Another Successful Blog Carnival of Ideas

Brittany Harris presents 24 Blogs Sharing Tips for Goal Setting for the Coming School Year posted at, saying, “This quote by Basil Walsh really pinpoints the importance of setting goals.  If your children neglect to set goals for the coming school year, they will be just aimlessly floating through their lessons.  By helping your child set goals you are not only teaching him an important skill that he will use the rest of his life, but you are helping him create a tool by which to steer his life.”

Hailey Jones presents 10 iPhone Apps to Help Monitor Kid’s Screen Time posted at Nanny Websites, saying, “The world of technology is always expanding, bringing new and exciting opportunities for parents and their children. While most youngsters won’t have a smartphone of their own, the iPhone is such a kid-friendly and fun device that parents who own them tend to find themselves handing their phones over more often than they’d like.”

Shelby Martin presents 7 Smart Ways Nannies Can Avoid Injury on the Job posted at Blog, saying, “Working as a nanny means always being busy. You spend your days wrangling kids, sometimes several of them, and it can seem like you never stop moving. Activities, play dates, housework, cooking: there’s always something going on and something else to do.”

Denise Thompson presents Is Your Child Ready to Play Sports? posted at Find A Babysitter, saying, “When it comes to signing your child up for a sports team, it’s natural to feel a bit of trepidation while they’re still young. While you do not want your child to be behind the other children in terms of skills, you may wonder if your child is ready to devote the time and effort it takes to learn a sport and to be a part of a team.”

Jim Wilson presents How to Choose the Right Cell Phone for Your Child | Babysitters posted at 10 Physical Contact Rules for Babysitters, saying, “While the idea of having a cell phone in elementary school was about as far-fetched as landing on the moon for today’s parents, there’s no denying the fact that technology has evolved at a rapid enough pace to make that situation a very feasible one for kids just a generation later.”

Diego Brown presents How to Calm Back to School Jitters posted at National Nannies, saying, “Whether your child is entering kindergarten as a first-time student or preparing for the first day of his senior year, the first day of school is no laughing matter.”

Regina Naberhaus presents Capturing How Your Child Changes with a Photo a Day posted at Kidmondo, saying, “When it comes to parenting, few things are predictable. One thing that you can be sure of, however, is that your child will grow faster than you ever imagined. Capturing each and every moment in her development may not be feasible, but you can make a beautiful log of her growth from day to day.”

John Williams presents 20 of the Best Blogs Highlighting First Day of School Traditions posted at Live-In Nanny, saying, “Instituting a back-to-school tradition can help get everyone excited about the changes a new school year brings.”

Denise Young presents 24 Blogs Illustrating Quick Back-to-School Hairstyles for Girls posted at Au Pair Care, saying, “The beginning of a new school year signals a fresh start, and gives you the chance to completely reinvent your look. You may have assembled the perfect outfit for the first day, but have you figured out a complimentary way to style your hair?”

David Thompsonn presents How to Help Your Kids Deal With the Death of a Pet posted at Backup Care, saying, “Coping with the death of a pet — and the mess of feelings that comes with it — is one of the tougher parts of growing up. These feelings can be hard for everybody in the family, but they’re especially tough for young children. Children see pets as close friends and extensions of the family unit, and they have a great deal of importance in their lives.”

Arianna Lee presents How to Make Sure Your Kid Has a Great Playdate posted at Part Time Nanny, saying, “The two most important rules for children’s play dates are to keep activities age appropriate and to always have a back-up plan. With these two suggestions in mind, play dates can be fun for both children and parents alike.”

Teri Jones presents How to Avoid Common Problems When Grandma Provides Childcare posted at Nanny Jobs, saying, “For many families, Grandma is the first childcare choice. Parents love the idea of a family member whom they know and trust caring for the kids. But there are challenges that automatically come with this childcare option. Here are some questions parents should think about before having Grandma care for their kids.”

Carter White presents 24 Blogs with Easy to Make Nature Crafts for Kids posted at Babysitting, saying, “Nature-themed craft projects are a great way to engage the kids and teach them a little about the world around them. Instead of sacrificing another day to the TV or computer, take the kids on a nature walk one afternoon and have them collect different twigs, leaves, flowers and rocks that they find.”

Jeff Moore presents Ways to Avoid Bathtime Battles posted at Babysitting Jobs, saying, “Even the sweetest of kids can turn into a raging screamer after seeing a tub filled with water, and most parents don’t understand why their children feel that way. Kids, however, can despise cleaning up after a long day because of everything from the temperature of the water to the slipperiness of the tub and even the lack of fun they have in the water.”

Shelby Martin presents How to Communicate with Your Child’s Teacher posted at Blog, saying, “With school starting, you can expect that there’s going to be a certain amount of chaos going on, from getting school supplies to enrolling in extracurricular activities to dealing with your child’s emotions about returning to school.”

Lisa Williams presents 5 Tips for Nannies Hosting Their First Playdate posted at Become A Nanny, saying, “Hosting a playdate may be your own idea or that of your employers, but either way it’s a fun and exciting way to help kids socialize and provide a break from your daily routine.”

That concludes this edition.  Submit your blog article to the next edition of all kids parties using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Blog Carnival a Week Early!

I was going to wait until next week to post the first Blog Carnival but I’ve had so many submissions I am posting a week early.  Wow.  I could not be more thrilled with this awesome grouping of posts.  I hope you enjoy reading these as much as I did.

  1. Kevin Giffin presents 7 Tips for Helping Kids Beat the Back-to-School Blues posted at Summer Nanny, saying, “Every August, millions of kids trudge to the bus stop in the early morning hours, dragging backpacks and lunch boxes and saying goodbye to summer vacation.”
  2. David Thompsonn presents 10 of the Most Common Food Allergies in Kids posted at Backup Care, saying, “When it comes to kids’ health, food allergies are certainly nothing to sneeze at. While many food sensitivities and allergies cause little more than discomfort, itching or hives, there are those that can have potentially lethal implications. Before introducing new foods into a child’s diet, it’s wise to have a reasonable understanding of common food allergens and know the signs of an allergic reaction.”
  3. Shelby Martin presents How to Find the Right Tutor for Your Child posted at Blog, saying, “It can be painful to watch your child struggle through a particular concept or unit in school. Whether it is difficulty in understanding long division, struggling with standard English grammar rules or anything in between, there is only so much that teachers and parents alike can do.”
  4. Dan Robinson presents How to Survive a Layover with Young Kids posted at Aupair Jobs, saying, “Traveling with your kids can be a fun and rewarding experience, and provide you with a treasure trove of memories that you’ll be able to recall with fondness later. It can also be a harrowing, frustrating experience if you’re not properly prepared, though. Sometimes a layover is unavoidable, but the lack of a direct flight doesn’t have to be the kiss of death for your family trip. These tips can help you not only survive a long layover with little ones, but perhaps even have a bit of fun.”
  5. Janet Golovine presents 15 Blogs with Alternatives to Yelling at Your Kids posted at Become A Nanny, saying, “When your kids are acting out, do you resort to yelling? Many people who were brought up being yelled at tend to yell at their own family members. This observation alone should alert you to the long-lasting consequences of yelling at your kids.”
  6. Brittany Harris presents How to Keep Your Kids From Becoming Addicted to Technology posted at, saying, “It’s impossible to keep children from interacting with all manner of screens today: TVs, computers, tablets and smartphones have permeated society. Screen time exposure is higher than ever for today’s little ones, especially when so many parents model that behavior.”
  7. Carter White presents 27 of the Greatest Blogs with Ideas for Planning the Perfect Back-to-School Party posted at Babysitting, saying, “When summer ends and school begins again, there are a variety of responses you can expect from both parents and children. Parents are usually excited for the kids to go back to school and to establish a more consistent routine again. Kids, however, typically have mixed feelings about going back.”
  8. Jessica Clark presents What to Do if Your Young One Develops a Swearing Problem posted at Kenney Myers, saying, ““Little pitchers have big ears.” Almost every parent knows this phrase and exactly what it means: You should always be careful what you say around your children, because they hear, understand and repeat more than you could imagine.”

That concludes this edition.  Submit your blog article to the next edition of all kids parties using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.


15 Phrases for The Telephone Game

Telephone is truly a oldie but a goodie.  It is one of those games that has stood the test of time.  It is so wildly popular still today because of the sheer silliness of the game results.  Kids are funny.  Sometimes they are fall down, spit your drink out funny.  Now take a bunch of wound up, sugared up kids and tell them to quietly repeat a single phrase to their partner only once.  What you get is normally hysterical pandemonium.  This is a go to game I always keep in my back pocket.  It never fails to fill that extra 5-10 minutes you didn’t count on at the end of the party.  I started doing this years ago when a craft took 5 minutes instead of 25 to complete.  Oh dear!  At that time I made up the phrases on the spot, but now I have learned there are a few phrases that work better than others so I come prepared.  Here is a list that can be used for any grade to get you started.  Use the shorter phrases for the younger ones.  You will be shocked at the results.  LOL

zane school

  1. Noisy Ned needs nuggets
  2. Ghostly gum tastes gooey
  3. Scarecrows steal soft sandwiches
  4. Junie B Jones likes Jamba Juice
  5. Dracula drinks dark drool
  6. Ms. ________ makes math mash-ups (fill in your child’s teachers name )
  7. Moody Mummies munch on moldy mothballs
  8. Walking in a Winter Wonderland
  9. Snowflakes will slide softly soon
  10. Leaves like loose piles
  11. Teachers take tons of toadstools
  12. Recess rocks restless roosters
  13. Counting cars quietly
  14. Lightening McQueen likes loaded lunches
  15. Classmates climb cars for cash

Best Bead Kits for Young Children

I love beading for school parties because its relatively inexpensive, easy to set up and takes up a great deal of time. Young kids love bracelets and necklaces. Boys and girls alike will enjoy this activity. The other weird upside to this is it is an excellent vision therapy technique.  Optometrists have known for decades about the benefits of vision therapy but very few are truly trained in the techniques. Here is one who is great.

Unfortunately I have been lured into buying fancier bead kits that looked cool but were next to impossible for tiny fingers to string. When you only have a few parent helpers at each party this can make for a very frustrating afternoon. Little fingers and little eyes need bigger beads. There are literally hundreds, maybe thousands of kits out there ranging from “break the bank” to super cheap. Its hard to know from many of the pictures just what your getting. Let my mistakes and successes save you some time and money. Here are the best kits I have found.

candy corn bracelt– I have personally used this twice and each time I was happy.  Some of the beads were broken and a few times the correct amounts were not in the bags.  Since I was dealing with younger kids though this was not a problem as they did not need all the beads anyway.  I normally give each child a small bowl and place all of the pieces in  the bowl.  This keeps things tidy and gives the children a way to keep the beads from rolling away.

turkey necklace– Awesome Thanksgiving craft.  This one is easy to do and involves several different techniques.  I would suggest opening each kit and burning the ends of the cord to make beading easier however.  When I did this for my son’s kindergarten class it took about 30 minutes to do 30 cords.

candy cane necklace great necklace has larger beads and is non religious for Winter parties so you won’t offend anyone.  The colors are not as vibrant as some beads but most young ones don’t care.

perler,default,pd.html?cgid=products-kidsteachers-craftkits– If your creative you can design your own jewelry and buy in bulk which can really cut costs.  Just remember to buy string or cord for the base of the jewelry and some kind of charm for the main decoration.

glitter cord–  This stretchy cord comes in several colors and is very pretty.  You can cut costs by using a pretty cord like this and not needing as many beads.  It is especially nive for a Valentine’s or Spring party and use hearts, candies and flowers for the charms.

jingles– All kids like things that make noise.  jingles make a great charm or even make the whole bracelet out of bells.  They are a little more difficult to string though so you will need to help the kiddos with that part.  These are more expensive than most beads so make sure you have a coupon and buy these off season.


Remember these important tips and you will have a great craft.

  1. How much time and money you have to spend on these crafts.  If you have a very large class and not a great deal of help pick the easiest cheapest options.
  2. Read all the reader reviews, they are excellent resources and often will save you some heartache.
  3. Make notes about what worked and did not and why.
  4. Save your web searches into your favorites for use the next time.
  5. Stay calm and don’t sweat the small stuff.  If the kit calls for alternating orange and purple beads but one kid wants all orange and one all purple who cares.  The kids are happy and it all works out in the end.

3 Themes for a Successful 7th Birthday Party

This one is personal.  My little guy is turning 7 next week and I have been thinking/agonizing over this for weeks.  Admittedly my son is a bit of an odd ball but these ideas will work for just about any group and are very customizable.  A good theme needs to be able to encompass games, party favors, snacks and foods and even costumes.  A few of these ideas I incorporate a specific location or event as well.  There’s nothing better than not having to clean your house or worrying about multiple little kids running wild in your home.

Renaissance Festival/Medieval Times-  This works for both boys and girls.  Boys can be knights or kings and girls princesses or queens.  Most festivals will work with you to provide a meal location and discounted food.  The food is always fun and messy so bring a pack of baby wipes for clean up.  All of the entertainment is included right at the facility so your set to go.  If you choose to go to a festival or show a much smaller group is necessary for cost and corralling purposes.  Think cat herding!  I would invite 2-3 kids maximum.  This theme can be done at home however by serving roasted turkey legs, orange icys in hollowed out oranges, candied almonds and spiced apple juice.  If you serve drinks in large plastic goblets your guests will feel very royal.  Games could include bean bag tosses, Nerf crossbow target and face painting.  There are great glitter tattoos out there that can be done by anyone.

Apple Orchard or Pumpkin Patch Party-  Most apple orchard and pumpkin patches offer a variety of packages for parties.  Many choices include hay rides, apple or pumpkin picking, petting zoos and bee keeping.  They are traditionally inexpensive and the added benefit of supporting a local farmer is always nice.  You can encourage your guests to wear their Halloween Costumes and decorate with fall leaves and scare crows.  Games should include bobbing for apples and pumpkin seed spitting.  I know its gross but if its outside and controlled the kids will love it.  Crafts can be pumpkin decorating with markers and stickers and scarecrow making.  Here a few of my favorite crafts:

scarecrow1                   scarecrow2

Foods should include of course all things apples.  Apple pies, apple cakes, apple bread, apple cookies, apple crumble to name a few.  Pumpkin bread, candied or salted pumpkin seeds and apple cider round out a fun menu.  A lot of places will even allow a campfire for hot dog or smores.  You will of course need a lot a parent supervision for this!

Masterchef Party-  This one is a little strange I know.  Both my children like to cook and I don’t know a kid around that doesn’t like to decorate cookies or cakes.  Many Hy-Vee’s and Social Suppers have facilities dedicated for these purposes.  It won’t mess up your kitchen and you won’t have to prepare any food.  Its a win-win!  I would suggest making something all kids like spaghetti, tacos, grilled cheese, or pizza.  Pizza is very fun because the kids can pull the dough and choose their own toppings.  Its also very hard to mess up.  Guests should receive Chef hats, coats and aprons and party favors could include a small pack of cooking utensils.  Cookie or cake decorating can complete the evening.

utensils                                      utensils2

I hope you and your kids will have as much fun with these party ideas as I have had.  Wish me luck with my son’s party.

Cheap Popsicle Stick Crafts for School Parties

School Parties can often be quite expensive for the Room Moms.  If your child has a full classroom it can mean buying supplies for 20 or more people.  My children are spread seven years apart and as a result I have had a lot of practice with party crafts.  I know what works, what doesn’t and most importantly what won’t break the bank.  Here are a few of those ideas.

  • Popsicle stick flowers-  Popsicle sticks are like the vanilla cake of the craft world.  they are easy and cheap to come by and can be added with almost anything to create something new.  All you need for this is a bulk box of popsicle sticks that can be found at any craft store, glue(sticks or Elmer’s), construction paper, scissors and glitter.  Kids can pick the colors, petal shapes and glitter options.  I have seen children spend 20 minutes or more cutting and gluing this project.  If this is used for Kindergarten or 1st grade boys and girls alike will enjoy it.  It’s perfect for a Valentine party and can be combined with a book about Spring Showers.  A coupon for Hobby Lobby Online can be found here.   A Total cost of the project for 30 kids is $16.97.


  • Wood Christmas Trees-  This is another project that can easily be completed with popsicle sticks, glue, markers, string for hanging, and glitter.  If you buy your supplies in bulk you can purchase enough for several parties and several different projects making the cost even cheaper.  There are many different options for these trees allowing them to be made by a wide variety of grade levels depending on difficulty.  Typically each child will need 3-6 popsicle sticks. The children will first paint or color their sticks and then glue them into whatever design you choose.  I have included several pictures below for inspiration.   Coupons for Michaels and the weekly ad for your store can be found here.  This project typically takes 15 minutes.  Total cost of trees for 30 kids is $20.05.

trees 2                                trees 3                                wood christmas trees

  • Popsicle stick bracelets-  These are really cute, can be used for any party and best of all super cheap.  If you buy the popsicle sticks in the 1000 pack mentioned above you easily should have enough sticks for all three crafts!  I have tried several different techniques and have included information about each.  Depending on technique this project requires about 10-20 minutes.

bracelets 2                                                             bracelets

  • If you form the bracelets completely plan on starting the process the week before to ensure you get a full classrooms worth formed and ready.  Here is a great detailed site for directions on forming these.  I found the second option with the yarn is much easier to plan for and can use up that extra yarn from previous projects.  If you choose the second option cut the sticks to size and form them in the same way as the full size bracelets.  You will need to drill small holes in the ends to attach the string.  Many of these projects call for contact paper, paint and Mod Podge.  If I am doing this for a school party I skip all these more expensive and time consuming options and allow the kids to paint, glitter and sticker decorate their bracelets.  Odds are they will lose the bracelet at home in the first 48 hours anyway so no need to worry about preservation.  Sometimes contact paper can be found on sale and that is a very viable option, but only if its on sale.  A final great option that will avoid sanding is duct tape.  Duct tape is about the only thing  more universally used than popsicle sticks.  You can buy several rolls of different colors and patterns and let the kids mix and match.  Several duct tape rolls should do an entire classroom with a lot left over for the next project!  Coupons for Joann Fabrics can be found here.  Total Cost of bracelets is $21.97.

As you can see with some careful planning you can significantly cut the cost of school party crafts but still have a fun and unique product.  Even if you use these crafts over many years, all of these supplies can be stored for later use.  I can’t stress enough to buy in bulk and plan, plan, plan.  When you combine your planning and purchasing with store ads and coupons the cost goes down even further.  There is no need to break the bank for your kid’s party.  Enjoy those crafts!

1st Grade Books Perfect for Halloween Parties

If your school is like my kids sign ups for parent reading sessions are already in full swing.  Despite school only having just started teachers are already planning their schedules for parent reading schedules.  I have listed six of my most favorite, tried and true Halloween books for use.  I have used all of these books in my oldest classroom when he was younger and have even incorporated them into the Fall Party.  Think Musical Chairs with a book.

1. The Battle of the Red Hot Pepper Weenies– This is a compilation of short stories.  Some are scarier than others so read the stories first before selecting them for the classroom.

2. Hallo-wiener– Very popular because the title is super funny to little ones and the dog is cute….awwwwww

3. Big Pumpkin– It’s all about working together.  The voices that can be added to the many characters add some fun and the repetitive nature of the story allows for “kid actors” to play many of the rolls.

4. Dry Bones– This book is a little juvenile for the age group but when combined with a skeleton making craft and a bone lesson it offers fun and education.

5. Skeleton Hiccups– Another great craft and book combo.  Also it’s a great discussion starter about what cures the students hiccups.  Everyone has a different goofy cure.

6. Where the Sidewalk Ends- These poems are easy to read in a short setting and the fantastical nature of the poem stories make it a clear hit for both parents and kids alike.  This is not a Fall or Halloween book per se but the stories are odd enough they do not seem out of place.

I hope you and your children enjoy these books as much as my family has.  Happy reading!

Snacks for School Parties With Allergies

Well that time of year is here again.  The fabulous school year.  Depending on when your school year starts, mid August to early September is the best time of the year.  It is a parent’s favorite holiday for sure.  Backtoschoolaween is by far and away my favorite day.  It also means planning for classroom treats, birthday treats and party foods. 

As I was reviewing all my old party ideas I received an email from my son’s first grade teacher.  There were many food allergies in the classroom this year including, peanuts, fish and eggs.  What’s a Mom to do?  Many of my go to ideas centered around decorating cookies or cupcakes.  As I panicked I began listing in my mind all the things I thought contain eggs or gluten.  After much schizophrenic talking to myself I began the task of researching safe alternatives.  To my surprise there are many, not that expensive, options available out there.  As with anything please read every label before proceeding.  Some dips and salad dressings may contain things you would be surprised by.  Here are my top 10 ideas:

  1. Sunflower or almond butter with celery stalks-Raisins can be added for bugs on a log.  It can be fun to combine a creepy story about eating bugs while the kids are making these treats.
  2. Popcorn and candy corn hands-Assuming no corn allergies of course.  This is a great treat and craft.  You simply take non latex clear plastic gloves(powder free) and fill with popped popcorn.  The fingernails are placed first.  One candy corn pointy side down per finger.  After the bag is filled tie with a colorful string tightly and enjoy.
  3. Sliced apples and caramel dip-Read the labels carefully as some dips contain or are manufactured with eggs.
  4.  Cut fruit arranged in funny designs-This takes a little planning but can be super cute and popular.  First take a picture and enlarge it to cookie sheet size(or draw your own if your creative).  Next decide what colors work best with each part.  Next go to the store and pick fruits with colors that will work with your design.  The great thing about this is you can cut the fruit into whatever size and shape you need so color is the only limiting factor.   
  5. Yogurt with granola or fruit-Most yogurts are safe but check the labels.
  6. Jello
  7. Cut veggies and hummus
  8. Cheese and sausage-Be careful to check the labels as some sausages contain eggs or are processed in a facility with egg products.
  9. Chips a Hoy Chocolate Chip Cookies
  10. Oreo Cookie Tower-Oreo cookies come with their very own glue so the skies the limit when it comes to design.  They can be mixed and mashed(literally) together to create shapes, designs, pictures and towers.  To make a tower use small dowel rods or popsicle sticks and “glue” them together with the creamy center of the Oreos.  They will not support a ton of weight but half the fun is the destruction right?

Most baked  goods including crackers are out unless your willing to pop for the much higher cost of gluten free/dairy free products.  There are many out there but they can be quite pricey.  if your school is like mine baking your own is out of the questions as only prepackaged items are allowed.  With an open mind and a little creativity you can still have a fun and rewarding party.



Best Ways to Make Your Ice Cream Social Successful

Schools almost back in session.  The sun is hot, kids are excited and ice cream is in the air, or sidewalk.  Ice Cream Socials are a staple of many back to school events.  If you are in charge of yours this year let me guide you through the fun, yummy and sticky world of ice cream toppings.

The first thing to keep in mind is scale.  Are there going to be 20 people or 200 going through the line at the same time?  If there will be large numbers coming through at the same time consider 2 lines to maximize serving time.  Ice cream takes forever to scoop up and surprisingly it takes a long time to cover with toppings.  Have two dedicated ice cream scoopers to scoop ice cream into cups or cones to keep the line moving.  Next have 1 helper per 2-3 toppings.  Some toppings will not be that popular and can be handled together but others are so popular almost every person will want some.  Spread the popular toppings out so they are not organized together on the table.

Most Popular Toppings are:    

  • Chocolate syrup/sauce
  • sprinkles
  • gummy bears
  • fruit
  • M and M’s

These toppings should be placed next to less popular toppings whenever possible.  Place the napkins at the front of the line with the plates and spoons as they will get utilized more and less spills will be left for clean up both on the serving table and at the dining tables.

Remember to clearly note the presence of nuts if you choose to include them.  Place a card on the table and alert your helpers to never switch serving spoons between toppings to avoid cross contamination.

Using plastic spoons can be challenging when serving frozen icr cream so start scooping 10-15 minutes before the event.  It will allow the ice cream to soften enough to eat and help you get ahead with serving.

It is very hard to get volunteers before school has even started so ask friends and family to help you until you can recruit help.  If you don’t have as much help as you would like and some have to wait, thats ok it’s a great opportunity to get to know other parents and children and to recruit new volunteers.

Lastly do not forget to relax and eat some yourself.  The old addage “Don’t cry over spilled milk” applies to melted ice cream as well.