Creating a Whimsical Woodland Party, by Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson shows us how to put together a “Whimsical Woodland Party”, something she did recently for her five year old daughter. Great, creative ideas shared by an energetic Mum!

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Well I’ve been looking forward to creating a whimsical woodland party for quite some time, and with my daughter’s fifth birthday approaching I thought there was no better time than ever to start planning. Recent research has demonstrated what we already intrinsically know – that nature is great for all of us. As a result, nature nurseries, schools and woodland themed activities have become all the rage.

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We decided to host our woodland party at home and being summer, we were able to spend the entire time outside. I’m always in favour of not having too many structured activities at a child’s party, and just letting the kids engage in free play. We started off with a visit from Furries, Feathers and Fangs – a very reasonably priced family owned company that bring animals to events. The children were able to hold a hedgehog, frog, guinea pig, large continental rabbit…

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Six things every parent should know about Pokémon Go, by Christian Gallen

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For the first time in history you may hear your kids complain that it’s raining so they can’t go outside and play video games. This is the parents’ guide to the newest social phenomenon that has taken over the world.

1. What is Pokémon Go?

You have probably come across Pokémon before. It’s Japanese for ‘pocket monsters’. You may even be familiar with Pikachu. Pokémon has been around for ages and spans video games, TV shows, a trading card game and now has become super popular because of the smart phone app, Pokémon Go. Chances are your kids are playing it!

2. How does it work?

Pokemon-Go-001-292x300The basic idea of the game is that you travel around the real world and find Pokémon using your device. There are 250 different types of Pokémon out there. If your kid comes home excited about catching Bulbasaur there’s nothing to worry about. It’s not a drug or a disease. It’s a grass type Pokémon with razor leaf attack. You collect them and battle against other users. Your kid doesn’t need hand-eye coordination to catch Pokémon – just a fully-charged smartphone and access to the internet.

This week I saw a group of teenagers running laps around a park with their phones in front of their faces. They were outdoors with their friends, they were exercising and they were playing a video game all at the same time. Weird.

(To read more of this article, please follow the link below…)

http://www.theparentingplace.com/blogs/a-parents-guide-to-pokemon-go/

“The Guardians of Childhood” Books by William Joyce, article by Kirsteen Mclay-Knopp

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The Guardians of Childhood is a series of children’s picture books and novels and the inspiration for DreamWorks’ Rise of the Guardians adaptation. The books are written and illustrated by author William Joyce, whose other works include George Shrinks, Santa Calls, A Day with Wilbur Robinson, and the much loved Rolie Polie Olie series, which has earned Joyce three Emmy awards.

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A luminous new book series from William Joyce that redefines the icons of childhood: Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Sandman, the Man in the Moon and many more. Published by Simon & Schuster, these books explore the mythology of childhood legends through vividly illustrated picture books and chapter books for young adults. In November of 2012, the series became an animated feature film from DreamWorks Animation:Rise of the Guardians.

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We at “The Forever Years” love this series and the movie, because they epitomise the “magic of childhood”, the magic of “believing”.    Many parents and carers disagree about the benefits to children of believing in characters such as Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny and those of Christian faith often feel that the latter two detract from the true meaning of the festivals they represent.  Leaving these arguments aside, however, the “magic of childhood” is a universal concept.  We all have childhood memories of times which seemed “magical” or, perhaps for want of a better description, times filled with warmth and family, positive surprises and wonder.  Most people have at least one such childhood memory, no matter how good or bad their other childhood experiences might  have been.  As adults, we are tasked with “paying the magic forward” and creating opportunities for our children to see that the world can, indeed, be an amazing and wonder-filled place.

The character of “Pitch Black”, who represents “the bogey man” or “monsters under the bed”, is a generalised depiction of childhood fears coming to life.  He also seems to represent adult cynicism, a loss of the “wonder” of childhood.

Pitch is everything a child fears, and he thrives on the fear of children, taking a cruel delight in turning their pleasant dreams into nightmares. But what Pitch hates is when children overcome their fears and don’t believe in him, particularly when parents tell their kids that the Boogeyman is just a bad dream. 

http://riseoftheguardians.wikia.com/wiki/Pitch_Black

In many ways we adults are the “Guardians of Childhood”.  We choose how much cynicism, apathy or sometimes downright defeatism and lack of self-belief we impart to our kids, which in turn effects their outlook on life as they grow into adults… including their belief in themselves and their ability to influence the world around them.  While childhood, and life in general, cannot be perfect or ideal all the time, striving to keep a sense of hope and wonder in our children’s “forever years” is giving them a gift which will stay with them throughout their lives… and which they will “pay forward” to their own children.

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Creative Crafts to do with Kids this Easter By Kirsteen McLay-Knopp

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As Easter draws near, I thought I’d share some of the crafts we’ve been doing at our house– ideas shared are fun multiplied and great for all our children everywhere!

  1. Easter Boxes

These are made from egg cartons with the labels peeled off.   “Easter Bunny” can put each child’s Easter Eggs in their own special container on Easter Sunday… an especially good idea if you have more than one child and want to avoid arguments about whose eggs (or bunnies or chickens or whatever) are whose.  Remember to get each child to write his or own name on their box.  Use your imagination: they could be painted, decorated with cellophane,wrapping paper or glitter.  So long as you keep an “Easter theme”.  Here are some our children made:

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            2. Big Easter Egg Poster

Draw a large egg-shaped outline on some paper.  With your kids, create a “collage” of shiny Easter Egg paper, Easter stickers, chickens, Easter bunnies, crosses, lambs or anything else you like that relates to Easter.  Make sure every gap is filled so no paper shows (that can be the challenge for the kids).  After it’s finished you can laminate it and then you’ll have a poster to use ever Easter.  (You could do shapes other than eggs too, like crosses or chickens).

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FY Easter 9   3. Crosses

These crosses can be cut out of cardboard then covered with tin foil.  The tags here are the ones you get on bread bags… a good use for them, we thought.  My 8 year old made this one at school.

 

   

4. An Easter Mural

FY Easter 10Our kids seem to always enjoy making murals where they can let their imaginations run wild.  This one was no egg-ception (sorry, couldn’t resist an egg joke).  We bought blue and green paper and I cut the shape of hills out of the green and stuck them onto the blue “sky”.  The kids did all the rest using Easter stickers and felt pens.  We got our Easter stickers from the $2 shop, $2 for a big sheet.  (None of the crafts here were particularly expensive to create).

Creating an "Easter Mural"

Creating an “Easter Mural”

 

5. An Easter Tree

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Every year the kids and I create an “Easter  Tree”.  Usually we start by going for a walk in the bush somewhere to collect dry twigs and branches.  Then we come home and put our “collection” in a bucket (anchored with bluetak so the whole thing doesn’t fall over).  We decorate it with anything related to Easter.  This year we put toy chickens and rabbits, eggs and crosses made out of pipe cleaners on it.  There are some beautiful ribbons with Easter patterns on them which can be used as “streamers”.  We bought some years ago and bring then out each Easter.  (Japanese friends came to stay one Easter, so the “tree” had their Easter decorations on it too).

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6.   Learning about Faberge Eggs

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Last Easter the kids and I learned about “Faberge Eggs” and created this poster (we Google searched these images).  We also looked at why Faberge created them for the Russian Royal Family and what materials they were made out of.

 

7. Free Drawing

Just doing drawings of anything related to Easter can be fun too.  Our six year old created this picture.

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We here at “The Forever Years” hope you have a Happy Easter with your children.  We hope you have found these ideas helpful and would LOVE to hear of anymore you might have.

16 funny, poignant, personal resolutions for 2016 from moms and dads, by Laura T. Coffey

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Let’s face it: Parenting is a LOT of work every day, week and month of the year, and most moms and dads make adjustments on the fly all the time. Still, there’s nothing like the start of a new year for taking stock of how things are going on the home front.

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As part of our “Parenting Resolutions” challenge, TODAY Parenting Team contributors opened up about their hopes and dreams for the year ahead. Many of their resolutions are hilarious, many are touching — and all are real and relatable. We’ve compiled a whole bunch of them here.

What goals do you have for your family in 2016? Please join in this ongoing conversation by becoming a member of our TODAY Parenting Team, and stay connected to TODAY Parents updates on our Facebook page. We always want to hear from you!

1. I want my kids to speak nicely and stop saying bad words. (GIT Mom)

Mom blogger GIT Mom and her family

No more potty mouths for these little angels in 2016!

“As our family has officially reached tween-dom and my 11-year old’s world and eyes have been opened up to YouTube and other nasty real world influences, he’s been educating his 8- and 4-year old brothers on the finer points of cursing. Combine the joy of blurting out a first dirty word, with the idolization of an older brother, and these boys are enjoying a master class in Grade A hoodlum. … So, for 2016, I resolve to stop permitting our kids to say all of the following swear words: Dumb; Stupid; I hate you; F#$k; Sh*#. …

“I really believe we can quickly fix our kids’ communication skills. They’ll each get three warnings before they lose their electronic devices for the day. Because of their e-addictions, I know that giving them age-appropriate behavior targets will quickly teach them how to build skills and habits that’ll serve them well into adulthood, while at the same time cushioning my eardrums.”

2. I want to cut back on the amount of TV my kids watch. (Shana Sutton / Technotini.com)

Reward chart for kids. Courtesy of Shana S.

This reward chart could be a key to cutting down kids’ TV time.

“My parenting/family New Year’s resolution for 2016 is pretty simple — cut back on the amount of TV my kids (ages 4 and 5 1/2) watch to just an hour a day … although honestly, I’d be happy if they would just stop confusing the TV ‘on’ switch for a light switch. It’s gotten to the point where they cannot walk past the TV without turning it on! … Since I want to accomplish two things: 1) stop the automatic TV power-on and 2) encourage them to use their imagination and play with their toys, I decided to go with the reward chart route. In the right-hand column I wrote the four basic tasks my kids need to be doing instead of watching TV such as: read a book, color, play with LEGOs, or play with dolls. Then I wrote ‘Did Not Turn on TV without Permission.’ Every time they do one of the aforementioned activities, I’ll give them a smiley face. Once they receive 5 smiley faces, they can have 1 hour of TV.”

3. I want to laugh more with my kids. (Oh, Honestly!)

“I want to stop thinking I need to be so grown-up all the time. I want to ignore the people who might look at me and roll their eyes, and ignore the people who don’t share my particular style of humor, and I want to laugh. Little giggles; big guffaws; the silent ones that are accompanied by tears rolling down your cheeks; the ones that catch you by surprise and shoot snot out your nose. However it happens, I want to LAUGH!”

 

(To read more of this article, follow the link below…)

http://www.today.com/parents/16-funny-poignant-personal-resolutions-2016-real-parents-t63771

Crazy Crafternoons for Kids: Hosting an Arty Party, by Sarah Wilson

Some simple ideas for hosting a ‘Crazy Crafternoon for Kids’ or ‘Arty Party’, either for a birthday, a school holiday activity, or just because 🙂

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Recently I was intrigued to come across the term ‘Crafternoon’. A ‘crafternoon‘ is a lazy, lovely way to spend an afternoon crafting with adults or with the kids. I’ve always believed that everyone has a creative bent in them. Wasn’t it Picasso who famously stated that every child is an artist?

For my daughter’s birthday this year, we decided to opt for an ‘Arty Party’ theme. Even if you consider yourself to be creatively challenged, an ‘Arty Party’ can be pulled off relatively easily. All you need is 2-4 semi-structured crafty activities and if you lack inspiration, look to none other than Pinterest for some crafting inspiration. While we usually have parties at home, this year we had my daughter’s party at ‘Gone Potty’, a ceramic paining franchise. This turned out to be a smart idea, as I think I might have ‘gone potty’ if I had hosted…

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Witty, Wise and Funny Kids… “from the mouths of babes”…

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I keep a notebook in which I write down interesting things our kids have said.  I don’t always get to it in time to record everything, but I try my best to write things down as soon as I can, while they’re still fresh in my mind.  Later (sometimes even a year or two later) I type up the quotations and put them in the appropriate child’s scrapbook or share them with grandparents or other family members.  These “kid sayings”, as we’ve labelled them, have brought us a lot of joy over the years, not least to our children who, as they grow older, love hearing the funny, quirky and sometimes even very wise and insightful things they said when they were “little”.  They even ask us, when we’ve forgotten about it, to read stuff out to them from the “kids’ sayings” book.

In the future, I imagine, having a book like this will be interesting… it can be brought out at 21st birthdays, weddings and other family occasions and, in years to come, their grandchildren may even read “kids sayings” spoken by their grandparents.  As well as this, I believe writing down these quotations from our kids’ “forever years” cherishes these special times and the children they are, as well as the people they are growing up to be (and yes, some of these quotations are less than angelic!).  I also find it a good way of “slowing down” and appreciating the kids.

I’m going to share some quotations from the past year or so here.  I’d love to hear whether anyone else writes down things their children say or makes videos or records their “forever years” in any other special way.  And I’d love to hear what things other parents felt were worthy of jotting down.  🙂

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Big brother (9) to little brother (5) who had put his school shoes on the wrong feet:  Don’t wear them like that, or you’ll walk round and round in circles.

Little brother (5) looking at big brother (9)’s sports photo in which he had blinked at the wrong moment:  Wow, that looks really hard, especially if you have to do it with your your eyes shut like that!

Dad to 3 year old daughter: Why have you got bare feet?  Daughter: Because I’m not wearing any socks.

7 year old boy: Dad… [little sister age 3] said that when she was a baby she used to juggle elephants, is that true?  Dad (teasing): Yes, she was quite good at it.  Little Sister (modestly):  They were just little elephants.

3 year old girl:  All the girls in the world are ballerina princesses and all the boys are clowns.

3 year old girl with blue eyes to mother with brown eyes:  Maybe Jesus will help you to have blue eyes like me.

7 year old boy (not long after the Olympic games): So we have golden syrup, but why not silver syrup or bronze syrup?

5 year old boy while baking:  Do we keep the tablespoon in the garage?  Mum: No, why would we do that?  5 year old boy: Well a table spoon must be really big, like the size of a table.

7 year old boy at scouts, after being asked how to look after his hair (in order to get “health” badge):  You’ve got to brush it and check that no nits are in it.

7 year old boy:  Mum, I love you because you feed us and let us sleep inside.

7 year old boy:  Humans usually do stupid things when they get together in big groups.  Dad told me that.

7 year old boy:  Mum, I love you, because you’re good at keeping things alive, like us and the rabbit.

5 year old boy:  Mum, is our car a Hot Wheels car?  Mum:  What do you mean?  Boy: When you tip our car upside down, has it got “Hot Wheels” written on the bottom?

7 year old boy’s loving compliment to parents:  Mum, your skin is like wobbly jelly and Dad’s is like old, crusty pie.

3 year old girl with three older brothers:  When’s my penis going to grow in?

5 year old boy:  Dad, when are you going to shave off your fur?

9 year old boy on returning to school after the summer holidays:  I really like school, but I have to pretend to my friends that I don’t, because if you say you like school everyone thinks you’re a geek.

5 year old boy:  Boy nipples are just for decoration.  (And later): Boy nipples never grow up.

Mum to 4 year old daughter:  Are you going to finish your sandwich?  Daughter: No, I’m wasting it.

4 year old daughter after dog had been taken to the vet to be spayed: Will she be a different colour when she comes out?

4 year old daughter in pool:   I can touch the bottom now.  God stretched me!

Mum to 6 year old boy at 11pm:  Why aren’t you in your bed with the light off?  Why have you thrown toys all over the floor?  Boy: PARTY!

Brother and sister were playing with toy plastic animals the day after we had watched “Star Wars”.  Suddenly the boy said, very, very seriously: The zebra’s gone over to the dark side.

4 year old girl about her teddy:  I love her so much, I’ll keep her even when I’m really old, like 10 or 11.

7 year old boy: It’s weird how you can move your bottom jaw round a lot, but you can only move your top jaw if you move your whole head.

At garden shop, son (7): What’s that flower called, Mum?  Mum: An orchid.  Son:  An awkward?  Mum: No, an orchid. Son:  But it’s leaning over and it looks a bit awkward.  Are you sure you’ve got it right? 

4 year old girl:  It’s not nice to be mean to someone.  But if someone kicks you, you can kick them back and scare them with a rhinoceros mask.

6 year old son to Dad who was hammering when he was trying to watch TV:  Dad, turn that hammer down!

4 year old girl:  Mum, if I smash the TV will people come out of it?

4 year old girl giving Mum a goodnight hug around the neck:  Now you’re wearing a necklace made out of my arms.

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The High Tea Party……For Kids!

By Sarah Wilson

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With two of my children being girls, I’ve had the pleasure of organizing little girly tea parties for the last few years. And tea parties are just so much fun! For my daughter’s third birthday this month, I had so much fun hosting a ‘High Tea’ for children at home. Typically, high tea is of British origin, and is a meal eaten in the late afternoon or early evening, consisting of a cooked dish, bread and butter, and tea. Often sandwiches, cakes and scones are served. A high tea is usually for adults but this little party was given a kiddie twist. A high tea @ home turned out to be an inexpensive party that wasn’t too difficult to organize. To host a vintage children’s high tea at home, you’ll need:

A lace tablecloth

1-3 high tea platters. I borrowed two, and bought one from a local second hand shop.

I…

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10 Tips for Attracting Girls to the Block Area

 

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Have you ever had the experience in your classroom where the boys, either through words or actions or sheer number, establish the block corner as “boys only” territory?
Here are 10 tried and true strategies you can use to make the block corner irresistible (and accessible) to girls:

1. Add Fabric Pieces 

Provide lengths of brightly coloured fabric in different textures and/or a basket of two of small fabric pieces.

Children use them with their block creations to make tents and houses, to decorate or as picnic blankets, as costumes, as a way to hide, and many other things.

2. Accessorise.

Include a basket or two of adornments and natural elements such as beads, shells, coloured tiles, seed pods or silk flowers.


Stand back and watch what happens.

 

To Read more follow this link:

http://www.letthechildrenplay.net/2010/02/10-ways-to-attract-girls-to-block.html

 

 

On Logging Off and Living a Hands Free Life, by Sarah Wilson

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I haven’t done much blogging lately, because I’ve been a little burned out from writing my own book. In fact, I really ought to write a blog post on ‘How to Blog When All You Want to Do is Blob!’ But I have been enjoying reviewing books as part of several book review blogger schemes. And a really important read that stands out for me this year is the book ‘Hands Free Mama: A Guide to Putting Down the Phone, Burning the To Do List, and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp What Really Matters” by Rachel Macy Stafford.

Do you ever find yourself saying ‘Hurry Up’ to your kids? I know that I do, even though I know that rushing children doesn’t really work. My middle child in particular doesn’t like to be rushed and she has articulated this to me on several occasions.

“Rachel Macy Stafford’s post “The…

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