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DIY Tips and Advice

DIY – Get Your Kids Organized

Looking for something to do on those rainy days?  We’ve come up with a list of fun projects you can do with the kids inside – and clean up and dress up their bedrooms a little while you are at it!!

Create a “holding area” for stuffed animals. It’s amazing how many stuffed animals a child can acquire over short periods of time; and how much space these little creatures take up! There are a few great ways to organize them which are both easy and cute! One option is to get a bunch of “crates” from the dollar store – they come in a variety of colors/sizes (depending on your child’s collection). Have your child help you set them up and come up with an arrangement – mount them on the wall or in a corner of the room, tie them together with bows or label them by animal/size/whatever your child wants! Another great option is to get netting/fabric and create a hammock for the animals! You can attach it to the walls with simple ribbons and hooks – this generally works best in a corner so you can create a bigger holding area. Let your kids help design/decorate but let it be known that this is “their home” now and you expect them to be put away into it each night before bedtime.

Create a “weekly clothes planner”. A simple but very useful tool to make mornings before school much quicker and easier. All you need is a hanging sweater/shoe organizer and some simple art supplies. Clear a space in the middle of the closet for the organizer to hang and have your child create labels for all of the days of the week. On Sunday nights before bed, have your kids pick out outfits for each day and put them in the proper compartment. Your daily routine has now become one step less complicated!

Create an Art Wall. Instead of art getting thrown around the room, create an area to feature the pieces. A trip to the dollar store is a great place to start; grab some different size/shape/color picture frames, thumbtacks and clothespins. Design a layout with your kids – remove the glass from the picture frames – they will just be used as an outline for where to display the work. Then use the thumbtacks to hang the clothespins directly to the wall. The clothespins will be used to clip a drawing or painting into place.

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DIY Tips and Advice

Decorating + Back To School

As the summer draws to an end, the unfortunate reality sets in that school is right around the corner. If you are disappointed, imagine how your kids are feeling! From our personal experience, it always seems to help to do some fun projects together before the kids get back to school. To get in the spirit of school, there are a few around the home projects that can be both fun and helpful to get everyone in the swing of things.

  • Creating/Updating a “Family Communication Center.” It always proves to be useful (even with all of the technology available) to have one central area in the house with a central calendar, areas for notes to be left for other members of the family, and a place to put any flyers that come home from school. Useful tip – when recording things on the calendar color code things for each person, so at a quick glance you know what is going on that day. Using one central calendar can help to not double book as well! Get your kids involved by letting them help you to design the space – generally a section of the kitchen or mudroom work best so everyone has to pass by them! In my house, we painted a wall in the mudroom an accent color, with six months of whiteboard calendars (which allows them to be re-used but have things marked in advance), a cork board to hang up all notices/flyers, and a plain whiteboard where we can leave notes for each other. It’s also a great place to use chalkboard paint – but that does tend to require a little more up keep!
  • Create a backpack/coat organization area. Create a space where each child has their own space to put their stuff when they get home from school – ensuring they know where it is before getting on the bus in the morning! Depending on how old your kids are will dictate how much/what type of storage you need – but a hook for a backpack, jacket, a bin for gloves and a hat, a place to put paperwork, and perhaps some shelves to leave books. The best part, aside from knowing where everything is in the morning, is that having this separate area tends to cut down on the mess of things thrown throughout the rest of the house. Make it fun for the kids by allowing them to decorate “their space” however they want!
  • Create a homework station. Get together with your kids and create a list of all of the items they will need for homework – from paperclips to pencils to crayons to colored paper to markers to folders to scissors. After you have compiled the list search the house for the items you have, and shop for whatever else they may need. Stop by the dollar store and purchase different size/shape containers that you can store the different items in. Find a place in the house you know the items will stay (this will hopefully give your kids a sense of accountability too – at least for a little while!).

Whatever project you decide to do with your kids, make it fun and let them personalize it!!

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Tips and Advice

Reading Fun

Reading Fun
Of course, there are lots of fun active things to do all summer, but to keep your kids ready for school work, there are a few fun reading activities you can do with them throughout the summer. The key is to make it fun, and not have them realize they are doing work! Who knows, your kids might even enjoy reading (I did)!


– Create a bucket list. Start by brainstorming. If they are at a loss for books they want to read, take them to the library and bookstore, and let them roam until they can find 10-12 books that sound good to them. As they complete the list throughout the summer, give them a small incentive for completing each book. (Customize the incentive to each child – a late night up, an ice cream, a small item from a toy store.)


– Make a bingo board game. Whether it’s one child, or a few children, you can just make it a race to complete bingo. Make fun squares – like “reading at night with a flashlight,” “reading outside wearing sunglasses,” “reading to a friend,” “reading in a bathing suit.” Again, the great part is you can customize it to things you know would be fun for them. Being that this game would take a little longer to complete, make a bigger incentive – pizza night, or a day at the beach.


– If you aren’t feeling too creative, contact the local library. Find out what their summer reading programs are – they all have something, some more involved than others, but chances are one of the local libraries will have something that sounds fun to your kids.

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DIY Tips and Advice

Young Entrepreneurs

School is out and the kids are home! The weather is nice and it’s a great time to spend quality time with the children. A great way to do that is setting up a lemonade stand! The kids can help make the lemonade. Grab a few fresh lemons and cut them in half. Juice them into a pitcher. Add sugar, water and ice. You can also make it a “fancy” drink by adding raspberries. Drop some raspberries to the bottom of the pitcher and crush them with a large spoon. Then you can do the traditional steps to make lemonade. Squeeze the lemons; add water, sugar and ice. Construct a lemonade stand by taking an ordinary desk or table and tie a large sign to the front. The sign should say “Lemonade!” and the cost of each cup. If you don’t want to charge, you don’t have to. It can show the kids to be more kind to people by offering them a free cool beverage. This is a great way to spend time outside, and show kids what it is like to own their own business. It would teach them to be nice to customers and at the same time they are learning basic people skills and the value of a dollar. At the end of the lemonade sale, take them to the toy store and they can spend their earnings!

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DIY General Inspiration

This Summer Thar Be Treasure

This Summer That Be Treasure

What kid doesn’t love a good hide and seek? Now that school is out, your kids will be out playing in the water sprinkler to cool off, or maybe in the pool pretending to be a shark or even a pirate!? A fun activity to help your small pirate is to give them a treasure hunt they will never forget.
To prepare this fun game grab a piece of paper and in large letters write a clue to where the treasure will be. (Depending on the children’s age make the riddle easy or hard) After writing the riddle, turn the paper over and start tearing the paper into about eight to ten small pieces. On each piece, write a clue that tells where the next piece is. (One way to keep track of the pieces is to number a corner of each piece.) Work your way down in numbers, so piece nine is a clue to where clue ten is, piece eight tells where clue nine is, and so on. Piece number one must be given to the kid(s) to start the hunt. Once they have all 10 pieces then can fit them together and turn it over to reveal the last clue/riddle of where the treasure is!
To the parents that wish to go all out and make the treasure hunt more realistic take another paper and pour some black coffee on it to give it the very old and dark brown look. After the paper dries write a small story of how buried treasure was hidden in the house and clue were left all around to the whereabouts of it. put clue one in the paper and roll it up and tie a string around it. putting the rolled up story somewhere noticable. when the kids come home say you were cleaning and you found something and ask them to go grab it, when they open it and read it or have you read it, watch as their eyes light up with excitement to go on a treasure hunt in their own home.
Good luck me mates, Yo Ho!

 

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Tips and Advice

Tis’ The Season..

Before having kids of my own, I worked as a swim instructor and in daycare. I was working with children, ages from six months all the way till fifteen years old. The swim lessons I would try to keep it entertaining by having little treats for the different holidays. One year I got everyone cute little pool/bath toys for Halloween,. They had to swim to the toy, as it floated in the pool. Older kids, I would hide the toys at the bottom of the pool, so they would have to dive under to get it.  In the classroom, we would have the kids make seasonal decorations, as well as the teachers.
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