MYO Quiet Time Marker Book

MYO Quiet Time Marker Book

There are many, many ways to have quiet time for your children. Eventually they grow out of nap time. So, keeping schedules for our busy buggies sometimes seems difficult. A lot of children end up going to video games, tablets, phones, and the like. And they do this at such a young age.

My Beanie Bug, who is six years old, as actually asked for a phone. She wants a phone because her friend, whom is the same age as Beanie, has a phone of her own. I told Beanie there was no way she was getting her own phone at such a young age. This has become common place for young bugs to have things like this. So, how do you curb this? Yes, use these devices to help them learn. As well as teach them how and when to use these devices. However, learning can be fun in a non-technological way as well.

You don’t have to use quiet time books for just nap time, either. You can use them in the car. Set up some time before bed time, to help them calm down before or after their bed time routine. There are so many ways to utilize this. Plus, the ideas are limitless. You can print them out yourself. You can use workbooks you find at Dollar Tree or other stores. You can hand make them, (I’ve done this, and it may take time, but I make copies after I do this so that I can duplicate as needed.)

Pick You Poison

Decide how you want to set out your Quiet Time Marker Book. Then gather your materials. For us, here at the Buggy House, I’m testing out printable online worksheets. So this is what my ingredients list looks like:

  • Gather and print worksheets
  • Laminate pages
  • Punch holes to fit in binder
  • Place in binderQuiet time marker books

Gather markers to use with, or allow the buggies to use what they have already.

And, that’s it. There really isn’t much to it, but at the same time, there is sooooo much that you can do with it. For my buggies, especially my Beanie Bug, practicing her writing gives her the freedom to read and write more. Then she can write stories with all her pictures she draws. When you go to make these books, make them around your child’s interests. For example, Beanie is my diva. If I make this centered around her writing about princesses or make-up, or even dress parties, tea parties, baby dolls, or anything diva like, then she will be so engrossed in this book. And that is what you want. Capture what your buggy likes the most. She’ll never want to put it down.

For Belly Bug, she loves dinosaurs, frogs, nursery rhymes, bugs, etc. She needs to work on writing her name and practicing writing. So, mixing these will make a fun book that keeps her practicing. You could also keep in the Zoo Phonics system that a lot of buggies are learning at school. Which is another thing Belly Bug loves, and will point out letters excitedly to tell you if it looks like Sammy Snake or Allie Alligator.

Again, the options are limitless. Leave me a comment below to tell me some of the ideas you like and work for your buggy.

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The Pirate Series

This week I’m starting my Learn N Play Pirate Series

So, today, after my friend left me with a muddled brain of ideas I really wasn’t sure what to talk about for learn and play.  So, I sat at my computer using Publisher to work on some charts, and thought about how nice it was outside today.  Especially after all that cold and rain that we got the past couple days.

So, with Learn N Play in mind, and fun time with my buggies, I decided to play a pirate game…

I made a map, and filled their little toy treasure with gold doubloons, a magic fairy wand, a magic princess amulet, magic buccaneer whistle.

Pirate game items.  We have gold doubloons, a map, a treasure chest, and magical treasure items.
Pirate game items. We have gold doubloons, a map, a treasure chest, and magical treasure items.

Then, from the docked ship, we entered into mermaid cove.  We had to find the correct path.  We started with white rocks, then had to choose between the yellow, blue, or red rock path that led to the next patch of land.  I drew these in my driveway with chalk.  And our ship was our front porch stairs.  After they solved the problem, the lead problem solver collected 3 gold doubloons for their effort.

Mermaid Cove Jumping Stones
Mermaid Cove Jumping Stones

Then, from there, they had to travel to and through turtle cave.  The next problem solver leader, showed us how to get through turtle cave.  For her efforts, she also collected 3 gold doubloons.  For turtle cave, I tipped two outside chairs on end, and topped it with our sandbox cover, which they had to climb under.

Turtle Cave
Turtle Cave

The last problem to solve, was slippery slope.  So, we ventured off and had to figure out how to get down from slippery slope.  Our problem solver leader, also collected 3 gold doubloons for their effort.  Our slippery slope was our slide.

Slippery Slope, can you find the treasure?
Slippery Slope, can you find the treasure?

Afterwards, they found the treasure and each got a piece to keep.  We had so much fun doing this, and it led to many other ideas.  Like turning the amulet into an actual amulet instead of the dollar store party favor gold medals.  This is also a fun activity that you can make to fit the different ages of your buggies.

Next week we will have a pirate project to help us learn even more.

Pretty Little Nail Biter

Some children, just like adults, are nail biters.  For many different reasons.   And there are many things you could try to get them to stop.  However, a friend of mine came up with a unique way to get her buggy to stop.

A bit of back story:

Buggy Bug, (my friend’s bug) has bitten her nails for a while now.  Her mother has tried many things, however, when your bug chews down so far that it causes her fingers to split open, you’ve got to dig deep and find what works for this child.  And Buggy Bug has very recently bitten down so far on one finger, that her mommy couldn’t keep it from splitting farther and farther.

She had called me down to her place to take a look at it to see if I could do something to keep it sealed, because as well as nail-biting, Buggy Bug likes to dig through dirt with her fingers, to find bugs, worms, and the like.  Hence the name Buggy Bug.  So, a band-aid wouldn’t stay on, and it was starting to get infected because of all the dirt and what not in this split finger.

So, I went to her house with my trusty liquid skin, to take a look at this.  She had washed it out enough so that there was no infection and no dirt at all.  It looked fairly well, as far as open wounds are concerned.  So, I explained to her how to use it, and applied the liquid skin a few times to seal it.  I also explained that if there is any question at all, she needs to take her to the doctor.  And, if it starts getting infected, the liquid skin will have to come off.

The reason I love liquid skin is that it works like a band-aid, but it will also dissolve later.  Also, if it needs to come off quickly, it comes off easily with soaking then lifting it off.  I’ve had an experience, myself, with medical grade superglue and infection.  So, I purchased the liquid skin with myself and my equally clumsy husband in mind.  I’ve also used it on one of my little brothers as well as my own children.  So, if you intend on getting some, I think it is wonderful, read the directions.  Make sure that it is okay to use with little ones.  If there is a question you can ask your doctor and or your pharmacist.

Anyhow, back on track.  After I sealed Buggy Bug’s finger up, it finally started to heal.  It still led to the problem of her biting her nails all the way down.

What did Buggy Bug’s Mama Do?

Even though Buggy Bug is entirely a tom boy, she loved the idea of a manicure with mommy.  Her mommy cleaned up her nails, pushed back the cuticles, and put on fake nails.  It is her last resort to stop her daughter from biting her nails down to the skin.20160420_174716

My friend did this last night, and this morning the only problem she had, was a melt down about the loss of one of the new nails.  Buggy Bug, so far, is doing well with the not biting, and is currently enjoying her nails.  The only other suggestion Buggy’s Mama has, is to use the glue instead of just the sticky paper or part that is on the nail.20160420_175247

So, just another example of playing to learn something.  To Buggy, this was a game, like dress up with her mommy.  And something that will last. What kind of things have you tried to stop nail-biting?  Leave me a comment below to share your experiences.

Toy Storage

There have been MANY ideas on how to store toys for the buggies.  Especially my buggies.  Here are just a few examples:

  • Playroom
  • Toy box
  • Large totes to rotate daily
  • Smaller totes to rotate as wanted
  • Toy rotation daily, weekly, and monthly.

I’ve tried all of these things, and what normally ends up happening is this:

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Or this:

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And then what happens is the totes and containers are actually used as toys, hiding spots, forts, whatever they can imagine.  Also, my buggies will play with each and every toy that is out.  They actually make it a habit to dump out the entire toy box every time.  What happened in the above pictures is they had figured out how to unlock the closet I stored the toys in, and had a hay day.

I have a big rule of thumb around my buggies.  If it is quiet, I better run.  Reason is if they are quiet they are either sleeping or scheming, and unless I put them to bed they are most likely scheming.

So, I tried the, “you’re going to pick it up,” thing.  However, it was such an overwhelming mess mama had to help.  I am still sorting out toys…

However, the other day I was flipping through Pinterest and I happened across a great little play bag for Legos, where when you undid the tie it flattened out into a round rug that buggies can play their Legos on, and when they are done…pull the string with the Legos in the middle and NO MORE MESS!!!

I decided that was one of the most awesome concepts ever.  Why hadn’t I thought of it, right?  But there was a few tweaks I wanted to make to it.  First, I wanted to make it for a different set of toys.  I wanted to use it for Barbies.

Also, since a large Barbie house takes up too much space, and doesn’t seem as fun as a flat lay out for the bugs, I figured a nice flat layout for a Barbie house would be the best route.

The other thing I wanted to test, was to make it a no sew project.  One thing I’ve run into in the past is that many people do not have access to a sewing machine.  And if they do, a lot of them do not know how to use one and find it intimidating to try.  So, this was my practice run at new toy storage, with a theme, that is no sew:

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As you can see it is a large circle mat that leaves plenty of room for a few buggies to play.  The green is the yard area, and there are separate house rooms illustrated by the different color and pattern of the squares.  It leaves it entirely up to their imagination on how they want to use it, but a bit more fun than just a circle mat on the floor.

I used a mixture of heat tape and hot glue.  I realized, after using the heat tape to fasten the rooms down, that using hot glue was easier, faster, and much less hassle.

After I took the whole day to glue this puppy together, I decided that for myself I will be using my sewing machine for further models of toy storage like this.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my hot glue gun, but I like my fingers too.  Also, I’m faster on my machine than it is to deal with keeping things lined up to glue together.

In the next couple of weeks I’m going to show more toy storage ideas like this, and fill you in on how my buggies do with it.  So far, they absolutely love their Barbie mat.  They want me to make more for their other toys.

Do you have some unique toy ideas?  Leave me a comment below to share.

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Don’t Be Afraid of Technology

In the past few weeks I’ve covered many low-cost options for learn and play.  But, there is a way to utilize the things we use on a daily basis for learn and play.  And, no I’m not talking about the pots and pans and wooden spoons your bug just pulled out to play the drums and serenade you with their song.

Seriously though.  You’re reading this right now, on the computer or your phone.  And most phones used today are smart phones which are basically a tiny computer and phone rolled into one.

Often I’ve seen many parents hand a baby a phone so they can play candy crush or watch a music video, or anything really, to occupy them.  Sometimes it intrigues them, other times they are more interested in turning your phone into their new teething toy.

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I use my phone on a daily basis.  I use my computer at least that much as well.  Our children watch us do this, and they want to do what mommy and daddy are doing.  So, naturally, this is one of the most common things they want to go for.  As a matter of fact, I’ve locked my phone and computer just to keep my buggies from being able to get into it and change things around.  I’ve actually had to re-download things because my two-year old likes to rearrange and delete things on my phone.  (She also likes to hide it in mysterious places so mommy can’t take it away from her.)

Children are sponges, and they learn by watching us.  They take on our mannerisms and will do and say things that we do.  So, by allowing them the privilege to use our computers and phones is only teaching them earlier what they will need to know in the future.

But what should I allow my buggies to do on the computer?

You can download a lot of apps for free.  Think about how many people play candy crush?  They advertise it everywhere, and it is free to download and play.  Yes, you could make in-game purchases, but that’s a game for you.  So why wouldn’t we look for games that our children can play and learn?

I personally use google play.  And, since my husband only knows how to use what I show him to use, I am the one that downloads the games for the kids.  We use his tablet because it is larger than the phones, and has more storage.  Currently, these are the games my buggies play:

  • 1st Grade Activities
  • First Grade Learning Games
  • Kids Complete Learning
  • School Learning
  • Games for Kids Learning
  • Kindergarten Activities
  • Kids Learning Kindergarten
  • Kids Math
  • Numero U Know
  • Kids Sight Words
  • Days of the Week
  • My body Parts
  • MyBodyParts
  • Human Body Pats
  • Panda Preschool
  • Preschool and Kindergarten Activities
  • Toddler and Preschool
  • Fruits & Vegetables
  • Kids Learning Fruits
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Veggie Point
  • Colors for Kids
  • Learning Colors
  • A for apple
  • Learning Kids ABCs
  • FruitsABC
  • Pre-K Learning Game ABC
  • Trip To Jungle
  • Animals And Birds
  • Animal Zone

You may notice I have multiple games for one category type of learning.  I do that so that I can watch which one or ones my buggies work with best.  Sometimes I go back and uninstall some that do not work for us.  Other times, I switch them back and forth so that I can take advantage of each aspect of the free game.

The buggies think they are getting a treat, and in all actuality, they’re learning.  When you know that your buggy might be behind in an area, handing them a tablet where they have to practice those things, but in a game form, makes the experience much easier for them to take in.

Also, I have noticed, if I hand my buggies the computer, they are actually quiet and concentrating.  However, busy work for the busy buggies is just not their thing.

So, go give it a try.  Do a search in google play or where ever you get your apps from, and look up learning games.  Then when they ask you if they can play on the computer or play a video game, hand them a learning game, so that they are having fun and learning.child-148150_1280

One quick note on this.  Personally I limit the time they have on these devices so that they are not so involved with these that they do not get time to go run and play with their friends.  Also, limited time on the tablet makes it that much more fun.  Just like rotating toys is almost like new toys every time.

Supervision is also very important.  It takes seconds for your buggy to hit the wrong button (or right button, depending on how you look at it,) and then get into something else.  And with free access to YouTube, google with the speech access, you don’t know what your buggy will get into or accidentally download to your device.  So keep close eye on them while you let them have their tablet time.

Also, sitting with them and getting them moving in the right direction by playing the game with them gives them confidence to take over and do more learning on their own.  My little Belly Bug was having problems with learning her colors.  So, with implementing the computer games as well as other learn and play games, she is retaining the knowledge she needs.  Sometimes we all need to look at things differently to learn a new thing.  We all have different ways of learning things.  We just need to find what works for our buggies.

Sooo…Happy Searching!!!

Get out there on your favorite app store and download some free learning games for your buggies.  And the next time you hand your bug your phone to help calm them, make it a learning game, instead of candy crush or a movie.

Leave a comment below, and let me know some of your favorite apps for learning.

Incorporate Lean N Play

Perhaps many of you are trying to figure out how to fit these learning activities into your busy schedule.  Between cleaning, cooking, appointments, and errands.  Then add in that some of us work on top of all of that.  Some are single parents, trying to do it all.  And maybe you aren’t sure how you can fit a learn and play atmosphere into your schedule.

The fact is that, we all can incorporate learn and play into our daily lives, just by having your children help you with your daily activities and chores.  In the car, or at home, can all be turned into a game and a learning environment.

But How?

Some of the basic things we do every day, from going down or up steps, opening a door, reading signs or other posts.  These are all opportunities for your child to learn.  We have numbers, colors, shapes, letters….all of it, all around us.  Noticing in the morning that the sky is blue and does not have clouds lets you know that you may not need to bundle up.  (Unless you live in Michigan, then you’re pretty much always prepared for all four seasons in one day.)

The things we know are there, but don’t normally notice…these are all things that we can do with our children that won’t really hurt your schedule.  Bonus fact…doing these things may actually keep your children’s attention and give you another way to work through some of the more difficult things with busy children.cooks-842244_1920

I love to decorate cakes.  I mean actually turn the cake and frosting into almost a clay to mold and shape it into what I’d like to make.  Sometimes literally.  I use all these mediums that I make my cakes with, and let my children play with them.  Molding chocolate is a wonderful medium to cover a cake, that tastes (in my honest opinion) SOOOOO much better than fondant.  I can color it into many different colors.  I can also let my children help me make and kneed the color into the chocolate.  By doing so, they learn texture, a bit of science when I melt the chocolate, and add in the corn syrup to create the clay.  They learn patience, as we all sit and wait for it to be ready to be used.  We learn colors and color addition, when we add colors, between your basic primaries and what it does when you add black or white to a color.  Plus, for my mouth explorers, I don’t have to worry anything toxic.  Well, maybe a sugar high if I don’t watch very closely how much they eat.

The point is that, I can make a beautiful cake, and still teach my children many different things.  And I’m still finishing a product to take to church or to a wedding, family gathering, or other party.  And that is just for the decoration part.

Out on the road, we can ask them to find us colors, letters, or numbers that they see out the window.  And, when they are busy looking for things, you will notice, the drive tends to be a bit more calm.  It is for me, at least.  If they’re busy looking for things, or singing a song, they’re not fighting or expressing their emotions at the top of their lungs.

When you need a certain number of things, either at the store or at home, it is always a great way to practice counting.  Reading instructions and pointing out words that your children are learning about is a great way to introduce them to new words as well.  Identifying the different sizes of spoons, ladles, measuring cups, or bowls.  Sorting the liquids from the solids.  We all use these different things every day, but it is so ingrained into us that we know what to look for.  Half the time we don’t stop to think that we CAN use these things to teach.kitchen-scale-532651_1920

What about professions?

How do you teach your children about the different professions?  I have had this question myself.  Belly Bug has recently developed a fear of the doctor because she is terrified of shots and medicine.  So, being a stay at home mother, when I have an appointment they normally go with me.  My doctor actually gave me an opportunity to show my buggies, that sometimes we all have to get shots, and they do help us.  Even if they hurt for the time being.  And, although I get the full once over from the bugs to be sure that I am alright, it still makes those visits for them a bit easier.  Then, at home, they often try to doctor us, themselves, and each other with their doctor toys.

So, there are many things we can do to incorporate their learning in our lives.  Sometimes it may slow us down or make us feel silly at first.  But, you will see that it does help with a lot of things.  And the thing buggies want more of is us.  So they feel special when they get to do them.

What kind of learn and play things do you incorporate into your routine for your buggies?  Leave me a comment below to tell me.

Kick the Diaper

Kick the Diaper

There are many ways to use learn and play.  Currently Do Bug has decided that diapers are better than big girls(That’s what we call underwear here).  She was almost fully potty trained and then got sick.  But the sick came from the bottom end, so trying to teach her to get to the bathroom was just not working, so during those times she wore the diaper again.  I still encouraged her to use the potty during these times, but she has now decided that it is so much better to have the diaper, because then mommy or daddy will clean her, and she doesn’t have to worry about interrupting her busy play time.

So, I went back to square one with her.  However, not everyone was on board.  Meaning more that I was the only one on board with the plan.  Daddy Bug likes the diaper too, that way if she has an accident he doesn’t have to worry about the wet spot on the floor, or the smell that it might leave later if you don’t get it all out the first time. And, of course, Do Bug was on board with daddy, who wants to interrupt play time to go potty, right?

Learn and Play Potty Time

We love to read books here, and back when Beanie Bug was potty training, we had regression with her as well.  Since the new baby was wearing a diaper, why couldn’t she.  So, we found this wonderful book about using the potty. “Es Hora De Ir Al Bano, It’s Potty Time,” Is a wonderful book that is exciting for them.  It even has a button that you can push to hear the flushing sound.

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So, we started with that.  We do everything we can to encourage, but she is just like her mommy…STUBBORN!!!  Now, with the other two at that age they could have cared less about stickers, and having a sticker chart was absurd to them.  But Do Bug is obsessed with stickers, so a sticker chart for her is great, so long as she gets a sticker to go with, every time you put one on the chart.

I’ve tried this before, which is how I know the other two didn’t go for stickers, so I already had a game plan in mind.  First, I had to conquer the only one on board thing.  So, after a quick talk, I got Daddy Bug back with it.  Then I had to draw out the chart.

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Once together, it is a matter of sticking with it, (no pun intended).  Every time she uses the potty, she gets a sticker for that.  And each step she does after that:  Wiping her bottom, flushing the toilet, and washing her hands.  Once she is finished, I make sure she gets a sticker for each thing she did, then an extra one she can stick to her arm, face, or wherever, and it’s back to play as usual.

I also have a spot where I can record how many accidents she is having a day.  It is helpful to see how the progress is going.  And if she doesn’t have an accident…well…BONUS STICKER!!!!  Then she’s off to the races again.

Potty training can be difficult for the busy child, and especially for the parent.  Each child is different.  Therefore there are many techniques to use.  Not all of them will work.  And sometimes we get so frustrated we run out of ideas.  But fear not, for we can always look it up, or make a great list of ideas here!

What about you, How did you potty train your buggy?  Leave a comment below to let me know some of your tricks and secret weapons.

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