Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Low Cost Activity: Strawberries!

Just a friendly reminder that it is strawberry season. This is a great time to locate U-pick farms in your area and take the kids strawberry picking.

Depending on age, there are all sorts of yummy things you can do with strawberries. Make smoothies. Top ice cream. Add 'em to yogurt. Or make strawberry freezer jam which is a great way to save the taste of Spring for the depths of Winter. Kids of most ages will love helping to smash the strawberries for jam--just be sure to wear old clothes.

Photo Credit:jeltovski

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Low Cost Activities For Kids: Making Memories For Memorial Day

Juice up your Memorial Day weekend and your parenting with fun and easy crafts for kids from pre-school age up to late elementary from Better Homes & Gardens.  If you can get past the annoying subscription pop up ads, you'll find a wealth of simple, fun crafts that will get everyone's creative juices flowing.

Suite 101 has some Memorial Day craft ideas for the holiday as well.

This is a touching and sweet idea, use face paint to make military tattoos to either honor loved ones in service or explore the art of military tattoos. Here is a great write up on the artistic themes and motifs found in military tattoos. Once, you've had a little tattoo art history lesson, have kids draw their tattoo design first on paper and then help them recreate it on their body with face paint.

If you are tight on cash and time, make macaroni necklaces, but paint the macaroni with patriotic colors.

The Parent Juice family is going to be out of town the rest of the week, so posting will be light, however, we are developing a great biological science activity for you and your kids. Check back next week and learn how you can have a blast with the ants in your driveway.

Photo Credit: Click

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Free Activity For Almost Any Age: Use Toilet Paper Like An Egyptian

It's a dreary day of thunderstorms and pounding rain  here at the Juice household, meaning there's no way to go outside and burn off energy. We've colored, built towers, watched Elmo, and been to Gymboree and we still have four hours until bed time.

What to do?

Why, break out ancient Eypgtian arcehology and toilet paper, of course. Isn't it obvious? This activity is messy and a bit wasteful, but if you do it right, toilet paper will buy you an hour of free time. Here's how...

1. For older kids, make like an Egyptian and TP your offspring. Yes, I'm serious. First, visit National Geographic's mummy page or Discovery Kids Mummy Maker to learn about mummies. Then, hand kids a roll of toilet paper and instruct them to make themselves into mummies. Supply stickers and markers for children to decorate their bandages with. This is a great activity for sibling groups because they will help wrap each other up.

Then play Walk Like An Egyptian by the Bangles and encourage a mummy dance party. (Discussion of the 80s pop culture movement is optional and perhaps better left unexplained.)

2.For older preschool age kids or younger elementary age kids, use toilet paper as a measuring tape and have kids number the squares sequentially in marker. For example, how many toilet paper squares tall is your child? How big around?

Wrap them up in toilet paper or let them wrap and unwrap you. Play TP catch or roll TP on the floor to see who can unravel the most toilet paper in one push.

3.Toddlers will marvel at how the toilet paper unravels as it rolls. Put on some upbeat music and let them run wild. If they have the coordination to kick, play TP soccer, which for toddlers means kicking TP around the room, missing often, and occassionally wiping out.

4.For infants, substitute tissue paper for toilet paper and use a pacifier to avoid unwanted snacking. Tissue paper works better for infants because it's more durable, comes in a variety of colors and designs, and crinkles delightfully in little fists. It provides sight, sound, and tactile stimulation to get baby's brain buzzing.

5.Most kids would enjoy toilet paper streamers in a door way for an impromptu, sensory stimulating curtain that will take peek-a-boo to a whole new level. Secure streamers with painter's tape to minimize potential damage to wall finishes.

Mess Control

You will have toilet paper every where if you don't confine kids to one room. Shut doors, lock the baby gates, and set some ground rules.

Provide a trash bin and suggest kids dispose of toilet paper they are finished with.

If you want parenting time-out, though, let the kids run wild in limited space and deal with the mess later.

Engage kids in the clean up by making it a race to see who can clean up the most toilet paper first.

Photo Credit:jeltovski

Friday, May 15, 2009

Entertain Toddlers & Infants With Hidden Surprises

Today's shot of parent juice is a link to an ehow article about hidden surprises. Basically, while your little one is napping, you are going to set up a bunch of cool surprises using toys and household items you already own.

Which, in case you didn't notice, makes this a free toddler activity. More importantly, this activity should keep toddlers busy for 20-30 minutes.

If you rotate toys, this would be a great activity to bring in a few items your child hasn't seen in a while.

The key is to set this up in secret so when they wake up it's like Santa had a party in your living room with the Easter Bunny and left all their cool toys behind just for your toddler.

So hop to it!

Photo Credit: Charmaine Swart

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Cheap Toddler Games: Bubbles And Rhymes

Here’s a quick, easy,mostly free toddler game anyone can do. All you need are some bubbles and bubble wands. If you can, try to buy Gymboree bubbles as those last longer allowing for toddlers to pounce on the bubbles and pop the bubbles with glee. The Gymboree bubble solution costs between $3-$6 and can be found at their clothing stores or activity centers. However, the drugstore brand Magic Bubble works almost as well as the Gymboree bubbles for half the cost. If you are really itching to spend some money, invest in a bubble machine which run around $20 to $30.

As for bubble wands, this time of year most drugstores sell assortments of wands for around $5. The only reason I suggest making the investment is they have mini bubble wands that yield a ton of small bubbles.

However, before you break out the bubbles, first do the following rhyme with your toddler, but omit the bubble lines at the end. Run through the rhyme a few times so they start to learn the movements. This rhyme also teaches the concepts of high and low and body awareness in relation to height. Plus, it gets little bodies moving and burns energy.

Each word in the rhyme gets a clap. The rhyme’s movements are pretty self explanatory. When it’s time to go fast, clap fast, when the rhyme says to go slow, clap slow etc...

Once you add the bubbles into the mix, encourage your toddler to chase them down. Depending on your toddler’s energy and interest level you can stretch this activity out for 20 minutes or more (although, fair warning, it may involve repeating the rhyme several times).

Clap, clap, clap

Clap your hands high

Clap your hands low

Clap your hands fast

Clap ‘em real slow

Clap ‘em by your ear

Clap ‘em by your toes

Clap your hands quiet

Clap your hands loud

Now let’s clap some bubbles


Clap, clap, clap

Note 1: I am fearless and blow bubbles in the living room. I have not had any permanent stains, but sometimes the bubble solution leaves soap skid marks in the rug that come out once we steam clean the carpet. If you don’t own a steam cleaner, this may be an activity to do in the basement or outside on a calm day.

Note 2: This toddler activity is great for mixed age groups. Babies will enjoy clapping and watching the bubbles even if the finer points of the rhyme pass them by.

Photo Credit: Tinah via Morgue File

Monday, May 11, 2009

Parenting for the Craft Impaired Contributor Guidelines

About Parenting for the Craft Impaired

Parent for the Craft Impaired is a resource that is meant to recharge parental energy and channel it into fun, educational activities for kids. Our core audience is the harried parent who is still waiting for the instruction manual or the parent who wants a moment to pee and gulp down some coffee, but can’t because the natives are restless.

Contributing to Parenting for the Craft Impaired

We are looking for contributions that outline, in detail, a fun and inexpensive activity for kids.  The age range for the activity can be any age between birth and ten years of age.  Suggestions on ways to tweak an activity for a variety of age ranges is appreciated and encouraged.

Content must be original and at least 500 words with a soft upper limit of 1200 words (soft means we might make exceptions).

Use section breaks and subtitles, if possible, to break content into easily digestible junks.

We require at least one picture for all articles. They should be either pictures you’ve taken yourself or free images available from sites such as Morgue File.

As for writing style, first person or third person is fine, second person is not our favorite,but we do use it. Personal experience is okay, but the primary focus should be telling parents how they can do the activity in their home.

Articles should be formatted for the internet; single spaced text with double spaces between paragraphs.

Specific product recommendations and pricing is helpful and should be added to content whenever possible.We reserve the right to add such information to your content.


Compensation is $6 per article, a byline, link to your blog or website, and a bio at the end of your article.

Payment will be made either via Paypal or by check, whichever you specify.


Parenting for the Craft Impaired buys first electronic rights and requests a 90 day exclusive on your article, after which time you may repost or resell your work elsewhere.

By submitting your work to Parenting for the Craft Impaired, you agree to give us the right to post your article and accompanying pictures in perpetuity.

How to submit work to Parenting for the Craft Impaired

Send content along with a bio of around 50 words in an email to parentjuice@gmail.com.

Copy and paste text into the email, do not send an attachment. Attachments will not be opened.

Do not send photos until you’ve received an acceptance from us.

Acceptance & Timeline

If your article is accepted, we will email you a contract along with a request for pictures and additional information such as your paypal account.

Please print out the contract and sign it. Either scan the signed contract and email it, or send it to us via snail mail (the address will be on the contract).

Payment will be made once we have received the contract and other information necessary to post your article.

If a signed contract as well as other requested information is not received within two weeks, we will assume you do not wish to publish with us and we will move on.

It may take up to 4 weeks for us to review material, after 4 weeks feel free to send an inquiry on your submission.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Privacy Policy

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