Valentine’s Day crafts

Valentine’s Day is next week and we’re getting our craft supplies out and ready for some good stuff! We like these kid-friendly craft ideas to celebrate February 14th. These would be fun to do with the family or as a classroom party activity!

Preschool-Valentine-Crafts-Fruit-Loop-Bird-Feeder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fruit Loop Bird Feeder by Sweet and Simple Living

paperheart_wreath

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paper Heart Wreath by Play for a Day

bookmark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thumbprint Heart Bookmark by Crafts for all Seasons

And for a sweet little treat to get you through all these projects…

cookie-7-580x773

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sprinkle Oreo Pops by Catch My Party

Happy Valentine’s Day to our Freckle friends!

Family Resolutions for the New Year

family_bikes

Are you busy thinking of personal resolutions to make before the clock strikes midnight? We like the idea of setting goals as a family and working on them together throughout the year. Here are some ideas to bring your family closer together in the New Year!

Home-cooked family dinners. Schedules can make it tough, but commit to dinner as a family at least a few times a week. A home-cooked meal is cheaper than going out and allows you to make healthier food for everyone. Win-win!

Plan activity days. It can be a bike ride to a coffee shop, a scenic hike or just a walk through the neighborhood, so long as you get moving. Get everyone up and out for a game of soccer or touch football this weekend and share some time together.

Group Chores. That blanket of leaves will be more fun to tackle with a group, don’t ya think? Give the kids rakes and see who can make the biggest pile — and maybe jump in them when you’re done! You can even assign one chore to everyone, do them at the same time and then go out for a bike ride after. Frecklebox Chore Charts can help keep the family on their toes, too!

Be a green family. Have your family pledge to recycle and use reusable grocery bags as much as possible. Check with your city or county to make sure you’re recycling everything you can.

Read together. If your kids are too old for a story before bedtime, take turns reading from an all ages chapter book like Harry Potter and let everyone get involved.

No matter how you choose to start out 2015, we wish you a bright and happy New Year!

When should you step in?

School just started and your child is already having an issue with another kid. Bullying, teasing, harassing — call it what you like, it’s someone being mean. Is your philosophy to step in right away or wait to see if the problem works out on its own? It’s tough to know when to get involved, but positive communication is a good place to start.

bully_definition

 

 

 

 

Communicate with your kids. Talk about bullying before it happens. Your child might fear retribution if they “tattle”, so keeping quiet could be their solution and make matters worse. Restore confidence by offering helpful solutions and tactfully stepping in further, if necessary.

Tolerance is key. Remind kids to be understanding and accepting of everyone. The kid at school who doesn’t wear the right clothes or act a certain way doesn’t make them inferior. Kids learn by watching us, so set a good example and be kind to everyone who crosses your path.

Quality time. Spend some alone time with your child if you think they might need to open up to you. They could be worried about discussing their issue in front of the whole family, but would feel more comfortable one-on-one. A little support can go a long way.

Second set of eyes. If your child is being bothered at school, ask a teacher or counselor to keep an eye out during the day. Kids feel better knowing a trusted adult is watching out for them and they don’t have to go it alone.

Here are a few good resources to help parents deal with bullying:

What parents can do from the National Crime Prevention Council

How to talk about bullying from Stop Bullying

Helping bullied kids from Help Guide

Respect and acceptance are essential habits in life. Being different is what makes the world go ’round!

First Day of School Jitters

easing back to school jitters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first day of school can be stressful for kids of any age. Whether it’s the first day of kindergarten or senior year of high school, kids can be anxious about the first day of the school year. This could be amplified if they are going to a new school this year. Here are a few tips to help ease the transition from summer to school with ease.

Set schedules and stick to them. It will put your child’s mind at ease to get into a routine, including times to go to bed and waking up in the morning.

Get school supplies and clothes organized before the first day. It’ll be easier on busy mornings if you or the kids aren’t running around looking for things.

Be more available the first week or two. Your child might need some extra attention or help with homework when school begins. They’ll feel at ease knowing you’re there for support.

Plan a special activity or trip before summer ends. Kids will remember the great time they had being with you at summer’s end, hopefully easing the transition of going back to school.

Purchase a special item or outfit for the first day. Your child will feel extra special in their new clothes or with their new lunch box that first day!

We wish everyone a great first day of school — kids and parents alike!

 

Are your kids eating the rainbow?

Back to school is a great time to get kids to eat better. Introducing new foods (especially vegetables) can be a struggle, as we know kids can be picky. Let the kids pick out produce at the market or serve their rainbow in creative ways. If they can follow your lead, kids will want to dive in and try new things. We’ve got some fun ideas to get you started. It’s easier than you think!

Rainbow Pasta Lunch from Bent on Better Lunches

Rainbow pasta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A cute chart for your kids to track their rainbow from Today I Ate a Rainbow

Today I tried

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rainbow Fruit Skewers with Yogurt Dip from Skinny Taste

Fruit skewers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Better Bytes newsletter from Whole Kids Foundation

Whole Kids eat a rainbow

Five tips for getting kids to help out around the house

Amy McCready

Amy McCready

Amy McCready, Founder of Positive Parenting Solutions, Inc., recently sent out a list of great ways to get kinds involved with chores at home. Here are Amy’s thoughts on getting kids to help out around the house.

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Does getting your kids to help out around the house feel like –well, a chore? Here are a few quick tips to motivate your kids to pitch in:

1. Call it a contribution.
Do you know the difference between a chore and a contribution? It’s the difference it makes to someone else. Calling it a “chore” makes it sound like a burden, while calling it a “family contribution” empowers kids. It reminds everyone that the duties of running a house smoothly belong to everyone, since everyone enjoys the privileges.

2. Show your appreciation.
Let your kids know the impact of their actions and what it means to you. No one likes unloading the dishwasher or dusting the living room, but when your kids know their efforts make a difference, they recognize they’re making a meaningful contribution and perceive the tasks in a different light. That means fewer power struggles and better cooperation from your kids.

3. Let them see the results.
Explain how your kids’ contributions help the family. “You really helped all of us tonight when you cleaned up the kitchen after dinner. That gave us extra time for our bike ride.” Through family contributions, each child will gain a sense of personal significance, as well as a feeling of belonging to a social group—namely, your family.

4. Skip the rewards.
Don’t hinge your kids’ allowance on the completion of household tasks or use other rewards to motivate them – that sets the expectation that they should be paid for things that should be family responsibilities. Be clear that these tasks are something we do because everyone contributes to the family.

5. Include everyone.
Even toddlers can do simple tasks, like passing out napkins at dinner time or making sure the playroom is picked up. It’s important to show each member of the family that their contributions matter.

When kids see that everyone in the family needs to pitch in, they recognize the importance of the tasks they’re asked to do. That builds confidence and increases cooperation, and helps create a smoothly running household!

Thanks Amy! We’re excited to try these at home.

We’re also fans of Frecklebox Chore Charts to keep track of weekly duties at home!

chores_blog

 

 

The Restaurant Box: A guest blog by Jessie Ford

A couple weeks ago, we asked our fans on Twitter and Facebook for some great tips and tricks. Today’s guest blogger, Jessie D’Amato Ford, answered the call and shared with us about how her family uses our Tin Lunch Box: the Restaurant Box.

I had never heard of Frecklebox until my daughter’s second birthday. A friend had given her the lunchbox with her name on it and a personalized ABC book. Since then I too have bought many Frecklebox birthday presents and printed many-a-coloring pages for my little girl and her friends.

The lunchbox my daughter got has been a blessing as we have found a unique way to
use it. Our lunchbox has become our restaurant box.

 

The Restaurant Box

We bring our daughter out to eat with us at least once a week and have been doing so since she was a little girl. It has been a goal of ours to make sure she knows how to behave, no matter the age, at a restaurant or just out in public in general. But going to a restaurant before the lunchbox was annoying. I’d fill my purse with some books and other things to keep her little hands occupied. We also agreed as parents that we wouldn’t have children who sit at dinner playing a video game or on a phone playing. It would be family time.

Enter the Frecklebox lunchbox.

 

Inside the restaurant box

It was so cute and the perfect size for all our restaurant needs. I have it filled and kept in the car at all times so it’s available when we need it.

 

Items within the restaurant box

Currently our restaurtant box includes:

    1. A book (sometimes two or three!)
    2. Mini puzzles. These are a God send! My inlaws in England sent over a box of these mini puzzles though I’ve not seen them here in the US yet. They are great for on the go and the perfect size to do at a table while we wait for our food.
    3. A mini magnetic writer/eraser keeps her busy; especially when we play Pictionary.
    4. Paper and pen to practice our writing.
    5. Snacks and wet wipes just in case.
    6. Crayons and activity book. We use all the crayons that are given out at the restaurant and keep them to reuse.

All these little things fit perfectly in our lunchbox and my daughter happily totes it to and from the car. We get many compliments on this adorable box and many moms love the
restaurant box idea.

So the next time your little one is fussing at a restaurant, pick up your own restaurant box and fill it with their favorite goodies!

Jessie D’Amato Ford is a full-time mom, a Director of Events & Educational Programs for a Connecticut company, and writer. Working from home with her 2½ year old daughter provides a lot of entertainment, stress, and crazy stories. Jessie loves to write about them on her blog,These are Days… 

Are you a fan of Frecklebox and are itching to say something to our community? Do you have any amazing stories or awesome ideas that you want to share? Shoot us an email at info@frecklebox.com.

Halloween Fun

Hair-raising Halloween fun is not only necessary, it’s neceSCARY!

Making Halloween the best that it can be is not nearly as hard as everyone assumes, we just have to think out of the box! Games, snacks, books, and parties can reach a whole new level with our awesomely scary, fun ideas!

Our Top Ghostly Games

Mummy Madness

This game will be a hit at your next Halloween party!

All it takes are rolls of toilet paper or white crepe paper.

  1. Divide kids up into teams of two
  2. One will wrap, one will be the mummy
  3. Start up the Halloween music and let the kids wrap their partner!
  4. Once the whole toilet roll is used, the mummies race to the finish line of your choosing, trying not to rip the mummy wrapping of course!
  5. Switch mummies, and do it again!

Skeleton Scavenger Hunt

This game takes treasure hunts to a new level, where kids have to find limbs instead of boring old treasure!

  1. Trace a large skeleton on paper or plastic
  2. Cut skeleton into just limbs
  3. Hide around the backyard, house, or neighborhood
  4. As kids find pieces, put them back together to create full skeleton!

(Clues may be made to find pieces!)

Zany Zombies

This game is goofy and fun for any zombie lover. Plus, you don’t need any supplies. It will be a hit at the classroom party!

  1. One person is “it”
  2. All other kids sit or lay down (zombies)
  3. “It” tries to get each of the zombies to smile, laugh, giggle, or move
  4. Whenever a zombie smiles, laughs, giggles, or moves, they then join “it” and try to get the other zombies to do the same!
  5. The last zombie left wins!

Each of these games will add spooky fun to any Halloween party!

Our Top Spooky snacks

Cup ‘O Dirt

This snack screams scary with it’s worms sticking out and delicious dirt at the bottom! These wiggly worms will slither down your children’s throats, creating a great Halloween snack!

You can find the recipe at:

http://www.recipetips.com/recipe-cards/t–2693/wiggle-worm-dirt-pudding.asp

Finger food

These delicious snacks are not only healthy, but are also actual finger food! What kid doesn’t want to eat a finger? All you need is mozzarella string cheese, green bell peppers, and cream cheese!

You can find the recipe at:

http://spoonful.com/recipes/cheese-finger-food

Mummy Pizza

These scrumptiously scary snacks will be your kid’s favorite at the next Halloween party! Not only is pizza one of the best foods ever, but now you get to eat a mummy face, and have it taste like pizza! We don’t think it gets much better than that.

You can find the recipe at:

http://spoonful.com/recipes/pizza-mummies

Our Top Scaaaary Stories

The Hallo-Wiener

BY: Dav Pilkey

This hilarious Halloween book will entertain and delight your kids with its fun imagery and creative illustrations! Oscar is a cute wiener dog, but the other dogs make fun of him for being short, until he shows how heroic he really is.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

BY: Alvin Schwartz

This haunting Halloween book of short stories will be fun and scary for kids, without being too much. We recommend this book highly for slightly older kids. It will knock your Halloween socks off with its thrillingly spooky stories!

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything

BY: Linda Williams

This book shows just how scary Halloween can be. The little old lady who was not afraid of anything even gets scared in this fun, spooky story. When she has the scare of her life, she may learn to take Halloween a little bit more seriously.

Goodnight Goon

BY: Michael Rex

This hilarious hair-raising tale is sure to be your kid’s favorite this Halloween! With its creative illustrations and fun take on monsters, your kids will be dying to have their own goon!

Room on the Broom

BY: Julia Donaldson

When some friendly animals help a witch recover some items she has lost, there may not be room on the broom! This fun-filled book will delight with its hilarious story and fun witchy theme!

Our Top Petrifying Party Decor and Favors

Coloring Pages

Our spooky coloring pages can decorate the walls of any party, and give the kids a fun way to get into the holiday spirit! With their fun, frightening designs, they will inspire any child to get creative with their Halloween decorations!

Stickers

What can decorate almost any surface with our Halloween fun? Personalized stickers of course! Our Halloween stickers will decorate the party and the party favors!

Placemats

Our personalized Halloween placemats will spook up any party or meal with their fun, creepy designs! Your child will feel like Halloween was made for them with their name set right in place!

Summer Reading!

An awesome read for Kids and Parents

An awesome read for Kids and Parents

School is out and summer’s here! No homework, tests, or projects (that are as much work for parents as their kids) it’s the perfect time of year. However, school will come again, and the staff at Frecklebox.com thinks reading is an awesome summer activity and a fun way to stay ready for school. Here are our top picks of children’s books that every kid should get a chance to read!

10. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

This classic children’s book takes a child’s imagination to a whole new level with it’s exciting story and awesome monsters. This tale is beautifully illustrated and will make your kids excited to go to bed so that they can begin their own adventures! Max, the main character, is a boy that discovers the land of the wild things, and gets himself into action, adventure, and a whole lot of fun!

9. Stellaluna by Janell Cannon

This great children’s story will take your child through a baby bat’s life when she loses her mother. She is found by a mother bird and told that everything she does that is like a bat is wrong, until she finds her mother and learns that her instincts are right. This book has great illustrations and will teach your kid about the birds and the bats!

8. Holes by Louis Sachar

This classic tale is for children a bit older, and will make holes take on a whole new meaning! Stanley Yelnats, the main character, may be the unluckiest person alive. As he tries to conquer his bad luck he is faced with all kinds of adventures, including mystery and a family curse from years ago. This adventurous book is imaginative and funny, creating an intriguing story that any kid will love!

7. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff

This adorable classic will show all of the things that could happen by sharing a cookie with the mouse in the house. The sweet illustrations are fun and entertaining, making this a must read! This cute tale will teach the ideas of cause and effect, while taking your child on a fun adventure only fit for a boy and his mouse!

6. The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Alexander T. Wolf

This quirky tale takes you through the story of the three little pigs, but from the wolf’s perspective. The wolf simply had a cold and needed to borrow sugar, he wasn’t trying to blow the houses down! This book is fun and very different, showing there are two sides to every story! Every child should get to read this funny tale that takes on a whole different meaning when you hear the tale of the three little pigs.

5. Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

This great story teaches kids how important it is to help the less fortunate. When Opal, the main character, and her father move to a new place, she finds a big, ugly, ratty looking dog in the Winn-Dixie supermarket. This sweet, funny, ugly dog teaches Opal that making friends is easy, and that people shouldn’t be judged by their looks. Opal learns about her mother and herself, and realizes that friendship can be found anywhere. This book is beautifully written and any child will love it!

4. The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfizer

This fantastically illustrated book teaches kids that what counts in a person is on the inside. The rainbow fish is beautiful, and because of his beauty, he gets cocky and even rude. All of his friends stop being friends with him, and he can’t seem to figure out why. When he asks the wise octopus, he tells him to share his beauty with others. This story has a great message, is beautifully illustrated, and will take your child on an adventure of learning what beauty truly is.

3. The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

This classic story shows kids today that the environment is important. The Lorax is the protector of the trees, but when the Onceler shows up, he starts taking the trees for himself for money. In no time at all, the trees are gone and the land is polluted, and though the Onceler had made a lot of money, he had nothing left. When the Lorax leaves, he writes one word for the Onceler to remember…”unless.” This amazing tale teaches the importance of caring for the environment and shows that money isn’t everything. We pretty much recommend ALL of Dr. Seuss’ books, the website is a lot of fun too! http://www.seussville.com/

2. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

This classic tale follows an unyielding friendship between a boy and his tree. Throughout the boy’s life, the tree will always help him, and will always give him anything he asks. Even when the boy asks to cut down the tree to build a boat, the tree agrees. The boy comes back to the tree, which is now a stump, as an old man and sits, the tree’s last wish. This book shows a beautiful friendship, and teaches any kid what a true friendship really means!

1. Captain Underpants by Dav Pilky

This is is a hilarious series about the adventures of a couple of grade school boys. The humor appeals to kids and their parents so if you have a younger child, this is a great one to read together. Kids who don’t like to read like reading these books! Take a surf through the author’s website to get a very good sense of his style and humor, http://www.pilkey.com/.

These are some great books that are not only classics, but perfect for your child’s summer reading! There are many other fantastic reads to choose from, and some awesome sites for these include http://childrensbooksguide.com/top-100http://www.teachersfirst.com/100books.cfm, and http://www.ivillage.com/best-childrens-books-age-age/6-a-364926. A great way to escape the summer heat is going to your local library, where they have all kinds of books, and sometimes have author visits and fun events! Whatever the book, wherever the reading happens, get out and read this summer!