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

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.”

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.

We have a Fischer-Price electronic keyboard that has color coding to the keys, so I decided to coordinate with that…. POST UPDATE: I originally cut down circle dot labels I had on-hand (as seen in my photo), then upgraded to these Color Coding Dot Labels which coordinated perfectly, but then finally 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.

I then created color-coded 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 removable color-coded piano stickers, 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

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Stained Glass Sun Catcher Leaf Craft

stained-glass-sun-catcher-fall-leaf-craft-for-kids-projectsinparenting

A couple of years ago, we had to remove most of the trees around our property due to Ash Borer. Now we hardly have leaves in our yard during Fall. Seriously, this is the leaf “pile” the kids were playing in yesterday…

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The kids had a blast – but without a ton of leaves, it hasn’t felt much like fall (to me anyway). So I decided to create a fall-themed craft to set the mood for the autumn season. My boys loved the Stained Glass Sun Catcher Ornaments we made last winter, so I created a similar craft using a leaf shape… Super-easy, no-mess, and perfect for all ages!

To get the project ready, print any of the following leaf shapes:
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CLICK THE FOLLOWING corresponding leaf for free PDF printable:
Maple
Magnolia
Oak
Oak 2
Redbud

Cut out the CENTER of the leaf shape with an X-Acto knife or scissors.
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Prepare colored tissue paper by cutting them into squares.

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Note: I separated the tissue paper squares into coordinating cup colors for easy selection. I’m not pointing this out to show how overly organized I can be, I’m sharing this to show one of the MANY ways I’ve re-purposed the cups provided in our Easter egg dying kit – Great cups to save and reuse!

Adhere a piece of contact paper to the FRONT of your pre-cut leaf print-out, covering the entire outline. (Don’t have contact paper? Packaging tape works as a wonderful substitute!) Then lay the paper down, sticky side up.
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Now it’s time for your little artist(s) to decorate their leaf… Have them select their tissue paper pieces, and press them down onto the contact paper.
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When complete, seal the back with another piece of clear contact paper. Trim around the outside of the leaf shape with scissors and tape or hang your masterpiece in a window to enjoy the beautiful stained glass colors!
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Related: Fall Leaf Lantern

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.

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

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

Toddler Water Activities

Toddler Water Activities

With summer comes water – especially here in Chicago, where the heat and humidity can make a bed of ice cubes sound comfortable. Even with the scorching weather, I like to spend as much time as I can outdoors with the kids – which means LOTS of water activities to keep them cool. We have a ton of fun with sprinklers, water balloons, and the kiddie pool, but sometimes they need a little extra creativity to catch their interest and get them excited to play outside in the heat.

With 3 little ones, I try to stick with activities that have minimal set-up time. I’ve seen a ton of great ideas on Pinterest, and as fun as some of them may be, I simply don’t have the time for things like building an extravagant “car wash” system out of PVC, hoses and hanging sponges…. For me, simple = good. And holding the kids attention for 30+ minutes = WIN!

That said, below is a list of our top 10 water activities…

1. Target Practice

Target Practice
Using water sprayers from our local dollar store, I set up rubber ducks and frogs on top of activity cones and the kids practice their aim by spraying them off.

 

2. Fishing for Ducks

IMG_7980Fishing for Ducks 2Fishing for Ducks
Holding the test of time, this has been a favorite activity since the boys were just short of 2 years old. Using an aquarium net, the kids “fish” for anything from rubber ducks to ping pong balls… After they are done fishing, sometimes the kids like to get out kitchen utensils and make “duck soup”.

 

3. Animal Baths

Animal Baths
This particular day we were taking a break from the heat, but have done this activity indoors and out… Using an old toothbrush and some soap, the kids enjoy pampering their favorite toy animals with a little spa-day.

 

4. Sink, Float & Explore

Sink and Float
With simple items from around the house, the kids explore what sinks or floats. The activity itself only lasts about 10 minutes, but then they enjoy simply playing with the items in water… (example items: plastic cups, paper, marbles, straws, plastic beads, coins, pom poms, plastic bugs/animals, buttons, wooden sticks, spoons, paper clips and rubber bands)

 

5. Splash Slo-Mo

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Slide-Slo-Mo
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Playing around with the ‘slo-mo’ feature on my iPhone, I decided to take some clips of the kids splashing around in the pool – SO FUN! Now the boys are constantly requesting I take videos so they can watch their playbacks in slo-mo… Summer splashing at it’s best!

 

6. Chalk Paint

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Wet Chalk Jacob
Water + chalk = messy fun!!… Great for using left over small pieces of chalk – Just throw chalk sticks into a baggie, pound with a hammer (or the flat end of a meat tenderizer), pour chalk powder into a bucket, and add a small amount of water to make a thin paste… For less prep: Simply pour water on the ground, color heavily in the puddle with chalk, and mix with hands.

 

7. Car Wash

Car Wash
Whether it’s washing their toy trucks or Mom and Dad’s cars, the kids always enjoy a good car wash.

8. Wet Paper


As simple as construction paper in water – Squish it, squeeze it, and tear it. A great sensory experience.

 

9. Water Transfer

Water Transfer.JPG
Another go-to activity of mine, indoors or out… Using kitchen utensils, sponges, and a Fine Motor Tools Set, transferring water becomes endless hours of fun.

 

10. Putting out Fires

Putting out Fires
Off in imagination land, the kids love to pretend their toy house in our backyard is on fire and they help put it out with the hose, buckets of water, and/or their Paw Patrol Water Backpack.

Thanks for visiting my blog! For more fun ideas, follow me on Pinterest and Facebook… and now I’ll leave you with this adorably happy face…

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Child Size or Small Wrist Magic Bands

We received our Magic Bands in the mail today. Woot, woot!! Warm weather and Disney World, here we come!! Needless to say, the kids were super excited and wanted to try them on immediately. Following the directions provided, Cory pulled away the grey section of Jacob’s bracelet to make it “child size”.  Little did he know the melt-down that would ensue… As far as Jacob was concerned, Cory just stripped away all the band’s magic… First off, Jacob said he wanted the grey border back on (which is not possible). But what seemed to bother him most, is that after you pull the grey section away, it leaves a frayed rubber edge that is visually less appealing. With tears in his eyes, Jacob asked me to “take off” the frayed edges. Normally I would shrug this off as a dramatic toddler episode but, Disney World is supposed to be a “place where dreams come true”, right? So I did my best to trim the frayed sections off with a pair of scissors. After a smoother edge and some convincing from Dad, we were able to sell Jacob on his new modified Magic Band.

Kid Size Magic Band Frayed Edge

Still a little frayed, but MUCH better than the initial appearance after peeling the grey away.

To avoid a melt down from Evan and Avery (who said they wanted to leave their grey border on), and to adjust my Magic Band for my small wrist – I came up with an alternative way to adjust the Magic Bands: Simply trim off the excess grey strapping with scissors (see Orange Magic Band below).

Kid Size or Small Wrist Magic Bands 2

  • Original Magic Band (blue) on the left.
  • Evan’s Magic Band (orange) in the middle, showing if you simply trim off the excess strapping, while leaving the grey border on.
  • Jacob’s Magic Band  (red) on the right, showing Disney’s recommended way to peel off the grey edging.

In my opinion, simply cutting off the excess strap while leaving the grey edging on, looks WAY better. Comparing the two, I’m honestly surprised it’s even a recommendation to rip away the grey edging… Either way, figured I’d share so that any other Disney World travelers can see both options and choose whichever they like best. 🙂

Related post: DIY Disney Autograph Memory Book

Kid Size or Small Wrist Magic Bands