Tag: diy

Make A Dollar Out Of 15 Cents

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times – never underestimate the power of a child’s imagination. Even though the game’s changed, and kids nowadays are different than how I was when I was a little, this statement still rings true.

B and J, for example, love technology. If left to their own devices, they could spend hours playing on their devices, or watching TV, Netflix or Youtube.  And in all honesty, sometimes I don’t mind a little tech time. It’s a break from the chaotic havoc and non-stop bickering that usually goes on in our house. The kids quietly staring at a screen, not getting into trouble? Sign me up!

The downside, of course, is that too much screen time will probably turn their brains into mush. Therefore, kids need to find other ways to entertain themselves. And I gotta admit, when it comes to making something out of nothing, to combat boredom, J is a pretty resourceful girl.

Take last Sunday, for example. It was just J, little KJ, and yours truly hangin’ and bangin’. Out of nowhere, J blurted out that she was going to make a train.  Lacking anything even remotely resembling train parts, I had no clue what her plan was. She then ran off to the garage, came back with two giant boxes and put in some work.

KJ also tried to help.

A while later, here was her end result:


Two train cars, attached with tape. One baby-friendly, with toys and snacks for KJ.  One J-friendly, with, uhh, a picture of her hanging in it, for some reason.

They played in these for a while, including pulling them around the kitchen, making “stops”. Eventually (or a lot longer than I would have thought, since it’s just two boxes),  J got bored and tried to play on her tablet. I could tell that KJ wanted to keep playing with her, though, so I suggested that she entertain him.

Her solution? Instead of watching unboxing videos on Youtube, her and KJ could play “unboxing videos on Youtube”!

This literally involved J hiding in a box and KJ opening it up. To his credit, KJ seemed impressed each time he peeled back the flaps, and saw her sprawled inside.  You know,  like how Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph looked when they opened their presents in that Saturday Night Live “D**k In A Box” video.

Step 1…

Later that evening, after I put KJ to bed, I heard J singing. While some kids belt out Disney songs, or Bruno Mars hits, or Cardi B jams (see, I’m hip to today’s music), J was singing about…..punctuation.  I went in her room, and saw her standing with a marker in hand, beside this creation:

 

We then had the following conversation:

Me – What are you doing?

J – Oh, I’m just working on my anxiety.

Me – Your anxiety?!

J – Yeah.  My teacher says that I need to practise my anxiety. *starts singing about puncuation*

Me – I don’t think that’s the right word. You drew some punctuation marks.

J – I did?

Me – Yes! *I point to them*

J – Oh. There’s four of them! Question mark….explanation mark….comma…..what’s the fourth one?

Me – Period.

J – What’s a period?

Me – You drew it! It’s the dot.

J – Oh right! I forgot. Then what are these? *scribbles randomly*

Me – Those aren’t anything. Why are their hands?

J – Those are my hands.

Me – I know. But why did you draw them?

J – I dunno.

Maybe the hands were anxiety hands. Who knows.  You catch my drift, though. Leave a kid on on their own, and they can come up with some wild thoughts (word to DJ Khaled!).

Anyway, I went downstairs after that encounter. A bit later, since imagination knows no timeframe (re: she didn’t want to go to bed),  J came downstairs, to tell me about her latest project:

J – You know how you always wanted a puppy house?

Me – I’ve never said that before. We don’t even have a dog.

J – Well feast your eyes on this! See, you just put your puppy in here, and they can sleep in it.

Me – Ok. This is awesome. But the roof is a book? What if you want to read it?

J – Oh, I’m too big to read it.

Me – What if KJ wants to read it?

J – Oh. Well. He can just take the tape…

*stops talking, to think hard*

He’s never going to read it! *grabs house, goes back upstairs*

 

Children’s imagination, people. They can turn nothing into something better than we can, for real.  And that’s not even getting into the deadly burglar ball that B and J concocted.

Until next time, peace!

 

 

 

Guest Post: Education.com Grocery Shopping Game!

It’s summertime, which can only mean one thing – it’s lemonade stand season!

 

Err…well, I guess it means more than that, but bear with me.  

See, B and J have already set up shop once this summer, and raked in some serious (to them) money by selling lemonade. They now look forward to taking their earnings to a store and making it rain, bruh!

Or just buying a bunch of candy at that store. One or the other.  

Anyway, B and J, while experienced hustlers, still have a lot to learn about the art of money. Fortunately, my good friends at Education.com have a fun, easy game to play, to help any young, budding entrepreneur or shopper. We had a great time when we played it at our house. Check it out!

 

 

Grocery Shopping Game

Want to make sure you raise a money-savvy kid? Start them out right with this activity that hides valuable math skills within a fun grocery store game. An added possible benefit of this game? It may encourage your child to join you on your next grocery pickup!

What You Need:
Money
Table
Several small objects
Paper
Construction paper

 

What You Do:

  1. Explain to your child that you will be the grocer and he will be the shopper.
  2. Lay out the small objects on the table. Objects can be anything from toys to clothes to food.
  3. Have your child help you make little paper tents out of the construction paper. (The simplest tent? Just a regular sheet of paper folded in half.)
  4. Write a price on each paper tent. Try to keep prices varied, but only as complicated as you think your child can handle.
  5. Group the items together and place a price tag in front of them. For example, all the 5 cent items should be in one group. All the $1 items are in one group and so on.
  6. Give your child a purse or baggie with some cash. If he has a wallet, this would be a good opportunity to use it.
  7. He can “buy” a number of things from you. But before you accept his money, ask him to tally up how much he owes you.
  8. If he gives you more than he owes, give him back change and ask him to count it.
  9. Continue to let him buy things until he runs out of money.
  10. Now let your child be the grocer. Have him organize the items by price on the table.
  11. Set him up with some coins and a couple of bills so that he can give you change.
  12. Go “buy” a couple items and pay him for them.
  13. If you want to challenge him, give him an incorrect amount of money and see how he handles it.
  14. After a couple rounds of this grocery game, he will be ready to shop at a real store!

Catch Me If You Can

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Yeah, man. It’s the holiday season, which means that it’s the time of the year when we can stuff our faces with holiday goodies!

One of my favourite treats during this season are fresh, home-made gingerbread cookies. I’ve discovered that decorating these cookies is an easy activity which the whole family can enjoy, especially little kids.

Today, I’m going to share with you some steps, so you can make your own fresh, home-made gingerbread cookies, just like my family!!!!

Step 1

Pre-heat the oven. Pull out the following ingredients:

 

Well...no, I guess not.

Uh oh…….

Step 2

Realize that you’ve never made fresh, home-made gingerbread cookies before, and that you don’t actually have a recipe. Turn oven off. Go to a store and buy a premade decorating kit (we went with a kit that had a whole family of gingerbread people, complete with a gingerbread pet dog).

Step 3

IT’S JUST YOU AND MEEEE!

Jordan_Knight_at_the_1990_Grammys

Source: Alan Light

 

Go away, Jordan Knight!

I’ll karaoke “Step By Step” later.

Anyway, come home and open up the kit, in your kitchen. Listen to your son and daughter argue over who gets the biggest cookie. Tell them that they don’t get the biggest cookie. Give them each the next two biggest ones, of equal size. Keep the biggest for yourself.

What?

You’ve earned it.

Step 4

Open up the icing packets, and, using your cookie, carefully show your kids how to spread the icing on, to properly decorate it. Ask them which colour of icing they want, to start.

Step 5

If your son said green, but your daughter said red, as soon as you’ve given him the green packet, he will immediately change his mind and say that he wants the red one. Habitual douchebaggery, as I’ve mentioned before. He will freak out, when you explain that he’ll have to wait his turn. As such, in a firm but authoritative voice, tell him that, if he doesn’t knock it off, you’ll smash his cookie into so many little pieces that he’ll need a magnifying glass to see them.

He’ll knock it off.

Step 6

Tell your daughter to stop eating all of the icing, and just decorate her cookie.

Step 7

Tell your son to stop eating all of the icing, and just decorate his cookie.

Step 8

Tell your son that he can’t open the packet of sprinkles yet. Chase son around kitchen when he won’t give the sprinkles to you. Curse Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner.  Don’t stop running until you’ve caught him.

Step 9

Your daughter now has more icing on her than on the cookie, somehow. Wonder how she managed to get icing in the back of her hair.

Step 10

While you’re wondering this, your son will grab the sprinkles, and rip the package open, because, well, WTF. The sprinkles will, uh, sprinkle everywhere, and make a big shiny disaster all over the table and floor. Accept your son’s apology because he seems remorseful.

Step 11

Gather up some sprinkles with a spoon and sprinkle them on your cookie. Ask kids to do the same.

Step 12

Tell your daughter to stop eating all of the sprinkles, and just decorate her cookie.

Step 13

Tell your son to stop eating all of the sprinkles, and just decorate his cookie.

Step 14

Twist off the lid of the narrow tube of icing, the one that looks like a tube of crazy glue.  Gently dab drops from it onto your cookie, to adhere the facial features. Open package of candy, and put candy on the icing drops, to make the eyes and a nose. Ask kids to do the same.

Step 15

Your son will squeeze tube as hard as he can, to get as much icing out as possible, because, well, WTF. Grab tube from him, and give to daughter. Daughter will carefully dab drops on, but will still somehow get more icing in her hair.

Step 16

Tell your daughter to stop eating all of the candy, and just decorate her cookie.

Step 17

Tell your son to stop eating all of the candy, and just decorate his cookie.

Step 18

Because of all of the icing he globbed on, your son will try to get as much candy as possible to stick onto the face. It will look like the gingerbread man has multi-coloured acne. When it doesn’t all stick, your son will be upset for a minute, but he’ll get over it by eating the candy. Your daughter, in the meantime, will suck on the tube of icing like it was two years ago and she was still being breastfed. #throwbackthursdays

Step 19

Voila!

You’re done! Just like my family!

Granted, you won’t need to follow most some of these steps.  Your kitchen probably won’t look like the set of Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” video afterwards, too, like mine did. With any luck, though, your kids will have had a blast.  And, most importantly, hopefully, your cookies turn out like this:

 

IMG_20141211_215747_145

BON APPETIT!

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIY Craft: A Puppet Show Stage!

As I’ve mentioned on this site several times before, the bedtime routine in our house is a constant losing battle. It’s not all bad, however. In fact, one of the small joys of my day is reading the kids a story before bed.  Or, you know, reading to them when they’re supposed to go to bed, to be more specific.

We usually let B and J pick the books. Unsurprisingly, this has lead to some interesting selections. Take the other night, for example. It’s October and autumn is in the air, so that can only mean one thing…………it’s time for a Christmas story!!!!

#sepiafilterfornoreason

#sepiafilterfornoreason

Yep. B chose Franklin’s Christmas Gift, because, well, WTF.

Whatever, though. I read it, tucked B in, and left his room.

Minutes later, B came out of his room, holding three pieces of ripped up cardboard.

Inspired by this part in the Franklin book (NOTE: SPOILER ALERT! SKIP AHEAD IF YOU PLAN ON READING FRANKLIN’S CHRISTMAS GIFT AND DON’T WANT THE ENDING RUINED. OK, OK, I’M NOT SERIOUS. A SPOILER FOR THIS BOOK? HAHA. C’MON MAN! ):

 

 

IMG_20141005_213303_919

B wanted me to make him a puppet show stage. With a door.

Now, the one thing I should note is that I have the  artistic ability of Milhouse’s dad on The Simpsons.

It's dignity! Don't you even know dignity when you see it?

I drew this. It’s dignity! Don’t you even know dignity when you see it?

 

On the other hand, I also didn’t want to say no, and disappoint B. I kinda worry that if I, the father figure in my childrens’ lives, reject them too much, they’ll start looking elsewhere for a strong male presence. Like, from a gang, or a group of travelling buskers, or something along those lines (Yes, I realize B and J aren’t even five and three years old yet.  In my lame defense, gangs recruit ’em young, and I’ve seen some toddler-aged jugglers at fairs before. I think).

With that in mind, I got the creative juices flowing, and made a puppet show stage that you too can make for your kids!

SUPPLIES NEEDED

1) A piece of cardboard, ripped into three pieces. Any cardboard will do. They’re little kids. They don’t really care. Despite owning a lot of toys, B found a chunk of cardboard in a set of new sheets that we bought. He had been having a blast playing with that, even after he ripped it up.

2) Masking tape.

3) A writing utensil. B had requested an orange crayon. After searching in vain for one, I remembered that I don’t live in a Crayola factory, so we settled on the next closest colouring device – a blue pen?!

INSTRUCTIONS

1) Take two pieces of cardboard and fold them into L shapes.

2) Fasten the bottom parts of the Ls to the third piece of cardboard using the tape. Use as many strips of tape as needed, until it forms a sorta firm U shape.

3)  Hand the stage back to your kid. Give them the writing utensil and tell them to decorate it.

4) Voila!

If you’re lucky, your stage will look like this (please, hold your applause):

 

IMG_20141005_212855_603

 

IMG_20141005_212916_284

 

Yo, what did you expect? A mini Apollo Theatre? I told you that I suck, artistically.  We don’t even own puppets, so creating an elaborate stage for non-existent puppets is weaksauce, for real.

Besides, the only opinion that matters is B’s. And he…….didn’t seem to hate it. I heard him playing with the crappy, sorry-looking taped up cardboard contraption for a bit.  Aw, kids. They’re so easily amused sometimes. Anyway, eventually, he passed out for the night, instead of running off and joining a gang or a group of buskers. So to me, this craft is a win.  Holla!

 

You're welcome!

You’re welcome!

 

 

 

 

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