MommyCon Chicago 2016

MommyCon has kicked off their tour across America and will be in Chicago March 4th – 5th! I was able to attend the MommyCon Chicago two years ago, while I was pregnant with Amelia. I had a blast and learned so much.

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The great thing about MommyCon is you can attend a conference every year, or go more then once a year, and you still learn so much at each event. No conference is exactly the same. Each MommyCon may differ by speakers, vendors and exhibits.

The Friday before the main event, are the VIP sessions! Check out this years VIP sessions at MommyCon Chicago! For additional cost you can attend once of these sessions and receive a majorly awesome swag 🙂 Last year, I attended the Cotton Babies session and met Jenn Labit!

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This year, MommyCon Chicago is adding something new! They are offering Little Make + Play Camp! This is the perfect option if you are wanting to attend the conference and have children ages 3 years and older.

82B1F8F5-DA66-5452-1D8960765866E764You can sign your kiddos up for a whole day full of sessions which include:

  • Hand and finger puppets
  • shadow puppets
  • paper beads & tassel play
  • making things that fly, and more!

Other activities include: 

  • Large-scale building
  • Stories with dancing, singing & yoga
  • Gross motor art and movement activities
  • Quiet corner available
  • Snack central

You can pay $15 per session (if you pick and choose) OR you can purchase a whole day pass for $50. Sounds like an awesome deal! Check out the entire details here!

I am so bummed I am not able to make this year’s Chicago MommyCon! I would love to sign Monte up to check this out! Hopefully, if everything goes well this year, they will offer it at their other MommyCon conferences next year!

 

Don’t forget you can use Midwest16 to receive $5 off! 

PBS for Kids

I recently just discovered what all PBS Kids has to offer! There are so many resources, besides the regular programming. I was able to create a Curious George themed day for the kiddos, using all of these resources!

Curious George & PBS Kids Resources

Here are few links to help you extend the lessons your kids learn from the shows …

  1. PBS Kids – Lots of videos, games and apps!
  2. PBS Learning Media – My favorite! Free! You can sort by grade and subject. This will filter all videos, activities and more to help your child learn.
  3. PBS Kids Play – Educational games. There is a free trial, but after trial costs $9.95 a month
  4. Pinterest – You can always find something on Pinterest 🙂

(Image Source)

We started off reading, one of the several Curious George books we have, Curious George Learns the Alphabet.

Pinterest, of course, also has some great print-outs and resources. I found some matching number cards, I printed and laminated. I also printed off some coloring pages for the kids to learn colors and shapes. You can find them here.

We also learned our shapes and colors by playing with some bean bags I already had. Monte and the other kids love to toss them and it is another great way to learn shapes and colors! You can purchase them here!

After all of our activities we watched an episode of Curious George, ate some bananas and peanut butter and the best part … they played with their Curious George masks!

We chose to have a Curious George day because we went and visited Curious George at IPTV on Monday. The kids had a blast! They were able to meet Curious George, had snacks, did a craft, and they were given a tour of IPTV from Dan Wardell.

My favorite thing about PBS Kids is the fact they use characters like super heros, monkeys, and trains, that entice the kiddos to learn. Every show and every episode the kids learn something. It may be words, letters, manners, or numbers. I highly recommend adding PBS Kids to your daily routine and not just the programming! Hop on to any of the sites listed above and pick out an activity to extend your kids learning.

I Love Busy Bags!

Have you heard of Busy Bags? They are amazing! I was introduced to this whole concept last summer. One of the many Facebook groups I belong to, created a small group of mothers and we all took part in the Busy Bag project.

Pretty much, if there are say eight mothers in your group, you choose one activity and make eight of the same activity. You then all come together, swap activities, and you end up with eight different activities for your Busy Bag! It’s very similar to a freezer meal swap, but you get fun toddler activities instead!

Not only will these activities keep your kiddos busy, but they are awesome to use for a learning tool too! A lot of these activities incorporate matching colors, practicing numbers, fine motor skills, matching, and more.

Here is a snap shot of just a few activities I received from the swap. Sorry this isn’t the best picture! 🙁

These are also awesome to place into activity stations during the day, to keep the kiddos busy!

I just participated in another one a couple of weeks ago, but instead of just swapping we made a night of it. We came together with all of our activities we chose and decorated a small bag to keep all of the activities in. Of course, there was food and wine! It was so nice to get out, without kids!

I love keeping all the activities in a bag. You can throw this in your car, if you are going out to eat, going to a friends house, or anywhere you may need to keep your kiddo busy. This is a much better solution then handing then a smart phone, tablet, etc.!

There are ideas for Busy Bags all over Pinterest. Literally, probably hundreds. Here are some links to ones I like and some that I have in my Busy Bag!

  1. The Princess and the Tot – Toddler Busy Bags – Family memory game, finger puppets, lacing cards, matching colors, and more!
  2. Busy Bags for Teaching Colors
  3. Clothes Pin Number Match 
  4. Pattern Matching
  5. Popsicle Stick Puzzles
  6. The Rigneys – Toddler Busy Bag Swap – Velcro Mr.Potato Head, Button Turkey, Brown Bear Head and Tail matching, upper and lower case matching, and more!

Have you participated in a Busy Bag Swap? What activity did you make?

Red Activity Box

I created a new, fun activity for Monte to do at my moms house! I got the idea off of Pinterest (where else?!?) and the inspiration actually came from here. I wanted to do a box full of everything that started with the letter “A”, but as I was going through the playroom, it began to be easier for me to collect items that were red. So, there is a mix of both in the box!

I had a random picture box, that I had not used yet. I used this to collect and store my items.

I started with these three books I found! My Little Red Book, Clifford’s Bedtime, and A. They work perfect for this activity!

I then cut out a HUGE letter “A” in red foam, I had leftover from the Foam Shape Activity.

(Excuse the odd shaped “A”)

I then found a bunch of large RED legos and cars!

I also cut out a large heart and placed a sticky note on it reading “color the heart RED!”

We need some RED snacks so I added red strawberries AND applesauce (I added red dye to it)

This is a great and inexpensive activity. You can use items you already have at home! It’s a great way for your kiddos to learn their colors using items they already see and play with everyday!

What fun activity do you do with your kiddo to learn colors?