What to Do With Your Child on Evenings, Weekends and Breaks

During the week, our children are usually occupied. This is simple. You drop them off to school in the morning and you pick them up at the end of the school day. This allows you to get on with whatever you need to do in the gap in between. This could be work, housework, food shopping, catching up with your own social commitments, exercise or anything else. Of course, this doesn’t constitute all of the hours you need to keep your little one occupied. So what should you do with them during the evenings, weekends, school breaks and other times that they might be away from the classroom? Here are a few suggestions that can help you along the way to occult their time.

After School Clubs

Working longer hours that mean you can’t pick your kid up from school until a little later than the end of the school day? Don’t fret. Many parents are in the exact same situation. This is why after school clubs have been developed. They tend to be clubs that children can attend where they will be occupied with tasks, play and fun until you’re ready to collect them. There tend to be all sorts of after school clubs out there, so encourage your child to pick one that ticks their boxes and will keep them happy during this extra time at school. Some will want something arts and crafts based, some may want to join a gardening club, some may like to try their hand at a cookery club – the list goes on.


Most kids have homework and it’s up to you to ensure that they do it and that they do it to a high standard. Chances are, some element of your child’s evening or weekend should be dedicated to homework of some sort. You should ensure that they keep on top of this, and you may also want to help in some way or another. This doesn’t mean doing the homework for them. Instead, it means assisting them, clearing up confusion, answering questions and guiding them in the right direction to success. You may want to use resources like homeschooling worksheets,

TV and Films

Looking for a low cost way to occupy your little ones – perhaps while you’re preparing dinner, perhaps while you’re all relaxing together? This is where TV shows and films can come to the rescue. There are countless child-friendly shows and films out there that you can all enjoy for little to no cost. Ideally, this will be something that you can all enjoy together, rather than a firm favourite kids show that your kid seems a little obsessed with. Cuddle up on the sofa under a blanket, make sure everyone’s comfortable with drinks and snacks and get the film started.


Walks may not sound like the most fun activity, but remember that for children, the world is still a place of discovery and excitement. Going on a simple walk is a great way to get htem out of the house and to encourage learning and expiration. Choosing a safe, but scenic location, can give them a taste of nature. Take time to identify different things as you go by. This could be types of trees, the fruit or nuts they produce, different type s of wildlife, how they look and sound, what prints they leave… your child wil be in awe and it will serve as a great practical education for them at the same time.


Why not arrange a playdate for your children with another friend from school. Many parents enjoy this as a good way to share responsibility of their children, having an evening off while their kid is at someone else’s house and then relieving the pressure on that person by having their kid on another day that suits them. This is also a great way to encourage socialisation. Your child will get much better at key social skills, learning to get on with tohers, share and more. This could be a particularly beneficial activity for only children.

Arts and Crafts

Most children enjoy a good arts and crafts project. These projects can quickly get messy, so make sure that they take place in an appropriate area of your home that is covered where possible. This could mean lying a protective sheet down over carpet or wooden flooring. Whether you’re helping your little ones glue a paper mosaic, glitter a card, create bookmarks or anything else, there are plenty of paper based activities that can prove to be a lot of fun. If you’re lost for inspiration, look online. This doesn’t have to be expensive. You can make all sorts of wonders from household objects and some basic supplies like glue, paint or coloring pencils.

Family Visits

Kids tend to really enjoy visiting their extended family. So, why not arrange a couple of days a month (if possible) where they visit their loved ones for fun activities and to share some quality time together. This will require some collaboration, but it’s more than worth the final results.

Days Out

You don’t have to do a big day out every wekened. But if possible, try to arrange one each month or every other month. This will give your children something to really look forward to. There are countless children friendly activities out there. You could take them to a castle or ancient ruin. You could take them to an amusement park with rides. You could go for a picnic in the woods or a local park. You could head to the local swimming baths to paddle and play. The list goes on. Whatever you choose, a big day out can make a profound difference to your children, their happiness and their interests.

It really is important to keep your child happy and occupied when it comes to maximising the time spent with them on evenings, weekends and breaks. Hopefully, some of the ideas we’ve discussed here will serve as good inspiration for you!

4 Approaches to Helping Your Child with Reading Issues

Parents Sitting With Children Reading Story Indoors

Of the many health concerns we can have about our children, one of the biggest things we may not necessarily consider when our children are really young is if they are able to take to reading and general comprehension. While there are many different strategies to take, remember that you’re not alone. You may be concerned that you did something wrong and that you’ve had a major impact on your child in this respect if they’re not at the same level as other children their age, but the fact is that at least 20% of children have had difficulty in learning to read. In the meantime, there’s a lot that you can do. 

Make the Practice as Stress-Free as Possible

Reading aloud is the first port of call because this doesn’t just make for great bonding time, but it helps your child to experience the sounds of words. But when there are additional issues, such as undiagnosed dyslexia, it’s important to remember that learning how to help a child with dyslexia has a lot to do with practice and understanding what the words look like for them. But if you can focus on making reading as stress-free as possible, this is going to help everybody maintain a more positive attitude. This is where choosing books that are best for their reading level is invaluable. You should never go beyond what you think their comprehension is, and this is for the very simple reason that one day they will surprise you and have shot up in every single way! 

Use Audiobooks

This is another approach that’s great because it gives your child access to a wider vocabulary without them having to go through bigger words themselves. Audiobooks are great because you can play them on car journeys, there are plenty of resources online like Audible but there are also plenty of great audiobooks on YouTube

Work With the Teacher

Your child’s teacher will have one point of view of how your child is doing, and you may very well be concerned and they may not be, but you need to have a good working relationship with your child’s teacher and ask for additional materials they could send home or ask for extra resources. The fact is that even if you have a difference of opinion with the teacher, they have been teaching children for a long time, so they will have a wide variety of tools that they can suggest to you. 

Do Not Worry About What Level They Should Be 

This is why reading aloud is so important. Even if your child is not reading at a certain level, you are still exposing them to numerous words and concepts. Because reading aloud is one of the best methods to help your child engage with the material, it is something that you can continue to do for years after they are more than capable of reading themselves. Even if you think your child is struggling with reading, there’s a lot of help at hand!

Tips To Get Children Involved In Gardening

Gardening requires a lot of care, patience, and dedication to the cause. Indeed, not many people have an affinity for it, which explains why gardening continues to happen in only 25% of American households. The lack of interest is either because people regard it as too much work or were not exposed to gardening from a younger age. Fortunately, you have the opportunity to introduce the concept to your kids while they’re still young. If you are at a loss about how to tread that path, below are some tips to consider.

  • Give them their garden plot or pot

Giving your children a sense of ownership makes them feel responsible for the task at hand. Naturally, kids have imaginative minds and always love to create their special go-to place in their heads. Therefore, what better way than to give them a physical one? If you have enough land space around the house, designate a spot for their maiden gardening activities. However, you may want to consider some flower pots positioned strategically around the house in the absence of space. That can be an even better option because of their manageable sizes.

There are options in situations where you and your family live in condos or other apartment-style buildings. You can try using plant troughs with a few basic bonsai trees or seedlings that your child can attend to. You do have a responsibility to help them prepare the soil before any planting can be done.

Do keep in mind that kids get bored quickly, therefore whether it is a garden plot or pot, put some creative thoughts into the design. With pots, you can get your child to decorate them as they want. However, if it is a plot, a decorative or colorful child-friendly fence with hand-painted objects works just fine as long as the décor matches your young one’s personality.

  • Let the kids have their garden supplies

Thankfully, there is a myriad of garden tools specially designed with children in mind. On Amazon, you will find several lightweight garden supplies and tools these young ones can handle without having to worry much about safety. More exciting is the fact that your kids get to make their selections. On a psychological level, though, owning their very own garden supplies contributes to the feeling of ownership. You would have generated an interest in gardening that will stay with them into adulthood.

If your child has a tiny plot for their garden, do not forget to protect their sensitive knees and hands. Knee pads, sizable garden gloves, aprons with pockets, etc., will act as protective barriers when they crouch on bare soil to tend to the growing garden. No matter how minor, a garden injury can discourage some kids from going further with their gardening lessons.

  • Introduce them to child-friendly garden sites on the internet

Instead of just worrying that your young ones spend too much time on the phones and tablets you gifted them, why not put them to beneficial use? That means instead of long hours of playing games or watching their favorite children’s shows, introduce them to gardening sites on the internet. For example, kidsgardening.org is an excellent place to start. For more variety, you will find other interesting content on your young ones on YouTube Kids. Do not forget to put your internet settings on ‘Safe Search’ to filter out adult sites and foul language.

  • Get them to observe nature

If your family loves camping, that’s an excellent way to get kids to observe nature. Moreover, the best way to teach a child about gardening is to get them out into nature to do some much-needed observation. Be ready for lots of questions, though. Getting them to learn about the weather, birds, bees, bugs, butterflies, and how they all play crucial roles in the gardening and flowering process can pique your child’s curiosity. For example, expand the lessons into how bees and birds pick pollen and inadvertently help cross-pollination processes. Nature is a practical classroom for your kids, and they will love that you introduced it to them.

The trick to getting it right with kids is to make each garden activity fun, memorable, and full of rich experiences. As the exercises continue, be deliberate about teaching at least something new during each session. What you can do is to jot down everything you intend to teach your kids about gardening and release them at a time. Lastly, do not forget to reward your kids with their gardening achievements.

Fun Ways to Keep the Kids Entertained At Home

The kids are home all day with nothing to do outside of their school work. Once that’s done, they become antsy, irritable, and bored, as they try to figure out how to pass the time. Their boredom eventually impacts other members of the family as they begin to roam around aimlessly, get into things they shouldn’t, start petty arguments, and throw tantrums to demand attention. 

Remaining quarantined at home for as long as we have, is unnerving to anyone. As you continue to follow government guidelines and shelter in place, there are some things you can do to keep the kids entertained. 

Arts and Crafts

Arts and crafts are a fun pastime for children of any age. They can creatively express their emotions and personal style. From learning how to write in cursive and making cards for Father’s Day to building popsicle stick cabins, there are a ton of fun and affordable projects to keep the kids entertained at home. Just be sure to find a safe area in your home for arts and crafts as they can get pretty messy. Putting down a plastic tarp and providing the kids with smocks can help to reduce the mess.

Board Games

By now, you’ve likely noticed that your kids spend way to much time in front of a screen. If they’re not on the computer doing homework, playing video games, or browsing the internet, they’re watching television, or glued to their smartphones. While this is fine for entertaining the kids at home on occasion, too much screen time is bad for their growth and development. To keep them entertained, pull out the board games. Whether they prefer being the first to the finished line or trivia games, they’ll have a blast using key skills and tactics to be the winner. 

Dance Parties

Keeping the kids active is imperative to their health. Since they’re likely not getting as much physical activity during the quarantine, it’s important to find ways for them to get up and get moving. They may not be too interested in lifting weights or following along to an exercise video, but an impromptu dance party is something no kid can resist. Download a playlist for your bluetooth radio and rock out for a few minutes to some of your favorite jams. If you’d love to kill two birds with one stone,  you can turn on the music and dance around as you and the kids straighten up the house. 

Science Projects

Science can be a lot of fun for kids. Their inquisitive minds love to figure out how the world and everything in it works. Whether it’s blending chemicals, blowing something up, or learning about elements of nature, there are plenty of easy to complete science projects that you and the kids can enjoy together. It’s not only fun, but educational and can keep them busy for hours. 

Cooking Lessons

What better way to make use of your time during the coronavirus pandemic than to teach your kids some basic life skills? Your kids would be thrilled to get their hands dirty in the kitchen to prepare meals for the family. Simply choose a recipe that’s kid-friendly, set up the workstations, and invite the kids in for some fun. What’s great about cooking lessons is they not only learn how to cook staple meals but with the measurements and problem-solving involved in completing a recipe, they can become better at math.

Outdoor Play

You may not want to venture out to a nearby park or beach with your kids just yet, but some time outdoors will do their mind and body some good. So, head to your front porch or backyard for some outdoor play. You can play catch, baseball, basketball, rollerskate, skateboard, hopscotch, jump rope, try outdoor challenges, or just run around and have a good time. Not only does this keep the kids entertained, but it’s a lifesaver for knocking them out for a decent nap or just before bed. 

It’s rough on everyone having to be stuck in the house as the coronavirus continues to spread across the country. This is especially hard on your children. To help them deal with all these changes and to pass the time, try incorporating some of these fun activities into your day. 

Rookie Humans Fitted Crib Sheet Review

  Disclosure: I received product samples to facilitate this review. The post may contain affiliate links. The opinions are my own.

Before my son was born I shared our forest friends nursery reveal with you guys.  Unbelievably that was 2 years ago!  Even though he is almost a big two year old, Thaxton still has the same nursery theme, and we’ll be keeping it in place for the next year, if not the next two years, or longer…

Today I’m sharing a new cribsheet that we got for his room.  It is from Rookie Humans. They offer sheets that are soft and breathable; they are 100% soft cotton sateen with a 230 thread count, and they feature the most adorable scenes for your crib or toddler bed! [Read more…]

Tinkering Labs Electric Motor Catalyst STEM Kit

We plan to homeschool our son, and although he’s just a toddler, I think it’s never too soon to research curriculum and other school materials. Recently I had the chance to review Tinkering Labs Electric Motor Catalyst STEM Kit.  My stepson had the chance to do robotics in school, and my husband is also very mechanically inclined, so this is definitely the kind of thing I’m interested in doing for our science labs.  Today I’m going to show you a quick unboxing and review of the kit.

The kit is designed to introduce your kids to engineering and robotics.  With the kid, you kids will about building doodling Robots, power electric model cars, add motors to Legos, and more!  And it is designed for elementary and junior high aged kids.

[Read more…]

Kabillion Review

Disclosure: I received a free Roku stick to facilitate this review.


Thaxton just turned 18 months old. He is just getting to the point where he is paying attention to the television; mostly he loves music and will dance to anything!

My husband and I are doing a lot of previewing to find high quality shows for him to watch. We look for anything with music (obviously) and anything related to academic learning or moral teachings. And we are also happy to introduce him to classics we loved as kids.

We recently got a Roku stick are very excited to be able to stream shows for Thaxton to watch. We downloaded the Kabillion app to Roku. Kabillion is an app that features free family-friendly content.

The shows are divided into two age brackets: 0-6 and 6-12.

In the 0-6 categories they have a show called Oddbods. Oddbods is an animated short. It has no voice overs, but has cute and funny sounds and images with funny, easy-to-follow storylines. 

In this category, they also have a super-cute show called Cloud Babies (as seen in the above picture).  This show has fun and cute storylines and is about babies who work in the sky, shining the moon and painting the rainbow.  It has lovely eye-catching colors and images that attract babies and toddlers and is one of my personal favorites on the app.

I was also excited to find that it features the original My Little Pony from the 80s in this category!

As for the 6-12 kids, they have fun shows like Sonic the Hedgehog and one of my husband’s favorites Pokemon!

If you have children and you enjoy streaming shows for them, I invite you to check out Kabillion.


Why Kids Love Customizable Toys and Accessories

Humans, in general, are a creative lot. It is part of our nature to make things or to change and modify things. We might do this to improve the function of something or enhance its aesthetics, or sometimes for no particular reason at all. In other words, just for fun. This innate tendency to create and modify things starts at a very early age. Little children naturally play and interact with objects within their reach. A child on a beach will naturally start playing with wet sand, making piles and patterns, playing and pretending while using the available materials to create something new, like a sandcastle. Give a child some simple wooden blocks and within minutes they will likewise have them arranged or stacked in a column or a pyramid. Little ones will instinctively pick flowers and tie the stems together to make a chain which magically becomes a necklace or a crown. Voilá…kids jewelry made from nature.

Assembling and creating and customizing things is not just a way we entertain ourselves. It is a natural survival instinct that has improved our quality of life since the dawn of humanity. This human desire to create, organize, and improvise is what has given us the technological and engineering marvels we all enjoy today. This inherent adaptability starts in early childhood.

Little humans assemble things to express themselves and exercise their creativity and ingenuity. This is why creativity-inducing toys such as custom jewelry for kids offered by Maya Toys are so popular. There is only so much you can do with a toy car. You can drive it around, crash it and make it fly, but it is still just a car. The possibilities are limited in terms of play value. Compare that to a box of parts and pieces that you can connect and assemble to make a necklace, crown, car, spaceship, robot, dinosaur or anything else you can imagine. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination. This customizability significantly raises the play value.

Toys and accessories that are customizable require a child to invest more thought and more time to assemble them into something new, different or original. But this is precisely what makes these toys more engaging to the child who plays with them. The child sees potential and possibility in a box of LEGO blocks or an Erector set or assorted Lincoln Logs or a custom jewelry making kit. Unlike a puzzle that also has many pieces but only one solution, a toy that has interchangeable parts to assemble in many different ways will always offer greater value in terms of playability.

Another aspect of the customizable toy that makes it unique is the intrinsic challenge it presents. If a boy wants to create something using an assortment of parts or materials, he first must visualize what it is he wants to create, then plan how to achieve that desired goal and figure out what steps to take in what order to do so. And then when things don’t come together as planned, figure out how to solve problems, overcome obstacles and often improvise a solution. ustomizable toys are excellent learning tools to help children in this way, added Kidsco who reviews the best toys for 3 year olds.

As children are challenged to create and improvise using their imagination and the unlimited possibilities offered by customizable toy kits, they will grow into more confident

and capable adults. Toys that challenge children to think and solve problems are toys that contribute to the betterment of human civilization and society.

Our Forest Friends Nursery Reveal

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. The opinions are my own.

In the past few years, we have done several home makeover and DIY projects.  We’ve done a little painting outside, put up new light fixtures, painted furniture, gotten new appliances, and bought all new furniture in our living room, but I don’t think anything has been quite as exciting or as fun as putting together our new baby nursery!  After deliberating over a few themes and color schemes, I finally decided on the Forest Friends theme from Sweet Jojo Designs.

I LOVE this brand.  I first attracted to the overall look and colors of this set, and when I saw all the different types of accessories that were available, I was SOLD!  I’ve seen plenty of bedding sets with just your basic sheet, comforter, mobile, and diaper stacker.  If I wanted any other pieces, I’d just have to look around for something that sort of matches, but all of the Sweet Jojo Designs collections have EVERYTHING you could possibly need to decorate your nursery, including matching wall art and wall decals.

Apart from the great designs, the collection is also very high quality, and each nursery collection has a matching toddler and child bedding set, so when baby Thaxon gets big enough for his toddler bed, I’ll just have to get a new bedding set, and we can continue using the rest of his decor! [Read more…]

New Book for Your Child: If I Could Climb Trees

If I could climb trees

As a mom, I love finding and recommending books, programming, and activities that are family friendly.  For kids, I particular look for items that allow children to have fun while using their imagination or learning something new.  The children’s illustrated children’s  book series Nuggies definitely falls in to this category, and they have new book coming out titled If I Could Climb Trees.  It is written by Jeff Minich and illustrated by Renan Garcia. The 32-page illustrated hardcover retails for $19.95 and is now available for pre-order at the low cost of $3.98 at the If I Could Climb Trees – Amazon Product Page.

If I Could Climb Trees is the fifth volume in the Nuggies book series. It is scheduled for publication on March 28, 2017.

In the book a little dog dreams and imagines all the things she could see and all the creatures she would meet if only she could climb trees. The book contains fun, whimsical images like bugs that wear shows on their feet and birds who have paws they use to bury treats.

If I Could Climb Trees is not only a sweet and fun bed time story for kid, but it also encourages them to use their imaginations and dream big!

Check out the for more information on these adorable children’s books at the Nuggies Website.  Also, get updates and download printable colors sheets at the Nuggies Facebook Page.