The First Snow Day of the Season??? Already?

Yes indeed.  Overnight and this morning, we got somewhere between 3-5 inches of snow, and Columbus and the surrounding areas simply weren’t ready for it.  It didn’t help that we got rain before the snow, so there was ice involved as well.  Many of the schools in the area closed for the day.  When I got up to get ready for work, Mr. 7’s school was reporting a delay, not a closure, so I wasn’t prepared, either.  It all worked out, though, and it turned out to be a fun day that flew by!

After dropping off Miss 4 at school (her school didn’t close), and letting Mr. 7 watch a couple of extra TV shows as a little treat, we bundled up and went sledding!  There’s a local sledding hill just minutes from his house.  He went at it for about 45 minutes before being ready to go home.  He had a blast, and I was happy that he could burn off some extra energy and enjoy the first snow of the season. We went home and changed into dry clothes. Then Mr. 7 thought of a fun idea!  He wanted to create a sledding hill for his little stuffed animals!  But he wasn’t sure how.  So we brainstormed together and started putting together pillows covered with white blankets, and little plastic containers for sleds.  Then it was time for us to pick up Miss 4. We had lunch at Noodles and Co. (love that place!) and I was proud of the kiddos for doing a great job ordering their own food politely and precisely. 🙂

At home, I let them have some independent play (Mr. 7 wanted to show his sister the awesome play snow hill!) before Miss 4 had to go to her room for her nap.

While her sister slept, Mr. 7 played with his stuffed animal sleds some more, made a beautiful shrinky dink pendant for his cousin’s birthday (we’ll create the chain for it tomorrow), and wrote on some leaves for the thankful tree.  He got his sister up from her nap, and we had a little snack.

Then it was time for more snow fun!  While Mr. 7 had been coloring his shrinky dink, I was researching ideas!  We filled water balloons with colored water to put outside. By tomorrow, the water should freeze so that I can cut away the balloon and reveal ice marble thingies

We also painted our snow using water squirter things and more water colored with food coloring. You can use squirt bottles (which are great for strengthening hands), but we only had one, so I went to the summer water fun box and got out the squirters instead!  The gel food coloring I used seemed to be more vibrant, but maybe I just used more of it? Also, if you use red, be sure to let parents/spouses/family visitors that nothing died a horrible death in the snow. It’s just food coloring.  🙂

And who says that sand box toys are just for summer?  I took out shovels, molds, etc from the beach/sand box supplies and let them just have fun! And they did!  They were busy little bees, going around and using their hands and shovels to clear the snow off of chairs, a table, and the swing set!

I’ll post more fun snow ideas that I found later. Maybe after thanksgiving, when snow usually comes. 😛

The Thankful Tree

This year, I decided to start a Thankful Tree at my Nanny Family’s house.  It’s so easy to take what we have for granted, and for kids that have everything they need and most of what they want, it’s that much easier.  I think November is a great month to reflect on what we have and be grateful, since it’s the month of Thanksgiving and is right before the gift-giving season.

Putting together a Thankful Tree is pretty easy.  It can be 2D or 3D, but the idea is to have bare branches, then have each kid (or each person in the family) write down on fall-colored leaves something that they’re thankful for.  Help the kids understand what it means to be grateful, and express how fortunate they are to have so many things that other people don’t.  You can guide them with phrases like, “Who do you love?”, “What do you have that makes you happy?”, “What places do you enjoy going to?”, or “What do you have in your life that you wish everyone had?”.  Try not to give them answers, though, and don’t judge or discourage their answers.  Miss 4 told me she is thankful for Florida. She couldn’t tell me why exactly, but if she would like to be thankful for Florida, that’s just fine with me.  Have them put at least one leaf on the tree each day, but don’t stress too much about it. Being grateful shouldn’t be a chore!  And if they want to put more than one a day, that’s great!

I made my thankful tree out of construction paper, and put it on the wall with painter’s tape.  It looks something like this one:

I am thankful that my kiddos are excited about their Thankful Tree. 🙂

Go out and vote!

Yesterday I put together a great post about chapter books for elementary-aged kids.  Somehow, it disappeared completely.  😦  I have no idea what happened.  Life goes on, I suppose.

Today is a big day!  It’s mid-term elections!  Have you voted yet?  I voted early this year.  If you are not sure who you should vote for, there’s a great non-partisan website that will help you figure it all out!  Just go to ISideWith and answer some questions about the issues out there, and see who agrees with you!  It’ll only take 5-10 minutes.  Then you can print out your answers and take them with you to your local polling place!  Go!  Do it now!  And don’t forget your “I voted” sticker!

It’s a great day to talk to kids about democracy and the importance of voting. You might even want to take your kiddo with you to vote!  I’ve also put together a few resources and activities to help you get your kiddos excited about voting. Enjoy!

PBS Kids: The Democracy Project– Create your own campaign poster, learn about different parts of the government, and find out how much of a difference one vote can make.  This site is mainly themed around presidential elections, but there’s still enough good information to make it worth visiting.

Ben’s Guide to the US Government for Kids– I like that this site has different grade levels that help explain things for kids at different ages.  There are pages about our country, our government, our town resources, and some games and activities. It’s a simple, but quality site.

Start your own election– Read two books about voting, then create a ballot box and have everyone in the family vote for which book they like most.  Or vote for what to have for dinner or what movie to watch tonight.  Have fun with it!

Make a “Future Voter” Button!  Use Ribbons, Felt, or whatever else you have around the house to make a fun button for your future voter.  Maybe it can be worn to go to the polls with a grown-up?

Remember, voting is important, but it can be fun, too!