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

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

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.

imagimakemapologywithflags

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!

image2

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?”

Unicorn Valentine Printable

Unicorn Valentine Banner

Right now Avery is OBSESSED with everything unicorn. Anytime she spots something at a store with a unicorn on it, she ogles at it like it’s a lost baby kitten and is convinced it was made for her. So to no surprise, this year we decided to create Valentine’s Day cards with this mystical creature – and just the right amount of sparkle!

Since Valentines these days usually come with a fun favor attached to them, I purchased cute unicorn fans to include with Avery’s. Some other ideas if you are interested in adding a favor (which you can either tie on, attach with double sided tape, or use a fun glitter or unicorn Washi tape)…

Based on whichever size you would like, click on the above image to download and start creating your own magical Valentines!

Related: DIY Heart Breaker Valentine’s Day Cards

“Always be yourself, unless you can be a unicorn. Then always be a unicorn.”

Teacher Appreciation Coloring Page

Teacher Appreciation Coloring Page 2 - projectsinparenting.com

Celebrate all the wonderful teachers in your life during Teacher Appreciation Week! Whether it’s a school teacher, sports coach, or even a caretaker – these real life superheroes cannot be thanked enough for taking the time to help us learn and grow!

This year I created a “Thank you” coloring page that’s easy for even the littlest of ages to provide a gift to their teachers with their own personal touch.

Teacher Appreciation Coloring Page 2 Free Printable - projectsinparenting.com

Click HERE or on above image to download FREE printable.

For the boys, I included a questionnaire on the back of their coloring page.

Teacher Appreciation Coloring - Full Page Questionnaire FREE Printable - projectsinparenting.com

Click HERE or on above image to download FREE printable questionnaire.

Looking to give your teacher a little something extra? Below are some fun ideas:

  • Colorful Pencil Personalized Notepads:
    71RvcSjXJML._AC_SL1500_
  • Flower Pot Amazon Gift Card:
    81fMZOZ7A4L._SL1500_
  • Sticky Note Dispenser:
    61qPqZV-nbL._AC_SL1500_
  • Tape Dispenser:
    71fG9tVrY5L._AC_SL1500_
  • Apple Personalized Notepads:
    71W31DtlL4L._AC_SL1500_

Thank you to all the hard-working teachers!

“It takes a big heart to shape little minds”

Related: Teacher Appreciation Coloring Page with Questionnaire

Save

Save

DIY Heart Breaker Valentine’s Day Cards

heart-breaker-valentine-banner

‘Tis the season for roses, hearts, Cupid and the age old tradition of spreading love with thoughtful Valentine’s Day cards!

Avery is currently obsessed with decorating herself in adhesive bandages, like they are a fashion accessory – so I picked up some holiday themed bandages to use for her classroom Valentines (one of many amazing finds at the Target Dollar Spot!). I created and printed the below Heart Breaker Valentine’s Day Cards and attached the bandages with double-sided tape.

heart-breaker-valentine
Click HERE to download free printable.

Now my adorable little heart breaker is ready for her 1st Valentine’s Day celebration at school.  🙂

Related: Mermaid Valentine Printable
Related: Unicorn Valentine Printable

Color-Coded Beginner Piano Sheet Music

color-coded-beginner-piano-sheet-music-free-printables-projectsinparenting

The other day, Jacob was jamming away on his toy piano singing ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ – eyes closed, head bopping, slamming random keys on the key board…  I loved the enthusiasm and figured the boys are probably old enough to start reading beginner sheet music, so I decided to put together a few songs for them.

I am by no means a musician, but I did play piano back in the day and remembered some of the basics. I wanted to keep it simple with what I feel is a reasonable goal for toddlers and preschoolers: Find Middle C and play a simple song with one finger (not at all insisting on proper finger placement). I’m not trying to raise Mozart – I just want them to have fun and become comfortable with the basics of sheet music while doing so.

POST UPDATE: I originally cut down circle dot labels I had on-hand (as seen in my photo below), then upgraded to these Color Coding Dot Labels which coordinated perfectly. Once we upgraded from their Fisher-Price Keyboard to an electronic piano, I created these Removable Color Coded Piano Key Labels – Now the colors coordinate exactly and I love that they have a less harsh, easily removable adhesive.

Using the color-coded labels, I created coordinating sheet music for a couple of their favorite songs. Click on below sheet music image to download a FREE printable.

twinkle-little-star

mary-had-a-little-lamb

For more song selections and coordinating color-coded sticker labels, please visit my Etsy Shop.
9 song pack

As simple as that – now my boys understand the concept of reading and playing music on the piano. With or without an accurate rhythm on the keyboard, watching their faces and sense of accomplishment after completing a song is absolutely priceless!

color-coded-beginner-piano-sheet-music-projectsinparenting

Related: Star Wars The Imperial March Beginner Piano Sheet Music
Related: Color-Coded Beginner Piano Music Book

Save

Save

Save

Save

Toddler Weekly Calendar

FREE Printable Toddler Weekly Calendar - projectsinparenting

Shortly after the boys turned 2 years old, they started finding Cory or I in the mornings and asking, “Is Dad home all day?”. If the answer was “no”, I often times had two crying kids on my hands. Understandably (in their minds), they were upset that Cory had to run off to some unknown “work” place, instead of staying home to play with them. Unfortunately for me, I had to break this news to them every Monday through Friday and they would be super angry with me – like it was MY choice which days Cory went to work.

While it was neat watching them realize the concept of days, I wanted to avoid the unnecessary tantrums and help them understand their schedules better. As a visual person myself, I decided to put together a weekly calendar *showing* them which days Dad was “home all day” (by putting a picture of Cory’s face on Saturday and Sunday). I printed out the calendar, put it in a sheet protector, and hung it on their bedroom door with a clothespin to mark the current day. Each morning, they would wake up and move the clothespin to the new day.

Both Jacob and Evan responded to the calendar extremely well, so I started adding images for almost everything – doctor’s appointments, swim class, holidays, etc. The boys quickly started understanding weekends vs. weekdays and were excited when something new would pop up on their calendar. Although our weekly events pretty much stayed the same, when I knew a holiday or special event was coming up, I would print the future week in advance and simply slide the sheet behind the current week (in the sheet protector) so that it was ready to go.

Avery is 2 years old now, and starting “toddler school” this week, so I started using the weekly calendar for her. She is loving the new responsibility of updating her marker for each day, and super excited for her 1st day of school. No more tantrums and full cooperation for the day’s activities (well, most of the time anyway). Either way, a definite WIN!

  • Click HERE for Weekly Calendar Printable.
  • Click HERE for Weekly Calendar Clipart Printable – Simply cut & paste appropriate holiday, event or activity onto your Weekly Calendar.
  • For sports classes such as swimming, gymnastics, tennis, etc., I recommend using images from Classroom Clipart (endless options and free!). This website also has perfect graphics to use for other activities (piano lessons, etc.) and additional holidays.
  • Other products used:
    Clothespins
    Sheet Protector

Related Posts:

DIY Magnetic Daily and Weekly Chore Chart - projectsinparenting.com   Color-Coded Beginner Piano Music Book Banner   Encouraging Kindness with Bucket Filling Gem Jars

“December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?” – Dr. Seuss