Nov 092018
 
 November 9, 2018  activities No Responses »

I grew up in a family that loved playing board games together, and I’m so pleased that now my children enjoy this family pastime as well. We have had the chance to try out quite a few together over the years. Here are the best board games for kids and families that we have found, for both little ones and older children.

Best Board Games for Kids and Families | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.

Best Board Games for Kids and Families

 

Here are some of our favorite family board games! And don’t miss our other favorite activities for family game night.

Trouble Game is a classic game I remember from my childhood, so it’s fun to play it now with my kids. It is easy for young children to understand and uses a nice mix of luck and strategy. We actually have the Despicable Me version of Trouble, which my kids love because it comes with little Minion game pieces and a Siren Bob figurine.

A friend once gushed to me about how much fun her family had playing Marvel Hedbanz Board Game. It was something that everyone in the family loved to play. Although the listing states this is for ages 7 and up, it is often played with much younger children, especially since it is picture based.

Don’t Break the Ice Game is a really fun hands on game we first discovered thanks to a board games club at our homeschooling group several years ago. Kids have to try to pop out pieces of “ice” without letting the penguin on top fall through. At the board games club, there was always a line to play this one!

Want to teach your child chess but afraid it will be overwhelming? The board games club also introduced us to No Stress Chess, with a board that offers hints and a deck of cards that teaches the moves to new players. It is a easy way to teach kids chess, while letting them get started playing right away. I also liked how you can play at different levels of difficulty, as the children begin to learn the game.

Hasbro Battleship is another classic game that seems to never go out of style. Let’s be honest – I still find it really fun to play! We have Battleship Game: Star Wars Edition, which my little Jedi knights love to play together.

Peacable Kingdom Cauldron Quest is an award-winning cooperative game for ages 6 and up. Players work together to find the ingredients to make a special potion while avoiding obstacles – perfect for any magic-loving kids! Great for learning strategy and teamwork.

I’m always surprised at how much kids love to play Hasbro Monopoly Classic Game, considering how long game play can take – yet kids always want to play for hours! (Pro tip: if you read the instructions carefully, you’ll find rules for shorter versions that you play). This long-time favorite board game has inspired many versions, several of which can be found in our games closet! My boys’ current favorite is Star Wars Monopoly. (Did you know there’s actually a Fortnite Edition of Monopoly?) What is your family’s favorite version?

Days of Wonder Ticket To Ride is one I had heard of from friends with older kids, so we decided to try it out, now that my kids are ready for more complicated games. It was so much fun! Even my 5 year old had no trouble playing once he had some practice – though my little one kept stealing all of the train tokens! This board game is now so popular that you can find it in numerous variations, such as Ticket To Ride – Europe, Ticket to Ride: Asia, and Ticket to Ride: Africa.

This is next on our list of games to try out! Whether your child loves chemistry or you are hoping to spark an interest, Valence Plus – Use Real Chemistry to Break Down Your Opponents’ Molecules and Be a Science Ninja! is a fun way to learn about chemistry and the periodical table even you start with only a basic grasp of the concepts. Created by two chemical engineering PhDs and a New York Times best-selling cartoonist, this unique game is designed for kids of all ages.

Pandemic is my oldest son’s current favorite board game, and I’m always happy to oblige when he asks to play. I know of adults that gather to play hours long games of Pandemic, but it can also be enjoyed by the younger set, as you can play at different levels of difficulty. Again, my 5 year old has also played, with a little coaching. It has now spawned variations like Pandemic: On the Brink and Pandemic: State Of Emergency.

What are your family’s favorite board games?

KBN Holiday Gift Guides

KBN Holiday Gift Guide 2018

I’m excited to join this gift guide blog hop from other kid bloggers! You won’t want to miss these great holiday gift guides for kids!

Rad Gifts for Tween Girls from The Moments at Home

Gifts for Teen Girls from KimspiredDIY

Best Train Sets for Toddlers from Play Trains!

Best Board Games for Kids and Families from All Done Monkey

Gifts for Kids Who Love Outside Adventures from Bambini Travel

10 Gifts for Kids to Encourage New Reading Skills from My Storytime Corner

Best Games for Teens/Tweens from Nouveau Soccer Mom

The Best Toys and Games for Kids to Play Together from Mosswood Connections

Creative Books for Kids that Inspire from Thimble and Twig

15 of The Most Magical Unicorn Gift Ideas for Kids from Projects with Kids

Gift Ideas for Teenage Boys from EverydaySavvy

Gifts for Messy Play from In Our Pond

15 Best Arts and Crafts Gifts for Kids from The Joy of Sharing

Girl Power Gifts for Girls of all ages from Seaside Sundays

Brilliant! Best Unisex Toys and Gift Ideas for Young Children from Heart of Deborah

Inquisitive Detective Gifts for Kids from Castle View Academy

Gifts for Kids that will Inspire Creativity from Creative K Kids

Robots, Rockets, & Tech Toys for Kids that ROCK! from Our Family Code

Seriously FUN Sensory Toys and Games from B-Inspired Mama

Gender Neutral Frozen-themed Gift Ideas from Fab Working Mom Life

Gifts for 8 Year Old Girls from What’s Up Fagans?

Best Outdoor Gifts to get Kids Outside from Creative Little Explorers

40+ Magical Gifts for your Harry Potter Wizards from Coffee and Carpool

Absolutely Amazing Gifts for Future Fashion Designers from The Gifty Girl

Oct 172018
 
 October 17, 2018  activities, Day of the Dead 2 Responses »

Looking for a fun Day of the Dead activity for kids? Why not make an escape room? It is a fun way to engage a group of kids in crafts and puzzles related to Day of the Dead! We have you covered with a complete (though flexible) plan to set up your escape room, including a free printable pack! Perfect activity for a classroom setting or Day of the Dead party.

Day of the Dead Activity for Kids: Make an Escape Room | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.

Day of the Dead Activity for Kids: Make an Escape Room

Are you throwing a Day of the Dead party or looking for a fun Day of the Dead activity for kids for your classroom? Here is a complete plan, including a printable (see below), though it is also flexible to allow you to adjust to suit your needs.

Below are eight activities (many included in the printable pack) that you can use for your Day of the Dead escape room. Any of these can be swapped out or modified to suit your group of students; however, make sure that you end up with EIGHT activities total, so that they can solve the final puzzle. The activities can be done in any order, but all must be completed before they are given the final puzzle to solve.

For each activity done or puzzle solved, the students will receive one letter (included in the printable). Once they receive all eight letters, they can solve the final puzzle.

Variation: To add some excitement to this Day of the Dead activity for kids, you could set a time limit to the game then blow up some of these skeleton balloons and pop one every few minutes. (So, for example, if you are going to give them 30 minutes for the activity, blow up 6 balloons and pop one every 5 minutes). Once the last balloon is popped, time’s up!

Set Up

Depending on your layout and the size of the group, the children could work together on each activity on one large table, or you could set up each activity on a separate, smaller table, and have the children work in smaller groups, each of which would complete several of the activities. (For example, 4 small groups could do 2 activities each). However you decide, the entire group should solve the final puzzle together.

Print out the Day of the Dead Activity for Kids Escape Room Printable Pack to use where indicated below.

Activity 1: Spanish Color by Number Skull

Help them learn their colors in Spanish with this Day of the Dead color by number page.

Activity 2: Day of the Dead Song

Teach them a Day of the Dead song! Depending on their level of Spanish, they could learn the lyrics or just have fun dancing.

Activity 3: Marigold Craft

Let them create a beautiful Day of the Dead decoration to take home by teaching them to make marigolds out of tissue paper.

Activity 4: Fill in the Blanks

Work together to complete a Day of the Dead fill in the blank activity (included in the printable).

Activity 5: Papel Picado

Make banners with beautiful papel picado, either using this template or their own design.

Activity 6: Word Problem

Solve a Day of the Dead themed word problem (included in the printable).

Activity 7: Acrostic Poem

Get creative by writing their own acrostic poem about Day of the Dead! (Template included in the printable).

Activity 8: Honoring Loved Ones

While Day of the Dead has become a popular holiday, it’s important to remind kids about the real meaning behind it, which is to honor and remember loved ones that have passed on. Have each student make a drawing of a loved one or hero that has passed on, along with a sentence or two about what they remember about them. (Worksheet included in the printable).

Final Puzzle:

Finish off your Day of the Dead activity for kids by having them solve one final puzzle! This puzzle (included in the printable) is solved using the letters earned with each completed activity.

Treats

Be sure to have plenty of Day of the Dead treats on hand to reward them for their hard work! You could have pan de muerto (bread of the dead), sweet pumpkin dessert, or these crispy rice treats, and, of course, candy skulls! Don’t forget these Day of the Dead cupcake toppers!

 

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We love to travel and learn about other cultures, but sometimes it can lead to misunderstandings! That’s why I love this new book from @worldwidebuddies, The Marvelous Mexican Misunderstanding! When Adri and his family move back to Mexico, he is puzzled about the Day of the Dead he hears everyone talking about. When he tries to find out more about it, his sister teases him and tells him it’s the day he’s going to die! Ride along with Adri as his family prepares for the big day – and he finally discovered what it’s really all about! This is a great book to introduce kids to Day of the Dead festivities in Mexico and let them know that misunderstandings are normal! 

A post shared by Leanna || Parenting, Education (@alldonemonkey) on

While they enjoy their treats, read this fun new picture book for older kids! A Marvelous Mexican Misunderstanding is a great introduction to Day of the Dead from the perspective of a young boy whose family has recently moved back to Mexico. Like most children, Adri has heard some about Day of the Dead but finds much of it confusing. And to top it all off, his older sister decides to play a trick on him, telling him that Day of the Dead is when Adri is going to die!

Young readers will identify with Adri’s confusion and enjoy the happy resolution, learning all about the beautiful Day of the Dead holiday along the way.

I loved the artwork in A Marvelous Mexican Misunderstanding, which captures the emotional tenor of the story as well as providing some stunning views of Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico. My favorite was the nighttime boat ride to the island of Janitzio, twinkling with candlelight. My sons enjoyed Adri’s sometimes funny, sometimes nerve-wracking misunderstandings – plus his pet axolotl, of course!

While you can order A Marvelous Mexican Misunderstanding by itself, you can also find it as part of a Dead of the Dead story box that includes toys, games, and activities to teach children about this marvelous Mexican celebration!

What is your favorite Day of the Dead activity for kids?

Related Posts:

Children’s Books for Day of the Dead

Easy Day of the Dead Craft

The Aztec: Top Books for Children

Day of the Dead series | Multicultural Kid Blogs
Multicultural Kid Blogs is proud to be hosting another blog hop for Day of the Dead! (Don’t miss our series from last year, 2017, and 2016!) Be sure to visit all the posts below for great ideas on sharing Day of the Dead with kids:

 

Oct 082018
 
 October 8, 2018  activities, Spanish Comments Off on Easy Spanish Activity with Play Dough

As a busy homeschooling mom of three, I love it when I can find easy, no-prep activities that still really pack in a lot of learning. Bonus if it works for all three kids, despite the range of ages! That’s why I love this easy Spanish activity with play dough. It uses just one material (play dough), which you likely have on hand, and a little imagination! It’s easy to adapt for different levels of language ability and tons of fun for everyone.

Easy Spanish Activity with Play Dough | Alldonemonkey.com

Easy Spanish Activity with Play Dough

Getting set up for this easy Spanish activity couldn’t be simpler – just pull out your container of play dough and get ready for some fun!

Just ask your child (in Spanish) to use the play dough to make the object you tell them. In other words, you might ask them to make un gato (a cat) or una casa (a house).

Easy Spanish Activity with Play Dough | Alldonemonkey.com

You could also give them less exact prompts, like to make un animal que vive en el bosque (an animal that lives in the forest) or tu comida favorita (your favorite food).

Easy Spanish Activity with Play Dough | Alldonemonkey.com

Giving a kiss to her pato (duck)

For older students, you can flip the script and have them build an object of their choosing and tell you in Spanish what it is!

Easy Spanish Activity with Play Dough | Alldonemonkey.com

More advanced students could come up with a story related to their creation and perhaps even act it out.

Easy Spanish Activity with Play Dough | Alldonemonkey.com

Una casa (a house)

What other variations could you add to this easy Spanish activity?

Jul 242018
 
 July 24, 2018  activities, Sacramento Comments Off on Indoor Playground for Young Kids: Imagine Play of Elk Grove

Looking for a fun play to take your kids when it’s just too hot outdoors? Here is our experience at a local indoor playground for young kids, where little ones can explore and enjoy no matter what the weather. And even better, local readers can win free passes in our #SummerFunSac challenge on Instagram, so don’t miss out!

Indoor Playground for Young Kids: Imagine Play of Elk Grove | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: We received complimentary passes to Imagine Play of Elk Grove for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.

Indoor Playground for Young Kids: Imagine Play of Elk Grove

Imagine Play of Elk Grove is an indoor playground for young children and a haven for parents and caregivers wanting to give kids a safe place to play and explore. Everything is perfectly sized for little ones and designed to spark imaginative play and sensory fun.

Indoor Playground for Young Kids: Imagine Play of Elk Grove | Alldonemonkey.com

My toddler and I recently had a chance to visit, and she had an absolute ball! As the youngest of three, she reveled in having a play space full of toys and equipment designed just for younger children!

Indoor Playground for Young Kids: Imagine Play of Elk Grove | Alldonemonkey.com

There was a castle with stairs to climb and a ball drop built into the side, a pirate ship, a grocery store set up, and more hands on, open ended toys than I have room to list.

Indoor Playground for Young Kids: Imagine Play of Elk Grove | Alldonemonkey.com

And as if that weren’t enough, they also have art and sensory activities offered every hour on the half hour in a connecting room. My daughter loved playing with the kinetic sand!

Indoor Playground for Young Kids: Imagine Play of Elk Grove | Alldonemonkey.comIndoor Playground for Young Kids: Imagine Play of Elk Grove | Alldonemonkey.com

Just be warned that if you bring a child to Imagine Play, they will not want to leave! Luckily, you can bring in a packed lunch and drinks (not in the main play area, but in the adjacent seated area), or purchase snacks, juice boxes, and water.

Indoor Playground for Young Kids: Imagine Play of Elk Grove | Alldonemonkey.com

Parents must be present and supervising their children, but the space is designed so that you can comfortably do this from the seated area, while enjoying your complimentary coffee 🙂

Indoor Playground for Young Kids: Imagine Play of Elk Grove | Alldonemonkey.com

Can’t get enough? You could become a member, or host a party!

We loved our time at Imagine Play in Elk Grove, a wonderfully imaginative indoor playground for young children. Be sure to stop by, and don’t forget you could win free passes when you enter our Sacramento Summer Fun IG challenge!

May 092018
 
 May 9, 2018  activities, Book Reviews, Geography, multiculturalism, recipes, Spanish, Summer Comments Off on Tropical Chocolate Mango Popsicles

The weather is finally warming up in our neck of the woods, so we celebrated by concocting some fruity, chocolate-y pops! Inspired by a traditional Puerto Rican treat, these tropical chocolate mango popsicles are full of fruity goodness – mango, banana, and coconut – plus a touch of decadence from the chocolate. What better way to celebrate the fact that summer is just around the corner? Plus, you don’t want to miss our giveaway of a wonderful new children’s activity coloring book all about Puerto Rico!

Tropical Chocolate Mango Popsicles | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Puerto Rico, the Island of Enchantment for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links; if you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Tropical Chocolate Mango Popsicles

Summer is coming, which makes us all think about tropical beaches and relaxing by the waves. To bring a little taste of the tropics to our home in Northern California, we decided to make these scrumptious tropical chocolate mango popsicles. I was inspired by Puerto Rican limber, a frozen treat similar to popsicles and often made with fresh fruits and juices. You can do all kinds of combinations, but we were especially interested in mango – which was great because I had a huge bag of frozen mango in the freezer! Of course, if you have fresh, by all means use that, but it is often hard for us to find really good mangoes in our area, plus with kids, it’s so much easier to use frozen since it’s already peeled and chopped for you.

If you want an authentic mango limber, then I highly recommend trying this recipe from Modern Mami, or you can browse this great collection of healthy limber recipes! I wanted to do something a little different, so we added a little twist to our recipe by adding shredded coconut and banana, as well as chocolate. Cocoa powder alone is quite bitter, so I actually used hot chocolate mix (!) but if you don’t have this, just use cocoa powder and sugar to taste.

Tropical Chocolate Mango Popsicles | Alldonemonkey.com

Ingredients (makes 6+ popsicles)

4 cups of mango (frozen or fresh)

1 banana

honey to taste

3 cups water (add more or less depending on how thick you like it)

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup hot chocolate mix (or combination of cocoa powder and sugar)

Combine all ingredients in blender. Taste and adjust for sweetness. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze.

Puerto Rico has been on my mind a lot lately, even since the devastation of Hurricane Maria and the excruciatingly long recovery that followed and is still ongoing. So when my friend Melissa López Chaperoo approached me to help edit her beautiful bilingual coloring activity book Puerto Rico, La Isla del Encanto – Cuaderno de Ejercicios: Puerto Rico, The Island of Enchantment – Workbook, I jumped at the chance.

Tropical Chocolate Mango Popsicles & Puerto Rico Workbook | Alldonemonkey.com

I am endlessly impressed by the author’s talent as an illustrator but also the depth of her knowledge about the subject. Puerto Rico, La Isla del Encanto – Cuaderno de Ejercicios: Puerto Rico, The Island of Enchantment – Workbook is incredibly comprehensive, covering topics as varied as history, geography, government, religion, sports, food, and the arts. It contains nearly 200 workbook pages (plus answer keys) appropriate for elementary school and even older (though younger kids will definitely enjoy the coloring part of it!) There is so much to explore here, no matter what your child’s interests, so it is sure to be a hit!

The book is completely bilingual, so whether your kids read/write fluently in Spanish, just un poquito, or not at all, this is the perfect book to expose them to Spanish and the rich culture and history of the Island of Enchantment.

Tropical Chocolate Mango Popsicles & Puerto Rico Workbook | Alldonemonkey.com

Even better, all of the profits from the first year of its publication go to recovery efforts in Puerto Rico. This book is a true labor of love, dedicated to the author’s homeland during its time of need. It is a great way to support Puerto Rico and teach kids about this beautiful island that they have surely been hearing about on the news.

Giveaway

And now you can win your own copy! Simply comment on this post, letting us know which topic about Puerto Rico you think your child would be most interested in! Geography, history, the arts, sports, or … ? Let us know!

Contest ends Tuesday, May 15, 2018, at midnight PT. Winner chosen by random selection. US Shipping Only

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Mar 302018
 
 March 30, 2018  activities, Sacramento 2 Responses »

If you have kids that love airplanes, you won’t want to miss visiting the Aerospace Museum of California! Read more about our experience, plus learn about an incredible new resource for Sacramento families!

Aerospace Museum of California {Sacramento for Kids} | Alldonemonkey.com

Aerospace Museum of California

My kids are fascinated by all things that go, so I was excited to take them to the Aerospace Museum of California, located right here in Sacramento!

Aerospace Museum of California {Sacramento for Kids} | Alldonemonkey.com

Highlights

Built on the grounds of the former McClellan Air Force Base, the Aerospace Museum consists primarily of a large, open exhibit hall plus outdoor space with 50+ aircrafts!

Aerospace Museum of California {Sacramento for Kids} | Alldonemonkey.com

Weather permitting, several of these are open every day for visitors to explore. When we visited, we got to climb aboard the “Jolly Green Giant,” a helicopter from the Vietnam War; a FedEx delivery plane; a Coast Guard aircraft; and (my favorite) a World War II era plane that flew supply missions during the invasion of Europe. Nothing teaches you history like being inside the actual aircraft that took part!

Aerospace Museum of California {Sacramento for Kids} | Alldonemonkey.com

Related Post: Sutter’s Fort – Sacramento History for Families

Back inside, there are even more aircraft (and engines) to see, plus rotating exhibits on different topics – the current exhibit is the Art of the Airport Tower. My kids loved getting into the training craft – which were actually used to train pilots – and pretending they were flying a plane!

Aerospace Museum of California {Sacramento for Kids} | Alldonemonkey.com

My oldest son’s favorite part, though, was the Morphis Simulator Ride. It is a mini-theater inside of an aircraft, which moves as you watch a short film about flight or space. (This is an additional cost from admission).

If you bring a toddler, you will need to watch them like a hawk in the main exhibit areas. Many of the aircraft on the exhibit floor are marked off with just a chain – an obvious “no touching” signal for most people, but not for a curious toddler! I actually ended up putting my two year old in a stroller as we went through these areas. Luckily there are several areas set up just for kids where she was able to play and really get a more hands on experience. She loved climbing up into the mini-aircraft and playing with the controls!

Aerospace Museum of California {Sacramento for Kids} | Alldonemonkey.com

There is a small but well-stocked Kids Zone upstairs geared toward younger children. It is gated but open to the main exhibit floor so that parents can relax and enjoy the view while their kids are enjoying themselves with the many airplane-themed puzzles, toys, and art stations.

What made the visit special for me was chatting with the docents. These older gentlemen are so knowledgeable and really have a love for the aircraft. One told me that every time his wife goes to an outlet mall, he finds an airport to visit – win win! And they are all so patient with children and love to answer questions, so be sure to take advantage of this amazing resource!

Related Post: Sacramento Day Trip – Sonoma Mission

Planning Your Visit

How long you will spend here really depends on your child’s age and level of interest. My 5 year old was ready to leave after about an hour and a half, whereas my 8 year old could have easily stayed longer than the 2 hours we were there.

Aerospace Museum of California {Sacramento for Kids} | Alldonemonkey.com

Luckily Freedom Park is right next door, so I recommend packing a lunch (there’s nowhere to eat close by) and having a nice picnic lunch and playtime at the park after the museum or to break up a longer visit. (You can exit and re-enter the museum). Keep in mind that this park is one of the few in Sacramento without a shade cover, so it gets very hot in warm weather, so you’ll want to make sure you visit it earlier in the day during the summer.

I definitely recommend visiting the Aerospace Museum of California for hands on, real world learning about aviation!

Sacramento for Kids

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of the book below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.

Long-time readers know how much I love to get out an explore the Sacramento area with my kids, but not having grown up here, I sometimes feel at a disadvantage. No more! Now I have in my hands an incredible new resource for families in Sacramento. No matter what your children’s interests or ages, you will find tons of ideas for family fun in 1,001 Things to Do in Sacramento with Kids (& the Young at Heart).

Whether you love nature or art, sports or festivals, you will find lots to enjoy in 1,001 Things to Do in Sacramento with Kids (& the Young at Heart)! I also love that the book includes activities that encompass a wide range of ages, so this book can be enjoyed by your family for many years to come.

At first I wished that the book were organized into themes, but I’ve come to appreciate the intentional randomness of the list. As the author notes, often the best adventures are actually a tangent from what you meant to do! This book is great for spring break or weekend adventures. My kids and I had a lot of fun just flipping through the book to see which ones we have done and just how many we have left to do! (The Aerospace Museum is #36 on the list, by the way!)

1,001 Things to Do in Sacramento with Kids (& the Young at Heart) is the ultimate bucket list for Sacramento families. I can’t wait for all of the adventures ahead of us!

You can find the book on Amazon or check out the website and now even the app (available on Apple and Google Play).

Mar 272018
 
 March 27, 2018  activities, Book Reviews, Education Comments Off on Toddler Activities to Get Out and Explore!

Looking for creative toddler activities that encourage their curiosity and engage their little minds and hands in fun but meaningful ways? Read on for a wonderful new resource that helps parents and teachers go on everyday adventures with their little ones in ways that everyone can enjoy!

Toddler Activities to Get Out and Explore! | Alldonemonkey.com

Toddler Activities to Get Out and Explore!

Toddlers love to explore, and as parents and teachers we often struggle to encourage this curiosity in manageable ways. As much as we might want to go on adventures with our toddlers, it can be overwhelming to try to think ahead about how to create a safe learning environment at, for instance, a national park. More fundamentally, many of us need to shift our perspective to see even everyday outings like going to the post office as the adventures that they represent for our little ones.

Toddler Activities to Get Out and Explore! | Alldonemonkey.com

That is why I am so excited to share with you a new resource for toddler activities that helps parents and teachers take advantage of everyday opportunities for learning as well as try new adventures with their toddlers!

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Little Walks, Big Adventures for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.

Little Walks, Big Adventures: 50+ Ideas for Exploring With Toddlers is a welcome resource for caregivers of these curious little people. It takes everyday outings like a trip to the grocery store or a walk through your neighborhood and helps you shift your perspective to see it as the big adventures they represent for someone so new to the world.

Moreover, it provides considerations for each (such as the best times of day to visit, how to accommodate children with special needs, and how to scout out appropriate locations ahead of time) so that your adventure is enjoyable for everyone. The author has extensive experience as a parent as well as a caregiver, so she has practical suggestions for going on adventures with your own children or at a care center, including thinking of allergies and when to ask for permission from parents ahead of time.

I also love that it includes locations I wouldn’t have thought of. For example, I love taking my animal-loving girl to the zoo, but it hadn’t occurred to me to take her to the pet store!

Related Post: Toddler Letter Craft and Activity: G Is for Go!

The adventures are broken up by general interests into four groups – home and community, vehicles, animals, and our world. And for each adventure – whether it is a trip to a farm or a train ride – there are suggestions for toddler activities to do while you’re there as well as once you’re home, along with suggestions of how to adapt them for older or younger toddlers.

Toddler Activities to Get Out and Explore! | Alldonemonkey.com

We recently went to a local bakery we hadn’t tried before – an adventure for all of us, including my toddler! Following the book’s suggestions, I made sure to let my toddler take her time to look at all of the choices and pick out her own treat. As it turns out, she was more interested at looking around the lobby, which is fine, too! Little Walks, Big Adventures is great at reminding us to follow the child’s lead and notice what they are interested in rather than impose our own ideas.

Once we were home, I did one of the extension activities suggested in the book: making cupcakes out of play dough! Again, the emphasis is on following the child’s interests and focusing on the process, rather than the product. In other words, if their “cupcakes” aren’t perfect, who cares? Or if they decide they’d rather make little animals or just feel the lovely squishiness of the play dough in their fingers, that’s fine.

Toddler Activities to Get Out and Explore! | Alldonemonkey.com

Related Post: 10 Tips for Painting with a Toddler

My older kids loved it, too! In fact, I foresee that we as a family will be enjoying many of these adventures together, because they speak to the wonder and curiosity all of us still have, though sometimes we have to be reminded of it!

As a homeschooler, I treasure Little Walks, Big Adventures because it is an easy way to incorporate “tot schooling” into our everyday routines and helps me to remember to include our littlest member in our family adventures.

Whether you are a parent or a caregiver, Little Walks, Big Adventures is an incredible resource for toddler activities that encourages you to take adventures with toddlers and explore the big world together.

Mar 182018
 
 March 18, 2018  activities, Book Reviews 4 Responses »

We are all familiar with the benefits to children of participating in sports, benefits especially crucial to girls in today: self-confidence, teamwork, positive body image, leadership skills, resilience, social connection, and community awareness. That’s why keeping girls in sports should be a focus for anyone interested in nurturing these qualities in our girls.

Yet did you know that girls drop out of sports at an astounding 6 times the rate of boys? For every 100 girls that plays sports in elementary school only 2 will play in college.

That’s why I’m thrilled to introduce to you a new book from a dynamo team of a professional coach and an experienced mom, all about how to keep girls in sports!

Keeping Girls in Sports: a review of How to Coach Girls | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of How to Coach Girls for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.

Keeping Girls in Sports: How to Coach Girls Book Review

Do you want to encourage your daughter to have positive qualities like leadership, positive body image, and resilience? Sports is one of the key ways to do this, yet girls drop out of sports at an alarming rate, often just when they reach the age that it would most benefit them.

That’s why Alison Foley, Head Coach of Women’s Soccer at Boston College, and Mia Wenjen, parenting and education blogger at PragmaticMom and mother of two daughters, conceived of the idea to write a manual for professional and volunteer coaches on how to coach girls by making sports enjoyable and relevant for them.

How to Coach Girls contains practical advice and tips for professional and volunteer coaches on how to keep girls in sports. For example, both emphasize the need to coach the whole person by, for instance, leaving time for girls to bond socially with each other. The book’s 22 chapters focus on major issues such as picking captains, encouraging a growth mindset, body image, and even how to coach your own daughter.

What I really love about this book is that it is based on solid experience – Mia’s experience of raising two girls (and a boy) who play sports and Alison’s professional expertise as a coach on the collegiate level. For example, Alison shares which team building exercises have been most successful for her athletes, and Mia shares her observations about what has helped build her daughter’s self-confidence when starting on a new team.

Throughout the book, and in a special chapter at the end, you will find anecdotes and tips from professional coaches from a range of sports, including former Olympian athletes, on what girls need from a coach to allow them to flourish in sports, and most importantly, have fun.

So if you care about keeping girls in sports, you won’t want to miss this wonderful new book, How to Coach Girls!

HOW TO COACH GIRLS

Order HOW TO COACH GIRLS

To learn more, please check out How To Coach Girls website, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

So what can be done to retain girls in sports? The answers and so much more can be found in How to Coach Girls. I am so proud to be able to support my friend Mia while also offering such a well-written guide that help parents and coaches understand the needs and tactics to make sports fun while cultivating WINNERS.

Other Stops on the HTCG Blog Tour:

Shelly Bean the Sports Queen-February 22

Wise Owl Factory-March 1

The Conscious Kid– March 2

Jump Into a Book-March 3

Books My Kids Read-March 4

Ms Yingling Reads-March 5

Youth Lit Reviews-March 6

Miss Panda Chinese-March 8

Biracial Bookworms-March 9

Mom of all Capes-March 10

Franticmommy-March 11

Randomly Reading-March 12

Here Wee Read-March 13

DawnDavis.com-March 14

The Pragmatic Parent-March 15

All Done Monkey-March 7

Order HOW TO COACH GIRLS

To learn more, please check out How To Coach Girls website, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Purchase a copy of HOW TO COACH GIRLS on Barnes & Noble or Amazon

Keeping our Girls in the Game | HOW TO COACH GIRLS Blog Tour!

Jan 092018
 
 January 9, 2018  activities, Geography, raising world citizens Comments Off on Multicultural App for Kids: Heart Street Market

Want to explore the world with your kids? Looking for fun, safe games online that actually teach something to your child? Here is a great new multicultural app for kids that everyone will love!

Multicultural App for Kids: Heart Street Market | Alldonemonkey.com

This post is sponsored by Hearts for Hearts Girls; however, all opinions are my own.

Multicultural App for Kids: Heart Street Market

Those of us with daughters often commiserate about the type of games that are targeted towards girls – all frills and rainbows without much substance. That is why I was so excited to learn about Hearts for Hearts Girls, whose mission is “to empower girls to become agents of change in their communities, their countries, and around the world. We want to change the world one heart at a time, and you can be a part of that dream!”

Already known for their beautiful diverse dolls, now Hearts for Hearts Girls has launched an incredibly fun multicultural app for kids! The graphics are colorful and engaging, and the games themselves will definitely keep your child’s interest.

Multicultural App for Kids: Heart Street Market | Alldonemonkey.com

Kids can choose among 4 different characters who live in communities around the globe – India, Mexico, USA, and Ethiopia. In each community, you choose missions (games) – such as making music, playing soccer, or catching raindrops – that help build bring each neighborhood to life. Along the way, your child will learn about the culture of the place and the story of the character that lives there.

Related Post: Spanish App to Teach Language and Culture

My kids’ favorite games so far as herding ducks (India) and the bakery (Mexico), but I can tell we’ve just scratched the surface. There are an incredible 100+ missions for more than 40 hours of exploring and playing!

Multicultural App for Kids: Heart Street Market | Alldonemonkey.com

And if your kids love fashion, they will enjoy dressing up the girls in more than 25 mix and match fashions, plus fabrics and templates to create their own.

I also have to comment about how much I loved the music. Usually when my kids are playing online I have to turn the volume down, because the music is so annoying, but with this multicultural app for kids, we actually turned the volume up, so we could listen to the wonderful global music!

Multicultural App for Kids: Heart Street Market | Alldonemonkey.com

But as a mom, what I really loved is that Heart Street Market is play with purpose – the 100+ missions available are all aimed towards helping 4 characters from around the world make a difference in their local communities. In fact, Hearts for Hearts Girls is partnered with World Vision® for programs that support gender equality, education, infrastructure, and humanitarian aid. So while you are having fun playing Heart Street Market, you are actually making a difference in the real world!

Multicultural App for Kids: Heart Street Market | Alldonemonkey.com

I should also add that though the app seems targeted more towards girls, my sons loved it. My 8 year old said it was “super fun,” while my 5 year old just said “mm-hmm” and kept on playing!

Multicultural App for Kids: Heart Street Market | Alldonemonkey.com

I highly recommend Heart Street Market for global learning fun and play with purpose (though your kids will just think of it as fun!) Find it on Google Play and iTunes and follow them on Facebook!

Dec 142017
 
 December 14, 2017  activities, family, food, Sacramento Comments Off on 3 Simple Ways to Reconnect with Your Kids

As parents, life can get so busy that often we have to stop and catch our breath and wonder, where did the time go? I always look forward to spending time with my kids, but practically speaking I actually spend most of my time running errands and doing household chores. Someone is always tugging on my leg asking to play freeze tag or build a fort in the living room, but I usually put them off because there is always a diaper to change, or a meal to cook, or laundry to fold. Trust me, I would much rather build a pillow fort! If you also find yourself struggling to find time to enjoy your family, here are three simple ways to reconnect with your kids – even when you are really busy!

Disclosure: I received complimentary samples of Mighty Kong Muffins for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.

3 Simple Ways to Reconnect with Your Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

3 Simple Ways to Reconnect with Your Kids – Even When You Are Really Busy!

1. Take Play Breaks

My four year old could play freeze tag all day long. From the moment he wakes up until time to brush his teeth at night, anytime there is a pause in activity (and usually when there isn’t), he asks to play freeze tag. Somehow it always seems like he asks just as I need to change a diaper or when I’m in the middle of cooking. Rather than put him off completely, I try to take short play breaks with him. Be realistic about how much time you have, then set a timer and give your child your focused attention – no checking Facebook, no picking up toys off the floor, or straightening the furniture – just playing with him.

For me, this is usually 10 or 15 minutes at a time on a weekday. (I make sure to do non-timed, longer play times together on the weekends, but these are usually not practical during the week).  This seems like a really short amount of time, but it always seems surprisingly long, considering I am really focusing on him and not multi-tasking like I usually do.

It doesn’t stop him from asking to play again 5 minutes later, but he is more understanding when I have to say no, and I feel less guilty about getting my work done.

2. Play a Game after Dinner

Our kids get screen time in the evenings, yet we noticed that this often resulted in a race to leave the dinner table and get back to electronics. So now we have instituted the rule that we play a game (or do a puzzle, etc) after dinner before we all retire to our corners to relax before bedtime. The kids love it, especially since Daddy is home to join in as well, so no one is watching the clock and rushing to leave the table. As much as I love game nights, this abbreviated version works for us during the week, so we can still get in play time together as a family and make sure we really reconnect with our kids in the evenings.

3. Do Read Alouds

We all know how important it is to read together, and most of us tend to do this at bedtime, which is such a snuggly, cozy time to share a good story. Yet I noticed that we tend to do this with our kids individually (as they all go to bed at slightly different times), plus the stories tend to be shorter because of the late hour.

I loved that old-fashioned idea of a family sitting around reading a great book together, so I started doing family read alouds during the day. It is wonderful bonding time, plus it is a great way to engage kids with slightly more challenging material or to read stories they might not have considered. For example, a younger child might be more inclined to stick with an easy chapter book because of the excitement of reading with older siblings, and another might be surprised to find that they like a story outside of the genre they tend to favor. (For great reading ideas, see my book reviews!)

I have found that the easiest way to keep everyone’s attention, despite the range of ages and interests, is to involve food. Give the kids something to eat at the table, and they are more likely to be sitting quietly and listening as you read. As homeschoolers, we can often do our read alouds over lunch, but it’s also a great way to relax together over an after school snack. This is especially true if you have a child that doesn’t like to sit and talk when they first come home – here is a great way to reconnect with your kids without forcing conversations they aren’t ready for.

Finding a Great Snack to Share

We have recently discovered a new favorite snack, which is perfect to share during our family read aloud. While we do have the occasional treat, I am rather picky about making sure my kids have healthy snacks. So I was excited to find out about Mighty Kong Muffins, a family-run and locally-owned Sacramento business that makes the most delicious gourmet bran muffins in a staggering 22 varieties. (See their interview on a local news show).

3 Simple Ways to Reconnect with Your Kids and Might Kong Muffin Review | Alldonemonkey.com

I know what you’re thinking: Gourmet bran muffins? Yes, it’s true! The ingredients are all high-quality and non-GMO, with fresh fruits and nuts and high grade dark chocolate. You won’t find any flour in these muffins – or any preservatives or artificial ingredients, for that matter. These mini-muffins are a great snack you can feel good about sharing with your kids.

We received a variety pack of the Mighty Kong Muffins and so had fun sampling four different flavors: Ape Dates (date walnut), Naner Naner (banana walnut), Wapple Apple (apple raisin), and the seasonal Rumplepumpskin (cranberry pumpkin). (Note: all flavors are available without nuts). My younger son loved the Wapple Apple, which my older son couldn’t decide between the Ape Dates and the Naner Naner. Personally, I loved the Rumplepumpskin. In other words, every single one was a hit!

3 Simple Ways to Reconnect with Your Kids and Mighty Kong Muffin Review | Alldonemonkey.com

Related Post: Healthy and Fun Lunchbox Ideas

Which flavor will become your favorite? Check out Mighty Kong Muffins and order yours today!

What’s your favorite way to reconnect with your kids?

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