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Quarantine Board Games for Little Learners

Play is our brain's favorite way of learning. It has a deep impact on our cognitive, social, developmental and academic skills. Play stimulates children's learning abilities by fostering creativity, which builds critical thinking, sparks intellectual curiosity and facilitates learning by doing
It's week number who knows, and I'm tired of my kids watching TV and playing on their iPad.

By this time families have gone through all their classic board games and are itching for something new and exciting to try.

Below are some tried and true gems that are perfect for Pre-K thru third grade and fun for the whole family. Twin-boy tested and this mom-approved for family game nights/days and hands-on fun.

At-Home Board Games for Active Young Kids


Quarantine Board Games For Young Kids


Sneaky Snacky Squirrel 


This is a perfect first board game for toddlers and years later it's still one of my boys' favorites. Even our kitty Taffy likes to play by hitting the spinner.

Best of all, the rounds are quick and easy to understand. This game also teaches children to take turns, colors, counting and general game basics. Using the squirrel tong squeezer can help to develop fine motor skills for handwriting too.

 

Banana Blast 



Players pull bananas from the treetop...until the monkey jumps! Keeps kids engaged because every player gets a chance to catch the monkey A game of mounting excitement, reflexes, and hand-to-eye coordination For 2-5 players, ages 4 and up.


Spot It



Award-winning game of visual perception for the whole family. Between any two cards there is always one and only one matching symbol, so spot it fast and slap the cards to win. 

Frenzied fun for 2 to 8 players. Develops focus, visual perception skills, speech-language skills, and fine motor skills. Includes 55 cards and illustrated rules in a durable travel-size tin that you can easily take with you, when we can all travel again, lol. 

There are many editions of Spot It too from Frozen, MLB, Finding Nemo, etc.

Shady Pets Card Game


If you love pets, you'll love this game! Recently Ranked #1 on Amazon's Hot New Releases! (Apr. 15, 2020) and originally released on Kickstarter raising 34k. The cards also feature real pets with shades on (glasses) and even two celeb Instagram cats too. 

Shady Pets is like Clue and Uno except you have to deal with flying octopuses and naked turtles! You have to steal, take, show, sneak peek, expose, ambush, stop other players, grab and even throw an occasional octopus at an opponent on your way to victory. As players take turns, the game gets more intense because, just like you, everyone is getting closer to solving the mystery pets, yet who is going play the best game, collect the most points and win the game? The perfect gift for adults, teens and kids! Takes 5 minutes to learn, 15-20 minutes to play, is for 2-5 players (ages 7+) and includes 84 cards. 

You can buy an optional Octopus plush to throw too. There is also a NSFW version for adults only. 


Pop The Pig 



Top-selling preschool game with over 200 million views on YouTube Players take turns rolling the die, feeding the pig, and pushing down on his head Each pump makes his belly grow bigger, bigger, and bigger until... POP! Teaches numbers, colors, and counting For 2-6 players, ages 4 and up.

Gator Golf 



Can't go out to putt putt now? No problem, you can bring minigolf home, where a hole-in-one is a lot more fun with Gator Golf!

Take the game safely inside without the miniature golf crowds or expensive fees. Hit the ball into the Gator's mouth to score, and he'll toss your ball back with his tail for more golfing fun. The first time it shot the ball back to us we all squealed with glee. Be the first player to score three points to win Active game helps develop large motor skills and gets kids moving indoors.

For 2-4 players, ages 3 and up. As they get older you can move the gator farther and farther away and even throw in some obstacle along the way.

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Float On this Summer with SwimWays

This post was sponsored by SwimWays as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

Growing up, the pool was always the best part of summer. I'd spend hours in the community pool playing and swimming with my friends. My boys are the same way and I love stocking our pool with the best floats and water games for them.

It's amazing how unveiling a new float can create hours of entertainment and fun for kids and since we're all at home, this is especially beneficial and needed now more than ever. The pool has become their recess and PE in one.

Out family is now summer-ready thanks to SwimWays Spring Floats available for purchase easily online at WalmartTarget, and Amazon! Designed for water lovers, by water lovers, SwimWays takes fun to the next level.

Get Summer Ready With SwimWays Spring Floats


This summer, escape the everyday and make this year one to remember with SwimWays Spring Floats! 

You deserve it! 

Huggables Teddy Bear Oversized Float



How stinking cute is this? I love how this adorable bear also acts as a decoration too, transforming our pool with added summer festivity. I smile whenever I see its smiling face float by, even when I'm not in the pool.

It has a cupholder too and moveable arms, so you can actually hug this float.


Target also has a Sloth version instead of a Teddy Bear design and a Panda Huggables is available too at Walmart.


SwimWays Spring Float Kids Boats



Compact, lightweight and travels well, the Spring Float for kids edition comes in fun prints (shark, dogs, etc). Thankfully, the durable fabric-covered inflatable pool float for kids is built for the way kids play too ... and my twins put them to the test, lol.


Like the original, they also come with a carry bag for on-the-go water trips or the next time we head to Nana's pool. It inflates and deflates fast - no air pump required! Recommended for ages 5 and up.

SwimWays Spring Float Recliner




Unfold, inflate and float away in the SwimWays Spring Float Recliner floating pool lounger! Within minutes you’ll be luxuriating in the soft, cooling mesh seat that suspends your lower body just below the surface of the water. Prop yourself up on the integrated headrest, backrest, and ottoman, and stash your favorite beverage in the cupholder. The fabric covering over this inflatable pool float adds durability, and the patented inner spring along the outside edge of the float provides greater stability and comfort in the water.

With my long hair, it takes forever to wash and dry it, so I don't always like going into the pool with my splashy dynamic duo. However, thanks to this SwimWays Spring Float Recliner, I'm enjoying the experience too, and have delighted my kids by joining them in the pool more.

Bonus, I can have a bit of "me-time" lounging in on this recliner. Thanks to the extra backrest for support, if my hair is up in a ponytail, it doesn't get wet and I'm still able to chill and cool down in the water too.  It even has a cup-holder. It's perfect!

Also, the soft cooling mesh doesn't get hot out in the sun like plastic and makes it very comfortable to lie on. Best of all, you don't need a pump to inflate and it comes with a mesh carry case, making it super portable to take on your next vacation or pool party.

Walmart has a great deal online for it and you can find it in-stores too.
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Dole At-Home Printables for Kids

Growing up, I was a picky eater who didn't eat vegetables. I've been hyper-aware about this now while raising my two growing boys. Thankfully, they eat way healthier than I used to thanks to educating them about the importance of what they put in their lil bodies.

To continue the conversation, we have been using the following relevant nutrition-based information and family-friendly activities from The Dole Food Company.

And now that parents are being asked to home-school these printables have been great for starting healthy discussions as well as fulfilling Arts requirements. Best of all, my boys enjoyed doing these crafts and activities and hopefully, your kiddos will too.


DOLE AT-HOME RESOURCES & PRINTABLES 


Homebound and looking for things to educate and entertain? Dole is here to help.

Dole is offering FREE at-home resources for you to access online to make this time at-home a little easier. Their goal is to help moms & dads at-home and to provide as much information as they can - on how your diet can improve your health and how you can make nutrition fun for the whole family.

As part of this, they have digital at-home printables for kids, fun & easy recipes, health & nutrition articles, and so much more.

Dole At-Home Printables and Learning Resources for Kids


  • Grow Your Alphabet with Dole - these are adorable and great for pre-k learners and introducing fruit and veggie names to their vocabulary while also working on sounds and letters.
  • Dole Banana Sticker Peel and Play Sheets – Frozen 2 - This is just fun and will get them snacking on bananas in order to collect all the stickers to complete this hunt. Kind of addicting, but in a good way :) If you share your completed sticker sheet on social media your kids could get the chance to be featured. The possibility has my duo excited. They have a Kristoff and Sven version too for boys.
  • Snack Your Colors chart - shows the importance of having a balanced diet in an interactive way.
  • Dole DIY Garden Markers - My boys loved cutting these out and placing them in our garden. Perfect for getting the kids outside too, while also teaching them about the importance of farming and fresh fruits and vegetables.



    Besides making and placing one of these markers to our new Tomato plant, we learned the benefits of using Banna peels as a fertilizer and added chopped peels within our garden soil.
Did You Know: Bananas aren’t just great for humans—they are superstars at helping gardens grow! This is because bananas contain essential nutrients such as potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and iron, all which both humans and plants need and use as food—and the peels do, too. By adding chopped banana peels to your soil when planting a garden, you’re creating the perfect organic plant food that those future fruits and vegetables will love!
TIP: Banana peels make a great organic fertilizer
TIP: Banana peels make a great organic fertilizer

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post, but sponsored or not, I only share stuff I am passionate about. Truly.
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Sesame Street Curriculum Gets Preschool Kids Ready for School

For 50 years and counting, Sesame Street has nurtured young minds with its iconic television show, books, games, and more – all built on a research-based curriculum that addresses the unique needs of developing preschoolers. Now, for the first time in the show’s 50-year history, that curriculum is available as a comprehensive and approachable guide for parents.


With Ready for School!, Sesame Workshop’s Dr. Rosemarie Truglio helps parents of children aged 2-5 foster the school readiness skills that have made Sesame Street the most trusted name in educational media – not just ABCs and 123s, but the curiosity and resilience that helps kids thrive in school and beyond.

Each of the book’s eight chapters focuses on a key area:
• Language
• Literacy
• Math
• Science
• Logic & Reasoning
• Social & Emotional Development
• Healthy Habits
• The Arts

Written with busy families in mind, Ready for School! A Parent's Guide to Playful Learning for Children Ages 2 to 5 illustrates how parents are central to school readiness – and how opportunities for learning are everywhere. This helpful guide offers dozens of “Play & Learn” activities to help make the most of playtime, showing how playful learning can happen at the kitchen table, on the bus, in the park, or in the preschool classroom. Packed with tips and recommendations, easy-to-use charts that let parents mark their children’s milestones to ease the important job of preparing children for a life of learning.

Author Rosemarie T. Truglio, Ph.D. has been a vital presence at Sesame Workshop for more than two decades shaping the content our children see and learn from the show and live experiences. She is the Senior Vice President of Curriculum and Content at Sesame Workshop.

I've had the pleasure of meeting the author Dr. Rosemarie a couple of times. Most recently, during Social Media on the Sand at Beaches Resorts, which has Camp Sesame and other Sesame Street programming. I just wish I had her book when my twins were in Pre-K. They might be older now, but we still made and use this glitter jar that she recommended when they are upset.

Make Your Own Glitter Jar to Discuss Feelings and End Meltdowns


DIY Glitter Jar to Discuss Feelings - Sesame Street - Indoor Craft Activity for Preschoolers

Got a monster meltdown? We'll let you in on a secret: a glitter jar will turn a frown upside down in no time.

Rosemarie discussed how children often do not know yet how to control their emotions at this age and suggests building a glitter jar to talk to them about how they are feeling. That way, when they are having a meltdown, you can swirl the jar and say how you understand their feelings are swirling around like this, but to take big breaths as the glitter settles and hopefully, they will too.

These are the ingredients you'll need to help you handle an upset Lil monster like a pro.

Ingredients:
  • A clear plastic jar or bottle with lid
  • Water
  • Glitter glue
  • Glitter, any color
DIY Glitter Jar Instructions: 
  1. Fill your jar or bottle 3/4 of the way full with water.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of glitter glue for each cup of water.
  3. Add glitter until it is 1/2 inch deep.
  4. Gently fill your jar the rest of the way with water.
  5. Use all of your might and muscle to twist the lid on tight.
  6. Shake your glittery concoction and prepare to be dazzled into calm as it s-l-o-w-l-y settles down.
DIY Glitter Jar




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ONWARD Arriving Early On Digital & Disney+ AND Activity Pages

Did you hear? With cinemas currently impacted by closures due to the global health crisis, The Walt Disney Studios will offer Disney and Pixar’s ONWARD ahead of schedule and from the convenience of your home or mobile device. 

You can NOW purchase or rent the film digitally and on Movies Anywhere or stream on Disney+ on April 3, 2020 in the U.S.

The new film premiered in theaters on March 6th and earned rave reviews from audiences, including a 95% Verified Audience Score on RottenTomatoes.



In ONWARD, teenage elf brothers Ian and Barley Lightfoot (voices of Tom Holland and Chris Pratt) get an unexpected opportunity to spend one more day with their late dad, embarking on an extraordinary quest aboard Barley’s epic van Guinevere. Like any good quest, their journey is filled with magic spells, cryptic maps, impossible obstacles and unimaginable discoveries. But when the boys’ fearless mom Laurel (voice of Julia Louis-Dreyfus) realizes her sons are missing, she teams up with a part-lion, part-bat, part-scorpion, former warrior – aka The Manticore (voice of Octavia Spencer) – and heads off to find them. Perilous curses aside, this one magical day could mean more than any of them ever dreamed.

Since most of us are likely stuck at-home you can still make it a movie experience by popping some popcorn and watching together as a family. If you have Disney Plus, set your calendar for Friday, April 3 and make it a movie night premier.

Disney Pixar Onward Activity Sheets and Coloring Pages


ONWARD Activity Sheets and Coloring Pages




For more interaction, you can print these activity sheets for kids to go along with the film including a fun, memory card game, mazes, coloring sheets and more.

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Tips to Make the Morning Routine Easier with Kids

Planning ahead is key to helping mornings go more smoothly with kids. Here are some tips that have made the routine easier for my household.

Tips to make the morning rush easier for parents

Tips to make the morning rush easier for parents

Follow a routine


Make every morning as predictable and routine as you can. Follow the same schedule. It can look something like this: Wake up, dress, wash face, eat breakfast, grab a backpack, leave for school.

Layout clothes the night before


To jump-start the morning routine, plan ahead the night before. Before bedtime have your kids lay their clothes out on the floor, crime scene style, to make it fun and easy.


Once selected, there's no arguing in the morning. They wake up, they put on their clothes, easy. No outfit changes allowed.

Make-ahead breakfasts

If you can have grab-and-go breakfasts available and ready, this will be a huge help to get out the door.

I alternate between the following:

My protein ball helper

Set Alarms

My friend Alex, a mom to a boy and girl says, "I set multiple alarms that go off throughout the morning signaling what we should be doing in order to ensure we're out the door on time because sometimes I'm just as distracted as the kids."

Tag Team 

If you have a partner at home, splitting the getting out the door duties is key - one can be in charge of waking kids up and starting the getting dressed process. The other can start on breakfast cereal and making sure they're at the table.

Reward your child


This is a simple way to help your child get the most out of a smoother morning. For example, if your child gets ready for school and still has time to spare before it’s time to leave, let them choose the snack that goes into their backpacks or let them use a tablet on the car ride.

My friend in Los Angeles with two little girls says, "We have told the girls that if they get up, get themselves dressed, brush teeth, brush hair, and put on their socks and shoes, they can watch 10 minutes of TV while they eat breakfast. They know the checklist and keep each other accountable. If they lag, they know they will run out of time and have to eat breakfast in the car and miss TV time."

Final Thoughts


Basically, prep food, outfits, and other items (your child’s and yours) the night before.

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