Monday, September 29, 2014

Chore Chart. Teaching Hard Work & Money Management



Our way of doing chores and cleaning is constantly evolving and adapting.
Wanting to put more responsibility on the kids and also wanting a way for them to earn money, I came up with this simple chart.

How to Make it:
  1. If you want to make it look a little bit cute, find a piece of scrapbook paper you like for the back. This is totally optional. :)
  2. Get a piece of paper and divide it long wise into how many sections you need for how many kids you have doing chores. Mine is 3. (LM, LB, LL)
  3. Leave a big space next to where you'll write their names for the square chore cards. Next to that draw a small space for the sun & moon. These represent morning & night.
  4. Then divide the rest of the paper into the days of the week, adding an extra space for extra Saturday chores.
  5. In each box write the money-value they can earn for completing their chores. I chose 10 cents for the daily chores, and 60 cents for doing the extra Saturday chores. (We also decided not to pay the kids for doing chores on Sunday).
  6. After the chart is all made, place it inside a sheet protector.
  7. Make "chore cards" that fit inside the square space you've created. You can make many or just 3 that rotate. You can make special ones for the kids' different ages. Just figure out what needs to get done, and what chores the kids are capable of performing. To keep it simple, I chose only 3 chores that we rotate each day. They stick to the sheet protector with sticky-tack.




How it Works!

  • These chores are to be done after breakfast, and after dinner.
  • If the child does his/her chore, then I circle the 10 cents with a dry erase marker. If they decide not to do their chore, it doesn't get circled.
  • Each day we rotate the chores. (or you can rotate each week).
  • The Saturday chores are where we all do housework and yardwork and I give assignments to each of the kids depending on what needs to get done.

  • At the end of the week, we'll add up how much each child has earned and give them their money.
    • They keep their money in zipper pencil pouches
    • We have separate bags for them to set aside 10% for Tithing for our church, and 10% for Savings.
  • Then we erase all the circles and start over the next week!


In Review:

We've done this system for about 3 weeks now. My children are ages 7, 5, and 2, and all have different personalities. So it has worked differently for each child:
  • My 7 year old (LM) is very motivated and often just needs to be reminded once. He rarely misses a chore and is very excited about earning money.
  • My 5 year old (LB) needs much more reminding and also some help getting the chore done. Though he might not comprehend completely the value of money, he likes when it's money time.
  • My 2 year old (LL) doesn't understand much of the whole system, but for both my 5 year old and 2 year old, they are learning to help out around the house, and hopefully the rest will come as they get older.
  • I do like having them earn a little bit of money. It's been a good tool for teaching about tithing and savings. And that they have a little money they can use for things they want to buy. Especially for my 7 year old that wants to buy everything he sees. It's helpful to show there is a limit to how much we can spend.

Therefore: 

This is helpful to have to remind us all to do chores, and to help teach about money. My 7 year old is gaining the MOST from this kind of chore chart, so if you try it with young kids and find it's not working too well, maybe come back to it when they are a bit older and it will be much more meaningful.  :)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Playtime Hearts




I recently had our 4th child, and we also recently moved.
I've been busy and tired and we are trying to find our new rhythm.....
and I'm trying not to lose my marbles. :)

The kids seem to be acting up a little bit more lately, and I've been praying & asking for help and guidance as a Mother.
The answer that keeps coming back to me is to spend more time with my kids.
Because when all is said and done, I know that is what really matters to me.


So I came up with an idea to help make that happen:
PLAYTIME HEARTS.

Here's what I did:

1. I traced heart shapes onto yellow paper and cut them out. They are roughly 2 1/2 inches big. I cut out about 26 hearts.




2. I wrote on each heart a fun activity that I know the kids like to play. 
A lot of these are things they've asked me to play with them in the past......the ones where I have given the all-too-often response of "not now."
I came up with these myself, but it would be fun to sit down with your kids and think of fun things to do together. 


Here's a list of what we've got:

Cars
Airplanes
Legos
Color
Dance
Trains
Super Heroes
Paper Airplanes
Play Library
Wii
Game (3 of these. We have a lot of games)
Soccer Outside
Catch Outside
Ninja Turtles
Mazes
Make no-bake cookies
Little People
*Your Choice (2 of these)

(I also left a few hearts blank so I could add things later that we think of to play).



3. I taped them onto the little chalkboard we have hanging up in our kitchen (You could tape them up anywhere).




4. And from here it's easy! I let the kids take turns picking a heart and we do whatever is on the heart, together. Sometimes there is a time limit (20-30 minutes depending on what's going on that day) and sometimes we just play and I try to just forget the time and focus on my kids. It's been refreshing to remember what it's like to play as a kid. It's good for all of us. :)



Some days are busy and we don't pick any hearts.
Some days are wide open and each of the kids get a chance to pick a heart.
Sometimes it's when my oldest is at school and it's just me and the little ones.
Sometimes it's all of us together as a family, including Daddy.
This week we used one of the hearts as our activity for Family Home Evening.
And sometimes we play without picking a heart at all. :)

When all the hearts have been picked, I'll tape them back up and start again.


This idea was a direct answer to my prayers.
We've done it for the past week, and it has been so much FUN!
It's helped us all in so many ways. The kids seem to not be acting up quite as much. I've noticed so many wonderful qualities in my children when we sit and play together---because I'm actually paying attention to them! Something I needed to be reminded to do.

But most of all it's helped me make the time for what truly matters to me--matters more than anything and everything.

My family.

Monday, September 15, 2014

He is there.



(The Doctrine & Covenants is a book of scripture--The Lord's inspired words through His modern-day prophets. You can learn more HERE & about my faith HERE.)

I love this scripture so much.
No matter where we are in our lives, or what challenges we face, these words are true for us!
God is our loving Father.
He is with us when we are weak and struggling. And even when we're not.
We may not see it, but help is there.
He is there.



Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Bedtime Game



Having the kids tucked soundly in bed at night is a glorious thing.
But bedtime is most definitely NOT my favorite time of the day.

The kids are riled up and hyper, I'm exhausted, and trying to get them all ready for bed seems to take forever.

To help move this notoriously slow-moving routine, I came up with a very simple and fun way to get the kids motivated to get ready for bed.
Here's what I did:

1. I cut out a bunch of squares from red & blue paper. I was originally going to do circles. But squares are so much easier to cut with a handy-dandy paper cutter. Or even just a pair of scissors! :)



2. Next, I started taping them onto the wall in the boys' bedroom, alternating red & blue:



3. I already had this laminated lion picture that I used a couple years ago in our Learning Binder. So I taped him up onto the wall as well. You can use a picture or cutout of anything. And it doesn't have to be laminated.



Here's how it works!
It's really very simple. Each of the kids gets a chance to move the lion along the spaces. They earn their moves by doing the following:

  • Going potty & brushing teeth = 1 move.
  • Putting toys away from the floor = 1 move.
  • Sitting reverently for scriptures and prayer = 1 move.
  • Not getting out of bed once lights are out = 1 move (in the morning).

I want this to be a positive reinforcement type of motivation. So if they don't stay in their bed then they just don't get to move the lion in the morning. If I find that is not working, then I may try moving the lion back a space every time they get out of their bed, we'll see.


When the lion makes his way to the end of all the squares, then the kids earn a lollipop! Since I have 3 kids who are working on this (LM age 7. LB age 4. LL age 2.) it shouldn't take too long to get the lion to the end.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Apple Puppets





The best kind of crafts for kids are ones that are not only fun to make, but also fun to PLAY with!
This craft is that kind of craft.

And if that wasn't enough reason to want to make these,
 they are also very easy. Here's how to make them:

Supplies:
  • Craft foam in red, light green, dark green, or whatever color you want your apples to be 
  • Craft foam in brown and green (for leaf and stem)
  • Craft sticks -aka- Popsicle sticks (I used these really small ones, but any size will do)
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Black marker

Craft Time!

1. Draw circles onto the craft foam and cut them out. 
My circles are about 2 1/2 inches big. And I cut out 3 circles of each of the colors--so my 2 kids and I could each have one of each color.




2. To turn these circles into apple shapes, simply cut out a little indent on the top and bottom of each circle. Like this:



Now you've got your apples!




3. With a black marker, draw eyes and a smile on each apple.
4. Using the brown foam, but out small rectangles for the stems. And using the green foam, cut out small leaf shapes.



5. Glue the stem, leaf, and craft stick to the back of the apples:



6. Let them dry, and you're all set!



7. Put on a apple-puppet show! The kids and I took turns sitting behind the couch and using our apples to put on silly shows. The apples danced, sang songs, played soccer, etc. It was a lot of fun.


Monday, September 8, 2014

Animal Crafts & Activities for kids



Here are some of our favorite ANIMAL themed crafts & activities that we've done.
Click a picture below to see that post!

http://www.littlefamilyfun.com/2012/08/square-monkey-puppets_22.html

http://www.littlefamilyfun.com/2013/01/easy-frog-cupcakes.html

http://www.littlefamilyfun.com/2013/01/footprint-penguin-craft.html

http://www.littlefamilyfun.com/2013/01/feed-penguin.html

http://www.littlefamilyfun.com/2014/01/polar-bear-race-game.html

http://www.littlefamilyfun.com/2014/02/ten-apples-up-on-top-craft-dr-seuss.html

http://www.littlefamilyfun.com/2013/09/build-dinosaur.html

http://www.littlefamilyfun.com/2012/04/alligator-craft.html

http://www.littlefamilyfun.com/2011/03/cluck-o-clock.html

http://www.littlefamilyfun.com/2011/04/cotton-ball-bunny.html

http://www.littlefamilyfun.com/2011/02/square-felt-farm-animals.html

http://www.littlefamilyfun.com/2011/09/colored-animal-tracks.html

http://www.littlefamilyfun.com/2011/01/heart-zoo.html

http://www.littlefamilyfun.com/2011/04/pom-pom-owls.html

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Power & Strength



I have been thinking about how amazing it is that through the Lord we can accomplish anything.
So many times in our lives, we tell ourselves that we can't do something. We limit ourselves.

"I can't do this."
"I can't handle this."
"I can't ____."

But our Heavenly Father loves us and wants us to succeed! 
When we turn to our loving Father in Heaven, 
pray and ask for His help, He will give us power and strength.
Instead of facing our challenges with discouragement,
we can face our challenges with a smile and say, 
"I can do this!"

Because with God, ALL things are possible.



Friday, September 5, 2014

Book of the Week: This Little Piggy, by Tim Harrington


I picked up a book at the library the other day that is really cute!
It's called "This Little Piggy", by Tim Harrington



At first I thought it looked kind of....odd. The way the toes were separated, but still looked like toes.
But the story is really cute, it's definitely worth reading. :)

Most people are familiar with the rhyme you say while you tickle your children's toes. 
("This little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed home," etc.)
I thought it was so clever of the author to take that rhyme we all know and show all that our piggys are capable of! :)
Especially for the pinky-toe piggy, who usually goes wee, wee, wee, all the way home.
He's pretty much the coolest toe of all.

My kids got a good laugh out of the this book. And now when we do the rhyme, it's fun to come up with all kinds of interesting things for the piggys to do, inspired by this fun book.


You can buy this book on Amazon. Click HERE.