

Heeheheheeeee.

4. Hidden Chargers

april fools' tricks for last-minute prankster parents  teachmama

I’m not sure how your house is, but every day that the kids are permitted to use electronics, it’s a mad scramble for chargers. So I fixed that.

I took them all away.

april fools' tricks for last-minute prankster parents  teachmama

april fools' tricks for last-minute prankster parents  teachmama

Gathered as many as I could find, and I shoved them in a fancy, little bag.

And the really funny thing is that I’m going to keep the bag right on the table, just as it is, to see who actually notices and who then saves the day.

It’ll be a lesson in noticing what’s around. Kind of.

5. Removed Batteries

april fools' tricks for last-minute prankster parents  teachmama

Even though Wednesdays are ‘unplugged’ days for us, another techy-trick I played is the ole battery removal trick.

Nothing fancy, friends.

april fools' tricks for last-minute prankster parents  teachmama

april fools' tricks for last-minute prankster parents  teachmama

Just a simple removal of the battery.

And no, my kids don’t all have phones. These are my husband and my older devices that the kids use as their ‘mobile game playing station’ of sorts.

I wonder who will be the first to catch on–on Thursday when they try to plug back in, that is!

6. Water Sports Drinks

april fools' tricks for last-minute prankster parents  teachmama

We rarely have sports drinks around the house, but when we do, we often find ‘floaters’ around the house.

Gross. And. Frustrating.

Because they’re not cheap.

Half-finished drinks from who knows when just sitting around here and there like we’re a snack bar or something.

april fools' tricks for last-minute prankster parents  teachmama

april fools' tricks for last-minute prankster parents  teachmama

april fools' tricks for last-minute prankster parents  teachmama

So as a trick, I refilled the bottles. Three of them.

With water and a drop of our bright neon food coloring.  Just a few drops in each, and then I shook them up really good.

And before school, I’ll say, Hey! I found these three last Gatorades in the fridge. Whose day is it? Pick a flavor–purple, blue, or red!

(Because when it comes down to it, aren’t sports drinks’ flavors colors and not real flavors? I mean really.

And they’ll probably pick on and think they will have a super awesome drink for lunch.

Bwwhahaaaaa.

7.  Switched Cereal

april fools' tricks for last-minute prankster parents  teachmama

 

Ahhhhh, a simple one but a good one.

Switched the ole cereal bags inside the boxes. So when the kids try to pour the cereal, they’ll think they’re getting one thing but they’ll really get another.

So tricky am I. So tricky.

april fools' tricks for last-minute prankster parents  teachmama

april fools' tricks for last-minute prankster parents  teachmama

 

It’s worth noting that I do all of this trickery because my kids can take it. If they became upset or angry or inconsolable when I tricked them like this, of course I wouldn’t do it.

They’re used to my April Fools’ googly eyes. They know I usually do what I can to trick them or their father this time of the year.

So they’ll be ready.

I think. . .

 

Want some more ideas? Our many hilarious ideas include: 

More April Fools’ Day ideas: 

———————————————————————–

april fools' tricks for last-minute prankster parents  teachmama

 

 

 

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

read across america day EVERY day of the year

celebrate read across america every day | teachmama.com

This post was originally published on March 1, 2013 but we’re republishing because it’s that important. 

 

celebrate read across america every day | teachmama.com

 

It’s Read Across America Day!  Only something that everyone’s been talking about for days and days and days and days now, but don’t worry if you’re already in your pj’s or missed the boat altogether.

Don’t worry if this is the very first time you’re hearing about it and now you feel like  you’re the only kid not invited to the party. TO-tally not so!  Everyone’s invited to this bash–no matter who you are, where you are, or what you read.

Read Across America Day is a simply the day that marks the birthday of Dr. Seuss.  Read Across America Day has kids all over the country reading Seuss, rhyming, watching Cat in the Hat and The Lorax videos, and wearing a whole lot of red and white stripes to school.  And Read Across America Day kicks off THE reading month: March.read across america day every day

But I really think that Read Across America Day–and the whole hoopla of reading-excitement that follows through most of March–should be carried on every day.

In my opinion, reading can–and should–have a place in everyone’s house on every day of the year. That’s right. Every. Single. Day.

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • Read Across America Day EVERY Day of the Year: You got it.

Check it out–

 

In this quickie video I’m sharing 3 ways that families everywhere can bring home the Read Across America excitement any day they choose.

I touch on three easy things any parent can do to make their home a literate environment, to raise word-conscious kids, and to make books a constant conversation.

 

What am I missing? What else could–and should–parents do to bring Read Across America home all year long?  Let me know in the comments section, please!

 

fyi: want to check out the books I mention in the vlog?

Some affiliate links are used. Many thanks for considering!

ipad toy for early math skills: tiggly counts

ipad toy for early math skills: tiggly counts combines physical learning and digital learning | teachmama.com & @tigglykids

sponsored post

 

 

 

iPad toy? Right.ipad toy for early math skills: tiggly counts

When I heard about it, I thought the same exact thing.

We’re inundated with toys, and my kids are lucky to even have an iPad. Why do we need anything else? And how on earth could there be a toy for the iPad?

I’m honestly in awe.

This iPad toy is actually so cool. And the way it incorporates hands-on learning with digital learning blew my mind.

Tiggly Counts.  It’s an award-winning blend of physical play and digital play.

You want it. Stat.

And I not only have a sweet coupon code for you (30% off!–woot!) but I also have two Tiggly Counts sets to give away–just in time for the holidays! Read on.

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • iPad Toy for Early Math Skills–Tiggly Counts: I’m a really tough critic when it comes to apps for my kids.

Especially because we have a close watch on the kids’ screen time and because there are about a gazillion apps on the market, I think we, as parents, should be super-choosy about who and what we’re letting into our lives.

So when I was asked by my friends at Tiggly to check out their new Tiggly Counts, I was curious to say the least.

ipad toy for early math skills: tiggly counts

 

Essentially, Tiggly Counts is an iPad toy that combines physical learning with digital learning. And it’s all about math. And it’s for our little guys–our preschoolers. 

I love it.

Kids ages three and older would especially like this toy, but always use your own judgement. I know my Owen would have totally dug this at 2 or 2 1/2, and I know that at 7 and 9, Cora and Owen really liked trying it out. Just worth noting.

ipad toy for early math skills: tiggly counts

ipad toy for early math skills: tiggly counts

Tiggly Counts comes with rods–these five rods that are durable and easy to manipulate for little hands–and they were actually inspired by the Cuisenaire rods used in Montessori education.  I know all our Montessori fans are dancing over this one.

The rods are used with the iPad apps. And for a mom who’s always careful about screen time, I love the combination of hands-on and digital learning, especially for basic skills like counting and number recognition.

Three apps were designed for this set each focus on math but cover slightly different areas: 

  • Tiggly Chef: covers numbers and early addition concepts,  math symbols, following instructions and thinking flexibly
  • Tiggly Adventures: introduces kids to number line concepts, number sense, and counting skills
  • Tiggly Cardtoons: basic math skills like one-to-one matching, counting, and equal sets

ipad toy for early math skills: tiggly countsBy far my kids loved Tiggly Chef the most, maybe because of the chef’s voice, maybe because of the silly creations, maybe it was more their speed, or maybe because of all the cooking they do over here. Whatever it was, they laughed out loud while playing this game. Super cute.

I wish, wish, wish I had this app when my kids were younger because it would have really helped build a foundation for strong math skills at an early age. I love the combination of saying the number, seeing the number, and seeing that number of objects. 

Overall, I love:

  • the combination of counting on the screen and then within the rods–because the rods’ windows are large enough to see the objects inside;
  • the wait time that this app allows. It moves slowly–but not too slow;
  • the graphics: simple, sweet, and cool;
  • the concepts: kids get these apps. They really do. They’re intuitive and designed for today’s digital kids;
  • the whole idea of bringing together physical play and digital play. It’s just. . . awesome.

 

ipad toy for early math skills: tiggly counts

ipad toy for early math skills: tiggly counts

 

Here’s the deal with this app, if you’re confused–anyone can grab the three apps in the iTunes store for free; however, the rods–the counting toys–come with the set. And these rods are what make Tiggly Counts super cool.

With the rods, kids are really interacting with the apps. They’re holding, physically counting, and moving objects on the screen.

Check out our video close-up:

 

Tiggly Counts isn’t even out on the shelves yet, but it will be very soon. It will be available in November, but folks are pre-ordering it now.

And I have a 30% coupon for you to use! Yaaaa-hoooooo. Just in time for the holidays.

 

ipad toy for early math skills: tiggly counts

 

All you have to do is visit the Tiggly Counts site (http://get.tiggly.com/counts) enter the code ILOVETIGGLY  for 30% off of your order.

This code is good through the end of October 2014.

However, I am giving away two Tiggly Counts sets to one lucky teachmama.com reader.  That way, you get to keep one for your kids and give one as a gift to a nephew, niece, friend, or relative. So fun, right?

————————————————————-

GIVEAWAY: Two sets of Tiggly Counts.

Do you want to win TWO sets of the new and amazing Tiggly Counts??!  Yes, yes you do.  

[PLEASE NOTE: prizes will not be delivered until mid-December 2014, so plan accordingly!]

——————————-

Please use the Rafflecopter widget below to throw your name in the hat:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

By entering this giveaway, you are demonstrating your understanding of and compliance with the Official Sweepstakes Rules.

This giveaway ends Friday, October 17, 2014 at midnight ET and is open to folks here in the US only. Winner will be chosen by ‘Rafflecopter’ and will be notified on or around 10/17/14.  Winner must respond within three (3) days of notification or forfeit the prize, in which case an alternate winner will be selected.  All Official Sweepstakes Rules apply.

——————————-

 

fyi: This is a sponsored post; however, as always, my opinions are all my own, influenced only by my personal experience as a parent and educator–and, of course, my three little digital kids.

how to turn a t-shirt into cool tank top: 10 min or less

how to turn an old tshirt to cool tank teachmama.com.png

how to turn an old t-shirt into cool tank: 10 min or less

We’re knee-deep into swim and dive season, and with three kids who participate in our neighborhood swim team and dive team, we’re crazy busy.

Two or three meets each week and practice every day.

It’ll all come to a screeching halt in just a few weeks, though, and the kids will be twiddling their thumbs and pestering each other between tabletop surprises and Fun Sticks.

This past week our spirit theme was red, white, and blue, with tie-dying t-shirts being a huge part of the patriotic attire. The night before the spirit pep rally, when all the tie-dying was to be done, we realized that we didn’t have plain t-shirts for the kids to dye. 

It was late. I was tired. And I was not going to run out to the store. No way, Jose.

So we scoured our dressers, closets, and under the bed boxes for a few white shirts that Maddy, Owen, and Cora could use.

And to our excitement, we found a few too-small t-shirts that we bought for Owen so he had something to wear under his First Communion suit. 

I sent the shirts to the pool with the kids, knowing they’d come back dyed and ready for some TLC.

And it worked. We turned a few t-shirts into cool tanks in a matter of minutes. Ten minutes to be exact.

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • How to Turn an Old T-Shirt into a Cool Tank–10 Minutes or Less:  

Really. Ten minutes max.

Check it out:

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 do you think? Will you bling out your t-shirts with a few beads and cuts? Let us know!

And remember, if you are looking for some fun ways of keeping the kids busy this summer, we have what you need.  Do check out our 10-weeks of free super-cool activities for kids: tabletop surprises.

tabletop surprise email promo teachmama.com

 

disney pin trading: why it rocks for families

disney pin trading: why it rocks for families

post contains affiliate links

 

 

 

disney pin trading why it rocks for families  teachmama.com.pngThis spring, my family was elated to have been invited to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration in Disneyland.

It. Was. Amazing.

Not only did we hear from amazing speakers and make incredible connections with talented bloggers from around the country, but we also had the chance to explore Disneyland for the very first time.   Disneyland rocks.

We prepared with our Disney Fun Fact lunchbox notes, and we totally pulled off the most amazing Disney surprise scavenger hunt ever for our kids. And the trip did not disappoint.

For the very first time, we pin traded. We Disney pin traded.

And I totally think it rocks for families. Every family should try it, and the Disney vacation–no matter whether it’s Disney World or Disneyland–is taken to a whole new level.

Our kids were the perfect ages at 10, 8, and 7 years old.

We’re totally and completely hooked on pin trading.

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • Disney Pin Trading–Why it Rocks for Families:

disney pin trading | why it rocks for families | teachmama.com

disney pin trading | why it rocks for families | teachmama.com

Essentially, Disney pin trading is just that: trading Disney-themed pins at Disney parks. 

Simple, right? Right.

You can take Disney pin trading to just about any level you want, or you can challenge yourself to gather entire lines, sets, or mini collections. We went simple. Believe me.

We started with a handful of pins to get us started.

disney pin trading | why it rocks for families | teachmama.com

disney pin trading | why it rocks for families | teachmama.com

For the six or so weeks we had to prepare for our trip, Maddy, Owen, and Cora worked hard to earn their pins. We:

  • purchased a beginner set of Disney pins from Amazon;
  • found some lanyards we had around the house (you can buy lanyards pretty inexpensively);
  • explained that for every 10 gems the kids earned, they could earn one pin;
  • took time each Sunday evening to count gems and to choose pins;
  • whomever’s day it was chose first–he or she handed in 10 gems and grabbed a pin from the dish;
  • added pins to lanyards as the weeks went on;
  • began trading once we hit the parks!

It was awesome. And for so many reasons I believe Disney pin trading rocks, but I share my top 5 reasons here:

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!

 

We all really had a blast with pin trading.

I know the kids now look at their lanyards much differently–they know the story behind nearly every pin.

 

disney pin trading | teachmama.com

 

disney pin trading | teachmama.com

 

Need a little more info before you get started? Check out my friend Tiffany’s post: Disney Pin Trading 101. It’s awesome.

 

 

 

 

Here are a few other ways to countdown or celebrate your own Disney vacation: 

 

fyi: 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
 

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!!

3 cool kids, 3 cool books: what we’re reading now

3 cool kids 3 cool books | what we are reading now

post contains affiliate links

 

 

3 cool kids 3 cool books | what we are reading

It’s hard to find books that work for your kids.

I totally get it.

So every so often, I’m going to share 3 cool kids, 3 cool books: what we’re reading now.  It’s a quick look at the books that my kids, Maddy (age 9), Owen (age 8), and Cora (age 6) are digging.

It’ll be a vlog, because they’re quicker for me.

And you’ll get the insider’s scoop–why my kids like the book or series and why I like the book or series.  As an avid reader, a former high school English teacher, a Master’s Degree in Reading, you better believe I have some ideas.

Above all, though, I am a normal parent who really just wants my kids to enjoy reading.

So here’s the skinny. . .

  • 3 Cool Kids, 3 Cool Books– What We’re Reading:

Check out the video for the details:

 


 

 

 

But if you just want the quick and dirty link to the book, here you are:

 

What do you think? Are these faves in your house?  Any recommendations you think we should check out?

Let me know!

 

fyi: Affiliate links are used in this post, which means nothing other than if you use the link provided, teachmama.com gets a teeny, tiny percentage of your sale. Bam.

top 2 insider secrets for motivating your kids to read

top 2 ways to motivate kids to read

Every parent hopes that their kids grow up to be readers, right?motivate kids to read

Sure above all, we hope our kids grow to be happy, law-abiding, well-adjusted human beings, but beyond that, wouldn’t it be nice if our kids were readers, too?

Wouldn’t it be awesome if our kids not only knew how to read, but they also really enjoyed reading, choose to read for pleasure, and loved talking to us about the books they’ve read?

Right. It’d be so awesome.

But it doesn’t have to be that far-off of a dream.

There are some things we can do at home–things that don’t cost a million dollars and don’t require all that much effort on our parts. Perhaps a deliberate decision to change, but it’s totally manageable.

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • Top 2 Insider Secrets for Motivating Your Kids to Read: Having just finished a graduate course called Motivating Students to Read, this information is truly backed by a boatload of research.

It’s not rocket science.

It may not be surprising.

And you may not want to hear it.

But here it is:

 

What do you think?

Ready to take the plunge and really make a difference in your child’s reading?

Let me know–would this work for your child? Have you tried it?