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Free Dough Mats for Counting to 10

Here's a cute little set of play dough mats for counting to 10!


These can be used to represent different stages of a tree as well. You can put 'flowers' on the tree like we did. Or you could put apples, peaches, pears, cherries... Anything you can think of.

To prepare the pages simply print and laminate. Alternatively, you can slide the pages into page protectors.

Rolling out the dough for form the numbers helps develop the fine-motor skills required for writing, in addition to teaching little ones number formation.

Have them trace the letters with their finger or a dry erase crayon.

Then, have them fill in the ten-frame to represent the same number.

But most importantly, have fun!!

You can download your free play dough tree mats here!


Be sure to check out all the great preschool activities I have:


Overcoming Entitlement

Keeping up with the Jones' has been an age-old problem. But what do you do when you see that desire developing in your children? Here are some ways to help your child overcome entitlement :



In this day and age, many parents are concerned about their children developing an "entitlement mentality."

Maybe you're a parent who's already seen this mentality exhibited in your kids. Teaching your kids to "pay it forward" - that is, to give back to others and their community - is a remedy of sorts for the entitlement mentality.

Here are some ideas on teaching your kids to overcome the entitlement mentality.

1. Learn to Say No

This doesn't mean you have to start saying no to everything your kids request. If you need to ask for time to think about it first, by all means do so.

But if you do say no to something, make sure you stick to it.

Modern society has made instant gratification the norm. Remember when you had to spend hours at the library to research for a paper and your parents had to drive you? Now all that information is just a mouse-click away.

And sites like Amazon make purchasing something super-easy, often arriving in just one day. So to counteract this, saying no now and then is a good idea. It may seem strange to your child and he may react with a huge outburst, but just calmly ride it out and don't engage in an argument.


2. Push Your Kids a Bit

Sometimes, kids needs to stretch.

If you give in to their dislikes, they may refuse to do something legitimate because they are afraid or uncomfortable. Then you deny them the opportunity to sacrifice something for others.

For example, what if your child was asked to speak before a group, and was terrified at the prospect?

Requiring him or her to do it despite the fear teaches several things: first, that sometimes you need to sacrifice for others; second, a sense of accomplishment; and third, a deeper understanding of what it means to give time and effort (not just giving things).


3. Just Because Others "Have" Doesn't Mean You "Deserve"

No one owes your child because he or she has less than another child.

If the other kids at school have gaming systems, then your child is going to feel like he or she deserves one, too. It may go further - your child may feel like wealthier kids owe him something of their wealth just because they have more than he does.

To counteract this, teach your child to take responsibility for his wants. Tell him he will need to earn the money to buy that particular thing, and help him find age-appropriate jobs that pay. (If you can afford it, you can pay him to do some jobs.)

This helps your child come away with a sense of accomplishment (once again) and a recognition that if he wants something, he can take the initiative and go out and get it.

Today’s guest blogger is Jennifer from The Jenny Evolution! She is the mom of boys, the better half (occasionally), a techie, a family cruise director, a short order cook and always evolving. You can find her at The Jenny Evolution and The Sensory Spectrum.

Mandalas for Teaching Symmetry

This mandala activity is super easy to put together with whatever you have on hand. Keep reading to find out what was used for these fantastic symmetrical designs. 



Hi, everyone! I'm thrilled to be able to guest blog over here at the fantastic Life Over C's, hosted by the talented Kim Staten!

 I'm Angelina and I blog over at The mommy talks. Most of my blog is about my 3 youngest of 8 kids! 

Anyone who knows me I love easy prep, easy clean up activities--so that's mainly what I write about.

I'm so excited to share with you a wonderful art activity we did with my 2 youngest girls and their friends! They absolutely adored it as I'm sure your kids will, too! 


 Materials: 

Round placemats (or you could cut out big circles from poster board)
Small, loose pieces (See this list for some of our favorites!) 

 My 2 youngest daughters had some friends over, and everyone wanted to do something artsy, but I hadn't prepared anything, so I needed an art activity with no prep that I could get out literally in seconds, but that would be creative and pretty.




 I remembered that we had done some mandala coloring pages not too long ago, and we all thought they were just so beautiful.

 So, I had this sudden inspiration to create our own simple mandalas with these round placemats I had gotten for other activities and decorate them with pretty, loose pieces.

We are also in the middle of a project using washi tape and popsicle sticks, so we added these dressed up popsicle sticks to our loose pieces collection and they were a perfect fit.



Not only did the girls absolutely LOVE this easy art activity, but they came out so beautiful! 

They did several each and were very proud of their work. 

I was so impressed with how they used symmetry in their own special ways to create something very magnificent out of such simple materials.


From Kim: This is such a fantastic way to teach symmetry! I hope you'll give it a try. If you do, please post your pics on my FB page. I'd love to see your creations!

Rainbow Picture Frames in Less Than Five Minutes

Do you have five minutes to spare in your day? How about a couple dollars? If you have those two things then this DIY rainbow picture frame idea is for you.


Of course, I can't take the credit for this idea at all. It was the total genius of my 9 year old daughter. She thought it up and completed it all on her own.

We've been busily trying to make use of our craft supplies before our big move because we can't take them with us (don't worry we have LOTS and we have good plans to give away what we don't use).

As I was pulling things out of the craft shelves the other night, the stamp ink pads must have caught my daughter's eye because she very quickly put the idea of using the ink together with the $1 spot picture frames we had gotten from A.C. Moore a while back.

And by 'a while' I mean two years ago.

Whoops!

She took the ink pads and rubbed them across the unfinished wood to create an awesome stain effect.


Of course after she created one for her sister, the sister wanted to reciprocate and then another sister wanted one too, so they made one for her.

I still have a couple frames yet to use...

We don't have any sealer, but if you wanted the craft to last a long time, I definitely recommend it. Ours only need to last a month, so I didn't feel it was worth the effort to find a store that would sell it here.

Seriously, five minutes or less for a super cute picture frame!




Make Your Home a Happy Home

Would you love to have a happier home? I sure would!





I know that with us moving soon and this huge life change coming upon us, we have all been stressed out. (Whoever says kids are resilient, has not moved their kids 13 times in eleven years and travelled full-time with them....it affects them, I promise.)

Because we're stressed out, we tend to forget the simple things that make our home run on happy.

I was very excited to join with Makeovers & Motherhood for their blog anniversary and she has gathered up ideas from all over the blogosphere on how to create a happier home.


365 Days to a Happier Home

 A happier home in 365 days? It seems like a long time, right? But our days are crammed with crafts and cooking, playdates and preschool, housework and hugs, and another year flies by.

 Think of all the things that have changed in your life in the last year. A lot, huh?

 What changes would you like to see in your home, in your parenting, with your spouse, or personally over the next year?  

 Makeovers & Motherhood has polled our blogging friends and readers for tips to help you in each of these areas as we strive for 365 Days to a Happier Home.    

Family

Simplify. We make ourselves too busy and our brains are scattered in a number of different directions, making us lose focus on what is really important. Simplify life so you can become more intentional in the majors of your life. – Jodi from Meaningful Mama

 At dinner, have each person say one thing they're good at and another they are thankful for. – Bonnie from Lady Blogger

 Remember that everyone has different ways of getting things done, in chores, art, learning, and life in general. There isn't just one right answer. – Anne from Left Brain Craft Brain

Take time every week to have a family time. Schedule it into the calendar so that everyone expects it and no one schedules on top of your special time. Then do something, anything together. Play board games, go on a walk, take a drive, watch a movie, read a book. What you do is not as important as the time that you spend with each other. – Kim from Life Over C’s (aka...me!)

We schedule "nothing" weekends. No schedule. No appointments. No sports. No rushing around. Just chilling at the house. – Michelle V.

Hugs are awesome...learned that a little late in life but love hugs! – Cheryl C.

Start each day with payer and quiet time if at all possible....it puts things in perspective and gives you focus for the day. – Terry C.      

Marriage

Create an environment that encourages true intimacy. Show affection daily; accept each other – as you are; and communicate openly about everything. This is my secret to a happy marriage. -- Michelle from The Happiness Blogger

Pick your battles. Is everything important? Will it matter 10 minutes from one, in 1 week or even one year? – Cheryl C.

Take time to remember the beginnings... I always remind my husband about little things from when we first got together. Some funny, some sad. But it's nice to remember how our family got started. – Tonya W.

Mom and Dad have a required date night each week. It might only be dinner or a little shopping, but there are no kids present! – Melissa B.

Kiss your spouse every day. And hold hands. If you aren't usually the initiator sexually, try to do that more. It's nice to feel wanted. – LaMesha S.      

Parenting

If yelling is a problem at your house, create dedicated "no shouting" days to help kids and parents remember to speak kindly to one another. – Brenda from Schooling a Monkey

Routine Cards. I give my daughters routine cards with different tasks listed on each one to keep them on track in the morning. -- Janine from True Aim Education

Every Child is Different, they all learn different, treat each one as a separate person. -- Laurie from Inspiring 2 N.H. Kids

For potty training, another parent once told me their family's secret to success: "Give your child a prune as his or her poopoo prize!" They even come in individually wrapped packages like a piece of candy. Don't assume your child will dislike them, give it a try! Worked like a charm for my daughter and she still eats them "regularly"...buh dum bum ching! -- Laura from Lalymom

Try to hug each child 17 times daily. Even on days that you "fail", getting some hugs in is a success! -- Holly from Kids Activities Blog

Never compare your children to one another or any other child. Doing this will help eliminate your child feeling incompetent or not worthy. -- Jodi from A Mom Having Fun

A good friend once told me that starting when their baby was born they had daddy do bath time to make sure he always had special bonding time with baby that included skin to skin contact. – Laura from Lalymom

Read to your kids every day. It's great for their educational development, but it also ensures a time to step back and just focus on being together and enjoying each other (along with instilling a love for reading!). – Tina from Mamas Like Me      

Hands-On with Kids

For messy art or craft activities, place a dollar store shower curtain on the floor to minimize clean-up time. -- Georgina from Craftulate

Sensory bins build social skills and language skills. Play together and talk together. Multiple children will come together over a simple sensory bin. – Sarah from Little Bins for Little Hands      

Food

Family Meals. One of the best ways to get your kids to eat healthily is to see you enjoying healthy food. -- Orlena from Snotty Noses

Have a menu board in the kitchen. It keeps everyone from asking "What's for dinner?" and it's a constant reminder for anything that needs to be prepped during the day. – Tina from Mamas Like Me

To eliminate fights over healthy food with kids at the dinner table, get them involved in the cooking. It can be as simple as them helping create the menu or even placing napkins at the table. – Jessica from Jessica Wyman Wellness

Make healthy eating easier by prepping all your veggies at once and storing in clear containers. If you see it, you eat it. – Jessica from Jessica Wyman Wellness

No technology at the dinner table. If you can't interact socially with the people you live with, how can you socialize with anyone else? – Lisa A.

Rotisserie Chicken tip:  After you de-bone the chicken, stick the bones in a large pot with water filled 4 inches from the top. If you want to get totally all "Julia Child", then add some skin for luxury. Chop fresh celery, carrot, just about any other veggies, herbs and seasonings. Simmer 20-40 mins for the most luscious semi homemade/natural chicken stock. This literally will cost you a few pennies for the h2o and veggies. In return you will get a humongous pot of stock. You can easily put the stock through a fine mesh colander, discard cooked bones and vegetable mix & pour into Mason jars, (leave a few inches at the top for expansion) label and freeze. I love the chickens at Costco they are antibiotic free, super big and only 5 bucks! – Gabrielle J.

Let your kids pick and help make dinner once a week. – Jennifer M.

We have a list of questions we ask at the dinner table like what everyone's favorite part of the day was, worst part etc. That gets everyone talking and since my oldest one has social disorders it makes life easier for him. – Jennifer M.      

Home

Do chores with your kids and demonstrate a positive attitude. As you work together, your home will have a happier spirit. Plus, your kids will learn how to work! -- Rebecca from Line Upon Line Learning

Do a load of laundry a day if you can. Keeps it from getting overwhelming. – Holly from Style from the Sticks

Kids are never too young to have chores and help around the house. Even a toddler can help pick up their toys. Chores are great for teaching kids responsibility and how to be a part of a family. – Tina from Mamas Like Me      

and now, let’s give one of you an awesome start toward 365 days to a happier home with this $175 CASH giveaway!
Win this $175 CASH prize directly in your PayPal account!  This giveaway is open internationally.  You must be 18+ years old to enter.  Void where prohibited.  No purchase necessary.  Winners will be notified via email and have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen.  Please see detailed terms and conditions below the giveaway for more info. a Rafflecopter giveaway  

FREE Jungle Skip Counting Activity

Today I literally had children swinging from a vine! Well, at least that's what it was in their imaginations! We did a jungle themed skip counting activity today and it was a definite hit!


Jaida loved being a monkey on a vine while she skip counted by two's to twenty. She probably could have gone all the way to 100, but I'm not sure my school room floor is big enough to hold all of those jungle trees!

The activity was very easy to put together, just like everything that we do because as a mother of four I don't have time for time consuming prep. I'm a big fan of activities that take me 5-10 minutes or less to put together.

This one from print to finish took about 10 minutes.

To make the jungle, print out the skip counting pages and laminate if desired. That was actually my biggest use of time while getting this activity together, but I always prefer that my activities last through more than one use.

And once you see what we did, you will probably want to laminate too.

To create the vine I took a strand of burlap ribbon and stapled construction paper leaves to the top section. If you don't have burlap ribbon, you could use a long piece of craft paper and twist it into a vine. Or you can use plain brown ribbon.

I only put the leaves on the top because I knew that kids would be pulling on it and they would likely rip the leaves off in the process of the activity.

To make the leaves, I tri-folded several pieces of construction paper and then cut a leaf shape. Plus, just for fun I cut little bits in the sides of the leaves to resemble palm leaves. It adds a little bit more dimension to the vine.

Then, I arranged the trees on the floor so that the subsequent numbers weren't directly beside each other, but didn't require a huge leap either.

I added a little monkey and we were all set.
She grabbed ahold of the vine and 'swung' from tree to tree counting by two's.

We only used up to twenty, but I included up to forty in the pack.

The monkey mask is very easy to put together as well. I cut out the head and the eyes. Then, I paper punched holes into the ears and tied thin elastic to create the headband to hold the mask up.

I prefer elastic because you don't have to be as exact in the size and it holds itself up better than string.

Download your free copy of the Skip Counting Jungle today!


While you're here be sure to check out all of the great learning resources that I have!


Covered Wagon Craft

Due to my upcoming and fast approaching move back to the U.S. to go see a million and one doctors for my three year old, I will be having a lot of awesome guest bloggers in the next few months, so that I can keep providing you with great content and I can still get my home packed into a few tiny suitcases in time. 

First off, I am so excited to have Rebecca from Line Upon Line Learning:

This week, my kids and I are celebrating our pioneer heritage, especially those who traveled across the infant American continent in covered wagons and by foot. To make it more hands on for my little ones, we decided to make a covered wagon! This covered wagon is pretty simple to make. Here's how we did it.






What you need

  • a 1-pint milk carton
  • four wheels. We used some extra spice container lids; you can also use water bottle lids.
  • a small dowel or kabob skewer
  • glue
  • brown paint and/or a brown paper bag to cover the sides of the wagon.
  • three pipe cleaners
  • a piece of fabric (or a brown paper bag)
  • glue
  • stapler
  • a piece of string (optional)

Assembly


1. Clean and cut the milk carton. We left around an inch to be the edge of the wagon.

 2. Paint the wagon. We ran into a snag when we realized that the cream carton had a wax coating on it. The paint did not want to stick. We decided to cover it in a brown paper bag so it would be easier to paint. My son thought it looked more like wood when it was all brown. 

 3. Attach the wheels and axle. We cut the dowels to be the right size. I used a pin to make a hole in the wagon and we put the dowels through. I glued the wheels to the dowels. I was very determined to make wheels that rolled so I used Super Glue and made sure to keep turning the dowel until the glue on the wheels dried. It's so much more fun when the wheels move! 

 4. Make the wagon cover. I cut a small piece of fabric and wrapped it around pipe cleaners, stapling the pipe cleaners in place. We then bent the cloth-covered pipe cleaners, trimmed them to be the right size, and stapled those in place onto the sides of the wagon. 



 5. Attach the harness. My son wanted to be able to pull the wagon, so we tied a string to the front axle. 

 6. Find little people, fill the wagon, and travel across the "continent." We had pirates in our covered wagon. They don't really look like pioneers, but hey, it's what we had! 



 We too have driven across the American continent, but it takes a little bit more hands on understanding to recognize what traveling by foot and in a covered wagon from Iowa to Oregon or Utah would entail. 

My son was surprised to learn that most kids did not get to ride in the wagon! Making our own "little people" sized wagon was a lot of fun for us.

 While my older son extended the learning and practiced stocking the wagon with "food" and other necessities (referencing the book If You Traveled West in a Covered Wagon for ideas!), my toddler daughter could simply play with it. 



She now recognizes a covered wagon! For other ways to make a covered wagon, see Elmer's glue (using a shoe box) or The Crafty Classroom (for an elegant popsicle stick wagon).



 Rebecca Reid is a stay-at-home homeschooling mom to two (ages 6 and 2). She blogs about their education journey and shares educational printables, games, and ideas at Line upon Line Learning.