Another Successful Blog Carnival of Ideas

Brittany Harris presents 24 Blogs Sharing Tips for Goal Setting for the Coming School Year posted at NannyPro.com, 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 GoNannies.com 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 GoNannies.com 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.

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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

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.

flowers

  • 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!

When Good Parties Go Bad

The day of the party is here, you are as prepared as you can be.  The games are great, the craft took plenty of time and actually looks like what it’s supposed to and the treats were gobbled up.  You look at the clock, there are only minutes left.  You are in the home stretch when Fate steps in and throws you a curve ball…

How many times after making yourself crazy, obsessively painstaking planning and hundreds of dollars, the party goes literally in the pooper.  Everything is going along great when the unthinkable happens, someone starts crying or my favorite someone throws up.  EEEEWWWWW!  Do not panic I have been there more times than I want to count.  I can help you be prepared.

The biggest tools in your arsenal are control, calmness and a game on hold.  Teachers have been through this many times so look to them to contact the custodian and approach the child.  Your job is to mitigate the damage.  Stay calm and control the situation by moving the children to another part of the classroom or even the hall if necessary.  Always have a game in your metaphoric back pocket.  I keep telephone phrases, words for jumbling and a quick game of bean bag toss if you need to move to the hall.  All of these games are cheap, easy to prepare and can be used again and again.  There are themed bean bag toss games available at Oriental Trading Company but you can just as easily buy bags from your craft store and use a bucket.  Keep in mind if you are going to use a word jumble for the real young ones it must be very easy.  Words like BOO, or TREE would be fine.

The next thing to consider is smell. I know this is really gross, but it is there so lets deal with it.  If there is an offending odor, you need to distract from it immediately.  The easiest way to do this of course is with Lysol spray but that can sometimes make the situation worse.  I suggest pulling out those markers and madly coloring.  Always keep coloring pages handy and some markers that smell.  I know, I know the markers that smell are almost always the staining kind.  You don’t need an entire packet.  Just a few markers strategically placed with each parent helper can help mask that troublesome odor.  The marker smell is powerful and not associated with sickness or cleaning so it will do the trick without the kids even being aware.

Lastly noise is essential.  I would normally never advocate a loud game but now you want to draw attention away from the poor child by creating a little pandemonium.  Start a rousing version of Row Row Row your Boat or any other song that can be sung in rounds.  This is VERY loud and the kids will easily forget what’s going on around them as they concentrate on their particular part.  This game can go on for as long or short a period as it needs to making it the ultimate flexible party activity.

Finally remember if something happens it’s no big deal and it doesn’t have to ruin the party.  As my Momma always says “Don’t sweat the small stuff”.

 

5 Easy Crafts for Kindergartners

If the idea of 25 Kindergartners with glue, glitter and scissors makes you cringe and run screaming from the craft table I’m your gal.  Don’t be intimidated.  It is possible to make cute, easy, non-messy crafts with the little guys.  You simply have to plan ahead and above all else keep them busy.  I have used all five of these ideas in parties many times and know first hand they are successful.  Some of these ideas do take some fore thought however,  so start early because they are well worth it.

1) Snow Globes

You will need clean baby food jars or small jelly jars with the lids, water, small charms or toys for the bottom of the globe, glitter or snow and super glue.  The jars do not have to be the same size or shape just small, clear and clean.  I suggest sending an email to the class roster the first of October asking for jars.  Have a deadline of one week before the party so you know just how many jars you have collected and how many you still need.  Ask your family, friends and neighbors for their empty jars as well.  The charms can be purchased in bulk from many online stores.  I have purchased mine from US Toys and  Oriental Trading Company.  The day of the party you will need either a pitcher of water or a sink in the classroom, two parents to help and paper towels to dry the completed jars.  Create stations to select the charms away from the water and gluing station as this “picking” process seems to create the biggest bottleneck.  Place the charms in two baskets at a table and have the children come to the charm station two at a time.  Once their charm is picked have a parent at the glue station super glue the charm to the underside of the jar lid.  Let the charm dry completely before moving to the water and glitter station.  It typically takes about 2 minutes to dry.  Finally add the snow or glitter to the inside of the jar and fill with water.  Lastly screw the lid on tightly and dry with a paper towel.  This craft will take approximately 30 minutes based on a class size of 20-25 children.  There is a great deal of down time with this craft before the charm is picked and after the globe is completed so I suggest having the children move directly to a coloring page station to keep them occupied and quiet while they are waiting.  A variety of crayon and marker colors and paper shapes and designs will keep kids attention.  Cut strips of paper into small rectangles for book marks, larger rectangles with holes at the top for door knob hangers, medium circles with holes for tree ornaments or hearts for valentines.  Start this craft early as it can use a lot of time and every child will want a snow globe.

2.)Soup Mix and Recipe

This is a super easy craft that creates very little mess.  The teachers love this craft as the children practice their writing and measuring skills.  I suggest using this craft for the February party as the kids will have developed better writing skills and will be better able to complete this task.  You will need a soup recipe,  I have included mine below as well as find this great recipe here from IFoodTV, large Ziploc baggies or bags with rubber bands or ties for closing, notecards or paper cut into rectangles with a hole punched to attach the bean recipe, string or yarn to tie the recipe to the bag, spoons for the children to ladle the beans into the bags and the beans you are mixing.  Most bean mixes will use just about any kind of bean available and I suggest buying whatever is on sale and modifying the recipe to fit the bean.  Place the different types of beans in their own bowl, with a card sticking out and the number of spoonfuls needed, and place the bowls at a table.  You can set up multiple tables with identical bowls, bags and cards to accommodate all the children.  Place a parent helper at each table to assist the kids.  Instruct the kids to spoon the exact number of spoonfuls of beans into their bag.  Do this for each type of bean.  Finally have the children copy the recipe from the chalkboard and attach to their bag with the string provided.  Parents helpers may have to assist children with the writing, closing and attaching of the recipe.  This craft typically takes about 10 minutes.

8 spoonfuls Dry Navy Beans

6 spoonfuls Dry Black Eyed Peas

5 spoonfuls Dry Red Kidney Beans

3 spoonfuls Dry Pinto Beans

2 spoonfuls Dry Split Peas

Recipe:

5 Bean Mix

3 cups chicken or vegetable stock

2 large carrots chopped

2 celery stalks including leafs chopped

1 small onion chopped

ham bone or leftover ham cubed

1 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper

1/2 tsp each garlic and celery salt

Brown celery, carrots and onions in 1 TBL olive oil over medium high heat until onions are translucent.  Add chicken stock and remaining ingredients.  Cover and reduce heat to medium.  Cook for 6-8 hours.  Stir the soup and check on fluid level every hour.  If stock gets to low add more as needed to keep at a constant level.  This recipe makes soup for 4.  Serve with bread and salad.  It can also be placed in a crock pot.

3.) Cookie Decorating

This craft can be done very easily and many parents will volunteer to buy the plain sugar cookies or supplies as this is an easy way for them to help.  To keep messes contained place plastic table cloths on and under each table being used for easy clean up later.  You will need plain baked sugar cookies, icing, sprinkles or candies and spoons.  It is also helpful to have small plates handy for kids to place their cookies.  Have several different colors of icing and colors of sprinkles, candies and edible decorations.  All of these things can be found easily at any grocery store.  Place the supplies and spoons at the table and let the kids go at it.  You will need to keep an eye on the children however, as some  invariably will try to eat the icing or decorate themselves.  This craft will take about 10 minutes.

4.)Create Your Own Tote

These bags are hugely popular.  If they are to be used in the Fall call them candy bags and for the Winter call them gift bags or totes.  I received many phone calls and emails from parents thanking me as they had forgotten candy bags for Halloween and this was a huge time saver for them.  These bags can be purchased at Oriental Trading Company or any large craft store.  They can be decorated with as much or as little as you would like.  Use scraps of leftover material, fabric markers, glitter, foam board, cotton balls.  Just about anything you can glue to the bag can be used.  Place the bags and supplies at each table needed and let the kids loose.  This craft will take about 10-15 minutes.

5.)Flower pots

You can choose to decorate the pots with stickers and glitter before planting the seeds.  If you decorate the pots let the ink or glue dry before planting the seeds.  I suggest decorating the pots first, playing games and then planting the seeds.  You will need a small pot for each child, dirt to fill the pot, a pitcher of water and seeds for planting.  Pots can be purchased at any large craft store or online in bulk.  This craft works best for the Spring parties.  Have the children spoon dirt into their pot until it is 3/4 full.  Sprinkle several seeds on top and cover with dirt.  Pour a small amount of water over the dirt.  These pots can be placed into plastic bags to take home.  Both flowers and fruits are hugely popular with the children.  Having a variety of seeds is best.  This craft will take approximately 10-20 minutes depending on if the pots are decorated.

All five of these crafts have worked very well and I have used them multiple times.  Most of the crafts are not going to break the bank either as other volunteers will be willing to contribute items.  The key to a good party is planning, planning and more planning.

Top Five Kindergarten Party Game Hits

Games seem to be the hardest.  What to do that the kids will enjoy, won’t create to big a mess, will be age appropriate and proven winners.  The question I get asked the most is what games to play for the little ones.  Kindergartners are arguably the easiest and toughest to plan for.  They are enthusiastic and excited about everything but they can be easily distracted and wild.  Any game needs to be quick moving, involve large groups of people and not to messy.  At this point I know everyone has visions of trying to herd cats, but trust me it can be done.  You can engage these very sweet and energetic kids without creating pandemonium.

1.)The popcorn relay

This one can be done with any number of different items to run, popcorn, jelly beans, cotton balls to name a few.  You need several small trash cans or buckets, several large spoons and the item to be transferred.  Popcorn is fun and cheap but can be quite messy.  I found jelly beans or other small candies work just as well and are not nearly as difficult to pick up afterwards.  The staff will definitely appreciate the use of candy versus popcorn come clean up time.  Simply divide the class into several equal teams.  I found about 4-6 people per team works best.  Each team will get a full bucket of candy and an empty bucket.  They will also be given one large spoon.  The race starts as one member of each team puts as many candies as they can on each spoon and runs it to the empty bucket at the other end of the classroom.  The child runs back and tags the next child in line.  The relay continues until the once full bucket is now empty.  If the buckets are large this game will typically take 10 minutes to complete.

2.)Mummy Wrap/Gift Wrap

This one requires very little in the way of supplies.  You can use toilet paper for the fall or leftover gift wrap for winter.  Include bows, yarn, spiders, candy corn, whatever would be fun to add to the wrapped child.  If you are making a “mummy” use plastic spiders, candy corn or glow sticks.  If you are wrapping a “gift” use bows, yarn, confetti, christmas ornaments or tinsel.  This is a great use of leftover Christmas paper and wrapping materials.  Divide the class into teams, 4-6 per team works best.  If you have any more than that there are to many kids wrapping and wildness ensues.  One child is selected as the “mummy or gift” and the others are the wrappers.  The goal of the game is to use all the wrapping supplies before the other teams.  A fun variation of this game is to find a kids Winter or Fall rap CD and play it during the wrapping process.  When the music stops whichever team is the furthest along is the winner.  This game takes typically 5-10 minutes to explain and complete depending on the amount of supplies used.

3.)Guess How Many

A time tested game for sure.  You simply need a large clear glass bowl, vase and enough candies, buttons or beads to fill it.  Fill the vase with whatever items are appropriate to the season.  Candy corns or small pumpkin candies for the fall, candy hearts or red hots for February and silver, red, gold balls or Hersey kisses for the winter.  The kids simply need to guess how many items are in the bowl.  Make sure you count the candies as you place them in the bowl the night before.  Have a parent record each child’s guess.  The child closest to the actual number wins.  This is a good game to use as a station game, meaning it can be used at the same time as other crafts or activities.  This game usually takes the whole party to cycle kids through but does not take much of each individual child’s time.  Teachers like this game as well as it introduces the children to estimation.

4.)Telephone

Who hasn’t played this game.  This is great because you can play as many rounds as needed, it doesn’t require any set up or materials and the kids love it.  Make sure you have many phrases pre-made however as this age group has a tendency to be quite silly if left to pick their own phrases.  You will get a large number of bodily function jokes.  I use phrases such as “The Silly snowman slid down the hideous hill on his way home.”  Rhyming phrases and phrases with similar sounding words and lots of consonance make for the best telephone phrases.  The children should sit in a circle and the first child should be whispered the phrase by the adult leader.  The child then leans to his neighbor and whispers the phrase as they heard it.  The game continues until the last child is whispered the phrase.  They then say out loud what they heard.  This game is great because it is a real time waster.  Use this game at the end of parties to use the last couple of party minutes up.  It can be used for as short or as long a period of time as needed depending on number of phrases used.

5.)Bingo

Everyone loves a good Bingo game.  You can make your own Bingo cards for the season or holiday or buy them pre-made.  I have done both.  The pre-made ones  are usually not expensive and definitely will save you time.  Here is a site I have used before to purchase pre-made cards and tokens.  You can make your own however as long as you have a computer, printer and a whole lot of patience.  Remember if you make you own you need to also make tokens or balls to pull out to announce the next letter and object.  Kindergartners are a tricky bunch as some can read and others can not.  Use cards that have more letters or more pictures depending on how advanced the class is and where in the school year this game will be used.  If you use this game in the Fall I would use pictures only except for the top word which could be CANDY or GHOST.  This game takes a lot of time and is relatively quiet in the classroom but you will need lots of parent help.  You will need a parent to draw the Bingo tokens, and about 1 parent per 4 children.  Teachers like this game as it reinforces what they are already learning, does not create any mess and is very quiet.  This game typically takes 10-15 minutes to play.

Game winners can win small trinkets like themed pencils, markers or erasers, candy, or glow bracelets, necklaces or pins.  These can be purchased in bulk cheaply from and stored for the next party.

There are hundreds of sites out there with great information.  I have included a few below.  The five games listed above I have used myself with my oldest and plan to use again with my little one.  These games are for sure winners which do not require a great deal of money to set up and are flexible on time.  The key to this grade is stay flexible and have a Plan B, C and D as necessary.  Keep the party moving and the kids active and it will be a huge success.

Awesome Kids Parties

EHow Mom

Family Fun