About three weeks ago, my family and I went to Orlando, Florida for a fun vacation! We went to Disney Land and Sea World. The tickets included musical shows you can enjoy with your family. One show that was “epic,” in my son’s opinion, was Finding Nemo.
Below is what we saw before the show started.
We wanted to ensure we sat near the front, so we got to the theatre early. My family had to wait about 45 minutes before the show started. I usually keep activities in my backpack in case we have to wait for long periods of time. These activities include crayons, paper, Boogie board, playing cards, coloring books, and activity books. However, I took these items out of my backpack while walking around Disney Land. It was too much for me to carry all day.
I needed to think of games to play without my activity book, paper, and crayons. I wanted to make the time go faster while waiting for the show to start. Therefore, my son and I played four waiting games. We enjoyed playing the games and I wanted to share them with you.
Let’s Get Started
Rock Paper Scissors
You are most likely familiar with this game. The best thing about Rock, Paper, Scissors is all you need is your hands. You need two players for this game. We play this game in a tournament style. Below are the directions and how we played.
Each player uses their hand to represent the three items in the game: Rock, Paper, and Scissors.
The hand signals are as follows…
Rock = Balled Fist
Scissors = holding your pointer and middle finger to the side (similar to making the peace sign with your hands)
Paper = holding all five of your fingers out flat
Each player will say Rock! Paper! Scissors!” and then do one of the three hand signals towards their opponent.
The winner of a round is determined by three simple rules:
Rock wins against scissors.
Scissors wins against paper.
Paper wins against rock.
In our game, the first person to win 10 rounds won the game.
We played this way twice.
My son won one game and I was the victor in the other.
Try this game while you are waiting!
The time will go by faster.
Seek the Alphabet
My son and I love to play Alphabet Hunt Games at home. However, since we were at the Finding Nemo show, we played the Alphabet Seeking Game in the theatre. Below is how we played…
The object of this game to is find letters A-Z in the room where you are located.
The letters could be anywhere in the room like on clothing, books, pictures, magazines etc.
We found letters on our clothing, in the musical’s program, and on the theater’s backdrop
If you can’t find a letter in the room, you may either…
Say a word that starts with a particular letter
Find an object in the room that starts with a particular letter
We could not find the letter X, so my son said “x-ray” and moved on to Y.
Keep finding letters until you reach Z
There is no winner in the game.
The game participants are working together to find all the letters in the alphabet.
In this game, you are identifying words in a certain category in alphabetical order. This game will make you think.
Choose the categories you want to use in the game.
Ideas for categories are…
We chose food as our category.
Take turns saying words in alphabetical order until you get to Z.
The first person may say “A is for Apple
The second player may state ” B is for Banana.”
If a person gets stumped on a letter, the other players can assist them.
Once you have completed one category, choose another one.
This is a great listening game for players. It will help players practice their active listening skills. This game can be played with two or more people.
One player will pick an item in the room.
The same player will give clues to the other person(s) about the item in the room.
The other players’ job is to guess the item based on the clues given.
Once an item has been guessed, then another player will pick an item and give clues to others.
This is how we make waiting for long periods of time fun! It is a great alternative to having kids on a smart phone or tablet.
Today I challenged my son to find something creative to do while I cooked dinner. He spent some time blowing up a balloon then watched it fly through the air after releasing it. He played with his cash register and a DIY water gun we made earlier that day.
Next he saw the book, Draw Alphabeasts by Steve Harpster laying on the table. He decided to view it while he ate a snack. This book teaches you step-by-step how to make over 130 monsters, aliens, and robots from letters and numbers.
I checked this book out from the library about a year ago. We enjoyed drawing the characters so much, that I purchased it from Amazon.
This month is October and I thought his book choice was great because Halloween is soon approaching.
My son, Cory, skimmed the book and decided to draw a monster named Zeep starting with the number 4. After drawing, he showed me his picture and I was very impressed.
Cory then asked if I was almost done with cooking. My reply to him was “yes.” He wanted to pick a character for me draw. He chose a character named Freddy Bones, who resembles a skeleton and robot simultaneously. Again, it was the perfect picture for Halloween.
Below is a picture of our drawings, along with the step-by-step instructions we followed from the book. This book is perfect for beginning artists and for those who just want to be creative.
Try these out. There are characters drawn from numbers 1-20 and the alphabet in this book. Buy this book if you want to draw more characters! I highly recommend it!
My son loves science experiments that are messy and incorporate mild explosions. When I saw this experiment, I knew we had to do it. Like many of the science experiments we do, all the ingredients were in our home.
We liked this activity because it was simple and fun. It requires you to use boiled eggs. I used this as an opportunity to expose my son to the science of cooking. While boiling the eggs, we discussed how cooking is transferring energy from a heat source, the stove, to the food. In other words, heat changes food.
One day my son, Cory, and I were walking outside and we saw that one of our neighbors had a wooden bird house hanging on their tree. Cory stopped to observe the house and said “Mom can we make that?” Afterwards, we searched the Internet trying to find the perfect bird home to build.
Then we came across a bird feeder that involved peanut butter, toilet paper roll, and bird seeds. Cory saw it and said “I would like to make this!” I told him it was a bird feeder and not a home. He still wanted to make it.
We had all the ingredients in our home. Surprisingly, my husband had bird seeds. After gathering all the materials, we started to make our bird feeder. We had fun with this activity.
This project also taught us a very important lesson of recycling.
I will show you how below…
Let’s get started!
Toilet paper roll
Nut Butter (we used Almond Butter)
Spread nut butter on the toilet paper roll.
Put bird seed in paper plate.
Roll toilet paper roll in the bird seed until it is covered.
Thread the string through the toilet paper roll and knot the string.
Hang the bird feeder on a tree branch so birds can access it.
Congratulate your child for recycling the toilet paper roll and using it to feed birds.
Talk about the importance of recycling.
Find other items around your home to recycle or reuse.
Try to capture a picture of birds eating from the bird feeder.
Tell your child why birds are important to the environment.
Birds spread seeds for plants that provide humans with food and medicine.
Most schools are out for the summer and families are going on road trips! Kids want something fun and engaging to do while riding in the car. Sure, our kids can watch movies in the car. However, the activities below go beyond that. They will exercise your child’s creativity, curiosity, and engage them.
This post is fulfilling my best friend’s request to write an article on Fun Road Trip Activities for Kids and it could not have come at a better time.
All of the activities below have been used to keep my son busy during road trips. I hope you find them helpful!
Let’s get started!
The Association Game involves naming objects or people in the same category. The categories may include the following…
Here’s how to play the Association Game…
Name a category like animals
You may begin by naming an elephant
Your child will name an animal
Keep alternating by naming animals until you both can’t think of anything else to say.
I first discovered the Paint by Sticker Books at Chick-fil-A. This book came with my son’s kids meal. He liked it so much that I ordered one from Amazon. It is great for when your child needs to wait for long periods of time. Below is how it works…
Find the sticker.
Peel the sticker.
Place the sticker.
Then a colorful picture will appear.
Finish the Story
This is a great activity to encourage creativity, literacy, and getting kids to think on their feet.
Begin telling a story.
Then have your child tell the next part of the story.
Next, have another family member add on to the story.
Water Wow books provides mess free painting for kids. It includes reusable pages and a refillable water pen. Your child will see vibrant colors appear at each stroke. My son loves these pads. His favorite themes are Alphabets, Numbers, and Farm Animals. Ensure to fill the pen with water before your trip.
Learning Apps – Pbs Kids
Playing Educational Apps in the Car is a fun and productive activity for kids. Below are some of the apps we like…
My son loves the Doodle Pad. It provides a way for children to do unlimited drawings and writing with its convenient erasable feature. It has kept my son occupied for long periods of time during road trips. Another type of Doodle Pad we use is called the Boogie Board.
Paper and Pen
Bringing paper and washable crayons or markers provides endless activities. Do the following activities and so much more…
I Spy is a wonderful game to play with kids. It helps them learn about new objects and vocabulary. I Spy is a guessing game where multiple people can play. One person will pick an object and provide a hint. The other players will use the hint to guess what object the person has picked. You can get I Spy books from your local library.
Try to find objects with your child. It is better when more people are participating.
Once you and your child find an object, encourage each other to use directional language, like above, below, and beside, to explain how you found it to the other person.
Flexi Rods is a product that women use to make their hair curly. I had some in my closet that I was not using. One day, I decided to give one to my son to bend and twist in order to keep him still during diaper changes. He has bent the rods into letters, numbers, shapes, and still plays with them to this day. Warning: Be careful because there is wire inside flexi rods. Please watch your child at all times.
Threading toys are great to help develop a child’s fine motor skills. Children have to use the pincer grasp to thread beads on the string or to thread the string in a hole. The pincer grasp is what children use once they start writing. It will keep kids busy and focused.
Tangram is a puzzle that comes with seven flat shapes called Tans. A child can put the shapes together to make various images such as animals, other shapes, and people. We have a travel Tangram that we use on road trips and it has helped my son with spatial awareness and problem solving.
Use the shapes to make various numbers and animals
Make abstract art with shapes while you are on a road trip or waiting at the doctor’s office.
Spot the Object
Children don’t have to be in school or at home to learn colors. It can be done anywhere. Try these activities below…
While you are on a road trip, pick an object you will identify such as a rectangle.
Identify with your child the rectangular signs, road markings, and the shape of traffic lights.
Are we there yet?
Has your child ever asked you “Are we there yet” while taking a trip? Use everyday math to answer this question.
There are two ways to do this. One way is with time.
Let’s say your family takes a trip that will last one hour (60 minutes) to get to your destination.
Just before leaving for your trip, show your child the time.
Let’s say you are leaving at 4:00pm.
Tell your child, you will get to your destination when the 4 turns into a 5, which is 5:00pm.
Check in with your child every 10 minutes and do a countdown.
For example, at 4:10pm tell your child you have 50 minutes to go.
At 4:20pm tell your child you have 40 minutes to go.
You can also do this every 15 or 20 minutes if you like.
This helps to decrease the constant asking of “Are we there yet?”
If you stop to use the restroom, explain to your child that this will add time on to the trip.
Another Way to do this is with Landmarks
Let’s say you are driving on the Interstate and you are on Exit 1 but your destination is near Exit 20.
Tell your child when you get to Exit 20, you will be at your destination.
Pinpoint every 2 or 5 exits until you reach the end of your trip.
Have your child identify the Exit Numbers.
For example, ask your child to tell you when you have reached Exit 4 and then Exit 6.
You have just created an important task for your child.
They are helping you navigate and they can sense how long the trip will be.
The following is a guest post from my dear friend, Danielle Jerz. She is an attorney, wife, and a mom of two children, ages four and 1.
This post is a great guide on how to introduce our kids to new experiences in a fun and engaging way!
Does my child really need glasses?
My 3-year-old, DJ, needed glasses. He’d failed an eye test (common tests for toddlers include retinoscopy or Spot Vision Testing Camera) at his 12-month appointment, and a pediatric ophthalmologist suggested we check again 2 years later to see if his eye issues would self-correct.
By 3, DJ was playing t-ball and soccer, he did not hold books too closely, he did not frequently rub his eyes, and he enjoyed learning in preschool. He never complained of difficulty seeing or of headaches, and he passed his visual acuity eye chart test.
So, when we returned to the pediatric ophthalmologist shortly after his 3rd birthday, it came as a surprise to us that his vision issues had not, in fact, improved and that he needed glasses. His doctor told us that if he wore eyewear now, he might not need to in the future. So, we decided to give it a try.
Neither my husband nor I wear glasses, so we were entirely clueless about where to start. As a parent, a million thoughts went through my head: Will he wear the glasses? What will be the consequences if he refuses? Will he be embarrassed? Would he understand why he needed glasses? Will he be teased? The last question was of real concern since most of us know how upsetting childhood taunts can be.
So, I started researching where many people start these days – GOOGLE. While there was plenty of information out there about children wearing glasses, most of what I could find was geared towards older, school-age children. But my child was a toddler or a young preschooler, with challenges and needs quite different than a child 3 or 4 times his age (a 9- or 12-year-old).
How I Got my 3-Year-Old to Wear Glasses
I explained to DJ why he needed glasses. He seemed to understand, but when I asked him if glasses were cool, he matter-of-factly replied “no.” So, I slowly started to set the stage for DJ and his new glasses. Before he was even fitted for glasses, I tried to point out every adult friend, relative, stranger, cartoon character, or person in a television commercial who was wearing glasses.
I would turn to DJ and enthusiastically say look: Aunt Angela is wearing glasses. Doesn’t she look cool? Or, look at the little boy on television with glasses. I think his glasses look so sharp. Or, (your cousin) McKenzi wears glasses, do you think they look really nice? And slowly but surely, his adamant “no’s!” became emphatic “yeah’s!” Glasses were cool!
My husband and I even ordered costume glasses to wear around the house, so they wouldn’t seem out of the ordinary. We wouldn’t announce that we were going to wear them. We would just put them on and wait to see if DJ even noticed. Surprisingly, he may have only asked about mom’s and dad’s “glasses” on one or 2 occasions.
How We Found the Glasses
Because we knew next to nothing about purchasing eyewear, we decided to find an eyeglass store that carried a large variety of toddler-sized glasses. I didn’t know this at the time, but most eyeglass stores that you may find in a mall or big box retailer don’t carry preschool size glasses. You really need to go to a specialty retailer, so we chose My Eye Doctor.
I knew I wanted something for DJ that would survive all the fun things that boisterous 3-year-old boys do, so I researched brands with light, flexible, and kid-friendly frames. I also wanted durable frames because I had a feeling DJ’s one-year old little sister might get ahold of them a time or 2, and I didn’t want her to accidently break them.
At our appointment, the sales associate showed us some of the popular children’s glasses. I told DJ that he could pick out the color, but I would pick out the frame. I figured he might not be equipped to tell what styles fit well with his slender face, prominent chin, and large brown eyes, but he could have the freedom to pick the color since he would be the one wearing them every day.
DJ tried on and rejected several that I liked, but it was surprisingly easily to reach an agreement on color and shape. His Zoobug glasses came in a delightful blue – DJ’s favorite color. They have polycarbonate lenses and a scratch resistant coating and because they are a single rubber piece with no joints or parts to break, they are flexible enough to withstand all manner of contortions attempted by DJ’s little sister.
The glasses came with a detachable headband and sliding earlocks to help them stay on. He could have chosen both, one, or none of them to use. DJ uses the earlocks that fit snuggly behind his ears and prevent the glasses from slipping forward.
Informing the School
I talked to DJ’s preschool teacher, Ms. Sherry, and informed her that he would start wearing glasses. I explained that we would have him wear them only at home for 2 or 3 days and then he would wear them to school.
Ms. Sherry is a great teacher and was very receptive. She stated that she would help him keep his glasses clean and remind him to put them on if he took them off. She also liked my ideas about introducing the glasses to the class.
Time to Party
When speaking with Ms. Sherry, I’d thought, what would be a good way to “show off” DJ’s glasses and answer any questions other students might naturally have about why he was wearing them. I know! We would have a GLASSES PARTY. The day DJ started wearing his glasses, I showed up to the preschool, glasses in hand, and armed with books about glasses, cupcakes topped with a little pair of glasses (who doesn’t love cupcakes??), and a pair of glasses for everyone!
Much to my delight, the party was a big hit. The children were thrilled to wear their glasses. One of DJ’s classmates, Kyser, asked me if I’d brought him a case for his glasses so he could put them away. I apologized and told him that I had not, but to ask his parents. Sure enough, that evening, Kyser asked his parents for a glasses case and not only that, he wore the glasses to school the next day and for the next several weeks.
In fact, Ms. Sherry, DJ’s teacher, reported that several of the children wore their party glasses (and still do) for several days after the party, and some even asked their parents if they could get real glasses (sorry parents!) because it was so cool.
I realized that all my worry about teasing was just that – my own. I came to realize that my concerns were for naught and at that age group (3-4), glasses were cool! They love to read books and are curious to hear stories about new and different things and what makes everyone special and unique.
Our Life Now
DJ is now 4 years old and dutifully wears his glasses daily. At preschool, he takes them off when it’s time for recess and nap but otherwise wears them without protest. In fact, not long after he started wearing them, my husband realized he’d forgotten them at home after taking DJ to preschool. DJ immediately had a bit of a fit (“I can’t SEEEE!”) until Dad explained that he would go home to get the glasses, and all was well.
Now his glasses are a part of his daily routine. He gets to school, puts his belongings away, washes his hands, and puts on his glasses. Like clockwork! We ask him about his glasses occasionally just to make sure they are still fitting and working for him. Santa even brought him a special case with his favorite superhero on it – Batman!
Try these Steps for (Almost) Painlessly Getting your Toddler or Preschooler to wear glasses:
Prepare your preschooler for wearing glasses. Explain why they need glasses. Don’t assume that they won’t understand.
Don’t share or show your concerns, fears, or insecurities with your toddler. I’ve learned from this experience that you may be worried for no reason. Even if you got glasses as an older, school-aged child, your toddler will likely have a different experience than you did.
Introduce them to fictional characters who wear glasses. There is children’s programming featuring characters wearing glasses or that have episodes about getting glasses. For example…
One of the main characters on the show “Little Einsteins,” Leo, wears glasses.
Arthur from the self-titled cartoon wears glasses.
In an episode of “Sid the Science Kid” (season 1, episode 13), Sid explores his sense of vision by trying on his grandma’s glasses.
Talk about glasses and how they can help people see more clearly and how we can appreciate other’s differences.
Research brands such as Tomato Glasses, Zoobug, and Solo Bambini for the look, affordability, and durability you think is best for your toddler/preschooler.
Allow your toddler/preschooler to be involved in the process of selecting his/her glasses.
Does he/she have a favorite color? Toddler glasses often have multiple color options for frames, so ask if the styles you are considering come in different frame colors.
Let them pick out a case with a favorite character on it. Their glasses are special, so they deserve a special holder.
We found DJ’s case on Amazon.
Or take the (usually plain and simple) case provided by the eyewear retailer and decorate it!
Allow your toddler/preschooler to color it with permanent markers or stickers to make it his/her own.
Lay some ground rules:
At the beginning, expecting your toddler to wear his/her glasses all day right away may be an unreasonable expectation and lead to needless tantrums and a battle of wills.
In fact, your child may become averse to wearing the glasses at all! DJ’s ophthalmologist told us that often, toddlers refuse to wear them, and parents put the glasses away and try again in a year or 2.
Of course, that is always an option, but I think there are other ways to get them to wear their cool specs! I believe that until your toddler/preschooler is accustomed to them, you should set up reasonable expectations of where, when, and how oftenthey should wear their glasses.
Questions to ask yourself?
Do you want your child to wear the glasses at home only? While at preschool or daycare? Only on the weekends? When they are permitted screen time?
This trial period doesn’t have to last weeks or months.
Slowly incorporate more time and encourage them to wear their glasses more often.
You May Surprised
You might be pleasantly surprised to find that your toddler/preschooler is very receptive to your slow and steady encouragement to wear their glasses more often, or they may even ask you to wear them more frequently once they see how beneficial they are! DJ wore his glasses at home only during screen time and marveled at how his favorite cartoon character, Blaze from “Blaze and the Monster Machines,” looked. He did that for 3 days and then wore them to school with no complaints!
April is financial literacy month. I wanted to start the month off by giving you fun and simple financial literacy activities to do with young children.
Robert Kiyosaki, the author of Rich Dad Poor Dad said when you are an adult your report card is your credit score. This is one reason why teaching kids financial literacy is so important. Once a child becomes an adult, handling money becomes inevitable. So, let’sstrive to build an early foundation for our children!