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Friday, March 29, 2013

6 Fun At Home Activities That Bring The Family Together





Having a family is a blessing. A family is there to help, support and encourage each other throughout life. Here are five fun home activities that bring a family together.

Make Meal Together

Take time and make a meal together as a family. Ask the kids what they would like to have for dinner. Next, find a recipe for that meal, go to the grocery store and purchase the supplies. Kids are sure to enjoy making a meal with their parents as they learn new skills such as making and cooking a meal. 

Swim

Healthy bodies help lead to healthy minds. Swimming is a fantastic way to not only have fun but work your heart and muscles. There are so many games you can play in the pool that keep everyone interested. Plus all children should learn how to swim both on top and underneath the water for their safety.

Yard Work


Yard work is a fun activity for the family. Kids are empowered as they rake, weed or clean the yard. There are activities that kids of all ages can do and it helps for them to see their parents working in the yard as well. Yard work is a great teaching opportunity as kids can use various tools to make the yard look good.

Plant a Garden

Similar to yard work, take time to plant a garden or plant some flowers. Sit down as a family and determine what needs to be done in the yard. Perhaps purchasing flowers works the best. Then go to a local nursery and have the kids choose a flower or plant. When at home, have them plant the flowers with friendly help. They can spend the rest of the season caring and watering for what they planted.

Game Night

Playing a game together as a family is a terrific way from the kids and parents to have fun together. Whether it is a board, electronic or video, a game is a way for families to interact together. Kids learn about problem solving and see their parents in a different light as they compete against each other in a fun way.

Make A Photo Book

Another fun activity is to create a family photo book together. Take a digital camera and spend the day photographing each other doing a certain theme or activity like making a meal or spending time in a Bullfrog Hot Tub. Some pictures taken may be funny and silly. Other photos may be serious. Whatever the case may be, download the pictures and review them as a family. Next, get the pictures printed whether at home or at a store. With the developed pictures, create a family photo album. In the weeks and months later, the whole family can enjoy the memories made of that day.



Family activities are plentiful. They create fun and make memories that last a lifetime.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Ways Your Family Can Volunteer



Volunteering as a family has many benefits. You teach your children by your own example how important it is to help others less fortunate than you and your family. Volunteering opens your children's eyes to those who are less fortunate than them and can help them appreciate their own life more. Volunteering together will also strengthen your family. 

Raise Money for UNICEF

Whether you collect change during trick or treat and turn that money over to UNICEF, or hold a bake sale to raise money so that UNICEF can provide others with clean drinking water, raising money for UNICEF will be a rewarding experience for your family. UNICEF's dedication to children and families makes it a great choice for your family's efforts. 

Work With Your Local Animal Shelter

If your children have an affinity for animals, they may enjoy donating their time to a local animal shelter. Contact the shelter first to see what they need. Depending on the age of your child, your family may be able to help exercise dogs, clean pens, or play with kittens. The shelter may also ask for donations of old blankets, kitty litter or dog and cat food. 

Talk to Churches or Schools

Your local churches and schools probably know the needs in your community better than anyone. They may have specific needs, such as warm winter clothes, which you can provide by spending an afternoon cleaning closets with your children. They may also know of people who could use some physical help, for example, an older family may appreciate having someone show up on a snowy day to shovel their sidewalk, or after a storm to pick up yard debris. 

Thank Service Members

Your community may have a local group that sends packages out to deployed military personnel. This group may appreciate donations of items, which you and your child can pick up on your regular trips to the grocery store, or your time, when it comes time to pack the boxes. They may also like letters and cards, made by your children, thanking military members for their service. 

Regardless of how you choose to volunteer with your family, you can be sure that your children will always remember the time and effort they put in to serving others. Don't worry that they are too young, you are too busy or the results will not be worthwhile. Teaching your children from a young age that volunteering is worthwhile is a wonderful gift for the future.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Kids and Knives: 5 Tips for Teaching Your Kids Knife Safety



Parents teach children not to play with knives because it is dangerous. Children must also learn basic knife safety. Parents should take the time to teach their children the safety rules at an age appropriate time. Here are five tips for teaching your kids to be safe with knives.

Intended Purpose

Children should learn to never use a knife for anything but its intended purpose. One example is to never use a knife to pry something apart. This is a dangerous action that could end in disaster when the knife slips, resulting in a cut to the fingers or hands.

Push Away from the Body

Teach the child to push away from his or her body. The sharp end of the knife should never point towards the child. When making the slice into an object, the child should push the blade forward in the slicing action. If the knife slips when a child is moving the blade towards his or her body, the child could end up with a nasty cut.

Transporting Knives

When a child is carrying a knife from one place to another, teach him or her to walk carefully. It is the same general rule as carrying a pair of scissors. The pointy end of the knife should never face towards the child and never pointing straight ahead. Most danger can be avoided if the child is taught to wrap knives in a dish towel prior to moving them from one place to another when the child is younger.

Never Lick the Blade

Licking the knife is tempting, but it should never occur. Children are most prone to do this when icing a cake. Instead of using a knife for this task, use a spatula that allows the child to lick the icing off without danger. If possible, offer a spoon tasting to the child as a reward for not licking the knife.

Use a Fork to Hold Items in Place

Teach the child to use a fork to hold the item in place rather than his or her fingers. Placing fingers on the object that is being cut places the child at higher risk for cuts. Using a hard object such as a fork will hold the item in place while lowering the risk for harm.

Children can safely use knives for the rest of their lives if taught these few basic rules. Parents often spend a lot of time explaining to children that they should not play with knives. While this is important, parents should also be teaching the basic rules of how to use knives safely. If children are taught well, there is no reason that the child cannot participate in cooking activities involving knives at an appropriate age.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Five Fun Science Projects for Scientifically Challenged Parents!



Doing science experiments at home with your children doesn't have to be a daunting task. All you need are common household ingredients such as water, salt, vinegar, sugar and baking soda to have fun with your child and help them learn about the laws of science. 


Homemade Rock Candy

Learning about crystal formation can be fun as well as tasty. All you need is a clothespin, a wooden chopstick or skewer, 2-3 cups of sugar, one cup of water and a tall jar or glass. First, clip the skewer onto the clothespin so that the bottom of the skewer is about one inch from touching the bottom of the glass. Take the skewer out of the glass and set it aside, then bring the water to a boil in a pan. Start by pouring about a quarter of a cup of sugar into the water. Stir it until it dissolves and keep adding sugar until it will no longer dissolve in the water. Remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool for 20 minutes or more. Pour the solution into the glass or jar until the glass is almost full, then put the skewer back into the jar. Watch for sugar crystals to grow throughout the next week.

Marker Color Mystery

Have you ever wondered how the dyes are mixed to make your favorite color marker? Now is the time to find out. For this experiment you need several paper towels, a small bowl of water and at least three different colored markers. Cut the paper towels into strips before starting the experiment. First, draw a line on each strip of paper towel with a different colored marker, making sure to note which color marker you used on each paper towel. Dip the paper towel strip into the water so that the part that isn't colored by the marker is submerged and watch the water move up the towel slowly. The mark made by the marker will spread throughout the towel to reveal the dyes that were used to create that particular color.


Examine Money for Counterfeit Prevention

Ordinary objects, such as dollar bills, are fun to examine under a microscope. Most kids think that money would be very easy to copy, but the bills are carefully designed to make counterfeit very difficult. When you put the money under the microscope you will see tiny red and blue fibers that are mixed with the paper fibers. You will also see all of the numbers that are printed onto each bill. Examine several denominations of bills to note similarities and differences between them.

Fun with Static Electricity

Your child can make an empty soda can move using static electricity. You need a soda can, a balloon that is blown up and a head of hair to create the static. Lay the can on the table sideways, then have your child rub the balloon through their hair quickly to create static. Put the balloon close to the can and watch the can start rolling without being touched. This is the magic of static electricity.

Comparing Water

When you're looking at tap water, bottled water and river water they may seem very similar with the naked eye, but you can see big differences when you look at different types of water using a microscope. Use a dropper to drop several types of water onto concave slides and look at the slides under microscopes to see the similarities and differences in the types of water. See if your child can guess where each water sample came from when they're looking at the sample under the microscope.

Monday, March 04, 2013

The New Arrival: 5 Ways to Baby-Proof Your Home




Having a baby is tremendously exciting, and new parents know that their lives have changed as soon as they look at their newborns. However, many parents also feel considerable anxiety as having a baby requires responsibility. Fortunately, baby-proofing a home is not as difficult as many parents imagine.  Here are five tips baby-proof your home and prepare for the newest little one in the home.

Secure Outlets

Few children are injured by outlets, but the risk is still present. No matter how closely you watch your child, there is no way to prevent him or her from wandering around. The best way to secure an outlet is to install plastic plugs in those that are not in use. While it will take a few seconds to remove them, it is worth the extra effort to avoid unnecessary anxiety.

Remove Items

Welcoming a baby to your home is a great time to declutter and embrace minimalist design trends. Anything that is breakable and could potentially fall should be removed, and aesthetically-pleasing elements should be replaced with rugged designs. If you have been planning to renovate a room, it might be best to do so before your baby arrives in the home.

Use Locks and Gates

Children go everywhere, and there is no way to tell them to avoid particular areas. By using locks and gates, however, you can keep certain areas secure. Over time, these locks can seem annoying, but they do provide peace of mind that you may lack otherwise. Provide locks or baby-proofing elements on cupboards, drawers, or anything else that a baby could get into.

Steady Your Furniture

Children quickly begin to climb on furniture, and they lack the ability to detect when furniture is unstable. You can help reduce the likelihood of injuries by purchasing furniture that can handle children clinging on from all angles. Another possibility is to use devices designed to keep furniture secure; fasteners and brackets can help keep a chair or table from falling out from under your child.

Extra Caution in the Kitchen

One of the most common injuries for toddlers is burns. Toddlers are just tall enough to climb onto stoves but do not understand how easily they can be burned. Purchase knob covers to keep your child from turning on the stove, and install a latch on your oven door. In addition, use the back burners whenever possible. Put all sharp objects in unreachable areas. Most importantly, never leave your child unattended with any choke hazards in the near vicinity.

While the process of baby-proofing your home will take time, it helps reduce the possibility of injuries. Take the time needed to secure your home, and always be on the lookout for potential dangers.