Not to play favorites, but . . . this has to be our cutest Instagram Challenge yet. We asked, and you delivered! The snaps that you proud mamas shared of your kids enjoying some time in the sand and surf are absolutely adorable. Click through to see the best pics of beach-bound babes. There's nothing like the lazy, hazy, oh-so-amazing days of Summer . . .
There's so much more to learning language than just knowing how to speak — kids must learn to recognize letter sounds, ask questions, and build sentences and stories, and more. To help make all that learning a little more fun, here are five great language-focused apps that children love playing.
1. SuperDuper® StoryMaker (iTunes, ages 4+)
The SuperDuper® StoryMaker app ($5) allows your child to create stories by using an image library of over 800 cartoonish images that depict all the elements of a good story — characters, setting, plot, and other details. Your child can also draw their own pictures, import photos, type in text, and record their own voice reading the story. If you want to try out the app before buying, there's also a limited-features free edition available.
2. Story Dice (Android and iTunes, ages 7+)
This app, available for both Android and on iTunes ($2), has a simplistic interface that provides for a number of different language-learning opportunities. The app is made up of five die, with each side displaying a pictogram that can represent a character, plot, setting, or other element of a story. Once the die are rolled (your child can choose how many die to roll at a time), it's up to your child to figure out what they want to do with the images — tell a story about the pictographs, play charades with you, make up a song, or even create a cave drawing to go with what they see.
Whether or not you let your toddler watch movies is a momentous decision. Once you do, there's no turning back. So it's up to you to choose flicks that your kids love — and that you can live with. Important things to consider include the type (cartoon, live-action, scary, funny), length, and content themes. Here are seven prescreened movies for toddlers that get the seal of approval from moms.
1. Monsters, Inc.
Monsters, Inc. is a top choice among Circle of Moms members across multiple community conversations. It's the story of a group of monsters who generate electricity for their city by scaring children. What's interesting is that even the youngest viewers who might not want to be scared are able, according to a member named Meagan, to differentiate imagination from reality. While this might be categorized as a scary film, it's certainly not in the "horror" category, and it has enough humor to offset the fear factor.
These days kids more commonly commune with their computers than with Mother Nature. While our generation spent days playing outside and reporting back home only after the last firefly was safely housed in a jar, today's generation is more disconnected with the environment than ever before.
Between schedules packed with soccer practices, flute lessons, and neuroscience studies at age 8, childhood rites like exploring, jumping in puddles, digging in the mud, and climbing trees seem to get lost in the virtual world of Angry Birds.
Many Circle of Moms members like Mary L. believe that connecting kids with nature helps create a generation of happier, healthier children with more awareness and connection to the natural world. "It's much better and healthier for kids to get out in the fresh air and sunshine and play," she says.
Here, Circle of Moms members share their best tips on strengthening a child's connection to nature.
Before diving headfirst into Summer, we love the idea of sitting down as a family and generating a bucket list of fun ways to make the season especially memorable. Get everyone together, and brainstorm the things that each of you would most like to experience while school's out. Think about your surroundings — local landmarks you have yet to explore, great day trips to take, some of your own favorite spots that your kids have yet to experience, and more. Here are a few fun thoughts to get you started, wherever you live!
- Make s'mores outside.
- Visit a pick-your-own berry farm, and make a pie with your bounty.
- Go fishing.
- Make your own ice cream.
- See fireworks.
- Have a picnic in a park.
- Start a lemonade stand.
- Spend a day at a local amusement park.
- Learn a new craft, instrument, or skill.
- Give your bedroom or playroom a mini makeover.
- Go to a baseball game.
- Practice a random act of kindness (or two, or three . . .).
- Set up a tent in the backyard and sleep under the stars.
- Test your green thumb and start a garden.
- Plan a weekend road trip to a new destination.
What fun adventures do you and your kids have in store for this Summer? Tell us the highlights of your family's Summer bucket list!
It can get extremely hot during the Summer, but kids still need time to play outside. Instead of avoiding the heat by waiting until dark to go to the park or paying a lot of money to go to a water park, try one of these inexpensive outdoor activities. From playing with spray-able sidewalk chalk to driving to a local watering hole, these ideas are fun, easy, and will keep your kids cool!
Most kids have a lot of time on their hands during the Summer, so it's the perfect season to start a new hobby or family activity. We asked moms about favorite hobbies to do with kids, and they shared five great activities for children of all ages. From swimming to baking, these ideas are easy, fun, and a great way to bond with your kids.
Did you know that surveys say the average household goes through a roll of toilet paper every five days? That's a lot of empty toilet paper rolls! We asked our crafty bloggers to tell us what they do with all those toilet paper rolls. Here are some of their creative ways to reuse those tubes instead of just throwing them away.