Device-Free Game Night for Kids

Device-Free Game Night for Kids

Thank you Goliath Games for sponsoring this post. Pick up your favorite game today to enjoy the holiday season and beyond!

It’s holiday time!

While our schedules are jam-packed with tons of events, there always seems to be some downtime where we end up spending lots of time at home. Preparing fresh homemade holiday meals from scratch takes a lot of time and effort. This time requires some serious kitchen hours, and it can be stressful trying to get the kids to understand why we can’t go off on an adventure.

This year, I decided to host a “Game-giving” play date for the kids and a couple of their close friends. If we all have to be working hard, it may as well be in good company. The kids were able to play together and spend some one on one device-free time interacting with each other.

We kicked it off old-school by setting up five Goliath Games most popular games. Pop the Pig, Doggie Doo, Shark Bite, Catch the Fox, and Giggle Wiggle. No batteries, no screens! Just good ol’ fashion fun.

If you follow my blog you know I am an advocate for PLAY. The decline in play on a developing brain has far-reaching effects. Setting aside time to unplug and just play in a mixed-age setting is not only ideal, it is necessary. This sort of play requires conflict resolution and compassion. These age-appropriate Goliath Games all require the youngest player to take the first turn. This is excellent for teaching patience and compassion.

Device-Free Game Night

Device-Free Game Night

Each of the games had a fun element of surprise, it was fun to see their reaction and watch as they took part in a good chuckle. Creating an invitation to play by laying out all of the games allowed the kids to mingle and take turns.

Device-Free Game Night

Device-Free Game Night

Once they were done with sitting games, Giggle Wiggle encouraged them to get silly and do what kids do best, start moving! These games provided a gateway to a deeper imaginative play, and as adults, we were able to stand back and enjoy the show.

While the holiday can get busy, and messy, and… well, you know. We have to be mindful of how we spend even our “busy” time and remember to always make room for play.

Device-Free Game Night

 

Essentially yours,

Erika

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Device-Free Game Night

 

 

 

Including Outdoor Play On Busy School Days

Including Outdoor Play On Busy School Days

Thank you CLIF Kid for sponsoring this post. Be sure to check out the new CLIF Kid Zbar Filled and encourage your kids to get outside and play!

School is officially back in session, and with it comes hectic schedules and long days. With both kids in school this year we are adamant on making sure they get enough unstructured outdoor play. We are advocates for free play and understand the importance of children getting ample time outdoors. There is plenty of research linking childhood obesity, depression, and lack of motor sensory skills, are attributed to the lack of unstructured outdoor play.

While an education includes the core subjects, there is much to be learned on the playground. Kids can take away conflict resolution skills, risk versus reward, and effective communication. These are all important skills that need to be included as part of a child’s development. Since the reduction of recess time in school’s across the nation, we have seen an increase in child social deficiencies and anxiety. Social skill will serve our children well into their future, and the future of our nation. It has been estimated that children need a good three hours of outdoor play per day. This can seem impossible for families to achieve this with such tight school and activity schedules. So here are a few tips..

Not All Play is Planned

CLIF Bar

The opportunity to truly “play” may strike on a moments notice. You may run into a friend while grocery shopping and wind up on a full play date before you know what hit you. In order to discourage turning down these spontaneous (and usually memorable) opportunities, it’s important to set yourself up for success. One of the ways we ensure we embrace each moment is by carrying supplies in our trunk. There is always a change of play clothes, shoes, socks available in a container.  That way if we are out and about in school, church, or whatever fancy clothes you may own; we don’t have to turn down a good play sesh. I also keep fresh and fun snacks on hand all the time so I’m not worried about getting stranded with hungry kids. The CLIF Kid Zbar is a delicious soft baked snack bar my boys enjoy, and I’m on board with their organic creamy nut butter as a source of protein. My boys love the Zbar’s and often look forward to play dates so they can share their favorite flavors. They come in Double Peanut Butter, Apple Almond Butter, and Chocolate Peanut Butter. All flavors are full of nutritious ingredients like oats and nut butters, certified USDA organic and non-GMO, and free from ingredients like high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors. These are a snack kids are excited about and parents are happy about.

CLIF Bar

CLIF Bar

CLIF Kid

Recognize an Opportunity

Life is busy, and hectic. Schedules can be maddening, and often back us into rigid little corners with zero room for breathing or taking it easy. Not all play is obvious, sometimes it comes in a messy and inconvenient little package. The magic that unfolds once you can let go and understand what is truly happening beneath the surface (imagination, personal assertion, finding one’s own voice, problem solving), it’s hard to turn your back on this good stuff. It’s what life is made of. You only get one childhood. Think about the memories that stick out most to you. I’m pretty sure it didn’t involve a television or video game. It happened outside, on a playground, dancing in the rain, building mud pies.

CLIF Bar

 

Use What You’ve Got

We don’t all have a ton of time to search for the most insanely perfect excursions. Most folks are lucky to squeeze in a park play date after school and before dinner. Locating all of the best natural parks in your area and surrounding school, will help you fit in on your way home, near your church, or around your job. If the park isn’t an option you can scour local museums, gardens, or hiking trails. Hiking, biking, or taking a simple walk together are all great ways to get your fix of mother nature. Simple is best with kids, once we complicate matters it reduces the chances of it happening more frequently. Another option is to gather a group of moms as passionate about play as you are and take turns watching the kids at the park. This way everyone gets what they need. Creating a potluck group of friends to meet at the park  or beach for dinner is a wonderful way to encourage outdoor time.

CLIF Bar

CLIF Bar

Play is a child’s way of working out the stresses of every day life. If we rob our children of this inherent right, what sort of adults are we creating? If kids have no way to work out what they are experiencing what’s going on inside, what are we really showing them?

“It is easier to repair a child, than it is to repair an adult.”       – Frederick Douglass

CLIF Bar

Essentially yours,

Erika

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Kids Lunch Box Ideas for Back To School

Kids Lunch Box Ideas for Back To School

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GetCheesy #CollectiveBias

School will be back before we know it and the lunchtime struggle is real. Making the effort to  provide your child with a healthy and nutritious lunch they will enjoy can be a tough task. Especially when you are trying to keep things new and exciting for picky little palates. I do my best to keep from packing a sandwich with deli-meat each day. These tips have helped me develop fun and creative kids lunch box ideas and themes for the summer, and I’m ready to start creating more for back to school time. It’ll be here before you know it..

Kids Lunch Boxes

The Eyes Have It

Developing minds rely mostly on their senses (sight & smell mostly) to function. Fewer things can draw kids in more than bright vivid colors and a fun invitation. My kids attend a Montessori school, and the thinking behind the Montessori method is to respect the individual by setting up an invitation to learn. The shelves in a Montessori classroom have materials laid out in a fashion that would invite someone of interest to take part in that particular lesson. The same goes for kids lunch boxes! By arranging the food in such a way that it looks inviting could be enough to get your kids munching in no time.

Organic Valley

Organic Valley Stringles and American Singles make it easy to pack individual sized portions for lunch-time snacking. Right now you can save $1.25 off any Organic Valley Cheese at your local supermarket.

Cut It Out

A simple slice of watermelon may not seem enticing to a kid. But a melon ball they can pop in their mouth and is easy to hold can be a blast. Making smaller and creative portions of food, it invites the child to take part in eating a well-balanced meal. Organic Valley products are all organic, without antibiotics, synthetic hormones, toxic pesticides, or GMO’s. Cutting your items into fun shapes and sizes makes kids lunch boxes a little less intimidating, and a little more exciting.

Kids Lunch Boxes

Kids Lunch Box Ideas

When In Doubt, Stick It

Kids will eat just about anything you put on a stick. Our new favorite kids lunch ideas mostly involve Kids Kabobs. A simple salad may not be enough to get your child excited about lunch, but throw some spinach, string cheese, and tomatoes on a stick and you’ve got yourself a winner! My boys love finding new and interesting ways to incorporate kabob-style lunches into their school lunch. Organic Valley Stringles makes that easy by simple cutting up a cheese stick and adding it to most of the fun lunch-box combinations. You can create fruit sticks, salad kabobs, and even quesadilla on a stick. It’s become such a hit they have started requesting their breakfasts on a stick (french toast kabobs anyone??).

Kids Lunch Ideas

You can find the Organic Valley cheese products easily in the dairy aisle at your local Publix supermarket.

Essentially yours,

Erika

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