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Fun Friday with Ukloo

4 Oct

20131003-225939.jpgMy daughter is finally adjusting to school. Now that she is settled in she is anxious to learn. One of her goals for the year is to learn to read.
Recently, we tried Ukloo, a treasure hunt game to help children ages 4 and up learn to read! To play, leave clue cards out to help your child find the surprise card (treasure) at the end. My daughter knows she will always find her first clue on the dining room table. There are three levels to choose from. Starting with level 1 and only a few clue cards is best for early readers.  The child reads each clue, with a picture helper to aid them if they don’t know a word.  When they learn the game and become more comfortable reading, add more clue cards and move up a level.  I accidentally put a level 3 out, it took awhile but she was able to find the next clue. Be sure to leave the picture helper somewhere your child can easily find it.   The first few times I left it next to the first clue. You can also leave it on the refrigerator when you aren’t playing for your child to look at as a refresher!  Several blank clue cards and surprise cards are included for you to personalize them for your child.

It’s been fun watching my daughter as she finds her surprises.  Changing up the surprises kept her wanting to play more. We have made it part of our daily routine, giving her more exposure to the sight words.  I have clues set up every afternoon when she returns from school.  I do “bigger/ better” surprises on Friday.  Surprise Ideas include:

  • Sweet treats: Lollipop, cookie, piece of candy
  • Money
  • Extra iPad time
  • A new book
  • Special Time with Mommy and/or Daddy
  • Fill out a surprise card for a “Fun Friday” movie or outing
  • PJ Party with a friend

Ukloo makes reading funds, builds self-confidence, encourages independence, promotes sight-reading (visual word recognition), offers basics of sentence structure and introduces research skills.  A great gift for birthdays, Holidays and for teachers (to include in their classrooms).  To buy click here.  Coming soon: Ukloo 2 for ages 7+ and the Ukloo Reading Adventure App.

Disclaimer:  I did not receive compensation for this post.  All opinions expressed are my own.  I received a sample of Ukloo for the purpose of this review but did not alter my opinions.

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Fun Friday with Reverse Charades (Review and Giveaway)

30 Aug

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Over the summer we played a lot of games.  Our favorite game was Reverse Charades: Junior Edition.  We received a sample not long ago and have had a blast playing as a family.  The game includes a box of words to act out, a timer, and a “Rules of Play” card.

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How to Play:

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My girls are 3 and 5, so they are a little young for the game but my husband and I paired up with them to help out.  We selected words that would be easy for the kids to act out.  Some of their favorite words to act out are sick, ice cream cone, leapfrog, chew, ring pop and leapfrog. The girls had difficulty keeping quiet and mouthing words, which you lose points for.  At first they were upset when they lost points but then when someone forgot the rule they would laugh.  The highlight was watching my husband and I act out words.  I must admit, there were some difficult words to act out that we had to pass on.  Reverse Charades has made our summer nights and “Fun Fridays” very entertaining.

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Once the girls head back-to-school, their bed time is early except for the weekends!  Fridays we have family fun or they invite friends over for PJ parties but bed times are put aside for “Fun Friday”.  Friday fun usually consists of movies or games.  Reverse Charades makes a great gift for birthdays or holidays.  It is fun for adults and is the perfect game to play at PJ parties, sleepovers, play dates, or with family.  It’s a game that will certainly fill a room with laughter.

Can you guess her word?

Can you guess her word? 😉

Reverse Charades is available these four editions; Original, Junior, French and Dutch for $23.99.   Expansion word packs are available for $9.99 which include the Hollywood Edition, the Canadian Edition, the Sports Edition, the Holiday Edition, and the Girls’ Night In Edition.  In addition to being an awesome game, when you buy Reverse Charades, a portion of the price supports efforts to bring laughter to kids and their families at Children’s Hospitals. Reverse Charade is available at Barnes & Noble, Hallmark, Learning Express and Amazon or find other retailers to buy near you.

Check out Reverse Charades on YouTube to see how much fun you can have with the game!

GIVEAWAY: 
Click the link to ENTER to WIN a Reverse Charades Junior Edition game for a Fun Friday with friends and family.  Giveaway ends on 9/13/2013 @11:59 pm EST!

Disclaimer: I received a sample of Reverse Charades for the purpose of this review and a sample for the giveaway.  All opinions expressed are my own.  Any information in italics came from the Reverse Charades website.

Beach Essentials

23 Jul

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We just got back from a week in the Outer Banks.  Every morning, before heading to the beach, we gathered these essentials to make sure the girls had fun in the sun!

1. Melissa and Doug Seaside Sidekicks Cupcake Set:  Their favorite sand toy.  They love to make cupcakes in the send and pretend they are making custom orders for my husband and I.  The new friends they make on the beach are also drawn to this toy.  It gets them to use their imagination and engage in pretend play.

Image from Melissa and Doug

Image from Melissa and Doug

2. Kids Folding Canopy Chair:  A break from the sun is necessary every so often.  The girls enjoyed sitting in this canopy chair when they needed a snack, drink, or just wanted to rest.  The canopy provides some shade so they can sit back and enjoy watching the waves crash while on the look out for their favorite dolphin friends.

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3. Large Shovel & Bucket: My girls never get tired of digging for sand crabs, building walls, and filling buckets with sand or shells.  We used a plastic paint pail for the girls to fill with their treasures and sand.

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4. Baby Pool: The ocean is scary when large waves crash so it’s nice to have a small baby pool filled with some ocean water to help your little ones cool off.  It may take multiple trips to fill but it’s definitely worth it if you want to spend the day on the beach.

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6. Paddle Ball:  Although it was difficult for her, my oldest daughter had a great time playing paddle ball with her dad and uncles.  She felt like a “big girl”.

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Disclaimer: I did not receive compensation for this post.  All opinions expressed are my own.  All images were taken by tastefully childish unless otherwise noted.

Crunch A Color

9 Jan

The Holidays always bring unhealthy eating.  It usually starts at Thanksgiving which leads into Holiday parties and then before you know it the New Year is here and you need to get back into the routine of eating Healthy.  Over the Holidays my girls were on the road a lot.  They went through drive thru’s on their way up and down the east coast and went out to eat way more than they normally do.  Now that we are home, it’s time to get back into the routine of eating healthy and trying new vegetables.

Picture 19I recently came across Crunch A Color, a game to learn about healthy nutritious choices.  I will be purchasing this game soon to play during meal time.  To play, kids earn points as they eat servings of veggies, fruits, proteins and grains. Bonus points for trying new foods (2x points!) and good manners (e.g., setting the table, clearing the table, starting a conversation).  Sounds like something my girls need!  Not to mention, 5% of the profits support non-profit children’s nutrition programs including Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, FoodCorps, and Alice Waters’ Edible Schoolyard.  Can’t wait to get my girls crunching a color soon!

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Check out Crunch a Color’s Printables and Recipe Blog!

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post.  All images and information in italics came from the Crunch A Color website.

Ideas For Thanksgiving Fun

20 Nov

I always enjoyed sitting at the “kids table” when my entire family got together for meals over the Holidays.  It gave me a sense of independence and freedom from my parents and I got to sit with my older cousins, who I looked up to.  We are headed down to my parents in Virginia this year.  It’s the first time in a long time, I can’t even remember how long, that we will be getting together with extended family.  There will be about 60 people and I am excited for my girls to experience the “kids table” with the next generation cousins.  In the past, we got together at a family members house so the kids could run around in the yard or play in the basement.  With the number of people expected, we had to rent a place so I have been on Pinterest everyday trying to find ideas to spruce up the “kids table” and keep them entertained until it is time to eat.  Here are five ideas I found for Thanksgiving fun:

1.  Pin It: My girls love Pin the ____ games.  We decided to make a Pin the Gobbler on the Turkey game.  Each child will get a gobbler.  They will have to write what they are thankful for on it.  They will be blindfolded and will have try to pin it closest to where the gobbler goes. My daughter just finished coloring and is checking out how her gobbler will look.

2. Coloring is always great for keeping little ones entertained.  I love this crayon holder from parents.com.  Put a turkey at each seat or spread a few out on the table for sharing.  Make sure to leave some paper or print Thanksgiving Themed coloring pages.

Image from parents.com. Click to find out how to make this adorable Turkey.

2.  Let them Play: These finger puppets are adorable from The Idea Room are adorable and you can purchase the pattern for $2.50.

Image from The Idea Room

3. Mix it up: The kids can make this adorable Gratitude Turkey Treat Jar from Toddler Approved while they wait for dinner or dessert.  Fill it with a snack mix or left over Halloween candy as they suggest to take home.  My oldest came up with a mix using cheerios, raisins, dried cranberries, Brach’s Autumn Mix and Enjoy Life chocolate chips.

Image from Toddler Approved, click link to find out how to make.

4.  Save your place:  My oldest loves place cards.  She enjoys looking for her name and her sisters name.  Attempt to avoid arguing over who is sitting next to who by using adorable these adorable place cards from Dandee: A Happily Crafted Life. We are going to try cutting lollipop sticks so the little ones don’t poke themselves on the toothpick.

Image from Dandee: A Happily Crafted Life, click link to find out how to make.

5. Story Time:  Have the older kids read to the younger kids at the table.  A few fun Thanksgiving books we love are:

Image from Barnes and Noble.

Image from Barnes and Noble.

Image from Barnes and Noble.

Make It Personal With Melissa and Doug

22 Oct

Since the start of the school year, my daughter has made many new friends which means more birthday parties.  As we were shopping for a few upcoming parties, my girls noticed all the Christmas decorations were out and holiday toys were already on display.  Every year the Christmas season starts earlier, which is why it’s no surprise my girls have already started making their list for Santa.

We are huge Melissa and Doug fans.  Most of the gifts we give to friends and receive as presents are Melissa and Doug.  Last Christmas my girls favorite gifts were the Doctor and Veterinarian Role Play Costume Sets.  Recently, Melissa and Doug started adding personalization’s to some of their products like on the role-playing costume sets.  My girls love having personalization on their toys, backpacks, lunch boxes, you name it because they know it is theirs.  It adds an extra special touch to gifts for birthdays and holidays.

Some of our favorite Melissa and Doug products that can be personalized are:

Role play costume sets make great gifts for the holidays and for birthdays. My girls love this hair stylist costume set. They play hair dresser often. The next time they play I am going to have them come up with a name for a salon or I will use our last name so they can share.

One of our favorite gifts to give.

The magnetic chalkboard and dry erase board is at the top of my girls Holiday list. They love drawing and working on their letters. It would like to get each of them a personalized board.

I purchased the magnetic responsibility chart a while ago and use it with my older daughter. However, now that the youngest is older we need to get one for her. When there is multiple children it is great to have it personalized so they can recognize which chart is theirs.

My parents have a dog, Harley, that looks like this. My girls always ask for a dog so for the holidays I plan on getting them a “Harley” to have at home and to play Vet with in their Veterinarian costume.

Click here to see all products that can be personalized!

Disclaimer:  This was a sponsored post but did not alter my opinion. All opinions expressed are my own.  All images are from http://www.melissaanddoug.com.

Tea Party and Other Great Games

22 Jun

My older daughter, 3 1/2, has become interested in playing games together.  One evening she had my husband pull out Monopoly and asked him to teach her to play (way over her head).  We don’t have many games that are good for her to play.  I was telling a friend that she has a sparked interest in group games and she told me about a Cupcake Game her daughter, also 3 1/2, had received as a gift and loved.  We happened to be together at Hombom Toys, a new toy store in TriBeca, when we came across the Cupcake Game– a spinner game by Eeboo.  They had a variety of games by Eeboo so we let the girls pick which game they liked best.  My daughter ended up chosing the adorable Tea Party Spinner Game and LOVES it.  A week after getting the Tea Party game and playing at least twice a day, we went back to Hombom Toys for another game, this time she chose the Cupcake Spinner Game.  The Eeboo spinner games have been wonderful for Friday Fun Nights where we either watch a movie and have popcorn or play games.  They are also great for rainy days and super hot summer days. We have also taken the games to the park and laid out a blanket to play on days with beautiful weather.  I checked out Eeboo’s site to see what other products they have and they have a variety of products; puzzles, decorations, travel games, write me a story and more.  I look forward to purchasing more products and games by Eeboo.

About the games we purchased (all information in italics and images below are from Eeboo.com):

Spinner GamesEeboo has perfected the art of spinner games. The arrows on all their spinners are clear, so there is no question about where the arrow stops. Attached with a rivet on a spacer, the arrows spin freely with a flick of the finger. Each game takes a different tack to build the relational skills of game playing while promoting an assortment of literacy and math skills. Pieces are of sturdy card stock. Each contains clear directions with ideas for additional ways to play.

Time for Tea!
Spin for a plate and napkin first,
Then some tea to quench your thirst.
Mind your manners if you please
But lose a turn if you see bees!
Ta-ta for now, I have to run;
I finished first and I have won!

To play, just check the recipe, and spin for what you’ll need
To bake up perfect cupcakes, satisfaction guaranteed.
Even though it’s make believe, it’s splendid what you’ll learn.
Try not to spin the rotten egg, or you will lose a turn!
Be first to gather what you need and you will be a winner,
And an expert cupcake maker, without spoiling your dinner!

Disclaimer:  I did not receive compensation for this post.  All opinions expressed are my own.