Valentine’s Day Power Word Pom Pom Toss

Valentines Day Heart Power Words Pom Pom Toss Game

Yesterday, I posted our Power Word Hopscotch, and I also wanted to share this game that we played to practice my daughter’s vocabulary (or sight words) for Valentine’s Day.

This was a versatile way to play with some of the words she needs to know.  Her school calls them power words, so this is our Power Word Pom Pom Toss.

And since it was February when I made it, I just had to do it with cute little hearts!

Valentines Day Heart Power Words Pom Pom Toss Game 2

I picked up some Valentine-colored pom poms and dollies at the dollar store.

Being February, it was easy to find these things in red and pink, but you can often get this stuff when it’s not Valentine’s Day.  For example, you can buy heart dollies most of the year, sometimes in the cake baking section of a large retail store, or in a party store, and the pom poms are usually stocked in the craft section all year, though maybe not with little hearts on the label.  :)

Valentines Day Heart Power Words Pom Pom Toss Game 3

My daughter had a list of 60 power words, so I bought two packs of 30 dollies each and wrote out each word on a separate heart.

Then we would pick a handful and lay them out on the floor.  For the game above, we would call out a word and then try to throw a pom pom onto that word.

Even for me it took a few tries, but that allowed up to repeat the word a few times.

Then, we would trade those few words out for a few others.

Valentines Day Heart Power Words Pom Pom Toss Game 4

Then, we did a game where we would call out each word and hop onto them, kind of like our Power Word Hopscotch from yesterday.

Just be careful with this one, and be sure to put the dollies onto carpet or something similar.  If you put them onto tile or some wood floor, they will slip right out from under you when you jump onto them.

Valentines Day Heart Power Words Pom Pom Toss Game 5

And for the younger crowd, like preschoolers, you could substitute individual alphabet letters for the sight words!

Have fun!

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Pretend Play: Raking Autumn Leaves

Pretend Play:  Raking Autumn Leaves ...... a fun fall activity for kids!

This is such a wonderful fall activity!

My girls have had – and are still having – so much fun with this Pretend Play activity of Raking Leaves.

And it’s so simple, too!

I bought 3 bags of 50 leaves each at the dollar store, and we already had the rakes – although I think we bought them at the dollar store in the spring.

Pretend Play:  Raking Autumn Leaves ...... a fun fall activity for kids!

I do suggest using plastic rakes because they’re safer for indoors.  We also have metal and wooden rakes, but plastic worked best for this.

Also, I prefer doing this activity on the carpet, but it does work on the tile and wood floors.  To be honest, though, I found raking the leaves up on carpet with the plastic rake to be somewhat soothing.  Meditative, even.

To store the leave we use a basket that we already had, but you could also use a plastic baggy.  {That’s what I plan to store them in at the end of fall.}

Pretend Play:  Raking Autumn Leaves ...... a fun fall activity for kids!

Another thing these leaves are perfect for is throwing.

Rake up a pile and toss them into the air!

Seriously:  these are made of fabric, so they kind of flutter down gently.  The whole reason I decided to do this with my kids is because they adore the Elefun Game so much.  And, really, the Elefun game isn’t perfect.  The butterflies/fireflies come out too quickly and there aren’t enough of them, but my girls still love catching them AND collecting them afterwards.

But that’s why I bought 150 leaves for this activity – so there would be enough to entertain both of them.  Plenty to keep them busy with raking and throwing.

And organizing.

My 4yo would make piles of the leaves, sorting them by color and counting them.  And my 2yo made piles that were her “birds nests.”

The options are limitless.

Pretend Play:  Raking Autumn Leaves ...... a fun fall activity for kids!

And, like I said, this activity can be extremely affordable.  I already had the rakes and the basket, and I bought the 3 bags of leaves for a buck a piece at the Dollar Tree.  The plastic rakes can also be found in the outdoor toy section or garden section of places like Target or Kmart even Walgreens – at certain times of the year.

BUT, if you’re having trouble finding the items you need, here are some Decorative Fall Leaves and a Gardening Tool Set from Amazon:

Decorative Fabric Fall LeavesPlastic Gardening Tool Set for Kids

And please let me know if your Little Ones enjoy it – and if they come up with any games of their own!

And check out these other Pretend Play ideas, too:

Pretend Play:  Makeup

Pretend Play:  Post Office and Mail Carrier

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DIY Fine Motor Skills Craft for Toddlers with Pipe Cleaners

DIY Fine Motor Skills Craft for Toddlers with Pipe Cleaners at RoamingRosie.com

I like to make homemade activities for my girls by recycling things we have around the house.

We use pipe cleaners {or chenille sticks} fairly often, so we’ve always got those on hand.  I usually get them at the dollar store.

For this project, I used 4 pipe cleaners and cut them into inch-long pieces with a pair of strong scissors.

Then, the goal was simply to put them into an old spice container.

This is the type of spice container that holds dried herbs, like parsley or oregano.  You’ll notice the top has only 6 large holes.

It’s a great way to work on fine motor skills and helps with prewriting skills.

The only drawback to this is that the metal inside the pipe cleaners can be a little sharp.  There are a couple of ways around this.  One:  ignore it.  And two:  use pliers to curve over the very ends of the metal pieces, making sure that the sticks still fit through the holes in the spice container.

We chose option one.

Really, it’s not terribly sharp and you can insert them without pushing the ends anyway if you manipulate the pieces by holding them on the fuzzy part.  Or pushing gently, which is what I showed my girls.

Or, if you’re really worried about it, you could just use pieces of yarn instead.

My favorite part is that all the little pieces fit inside the container, and, thus, it is self-contained and easy to store.

For more kid activities using items around the house, check out:

Practice Measuring with Rice

Painting With Chalk

Our Colorful Backyard: Color Matching Activity for Kids

Blustery Day Water Play

Free Kid Activity: Developing Fine Motor Skills with Crayons

Pretend Play: Makeup

Free Kid Activity: Chalk on Construction Paper

Free Kid Activity: Painting Newspaper

Make Your Own Color Shadows

Dirt Soup: In Contact With Creation

Have fun!

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10 New Year’s Eve Activities for Kids

10 New Years Eve Activities for Kids

Need some fun ideas to entertain your kids on New Year’s Eve?

I’ve compiled a list of all the things my girls and I did this past New Year’s Eve.  I had such a great time making this a special holiday for them and watching them have fun celebrating it.

And my girls may be just shy of 2 and 4-years-old right now, but these activities will be a part of our traditions for many years to come since they are great for all ages.

1.  Make a “New Year’s Eve Activity Bag”  (or Box)

New Year's Eve Activity Bag

I filled a gold bag with some of the party supplies we’d be utilizing on New Year’s Eve, which included noisemakers, glitter hats, silver bead necklaces, gold balloons (not yet blown up), and a couple of LED light-up wands I picked up at the dollar store.

Since it was only a few days after Christmas, I felt that getting a “present” of activities would be a neat way to start the day.

New Year's Eve Activity Bag

2.  Champagne Bubble Balloon Toss

Speaking of balloons, I find that they are a sure way to make any day special.  So, naturally, they make holidays extra special.

In the spirit of the holiday, I picked up a package of gold balloons at Walmart (for a buck) because they were the color of champagne.  I told the girls they were like bubbles and we kicked and bounced and tossed them around throughout the day and night.

New Year's Eve Balloons

3.  Make Giant Numbers for Photos and Decoration

I always have construction paper on hand (especially for our alphabet activities) and so that’s what I used to make the numbers.  I chose 4 colors and cut each of the numbers from a different sheet.  And I did it by hand.  I’ve learned that my kids aren’t perfectionists like me, so I don’t have to kill myself over the details.

We used the numbers first to pose for a few photos.  Next I asked my oldest daughter what the numbers were and asked if she could trace them each with her fingers.  Then we taped them to the TV hutch, just under the television, so that they would be visible while we watched the ball drop.  (They actually fell asleep before that, but we left the numbers up for a few days anyway, since they looked so cheerful.)

New Year's Eve Numbers 2014

4.  Practice Counting Down

Okay, I don’t know if older kids would get a kick out of this, but my girls certainly found it exciting.

Throughout the day, when discussing New Year’s Eve and how the ball would drop at midnight, I would announce, “Let’s practice counting down!” and we would shout out the numbers from 10 to 1 followed by a shout of “Happy New Years!”

My oldest daughter loved the counting and my littlest one enjoyed all the noise.

5.  Celebrate with Fireworks

We let the girls handle a couple of sparklers, and I was surprised at how quickly and excitedly they went through a whole box of snappers.  Then we lit a fountain-type firework in the street and did our many ooooohs and aaaaahs.

Many people set off fireworks at midnight, but we did all this just after the sun went down.

6. Dress Up

A great way to ring in the new year is by getting all dolled up – even if you’re just hanging out at home.  Whether you’re throwing (or attending) a party or just riding out the ball drop on your couch, adding a little frill to your outfit will make it extra special.

My girls got dressed up in twirl-worthy skirts and party bead necklaces.  Let girls paint their nails in fun colors.  Let boys try on silly neckties or style their hair in Mohawks.  Have fun with it.

7.  Eat Party Food

You may actually be throwing a party, but even if you’re not, celebrate the holiday like you are.  This goes along with #6.  Serve appetizers and tapas instead of a large meal.  Set out chips and dip, cheese and crackers, hot wings.

You could make regular food special, like serving hot dogs that have been cut in spirals and turned into “confetti ribbons.”

And eat grapes.  You’re young ones might not be able to stuff a dozen grapes in their mouths in a minute like the traditional Twelve Grapes of Luck, but you can still snack on them throughout the day.  It helped to sneak some more fruit into our day by announcing that they were good luck.

8.  Make a Giant Cookie Clock

Make a cookie cake into a Cookie Clock by adding chocolate numbers.  And, sure, I talked about numbers and counting with my daughter with this clock as inspiration, but really, we mostly made it for the sake of the chocolaty, gooey goodness.   Read about it here.

Cookie Clock 5

9.  Make Confetti Poppers

This was a New Years craft for us, because my kids helped.  We made confetti and made “poppers” that showered the confetti on us.  It was a fun addition to our celebration.  Here are our Confetti Poppers:

Confetti Poppers

10.  Serve Sparkling Grape Juice

But not just any sparkling grape juice… if you want to make it really festive, add in some cotton candy!

Cotton Candy Champagne

What New Year’s Eve traditions do you have?  How do you celebrate it with your kids?

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New Year’s Eve Confetti Poppers

New Year's Eve Confetti Poppers

Confetti is always a fun way to celebrate holidays and special occasions.

Until it is time to clean up.

So, to find a way to incorporate confetti into our New Year’s celebration, I decided upon Confetti Poppers that were designed much like a pull-string pinata.  And, like a pinata, we put them outside.

For the confetti, we used construction paper cut into tiny pieces.  My 3-year-old was very excited about this part.  I did some of the confetti, but it was mostly her job while  I constructed the poppers and her younger sister giggled about the tissue paper.

New Year's Eve Confetti Poppers

I’ve seen a few varieties of things like this online, but I chose my materials based off of what I had on hand.

You’ll need:

toilet paper rolls
tissue paper
pipe cleaners
construction paper
ribbon or string
scissors

Cut the construction paper into tiny pieces for the confetti.  Take the pipe cleaners and wrap one end into a kind of ball or loop.  The bigger the loop the better, because the smaller loops I made (like the one pictured below) didn’t break the paper enough for all of the confetti to fall out, and those poppers had to be shaken a little.

Also, if your pipe cleaners are “kid-friendly” like mine were, you’ll need to un-bend the end so that the pointy metal piece is straight, and not tucked over.

Take a piece of colorful tissue paper (ours was used tissue paper from previous birthdays – yes, I’m that person), and wrap it around an empty toilet paper roll, gathering the extra.  With small scissors, poke a teeny, tiny hole in the center of the paper that’s wrapped around the roll – see photo.

New Year's Eve Confetti Poppers

After poking the hole, very, very gently push the pipe cleaner through it by inserting it in the top of the toilet paper roll and pushing it through the hole and pulling it all the way down.  If you do this roughly, you’ll rip the paper.  The loop in your pipe cleaner should be resting on the tissue paper covering the bottom of the toilet paper roll.

Pour a handful of confetti into the top of the toilet paper roll and gather the tissue paper together to close it.  Tie a long ribbon or string around the gathered paper.  Use the other end of this string to tie the poppers to something high, or just to hold them over your kids if you don’t have anything to hang them from.

New Year's Eve Confetti Poppers

We hung ours outside, mostly so we wouldn’t get confetti all over the house.  Unfortunately, it began to rain just as I tied the last popper on the branch, so we rushed a little more than I expected.  But the poppers achieved their goal:  smiles and giggles.

New Year's Eve Confetti Poppers

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Blustery Day Water Play

Blustery Day Water Play

Some days it’s just too cold and windy and blustery to play outside.

But we needed something to keep busy, and we’d already blown up the small pool the night before when we didn’t realize the sun wouldn’t be showing it’s face today.

So:  water play.

We moved the pool indoors to the dining room.  I filled two large plastic bowls with water, and placed them inside the pool.  Then collected as many measuring cups and spoons and general gadgets (whisks, funnels, mesh strainers) as I could find, and tossed them in the pool, too.

Then, I let the girls have at it.

Blustery Day Water Play

Blustery Day Water Play

Blustery Day Water Play

It was a great way to spend the afternoon.

I had to refill the large bowls a couple of times since most of the water ended up in the bottom of the pool anyway, but that’s the reason I had them wear swimsuits.

I kept towels nearby to clean up spills that splashed onto the dining room floor and also to wrap them in when they’d had enough.  But they spent so much time measuring and scooping and experimenting with the water to make setting it all up more than worthwhile.  We’ll be doing this again.

This activity can also easily be done in the bathtub if you don’t have a little, blow-up or plastic pool.  Or, if it’s a nice day outside, them you can just provide the bowls and tools spread out across the grass or a patio.

Either way, a fun yet educational (and basically free) way to keep your little ones entertained!

Turkey Treasure Buckets

Turkey Treasure Buckets | Great Thanksgiving Activity for Kids!

This November, in the spirit of Thanksgiving and Autumn, one of the projects we did was to make these Turkey Treasure Buckets.

My girls LOVE being outside.

They’d sleep out there if I let them.

Anyway, I wanted a project that would involve nature.  So we made some turkey buckets to collect autumn leaves.

Unfortunately, we don’t have a ton of beautiful, colored leaves where we live in Florida.  Our backyard pretty much has a bunch of brown Live Oak leaves.  And some sticks, and some mulch, and some grass…

So, nature:  yes.  Beautiful fall colors:  not so much.

I feel bad, too, because we we just in Georgia a couple of weeks ago and we collected a ton of fantastically bright fallen leaves.  But I didn’t think to bring any home with us.

So, we improvised.  Used what we had.

And the kids had a blast.

Turkey Treasure Buckets | Great Thanksgiving Activity for Kids!

We started with some copper-colored mini buckets from the bargain section of Target and a handful of clothespins.

We painted the clothespins with a variety of colors and sprinkled sequins over the wet paint to represent the turkey’s feathers.  It was messy, but fun.  My girls love painting.

And we only did one side.  You could do both if you prefer.

I cut a quick face out of construction paper while they were painting, and they helped me glue on the eyes, beaks, and waddel.  Then I hot glued the faces to the buckets.  This was a sure way to keep them securely attached, but with an easy way to remove them later to reuse the buckets for another project.

Then, they clipped on the clothespin “feathers.”

Voila!

Turkey Treasure Buckets | Great Thanksgiving Activity for Kids!

Here’s a picture of my baby searching the backyard for treasures.

The clothes pins are a little heavy, but my girls wanted as many as possible.  You could always use less if the weight is problem for you.

Turkey Treasure Buckets | Great Thanksgiving Activity for Kids!

And here’s one of the buckets, filled with leaves and sticks.

They had so much fun with this.  And they played with the buckets over and over, filling them with all kinds of treasures, including tiny toys.

And I had a blast watching them and helping them seek out fun discoveries in the backyard.  It’s so great to spend some outdoors with my girls.  I’m sooooooo happy that the coolness of fall is finally showing its face in Florida!