Learning About Fingerprints

posted in: Learning | 2

bphotoart-learning-about-fingerprints-I’ve been having fun on our learning ventures lately.  Toby has enjoyed learning about bugs, and exploring empathy, and a host of other things that I haven’t had opportunity to blog about.  But this fingerprint activity was definitely a hit.  And I guess I know why — it is messy!  Well, for your fingers, at least.  Assuming your child knows not to smear the ink everywhere, this fingerprint activity shouldn’t be too much in the clean up department.

So, to learn about fingerprints, I got out our rubber stamp collection.  And some ink pads. If you don’t already have these supplies on hand, here are some ideas to get you started (#afflinks):

Ok, now we’ve got the materials covered.  Let me explain what we did.  If your child is older, and wants to experiment with lifting fingerprints from surfaces, there are a few “at home” tutorials on dusting and collecting fingerprints.  But I decided we’d focus on the concept instead.

Now, you may be wondering why I got out the rubber stamps when fingerprints are the purported subject.  Well, my son doesn’t always like to get messy, so it gave us an entry into my planned activities.  Plus, we could see how applying different amounts of ink and different levels of pressure would impact the final print.

Stamps have more negative space than a fingerprint, so it’s also harder for a toddler to smear the ink into a blurred blob.  I showed Toby how my fingerprint looked in ink — and not surprisingly, it was much clearer than his own attempts (for two reasons).  First, kids have smaller fingers.  And then there’s that smearing/precision factor I just mentioned.

So, while Toby happily dotted his fingerprints all over the paper, we talked about fingerprints.  I kept it simple, going into detail as his interest guided me.  Some things I was prepared to talk about included the following:

  • everyone has their own special fingerprints
  • no two sets of fingerprints are alike (even that of identical twins)
  • animal paw prints (hey, our cats are like family to us)
  • fingerprint ridge patterns: arches, loops, whorls (here’s a PDF about ridge patterns from ScienceSpot.net’s Fingerprinting unit)
  • repeating patterns, variations, etc

We could have ended our learning activity at this point, but since Toby wanted to revisit the next day, I decided to enlarge some fingerprints.  I printed out one the size of a sheet of paper, and then made up a fingerprint “poster” so that we had two options for coloring and even cutting up into a puzzle. Here are the two printables:

fingerprint-printable

Download the “no two fingerprints…” PDF / JPG

fingerprint-printable-large

Download the “fingerprint” PDF / JPG

Toby had lots of fun with this.  If your child is interested, the larger printable would be perfect for examining fingerprint ridge patterns.  You could even use a sheet of tracing paper (or parchment paper) laid over top to practice tracing skills.

Overall, we both enjoyed learning about fingerprints, and Toby even remembered that Zebras can be identified by their stripes, just like fingerprints (thanks to his Zoo Books magazines!).  Now, make sure to take a peek at the images below; click on an image to enter gallery view mode!

 

A-Z STEM SeriesThis post is part of the A-Z STEM Series (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) for Kids.

Throughout January, many wonderful bloggers are working their way through the alphabet of great kids STEM activities perfect for home or school.

These kids STEM activities will be specifically geared for preschool through early elementary ages. Each letter of the alphabet will be represented with a different STEM activity for science, technology, engineering, and math.

By the end of the month, you will have an amazing resource to use with your students and/or children!

Learning About Bugs

posted in: Learning | 2

Learning About BugsToby has been itching to use his science kit (received as a gift from one of his creative aunts!).  So I thought a good way to kick things off would be to learn about bugs! No, not real bugs (like when we captured a praying mantis, or when we observed butterflies, or even like our outdoor photo scavenger hunt.

No, this activity would be indoors (it’s winter here), and with preserved specimens. I was actually excited for Toby to start examining the bugs, as my father spent his childhood years collecting and preserving many different insects, and as a child, I loved looking at all the different bugs that had been carefully captured, labeled, and mounted on pin heads.

Science Kit Components

The science kit included the following (#afflinks), and will be the perfect compliment to the critter house #afflink that we got Toby!

Other things we might add to the box?

I’m going to let pictures tell most of the story.  But, in short, I let my toddler lead this open-ended activity.

What did we do to learn about bugs?

Look at bugs up close.  

We looked at the bugs under a magnifying glass, examining their eyes, legs, and bodies. Toby noticed that some bugs had larger eyes than others, so we talked about the reasons for that, given the nature of the particular bug.

Shine lights through the bugs.

Some of the bugs had translucent parts, while others did not. Toby liked looking at the wings, and the tiny hairs that some of the bugs had on their bodies.

Stack and count the “bug blocks.”

What toddler wouldn’t want to play with the acrylic blocks as a building toy?  Toby had fun organizing them and counting… we have been working on addition skills lately so we did some simple math problems (i.e.  3 bugs + 4 bugs = 7 bugs).

Trace outlines of bugs onto paper.

While we both enjoyed this part of our activity, Toby asked me to trace at least one bug’s shadow, since his fine motor skills aren’t quite as good as mine.  But he enjoyed practicing.

Examine bug anatomy.

We discussed the anatomy of a bug, complete with diagrams and arrows, conveniently added to the bug outlines we’d made earlier.  I kept the anatomy simple, but we could have gone into more detail if Toby’s interest hadn’t waned: abdomen, thorax, and head.

Make a bug puzzle.

This activity went on the back burner for another day, but there are plenty of bug coloring pages out there on the internet — I’d planned to print one out and make a puzzle like the puzzle we made of Martin Luther and his wife.

See how we learned about bugs…

And no, the photo gallery I promised you. Toby had a great time, and was perhaps a little too entralled with his flashlight. That being said, the photos will give you a better idea of how we did the activities mentioned above.

Click on any image below to enter gallery view mode.

 

A-Z STEM SeriesThis post is part of the A-Z STEM Series (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) for Kids.

Throughout January, many wonderful bloggers are working their way through the alphabet of great kids STEM activities perfect for home or school.

These kids STEM activities will be specifically geared for preschool through early elementary ages. Each letter of the alphabet will be represented with a different STEM activity for science, technology, engineering, and math.

By the end of the month, you will have an amazing resource to use with your students and/or children!

Make a Yearly Time Capsule

posted in: Parenting | 6

Make a Yearly Time CapsuleAs we were relaxing after a whirlwind spree of Christmas celebrations, I started thinking ahead towards the new year.  As adults, we often make resolutions and promises to ourselves, but how could that concept be reinterpreted for kids?  It reminded me of a scene in one of the Berenstain Bears books , where Sister Bear gets to compare her drawings and handwriting from when she was 5 and 6 years old — to help her see how far she’s come (The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Birthday #afflink).

And then it hit me — we could make a yearly time capsule for the boys to fill each year after Christmas!  The capsule could be stored away with all our holiday decorations, so I wouldn’t need to remember where it got stashed… and have the bonus of being brought out every year since we always get our house decorated to some extent (some years more than others).

So, I found a cute tea tin that we’d received a present in, and had Toby decorate a panel of paper with Dot a Dot markers #afflink.  The markers were one of Toby’s gifts from Christmas.  I have to say, these are the greatest things ever.  The fun of paint, without the prep work, mess, or cleanup.  Toby had fun putting dots all over the paper.  Meanwhile, I cut out a family photo of us.

We then used a glue stick to coat the backs of both items, and fastened them to the tin can.  Toby ran around the house with our time capsule excitedly for a few minutes; then it was my turn to write “time capsule” on the side.

After that, we filled the capsule with a variety of items:

  • Zack’s baby stats
  • Toby’s favorite things and “interview questions” that were included in our Christmas card
  • outlines of the boys’ hands
  • a family photo
  • pictures of the boys
  • favorite presents we each received
  • favorite presents we each gave
  • favorite thing we ate over the holidays
  • Toby’s artwork

Toby wanted to put a toy in the capsule too, but once I explained he wouldn’t be able to use it until next year, he decided against that.

bphotoart-yearly-time-capsule-2

We had a lot of fun filling this yearly time capsule, and I envision it becoming a treasured family tradition.  Maybe I’ll even document or scrapbook the contents each year… who knows?

Have you ever made a time capsule?  What were the most popular items you put inside?  What would you put inside a yearly time capsule?  I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

A Train Ride to See Santa

posted in: Local | 0

A Train Ride to See Santa on the Southern Michigan RailroadSince my toddler LOVES trains, and because this year he was old enough to fully appreciate Santa, I went online searching for something akin to Santa train rides (or a Polar Express experience).  I discovered that in Owosso, Michigan, you can buy tickets to ride on the actual Polar Express train — the Pere Marquette 1225 — through the Steam Railroading Institute.  The tickets include a stop at the North Pole, and a visit with Santa… and apparently the event sells out quickly.  The only thing left, when I got to their booking site, was the caboose — which is for 12 people, and could be rented out for $1500.  Not exactly what we were looking for… at least not this year, right?

So I finally found a (more local) alternative.  The Southern Michigan Railroad offers Santa train rides in Clinton, Michigan!  There were tickets available, both in coach and in the caboose (it costed about $40 for the three of us – baby was free).  The 30 minute train ride started and ended at the Clinton Station; and after the ride you could visit Santa inside said station.

The Santa train ride, believe it or not, was perfect for us this year.  Toby is nuts about trains, but the 30 minute train ride was just the right length.  Anything longer and he would’ve been jumping out of his seat; someone was antsy to see Santa.  We reserved seats in the caboose, but due to logistics, on the day of our ride, we did end up sitting in coach.  No matter, the ticket price was the same.

When the train arrived back at the station, everyone piled out and raced to the train station to see Santa.  Toby loved every minute of it.  He was actually so enthralled with the model trains inside the station that he ended up telling Santa he wanted a train (another one, hah) for Christmas.  Go figure.  Zack happily joined his big brother with Santa for a photo op — we did have to pry that long beard out of some baby fingers afterwards!

Here are some pictures from our train ride to see Santa; enjoy!  Click on an image to open in gallery view mode.

The whole Santa experience has been interesting for us this year.  We also saw Santa at the country club.  And when making plans for dinner that night, we were a little unsure how to proceed (that whole “two Santas” thing).  Fortunately, we’d read The Berenstain Bears Meet Santa Bear #afflink, which tactfully addresses why there are Santa bears in all the malls, how Santa can visit houses without chimneys, or travel without snow.

And when the boys get to the age where they begin to question the magic of Santa… I just found the perfect response: How to Ensure You Don’t Botch the “Is Santa Real?” Conversation.  Seriously. Read that post.  It is magical.  And so sweet.  And is the perfect way to focus on the giving, sharing, joyful aspects of Christmas rather than the “let down” of a shattered dream about Santa.  I’m not sure how my parents handled the Santa conversation; frankly, I don’t remember.  But Santa was only an accessory to Christmas for me, growing up.

And that’s how we want things to be around here for our boys.  Yes, Santa is great.  I want them to experience the magic of Santa… the joy of setting out cookies for Santa and carrots for the reindeer.  But Santa has his place.  He’s not the main reason for Christmas, but a symbol of selfless giving.  I don’t want Santa to get the credit for the best gifts!  (yes, I’m selfish that way, lol).  So we’ve relegated Santa’s offerings to the stockings… and one or two gifts to be placed under the tree in the wee hours of Christmas morning.

How do you celebrate Christmas?  Do you acknowledge Santa’s “existence” or do you fill your kids in on the real deal?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Make a Photo Frame Ornament with Crayons!

posted in: Notes | 3

Make a Photo Frame Ornament With Crayons!

For my son’s preschool holiday party, I offered to make ornaments for the kids.  I’d been planning on making some sort of photo ornament, but when I saw a crayon ornament on Pinterest, I was inspired.  My variation might not work as well for a school photo due to the triangular shape, but I really like how it turned out.

The crayons perfectly frame the picture, and I even found a creative way to include a slot for threading ribbon.

Materials Needed (#afflinks):

The first thing you’ll want to do is print out your photo.  Or find a photo that you are willing to cut up.  We had this one on the computer, and I was (unfortunately) out of color ink the day we made this craft.  That’s why I did a black and white photo… but I actually like how it turned out!  If your crayons are “standard” sized, then you should be able to use a 3.5×5 photo to make your ornament.

Next, you’ll need to select three crayons for the project.  I made a number of these (one for each child in Toby’s class), and can attest that they look best with 3 different colors… or with three of the same color.

Lay out your three crayons in a triangle shape on your cardboard.  You’ll probably want to use a pen (or crayon, whatever’s easiest) to sketch out the equilateral triangle.

Then cut out the triangle.  Check and see how the crayons will fit (note that I made my triangle sides go from the butt end of the crayon to the edge of the paper near the tip.  The last part of this step is to cut off the end of one corner — this is where you’ll thread the ribbon later.

Now it’s time to assemble your ornament.  Using your hot glue gun, run a bead of glue along one of the triangle’s edges, then put the crayon in place.  Repeat this for the remaining sides, making sure that two of the crayons’ pointy ends will meet where you cut off the corner of the triangle.  Although, they don’t have to meet perfectly.

Now, flip over the ornament, and add a blob of glue anywhere that needs reinforcing (I did the “bottom” two corners).  Then, take a little strip of cardboard and cut it to a little less than an inch.  This will go at the top of the ornament, ensuring your ribbon has someplace secure to hang.  After a dry fit, put two dabs of glue on the cardboard and then put into place.

On the back (non-photo) side, I used metallic markers to write my son’s name and the year.

Cut a piece of ribbon, thread it through, and tie a knot… then you’re done!

Honestly, the longest part of this project was designing it.  Once I knew how to do it, these crayon ornaments were easy to make!

Nite Lights – Christmas Light Show

posted in: Local | 2

Nite Lites at the Jackson County FairgroundsJust a week or so ago, I learned about Nite Lites at the Jackson County Fairgrounds, one of the largest Christmas light shows in all of Michigan.  I was elated, and told my husband we had to go.  He agreed.

You see, both of us remember going to Domino’s Farms in Ann Arbor to see the Christmas light show.  It was an event; my parents and my brother, along with my grandparents, would all pile in the car for a driving tour of the elaborate light displays.  I think my favorite part was the “tunnel” of lights.  And since that light show had been discontinued years ago, it hadn’t crossed our minds.  That is, until a local parent told me about Nite Lites.

Nite Lites is a 2 mile long car ride through an elaborate light show, complete with train rides, games for kids, the option to see Santa, and more.  It draws around 37,000 people annually — how did we not know about this?  I feel like we’ve been hiding under a rock or something.

Anyways, we took the boys out for our annual Christmas dinner (dubbed as such because we give the waitress an especially nice tip), and then headed to see the light show.

When we arrived, the line of cars waiting was about a mile long, and we spent a number of minutes inching forward while Toby was practically jumping out of his seat in excitement.

Once we were inside the fairgrounds, Toby was allowed out of his carseat, and he rode shotgun with me for the light show.  Toby was brimming with excitement as he peered through the front windshield, craning his neck to count the big candles by the “official” entrance.

As we passed each item of interest, Toby would declare, “that’s my favorite too!”  He liked the semi truck, the train bearing presents, Rudolph bowling (complete with animation), to name a few.  It really brought back the magic of Christmas for me, that feeling of excitement and childhood wonder.  I’m so glad we were able to let Toby experience the same thrill of seeing such elaborate Christmas light displays.  Zack slept through the light show, of course, but no matter.  This will definitely be an experience that we repeat in the years to come.  Nite Lites met and surpassed our expectations!

While nothing compares to the actual experience of driving through a light show, I figured you might enjoy seeing a few smartphone captures from our drive.

Last share from the light display…a video!

A video posted by Betsy Finn {BPhotoArt.com} (@bphotoart_com) on

If you want to visit Nite Lites 2014, there is still time!!  The Christmas light show (which went up November 27th) runs until December 30th at the Jackson County Fairgrounds — every evening, 5:30 – 9:00 pm.   It costs $15 per vehicle, or $30 per bus.  So bring the family!

Why you shouldn’t wrap your kid in Christmas lights for photos

posted in: Parenting | 11

Don't wrap your kid in Christmas lights for photos ...why? lead exposure!Around this time of year, it’s inevitable that I see photos of kids happily decked out in Christmas lights.  Hey, I know I helped trim the tree when I was young!  But there’s a difference between helping put the lights on the tree and deliberately wrapping a kid in Christmas lights.  And either way, there may be a hidden danger that has flown under your radar.

Lead exposure.  

Most Christmas lights come bearing California’s Prop 65 warning, which alerts consumers that the products may be carcinogenic and cause birth defects (lead is used in the plastic coating that insulates the wires of Christmas lights).  Jeanne Roberts of Greenhome.com writes:

 Lighting manufacturers readily admit there is lead in the PVC (polyvinyl chloride) used to insulate holiday lights from contact with water, or to prevent exposed wires which could cause a fire or electrocution … Over time, in the presence of sunlight and heat, the PVC portion of blinds, toys and light strings deteriorates, releasing lead as a form of “dust” indistinguishable from ordinary household dust. [Read more]

In a 2010 USA today article about avoiding a toxic Christmas, three sources of concern are Christmas lights, artificial trees, and candles. The article also discusses ways to minimize exposure.  But as was noted by pediatrician Philip Landrigan (Mount Sinai School of Medicine, NY):

…lead-based paint in windows is a far greater source of lead poisoning than individiual [sic] consumer products, especially ones such as Christmas decorations, which are used for only a few weeks a year.

When used normally, your child will likely have minimal exposure to lead.  After all, the Christmas lights are meant to be wrapped around the tree, not to be used as a toy.  Christmas lights aren’t something that your child should be touching for any extended length of time, and certainly not something to be played with or wrapped around a child’s body.

So it shouldn’t really be a problem.  That is, unless you are considering taking it upon yourself to duplicate those “adorable” kid wrapped in Christmas light photos.

And, lead exposure aside, why mess with electricity?  We spend so much time teaching our kids not to play with outlets, how it’s unsafe, yada yada yada… but in the pursuit of “the perfect Christmas picture” we fling common sense to the wind?  Yes, unfortunately, sometimes life does work that way.

Just like taking portraits on train tracks is a bad idea… it’s a bad idea to risk lead exposure for the sake of a cute photo.

But please ….please… now that you know, please don’t go wrapping your kids in Christmas lights any more.

Some further articles on the topic.

Cocoa Salt Dough Ornaments

posted in: Parenting | 1

bphotoart-cocoa-ornaments-Toby was excited to make salt dough ornaments again this year (last year we made gluten-free ornaments during a playdate).  After our Polar Express hot cocoa activity, Toby was ready to write off cocoa powder as being “yuck” …so I decided we would scrap the entry level stuff and just save our Godiva hot cocoa powder #afflink for any future ingestion.

So, what to do with several cups’ worth of cocoa powder no one in our house enjoys?  I suppose I could’ve given it away, but we decided to try our hand at making cocoa powder ornaments.  This is an adaptation of a salt dough recipe I’ve used before.

Cocoa Salt Dough Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. cocoa powder
  • 1 1/3 c. flour
  • 2/3 c. salt
  • 1 c. water

Directions:

  • Combine all dry ingredients, mix well.  Add water; blend until well combined.
  • Roll out onto flat surface and cut into shapes with cookie cutters.  Transfer to baking sheet.
  • Poke holes for hanging with the end of a chopstick.
  • Bake at 275 F for 30-60 minutes per side, or until dried.
  • Minimize cracking by leaving the ornaments in oven to cool.

So, there you have it.  These ornaments have held up pretty well so far.  I’d say they’re a bit brittle, but maybe that’s just because Toby dropped several on the wood floor and they broke.  Can’t expect them to be unbreakable, right?

You can either thread ribbon through the holes or just use the metal hangers… your choice!  We hung them on the tree with our popcorn garland!

Click on any image to enter gallery view mode.

Making a Popcorn Garland – 5 eco-friendly tree trimming ideas

posted in: Notes | 0

Making a Popcorn Garland: 5 eco-friendly tree trimming ideasWhen it comes to decorating our Christmas tree, I’m all for making it simple and easy these days. I grew up with a show-stopping, light laden tree, trimmed to all get out. Sometimes it would take my dad a week to put all the lights on — when finished, every single branch would be individually wrapped in strands of Christmas tree lights. And the ornaments would follow suit. Sometimes the tree was almost blinding! Very pretty, but a lot of work.

So for our own tree, we’ve gravitated towards simplicity. Each year, we’ve done fewer and fewer strands of lights, until this year we found the perfect number – two. Two strands of lights… no double digits. No hours spent working with lights. Just a simple spiral around the interior of the tree’s branches. Add a home-strung popcorn garland, and then it was time for the ornaments. We went simple on the ornaments, putting up less than one of our two boxes. Toby was so excited to help hang ornaments this year; I had a box of non-breakable ornaments for him to work from while we hung the breakable ones higher up. He was thrilled. Our tree may be a little unevenly laden with decorations, but that’s part of its charm.

I’ll talk about my five eco-friendly tree trimming tips in a minute, but first let me share our popcorn garland experience. As we did when making popcorn bars, we used the Stir Crazy Popcorn Popper #afflink — but didn’t add any butter, of course. No one wants a greasy popcorn garland.  The popcorn was made, then spread on cookie sheets to cool.  We then got out some lengths of thread and needles… and started stringing popcorn.

Initially, I’d planned to do the traditional cranberry popcorn garland for outdoors, but then I thought, why not string the popcorn only, and put it on the Christmas tree?  We’ll still put the garland outdoors, after Christmas day has come and gone… when the tree goes outside.  So the birds will still be getting a feast.  But this way we can enjoy the results of our hard work too.

Toby was very diligent about doing this project, even though it was probably a little “old” for him.  He poked his finger with the needle a few times, but not enough to draw blood.  He threaded most of a 3 foot strand himself, while I made a 15 foot strand with Steven’s help.  Note to the wise — you can make a few shorter strands, line them up on the tree, and it will look like one continuous popcorn garland.  No need to make extra work by dealing with an extra-long tangled thread.

Click on any image to enter gallery view mode.

Now that you’ve seen our project… I’ll share the finished tree pictures with you.  But first, those 5 eco-friendly tree trimming tips.

  1. Make a popcorn garland to trim the tree.
  2. Reuse old ornaments.
  3. Cut down on the number of light strands.
  4. Get an on/off switch for your tree lights so you can save energy more easily. They even have switches that look like ornaments #afflink
  5. Let your tree do double duty by putting it out in the backyard for the wildlife after Christmas

I know these aren’t mind blowing tips, but they are pretty simple — and easy to do.  And the easier something is, the more likely you can incorporate it into your routine.

And now for a sampling of our Christmas decorations. Click on any image to enter gallery view mode.

 

What about you?  How do you trim your tree?  I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

365 Days of Light Play Challenge for 2015

posted in: Notes | 0

365 Day Light Play Challenge - BPhotoArt.comWhen I was invited to co-host the 2015 365 Day Light Play Challenge, I was really excited. As you know, photography is the capture of light. Without light, there would be no photographs. My manipulation of light is what makes an image unique.

And this 365 Day challenge is just that. Manipulation and experimentation with light through play. While I know 2015 is a ways off still, I’m excited about being able to start documenting light play through photographs (probably on Instagram).  And if you’re reading this and thinking, “wow, a photo a day, that is intense!” Don’t worry.  This challenge isn’t a by the book kind of thing.  It’s more about committing to a year of light play — if you do it several times a week instead of daily, no big deal.  Or, if you just want to follow along and see what everyone is doing for the light play challenge, you can do that too.

To participate, just share your photos with these hashtags: #LightPlayChallenge or #ULTG (Ultimate Light Table Guide).

But, what exactly counts as light play?  Well, if you can relate it to light, I bet it counts.  Light play can be:

  • Light table / Light box play
  • Overhead Projector play
  • Glow in the dark play
  • Black Light Play
  • Natural Light Play
  • Light and Mirror Play

As I mentioned before, feel free to participate as you are able, or just observe from the sidelines – there is no wrong way to do this light play challenge.You can start early, or join in the fun after January 1st.

What about the photos?  There are no requirements.. They do not have to be complex or difficult. Just a snapshot of anything you and your kids are doing that pertains to light play somehow; the photo can be new or old…. you get the idea?  Anything goes!  Plus, in December 2015 there will be a contest to end the challenge and bring in 2016.  How exciting is that?

Be sure to visit my fabulous co-hosts:

If you have a blog, you can grab the button!

365 Day Light Play Challenge

 

Join the board to post your light play photos. Email lighttableguide@gmail.com to be added to the board. No blog necessary, just a Pinterest account and your daily light play challenge photos!  Old or new light play photos welcome in this challenge!

There are hundreds of examples on the board linked below.

Follow Kristen (Caution! Twins at Play)’s board Light Tables, Light Boxes, Light Panels & Light Play on Pinterest.

Teaching Kids to Use Words …Not Actions

posted in: Parenting | 2

I’ve heard it said that kids express their feelings through actions.  Actions are their words when they don’t know how to express themselves.  It seems like every child goes through a stage of using their body to communicate rather than their words.  But that doesn’t mean it’s easy, or fun, for parents!

Teaching Kids to Use Words... Not Actions.  Ideas for helping kids communicate verbally instead of physically.Some examples?

  • baby is crying — it hurts toddler’s ears.  Toddler hits baby because baby is “being mean.”
  • cat steals toddler’s toys — toddler is upset and swats at cat to grab the toy back.
  • mom is busy on phone — toddler wants attention, hits or pushes mom.
  • toddler gets pushed by another toddler — both are upset, and start hitting.
  • toddler doesn’t like that an older kid is doing something “wrong” — goes to hit bigger kid for “not listening.”

So, how can we teach kids to use their words instead of getting physical?  Is it really that simple?

Sometimes it’s not.

Kids hit and become physical for a variety of reasons.  Sometimes it’s due to sensory overload, and an inability to process things because of the environment around them.  Other times, strong emotions can dominate their mind, and it’s tough to not act in the moment.

Physical communication can also be a cry for attention.  An attempt to communicate feelings of sadness, rejection, loneliness.  Other times, it may be a planned way to get attention.

Because sometimes, any attention is better than no attention.  But that doesn’t solve our problem, does it?  As we grapple with understanding the “why” behind physical communication, it’s not like we can put our response, our discipline and correction, on hold.  Toddlers who communicate physically need to be redirected.  They need help verbalizing their feelings, and learning that there are other, more appropriate ways to respond to something that frustrates them or makes them feel bad.

When a child reacts physically, it can be tempting for a parent to respond forcefully and angrily.  Especially if the action seems to be done out of malice.  But sometimes it does more good to understand the root of the problem.  Sometimes it helps to say, “come here, let me hold you while we talk this through.”  Or, maybe suggest: “if you need my attention, a better way to get it would be to use your words.”

When my son uses his body to communicate instead of his words, I do my best to talk things through with him.  If another child, or an animal, is being hurt, a stern initial reaction may be necessary.  But then, it’s time to focus in on the motivation, the trigger for the outburst.

Instead of honing in on how it is mean to do ______, perhaps the better approach is to ask, “what were you feeling when you did ______?”  If the child evades giving an answer, perhaps the emotion is not describable.  Maybe suggesting emotions could help.  “Are you sad, angry, lonely, upset, hurt….”  It’s amazing how helpful it can be to give words to a child so that their emotions can be communicated.

Once the emotional motivation is understood, then alternate actions can be taught.  “Instead of hitting back, next time use your words to say, ‘please stop.’  Or walk away.  Or find an adult.”  If a child is really in need of a physical outlet, then perhaps it would be good to provide an example of when such physical behavior is appropriate.  “We don’t hit people.  We hit balls with bats, we hit nails with hammers.”

Consistent reinforcement of what is inappropriate physically, as well as what an appropriate response might be, …well, it may take time for you to see results.  But don’t just focus in on the negative behavior.  Make sure to reinforce the positive communication, both verbal and physical.  “I see you are being so sweet to your baby sister, thank you for making her giggle, and for hugging her gently.”

But sometimes, kids get physical for a simpler reason. They have too much energy pent up — and need to blow off some steam.  Maybe a daily rough-housing session with mom or dad could use up some of that energy.  Or a fun time spent outside running after a soccer ball.  By finding appropriate ways to “get physical,” kids often become more self-controlled in situations where physical communication isn’t warranted.

What advice, ideas, or tips do you have for helping kids deal with their emotions and learn to communicate with their words?

Custom Picture Puzzle

posted in: Notes | 17

Custom Picture Puzzle - BPhotoArt.comaMy son is a puzzle fiend.  He delights in putting together puzzles, and has gotten pretty good at it.  We’ve long since moved on from the basic wooden puzzles… and regularly tackle puzzles with 20+ pieces.

But this custom picture puzzle has become one of his new favorites.  And that’s because the subjects of the puzzle are near and dear to us.  Let’s just say, when I got the opportunity to review a custom picture puzzle, I was pretty sure it would go over well.

After ordering the puzzle, we had to wait for it to arrive by mail.  The day it came, I handed it to Toby, who had an afternoon playdate with one of his grandmas.  He was so excited when he saw the picture of him with his daddy and brother on the box lid.  I opened the box and explained it was a puzzle of them — and Toby was rearing to go.

Toby delightedly chattered about finding “Daddy’s eye” …”Zack’s face”… and the like.  As the puzzle pieces were put into place, he was visibly beaming from ear to ear.

I will say, after ordering this, I was slightly concerned that some of the pieces might be difficult, given the restricted color scheme of the picture I chose to turn into the puzzle.  But, my toddler was not to be underestimated, and there were no problems whatsoever.

Quality-wise, the custom picture puzzle was nice.  We received the cardboard version, but there was an option to upgrade to a wooden puzzle too.  When ordering, you can alter the puzzle difficulty level by determining how many pieces it should be.  I should note that the photo on the front was not as true to color, photographically speaking, as the image on the puzzle pieces themselves.

To learn more, visit Piczzle Picture Puzzle (Piczzle on Facebook or Piczzle on YouTube).

Raising Kids Who Love Music

posted in: Parenting | 6

bphotoart-tips-raising-kids-love-musicI grew up surrounded by music.  My mother was (and is) a professional flutist, my father has played the French horn regularly since he was a boy.  Love of music runs deep.  My paternal grandmother was an organist; in first grade I convinced her to give me piano lessons.  I continued piano through my school years, and still play occasionally today on the upright piano I inherited from my grandparents.  I also played flute, then switched to oboe so I could be “different” than my mom.  Needless to say, Toby has a keen interest in music.  He loves to sit at my piano with “his” music book and play the keys.  We have a variety of musical instruments for toddlers that make a joyful noise throughout house on some days.  And then there are the tunes we listen to regularly.

We have a special car ride CD, one that Toby calls his “special songs” (Songs for Saplings tunes). And then there are the typical nursery rhymes and childhood songs that every child loves.  More recently, I had the pleasure of singing “99 bottles of [beer, er…] milk on the wall” to my boys to keep them calm while driving.  Music is a part of our lives.   And with the digital era, I’m ashamed to say we don’t really even have a CD player anymore.  Ok, that’s not true. Our computers have CD-rom drives.  And we have a stereo system gathering dust somewhere.  But smartphones are just easier.  Load the mp3s onto the SD card, and you’re good to go.  Or if you prefer, you can play streaming music.  Either option is so much easier than CDs.

What tips do I have for raising kids who love music?  Well, I can only speak from my own experience, but here are three thoughts on music from my childhood:

  • Incorporate music into your everyday tasks — my grandmother would whistle while she worked.  I loved to listen to her, and now do this myself (though sometimes I hum).  I will sing while doing dishes and other chores around the house — it takes my mind off the drudgery and helps me to focus.  I’ve noticed my toddler does the same; sometimes I will hear him singing to himself as he plays.
  • Sing their own song to them — my mother made up special songs for me as a child, songs which I can still sing today.  I treasure those memories of my childhood, lying in bed with the lights out, listening while she would sing.  I carried this tradition on with my own boys, and have composed my own song for them.  It’s not written down anywhere, so I should probably write it down at some point, but my toddler knows it and it is a familiar song he loves.
  • Regular music lessons build character — yes, most people have either good or terrible memories of their music lessons.  But more often than not, I hear the regret “I wish my parents had made me stick with it.”  I don’t really ever hear the other regret.  I had times when I wasn’t thankful about lessons, but overall, I’m glad I stuck with it.  Lessons teach the concept of “practice makes perfect,” stick-to-it-ness, and some other desirable character traits.

Here are some resources for you that relate to music.  As usual, all links will open in a new window for your convenience.

Do you have any family traditions when it comes to music?  Or maybe some fun activities that you love to do with your kids?  I’m always interested to hear how other parents are doing things.  Share in the comments below!

Teaching Empathy Through Happy Heart Kid Crafts

posted in: Parenting | 6

I’ve been loving activities that cultivate empathy, compassion, and understanding.  Last year around the holidays, Toby chose toys to give to “sad kids” (compassion).  Last month, we explored the concept of diversity with a book and rainbow popsicle activity.  And most recently, we got to try out the Empathy box from Happy Heart Kid.

The kit contained a number of different crafts and activities:

  • Flowers (to give to others)
  • Empathy Placard
  • “Feeling” Faces
  • Coloring Book

I handed Toby the unopened box and let him have at it (while documenting in pictures, of course).  He was excited to unpack the box, and checked out each of the activities as he placed them on the table.  I loved that all the crafts were compartmentalized in plastic bags, so that the parts didn’t get mixed up.  Ok, well, the crayons weren’t.  But all the small bits and pieces.

After checking out all the options available to him, Toby decided to make the flowers first.  I was in charge of reading the directions while he got out all the craft supplies.  As he made the flowers, I followed the conversation guidelines mentioned in the activity booklet.  We talked about how giving people flowers can make them feel better, and I mentioned some times in the past that I had received flowers or when they might be given:

  • “Just because” – from Daddy to Mommy
  • “Get well soon” – to people who are sick, like the people to whom we deliver meals
  • “Congratulations” – to celebrate the arrival of a new baby like Zack

Since the craft included enough materials to make three flowers, Toby decided to give flowers to three people (instead of the whole bouquet being given to one person — spread the joy, right?).  First, he wanted to give one to “the sick mama” that we delivered a meal to several weeks ago.  It took me a few minutes to figure out who Toby was talking about, but I thought it was so sweet that he remembered her, and was being empathetic!  Next, he decided he would give one to Grandma… and since he has two grandmas, that filled our quota of three flowers.

We then briefly explored another craft — feeling faces.  Toby enthusiastically stuck eye stickers to all of the faces, and we talked about different emotions associated with specific events, but he was hesitant to put mouths and noses on the faces because he didn’t like the texture of the included clay.  Ever the problem solver, Toby ran to the playroom and returned with his own modeling clay.  Smiling and frowning faces were then created, with nose that then turned into a tooth.  Don’t you love how creative and adaptable kids are?

Over the next few days, Toby diligently reminded me that we needed to deliver his flowers to the “sick mama” and his grandmas… because “that will make them so happy!”

5 Tips for Taking Pictures of Your Child in the Swimming Pool

posted in: Photography | 4

Water is an inherently “tricky” thing to photograph.  While I’m not going to get into the science of things, I figured I could share some tips with you for taking pictures of your kids when they are swimming pool.  The images you can get will depend on the camera, the available light, and how far away you are.

5 Tips for Taking Pictures of Your Child in the Swimming Pool - Betsy's Photography - PhotoArt.comToby has been taking lessons at Goldfish Swim School for quite some time.  I’m frankly not quite sure when we started, but I know he has progressed through the various classes and loves every minute of his swim lessons.

The facility is very nice, with numerous windows around the indoor pool, so you have a lot of ambient light.  This is *great* for taking pictures of your child in the swimming pool.  Every so often, I will take some pictures to document his progress — for that memory book I’ll eventually get around to making once I decide what format will be best (Wildflower Ramblings has a nice series on keeping and recording memories).

That being said — you have to get the pictures first.  So here are my tips, which I’ll keep simple and sweet.

1. Don’t use a flash if you can help it.

You heard me.  Water is so reflective that your flash will illuminate all the water droplets in the air as your child swims; the flash will reflect off the water’s surface too.  If you’re trying to capture something underwater, it will not be visible at all.  So, if you have the luxury of a well-illuminated pool like ours, or an outdoor pool on a bright day — don’t use the flash.  If you can’t get a photo without flash because the pool is too dark, well, then cut your losses.  Use your camera’s low light setting, or turn off the flash and see how it turns out.  If that doesn’t work, let the flash do its job.  Take the photo, deal with the flash being present in your image… and don’t worry about it.  Something is better than nothing.

2. Use “Fast” or “Action” settings on your camera.

If your camera has some sort of action setting, this may do the trick.  Basically it will have your camera take the picture more quickly (it uses a faster shutter speed to eliminate blur, to get technical).  These settings usually have the flash automatically turned off, so you won’t have to worry about that.

3. Use a higher ISO (“film speed”) or low-light scene mode on your camera.

Sometimes low light settings will work too — they typically sacrifice detail, but if you’re okay with a “grainy” photo, then have at it.  How good will it look?  Well, this depends on your camera.  As digital technology has improved, cameras have gotten better at capturing details in low light.  So you may find this works …or if you have a low-end camera, it may not be up to par.  You’ll have to experiment.

Swimming

4. Closer is better; get close.

The closer you are, the better.  Now, during my son’s lesson, we parents have to sit in the “observation deck” — depending on where my son is in the lane, I’ll be 10-30 feet away from him.  So I’ll usually wait until they come to the near end of the lane for any pictures I want to take.  If you’re taking videos, it can be fun to document the whole “down and back” swim, but this doesn’t really translate to still photos.

 

5. Don’t forget about taking pictures when your child is *not* swimming.

While he waits his turn, it’s amusing to watch my son’s antics.  I’ve taken some adorable pictures of him at the edge of the pool.  Goggle-eyed grins are priceless.  As are photos on “graduation day” …or whenever your swimmer accomplishes something new for the first time.  Toby gets ribbons from time to time for learning a new skill, and there is nothing more adorable than having a picture of him holding that ribbon, just out of the pool.

Swimming

So, there you have it!  A short and sweet list of tips for taking pictures of your child in the swimming pool.  I probably should’ve added a sixth item — don’t get your camera wet!!!  But hopefully that’s a given, right?

Do you have any other great tips for taking pictures of kids at the pool, or while swimming?  I’d love to hear them.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Dip

posted in: Notes | 0

Peanut Butter + Jelly Dip Recipe - BPhotoArt.comThe other day, Toby was really interested in having a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for snack.  Yes, for snack.  A quick look in our breadbox nixed that plan — we had no bread.  So, I offered peanut butter and apple slices instead.  Well, as you know, toddlers can be quite persistent, so we ended up compromising with peanut butter and jelly on apple slices.

To make it easier to eat, I put the peanut butter in a little bowl, followed by some homemade apple butter.  Toby proceeded to stir the two until well combined.  He then happily dipped his apple slices into the peanut butter jelly dip, thoroughly pleased with our concoction.

Here’s the recipe we ended up with.  Feel free to swap out the peanut butter for another nut butter, or even sunflower seed butter, if you have allergy concerns.

Ingredients:

  • 2 T. peanut butter
  • 2 T. homemade apple butter (or jelly)

Directions:

  • Combine peanut butter and apple butter in bowl; mix until well combined.
  • Enjoy with apple slices, crackers, or whatever your toddler wants to experiment with so far as pairings go.

Initially, I wasn’t really sure that that peanut butter and jelly dip would be a hit, but it was well received.  Here’s a picture of my happy food tester with an apple wedge and his peanut butter jelly dip:

Peanut Butter + Jelly Dip Recipe - BPhotoArt.com

Has your child invented any recipes?  I’d love to hear what wild and crazy concoctions are appealing to other kids.  I know mine has been putting mustard on everything from rice to veggies lately.

Gift Guide: Arts and Crafts for Kids

posted in: Parenting | 0

If you have a kid who loves arts and crafts, sometimes it can seem daunting to find just the right gift.  There are so many creative options out there these days, and it’s sometimes tough to get a feel for what your kid might really enjoy.  To that end, I’ve put together a gift guide of arts and crafts for kids.  I’ll cover some things you can buy locally or online, supplies you may want to stock up on, and finally how to make your own arts and crafts box for hours of imaginative crafting.

Note that all links will open in new windows for your convenience (most are Amazon affiliate links).

Arts and Crafts Products You Can Buy

Although I’m a fan of repurposing things around the home for arts and crafts, there are some things I’ve found worth purchasing.  I’m sure there are more things I’ve acquired for my toddler’s arts and crafts time… but these should get you started so far as items I consider essential for our home for when my little Van Gogh wants to go to town.  All the product #afflinks below will open in new windows for your convenience.

Gift Guide: Arts and Crafts for Kids ...plus 50 Items to include in your arts + crafts bin! - BPhotoArt.comCraft Supplies – various craft supplies that are geared towards kids are often fun.  Here are some suggestions of things we use (that still allow for open-ended creating:

Craft Kits – sometimes kids like to work by the book, so to speak.  And that’s when a kit comes in handy.  Here are some kits that I think are pretty neat:

Art Travel Easel – we gave this to my son last year as a gift, and it has seen much use.  The portable art kit has two drawers for art supplies, a white board, a chalk board, and props open for use as a table-top easel.  It can also be used as a lap desk.

Learning Tower – this is a must; we do a lot of our crafting in the kitchen and I love how the learning tower allows my son to stand and work at the counter with me.  The railing keeps him secure, and he can climb up and down as needed; my toddler can even slide this around the kitchen to get supplies since I put felt pads on the bottom of the learning tower.

learning-tower-amazon #afflink

Art Easel – We were gifted an art easel similar to this one when my oldest son was not quite big enough to use it.  I love the dual sided nature of the easel, the holder for a roll of art paper, and the fact that the easel can be made taller as your kids get bigger.  We ended up storing bins of art supplies on the shelf under the easel.  If you’re not an easel fan, you might check out this artist table, which incorporates many of the same features into a flat-topped workspace for kids.

easel-amazon

 

Artist’s Smock – these are essential for younger children if you’re at all concerned about keeping the mess off your kid’s clothes.  We have one or two like this that came with our easel.  Or, you can go the old fashioned route and wear some of dad’s cast-off work shirts.  Whatever works!

artist-smock-amazon

How to Make an Arts and Crafts Box

Finally, there is nothing better than gifts that inspire open-ended play.  Last year we made an arts and crafts box for my toddler, stocked with everything you could think of.  It was a huge hit.  Want ideas for making one of your own?  Here are 50 different things you could include, depending on what is age appropriate for your child:

  1. buttons
  2. assorted pony beads
  3. tube of glitter
  4. glue sticks
  5. construction paper
  6. empty toilet paper tubes
  7. q-tips
  8. cotton balls
  9. assorted stickers
  10. multi-colored tissue paper
  11. cardboard shapes
  12. pencils
  13. pencil sharpener
  14. crayons
  15. paint brushes
  16. shoelaces
  17. embroidery floss
  18. old fashioned clothespins
  19. magnet  strips
  20. pom poms
  21. googly eyes
  22. bubble wrap
  23. toothpicks
  24. cinnamon sticks
  25. pieces of string
  26. assorted origami paper
  27. post-it notes
  28. fabric scraps
  29. pop bottle lids
  30. rings from milk jugs
  31. bread bag tabs
  32. twisty-ties
  33. jingle bells
  34. pipe cleaners
  35. sheets of foam
  36. felt shapes
  37. key rings
  38. envelopes
  39. paper plates
  40. wooden beads
  41. yarn
  42. fake fur
  43. ribbon
  44. blank address label stickers
  45. mini spiral notebooks
  46. bingo chips
  47. homemade playdough
  48. hotel room keys or used-up gift cards
  49. tape
  50. stamps + stamp pad

Do you have any more ideas for arts and crafts gifts?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

More Resources and Gift Guides for Kids

This post is part of the Kid Blogger Network Gift Guide for Kids. More than 75 unique lists for all ages, interests, and budges have been compiled by bloggers around the world. To visit other lists, visit Gift Guides for Kids.

Follow Erica • What Do We Do All Day?’s board Gift Guides for Kids on Pinterest.

gift-guides-for-kids

50+ Road Trip Games + Activities to Keep Your Kids Entertained

posted in: Parenting | 9

50+ Road Trip Games + Activities: Ideas to Keep Your Kids Entertained for the Long Haul - Betsy's Photography {BPhotoArt.com}Car rides, even short ones, can be tough!  This fall I was gearing up for a cross-country road trip to visit family in the southern states.  Call me crazy, but I decided to pack up the boys and undertake a 12 hour road trip.  As I told my driving buddy (my mom) — the goal of this road trip wouldn’t be just to get from point A to point B.

No, our road trip would have to be leisurely and include opportunity for frequent stops.  After all, we would be traveling with a toddler and a baby — recipe for road trip disaster, no?

So, we started planning.  The 12 hour drive would be split into two days (ideally).  We could travel during nap times, stop for lunch or eat en route depending on everyone’s mood. Maps and such were scoured for possible side stops, should we need a break to stretch our legs.  The hotels we would stay at had to have a swimming pool.  And so on and so forth.

But what about keeping the kids entertained en route?  Well, that’s where this list comes in.  As I was planning our trip, I knew we would need a plethora of games and activities to keep my kids entertained for the long haul.  Ok, let me amend that. This list was really meant for my older son… we all know babies are content to eat, sleep, and be changed regularly.

50+ Road Trip Games + Activities

So, let me share the huge list of 50+ road trip games and activities to keep your kids entertained for the long haul…hopefully from point A to point B!  Make sure to scroll to the bottom for some more (shorter) lists of snack ideas and travel resources.

  1. Best Road Trip Songs
  2. Road Trip Bingo
  3. DIY Buckle Toy from an old car seat
  4. Road Trip Experiment Printable
  5. Restaurant “I Spy” Printable
  6. Road Trip Journal Pages – Printable
  7. Airplane Math Roadtrip Game
  8. Road Trip Drawing Prompts – Printables
  9. Road Trip Printable: ABC Order
  10. Alphabet “I Spy” Printable
  11. Portable Activity Kid for Little Travelers
  12. Are We There Yet Map Game
  13. Squares and Dots Board (Printable)
  14. Wacky Tracks Fidget Toy Busy Bag
  15. Car Trip Busy Box
  16. Record Audiobooks for Children
  17. Paint Sample Rainbow Fan
  18. DIY Counting Sticks Busy Bag
  19. Pumpkin Number Matching Busy Bag
  20. Shoe Tying Busy Bag Board
  21. Make Your Own Kid’s Travel Binder
  22. Fine Motor Weaving Busy Bag
  23. DIY Portable Art Board
  24. Outdoor Photo Scavenger Hunt (Do this en route)
  25. High Tech Coloring (Painting Lulu App)
  26. Train Track Counting Activity and Busy Bag
  27. Travel Sensory Activities for Baby
  28. Rainbow Lacing Busy Bag
  29. Map a Road Trip (Map Skills for Kids)
  30. Using Google Maps to Help Kids Follow Your Travel Journey
  31. DIY Clipping Toy
  32. Magnetic Tangram Puzzle in a Mint Tin
  33. Ladybug Math Game
  34. Road Trip Playlist
  35. Travel Storage Organizer for the Driver’s Seat
  36. DIY Travel Coloring Cases
  37. Animal Trackers Club
  38. Velcro Dot Craft Sticks
  39. What Will I Do If I Can’t Tie My Shoe” – Fastener Busy Bag
  40. Road Trip Busy Boxes
  41. Teaching Kids to Budget on a Road Trip
  42. Tic Tac Toe Busy Bag
  43. Kids’ Travel Pack
  44. Big Brother Kid (3 Busy Bag Activities)
  45. Mini Lego Playset
  46. Pocket Sized Magnetic Fishing Set in Altoids Tin
  47. Road Trip Activity Bin and Binder
  48. Printable Lacing Cards (Numbers 0-10)
  49. Busy Bags 101
  50. Portable Lego Kit For Little Travelers
  51. Peek-a-Boo Toy Sacks (sewing tutorial)
  52. Creepy Crawly Seek and Find
  53. “I Spy” Bottle
  54. 5 Travel Games to Help Ease Culture Shock
  55. Magnetic Pipe Cleaner Discovery Bottle
  56. Easy DIY Seek and Find Bag
  57. Make Your Car Road Trip Ready
  58. 5 Road Trip Apps
  59. Number Recognition Car Ride Game

10 Road Trip Snacks for Kids

What are some good snacks to take on a road trip?  Well, that depends on your idea of a “good snack.”  I wanted to make sure we had nutritious and healthy fare for our road trip, so keep that in mind.  Yes, we did bring a cooler, since some of the items wouldn’t last too long otherwise:

  1. Travel-friendly fruit (apples, bananas, clementines)
  2. Veggies (carrots, celery)
  3. Hummus (for veggies)
  4. Dried fruit (raisins, dates, prunes)
  5. Nuts + seeds (almonds, cashews, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds)
  6. Larabars
  7. Homemade sourdough crackers
  8. Yogurt pouch snacks (in reusable snack pouches)
  9. Homemade popcorn bars
  10. protein (cheese, jerky, hardboiled eggs)

More Road Trip Resources

And finally, because I couldn’t help myself, here are some more resources you may find helpful for planning your next road trip.

  1. Road Trip Activity Pack (including printables, ages 2-8)
  2. Books About Road Trips
  3. Road Trip tips for kids that get carsick
  4. Ultimate Road Trip Guide for Families
  5. What to keep in a road trip essentials kit
  6. Eating on the road: meals and snacks
  7. How to entertain your baby in the car
  8. Airplane mode with a one year old (kind of related!)
  9. The Best Apps and Tools for Rocking Your Next Road Trip
  10. 11 Screen Free Activities for the Car

What tips do you have for taking kids on a road trip?  I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

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