Boredom Busters Idea Jar

Harry Potter had the sorting hat. Katniss Everdeen had the reaping. I give you the Boredom Busters Idea Jar! This is an activity and plan-for-the-day in one! Kids will love it…and parents will too because it brings an end to the question “Mom…what are we going to do today?…” during school breaks. Whatever boredom buster you pick is the activity du jour!

Boredom Busters Idea Jar

This activity was previously published on Parent Club but I thought it timely to bring back – because it is a fantastic summer boredom buster!

You will need:

  • Jar (recycle a clean jam jar or pasta sauce jar!)
  • Boredom Buster ideas (see printable pdf below)
  • Scissors
  1. Using scissors cut out Boredom Buster ideas (Free printable below or make your own)
  2. Fold Boredom Buster ideas in half
  3. Place in jar

Everyday during school break (or P.D. Day) have one child close their eyes and pick one Boredom Buster idea. Whatever is picked is what you do for the day (no whining or fighting! – everyone gets a turn picking an idea on different days – and this activity teaches kids to be open to new experiences).

Boredom Buster ideas

Boredom Busters Ideas

Kids can take a regular sheet of computer paper (just as long as it isn’t different coloured paper because then kids would figure out which colours to choose to get the activity they wanted) and write up their own Boredom Buster ideas. Make your own or use this FREE PRINTABLE pdf of Boredom Buster Ideas (yes, it’s the pdf of that image above) which offers 10 different Boredom Busters.

Some ideas for your Boredom Busters Idea Jar…

  • Host a play date (that way kids can entertain themselves with friends)
  • Family field trip (this could be something free like going to a library or something paid like an indoor trampoline park)
  • Movie day (I have some suggestions for 8 Great Kids Movies)
  • Baking (my Easy Chocolate Trifle recipe is kid-friendly!)
  • Arts n’ Crafts (yes, I have a post or two on crafts for kids)
  • Science & Adventure (from mentos & coke to a scavenger hunt)
  • Board games (twister anyone?)
  • Dance party (always a favourite here!)

You could even pick from your Boredom Busters Idea Jar the night before and that way you have a plan for the next day (we are big planners here and the kids always want to know “What are we doing tomorrow?”).

A Boredom Busters Idea Jar takes the guess work out of activities for school breaks.

Recycle Upcycle Glass Jar Idea

This is a great Boredom Buster for big kids. And it’s a perfect summer activity because you have to make it outside. Check out my Recycle Upcycle Glass Jar Idea. From glass salad dressing jars to glass jam jars – this project turns something meant for the recycling box and upcycles it. My big kids were all over the Recycle Upcycle Glass Jar Idea…Recycle Upcycle Glass Jars

 

What you will need:

  • Glass jars (salad dressing jars, jam jars, bottles…)
  • Spray paint (I opted for silver but gold would look funky)
  • newspaper
  1. Clean and dry glass jars.
  2. Go outside.
  3. Lay newspaper on a flat surface
  4. Lay glass jars opening-side-down on newspaper (this is so that the paint can drip down the sides should there be extra paint).
  5. Lay glass jar tops down on the newspaper.
  6. Check which way the wind is blowing (important because you don’t want the wind to blow spray paint back on your clothes)
  7. Follow the spray paint directions (mine said: shake paint can, hold it 3-4 inches away from what you want painted, and spray).
  8. Spray the glass jars from side to side and top to bottom.
  9. Spray the glass jar lids from side to side and top to bottom.
  10. Allow recycle upcycle glass jars to dry.
  11. Once dry, put lids back on (if you choose – they look nice without lids too)

Recycyle Upcycle Glas Jar Ideas

  • desk organizer
  • flower vase
  • pencil holder
  • hair tie organizer
  • idea jar for Boredom Busters
  • flower pot

And of course, remember that spray paint is – in fact – toxic. So you do want to do this activity outside where there is lots of fresh air (no breathing in spray paint thank you very much). And this is a big kid activity.  Pssst…older kids will also enjoy my How To: Sock Bun tutorial. 

For younger kids I suggest making an Outdoor Scavenger Hunt For Kids (always a hit!).

TRIVIA: this project almost made it into my next book (coming February 2015!). The reason why it didn’t make the cut? I had more  Boredom Busters than pages! 

Activities for Kids on a Hot Day

Thought it might be timely to share some Activities for Kids on A Hot Day. Screen-free, no admission type of activities the kids can do around the house. Keep the kids busy my friends – it will save your sanity!…

From the Parent Club archives but always  timely

20 Activities for kids on a hot day

Activities for Kids on a Hot Day

  1. run through the sprinkler
  2. read a book
  3. draw a picture
  4. listen to music
  5. dance in the living room
  6. play with your toys *insert kid groan here*
  7. draw a hopscotch game outside
  8. swing (we have the swingset outside remember)
  9. Paint the sidewalks with a paint brush and water
  10. play in the shade
  11. swim in the pool
  12. play soccer
  13. play hopscotch
  14. build a fort
  15. make popsicles
  16. stamp
  17. colour
  18. play a card game
  19. Clean your room *insert another kid groan*
  20. hula hoop

Summer is the season to disconnect from screens  *she hypocritically typed from her laptop* (C’est la vie).

You might also want to pick up a copy of my book Boredom Busters  which has 50+ activities, recipes, science experiments, crafts, and more to bust boredom at home, in the classroom, on on the go. All of the activities use items easily found around the home or classroom making it a fun and frugal. Boredom Busters by Caroline Fernandez

How To Kool Aid Dye Hair

This is a fun and inexpensive “treat” activity for the big kids in your life. How To Kool Aid Dye Hair was a mega-hit with my big kids (and I must admit…it looks pretty darn cool). And it will just wash out so no worries about it being permanent. So for some streaks under your hair or to dip dye the ends (you could even ombre) here is my easy How To Kool Aid Dye Hair tutorial…

How to kool aid dye hair

You will need:

  • 1 package of Kool Aid (we used cherry)
  • 1 heat proof cup (we used a Tim Hortons travel mug)
  • 1 pot
  • Water
  • Stove
  • Paper towel
  • Chair (for sitting in while you wait for your hair to dye)
  • Elastics (to tie hair)
  • Old t-shirt (in case kool aid spills)

TIP: if you tie up your hair and just dye the bottom you will get the effect we did – which is handy because when hair is all down you can’t see the dye (for those fancy events when you don’t want red streaks) and looks funky when you tie it up (for those events where you want to show off your streaks).

STOP FOR SAFETY: have an adult help with boiling and pouring water

TIME: 20 minutes (plus hair drying time)

How to kool aid dye hair

  1. Put on old t-shirt, tie up the hair you do not want to dye, put chair next to counter.
  2. Fill heat proof travel mug with water.
  3. Pour this water into pot
  4. Add Kool Aid into water in pot.
  5. Put pot on stove and bring it to a boil.
  6. Once Kool Aid is boiling take it off burner and allow it to cool for 2 minutes.
  7. Carefully, pour hot Kool Aid into heat proof cup (be really really careful – you can burn yourself! – which is why this is a big-kid activity)
  8. Next, put heat proof cup on counter
  9. Sit in chair.
  10. Have someone dip and submerge the hair you want to dye into the cup (this is a 2 person job because if you tried to do it yourself you could spill the cup).
  11. Allow hair to sit in Kool Aid for 20 minutes.
  12. After 20 minutes, take paper towel and put it around your hair as it comes out of Kool Aid (paper towel will prevent Kool Aid from dripping everywhere).
  13. Air dry or use a hair dryer.
  14. Done!

If you would like to dip dye your hair you could just dip the ends of your hair directly into the pot with Kool Aid. Again, be careful because the liquid will be HOT.

Total cost: about $1.50 (but being the kid with the cool red streaks…priceless)

Outdoor Scavenger Hunt For Kids

We just did an Outdoor Scavenger Hunt For Kids for a birthday party and it was a HUGE hit. It was a great way to keep kids active, outdoors, and working in teams. And in this post I share a FREE Printable Template PDF so you can do your own Outdoor Scavenger Hunt For Kids

Outdoor Scavenger Hunt For Kids

Outdoor Scavenger Hunt For Kids

First, I divided the kids into two teams (and I clearly said there were no prizes so that the kids would understand this was just for fun with no competition). I connected the two teams by giving each “captain” a walkie talkie (they LOVED this). The walkie talkies were a ton-of-fun for them to use back and forth in communication. So though they were in two teams…they were still a group.

I also set clear boundaries. They could walk around the block  but they could not cross any streets or go into any backyards. And they had to stay together as a team. It was a good way to keep the kids safe but give them a bit of freedom at the same time.

I provided clip boards and pens as well. And the kids were good about taking turns (there is something powerful and magical about holding a clip board for a kid – who knows why?!).

And instead of having the kids find things and bring them back (because who needs a bunch of rocks and sticks coming home?!) I had the kids sign their names as to who found what – and then they had to verbally report it back to me.  This was great because it got all the kids talking and sharing back stories about how they found stuff.

Outdoor Scavenger Hunt For Kids Template

To print out the above Outdoor Scavenger Hunt For Kids FREE Template click here Outdoor Scavenger Hunt For Kids Template.

And check out my  post on Birthday Party activities (fun, frugal, and easy!). And of course my book, Boredom Busters has 50+ activities to entertain and keep kids busy (shameless plug I know – but hey  - see a plug-use a plug!).

Father’s Day Gifts For Dad

What to give a Dad? I’ve come up with a few Father’s Day Gifts For Dad ideas – small budget to big budget. What do you gift the Dad in your life?…

Father's Day Gifts for Dad

Father’s Day Gifts For Dad

  • Mighty Dads by Joan Holub (a fun book to read with Dad) – Indigo
  • Tim Horton’s Gift card (great for coffee or lunch date with Dad) – Tim Hortons
  • Polo shirt (for Dad to wear when you take him on a field trip) – Old Navy
  • Ties (for Dad to wear on those special occasions) – Moores
  • BMW K 1600 GT (because Dad loves boy toys) – BMW
  • Ryobi Drill (see boy toys above) – The Home Depot

I know the BMW is an out-of-the-budget Father’s Day Gift For Dad – but a Dad can dream right?!

You may also want to check out my suggestions for Father’s Day Bar B Q Ideas (yum!) to help make Dad’s special day even special-er!

Prefer a kid DIY homemade Father’s Day craft to give to Dad? Then you must check out my Easy Father’s Day Tie tutorial – is it great to do at home or in a classroom.

Father's Day Tie craft

Screen Free Travel Activities

Planning a trip en famille? I’m sharing  some of my favourite Screen Free Travel Activities. Why? Because sometimes the screens on the airplane don’t work. Or you run out of batteries. Or you hit a travel glitch and you need to fill in activity time. These 20 Screen Free Travel Activities just might make your travel life a little easier…

Screen free travel activities

Pick up a copy of Boredom Busters to see my Wooden Spoon Puppets boredom buster. It’s an easy, inexpensive, and pretty fun activity for kids (and if you happen to get a copy of Boredom Busters – the Wooden Spoon Puppets pictured in the book are actually made by my kids…a bit of Parent Club trivia for you!)

You might also like my Family Travel Packing List - it’s one of the most looked at posts on Parent Club!

family travel packing list

#WW w linky Habitat For Humanity GTA

So  at last week’s Habitat For Humanity GTA kickoff…there I was a newbie (who also happens to be a Habitat For Humanity Toronto Ambassador!). I was a bit nervous. Ok. A lot nervous. But I left inspired, engaged, and looking forward to building homes for families in need this September.  Thus, this week’s #WW w linky Habitat For Humanity GTA Launch

Habitat For Humanity GTA

As always comments appreciated and links to your own #WordlessWednesday posts most welcome!

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Spring Cleaning Checklist

The only bad thing about the sun finally shining is that you see how much dust has settled in your house over the winter. Thought it timely to share a Spring Cleaning Checklist to do some deep cleaning (and take care of those dust bunnies!)…Spring Cleaning Checklist

Spring Cleaning Checklist

I think one of the most important things to do in Spring is to change your smoke alarm batteries (it could save your family’s lives).  Other top-of-the-list Spring cleaning to-dos are: deep clean oven and  deep clean coffee maker (I use both every single day and they get a big work out…I deep clean both once a year…Spring and Fall…to ensure they are in the best conditions possible.

We also make Spring cleaning a family activity. We turn on the music. Give every kid a “job”. And then get to it. We find it goes faster when everyone joins in (and Mommy doesn’t feel resentful doing it all by her one-some). Plus, cleaning is a life skill – so why not kids to pitch in and do their part. Their future wives/husbands/roommates will appreciate it!

I invite my son to help wipe down my Smudge-Proof kitchen (mostly because it’s his little fingers which make most of the messes!). Getting him to help in the kitchen is easy because he loves getting on the step and doing all the wiping and cleaning which he sees us biggies do every day. Yes, with him cleaning it takes longer (and there is always water spillage). But he is happy to take part…and Spring Cleaning is all about pitching in!

With their patented Smudge-Proof™ Stainless Steel finish, Frigidaire Gallery® and Frigidaire Professional® stainless-steel appliances have a new anti-smudge technology that resists those little fingerprints and is easier to clean than traditional stainless steel surfaces.

Smudge-Proof™ Stainless Steel is available on all Frigidaire Gallery® and Frigidaire Professional® products – see the collection here: http://www.frigidairekitchen.ca/en/smudge-proof/index.html

Disclosure:  I am part of the Frigidaire Canada Ambassador program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group.  The opinions on this blog are my own.

Hand Print Heart Craft

This Hand Print Heart Craft is perfect for Mother’s Day. It’s super simple. Uses stuff you already have around the house. And decorates a homemade card quite nicely. Oh, did I mention it is easy?!

Handprint heart craft

Hand Print Heart Craft

You will need:

  • computer paper (or coloured paper if you prefer
  • scissors (I used my fav. Fiscars scissors as always)
  • pencil
  • hands

hand print heart craft

  1. Take computer paper and fold one piece in half
  2. Trace your hand on one side *NOTE: there is a trick to this below!
  3. Cut out hand print
  4. Unfold and see your fantastic master piece for Mom (or Grandma or aunt or friend).

So the trick to the whole thing (and really if you ignore this it won’t work out at all and you’ll have to schlep to the store and buy a generic Mother’s Day card which will add a whole extra errand to your day instead of having fun doing arts & crafts with your kids…)

Hand print Heart Craft

THE TRICK: Your thumb and index finger run beyond the folded edge! This will connect the two hand prints together along with making a heart in the middle. See how the pink curve line forms half a heart?! That’s it. That’s the trick. So cut the hand print heart craft starting on the open edge (cut both sides of the paper. And continue cutting keeping the thumb and index finger running beyond the folded edge. It’s a simple trick but so important.

If you are looking for ways to occupy themselves while you enjoy your Mother’s Day, then I suggest for older kids this little tutorial on making a Juice Box Wallet while lil’ ones can try  this Kids paper crafts: kid crafts t-shirt tutorial.

Happy Mother’s Day all!

#WW w linky

You might have seen it on my instagram last week…but it rings true always…

Parent Club w linky

As always comments appreciated and links to your own #WordlessWednesday posts most welcome!

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Habitat For Humanity Toronto Ambassador!

I am so THRILLED to announce that I am a Habitat for Humanity Toronto Ambassador! Why? Because I know, being a Mom, the importance of a home (it’s really the foundation of a family).  I am so honoured to be partnered with P & G and Habitat for Humanity to build support, promotion, and homes (33 homes!) in the Toronto area for families…

Habitat for Humanity Caroline Fernandez

Special shout out to Deborah at http://www.raisingmyboys.net/ (@Mom2Michael) who is also a Habitat For Humanity Toronto Ambassador (and one of my fav bloggers). hi-5 teammate, I cannot wait to build with you!

Do you know about Habitat for Humanity?

Habitat for Humanity GTA is a non-profit housing organization that mobilizes volunteers and community partners to provide affordable housing and promote home ownership as a means to breaking the cycle of poverty.

About the Partnership:

  • Tide, Swiffer & Mr. Clean have partnered with Habitat for Humanity to invest in healthy, happy homes across Canada.
  • The three year partnership, which totals $900,000, will see P&G support Habitat’s family home builds throughout the county, on behalf of its Household Needs brands such as Tide, Swiffer and Mr. Clean.
  • This year, the investment will provide assistance in Women Build projects in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal .
  • P&G will offer cleaning kits to Habitat for Humanity affiliates to help ready the newly built homes for move-in once construction is complete, and will provide welcome baskets packed full of household products to each family moving into their new Habitat home.

I have been a supporter of Habitat for Humanity Toronto for a while now by donating (and shopping) at their Habitat ReStores (great places to find and recycle building and household items).

Women Build images provided by Habitat for HumanityWomen Build images provided by Habitat for Humanity

  • The build will be held September 15 – 27, 2014 on two build sites
    • September 15 – 21 – Brimley Road (Scarborough)
      15 semi-detached homes will be built for Habitat GTA partner families
    • September 23 – 27 – Torbram site (Brampton)
      18-home development

Visit womenbuildtoronto.ca to sign up, donate or advocate!

Who wants to build with me?!…(No tools or construction experience required!)