Fun Pumpkin Art!

Happy Wednesday everybody! It’s almost the weekend woohoo! And I’m sure it going to be a fun weekend for you and your kiddos with Halloween just around the corner! I can’t believe October is almost over! Time flies. As a mentioned in my last post on all things fall, pumpkins are a fall/Halloween staple. With Halloween so close it’s time to get those PUMPKINS ready for their big day! Personally, I hate carving pumpkins haha I have always been grossed out by the guts and goop inside. It feels weird, gets everywhere, and is hard to scoop out. Also it sucks that your kids just have to sit there for the 30 minutes you take to carve it or be far away given all the sharp tools. Because of that I’ve put together some of my favorite ways to decorate pumpkins, with kids, WITHOUT carving them! Still a little messy but as we all know with kids comes mess 🙂

 

The Nanny Guide’s Keys to Pumpkin Decorating

81ztarg11sl-_sl1500_1. Use a dot paint marker! Place the pumpkin on parchment paper or a placemat and let your kiddos go at it. The could do random dots, patterns of dots, or even make a face out of them. You could also get a circular foam paint brush (at Target or Michaels or wherever) and then dip in paint and dot away! Practical benefit: This is good for kids to practice hand eye coordination.

2. Glue on pom poms, googley eyes, or foam pieces! Basically take some glue and fun materials and let loose. Think feathers, leaves, beads. Whatever you can get your hands on. I suggest finding a really sticky glue or permanent glue so the stuff you glue on will last. I know this isn’t as kid friendly but my suggestion, and what I have done before, is to ask the child where they want to put their object and I put a dab of glue and have them place the object on it. You can also use elmers glue and they can practice using that, but be prepared for the mess and that some of the stuff might not stay as well.


3. Color with sharpie or permanent markers! Again you may not think this would be very safe with young kids but with proper supervision of the child it’s easy peasy. Last year Ruby who was 3 years old at the time ws able to use the permanent markers without any coloredpumpkin2-articleissues. We talked about the rules beforehand AKA not putting in mouth, only use on the pumpkin, don’t draw on yourself, etc. Then I sat next to her and opened the color she wanted and let her go. She just scribbled on it, but she was so proud and excited to show her parents when they got home. Older children could draw faces, doodles, or whatever their little heart desires 🙂

4. Paint the pumpkin! This is same idea as using markers. You can paint whatever you want on the pumpkin. A fun thing you can do with paint that you can’t do with markers is paint the pumpkin a completely different color!  Who wouldn’t want a rainbow of beautifully painted pumpkins at their house!

5. Write their name on it! Personalize their pumpkin. You (or if their old enough, your kiddo) can write their name big or small on the pumpkin in sharpie or permanent marker. Then let them decorate it any of these other ways! Having it say their name just adds another element of fun and makes their pumpkin unique and theirs!

6. Do a little bit of each! Paint it first, draw when dry, glue feathers on for hair, dot paint marker eyes, and write their name of it!

These are just some ideas I had, but the main point is just be creative! Let your and your kiddo/s imagination let loose. Who knows what fun you could create 🙂 Also if pumpkin carving is your jam more power to you! Carved pumpkins look super cool and are fun to do if you know what you’re doing 🙂  If anyone has tips on how to make pumpkin carving easy let me know! And if you have any other ideas of decoration send them my way! Happy pumpkin decorating!

xoxo

Kelly

© The Nanny Guide 2016

Valentine’s Day classmate cards on a budget and minimal time!

Hello all! With Valentine’s Day just around the corner that means school Valentine’s Day parties are just around the corner! That means valentine’s cards for all 30 classmates, candy for each, and some way to get those together. Ain’t nobody got time for that! haha but seriously all of that takes a lot of effort and cost money. Money and time a lot of parents and nannies could spend doing other things on their never-ending to do list. You need to go to Target to buy the cards and candy, which anyone who has gone to Target knows ends up being at least a 30 minute trip. Then you have to assemble them all, write everyone classmates name down, and sign each one. All in all this can take awhile.

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However if you are looking for an inexpensive option where you don’t have to leave the house, this may be your solution. All you need is an Amazon Prime account. If you don’t already have an Amazon Prime account I highly suggest you get one. I know this may sound like a promo for them but really it’s just because I find it so helpful and worth the money. For only $99 a year (aka $8.25 a month, or the cost of 2 Starbucks coffee drinks a month) you get free 2 day shipping, access to their video streaming and music, and the best part AMAZON PRIME NOW. Prime Now is the world’s greatest invention. You can order something from Amazon (Say candy for valentine cards) and get it delivered to your front door in 2 hours or less.

Given our crazy schedules (between Ruby’s mom and mine) Valentine cards for Ruby’s classmates got lost in the busy days. So last night, with 4 days till Ruby’s Valentine’s Party, Amazon Prime Now came to the rescue and at an extremely low cost! Lindsay ordered a set of 32 My Little Pony Valentine Cards for $1.36 and 2 bags of candy for the price of one (promo right now). Shipping is FREE. So all in all 32 Valentine’s with candy cost $4!!! The $4 purchase showed up in an hour right to the front door. From there she looked in the craft closet and found glitter sticker hearts Ruby and I had used on projects this summer. She did the added touch of putting them in cellophane sleeves, but she already had them from her office. Use what you have!! If you have mini cellophane bag use those or just do the old school tape the candy on the Valentine 🙂 Assembling took the usual time of writing and sticking, but she saved a lot of time and money by using Amazon Prime Now.

Something that could have been stressful and time consuming, turned into a quick, easy, inexpensive project. PS. 3 year old Ruby spent the time to sign each one herself!! We were both soon proud! (and we made sure to tell her. Positive reinforcement is key in raising a kid!).

SO save some time, money, and stress wrinkles, Amazon is here to save the day! Stay inside tonight and spend some time with your kiddos while Amazon does the heavy lifting. Wait for your things to arrive and have fun assembling them together! Or if you want to get them done quickly while your kids asleep (because we all know helpful kids are a blessing BUT sometimes make things harder) wait till then, have a glass of wine and TA DAH.

xoxo Kelly

© The Nanny Guide 2016

Who Am I?: Animal Edition. A Educational Game for Kids

Hi parents and nannies! Happy Wednesday! I hope the new year is treating you all well. Today I wanted to share a fun interactive, adaptive game I created for a job interview recently. It is suitable for young toddlers, as well as preschool age kiddos. It’s called Who Am I?: Animal Edition.

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I created this as an activity to bring to a job interview that could be played with children from 1 to 5. You can practice remembering animal sounds and fine motor skills with the young kiddos, and practice spelling and more complicated, recognition questions with older, preschool age kids. This game is easy and inexpensive to make on your own. Here’s how it’s done!

What you need:

  • Foam poster board
  • Animal picture printouts (I just googled clip art of each animal)
  • Markers
  • Index cards
  • Multiple purpose fasteners (aka velcro stickers)
  • Scissors
  • Tape/ Adhesive

How to create:

  1. Google each animal you want. I chose horse, chicken, cow, pig, cat, dog, duck, elephant, lion, and frog. Once you have found the pictures, print them out, and cut them apart.
  2. Begin with the poster board flat on the ground and lay each animal along the sides.
  3. Once you are satisfied with the layout, tape each animal down to the board. IMG_3566
  4. Take your index cards and clearly write out each animal name. I chose capital letters because those are the letters most children recognize and learn first.
  5. Take an index card and adhere two sets of velcro to the back of it. Then stick it on the poster board next to its respective animal. (If you use the Scotch brand of velcro it WILL feel like you have to rip it off the board really hard, but it gets easier the more you use it!)
  6. Write the title of the game at the top of the board with a marker. Mine is on blue paper because I messed up the writing the first time haha so just go with it!
  7. Viola! You have a fun, easy to use game.

How to play:

  • Easy: Take all of the cards off the board and hold them in your hands. Show your kid the first card and say what animal says woof woof? If they can’t talk yet, have them point to the animal. If they can talk, have them say the animal name and point. If they get it correct celebrate it and show them where to place it on the board. Keep going until all the cards are on the board correctly. This version of the game will help with memory, recognition, fine motor, and recall skills.
  • Medium: Take all the cards off the board and hold them in your hands. Look at the animal name on the card and give your child clues about it. For example, if it is COW I would say, I have black and white spots. I provide you with milk. I can be found hanging out on a farm. If they don’t get it by that point then you could say I go moo. Once they guess the animal correctly hand them the card and tell them to place it next to the animal on the board. Keep going until all the cards are on the board. This version of the game really helps test children’s long term memory of facts about animals. It will make them recall information they have stored in their brain.
  • Hard: Take all the cards off the board and hold them in your hands. Hand the first card to your child and tell them to sound out the word. You can help them if needed. Once they have sounded it out ask them to place it on the board next to the animal. Celebrate each mini victory until they have gone through all the cards. Obviously elephant or chicken are not going to be super easy ones to get, but each time they see them and repeat them they will get more comfortable with the word and more practice. After they place the card on the board you can tell them to point to each letter and spell the word back to you as well. It is important to have them point to the letter (or you yourself point) because this will help them associate the proper letter sound with letter.

As I said above this is a fun, adaptable, and engaging for kids of a wide age range! I hope you all have an easy time making this game and a fun time playing it.

xoxo Kelly

© The Nanny Guide 2016

Be Thankful

Being thankful is something every kid (and adult) can sometimes need a reminder of. I know I try my best to remember how lucky I am for the life I have but life gets crazy and hard sometimes, so I forget. Kids are busy bodies with a million thoughts going through their heads every second. It is easy for them to forget to be thankful as well. While it is good to be thankful year round, Thanksgiving is a good time of year to take a second out of our busy days and remember why/what we are thankful for. It is a good time of year to reflect on your year and life and remember all the things you are lucky to have. It is important to do this with your children as well! Here are a few simple way to break out the gratitude and thankfulness in your little one 🙂

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  • List off all the people who are a part of their life who love them. This is simple and can be done quickly. Ruby and I have done it a few times on longer car trips. I say who loves Ruby? and she starts listing off mommy, daddy, Kelly, grandma, grandpa, etc. After we have listed off a lot I make a point to tell her how lucky she is to have so many people who love her and who she loves. Then I remind her that she should be thankful to have so many people on that list. It always boosts her mood and puts a smile on her face. I then follow that up with “next time you see _____ you should tell them how much you love them.”
  • Make a craft relating to Thanksgiving and being thankful . There are so many options with this, and it is a great way to teach kids the wide range of things they have to be thankful for. It is easy for kids to list off concrete examples like my blankie or my train track, but it’s harder to list of the more abstract ideas like family, friends, education, etc. While doing the craft you can teach them about the more abstract ideas. After they name their first few then you could say something like “well aren’t you thankful for having a nice friend like Abby?” A question like that will prompt their little minds to start thinking of things along that realm. Keep that discussion going! Here is a great list of 7 crafts that can teach kids about being thankful!
  • Remind them how lucky they are to be healthy and have full bellies. A lot of kids don’t know on their own that these are things some people don’t have. It is am important life realization to have because it is part of our reality. You want to be age appropriate in how you describe that there are kids who are sick and in the hospital or that there are kids who don’t always get to eat dinner. If you make things seem too bleak it may not register with them, but they are smarter than you think and can handle a version of the truth about health, food, and wealth. I leave that discretion to you, the nanny or parent. You know your child the best and how you think this discussion should go.
  • Donate food to a local food shelf. Tell your kids that since not everyone can buy all the food they want (or need) you guys are going to help them out! Bring your kids with and ask them what they want to buy. I have done this with Ruby and she usually gives some of her favorite foods. It a good learning moment because it causes her to reflect on what she likes and that well maybe another kid would like some Easy Mac as well! It teaches compassion and social awareness. Have them help you bring the food in to the donation site. Afterward celebrate their charity work with a fun snack or trip to the park. Let them know how proud you are of them, and that they just helped make a lot of people happier.
  • If your kids are old enough- volunteer! I have gone with school groups and my parents since I was young to Feed My Starving Children. At FMSC you pack meals for people in countries all over the world in dire need of food. They present the need for food in age appropriate ways, so you don’t need to be worried about it scaring you child. I have very fond memories of going there as a kid! It’s usually an upbeat environment with lots of laughter and good feelings. If there isn’t a FMSC near you, look for other local places that pack meals for the hungry. They are all over!

A few things I am thankful for this holiday 🙂

  • All my tiny humans!
  • My sweet, loving boyfriend
  • My amazing family
  • My education
  • The ability to travel
  • My best friend (even though she lives 1,000 miles away!)
  • The little opportunities each day brings to make a positive difference in people’s lives.

Being thankful for things we have isn’t something that is something that we explicitly say everyday, but hopefully there is a moment each day where you think about it. This is an important thing to instill in your kids. Learning to be thankful teaches kids humility, the importance of giving to others if you can, empathy, love, and a bounty of more skills. It will help them develop into compassionate, helpful, grateful humans.

On that note, I hope you all have a safe, fun-filled Thanksgiving! I leave you all with one of my favorite quotes that isn’t directly related to being thankful, but something I have learned as a result of being thankful.

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Creative Play: The Making of Princess Street

Hello Nannies and Parents! I will warn you that this post is a long one but it features 2 how to art projects, play tips, and storage tips! Also with the upcoming holiday aka CHRISTMAS this could make for a great gift for your little Lego/ block lover this year 🙂

The idea for Princess Street began one day during nap time as I was staring at the hap hazardous mess of Disney Princess Legos and Duplos strewn all across the living room floor. Ruby had fallen in love with Legos after a trip to Barnes and Noble. She got hooked on the Disney Princess sets. So she earned each one as rewards for helping around the house or doing something special. As we acquired more and more of these adorable sets I realized we had no real, good place to play with them. When we played on the carpet it was too hard to put them together. When we played on the hardwood floors they slipped all around. So I was left with a challenge to figure out the perfect place to play with these great Lego sets. I looked at Target for the green Lego squares that can hold Legos down, but those were $20 for one! So then I started thinking about how to solve this problem. Lego Friends has a play mat for the Heartlake city where all the girls are from. You can put the Juice Shop along one street and Emma’s House on the next. I then figured out something like that would solve this problem. However I searched all over the internet and nothing like this exists for Disney Princesses. There is no play mat or anything that can make a princess neighborhood. This baffled me because as Ruby always say “but Kelly I don’t want to play with just one. All my princesses are best friends and want to live by each other.” It was then I knew I needed to make my own Disney Princess neighborhood. So I took to brainstorming how this might be possible. After work that day I went to Michael’s craft store and walked around and around and finally figured out exactly what I was going to do. It took time and love but the finished product was totally worth it. Take a look inside Princess Street 🙂

As you can see Princess Street has evolved as Ruby has grown. It began with the Disney Princess Lego Duplo sets, and now holds the Disney Princess Lego sets and a house we created on our own from Target. That is the beauty of Princess Street, it can become anything you want it to. We reorganize it and design it each time we take it out. We have also come up with a neat and organized way to store it all. Below are the instructions on how to make and store your own Princess Street (or Lego City, Superhero Lane, or any other neighborhood your kiddo wants!):

What you will need: 

  • 2 Foam Poster Boards (found at Target, Michael’s, Walgreens, etc)
  • 3D Puff Paint (various colors that pertain to your theme, found at any craft store)
  • Curved Road Stencil (I made mine out of thick cardstock)
  • Duct Tape (color doesn’t matter because you can’t see it)
  • Stickers (pertaining to your theme, ours is princess of course!)

How to make:

  1. Lay the 2 boards on the floor side by side.
  2. Draw your stencil however you want your road to be. I wanted ours to curve so I drew it that way. Cut your stencil out of your thick paper.
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  3. Place your stencil where you want the road to be. Hold in place and trace around. Do the same on the other board.
  4. Use marker or puff paint to outline the road and make marks along the lanes.
  5. Use puff paint to write the name of the neighborhood. We chose Princess Street.
  6. Let dry COMPLETELY. Usually 2 hours will do. Keep child away! As you can see on the back of mine I messed up and didn’t wait long enough 🙂
  7. Add details to the neighborhood, like a pond or garden with makers. We chose to have 2 ponds because in the beginning we had 2 Ariel Lego sets and of course both needed to be in the water!
  8. Decorate with stickers where you want.
  9. Once the front is done and dry, flip them over and place duct tape along the edges connecting the two boards. Put a good amount on. This will help reinforce the middle of the boards. Only put the tape on one side though, otherwise it own’t be able to fold up for easy storage.
  10. Set up your Lego sets how you would like and enjoy!

The Disney Princess Lego sets we have featured on our Princess Street are Sleeping Beauty’s Royal Bedroom, Jasmine’s Exotic Palace, Ariel’s Magical Kiss, Cinderella’s Romantic Castle, Cinderella’s Dream Carriage, and Rapunzel’s Creativity Tower. We also have the Lego Duplo Disney Princess Collection featuring Snow White, Cinderella, and Ariel.

All and more can be found HERE!

How to Make Your Own House:

As you can see we added a non Lego house to our street. I’m sure you all know Lego sets are expensive! Ruby loves Princess Street so much and wanted more and more to fill up the neighborhood, so instead of buying another expensive Lego set we ventured to Target to buy a make you own kit! Kid Made Modern Art-Chitecture Kit

This kit is only $25 and is very sturdy. Now this set is not too kid friendly for them to make. It’s kinda difficult even for adults. Totally worth it in the end though, but it took some time. To include Ruby in the making of this house I had her pick the paper I used on the walls and floors.

What you will need:

  • Kid Made Modern Art-Chitecture Kit (from Target)
  • Extra scrapbooking paper (any craft store)
  • Scissors
  • Markers
  • Glue Stick

How to make it:

  1. Follow the directions inside the kit.
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  2. It comes with a lot of furniture pieces but those are really hard to put together. We only put together the ones we knew we would use (bed, table, chair, etc).
  3. Decide what papers you want to be on what walls and floors. It comes with about 10 pages that stick right on to the wood. That is not enough to cover every wall and floor. We used scrapbooking paper to finish off the other walls.
  4. Trace the size of the wall and cut the paper to fit. Then use a glue stick to get it on the wall and floor.
  5. Once you have all the walls and floors covered in your desired paper you can glue it all together!
  6. Let it sit and dry for a day before use, but then it is good to go.

We put ours up on TV trays that Ruby has at her house. It allows her to be able to walk around the whole street. She can play with the fronts of the sets and the backs. She loves driving her princesses from house to house in her Cinderella carriage, or has special guest (Lego Friends characters) fly in on the private jet. You could also set this up on a coffee table or even just the floor!

It’s easy to set up and easy to store. The boards fold together so it can fit in a small space along a wall. We bought storage bins from target to put Ruby’s blocks in. We have one for her Lego Duplo blocks. We have a few for her Disney Princess Lego’s so we don’t have to take apart all the Princess’s house each time we play. Then we have a small 3 storage drawer labeled with easy to read titles of things to keep in them (dolls, extra parts, sticks, etc).

Princess Street has been a HUGE hit at our house! Every kid who comes over always wants to play with it, and Ruby loves to let them. While yes it does take some time to get it all put together, like I said before totally worth it. I would make a million more of these because they provide so much fun for your kid! It allow them to be creative and inventive every time we pull it out to play. I hope you found this how to helpful and enjoy your version of Princess Street as much as we love ours 🙂

xoxo Kelly

© The Nanny Guide 2015

More Pictures from Princess Street