Category Archives: Fun things to Do
Disclosure: I participated in a Blog Blast program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Kidoodle.TV. I received a promotional item and a free trial as a thank you for participating.
It’s no secret that I let my kids watch TV. We don’t have cable, so we depend on internet streaming services to bring entertainment in our home. I’ve become increasingly frustrated with my limited abilities to censor the TV my children can watch as well as the amount of screen time they receive each day.
That’s why I was excited to review Kidoodle.TV. It’s a whole new ball game for parents looking to grab five minutes (or more!) of peace and quiet. Kidoodle.TV is a child-specific television streaming service. Whether your kids watch online or on your iPad, you can tailor their TV viewing down to each individual child (up to five kids). You can limit their time allowed each day (awesome!), you can filter shows based on age, and my favorite feature; you can prohibit any specific show you don’t want your child watching! These controls are password protected, so even your tech genius kiddo can’t switch them around. Kidoodle.TV offers a bright, children-friendly interface that is easy to navigate so you can
sleep on the couch do the dishes for an uninterrupted five or more minutes!
You can try Kidoodle.TV for free for the remainder of December! No credit card required. Starting Jan. 1, Kidoodle.TV is a mere $4.99 a month, well worth the sanity it provides. Kidoodle.TV is also hosting a seriously awesome giveaway: try Kidoodle.TV through the month of December and you’ll be entered to win 1 of 10 tablets or 1 of 10 yearlong subscriptions to Kidoodle.TV!
Are your kids crazy about the Discovery Gateway Museum? My kids love it there! I love it because it’s a totally hands-on, educational play place where your kids are encouraged to touch and explore everything.
This week, I had the opportunity to see a sneak peek of Discovery Gateway Museum’s newest installation. Discovery Gateway has created an amazing Primary Children’s Hospital Emergency Department exhibit, including the beloved Life Flight helicopter!
The entire exhibit is designed to encourage kids to go through the entire hospital experience. Your child can man the Life Flight control tower, play pilot and pick up a patient (a “radio” gives the scenario–one of a number of common childhood accidents–and how to best care for the patient), practice checking in patients, dress up as the doctor, ‘xray’ bones, and even scrub up for surgery!
Surgery? Oh yes! Discovery Gateway has teamed with some amazing developers to create a one-of-a-kind iPad app so your child can preform several different surgeries over a pretend patient! (They are hoping to put this on the App Store soon!)
If your child has a scheduled hospital visit, is frequently sick, or just a bit on the clumsy side, this exhibit is a perfect way to act out any fears or concerns your child may have!
I was happy to hear that the museum is accommodating towards both public and home school field trips. Lesson plans will be available online soon for teachers/parents who want to get the most out of their trip to the museum.
This Saturday, the brand new exhibit will be fully up and running. In celebration of the museum’s 35th anniversary, tickets will be on sale for their 35th anniversary this Saturday for only $3.50 per person! In addition, their memberships will be on sale both at the museum and online for $35 off the cost of membership! The museum will open early for members (9 a.m.) and 11 a.m. for nonmembers. For more information, call the museum at (801) 456-5437 or visit DiscoveryGateway.org!
Additionally, I am giving away a family pass to Discovery Gateway!
Do you ever go peruse your local home show? This weekend at the South Towne Expo Center there is an AWESOME home show going on. I happen to be sort of an expert on home shows, because I drag my kids there ALL the time.
My husband’s family business, Stanfield Shutter, can be found at the home show! My super cute hubby works half of every home show, so I load up the kids, say hi to him, then browse the aisles of the show. Frankly, I do it to get out of the house while he’s working until 10 pm, but the kids load up on freebie candy while I get discounts on home repairs, services, and more. My kids love their bags of swag, and I love the home show-only discounts.
THIS Saturday, guess who else will be at the show? The totally adorable, totally ADHD (go Team ADD!) Ty Pennington. Get some design tips from his free workshop, or just sit and stare dreamily while your kids, hyped up on sugar, run around in circles.
Come to the home show, and stop by Stanfield Shutter for their KILLER home show deal. Just be sure to tell the sales guy Sarah sent you–its probably my husband! Get more details HERE and discounts for show tickets!
In Mom life, there is little more of value than an extra ten minutes of sleep. Today I have for you my top 10+ apps for kids–so you can get 10 more minutes of sleep. Hand your kid your tablet or phone in the morning and hit the snooze button, Slacker Mom!
Prerequisites: easy to play so your child needs little to no help navigating the app. I’ve focused on toddler and preschool apps today, but leave a note if you’d love to see apps for the older kids! The following apps are in no particular order. All apps except as noted have free trials too!
Note: I don’t have an iPad or iPhone, and I don’t have an unlimited app budget. I have a huge app wishlist but I simply can’t buy them all today! I’ve listed apps I have tried and love for Android. They are available for iOS as well, but I haven’t used them personally. Please leave a comment if you have an app that works for your kiddos!
Kid Mode by Zoodles – this is the first app I download on any device! It locks your phone with a customized screen. Your child taps on their picture and is launched into a play zone. Zoodles browses the best of Web videos and brings age-appropriate content to your child. Depending on your device, you can also let your child send and receive video mail safely, add apps like those below, and even record personalized stories with the subscription. Available on: Amazon, Google Play, App Store, and your home computer.
Monkey Preschool Lunchbox and Monkey Math – a fantastic choice for preschoolers, this app initially frustrated my younger toddler. However, this app is so engaging, she returned to it over and over. Eventually, she actually began learning her colors and other basic skills to be able to play it with no problems! My four year old loves these apps too, and I love the menu-less interface. Monkey Math is a bit harder for my two year old (working on not hitting the tablet in frustration!), but with the positive reinforcement I predict she’ll be a numbers whiz is no time. Amazon, Google Play, App Store.
Dr. Panda Restaurant and Dr. Panda Hospital – I admit, I have put off upgrading these apps to their full versions (though my kids beg for it!) because, well, it’s not super educational! In these apps they role play a doctor or a chef in charge of either seating patients, assessing and caring for their symptoms, or seating their patrons, taking their orders, preparing their food and serving them. There’s little creativity required of them, but for an app to keep the quiet for those golden ten minutes? A pure winner for sure. Amazon, Google Play, App Store
My PlayHome – this is another role playing app, but maybe just because I’m a girl, even I find myself tinkering along with them on this one! The app is essentially a dollhouse (with a Caucasian family on the Lite version). In the living room, you can open the windows, turn lights on and off, turn on the ‘TV’ or perhaps start a CD in the stereo. In the kitchen you can ‘feed’ your little family, do a load of laundry, or boil some water for a hot cup of tea. I don’t see my girls playing with it like our real dollhouse, but it does entertain them for quite awhile! Amazon, Google Play, App Store.
Drawing Pad – hands down, my favorite coloring app on Android. I’m in love with the textures of different mediums like crayon and marker. It’s so realistic, in fact, I learned the hard way that not coloring on the tablet with REAL crayons is an important conversation to have with your toddler. For coloring book apps, I’ve got the Color & Draw HD app high on my wishlist! Drawing Pad: Amazon, Google Play, App Store. Color & Draw HD: Amazon, Google Play, App Store.
Intellijoy apps – the puzzle app alone has occupied my toddler for cumulative hours om end. The connect the dots app (toggle between ABC’s or 123’s and more!) encourages alphabetic order awareness. And holy smokes, Android users need to check out their Learn to Read app! Amazon, Google Play, App Store.
The Cat in the Hat by Oceanhouse Media – This app takes real books (think Dr. Suess and Berenstein Bears) and has turned them into multimedia presentations. Your child can select Read It Myself, Read To Me, and Auto Play. Auto Play is my favorite for my toddler as it performs like a mini movie for her. In Read To Me, the words are highlighted as the book is read aloud. (Looks like some nifty new features for iOS, too!) Amazon, Google Play, App Store, and more!
Spinlight Apps – it’s not easy to find apps as beautiful and educational as Spinlight turns out. I love these apps. I’m so excited they brought their content to Android. From AlphaTots for toddlers to Operation Math for the older kids, these apps are brilliant, simple, and fun! (Homeschoolers, don’t miss TableTots!) I wish Spinlight offered a trial version of their apps so you’ll have to take my word on this one! Amazon, Google Play, App Store.
Starfall Learn to Read – if you have a preschooler, you likely know and love Starfall.com. Starfall has been bringining their awesome content to iOS for awhile now but has more recently began to focus on Android as well. My only complaint is that not all the iOS Starfall apps are on Android (yet!) but my four year old is thrilled to have her favorite characters on my tablet too. Amazon, Google Play, App Store
Super Why – Finally! PBS Kids is finally bringing content over to Android! So far Super Why and Play at Home With Daniel are the only released on Android, but they’re pretty great. My kids don’t know Daniel, but we are huge fans of Super Why at our house. Note, there aren’t any trial versions of these apps. Amazon, Google Play, App Store. Edit: since writing this, several more apps have been released on both Google Play and Amazon!
Disclosure: I am an Amazon affiliate, and when you purchase through the Amazon links above I get a very small portion of the proceeds.
Any must have apps that need to be on this list? Leave the app name, as well as your operating system below! (iOS, Android, Kindle, or other.)
As of right now, I have no idea what we’re doing as far as ‘homeschool.‘ I’m switching up some of my curriculum plans and trying some new things out. For now, we’re just sort of homeschooling by the seat of my pants.
On a whim, we made a Halloween countdown chain. I loved to do this as a child. You simply count how many days left until something exciting–Halloween in this case–and make a paper chain. Cut strips of colored construction paper into 1 inch strips. Staple, or glue, on strip of paper into a circle. Loop your next circle through the previous circle, and staple that. Then continue until you have the number of days remaining until your holiday or vacation. Each day, tear off one strip and count again!
To qualify this as a ‘learning’ activity, just look at the following. We:
- increased calendar awareness by counting how many days until Halloween
- practiced counting numbers above twenty
- did basic division by figuring out how many of each color we needed to cut (I needed 13 strips of each color for our 26 days)
- could have practiced scissor skills but Mommy used a paper cutter instead :)
- reinforced counting by counting our paper strips to ensure we had enough
- used motor skills to work the stapler
- discussed geometry by creating circles and discussed (uh, something) by making a chain
- used team work to share the stapler and help a younger sibling
- talked about cultural awareness by discussing Halloween colors
- used math by counting down each day
- practiced patience and forgiveness when sibling tore five circles off the next day and we put them back together
- recognized sharing and taking turns while we switched off who got to tear off the circle for the day