Are you getting ready for a unit on the stars, or do your kids love looking at the night sky? Maybe you are thinking ahead to holidays like the 4th of July, or the Bahá’í holiday the Declaration of the Báb. Or maybe your kids just love those stars! Either way, here is a collection of great star crafts, activities, and recipes that kids will love!
The Bahá’í Festival of Ridvan just began yesterday, and this year I thought it would be a lovely opportunity to focus on acts of kindness. Here is a simple activity that families can do together, by focusing on spreading joy during this most holy festival. I hope you enjoy this Ridvan coloring page with your loved ones!
Ridvan Coloring Page: Acts of Kindness
Here is a simple activity that families can do for Ridvan to celebrate doing acts of kindness. Just download your Ridvan coloring page by clicking on the image below, then they can color in a rose each time they do an act of kindness during Ridvan.
You can find tons of ideas for acts of kindness on my Pinterest board, and I’d love to see yours! Share in the comments below or on my Facebook page, and have a wonderful Ridvan!
I love word games; they are such a great way to get kids to engage with language and have fun with the vocabulary and grammar they are learning. They are also wonderful for getting their imaginations going! Inspired by some amazing new children’s books about magical creatures (see more below!), I’ve created a series of unicorn word games and writing prompts, complete with a printable.
Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of the books 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 cost to you.
Unicorn Word Games and Writing Prompts with Printable
The printable below can be used either for oral word games or as writing prompts. Just right click on the image to save and print! And don’t miss my reviews at the end of the wonderful books that inspired these games!
Clip art courtesy of Innovation Press.
There are four unicorn word games, presented here from the most simple to the most complex. The first two can be done individually, while the last two are done in a group. All, especially #2-4, can be played multiple times. The idea is for the students to be creative, so they should feel free to make silly sentences, not just straightforward ones!
1. Imagine. At its most basic, the printable can be used as a straightforward writing prompt, helping students get creative about imagining their unicorn. The very young can simply draw a picture if the writing is too much.
2. Pick a Letter. For this variation, assign letters of the alphabet randomly, or have students draw them out of a bag or hat. They then have to complete each part of the prompt using words that start with that letter. For example, if someone draws an “S,” they could say “My unicorn lives in Spain. Its favorite food is spaghetti. In its free time it likes to swim.” Again, students get to exercise their creativity but with an extra challenge.
3. Challenge Your Friends. In this variation, the students work in small groups. One student starts by completing the first sentence. (This can either be done by drawing a letter as in variation #2, or by their own choice). The next person completes the second sentence and the last person completes the final sentence – but they each have to pick words that start with the same letter as the word chosen by the first student. For example, if the first student says, “My unicorn lives in Queens,” the next student might say, “Its favorite food is quiche,” and the last might say, “In its free time it likes to quilt.”
4. Challenge Your Friends to the End. This variation is similar to the previous one, except that now each student must pick a word that starts with the last letter of the word chosen by the previous student. So if the first student says, “My unicorn lives in Bolivia,” the next might say, “Its favorite food is apple pie,” and the last might say, “In its free time it likes to eat.”
Magical Books for Kids
I was inspired to create these unicorn word games because of two magical new children’s books from the amazing Innovation Press. Be sure to check them out – your kids will thank you!
My children were drawn to Miss Turie’s Magic Creatures right away – I mean, just look at that cover! The artwork in this book is incredible, as readers join a little boy in a shop of magical creatures, all in hopes of finding the perfect pet. But, would you want to take home a dragon or a kraken? What would it really be like to have them as pets, breathing fire in your room or swimming in your bubble bath? A wonderfully fun read for children of a wide range of ages. All of my children love reading this book again and again. My older children especially like poring over the catalog of mythical creatures at the back, which explains in more detail each magical creature featured in the book.
Unicorns and Germs (Zoey and Sassafras) is the latest installment in the beloved series about a resourceful girl who uses the scientific method and creativity to help magical creatures. In this adventure, Zoey and her trusty cat Sassafras must find a way to help a baby unicorn with its hurt leg. (In one of my favorite jokes of the book, it’s revealed that unicorns are actually gigantic creatures, meaning that the baby unicorn Zoey helps is named Tiny – though he seems “ginormous” to her!) My kindergartner and I read this book together, and it was gratifying to me to see how the story makes science both practical and fun at the same time. And just plain cool because you can use it to help unicorns, hello!
Don’t miss these and other great books from Innovation Press and have fun with these unicorn word games!
Take your kids around the world this holiday season by hosting an around the world holiday party! It’s the perfect way for a school club or a homeschool group to celebrate this festive season.
Host an Around the World Holiday Party for Kids
Last year we started a World Explorers Club in our homeschool group. Each month we get together to learn about a different country with the kiddos. Earlier this month the World Explorers Club put on our second annual around the world holiday party. Everyone had a blast!
Each family picks a country to represent and shows how a popular winter holiday is celebrated there.
At our party this year we learned about Christmas in Sweden, Russia, Italy, UK, and the Netherlands; Hanukkah in Israel; Diwali in India; Chinese New Year in China; and Ayyám-i-Há. (The Bahá’í holiday of Ayyám-i-Há was a bit of an exception, since it isn’t based in any one country).
For their chosen country, each family prepares 1) a craft or activity, 2) a traditional treat. So, for example, last year our family did the Philippines, so the kids made a version of a traditional star decoration and sampled some homemade coconut milk cake. For India (Diwali) this year we brought ladoos to share and helped the kids make paper diyas. For Sweden, the kids crafted some adorable Christmas gnomes and decorated cookies, while for Israel (Hanukkah) they played dreidel to win chocolate coins.
We have done this two different ways, so see which works for your group! Both times, we set up “stations” around the room, generally one country per table, and the kids could spread out and take turns visiting each.
Last year, the food and the craft were at each station, whereas this year we moved all the treats to a food table and saved them until the end. They were only able to get the food after completing a quiz about the countries they had learned about!
The holiday quiz! They had to work together to answer the questions before they could have their treats 🙂
Whichever way you do it, make sure to have their first stop by a station where kids decorate treat bags. They’ll need one to collect all the crafts they will be making! This is a great activity for them to do as people are arriving and setting up.
Next year, we definitely have to add a Mexican style piñata!
November 9, 2018activitiesComments Off on Best Board Games for Kids and Families
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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!
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.
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!
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.
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).
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.
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!
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:
October 8, 2018activities, SpanishComments 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
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).
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).
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!
More advanced students could come up with a story related to their creation and perhaps even act it out.
Una casa (a house)
What other variations could you add to this easy Spanish activity?
July 24, 2018activities, SacramentoComments 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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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 🙂
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!
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!
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.
Ingredients (makes 6+ popsicles)
4 cups of mango (frozen or fresh)
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!)