If you have crafty kids but you're not exactly crafty yourself (or you're not ready to invest in a subscription service filled with art projects), consider picking up one of the following so-cool craft kits to let your child bring out his or her creative side, the easy way. Each kit gives kids all the supplies and instructions they need to create their own paper animals or puppets, superhero masks and capes, board books, and more. Keep clicking to check out our eight favorite craft kits (starting at just $5!), and find the one that best fits your child's creative style.
Like most holidays, Grandparents Day (Sept. 8) came up quick! The annual celebration reminds us how vital grandparents are in enriching the lives of our kids, as well as in lightening the load in parents' own lives. To celebrate the grandparents in your kids' lives, we've rounded up seven crafty gifts that kids will love making and grandmas and grandpas will love receiving. From pottery to paintings, these adorable ideas are certain to become keepsakes for years to come.
Move over, duct tape — there's a new crafting tape in town and both moms and tots are loving it. Washi tape — also known as Japanese paper tape — is similar to masking tape but much prettier. Made from natural fibers like bamboo and hemp, the strong tape comes in beautiful colors and patterns — and doesn't leave residue once it is removed from walls — making it ideal for kids' arts and crafts projects. Keep reading for some fun uses for the tape, as well as some cute patterns specifically designed for tots!
Playing sports has physical and social benefits, but what if your child doesn't want to participate?
"Do you feel a child should be made to do a sport if they do not like it?" asks Circle of Moms member Tanya H.
Similarly, Cheryl B. questions her husband's decision to force their son to play football. "There are so many things in life that we have to do, I just don't see the point in making someone play a sport that he/she is not interested in."
If you, too, are wondering whether you should make your child play a sport — especially when they don't want to — Circle of Moms members suggest you consider its five benefits.
1. Good Exercise
Sports are important to keep kids busy and fit. "Participating in sports, especially team sports, help children learn self-discipline, will increase self-esteem and self-confidence (and the benefits from those are immeasurable), will teach them about working together to accomplish the same goal, and as they get older, it will teach them that worker harder than the next guy will pay off via more playing time and/or greater success," says mom Kristi C. "I also believe being involved in sports will encourage kids to take better care of themselves and in the long run, will keep them active and healthy as adults."
However, Circle of Moms members generally agree no good will come of forcing your child to play a sport she doesn't like if your child is already getting a lot of exercise in another activity she enjoys. "As long as she is getting exercise, that's the main goal," Michelle W. says. "If she's loves it that much, then she'll be happy and do her best. If you make her participate in something she doesn't like, you are setting her up for frustration and failure and yourself for arguments."
Heather F. agrees. "Never force your child to do what interests you," she says. "They will never really put their heart and soul into it because they are not doing it for themselves but for you. Then you are just wasting money and everyone's time, including the people you are paying to instruct them. Instructors rather teach those who want to learn; it makes for a much more productive class."
Your teen might have great grades, but does she really have all it takes to get into college? Extracurricular activities are an important part of showing colleges your teen is an individual with interests and hobbies in addition to good grades. So what do colleges look for when it comes to extracurriculars?
Think Beyond School-Based Extracurriculars
When your teen thinks about extracurricular activities, she may think that clubs, organizations, and sports are the only ones that are important to colleges. That's just not true. The word "extracurricular" itself implies that your teen is pursuing an interest outside of her school experience.
Suzanne Shaffer, a college prep expert who runs the website Parents Countdown to College Coach, says that colleges want to know how your teen spends her time outside of school, too. "Explore opportunities in church sponsored groups, service clubs, and outside sports disciplines," suggests Shaffer. Those types of activities show that your teen is interested in community service and leadership opportunities. She also reminds teens and parents not to underestimate how colleges view hobbies — what your child pursues on her own time can provide a glimpse of her unique personality and interests.
A new school year, a new set of after-school activities. Mom may know what extracurricular activities she wants her child to participate in, but how do you ensure that your tot chooses ones that align with his interests, his abilities, and — most importantly — his schedule?
Balancing Benefits and Overscheduling
There's no question that after-school activities are beneficial to kids. The Afterschool Alliance, an advocacy organization, reports that kids who participate in after-school activities do better in school, gain leadership skills, and are better able to cope with peer pressure.
When your child is engaged in these activities, he can gain self-confidence and a sense of pride in his accomplishments. But ensuring he chooses the right ones, and being careful not to overschedule him, is key in making sure his self-esteem doesn't waver.
We're all about making learning fun, and for the littlest of kids, that's never too much of a challenge. Whether you're looking for ways to entertain your own tot at home, or for fun activities for a playgroup, you've come to the right place. These nine activities are designed to engage the senses, and many have the added bonus of challenging fine and gross motor skills as well. Happy playtime!
Sitting in one place for hours on end is tough for anyone, but it's especially challenging for small children. To help make your next car, train, or plane ride more fun for your kids (and more relaxing for you), we've rounded up 16 suggestions from moms on the best little toys to bring along on trips. From invisible-ink activity books to magnets, pipe cleaner crafts, and a very special coupon book, these creative ideas are sure to keep your little ones happily occupied!
As someone who suffered from allergies and year-round hay fever as a child, I used to avoid the outdoors. But now as a parent, I know that sunshine, fresh air, and room to run around are important for growing boys and girls. Even though I'm now armed with Claritin, I'm still at a loss when it comes to thinking up fun outdoor activities to keep my kids entertained.
The Circle of Moms community proves I'm not alone. Jenna W. is seeking outdoor activity ideas for her 2-year-old. And Heather says she likes to get her daughter outside a lot but is looking for ideas on what to do because her daughter "gets bored" outdoors, especially when she doesn't have other kids to play with.
If you, too, are struggling to keep your kids entertained outdoors, consider these four suggestions, provided by Circle of Moms members whose kids are content spending hours outside.