Helping to Center our Active Children

**Guest Post**

Park Playing

When you have a child with a lot of energy it can be hard to know what to do with them. They always seem to be moving and going, bouncing off the walls. The ability to control that energy for useful tasks or even structured play is important for active children to learn at a young age.

Active children need much more scheduled activity than do other children. Often you will see an active child with too much free time getting out of hand or noticeably stressed. Because of their energy and constant activity at times they need to be reeled in and there needs to be definite boundaries in place for these children.

As parents or caregivers we need to pay close attention to the specific dispositions of each child. All children need some structure in their lives because it gives them security; active children need structure all the more because they have difficulty keeping themselves from spiraling out of control.

There need to be carefully adhered to bed times and nap times, regular times for meals, and scheduled play with other children and close supervision. Another very important activity to schedule is quiet time for reading or playing alone or one on one with a parent or other adult. They need to experience being able to do things quietly and calmly and get practice in doing this daily. It will serve them well as they become adults and it will help them realize that not everything they do that gives them pleasure requires strenuous activity.

On observing adult behavior in office situations or structured work environments you can often spot out an adult that has difficulty keeping focused on the task at hand. This is more than likely due to the fact that they were not trained as a child to be able to have quiet downtime that did not involve sleeping. We are doing a disservice to our children if we do not give them the tools to function in any environment.

When an active child is channeled properly and their energy used for specific scheduled and goal oriented events they can achieve great things. But when this energy is allowed to flow willy-nilly throughout their lives, driving them here and there with no purpose they become self involved and have great difficulty staying on task.

My own son was an active child and is not an active young adult. We were very careful to keep him in predominantly structured activities. And I do not mean structured as putting him in classes or other events outside the home. But at home he had very definite times for naps, eating, and quiet activities. Everyday as a family we would have a bike ride to the park or take a walk to the bayou to check out the tadpoles. He spent time outside with free play but we always made sure he had something constructive to do. He loved to build things and to use a hammer and nails and someone was always there with him supervising when he was young. We encouraged him to play ball with the neighbor children or to climb safe trees with his siblings.

We also scheduled study time. It helped our son to sit down with his sister and do their homework together. She could do her homework anywhere and if it was a project we of course allowed her to do it on her own. But most nights she would sit with him and encourage him in his studies. I would be on hand in the kitchen to assist and was always involved as well. He had difficulty sitting for long periods of time when he was very young so we made sure that study time did not go on too long and perhaps if there was too much work we would take a break.

Craft time was something he loved and he could stay focused for thirty or more minutes when given a craft he liked. He especially liked working with craft sticks and hot glue guns but was very carefully supervised of course. He also enjoyed making houses out of sugar cubes using cake icing as the glue. We would often color the icing with food coloring to make it even more interesting for him. We had an Easy Bake oven and a Queasy Bake oven and both our children loved to spend time baking up treats or creating yucky bugs and creatures.

We found that having a nightly schedule of taking a nice warm bath and then spending fifteen or twenty minutes reading or telling stories before bed was a wonderful way to get our active child relaxed and ready for bed. He could easily spend an hour in the bath tub if we allowed it. He had a pirate ship and other bath toys that kept him interested and soaking until we told him he was turning into a prune and had to get out. This seemed to relax him so much and then bundling him up and getting him into his pajamas for story time kept that relaxation going. Good sleep habits really help active children a great deal.

We also made a point of keeping him occupied during his free time on more than just video games and television. He could sit for hours at the computer if we allowed it. A little computer is fine and a television show here or there also but we thought it important to not let those things become the predominate forms of entertainment in his life. We played games together as a family, did chores together as a family, and spent time talking about our days especially at dinner time. Staying well connected with what your active child is thinking and feeling as well as making them feel connected to your thoughts and feelings can really help to build strong relationships. Because of their level of activity relational attachments are sometimes hard for them and they need these types of bonds to keep them focused on others.

Keeping your active child on a schedule and keeping them well balanced physically, emotionally, and mentally will give them the tools they need as they grow into adulthood. We need to help them to channel their energy and in so doing show them how they can be very successful using this gift of energy that God has blessed them with.

Ken Myers is a father of three and passionate about great childcare. He’s always looking for ways to help families find the support they need to live fuller, richer lives. Find out more about expert childcare by checking out @go_nannies on Twitter.

Cooking With Kids- It’s Easier Than You Think

cooking with kidsTwo of my children took a kids cooking class last year. During their class they learned simple kitchen skills based on their age while helping make several dinner and dessert dishes. I chose to stick around and watch the class which helped me get pointers as to how I can use their help in the kitchen. I’ve heard a lot of my mom friends talk about how stressful it is to have their kids help in the kitchen, so I thought I’d share some things my kids and I learned with all of you. My kids help cook several meals a week now AND they can almost completely cook a meal on their own!

First set the kitchen rules…
Only adults can use the oven.
Children 10+ can help with stove duties with adult supervision.
Knives are set next to the sink.
Wash your hands as soon as you enter the kitchen (and anytime you touch things like face/hair that you should not).
No touching your face, body, or hair while cooking.
Follow directions both from adults and on recipe.

Next find adequate work spaces for everyone. Each child should have a stool or chair at the counter or table to help prep and cook. If they are tall enough to stand you have have them stand by you.

Third read the entire recipe. This is a task for a child that reads (beginning readers might need a little help from parents).

Fourth everyone helps set out all ingredients needed.

Now your ready to start cooking!

Kids cooking

How your kids can help…
Washing
Chopping
Measuring
Mixing
Cooking

Tasks by ages:
Toddlers– Washing fruits & veggies, adding pre-measured ingredients, topping dish with cheese or other dry toppings.
Preschoolers– Small chopping with kid scissors, helping measure ingredients, adding ingredients, mixing ingredients, and toddler tasks.
6-9 year olds– Reading recipe, chopping with pizza cutter, rolling out dough, running mixer and straining foods. Plus toddler and preschooler tasks.
10+year olds– Setting oven temperature, cooking on stove with supervision, chopping with knives. Plus all of the tasks listed above.

Key things to remember:

  • You are NOT looking for perfection.
  • You ARE teaching a life skill that everyone needs.
  • Be patient, they will get it and it will get easier for all of you.
  • Start with simple recipes and advance as you and your children get comfortable cooking together.
  • It takes a practice so plan to need an extra 15-20 to cook a meal. After you’ve cooked a couple meals together you will all get the hang of it and the process will speed up. Before you know it they will be a huge benefit to having them help you cook meals!
  • They need to help clean up so they

I made a video to show a snippet of how my kids help in the kitchen. WATCH IT HERE(This is my very first Vlog so please excuse my inexperience and rambling!)

The outcome is having kids that learn how to cook and you getting extra help in the kitchen! Win win in my book!
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Throwing a Snowman Soup Party!

Snowman Soup Party

Back in 2006 I found a group for stay at home moms in my area. (I joined the group which became a huge part of my life and how I met most of my friends.) One of the first events I attended was called “Snowman Soup Party” hosted at the then presidents home. I was VERY curious as were all the other moms to what “snowman soup” was. We lived in NW New Mexico so we did get snow but we hadn’t had any recently so I wasn’t sure how this soup was going to taste.

I showed up and low and behold my friend had a huge pot of Hot Cocoa on her stove! Then next to the stove was an assortment of fixings to put your “Snowman Soup” together. This event became a tradition within our group and our home! Now each year during the month of December I hold a Snowman Soup Party!

Here are a few ideas for you to try for your own Snowman Soup Party!

Items needed:

  • Hot Cocoa
  • Hot Water 
  • Candy Canes (his scarf)
  • Mini Marshmallows (snow men)
  • Hersey Kisses or Bells (top hat)
  • M&M’s (buttons)
  • Mugs
  • Friends & Family!

Optional items:

  • Snowman coloring pages (I used THESE found at Crazy Adventures in Parenting)
  • Cotton Balls
  • Glue
  • White Construction Paper
  • Crayons

This year each child was able to color some snow man pages. Make a craft snowman (like this one from There’s Just One Mommy) with cotton balls and construction paper. While listening to ‘Frosty the Snowman’ in the back ground. Sometimes we sing “Once there was a Snowman” and other silly snowman songs we find online.

snowman soup

Every year I do this and every year I am so happy with the outcome. This fun little tradition has helped bring in lots of new friends to my house to try a new activity and my children enjoy it immensely so I don’t foresee us stopping this tradition any time soon! 

So the question is… How do you like your snowman soup??

Check out other fun things to do this winter with my Advent Calendar!

Three Ingredient Pancakes to make with the kids!

3 ingredient pancake- Perfect to make with kids

Three Ingredient Pancakes

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 Bananas
  • 2 TBS Honey
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 TBS Peaunt Butter (optional)

Instructions

  1. Slice bananas (let children use kid friendly knives to slice), place in bowl, mash the bananas.
  2. Add eggs, mix well with whisk. (Kids can do the mixing and adding of ingredients) Then add honey and peanut butter (if you'd like). Mix well...again get kids mixing and helping.
  3. Adult: Spray skillet with cooking spray. Pour 3in 'pancakes' onto skillet. Cook each side evenly until golden brown.
  4. Sprinkle on powdered sugar and enjoy!
http://www.mysixringcircus.com/2013/10/14/three-ingredient-pancakes-to-make-with-the-kids/

My kids LOVE to help me in the kitchen. I must admit that up until about a month ago about the only thing I would let them do was get the ingredients out of the fridge and set the table. Then two of my kids took a children’s cooking class and it changed the way I looked at having them in the kitchen. They truly love to cook, I like the help, it is a great learning experience and much needed tool as an adult. I just needed to provide them with the opportunity to cook and the knowledge of how to be safe and efficient in the kitchen. Now my kids know to wash their hands often, only stir/add ingredients when asked by me, what tools they are aloud/able to use in the kitchen, and how to be of help to me.

I LOVE HAVING THEM IN THE KITCHEN COOKING NOW! This recipe is perfect for all ages of kids to help in the kitchen. We started small with this recipe and now my kids can make a basic dinner almost completely on their own with my supervision!

Do you let you kids cook with you? If so, what things do they cook or help you cook? I’d love some more ideas!
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Who knew shaving cream could be so much fun?!

1-shaving_cream_funI have a friend that is always doing fun hands on activities with her kids. Earlier this summer she posted some pictures on Facebook of her kids playing with shaving cream on their trampoline. I knew this would be something my kids would enjoy. So the next time I was at Dollar Tree I picked up a couple cans for my kids to enjoy one summer morning.

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I sprayed the trampolines with shaving cream and the kids took things from there.They did ask me to also spray their slide down so I happily obliged.1-Pictures

This evoked hours of entertainment followed by me hosing them down with water while they jumped and slid down the slide!1-Pictures1

A word for the wise…1-IMG_4098Try this with your kids…you won’t be sorry! Best $2 I’ve spent so far this summer!

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SA Public Library Summer Reading Program & MORE Fun!~

I read about some of the fun San Antonio Public Library is doing this summer over on San Antonio Mom Blogs and decided to take my family to check it out for ourselves. This was perfect for checking off one of our Summer Boredom Buster to do’s!

We started our trip by signing up for library cards. We figured after living in SA for over 8 months it was about time to get some library cards for our family. While the kids read books I signed them up for the summer reading program while we were there. Each of my children chose two books to check out.

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Then we watched the funny and amazing Spikey Mikey perform a show.

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My son even got to be part of the act! I haven’t seen him laugh so hard in a while.

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It was a GREAT way to spend an afternoon! But don’t take my word for it, go check it out for yourself!

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Beating Summer-Break Boredom (Part 1)

Summer Boredom Buster List-mysixringcircus

“Mom, we are bored!” “What can we do?” “We don’t get to do anything!” “There is NOTHING to do at home!” I have a feeling I am not the only mom that hears these and MANY more whiny phrases when it comes to summer break. In years past we traveled home to New Mexico for at least a month to visit family and friends however this summer we are not doing that. Instead we have lots of friends and family coming to visit us PLUS we are taking one long road trip (to Georgia then Ohio then home) for two weeks leaving the rest of summer to be BORED! Or at least that is what my kids will be saying.

HOWEVER I decided to be pro-active and sat my kids down to put together a Summer Boredom Buster List. We tried to choose activities of a wide variety so that we will have something to do on rainy days, on the road days, days spent in other states, traveling to an activity, and things to do at home. With 50 activities to choose from on our Summer Boredom Buster List I am sure this will be the best summer yet….a mom can dream right!?! 😉

Summer Boredom Buster List:

  1. Float down the river
  2. Build a sand castle
  3. Ride bikes on a trail
  4. Watch “Pets Ahoy” @ Sea World
  5. Go to a new summer kid movie
  6. Watch new ski show @ Sea World
  7. Visit a waterpark
  8. Take a long road trip
  9. Go camping
  10. Swim in a hotel pool
  11. Hold a water balloon fight
  12. Make a Wipeout course in backyard
  13. Face painting (RD)
  14. Build a fort inside (RD)
  15. Scavenger hunt at the zoo
  16. Nature walk
  17. Blow bubbles
  18. Watch fireworks
  19. Make a pretend igloo indoors & live like Eskimos (RD)
  20. Treasure hunt at home
  21. Trip to the library
  22. Fly a kite
  23. Scooter race
  24. Make a craft
  25. Complete a summer reading program
  26. Hold a bike rodeo
  27. Make Dip N’ Dots
  28. Finger painting
  29. Kids in the kitchen (make fun foods)
  30. Take a picture map at a museum
  31. Hold a field day at home or a park
  32. Visit a new landmark
  33. Camp inside (RD)
  34. Play a sport on the beach
  35. Visit a new amusement park
  36. Feed sea lions
  37. Picnic lunch at the park
  38. Watch movies all day (RD)
  39. Visit a new zoo
  40. Visit a new museum
  41. Play Frisbee
  42. Skip rocks at a lake
  43. Make goop
  44. Painting outside with marbles, rocks, leaves, etc
  45. Make up a new family game
  46. Give to a charity
  47. Hold a yard sale w/kids lemonade stand
  48. Make s’mores
  49. Kids put on a puppet show (RD)
  50. Dance in the rain (RD)

**RD stands for Rainy Day. These are activities that we can do on rainy days or days it is just too hot to play outside.

I have included a FREE printable Summer Boredom Buster List that I created for your personal use this summer! I hope our kids enjoy these activities as much as I know mine will!!

We plan to check everything off our list at some point or another this summer. Some of the activities I have added because I know that I a few activities we will be doing on our road trip but most of these ideas were given by my kids. That is the best part, they helped create it with their imaginations running wild. They weren’t asking to put video games on the list which is a HUGE plus, they wanted to make up lots of activities to stay active all summer!

Do your kids whine all summer that they are bored? What do you do to beat summer boredom? Have you made a list like this? Check back MONDAY 6/10 for Part 2 of this series! I will share another way we handle boredom and bad behavior during the summer!

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5 Reasons We WILL Be Buying Season Passes To Splashtown San Antonio!

SplashtownSAThis past Saturday my family and I had the pleasure of going to the newly renovated Splashtown San Antonio. I was invited as part of a San Antonio bloggers meet up with 4 complementary tickets into the park and shared use of a picnic area and two cabanas. Given the size of my family we had to purchase a few extra tickets to accommodate us but with the current promotion of bringing one Big Red product for $9.99 off a single day ticket, it only cost us just over $40 for two tickets.

Now onto the 5 reasons my family has decided we will be buying season passes to SplashtownSA!

5. Affordable prices. With a day prices of $29.99 each and LOTS of coupons and discounts offered all season long. They also have great season pass prices. You can see all there rates here.
4. Newly remodeled! They have recently gave the park a face lift with some new paint, lockers, repaved, and fun events planned like Dive In Movies this summer!
3. Safe fun! With FREE life jackets and trained lifeguards my family spent the day having a splashing time all while being safe.
2. Something for everyone! With over fifty rides there is something to appeal to everyone. The size of the park is also great; not too big, not too small.
1. Very kid friendly! My children range from 1 years old to 8 years old. My oldest boys were able to ride every ride in the park, while my toddler and preschooler still had a HUGE variety of slides and pools to play in.

Finding a water park that makes everyone in my family happy the entire 6 hours we are there is no easy task but Splashtown San Antonio did just that! The most talked about thing we liked was the temp of the water, it was perfect! (Cause little ones do not like cold water.) During our visit we actually lost track of time and ended staying until the park closed. My kids were planning their next trip there as we walked out of the gates.

Enjoying a break to eat nachos!

Enjoying a break to eat nachos!

Enjoying ice cream in the cabana.

Enjoying ice cream in the cabana.

We all scream for ice cream!

We all scream for ice cream!

Have you visited Splashtown SA yet? If not I suggest you plan on it this summer!

**All views here are mine. I was not asked to write a post about Splashtown but after all the fun we had I wanted to share my thoughts and views of the park for others who may be interested in visiting the park.** Signature

Totally Tins Tuesday

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I’ve seen many Muffin Tin Mondays on blogs I follow in the past. I’ve only attempted my own version one time when my older boys were toddlers. Today I decided to start Totally Tin Tuesday at our house with my younger two kids (ages 3 1/2 & 1 1/2). Mondays are grocery shopping days so having a muffin tin lunch prepared is out of the question but our Tuesdays are free, therefore perfect for tin lunches!

Today when I started preparing their lunch in the tins (that I purchased a while back at Dollar Tree for $1 each) I didn’t have a theme in mind. Once I got it all in the tins I realized we did have a theme…3D SHAPES! My preschooler was able to sit during lunch and tell me what shape the food she was eating at that time was. We also discussed colors because this is something she needs to practice more.

I included these foods in their lunch today:
Turkey
Ritz Crackers
Cherry Tomatoes
Purple Grapes
Monterrey/Colby Cheese for my DD
Yogurt Cheese (Lactose free) for my DS
Yo’ Drops

Here they are eating their Totally Tin Tuesday lunches….

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Have you prepare lunch in muffin tins before? What themes did your kids enjoy most?
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Easter Egg A to Z Matching Game For Preschoolers

Egg A to Z Matching GameLast year I had seen this post pinned on Pinterest… Easter Egg Letter Matching. I decided that I should do this for my 3 1/2 year old daughter to help her with learning her ABC’s this week.

First I enlisted the help of my toddler and preschooler to find and match 26 plastic eggs for this game.1st Step

Then I marked an upper case and matching lower case letter on each egg.

 

We had lots of different eggs to choose from, many of which had things printed on them or were in the shape of an animal like a Hippo or Rabbit. I put the corresponding letter on those eggs to further help her recognize not only upper case and lower case letters but the beginning sounds to a word. (We have just accumulated these eggs over the years…not sure what stores they all came from.)

Rr (Egg Game)Tt (Egg Game)

Then I took all the eggs apart and placed them in a bucket. She worked her way through the bucket matching the upper case with the lower case letter on each egg.

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Once she was done matching an egg she placed it in a freezer bag so we could play it again and again.Egg Matching Game Fun

With a full bag in hand you can see how proud she was herself for completing this game! (Mommy was happy because she is learning while playing this game!)All Done

During the game we talked about each letter sound and words we know that start with the letter. We decided that later this week we will find an object that begins with each letter on the egg to place in them. Have you tried any fun activities like this with your kids? I’d love to hear about it so I can try it too!

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