kids

Easy Thanksgiving Activities to Keep Your Kids Entertained While You Cook

Your family probably already has a few traditions of your own for Thanksgiving. Maybe you have a special routine for saying what you’re thankful for, or maybe everyone looks forward to grandma’s signature pie all year long. Thanksgiving is also a great time to start some new traditions, particularly if you’re looking for fun activities that kids will love to take part in.

1.    Succulent Place Cards
This is such a fun and easy activity for kiddos during the holidays!  While the house is a big hub of craziness and activity, you can send the kids outside for this quick and easy Thanksgiving or Christmas craft.  Littles and bigs will love making place cards for everyone around the holiday table.  Then all of the guests can have a sweet little succulent planter to take home after the delicious dinner.  Head HERE for full step-by-step photo instructions to show you how to make them.

Step-by-Step photo instructions to make succulent place cards for your holiday table

2.    Get the Kids Involved with Foraged Bouquets for the Table
The hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving can get overwhelming for kids.  Everyone is excited, the house smells amazing, family and friends are ringing the bell…chaos is sure to follow.  One thing our boys love to do is head outside in the fresh air to get some energy out.  Send an older kid or an adult with the kids to pick a bouquet of “foraged” leaves, flowers and sticks (or several small bouquets).  Then they can put them in mason jars or vases on the Thanksgiving table.  Fun, festive & it gets the wiggles out!

foraged-thanksgiving-bouquets

3.    A Thankful Book
Instead of simply saying what you’re thankful for around the dinner table, how about having each person write it down? Then save the notes in a scrapbook or binder. It’s fun to set out a blank book or paper with pencils, crayons, stickers and markers for everyone to write down their thankful list while dinner is cooking.  It keeps the kids busy, and you can look back on it together every Thanksgiving.  Erin over at Home Literacy Blueprint made the cutest thankful books with her kiddos!

Idea and adorable photo from Home Literacy Blueprint

4.    Pin the Feather on the Turkey
If you have a lot of young kids in your family (or teenagers who like to be goofy like mine), pin the feather on the turkey is a great game to keep them entertained and get them in the Thanksgiving spirit. This is just like pin the tail on the donkey, except you’re using a paper turkey and feathers of different colors. For added fun, have each kid create and decorate their own feather out of card stock, stickers, pens, pencils…whatever you have lying around. They can write what they are thankful for & it makes the turkey so adorable when they’re finished!  Make sure you take a picture as a memento!

precious graphic from Living Well Mom – head on over there for instructions

What fun family traditions or kid activities does your family do for the holidays?  I’d love to learn some new ideas! ♥

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Easy Succulent Place Cards for Your Holiday Table

I’m always looking for fun things to do with my boys that gets them involved in the holidays.  These sweet little succulent place cards are perfect for kids (and adults) and will brighten up your holiday table!  These would even be adorable for a rustic outdoor wedding.

With just a few “ingredients” – most of which can be found in your back yard, you can make sweet little name cards for your holiday or wedding table.

  • small votive holder (or other small container – a tiny mason jar would work well, too)
  • sphagnum moss (I found a bag of it at Home Depot)
  • twigs of greenery from the garden
  • a stick
  • a tiny clothes pin or clip
  • a succulent rosette – or really any succulent sprig will do
  • a small name tag – or slip of paper

Wet your sphagnum moss & pack it relatively tightly into the holder.

Using your finger (or a pencil), make a hole down the center of your moss for the stem of your succulent.

Carefully place your succulent stem into the hole.  Add a bit of extra moss around it to secure it into the little container.

Add your stick.  If you don’t have a stick from a tree or bush, you can use a popsicle stick or even a skewer.  Make sure the stick is high enough to allow the name tag to show above the succulent.

Use your tiny clothes pin (I gilded mine with a gold-leafing pen just for fun) to clip the name tag and the greenery to your stick.  Set them on the table as place cards & you’ll have a beautiful holiday or wedding tablescape!  The best part is that your guests will have a great little gift to take home with them.  {so much fun}

What will you use it for?  I would love to see your version!  Be sure to use #littlegirlspearls, so I can find it!!  Have fun. ♥

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Strength and Dignity Free Printable

She is clothed in strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future. Proverbs 31:25 | free printable from Little Girl's Pearls ♥

“She is clothed in strength & dignity & she laughs without fear of the future.” – Proverbs 31:25

This verse has always sounded lovely to me when I was growing up and in college, but it wasn’t until I had my own kiddos that it really spoke to me.  It seems when you are put in charge of the care and feeding of tiny humans, fear of the future just settles in – it hunkers down and lurks in the back of your mind.  There are always worries about making sure we do everything perfectly as parents.  Laughing at fear of the future was a completely foreign concept to me.

Proverbs 31:25 free printable from Little Girl's Pearls | she is clothed in strength and dignity

Our family was a bit more on the “crunchy granola” side of things with co-sleeping, breastfeeding, baby wearing, homemade baby food & cloth diapers…  We did what “felt right” for our kiddos.  But oh man were there nay-sayers along the way & they shook me to my core!  I questioned our decisions regularly.  It seems that when you are raising tiny humans everyone and their brother has an opinion on the best way to do it to be sure your kids turn out to be productive members of society.

free printable from Little Girl's Pearls ♥

Now that my boys are 13 and 16 (seriously, when did that happen?), I can look back on all of the minute decisions and see that whatever we had chosen, our boys would’ve turned out just fine.  I am not kidding you.  As long as your kids are loved, fed and safe…really the rest is just details.  So if you’re just starting out on your mama journey, please know that all will be just fine.  Raising little people is stressful and exhausting and harrowing – our oldest had colic for four straight months of nightly crying (both him and me) & our youngest didn’t sleep through the night until he was 7.  But had I known I could have done it all without fear of the future, it would have made my new mama life so much easier.

free printable 8x10 print from Little Girl's Pearls | laugh without fear of the future ♥

So I’m giving you permission.  Permission to do what works for YOUR family.  What works for your kid.  What works this time, might not work with the next one – and that’s okay!  Seriously.  Roll with it.  You, my dear, are clothed in strength and dignity.   So whether you are a working mom or a stay-at-home mom, whether you breastfeed or bottle feed, whether you cloth diaper or regular diaper, whether you homeschool, private school or public school…they will turn out just fine.  Just love them.  Love them with all your heart.  Give them your time.  Give them grace.  Then head on into tomorrow and laugh without fear of the future.  You’ve totally got this, mama!

Click here to download the free printable from Little Girl's Pearls. ♥

So click on the button above to DOWNLOAD your free printable to remind you that you are AWESOME and you’re gonna rock it, mama! ♥  To fit an 8×10 frame, simply trim 1/2″ off of either side and 1″ off of top and bottom.  Voila!  A perfect little printable for her nursery or your refrigerator!

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10 Sweet Valentine Gift Card Message Ideas

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Valentine’s Day isn’t really a romantic holiday around here.  My hubby has never been a practitioner of big romantic gestures, so ever since we welcomed our boys into our family, we have always treated Valentine’s Day as a great time to show them how very special they are to us!  I’m sure your sweetie daughters, granddaughters and nieces all know that they are important to you, but Valentine’s Day can be a fun time to celebrate your how much she means to you & make her feel extra special.

For our boys, Valentine’s Day has always been a day that we shower them with love and hugs and kisses and special little things like heart-shaped pancakes and special little notes.  Flowers, chocolate and conversation hearts sometimes make their way into our family day, but really it’s the little gestures of love and appreciation that make the day one of my favorite days of the year.

One of my favorite family traditions centers around the little mailbox we got each boy when they were little.  It’s a little red metal mail box (it’s absolutely precious), and each of our kiddos sets it outside of their room on February 1st.  Then every day through February 14th I leave them a new little note letting them know how much I appreciate them and love them.  I make sure to let them know what I love about them and why they are so special to our family.  I also leave little candies, toys, and other special goodies in their mailboxes.  Wouldn’t a keepsake pearl bracelet make the perfect gift for her mail box on Valentine’s day???

If you’re stumped on what to write to your special little Valentine, here are 10 Valentine’s Day gift card messages to help you show your littles how very much you love them!  There are 10 different messages & then below them I have included the messages written out in case you want to copy & paste any of the messages into your special gift card.

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All you really need to do is to take a little extra time to make your little one feel happy and let her know she’s loved.  How about a special family dinner that you all make together?  A family walk around the block or to the park?  Or a quick trip out for her favorite ice cream (this is my boys’ favorite).  Family dance parties are also a big hit at our house.  Even now that the boys are older, they love being totally crazy and weird dancing around the house with hubby & I!

One thing that was surprising to me was that my youngest loves to pick me little bouquets of flowers for my office desk.  So I decided to pick him a little bouquet for his desk.  He was absolutely thrilled!  There are infinite ways to celebrate with your Valentine!

Whatever your plans for Valentine’s Day, start a fun tradition that you can repeat year after year.  Especially now that the boys are older, it’s fun to see how they’ve hung on to even the smallest of traditions – never forgetting *anything*.  Seriously, they have the minds of elephants!!  So have some fun with your little Valentine!!  They’ll remember it forever. ♥

Fun things to do with your kids when it’s cold outside

Fun things to do on cold days

January means that winter is in full swing, and winter brings with it some bad weather & right now there’s a massive blizzard in parts of the country! Kids may love to play outside in the snow or go puddle jumping in the rain, but sooner or later you’ll be faced with bad weather that keeps kids inside for most of the day. Puzzles and cartoons will only get you so far; eventually kids need something active and exciting to get out some of their abundant energy. Keep these game ideas up your sleeve to avoid getting pent up with bored children.

Cardboard Hallway Castle   Geodesic Dome cardboard house
Image sources & instructions from Handmade Charlotte and Tales of a Monkey, a Bit and a Bean

 

Cardboard castle – this was one of my boys’ favorites when they were little!

What’s even better than a fort made out of pillows and blankets? A castle made out of cardboard boxes. Save any boxes you have leftover from Christmas or from other deliveries; the bigger the better. We found our best boxes at the appliance store.  We let them know what we were doing & they saved them for us!  Let your kids arrange these boxes into a castle of their own design. You can help by cutting doorways between the boxes, and kids can get creative by decorating the outside with whatever arts and crafts supplies you have on hand.

I love the two tutorials (links below).  Using cardboard in a hallway is genius!  The second tutorial is dear to my heart.  I helped build and grew up in a geodesic dome when I was little.  So I adore that there are instructions to make a cardboard version.  LOOOVE it, and your kids will, too!

freeze-dancing

Freeze Dancing

This is like musical chairs without the chairs. Pick out one of your kids’ (or your) favorite songs, play it, and dance like no one’s watching. We put on songs of the composers we’re studying.  Before we start dancing, we all have to yell which composer it is.

Let out your silly side and encourage your kids to show off their goofiest dance moves. Then pause the music: everyone has to freeze in whatever position they’re in. This game is sure to burn off some energy and to bring out some laughs.  My boys are now 12 and 15, and they still love this game!  This is a fun way to switch off nasty attitudes, too. ♥  Seriously look at those sweet faces!  My kids are awesome, and crazy, and adorable!


painters-tape-race-track
Image by Joe Polillio from Parents Magazine

 

Tape Traffic

Do your kids have toy cars or toy animals they love to move around? Let them design their very own road system. Kids can use painter’s tape or masking tape to plot out roads all around the house: on the floor, onto the furniture, and maybe even on you. Especially if you have older children, they might really enjoy planning out and designing a complicated road system complete with city landmarks along the way. Because it’s painter’s or masking tape, it’s easy to clean up, so they can make roads as long as they want. Then they can have fun racing their toys all along the roads.

pillow-sumo-wrestling

Pillow Sumo Wrestling

Oh my goodness, look at our youngest’s toes!!!  He’s seriously into this.  Do you have some roughhousing lovers? Try pillow sumo wrestling to let them get it out of their system without getting hurt. Equip your kids with some adult-sized t-shirts, and stuff them with pillows. You may want to place some extra pillows around the “wrestling” area (don’t do it anywhere they can land on something hard or sharp). Then let your kids bounce around to their hearts’ content. You’ll probably want to supervise this one carefully to make sure no one gets hurt, but as long as no one gets carried away, it can be definitely get the cold weather wiggles out!  These are my boys – even as big kids, they like bouncing around with their brother!

So enjoy!  Have some fun with your kids, no matter what their age…they’ll love being a little creative and a little crazy with you!



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