Posts filed under ‘Early Child Education’

A Memorial Day to Remember – 5 Fun Family Activities


A Memorial Day to Remember – 5 Fun Family Activities to celebrate our service members!
#MemorialDayActivities

Continue Reading May 21, 2015 at 3:54 pm Leave a comment

Great Greens – How on Earth Do They Grow?


Great Greens – How on Earth Do They Grow? Artichoke and Asparagus facts and recipes!

Continue Reading April 21, 2015 at 5:08 pm Leave a comment

And the Beet Goes On!


Kids can be picky eaters, especially when it comes to trying new and nutritious foods like beets. Many parents don’t even consider serving certain foods thinking their kids will turn up their nose at them. Don’t underestimate this tiny, red root vegetable though. It’s packed full of energy-boosting, heart-healthy nutrients and makes a colorful addition to any dish. Go ahead and give beets a chance!

Continue Reading March 22, 2015 at 4:00 pm Leave a comment

The Rainbow Connection


IMG_8135“Mom, if we’re Irish how come I can’t see Leprechauns?” Hmmm, I had to ponder this question last year as I walked with my daughter from school on a rainy day. Our path was under dark clouds streaked with little cracks allowing just enough sunshine to peak through and make for a magical skyline.

2015-03-11 16.46.09I opted for the easy out: “Leprechauns are magical like fairies so you can feel their spirit around you but you can’t always see them.” It didn’t work. We’re at the tail end of “Do you believes” and the Leprechaun answer wasn’t buying me any time. She challenged me on how I can believe things I don’t see or have proof of.

How do we exercise the magical little spirit born from a clear conscience that fades at an age far to young for my liking? Make believe and “Let’s Pretend” games have lost out to apps that distort your voice or change your face into a circus character. We aren’t relying on our imagination when the device is directing us, and many parents feel pressured to push their kids to perform over free play.

I’m never one to give up and continued on about how there is much around us we cannot see but if we just take a moment and wonder, the feeling of hope and faith will win over our mindset and the need for intellectualizing the matter at hand. I explained to my daughter that we don’t always need an explanation when we feel a certain way. The ability to believe in ourselves is important; our thoughts, feelings, actions, and attitude toward the world around us should be enough sometimes. We don’t always need proof.

It was a simple conversation but the base of it was “self doubt.” I knew my daughter was feeling doubt with herself so she was having doubt in everything else around her.

Last PhotoWe continued on and looked up at the sky marveling at how it can change in an instant. The clouds had parted even more which made a beaming of light lead straight to a large painted map on the blacktop. It sparked excitement in my daughter and just as she looked ahead ready to race to the playground she stopped. She grabbed my hand firmly. I looked at her concerned and she just pointed ahead without a comment.

Literally the beam of light lead right to a man crouched over the giant map painted on the blacktop. He wore a black old-fashioned suit with big black boots. He slowly stood up and turned slowly as if realizing he had been found. My daughter and I stared at the man – astonished – it was a Leprechaun! No kidding, the man wore a suit too short we could see his boots and ankles. He even had a rounded top hat and a full beard.

Let's Go Chipper_Irish Soda Bread RecipeWe approached slowly; my daughter never let go of my hand. The man stood silently as we neared. I felt the pull of my daughter so I walked away from the map and eased us toward the swings. He watched us and then gave me a wry smile and walked on across the blacktop to the grass.

My daughter and I stopped and turned, both of us silent. Then she looked at me with wonder.

“It’s what you believe, that matters.” … I gave her a smile and she released my hand from hers and bolted to the swings.

March 17, 2015 at 5:00 pm Leave a comment

An Inspired Childhood | Sour Cream Coffee Cake Recipe


An inspired childhood is our gift to our kids and it is built on what we give emotionally, do to set an example, and provide as a means to supporting the skills our children will need to grow up and be successful independent contributive adults. It is the giving of ourselves and the sharing of our own stories – how will you build your family foundation?

Continue Reading December 30, 2014 at 6:00 pm Leave a comment

A Time to Give


I'm a Chipper Mom | Expert Advice for Moms and ParentsThe pressure to raise a high achieving, conscientious and contributing child can overshadow the benefits of giving back as an individual or family. When we help others, we are reminded of what we have and don’t have in life. It is an opportunity to teach our children what life is really about and how we can contribute for the betterment of our community and world. Helping excites emotions of empathy, joy, guilt, and often leaves us motivated to do more. But understanding these emotions and convictions isn’t intuitive.

So when is the right time to teach our kids about giving, and what are some of the steps we can take to connect them with opportunities to help in the community?

Research has shown that a child can start determining right from wrong by the age of 6 months, and by the age of 15 months, a child realizes for every action there is a reaction. A person drops something and the child – not yet walking – crawls over, picks it up, and gives it back. Now that we know there is reason to believe every child has the capability to grow up and give back, let’s take time to allow our kids to grow into the opportunities to contribute.

Connect with Young Children

Beyond the physical action of committing to a specific organization, each day you can find ways to excite the emotional, mindfulness of your children just by presenting positive experiences. By doing so you are exciting the intuitive mindset; understanding that a child will care for what they love, or feel a positive connection towards. Ask for help and empower their minds to think creatively about how they can solve a situation. Little helpers become creative thought leaders so guide the process and provide age-appropriate opportunities that work for your family.

For example, without joining an organization you can model helpful behavior for your kids under five just by picking up trash on the sidewalk as you make your way to the park; holding open the door for the next person as you walk into a store; or taking the shopping cart back for the person parked next to you at the grocery store. Children mirror what they see and these early interactions will allow them to experience a positive reaction, thankfulness.

Teach Kids Environmental Stewardship

Next time you are on a hike with your three year old talk to them about keeping the trails clean so the plants and animals will stay healthy. Bring an extra bag to pick up any trash and then talk about the best way to discard it. The walk is healthy and you are teaching your child about environmental stewardship in a joyful way.

For children under five years old the opportunity to give and contribute is within daily activities and experiences so identify activities that tap into interests as well. Like art!

Crafting with Kids

Next time you host the play-date or birthday party try infusing crafts into the celebration. Decorate cards then string them up and donate to your community nursing home or Veteran’s hospital. By the time your children reach the age of six or older bring them to the nursing home to deliver the gifts. Click here for some great recycle craft ideas!

Many elderly people are part of an Adopt-a-Grandparent program and the activities provide opportunities for younger children to visit, sing, read, participate in crafts, and hear stories of times we don’t even think about anymore. These are also opportunities for children to connect in a safe environment and learn respect for adults.

From friendly visits to dog walks, young children can give back without the pressure of “saving the world” so acknowledge these sweet moments as real learning experiences. And remember to be patient; new experiences can take a child out of their comfort zone. Other ways you can help connect your young child/children to giving back are:

Cooking with Kids

Baking or bringing a meal for a friend or family Next time a new baby arrives, a friend is sick, or you know of a friend-in-need ask your child to help pack a welcome meal or package then deliver together.

Walk the dog, take out the trash, water the lawn, the simple gesture to a friend or family member will receive gratitude and it will impact the way a child sees themselves in relation to others.

Teach Kids Environmental Stewardship

When children reach school age, allow them to participate in organizations like Girl and Boy Scouts, which provide necessary training for various activities. These organizations also work closely to ensure the safety of your children while also teaching leadership skills.

Additional opportunities include:

Serving at a Soup Kitchen: Through your church or civic organization, check the minimum age requirement and chaperon the experience. The lesson is powerful; be prepared to discuss mental health to financial matters with your children.

Babysitting at Sunday School: Helping out within a familiar environment builds a sense of pride and community. Your child will also receive feedback from others, which helps reinforce good character and a contributive mindset.

By the time your children reach tween to teen years you might even consider an international trip to help build a library, latrines, or work building new homes for communities-in-need. With the holidays fast approaching take a moment to identify something you can do as a family and get ready to make it a tradition!

December 1, 2014 at 5:00 pm Leave a comment

Thanksgiving Activities For Your Little Ones


The turkey is in the oven, the pumpkin pie is cooling, and little fingers are picking mini marshmallows off the top of the yams. Approximately 280 million turkeys are sold for the Thanksgiving celebrations in the United States. That’s a lot of turkey! Now even though it’s called ‘turkey day’, cooking isn’t the only fun activity your family can do on this day of thanks. Besides eating, Thanksgiving is a great holiday to discuss family traditions, connect with extended family, and show your appreciation and gratitude.

Here are some kid-friendly activities for the whole family as you await the bird in the oven:

1. Leaf Hunt!Fall Chipper with Leaf Bag

Search for some colorful fall leaves outside or print and color some Chipper Fall Leaves or Helping Hands. Then hide them around the house! Make it a treasure hunt by giving clues of thanksgiving related items! Here are a few example hints to get your started:

  • Pumpkin Pie is really great and very yummy. What do I need to help me eat and put it in my tummy? (Answer: The Silverware Drawer)
  • Turkey, Potatoes, Green Beans on my plate. This is where we eat the turkey dinner, it tastes so great! (Answer: The Dining Room Table)
  • Family time and meet and greet! When we relax together, this is our seat! (Answer: The Living Room Couch)

Happy Hunting! You can also create gorgeous cards (or see the craft below!) and name tags for your Turkey dinner using your leaves and mod podge after your game:

IMG_5859

2. Turkey Run!

Chipper Running with Leaves

The mountains of food seems endless on Thanksgiving Day, and so do the cravings for more than one slice of pumpkin pie; but not if your family works up an appetite! ‘Turkey Trots’ are very popular and can help raise funds for a good cause. Take a look at this website and see how you can join a “Turkey Trot” near you! Or take a stroll around the block with the whole family after dinner to help digest the big meal. a simple walk is a great opportunity for some great family conversation!

3. Let’s Learn About Our Family!

Chipper Family Tree

What better time for kids to learn about the family history than on Thanksgiving, when the entire family is gathered together! Print out a Chipper Family Tree and have the kids interact with each family member to see where they belong on the tree. When dinner is finally ready, bring out the completed tree and have each member tell a family story!

4. Thanksgiving Day Placemat!

Print out our complimentary and have your little ones color and fill it out. It’s a great way to keep the kiddos occupied while also teaching them about healthy eating habits and what they are thankful for! Click here or on the image below to download and print (please use legal paper or print on two letter sized paper and tape together).

CFM_Placemat_Thanksgiving

5. Recycle Craft Turkeys!

IMG_1782Create a cute centerpiece for your table or use them as name tags for your Thanksgiving feast seating!

Materials:

  • Recycled Toilet Paper Roll
  • Tape or Glue (we love double stick tape!)
  • Markers or colored pencils
  • Pipe Cleaners or some Fall Leaves
  • Googly Eyes (optional)
  • Recycled paper colored or construction paper and some scissors (optional)
  • Popsicle stick and square of paper if making name tag for table

Directions:

  1. Start with your Turkey face! Draw eyes, a neck waddle, a beak or use googly eyes, cut a triangle from construction paper for the beak and waddle.
  2. Draw on some wings and feathers with markers or colored pencils.
  3. Now add your tail feathers! Find some colorful fall leaves outdoors and glue or tape on to the back of your roll. Or curl some pipe cleaners with your fingers and glue or tape on. Add feet with folded pipe cleaners or cut some out of paper and attach to the bottom of your turkey with glue or tape.
  4. If you are creating a name tag, cut out a small rectangle of white paper, write on your name, then attach to your popsicle stick with glue or tape. Then attach to your turkey, sticking it to the inside back end of your toilet toll with glue or tape.
  5. Add to your table so everyone know where to sit! Or just place in the center or around the house for some fun decorations. You can even use them as napkin holders! Just fold your napkin through the center of the roll.

IMG_1927 IMG_1901

EXTRA CRAFT: If you find some pinecones outside while searching for leaves, add some googly eyes, paper beaks, and feathers with hot glue (with supervision) to create festive table decorations!

IMG_5858

For more fun Thanksgiving activities, visit our Thanksgiving Pinterest Board! Please share your crafts with us in the comments below. Have a Fall-tastic Thanksgiving! Gobble Gobble 🙂

November 12, 2014 at 6:00 pm Leave a comment

Bring the Holidays to Life with Small Potatoes!


Chipper Holiday Spud Party

The Holiday season is upon us and it’s time to start the fun! More often than not, games and activities these days are played on a screen. Kids aged 8 to 18 spend, on average, 44.5 hours per week in front of a screen, according to the Department of Health. Whether they are watching their favorite show or writing… er, typing a school assignment, the amount of time kids (and adults too!) spend looking at a screen is flabbergasting!

Let's Go Chipper | Small Potatoes Magic Toy Maker IMG_1923

Apps and online games can be educating, fun, and beneficial in various ways but we cannot underestimate the importance of real-life experiences and play. Play is a remarkably creative process that fosters emotional health, imagination, original thinking, problem solving, critical thinking, and self-regulation. As children actively invent their own scenarios in play, they work their way through the challenges life presents and gain confidence and a sense of mastery. When they play with materials, children are building a foundation for understanding concepts and skills that form the basis for later academic learning.

Combining the digital and durable worlds is something our Let’s Go Chipper!™ programs have been encouraging for years and now our friends at Magic Toy Maker are bringing in some cute spuds from the App world righto your doorstep. Little Airplane’s Small Potatoes, a popular kid’s show in the UK starring adorable, singing spuds, has come to life in a new app, Small Potatoes Magic Toy Maker. Dress up and personalize your Small Potato with an array of Holiday outfits on the app then get it delivered right to your doorstep for under $20! Shipping is free until November 11th so don’t miss out on the fun! Plus, you can design your very own gift tag with a variety of fun backgrounds and stamps to personalize a present.

There are hundreds if not thousands of new apps to choose from out there but the Small Potatoes Magic Toy Maker is different because it integrates online play with a physical good! Nothing is more magical during the Holiday Season than bringing imagination to life in the form of a soft and cuddly plush toy designed with love. Download it today for free on iTunes or Google Play and join the conversation on the Magic Toy Maker Facebook page! 

November 4, 2014 at 6:15 pm 2 comments

3 Chipper Tips For Halloween


Why do mummies never reveal their true age? Because they like to keep it under wraps!

Let's Go Chipper | recycle crafts | DIY Halloween Mummy Craft

Make some fun Recycle Halloween Crafts! Click here for instructions.

Halloween is almost here and is a time where both kids and parents get out the cute or scary costumes, the spooky decorations and the delicious candy for a family fun holiday! Enter our Halloween Contest by sharing your costume ideas or past costume pictures to our Facebook wall! Winner will receive our Chipper Family Moments intro box of fun ideas and activities to connect family.

Chipper Family Moments  | Halloween Costume Contest

Click here to enter our Chipper Family Moments Halloween Contest!

Whether you’re Olaf, Elsa or even a scary Vampire this year, Halloween can also be a useful learning experience in both manners as well as safety for your little ghosts and ghouls. Three rules to remember this upcoming Halloween; be safe, be healthy; and don’t forget your manners!

Caution! Witch Crossing.

Chipper and Paisley Flashlight Shadow Animals

Help your children be safe by giving them flashlights, reflectors, or glow sticks to help them see and be seen by drivers when crossing the streets. According to safekids.org, on average, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than on any other day of the year, so make sure they’re prepared, understand the importance of staying on the sidewalks, and are aware of their surroundings. A parent or responsible goblin should always accompany the young witches and wizards and should remind them to only visit homes with a porch light on and NEVER enter the home or vehicle of a stranger.

Happy Healthy Haunting!

Chipper Healthy Halloween Snacks and Treats

Click here for Healthy Halloween Snacks and Treats!

Remembering to keep happy and healthy eating habits with all the surrounding candy can be quite a challenging task. Remind your children how important it is to eat a good meal prior to trick-or-treating and to avoid tummy aches by rationing treats for the days after Halloween; all things in moderation. It’s also very important to sort and check each of the prized candy to confirm no tampering was done. An adult should throw away spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious treats. To promote healthy diets for children, some companies will even buy back the candy from your little ones this year; to find a place near you, check out this website >>>> http://www.halloweencandybuyback.com/

I Witch You A Happy Halloween!

halloween-chipper-FB

Halloween is a great opportunity to practice good manners. Remind your little goblins, ghosts and ghouls not to be greedy. One piece of candy from each house is the general Halloween rule and a nice “Thank you!” at each and every house is a must. Even if the candy choice isn’t a favorite of your little ones, a “Thank you!” is still important and shows everyone how polite and well mannered your young Trick-Or-Treaters really are. Another great way to practice good manners is to remember to stay on walkways and avoid stepping on flowerbeds and lawns. Teach your little minions (or monsters?) to treat each home they approach like it’s their own! What other manners do you teach your kids during All Hallows Eve? Share with us in the comments below or on Facebook!

We just couldn’t resist one last treat – Have A Fang-Tastic night!

Knock! Knock!

Who’s There?

Wanda Witch!

Wanda Witch who?

Wanda Witch you a very Happy Halloween!

October 23, 2014 at 6:00 pm Leave a comment

Cleaning up the Conversation


I'm a Chipper MomThis past Friday I was so excited to come home from work because I knew the house would be clean. I’m not one to have cleaning help but after fostering three dogs and many family-and-friends travelers I raised the white flag and said “Calgon take me away!” The smell and the shine was worth the slip – one turn down the hallway in my socks and I was grabbing the wall to stay up because the floors were waxed (did I pay extra for that?).

Friday night is family night so at dinner I couldn’t help but bring up the conversation on how keeping the house clean and organized really helped me feel empowered to get through each day. A silly topic to kids, and maybe shallow thinking to some, but having an organized and clean house does make me feel like I’ve got everything in order. I do walk out the door feeling like I can get everything done. It’s my thing and I want it to be everyone else’s “thing” as well.

I’ve directed everyone over the years on what I expect them to keep clean in their bedrooms and what I expect everyone to help with around the home. Not one wanting to be the author of many “Chore” charts I’ve posted notes and raised my voice a few times – none of it really created consistency. So before taking the family dinner down the path of “don’t get anything dirty” I decided to ask a few questions.

  1. Where should we hike this weekend?
  2. Who needs what for back-to-school supplies?
  3. What’s for dessert and what’s our movie for tonight?

If you can believe – my youngest exclaimed: “Whatever we do we have to keep the house clean.” What? I couldn’t believe it so I asked, “How are we going to do that?”

Without another prompt my other daughter immediately shared a list she had created when she was little on how she would keep her room clean. It was full of pictures and symbols she said represented everything. With that simple prompt both girls set out to write up a list of items they would focus on to help keep the house clean.Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 12.09.20 PM

When presented Callie shared that she would include vacuuming because she knew how important a clean floor is when you are cooking. Callie presented her list to us, and wanted to share with other families. Her excitement and deliberation were so evident; her next goal is to laminate the list so she can check and wipe off to start again each week.

The power of conversation goes beyond the boardroom or cocktail party – bringing relevant topics to the family table like individual needs or weekend activity ideas sparks thoughtful conversation and engages kids on a new level. Kids are empathetic and they want to help – when we ask what they can do around the home or for us as parents/caregivers we ignite curiosity; executive function kicks in, leadership skills, and a sense of worth are a part of this as well.Chipper Family Moments | Cleaning Up with Kids

Parenting expert Jim Fay, co-founder of the Love and Logic website, says we all need to feel needed and to know that we’re making a contribution — even kids. “But they can’t feel that way if they don’t have chores and make contributions to the family,” Fay says.

Roger W. McIntire, University of Maryland psychology professor and author of Raising Good Kids in Tough Times, says, “A child has to have some responsibilities.”

According to research, children even younger than 15 months have empathy and realize others and their needs. When we consider physical abilities and emotional readiness we can set personal expectations and engage with our children in a much more positive and constructive way. When we include our children in the conversation about all noted above they feel responsible to the overall wellbeing of the family. A strong sense of emotional responsibility is powerful in the most positive way.

Chipper Family Moments | Cleaning Up with Kids

Try posing a question over telling someone what to do. How does the person respond? Do you find the conversation and actions more positive? Model this approach with your spouse or partner, do you find the results more positive? It’s a simple switch in the way we communicate but the results are impactful and beneficial to everyone.

With a clean house and committed siblings the weekend was so pleasant – I’d like to know what questions will you ask this week?

August 25, 2014 at 2:00 pm Leave a comment

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