Easter party game – fitness, not candy!

This was a big hit during Zumba® Kids in the Spring.

Fill eggs with strips of paper, each with a different way of moving.  Place 2 baskets – one with eggs, one empty for eggs/paper already opened- at either end of gym/studio/yard/classroom.  Kids take turns opening the eggs and calling out what to do.  As a group, they do whatever the eggs says to get to the other basket.

I played the Bunny Hop jazz song while they played.

Easy Readers for Boys

Our 6-1/2 year-old son is reading now - so cool!  But it was easier to find beginner books for our daughter.

The summer before his kindergarten year, we tried BOB books.  He liked those for the sheer number of tiny books in each set.  But he preferred the stories in the Brand New Readers series, especially those about the worm, monkey and dragon.  We found those locally at The School Box.

Elephant_Piggie1But most of the credit to igniting Sam’s reading spark goes to Mo Willems.

His Elephant & Piggie books were the first to get our son excited about being able to read.  We Are in a Book!, I Am Invited to a Party!, Watch Me Throw the Ball! and I Will Surprise My Friend are favorites.

We still hear Sam cackling in his room at night as he rereads them – often using the super-soft stuffed characters to act out the stories.

Here are the others he found interesting enough to read himself, roughly in the order that he was able to read them:

Now, the summer before 1st grade, he’s reading these chapter books:

  • Roscoe Riley Rules.  Great beginner chapter books.  My daughter loved them, too.
  • Encyclopedia Brown series.  My husband loved these as a kid.  Each book is divided into several mini mysteries to solve.  Good for read-aloud, too.
  • Magic Tree House series, which we also read aloud to both kids a few years ago.

Clapping Games

Today is going to be a great day.  I know this because I put my daughter on the bus this morning, giggling (both of us).  I have Miss Mary Mack to thank.  Remember the clapping game?

Miss Mary Mack postMiss Mary Mack
Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack
All dressed in black, black, black
With silver buttons, buttons, buttons
All down her back, back, back.
She asked her mother, mother, mother
For fifty cents, cents, cents
To see the elephant, elephant, elephant
Jump over the fence, fence, fence.
He jumped so high, high, high
He reached the sky, sky, sky
He never came back, back, back
‘Til the 4th of July, July, July!

For each line, clap own hands, cross arms on chest, clap own hands again, then clap hands with partner 3x.

If your daughter is around 6 or 7 and she’s not already coming home singing old songs like this, learn the words yourself and teach them to her – you’ll be a rock star.  Then, prepare yourself, because Miss Susie is right around the corner (remember how fun it was to sing Hell-o Operator?).

Here are a few more short ones:

Say, Say, Oh Playmate
Say, say, oh playmate,
Come out and play with me.
Bring out your dollies three.
Climb up my apple tree.
Slide down my rainbow
Into my cellar door.
And we’ll be jolly friends
Forevermore, one two three four! (clap both hands straight across with partner while counting)

Follow this pattern – Clap own hands, clap right hand with partner’s right hand, clap own hands, clap left hand with partner’s left hand.

Double, Double
Double double ice ice,
Double double cream cream.
Double ice, double cream,
Double double ice cream

With partner, knock fists on “double,” clap both hands on “ice,” slap backs of both hands on “cream.”

Lemonade (clap 3x), crunchy ice (clap 3x)
Beat it once (clap 3x), beat it twice (clap 3x).
Lemonade, crunchy ice
Beat it once, beat it twice.
Turn around (turn around), touch the ground (touch the ground), FREEZE (freeze).

The first child to move is “out.”

Free Kids’ Outdoor Journal

My children love little notebooks and journals.

During our recent trip to Colorado, both kids enjoyed the Junior Ranger activity books they received for free at Hovenweep National Monument and Mesa Verde National Parks.  They worked on the books, pledged to safeguard the U.S. National Parks and became official Junior Rangers.

We also paid about $8 each for Passport to Your National Parks books, so they could collect passport stamps and stickers to record each of their national park visits.

This little activity book from REI is similar.  Available for free at REI stores or for download here, it’s a perfect excuse to explore a local park or hiking trail, and a lot more accessible if you don’t happen to live near a national park.  Click here to find a local trail and REI will lead you to hiking and biking trails near your home or next vacation spot.

New books come out in June, but my local REI still had plenty of last year’s version.  They gave me 20 of them for the children at our upcoming family reunion in Central Oregon (another great part of the country to revel in the great outdoors).

Yoga Poses for Children

I’m organizing kids’ activities for a family reunion this Summer and I came across this very cool resource.

Photos of 25 different yoga poses for children are available for free download at Mama Liberated.  Meg, a former Montessori teacher, even explains how you can order a set of prints and ship them directly from her Flickr account.  I plan to do just that and laminate each one – yoga flash cards!

These will be great to have on hand at our reunion when the little people and I find ourselves needing some downward dog time.

Thank you, Mama Liberated!