Stained Glass Shamrock

Stained Glass Shamrock Banner

As of today, schools in the state of Illinois are officially closed as a precautionary measure to slow the spread COVID-19 Coronavirus. In order to make this unprecedented time with the kids at home less stressful and more enjoyable, I definitely plan on coming up with projects to keep them occupied. For me, projects like this are not only bonding time to create fun memories with the kids, but I find them especially helpful when their abundance of energy needs to be diverted to something other than going out of their way to annoy their siblings.

For starters – With St. Patrick’s Day around the corner, I created the below Faux Stained Glass Shamrock Printable Template.

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>>>Download FREE Printable Stained Glass Shamrock Template HERE.

For a 3-D effect, we started off by tracing the lines using School Glue dyed with black acrylic paint.

Note: This step is optional, as you can use the Printable as a coloring page as well.

Glue

After the glue dried, we used water colors to paint the image. This gave it a beautiful, uneven, glass-like effect.

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Sticking with the Irish theme and in context with current world events, I also created the below Sláinte Coloring Page. As a standard way of saying “cheers” in Irish, “sláinte” [SLAHN-chə] translates to ‘Good Health’ in English – an Irish expression that derives from the Old Irish word slán, meaning “healthy” or “safe”.

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>>>Download FREE Printable Sláinte Coloring Page HERE.

Cheers to you and your family during this time of social distancing…. or should I say, “Sláinte!”

“Good luck be with you wherever you go & may your blessings outnumber the shamrocks you grow.”

Hidden Message Valentine Mystery Worksheet

Jacob was such a fan of the Secret Agent Valentine I designed for him, that I thought I’d use a similar concept to come up with an activity for Evan’s class Valentine’s Day party.

I created a series of worksheets where the kids get to tap into their inner Secret Agent and are challenged with the task to find Cupid’s stolen arrows. Using some of our favorite Love/Heart/Valentine’s Day themed books, the kids dive into the stories a bit deeper to investigate clues, decode messages and figure out who the Arrow Thief is.

Supplies needed:

  1. Hidden Message Valentines Mystery Printable Worksheet
  2. Secret Agent Pens
  3. Secret Decoder Screen
  4. Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin
  5. The Day it Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond
  6. In My Heart by Jo Witek
    *Check your local library.

What do you think, Secret Agent? Can you solve the Valentine’s mystery?

Like the idea but want to use a different selection of books or make changes to the worksheet? Contact me through my Etsy shop and I’m happy to work with you to create a custom mystery experience.

Have a spy-tastic Valentine’s Day!

“Mystery creates wonder and wonder is the basis of man’s desire to understand.”
– Neil Armstrong

Video Game Valentine

Video Game Valentine Banner

My little gamer, Evan, is currently obsessed with Mario Odyssey. Well, anything Mario actually. He’s read the Mario Encyclopedia from front to back several times and – whether he’s played a particular game or not – can shoot off statistics and level details like nobody’s business.

Needless to say, he was super pumped when I suggested Mario themed Valentines so I showed him two cute favor options from Amazon:

  1. Magnetic Bookmarks
  2. Backpack Charms / Zipper Pulls

Evan preferred the bookmarks, so we went with those. A video game theme with the balance to encourage reading – I like it!  🙂 We came up with a Mario-themed twist on the classic Valentine’s poem (Evan of course had no problem choosing something ‘red’ and ‘blue’) and now he’s ready for his classroom Valentine’s Day party!

Click on below image or HERE to purchase the Video Game Valentine from my Etsy Shop.

Video Game Valentine PIP

 

New Year’s Eve Activity Sheet

As a simple New Year’s Eve activity for the kids, I created this printable activity sheet. Similar to a restaurant kids menu, I thought they can work on this at dinner. Figured it will give them a holiday themed challenge, as well as some fun topics to discuss. 🙂

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Click on above image or HERE to download free printable.

Happy New Year!

“Tomorrow, is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.” ― Brad Paisley

Magnetic Chore Chart

 

DIY Magnetic Daily and Weekly Chore Chart - projectsinparenting.com

As a parent, I feel it’s an essential part of my job to teach my kids how to help out around the house and learn how to become a productive member of the household. They all attended Montessori Preschool, which I feel really jumpstarted them to recognize most “chores” as “practical life skills”. Whichever term you choose to use, I’ve found that most children enjoy helping out with these daily tasks and it’s a great way to teach them responsibility, independence, and self-sufficiency.

Although my kids have been great at wanting to be involved in household duties, as they’ve gotten older it’s been more of a challenge getting them motivated for regular chores — and nearly impossible to get them enthusiastic about completing them on a daily basis.

We’ve tried a good handful of ways to motivate our kids, but the most successful has definitely been the regular use of a chore chart. It not only provides motivation, but has also begun helping us teach them financial responsibility. One key to being successful has been getting the chores organized in writing – then there’s no question about who’s responsible for what on a given day.

After quite a few trial runs and alterations, below is the Magnetic Chore Chart we now use to keep us organized and help our family life run just a bit smoother.

DIY Magnetic Daily and Weekly Chore Chart - projectsinparenting.com

With the understanding that as the children grow, our household expectations may change and their chores will be reevaluated and tailored to their age level. I designed this chart so it can grow with us – easily being able to change and swap out chores as needed. In the future, perhaps adjust allowance amounts as well.

One of the most important things we are trying to teach them right now is that money comes from work, so rather than freely receiving an allowance, our kids earn their money by completing tasks. After they complete a chore, they simply move the corresponding Magnetic Pin to the jar with their name. On Sundays – payday – the kids trade in their pins for the cash they’ve earned.

They each get ONE daily task and ONE weekly task. Having three children, that has been the most realistic expectation for us, as well as not overwhelming to track (for them and myself). Since they also sometimes ask to help with additional chores, I listed those in the ‘Bonus’ section. These are not expected, but an extra way for them to earn cash.

Magnetic Chore Chart Free Printable - projectsinparenting.com

I have to say, it has been nice to pass some responsibility over to my kids — waking up to an empty dishwasher has been glorious! Most importantly, I love seeing them learn new practical life skills and confidently contribute to the household.

“The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence.”  – Denis Waitley

Father’s Day Questionnaire

Happy Father's Day Free Printable Questionnaire, All About Me - projectsinparenting.com

Two of my absolute favorite things: Children’s drawings and unfiltered kid honesty. 🙂

I created this Father’s Day printable because, as a mom, I always enjoy getting questionnaires from my kids. Whether it’s their coloring, personalized drawings or thoughtful answers – I love that their choices come straight from their little hearts. And lets be honest, some of their responses are simply hilarious!

Happy Father's Day Free Printable Questionnaire, All About Me - projectsinparenting.com

Click HERE to download the above free printable.

Smaller kids may need help writing down answers to these questions, but all kids will enjoy coloring in the pictures and drawing dad with this fun Father’s Day printable!

 

Related Posts:

Thank you Coloring Page  DIY Childrens Artwork Canvas Tote Bag

Encouraging Kindness with Bucket Filling Gem Jars

Encouraging Kindness with Bucket Filling Gem Jars

I’ve always encouraged my kids to “be kind” and “use kind words” but when there was an excess of crabbiness and bickering in our household, I invested in a book called ‘Have You Filled a Bucket Today: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids by Carol McCloud‘. It literally changed our language around the concept of kindness to the point where “You are dipping in my bucket!” and “Did I fill your bucket?” have become common phrases in our house.

Image result for have you filled a bucket today

Using a simple metaphor and explaining kindness in a way that children can grasp immediately, this book encourages positive behavior and explains how easy and rewarding it is to express kindness, appreciation, and love on a daily basis. It’s the perfect introduction to self-awareness and feelings, and beautifully helps kids visualize how their actions and words impact others.

To immerse ourselves a bit deeper in the concept of this book, I created a worksheet for the kids to help think through and specifically list out what “fills their bucket” and “dips in their bucket”. It was fun discussing the results as a family and interesting discovering what differences they had based on their individual personalities and/or love language(s).

Have You Filled a Bucket Today - Bucket Filling Worksheet - Free Printable - projectsinparenting.com

Click Image to Download Free Printable

In an effort to encourage more “bucket filling” behavior into our daily life, as well as help visualize and reinforce the book’s concept of how “filling other people’s buckets also helps to fill our own”, I created these Gem Jars.

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Supplies for DIY Gem Jars:

General rules for our Gem Jars:

  1. Mom or Dad rewards an individual for “bucket filling” behavior / acts of kindness with a big or small gem – at their discretion, based on the specific act.
  2. There is no removal of gems for bucket dipping behavior. This is meant to detour any tattling on negative behavior, as our goal is to focus on and encourage positive behavior.
  3. It is perfectly acceptable to perform a bucket filling act specifically to ask for a gem. However, Mom or Dad may deny the gem for any reason (you’d be surprised at some of the stuff they come up with, lol).
  4. Children are encouraged to inform parents of their sibling’s kind acts so the bucket filler can receive a gem.
  5. When a child fills their Gem Jar, they receive a reward. Reward options are provided by Mom or Dad. Example rewards include: A specific toy/book/gift we know they want, 1:1 time with Mom/Dad like going to a movie, dinner at their favorite restaurant, out for ice cream, etc.

We have been using our Gem Jars for almost a year now and I’m happy to report that there has definitely been an increase in kindness and helping behavior around these parts. While I can honestly say I saw an immediate impact on my children’s behavior after reading this book and using our gem jars, I’m not going to pretend it’s some kind of miracle fix. I am just happy that it helped them become more self-aware and realize how their behavior impacts the people around them. Sure, sometimes they go out of their way to do kind things only because they want a gem – but hey, that’s the point! To be honest, I am especially proud of those moments when I see them clearly making a conscious effort to do something kind, when otherwise they may not have done so. When they are actively trying their best to be kind, everyone is happier. By putting happiness into terms the kids can understand and use, I think it really has helped them understand the effects of their actions and words on their own well being, as well as the well being of others. I couldn’t be more proud of my little bucket fillers!

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” -Dalai Lama

Continent, Country & Flag Identification

Color Coded Continents Countries and Flags Puzzle Identification - Hands on Learning - projectsinparenting.com
Since my boys were 3 years old, this US Foam Puzzle has been a favorite go-to of theirs. At 1st it was just fun for them to put together, but as they got older it became a great learning tool. They are now familiar with most US states, their shape, general location, as well as some facts we’ve learned along the way.

Jacob has been asking about the difference between city, state, country and continent lately, so I wanted to come up with a hands-on way for him to understand the bigger picture. Since they enjoyed the other foam puzzle so much, I decided to purchase this World Map Puzzle with Flags & Capitals. Understandably due to size constraints, it doesn’t include EVERY flag in the world. If it did, I think that would be too overwhelming anyway. The puzzle has a total of 65 flags (based mainly on country size) which seems to be the perfect start.

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The foam puzzle, flags and map provided are great. Unfortunately there is no ‘key’ to know where each flag goes. I was able to figure it out using the original sticker sheet, but both Jacob and Evan were at a complete loss putting the puzzle together without my help. To give them the independence of easily figuring it out on their own, I created a color-coded diagram showing all of the 65 flags and the corresponding country by continent. I also made a color-coordinating continent map for easy reference.

Click on image below for FREE Printable:

Hands-on Learning, Color Coded Continents, Countries and Flags - projectsinparenting.com
Hands-on Learning - Color Coded Continents, Countries and Flags - projectsinparenting.com

Once I gave them my diagrams (other than some adorably incorrect pronunciations) – easy peasy. Both Jacob and Evan were able to correctly identify 65 flags, place them in their corresponding country, and understand which continent they belonged to as well!

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I have no doubt this puzzle will be another one of their favorites – learning more as they grow and discovering new things each time they complete it.   🙂

Related: Color-Coded Beginner Piano Music Book
Related: Constellation Sticker Craft

“Without geography, you are nowhere.”

Build a Robot Papercraft Valentine

DIY Build a Robot Papercraft Valentine with Free Printable - projectsinparenting.com

Jacob has been into origamis lately, so for Valentine’s Day this year I purchased these fun Papercraft Robot Cards. The thick, plastic-like cards are pre-cut and creased, which makes them durable and easy for little hands to work with. No cutting or sticking is required – just pop-out and fold! UPDATE: The product I originally used has sold out, however another company, Box Buddies, offers a similar product.

To go along with them, I created this simple Robot Valentine. We stuffed both of them into fun blue envelopes I had leftover from the boys’ birthday (similar ones available on Amazon), but they could easily be attached by simply using a paperclip. Now Jacob is just “a bot” ready for his Valentine’s Day party at school!

To create your own Robot Valentine, download the FREE printable here.

Build a Robot Papercraft Valentine with Free Printable - projectsinparenting.com

If you would like smaller Valentines, click here for a PDF with 4 per page.

Other favor ideas for this DIY Robot Valentine:
Make Your Own Robot Stickers
Robot Erasers
Robot Fidget Toy

Related: Mermaid Valentine Printable
Related: Unicorn Valentine Printable
Related: DIY Heart Breaker Valentine’s Day Cards
Related: Super Hero Valentine’s Day Cards

“Are you a robot – or do you think for yourself?”

Christmas Tree Yarn Craft

Christmas Tree Yarn Craft FREE Printable - projectsinparenting.com

My kids recently made a God’s Eye craft and enjoyed it so much, they asked to do “more things with yarn.”

‘Tis the season – so I came up with this quick and easy Christmas Tree Yarn Craft.

Things you will need:
FREE Printable
Screw Hole Punch (or a 1-hole paper punch)
Yarn (ideally green)
Scissors
Tape
Star Stickers (I used chip board glitter stickers I found at my local craft store – Here is a similar Amazon alternative or this one)
Cutting Mat (if using Screw Hole Punch)

STEP ONE:
Print template – FREE Printable here.

STEP TWO:
Punch holes where gray dots are on the template. If you are using a 1-hole paper punch you will need to cut around the tree silhouette leaving just enough space to reach with your hole puncher.

STEP THREE:
Prep yarn string sections (approximately 2-3 feet each, for easy kid-handling) by tying a knot at one end and wrapping the other end with a piece of tape (this helps to feed the yarn through the holes).

STEP FOUR:
Starting with the knotted end in back, feed yarn through the holes to create yarn tree. NOTE: I used several sections of yarn to complete the entire Christmas tree. After each section runs out and you can’t feed any more of the section through, tie the loose/taped-end in back, so that the tree does not unravel.

STEP FIVE:
Top with star sticker…. And if you’re inspired to get creative – feel free to color it and add your own personal touch like Avery did.

STEP SIX:
Have a Merry Christmas!!   🎄

“The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree is the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.” -Burton Hillis

Related Post: Jingle Bells and We Wish You a Merry Christmas Color-Coded Piano
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