Great Hobbies Your Kids Should Try Out

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Finding a hobby for your child is never an easy thing to do. But the advantages of them having a hobby can be vast.

Taking Photos

We all have cameras at our fingertips on our mobile phones nowadays, and that includes our children. So, if they enjoy taking photos on their phone, why not get them a camera for them to take more and better photos on? This is something that children can get really passionate about and get a great deal of enjoyment from.

It could even develop into a future career for them if they develop genuine skills in photography. The demand for photographs and photography is greater than ever. Every top website, newspaper and magazine uses professionally taken photographs. At the very least, it will help them develop their creativity.

Playing an Instrument

It’s understandable that some parents remain reluctant to let their children learn a musical instrument. The thought of having the house filled with the sound of a child struggling to play an instrument isn’t the most appealing prospect in the world. But it’s a skill that can be great for them in lots of ways.

Children who play instruments tend to do better at school and have greater prospects in later life. Talk to them and let them choose which instrument they want to play. It should be their choice, that way they’ll be more invested in it. You could let them take online guitar lessons or have someone you know teach them how to play the piano. But let them take control!

Joining a Sports Team

A lot of parents are worried about the health of their children, so why not factor this into their new hobby? By encouraging them to join a sports team, you will make sure that they get their daily dose of exercise and stay in shape. Childhood obesity is one of the biggest problems right now, so playing sports is not just a good idea, it’s vital!

But that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun too. You shouldn’t focus on the fact that playing sport is good for them when you sell the idea to your son or daughter. That’ll just put them off the idea. Instead, you should persuade them by talking about how much fun it will be. And letting them choose which sport to play is a good idea too, don’t put pressure on them.

Children_playing_Gaelic_football_Ajax_OntarioImage Source

Acting

This might seem like a strange suggestion, but a lot of children love acting and performing on stage from a young age. This is something that a child either takes to and loves or just doesn’t. If you quickly find that they don’t enjoy it, don’t put any pressure on them to carry on doing it. They should enjoy the hobby.

Acting proves a great outlet for creative kids. It allows them to take on a new personality and, in the process, broaden their horizons. You’ll be surprised to learn that children who act tend to learn a lot about the world and other people. It teaches them empathy and understanding. But most of all, it’s great fun!

Hobbies are important for children, so make sure your children have one that they feel passionate about.

 

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Paddington Free Printable Activity Sheets

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Paddington is coming to DVD and Blu-ray Combo Pack on April 28, 2015!  Featuring an All-Star Cast such as Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins and Nicole Kidman.

To celebrate this release,here are some fun activity sheets.  Make sure to check out my Orange Marmalade Cream Cheese Dip inspired by the movie, too!

And here’s a beary exciting clip from the movie:

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25 FUN SPRING CRAFT PROJECTS FOR KIDS

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Fun Spring Craft Projects for Kids

1. Fun DIY Tile Coasters
2. Crochet Earrings
3. Painted Wooden Bangles
4. DIY Lip Balm
5. Gold Painted Rocks
6. Fancy Bow Bracelet
7. Spray Painted T-Shirts
8. Kitty Key Chain
9. Light Bulb Bumble Bees
10. Fun 3-D Cards
11. DIY Striped Straws
12. Bird Nest Necklace
13. Make Toe Cat Shoes
14. Easter Egg Cosies
15. Pipe Cleaner Princess Crowns
16. Rubiks Cube Tissue Box Cover
17. Best Play Dough Ever
18. Make Lucky Dice
19. Candy Holder Craft
20. Egg Sculptures
21. Paper Lanterns
22. Easy Flower Basket
23. Salt Dough Stamping
24. Clay Earrings
25. Heart Printed Jeans

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How to Have a Disney Villaintine’s Day Party and Show Your DisneySide

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Disclosure- I received a party box filled with items to host a DisneySide party from Mom Select and Disney.  All opinions are 100% my own.  Thanks Mom Select and Disney!

I was so excited to be selected to host a DisneySide party.  I have tween daughters so I was selected to host a Disney Villains themed party.  Since the parties were to be hosted in February I decided to make mine a Disney Villaintine’s Day party.  Once we had the theme, my girls and I went to work deciding on food, games, and crafts.  Disney Villaintine’s Day was such a fun theme to come up with things for!  Disney and MomSelect sent so many great things to host our party- cake mix, decorations, games, Twinings tea bags, HP photo paper, All detergent, and lots more!  Check out what received below:

Unboxingmy disneyside
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We received so many great things to host our party but there are lots of other things you can add to make your Villaintine’s Day party a success.  Here’s everything we did for our party:

“Costumes”

I found some great Disney Villains headbands and jewelry on clearance for $2 each at Claire’s so I snatched it right up.  Each girl received a headband (Cruella or Ursula) and a matching bracelet and necklace.  costumes

Music

We had so much fun planning our party that we came up with more ideas than we even had time for!  Here’s what we came up with:
For background music I found this great, free website that had several great playlists of Disney Villains songs.  It was perfect.
http://www.8tracks.com/explore/disney_villains

 Favors

Each party guest received a favor bag with lots of goodies in it.  I made notebooks with our invitation design on the cover so the girls could remember the party.  There was also villain color nail polish, heart shaped candy, villain Jelly Belly jelly beans, heart rings and bracelets, a heart pencil, some printed games such as a villains word search and coloring page, Disney Villains lip gloss, and a favor box filled with candy.

disney villains favors

disney villains favor box labelsHere are the Disney Villains labels I made for the favor boxes.  I also used them on upside down paper cups stacked in a pyramid that the girls were supposed to try to knock over with bean bags but we ran out of time.

Decorations

Most of the decorations I used were images I printed off of the internet via searching for Disney Villains or decorations that were sent in my party kit.  disney villains decorationsFor the magic mirror pictured below I bought an inexpensive silver charger plate at Michael’s (it was on sale for under $3 I believe).  I printed a picture of the magic mirror from Snow White and taped it to the center of the plate.  It looked great, only cost a few dollars, and since I only taped the picture on I can reuse it for something else.P1230802

P1230809Heart gems, battery operated tea light candles, and red & white heart balloon weights all from the dollar store made for some simple yet elegant centerpieces that didn’t take up too much room so the girls still had plenty of room to craft.

Photo Booth

I bought a plan wood frame at Michael’s and painted it black.  Then I sponged on purple paint.  On top of the purple paint I sponged on silver paint and finished it off with some purple glitter paint to create a photo booth for the girls to take pictures.  I hung a simple purple plastic tablecloth as the backdrop.  Easy peasy!
disney villains frame

Food

Here are the signs I made for all the food I served.  Below you can click to download the signs to make them yourself.  P1230792 (2)

Villains Food Labels- Set 1
Villains Food Labels- Set 2

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In addition to Scar’s Soda and The Wicked Queen’s Water, I served Poor Unfortunate Souls Punch.  To make the punch I put in two parts Green Hawaiian Punch to one part Sprite, added ice, and stirred.  When we served the punch we put a gummy worm in the bottom as the Poor Unfortunate Soul.

P1230816Plenty of munchies to snack on!

P1230846I tried to balance all the sweets with some healthy fruits, veggies, and hummus.

P1230849 The Gaston’s Grilled Cheese ended up just being cheese sandwiches because my husband (who was supposed to be making the food) injured his arm the morning of the party so we just cut the cheese sandwiches into heart shapes and served them that way.  No one seemed to mind!

P1230848The moms appreciated having healthy deli sandwiches for dinner in addition to the veggies and hummus.

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To make the tentacle hot dogs we just cut each hot dog lengthwise twice about 1/3 of the way up to create 4 “tentacles”.  We then boiled the hot dogs until they were cooked.  So easy and the kids loved them!

Crafts

P1230868I’ll admit I over planned for this party because I had so many ideas.  I had planned on having the girls make bookmarks but we ran out of time so I just had them take the printed bookmarks home so they could finish them later.  Simply punch a hole in the top, add some ribbon and beads, and viola!10420114_10152542256711770_688334783885228624_n (1)Download the Disney Villains bookmark template (no words, just the pictures) here.  And this is the original Disney Villains file I used to create it, to create my invites, and create the cover of the journals that I gave as favors.

2 cups

I bought these pretty plastic wine glasses at The Dollar Tree in packs of 2!  They were perfect for our Queen of Hearts glasses.  I gave the girls heart shaped gems and some glue and they each made a beautiful glass that they could use to put trinkets in.

queen of hearts glasses
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The girls also painted wooden frames that I bought from Michael’s for $1.  Once the paint dried they put Villains stickers on them to decorate their frames.  The girls will then put pictures from the party in their frames once I have the pictures printed.  Such an easy craft but the girls really enjoyed it.disney villains frames

My favorite craft of all was the Mickey head dot art mugs.  The mugs were $2 each at Michael’s.  I had looked for mugs in the dollar store but they didn’t have enough plain white ones.  I ended up liking the ones from Michael’s better anyway.  I cut out Mickey Mouse heads on cardstock and I also had everyone’s initial cut out.  The girls taped down Mickey’s head on one side of their mug and “dotted” all around it with oil based Sharpie markers.  Be careful not to get paint under the template.  They did the same with their initials on the other side of their mugs.  sharpie marker mugsOnce the paint was dried and the girls brought their mugs home the mugs were put into a cold oven, brought to 350 degrees, and baked for 30 minutes.  Make sure you get the oil based Sharpies and not the water based ones!

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Games

How Many Disney Villains Can You Name?
We started off with an ice breaker.  The girls were divided into 2 groups and they had to see how many Disney Villains they could name.
P1230814Don’t Say the Word Villain or the Name of Any Disney Villain
The next game we played until the party was over.  Similar to the clothespin game played at baby showers, the girls each had a red clothespin clipped to them.  They couldn’t say the word villain or the name of any of the Disney Villains.  If one of the girls caught another girl saying one of the forbidden words they had to call them out and take their clothespin.  The winner was named the ultimate villain and she won a bracelet maker that was part of the party kit.  The girls had so much fun with this game!P1230830Disney Trivia
There was a Disney Trivia game included in our party kit that we all enjoyed while the girls’ projects were drying.  I was surprised just how much Disney knowledge the girls had and it was a great way for the girls and the moms to learn about Disney facts that they didn’t know.  The trivia game really got all of us reminiscent of past trips to Disney World and excited to go back again soon.

P1230837We had planned on playing Disney Bingo (from the party box) and  a cup knocking over game but we ran out of time.  For the cup game I had purchased bean bags and put the faces of various Disney Villains on the cups.  The cups were to be stacked in a pyramid and each girl would have had a chance to knock over as many cups as she could with the bean bags.

We all had an amazing time and with all the ideas I had we’ll probably host another Disney Villains party for Halloween.  It’s such a fun theme.  Thank you so much Disney and MomSelect!

 

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Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day Valentine’s Day Survival Kit

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In celebration of today’s (2/10) Blu-ray, Disney Movies Anywhere and Digital HD release of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day we have this fun Valentine’s Day Survival Kit just in time for the holiday. Enjoy a healthy dinner recipe, Valentine’s Day cards and much more. 

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Free Printable Clarence Valentine’s Day Cards

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With the newest character in the Cartoon Network block – Clarence! Clarence: Mystery Piñata is now on DVD and we have these cute Valentine’s Day cut-out cards for your kids to share with their classmates.

Here’s a clip of Clarence showing some love to his playground peers below.

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My Snuggle Bunny Personalized Book Review

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Disclosure- I received the item mentioned below to facilitate my review. I received no other compensation and all opinions are 100% my own.

snuggle-bunny

I’m so in love with the company “I See Me“. We have a few books from them and they never disappoint. I See Me makes all kinds of fun and engaging personalized children’s books and gifts. Just in time for Easter, we were lucky enough to get to review the beautifully written book called “My Snuggle Bunny”. Because it is a personalized book, it was actually changed to “Josephine’s Snuggle Bunny”.

bunny-book

How cute is that?! So not only was this book made just for her, but it also came with the softest most cutest (if that’s really a thing) bunny ever! Really. She hasn’t put it down since it came in the mail. It’s precious!

book

I love the I see Me books because they never skip the details. The books are made of amazing quality and I don’t have to worry about her tearing the paper. Look at this adorable page with her picture on it. Seeing herself in her books gets her so excited to read. I just love it. I will never forget the look on her face the first time she laid eyes on it. Made my heart melt!

josephine

Just about every single page there is an adorable reminder that this is HER book. Kids like to feel special. These books do exactly that.

Product Specifications:

  • Written by award winning author Maia Haag
  • Illustrated by John Butler
  • 20 pages
  • Suitable for ages 0-10
  • Comes with a stuffed 12 inch plush bunny
  • Bunny safe for ages 0+
  • Book is 8.5 x 8.5 inches

I See Me books have a HUGE selection to choose from. I truly believe there is something for every kid on their site. Take a look for yourself and let me know what you find. How cute would the Snuggle Bunny book be for an Easter Basket?

 

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Cooking For Kids: Easy Healthy Eating Tips

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For many busy parents, family mealtimes need to be quick and easy. This can mean rustling something up at the last minute or throwing a ready made meal in the microwave. However, it is important to put some thought into the food you are feeding your children. A nutritious diet will help your kids grow up healthy and will promote a healthy relationship with food. This needn’t be difficult or time-consuming. These tips are easy to apply, even with a hectic schedule, and will ensure your kids are receiving the nutrients they need.

Meal planning

You may have ready this advice several times before, but it is worth reiterating that planning your family meals ahead will help you to deliver a healthy, balanced diet. Ad hoc cooking makes it harder to keep track of what foods your kids are eating from one day to the next. By planning ahead, you will see the weekly meals at a glance giving you a better chance to ensure varied and healthy ingredients are provided throughout the week. Search for family meal planning templates and suggested healthy recipes online to make this task much quicker and easier.

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Give them their five a day

One of the best things you can do for your children’s health is ensure they are eating the recommended amount of fruit and veg each day. This doesn’t have to be difficult. A glass of fresh fruit juice with breakfast, two different pieces of fruit as snacks during the day and two varieties of vegetables with dinner and you’ve hit the quota. Use five a day shortcuts such as cooking veggies in the microwave and providing snack-sized packs of dried fruit.

Always ensure a healthy breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for your family. Ensure they stock up on plenty of carbs to give them energy for the day. Wholegrain breads and muesli with milk or yoghurt make an an easy and healthy breakfast and will ensure they are ready for the day ahead.

Educate yourself on the nutritional value of foods

Most foods must include nutritional information on their packaging alongside the recommended daily intake. A good habit is to read this information carefully, so you are aware of how much sugar, salt, fat and calories are in different products. This is an easy way to determine portion sizes and how often to serve particular ingredients to your children. When it comes to eating out, some restaurant websites and menus will provide consumers with nutritional info. For example, you can find information on fast food restaurant nutrition information at Fastfoodmenuprice.com.

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Celebrate National Reading Day With The Book of Life

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Disclosure- We received The Book of Life storybook kits in exchange for this post as part of Fox Home Entertainment’s blogger program.  All opinions are 100% our own.

Happy National Reading Day!
#BookofLifeReading

book of life reading dayI’m a lucky mom.  Both of my girls love to read.  I think their love of reading started when they were both little and we’d snuggle in bed as I read them their favorite stories.  We were excited to learn about National Reading Day.  National Reading Day (January 23, 2015) encourages children all over the country to read.  In honor of National Reading Day and upcoming release of The Book of Life movie on Blu-ray and DVD we received backpacks with lots of The Book of Life school supplies.
book of life backpack2One of the first things my girls did with the school supply sets was to make lists of the books they would like to read this year.  It is a great way to set reading goals for the year and see how many books they have read by the end of the year.  I love the lists because I can look on their lists and use them as wish lists to know what books they’d like me to purchase or borrow from our local library.  What are some of your children’s favorite books?

FREE Printable Reading List

bookoflife_downloads_2015booklistP1230748They may be 9 and 11 years old but they still love to color so they enjoyed coloring a Book of Life picture, too. P1230753P1230751  And showing their love for The Book of Life with the stencils in the kit.
love book of lifeThe theme of family traditions and family history is important in The Book of Life. In our kits we also received certificates to Pinhole Press to create our own The Book of Life themed family storybooks.  At Pinhole Press you can create high quality, personalized photo gifts such as memory games and storybooks.
book of life book of life5
My girls thought they were a little too old to make picture books of our family members but this would be such an amazing book for younger kids, especially to remember relatives that life far away.  Pinhole Press also has other great The Book of Life personalized photo gifts such as a matching game, notebook, and magnetic portrait sheet so my girls decided that they wanted to make some other personalize photo gifts for themselves instead.  They just love that they are The Book of Life themed as it is one of their favorite movies.  They can’t wait for it to come on Blu-ray and DVD on January 27th.

Want to get your own photo gifts from Pinhole Press?  They’d make great Valentine’s Day gifts!

Get 10% off all Pinhole Press products with code BOOKOFLIFE.

(Expires on Valentine’s Day February 14, 2015)

book of life3 book of life4 book of life6 book of life7 book of life8 book of life9

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K’NEX® Amusement Parks Star Shooter Roller Coaster Review #ChoosenByKids

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Disclosure- This sponsored post was written by me on behalf of Sverve, K’NEX®, and Walmart but all opinions are my own.

toy testerYou probably saw in my post about my family’s holiday traditions that I was attending the Chosen by Kids (#ChoosenByKids) event at Walmart to check out all the hottest new toys for this holiday season.  They had toys for all different ages for children to test out.Chosen by KidsThe ones that struck my eye were the K’NEX®  Roller Coaster Building Sets.  At the store they had a Super Sonic Swirl Coaster Set.   It wasn’t assembled but I did get to see the parts it included and the instructions.
KnexI knew my girls (and my 39 year old child aka my husband) would love to build any one of the 3 K’NEX®  roller coaster building sets.  They didn’t have any for purchase in the first store that I went to but thankfully I found the Star Shooter Roller Coaster at another Walmart a few days later.
K'NEX® Amusement Parks Star Shooter Roller Coaster ReviewThe K’NEX®  Star Shooter Coaster is a roller coaster set that children age 7 and up can assemble themselves.  It is motorized and includes a battery powered car that goes around the track.  When full constructed it reaches over 3 feet high!  There are 3 roller coaster building sets to assemble in this collection- Star Shooter Roller Coaster, Super Sonic Swirl, and Amazin 8 Roller Coaster.  All 3 sets look like so much fun and I was excited to find a Star Shooter Roller Coaster Set! 

The Star Shooter Coaster is motorized for exciting performance that sends the car up the chain lift and spiraling through the track! This set comes with 434 parts, primarily rods & connectors, to build a K’NEX® thrill ride!  It is recommended for builders ages 7+ and requires 2 “AA” batteries which are not included.  Make sure to grab a package of batteries while at Walmart so your child can play with this fun set right away.
knex 2The set says ages 7+ but I think it is better for older children.  My husband and 11 year old daughter started to put it together but my husband had to join in to help her a little which is great for some fun family time.  This set helps spatially because  you have to make sure each piece isn’t just connected to the correct other pieces but they have to be all going in the right direction, too.  It is a challenge but one that is fun to do together.
This is how far they got after about an hour:
KnexWe ran out of time before the deadline for this post but we’re planning on getting the set finished this weekend.  We can’t wait to see how it turns out.  It would make a great gift for any K’NEX® fan so check it out!
What is your favorite toy this holiday season?

Get social with K’NEX®:
K’NEX® on Facebook
K’NEX® on Twitter 
K’NEX® on Pinterest
K’NEX® on YouTube
K’NEX® on Instagram

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