Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: December 31, 2014 (w/linky)- Christmas Joy

We started our Christmas celebration with our own Christmas Eve Candle Light "service" at home because we couldn't make it to church.

After singing some songs, we made a gingerbread house.

Finally got to bed early in the morning after getting everything wrapped and by the Nativity.

Christmas morning

Then, after daddy got a nap (he worked Christmas Eve night), we headed up for a visit with his older kids and the grandkids.

Perhaps they were a tad tired.

Looking forward to seeing your Wordless (or not so wordless) Wednesday posts this week.


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Toddler Ideas Tuesday: December 30, 2014

Welcome back to Toddler Idea Tuesdays! I hope you will join with me again in sharing the fun activities, crafts, and lessons that you are doing with your young children. 

First, I just wanted to wish everyone a happy New Year. Thanks for being a part of Toddler Idea Tuesday. I hope you will continue to join in with me in the new year.

Today I would like to share our kid-friendly countdown clock for New Years Eve. This countdown chart is a little different than the ones I have done in the past. We count down the hours to midnight, starting at 1pm.

Here is a look at the countdown chart I made a couple of years ago.

To see the details on how I made the clock, I invite you to check out my post from a couple of years ago.

Starting at 1pm we take off one circle per hour. Underneath the circle the children will find out how many hours are left until the new year and what we are going to do that hour. The first few hours are just our normal day. After dinner it gets a bit more fun.

With this clock countdown chart you can put whatever fun activities you want to do with your children. You can check out some ideas on my New Years Eve Celebrations Pinterest Board.

Now onto:

Toddler Idea Tuesday Features

On my last Toddler Idea Tuesday post, there were 7 wonderful posts linked up. I will be picking one randomly selected post to share, plus the top clicked-on post. 

This week's randomly selected post is:

Elaine from Planting Peas shared this lovely craft which is not only festive, but allows your young child to use fine motor skills. Stop by to check out her Easy Kids Craft: Coffee Filter Poinsettias

In addition to the above post, the following posts tied for the most clicks:

1- Jen from Chestnut Grove Academy shared Christmas "I Spy" Bottles for Tots and PreK.
2- Jennifer from Hint Mama shared this great beginning literacy idea: Easy and Educational Post-It Play.
3- Jennifer from Hint Mama also shared her great idea for Turning Wrapping Presents Into a Kid-Friendly Activity.

I would love to have you join in this week! What sort of activities do you do with your toddlers and preschoolers? Do you have some favorite activities you would like to share? I invite you to link up below. I will be pinning posts on my Toddler Ideas board and I would love to feature some of the activities each week from what is linked up. Please know I may share a picture from your post and link back to it, along with sharing how we used your idea in our toddler time. By linking up you are giving me permission to use a picture from your post. I will ALWAYS give credit and link back. Additionally, if you choose to try out any of the ideas with your toddler, please make sure you give credit where credit is due.

Linky will be open through Sunday night, to give me time to check out all the posts and get the Features organized. Please take the time to visit some of the other wonderful posts linked up.


Monday, December 29, 2014

Tuesday's Giveaway Link Up- December 30th, 2014

Tots and Me
Welcome to Tuesday's Giveaway Link Up with your hosts Karen @ Tots and Me and Emily @ Emily Reviews

So glad you could join us as we share our giveaways on  Tuesday's Giveaway Link Ups. 

Our co-hosts this week are Sue from My Photopage and Shelly from The Attic Girl.

Now, onto this week's Link Up!

This link up will be posted Monday at 7 PM est. and run all week long! Make sure you stop in as often as you can to list your latest giveaways.

Here is how to use the Giveaway Link Up

1. Post your reviews and/or giveaways, as many as you have, be sure to add the end date (family friendly please)

2. Help spread the word about the giveaway link up by grabbing our button, Tweeting or posting on Facebook. (Not mandatory- but it helps get more exposure to your giveaways as well!)

3. Take a moment to enter any giveaway that strikes an interest to you!

If you would  like to follow the  hostesses, we will gladly follow you back! Simply leave us a message to do so.

Featured Giveaways

Thank you for linking up with Karen @ Tots and Me & Emily @ Emily Reviews along with Sue from My Photopage and Shelly from The Attic Girl.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Guest Posting over at Proverbial Homemaker

Tauna from Proverbial Homemaker has this wonderful series on her blog called Real Homeschoolers. Homeschoolers across the blogosphere have been sharing their real challenges and real blessings each week. There are a variety of questions that she asks and each homeschool blogger who has participated has answered in a way that is relevant to their life. Tauna hopes that these interviews will be an encouragement and support to other homeschoolers.

I am thrilled that Tots and Me...Growing Up Together has been featured this week. I have shared a bit about why we homeschool, what our day looks like, what our early years looked like, and more.

You can find my interview here. And don't forget to check out all the previous interviews. You can also sign up for her emails so you don't miss any of the future interviews.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Hands-On Animal Exploration with Animal Trackers Club {A Review}

Animal Trackers Club

I love finding fun, educational activities for the children.  It has always been important to me that learning be hands-on and enjoyable for the children. When I learned about Animal Trackers Club, I thought it would be a great way for children to explore and learn about animals. Though this is technically designed for younger children, the older girls have also been joining in and learning new facts as well, while helping their siblings.

What is Animal Trackers Club?

It is a monthly subscription program for children ages 3 and up that has been created by Kristen Olsen, a mother of four children who has a degree in Elementary Education and Educational Psychology. Kristen also owns her own preschool. She believes, as I do, that "anything can be taught in a hands-on, fun way."

There are art projects, learning activities, and so many more fun items that aid the children as they join in with Bode Bear on an animal exploration adventure. The activities are all developmentally appropriate for pre-readers or beginning readers. 

Here, let's check out what a child receives:

Your child's adventure begins with:

  • Introduction to the Animal Trackers Club
  • Animal Trackers Club Safari Lunchbox
  • African Savanna Information Card
  • Cover and Ring for the Safari Animal Photo Collection
  • Savanna Art Project
  • Savanna Animal Cards Activity
Each month your child will receive:

  • Animal Information Card
  • Animal Play Figure
  • Animal Foam Mask
  • Animal Magnet
  • Safari Animal Photo Card
  • Learning Activity
  • Art Project"
We started our adventure with Bode Bear in the African Savanna. In the introduction package, we are given a two-sided information card about the savanna. 

The colored side uses pictures to help impart information about the savanna, while the black and white side is written completely out in words, and it asks the children additional questions.
The colored side will encourage a younger child to read along, while the black and white side can help older children learn the new vocabulary words.

After reading this information to the children, there was a craft to make and a game to play.

The children used stickers and background cards to create African Savanna Scenes.

Each of the older girls worked with a younger sibling to complete this craft.

Additionally, we received Savanna Animal Cards. There were backs and fronts of cute little, cartoony animals.

The younger children had fun matching the fronts to the backs.

Then the older girls joined us for a game of Memory Matching.

A few days later we opened the package with the monthly animal fun.

Harold was thrilled to find this realistic play animal figure.

Also included was a craft. Thankfully there are two of them as the children were able to work together again.

Tabitha worked with the zebra, I mean Harold.

And Amelia worked with Hannah this time. They each had a chance wearing the mask.

Here are the magnet, animal information card, and the Safari animal photo card.

On the back of the picture you will find the animals hoof print.

There were also a couple of worksheets suitable for preschool age children learning their numbers/counting and letters/beginning reading.

The children are having a blast learning about animals that live in the African Savanna. I am loving all the fun hands-on activities. Though age appropriate for younger children, we have been able to get all the children to join in. This wouldn't have been possible if there had only been enough supplies for one craft. They are able to take turns with the other items, such as the mask and the magnet which helps them learn deference and taking turns. As far a subscription box prices, this is one of the most inexpensive that I have come across. Definitely worth the money with plenty of craft supplies and the quality figure and the other materials. 

You can purchase Animal Trackers subscriptions for just $11. 95 for the monthly plan, $36.00 for the 3 month plan, $70.00 for the 6 month plan, and $135 for the 12 month plan . Each plan adds $3 shipping per month.

You can find Animal Trackers on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
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