Sidewalk Stories: Creative Chalk Activities for Children

As summer approaches children will no doubt be spending more time outside, enjoying the warm weather. While they may spend a lot of their time on bikes, trampolines, and swing sets, one of the simplest yet most versatile tools for outdoor play is chalk. From colorful drawings to engaging games, chalk opens up a world of possibilities for your little ones. Let’s dive into some exciting activities that preschoolers can enjoy with sidewalk chalk.

Sidewalk Art Gallery

Transform your sidewalk into an art gallery! Give each child a section of pavement and let them unleash their creativity. Encourage them to draw animals, flowers, their families, or anything else that comes to mind. If you’re creatively inclined, draw out ornate frames for your children to draw their masterpieces in.

Hopscotch

Who doesn’t love a classic game of hopscotch? Draw the hopscotch grid with numbers using chalk and let the little ones hop away! This game not only improves balance and coordination but also helps with number recognition and counting. You can even add variations like hopping on one foot or hopping backward to keep it exciting.

Obstacle Course

Create a chalk obstacle course with various challenges like jumping over lines, balancing along a straight line, or hopping between shapes. Let the children navigate through the course, developing their gross motor skills while having a blast. You can adjust the difficulty level based on the age and skill level of the children or make it larger if your children are riding bikes through it!

Alphabet and Number Practice

Reinforce early literacy and number skills by drawing letters and numbers with chalk. Encourage the children to trace over the shapes and say the corresponding letter or number aloud. You can make it even more engaging by turning it into a scavenger hunt, where they have to find and trace specific letters or numbers scattered around the play area.

Sensory Play

Mix chalk dust with water to create vibrant chalk paint. Provide brushes or sponges and let the children paint the pavement or even themselves! This sensory-rich activity stimulates creativity while engaging multiple senses. Plus, it’s easy to clean up with a hose or some water.

Dance Party

Draw a dance floor with chalk and play some lively music. Encourage the children to dance and move around the designated area. They can follow simple dance steps or freestyle to the rhythm. This activity not only promotes physical activity but also boosts mood and self-expression.

Four Square

Four Square is a fun game to play if you have some chalk and a rubber ball! If you’re unfamiliar with four square the rules are as follows:

Each player stands in one of the squares, numbered one through four. The player in the highest numbered square (usually called “King”) serves the ball by bouncing it once in their square and then hitting it into another player’s square. That player must then hit the ball into another square before it bounces more than once in their square. If a player fails to hit the ball into another square, or if they hit the ball out of bounds, they are out and move to the lowest-numbered square. The objective is to advance to the highest square and stay there as long as possible while defending it against other players.

Swimming Safety Tips For Young Children

What Should I Do When My Kids Are In The Water?

  • Make sure inexperienced or weak swimmers stay within arm’s reach of an adult. Young but experienced swimmers should stay in pairs.
  • Designate an adult to watch the water for a set amount of time. Rotate however often feels comfortable ie. every 15 minutes so the designated adult is less likely to get distracted and gets to enjoy the day.
  • Avoid distractions such as books, phones, magazines, or loud music when you are the primary adult responsible for watching the swimmers.

What Are Some Pool Safety Tips For Kids?

  • Make sure there is a clear line of sight from your house to the pool. Preferably from a room you spend a lot of time in. 
  • Install a fence around the pool, preferably between four and five feet tall. Make sure that any gates do not have child friendly latches. 
  • Keep electrical appliances away from the pool area.
  • Store pool chemicals safely in an area that is inaccessible to children. Take the time to explain to your children that chemicals are not safe to be used by children rather than just telling them not to touch them. 
  • If you have a small kiddy pool, make sure you empty it and flip it upside down immediately after use. Store the pool outside of your children’s reach. 

What Are Some General Swimming Safety Tips To Remember?

  • Never leave children alone in or around the water.
  • Don’t let children swim during inclement weather.
  • Never replace a lifejacket with pool toys or water wings.
  • Don’t allow gum chewing or eating while swimming, diving, or playing in the water.
  • Keep a first aid kit on hand while swimming. 
  • If you’re swimming with someone else’s child, make sure to have emergency phone numbers beforehand. 
  • Learn CPR if possible. 
  • Don’t pressure children to swim when they aren’t ready. 
  • Remove toys and floats from the pool immediately after swimming. Children may be tempted to reach in to grab the toy while unattended.

Discuss the importance of swimming and pool safety with your children as well! To children, the pool and the beach are so exciting so wanting to run right in without looking back is only natural. Take the time before you have the pool or the ocean within view to talk to your child about the importance of safe swimming in a way that they will understand for their age. Waiting until you are at the pool or the beach will make it a lot more difficult for your child to really receive the information. Stay safe and have fun this summer!

 

10 Great Books To Get Excited For Summer

Summer is almost here! And while you and your littles are getting ready to start spending the days on the beach, playing outside, swimming at the pool, and enjoying barbecues, it’s important to make sure you are still reading with your child. There are hundreds of great books for children all about summertime. This list is just ten of our many current favorites to get our littles excited about summer and reading! 

Brave Little Camper

Brave Little Camper by Carmen Crowe (Ages 1-3)

Explore nighttime in the forest with Little Camper and adorable woodland friends! It’s a beautiful night filled with new sights, animals, and sounds. Gather around the campfire and join the crew on another brave adventure as Little Camper spends the night in the forest for the very first time!

 

 

 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar's First Summer

 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s First Summer by Eric Carle (Ages 1-3)

Celebrate summer with The Very Hungry Caterpillar and his friends in this exploration of the season. Young readers can learn all about seasonal sensory experiences, like listening to noisy bugs, feeling the warm sunshine, smelling the yummy scents of a cookout, and so much more!

 

 

 

 

I See Summer

 

I See Summer by Charles Ghigna (Ages 2-4)

Pea pods, cucumbers, and strawberries provide plenty of opportunities for counting in the garden! Follow Dad, Grandma, and other family members as they pick and count. Hidden numbers on every page give readers an opportunity to search and learn!

 

 

 

Is it Warm Enough for Ice Cream?

 

Is it Warm Enough for Ice Cream? by DK (Ages 2-5)

Winter, spring, summer, and fall are each represented by a vibrant outdoor scene revealing seasonal changes, from ponds freezing over, to baby birds leaving their nests for the first time. And with changes in weather come new things to try: it’s windy enough to fly a kite; it’s rainy enough to splash in puddles; it’s snowy enough to build a snowman. But is it warm enough for ice cream?

 

 

Jabari Jumps

Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall (Ages 3-6)

Jabari is definitely ready to jump off the diving board. He’s finished his swimming lessons and passed his swim test, and he’s a great jumper, so he’s not scared at all. In a sweetly appealing tale of overcoming your fears, newcomer Gaia Cornwall captures a moment between a patient and encouraging father and a determined little boy you can’t help but root for.

 

 

 

And Then Comes Summer

And Then Comes Summer by Tom Brenner (Ages 3-7) 

When the days stretch out like a slow yawn, and the cheerful faces of Johnny-jump-ups jump up . . . then it’s time to get ready for summer! From flip-flops and hide-and-seek to fireworks and ice-cream trucks, from lemonade stands and late bedtimes to swimming in the lake and toasting marshmallows, there’s something for everyone in this bright and buoyant celebration of the sunny season!

 

Swim, Jim!

Swim, Jim! by Kaz Windness (Ages 4-7)

Jim the crocodile is scared of swimming—or rather, of sinking. His family’s swamp is just too deep, too dark, and too big. But maybe he could swim, if only there were a smaller swamp where he could try it on his own terms. Jim wiggle-waggles far and wide until he finds the perfect place. With the help of some floaties and his sisters, Jim just might find the courage to face his fear and show everyone—including himself—that Jim can swim!

 

When Lola Visits

When Lola Visits by Michelle Sterling (Ages 4-8)

For one young girl, summer is the season of no school, of days spent at the pool, and of picking golden limes off the trees. But summer doesn’t start until her lola—her grandmother from the Philippines—comes for her annual visit. When Lola visits, the whole family gathers to cook and eat and share in their happiness of another season spent together. Yet as summer transitions to fall, her lola must return home—but not without a surprise for her granddaughter to preserve their special summer a bit longer!

 

 

It Began with Lemonade

It Began with Lemonade by Gideon Sterer (Ages 4-8)

One scorching hot summer day, a spunky young girl decides to sell lemonade . . . only to find there are too many other young entrepreneurs on her street with the same idea. So she sets off with her lemonade stand and ends up at the river’s edge, where she discovers a most unexpected, quirky, and very thirsty clientele!

 

 

 

 

The Little Blue Cottage

The Little Blue Cottage by Kelly Jordan (Ages 4-8)

The little blue cottage waits each year for summer to arrive―and with it, the girl. Through sunny days and stormy weather, the cottage and the girl keep each other company and wile away the long days and nights together. Until one year, and then another, the cottage is left waiting and empty season after season.

 

 

 

If you read any of these books with your little ones and love them, head over to our social media and let us know! And if you’ve got other books that get your littles excited about summertime and reading, leave a comment so we can check them out!

5 Fun Preschool Crafts For Summer

Crafts are a great activity for getting your little ones excited and keeping them engaged. However, arts and crafts aren’t just for fun! They help with things like developing fine motor skills and learning about colors and shapes. Holding crayons and paint brushes or placing pieces of tissue paper are great ways to help build your child’s motor skills. Crafts are also a great time to review shapes and colors with your child in a low pressure environment! So if you’ve ever thought about skipping arts and craft time, think again! And with summer right around the corner, now is a great time to incorporate some summer themes into your arts and crafts. Here are five fun crafts to get your little ones excited for summer!

 

Firefly Suncatcher

Firefly Suncatcher 

Suncatchers are great crafts to make with your little ones because they have fun making them and can keep enjoying them after they’re done! During this craft, talk to your kids about fireflies and how you can see them glow at night. Then once you’re done, let them know that now they have fireflies that will glow during the daytime!

 

Nature Hearts

 

Nature Hearts

This craft is a great way to introduce your child to nature and make a day out of this craft. Take your child out into the world and throughout the day have them collect pieces of nature they love. Once you get home, help your child combine all of the pieces of nature they’ve found onto their heart. Now they can display their beautiful artwork and a reminder of why they love nature! 

 

Jellyfish Kids Craft

 

Jellyfish Craft

This craft is an adorable way to get excited for summer and talk to your little ones about marine life that they might see on the beach! A fun way to elevate this craft is to make a couple of these jellyfish and use clear wire to hang them from the ceiling of your little ones bedroom or temporarily in the bathroom to make bath time extra fun!

 

 

Paper Loop Pufferfish 

The paper loop pufferfish craft is a great versatile craft for using whatever you’ve got at home. The craft typically utilizes construction paper to make the loop body of the pufferfish but you can also use toilet paper rolls and paint to create your adorable pufferfish. 

 

Popsicle Fine Motor Craft

 

Popsicle Craft

The popsicle craft is a great activity for working on fine motor skills! Placing the individual tissue paper squares is great for developing this skill. And if you have a younger sibling that also wants to get involved, just cut them up some bigger tissue paper squares and let them place down as many as they can handle. One thing about this craft is to make sure you have popsicles on hand for once they’re finished!

Traveling with children that suffer from motion sickness

It’s officially summer and that means beach, pools, and plenty of play time. If you are like many families, you have some sort of vacation planned for you and your children. This time of year, with the hot weather, there is no shortage of places to go – almost everywhere is accommodating. But what do you do if your little one(s) suffer from motion sickness? This can be a serious issue for your travels, but thankfully there are some ways to combat the issue.

##What causes motion sickness?
Motion sickness is caused by mixed signals being sent to the brain and can be made worse by stress and excitement, which your child is sure to feel during these trips. Just as in adults, if your little one is looking at a toy, or at a picture book while in the moving car, his or her eyes are sending a message to the brain that they are not in motion. However, other parts of her body are sending messages that they ARE in motion, the exact opposite message. These conflicting signals can cause her to feel nauseous.

Motion sickness is most common in kids aged 2 to 12 but can happen at any age, and it is believed that some children are more prone to motion sickness than others because they are more sensitive to the brains’ reaction. In fact, motion sickness can strike not only during the obvious times: boat rides, plane trips, car rides (even more so if there is turbulence or rough waters), but also during something as simple as swinging on a swing!

##What can be done to help my child’s motion sickness?

Thankfully there are a few things that you can do to help prevent or alleviate motion sickness for your little ones. It is important to be patient, as they are feeling pretty terrible, and try these tips:

– Be alert. Prior to actually getting sick, a child typically develops a cold sweat and a loss of appetite. If you notice these signs, try taking a break. If you are driving, pull over and give your little one some rest. If you are on a plane and can’t take a rest, try having them look out of the window. A cool cloth on their forehead will also help. Symptoms usually subside within 15 minutes.

– If in a car, or on a boat, have your child look ahead to a spot on the horizon. And object in the distance will send visual signals that you are moving, helping to resolve the conflicting messages that your brain is receiving.

– Distract your child. As we said earlier, motion sickness is the brain sending mixed signals about what is going on around you, and this can sometimes be curbed by distraction. Try signing or just chit-chatting as opposed to providing a toy or book, which can make them disoriented.

– Take the trip as close to naptime as possible. If you can schedule the traveling during naptime, you are ahead of the game. Children are much less likely to become sick is they are asleep during motion.

– Cool air. Provide cool air by letting the air conditioner blow lightly on your child, or crack a window for a breeze. If you are on a boat, try to go out on the deck for some fresh air.

– Motion-sickness bracelets. There are bracelets which are thought to half nausea by stimulating acupressure points on the wrist. The scientific evidence behind this is still lacking, but some people do claim that it works. Make sure to do your own research before doing this.

– Over the counter medication. There are some chewable tablets and liquid-form medications that you can try for children 2 and up, that helps to quell nausea, but you should make sure to speak to your doctor before giving any medication to your child.

Most important is to be patient with your child. If they do begin to show signs of motion sickness, understand that it is a normal thing and take the appropriate actions to help them feel better. The best prevention is to talk to your child beforehand and explain to them what motion sickness is, what causes it, and techniques to help stop it. But make sure to pack a durable plastic bag, wipes, and a change of clothes in case the worse does end up happening.

We hope everybody is having a great start to the summer, and if you are traveling anywhere, please let us know in the comments! We love to hear about the great trips our families take during the summer!

Healthy Snacks For Summer

With the heat of summer beating down, your little ones are probably asking for ice cream and popsicles non stop. If you’re looking for a slightly healthier alternative to Dairy Queen, we have a few recipes for you! We have a list of 5 different recipes with healthy twists that will still satisfy a sweet tooth and keep everyone cool for the rest of the summer!

Frozen Yogurt Bark

Even if your kids aren’t fans of yogurt, they will love this snack! This is a great snack if everyone in your house likes something different! Spread out your yogurt mixture into a baking sheet or tray. Then, either top the whole thing or different sections with everyone’s favorite toppings! Some of our favorites are fresh fruit, chopped nuts, and a chocolate drizzle. Yum!

Banana Ice Cream – Dairy Free

Not only is this recipe dairy free but it is also painfully simple. All you need is one ingredient, bananas! Freeze some cut up bananas for at least 4 hours then toss them into food processor. This puree will be very similar to ice cream. Go crazy with toppings and let everyone top their banana ice cream with their favorites!

Strawberry Ice Cream  – Dairy Free

Only slightly more complicated than the banana ice cream is strawberry ice cream! The best way to get an ice cream texture with strawberry flavor is to combine both frozen bananas and strawberries into your mixture. Again, this is a great healthy snack that everyone can add their favorite toppings to!

Peanut Butter & Banana Popsicle – Dairy Free

A third dairy free alternative to ice cream pops is peanut butter and banana popsicles! While the original recipes calls for a topping of chopped nuts, we think a drizzle of chocolate would be delicious! And satisfy the chocaholic in your family!

Frozen Yogurt Bites

The perfect grab-n-go snack for summer! All you need is yogurt in tubes, like Go Gurt, or your favorite flavors of yogurt and some piping bags! More colors and flavors make the yogurt bites more fun!

We hope you like these recipes and decide to give them a try this summer! Let us know in the comments which treats your family liked best! As always, click the share button on the side of the blog to share these recipes with your friends and family!

Picnic Party

Today is National Picnic Day! So in honor of the holiday we’ve created a list inspired by the Funaatticof a few different ways you can make your picnic more exciting! Whether your family has never been on a picnic before or it is a regular summer tradition, we have some fun ideas for you!

 

  1. Have a picnic in your back yard!A great place for your first picnic is in your back yard! You won’t have to lug a ton of food to a park just to realize you forgot forks! Starting in the backyard is a great way to practice your picnicking skills!
  2. Have a picnic on the water! Whether it’s on a boat or a dock, picnicking out on the water will be a beautiful family outing. Have a picnic lunch and then go for a swim out on the water!
  3. Let you’re your little ones plan the food!Have your children help you plan the meal for the picnic. Your older ones can help you make some of the food and your little ones can help pack the basket. Getting everyone involved can make a family gathering so much more special!
  4. Create a food rainbow!Get some fresh fruits and veggies to create some delicious and nutritious food rainbows! Play a game with your little ones to see how many different colors they can find in their food!
  5. Start a campfire!You don’t need to go camping to have an excuse to start a fire! Bring all the ingredients for smore’s and even bake a potato or heat up some warm picnic food over the fire! It’s perfect for dinnertime picnics.
  6. Make some funny food faces!Making faces in your food is a way to make picnic food more fun for your little ones. Whether it’s with veggie slices or cut into bread, food smileys are a way to make your little ones smile.
  7. Make it a treasure hunt!Hide little toys and notes in the wrapping and containers of your picnic! It’ll be a fun surprise for everyone to find a special something throughout their meal.
  8. Enjoy the day!Make sure to enjoy the meal! Eat slowly and soak in the family time. Picnics are a great way to enjoy a meal together outside of your dinner table.

 

We hope you enjoy some of these ideas and decide to make picnics a summer tradition in your family! Tell us in the comments about how your family enjoys a picnic! As always, click the share button on the side of the blog to give your friends and family some picnic inspiration!

Summer Yoga Poses

If any of your little ones are aspiring yogis, we have some perfect poses for them to practice this summer! These are great poses to get in touch with summer whether it’s on the beach, by the lake, or outside in the backyard. Help your little ones tap into their summer flow thanks to Kidsyogastories and their full guide to summer yoga and meditation!

 

Triangle Pose – Sailboat Pose

Start in Mountain Pose. Then step one foot to the side and face it slightly outward.  Extend your arms out, parallel to the ground.

Then bend at the waist, lifting one arm into the air and bringing the other down your shin.

Have your little one pretend to be a sailboat floating along the water.

Plank Pose – Surfboard Pose

From the Triangle pose, slide your hand that was on your shin on the ground in       front of you as you lower your other arm to place both hands on the ground in front of you.

Make sure your hands are placed as though you are about to do a push-up. Step or jump both feet back so that you are poised to do a push up. Rise up on your toes and make sure to keep your palms and back flat.

Have your little ones pretend to be a surfboard swaying on the surface of the ocean.

Boat Pose – Boat on the Water Pose

From the Plank pose, step your feet forward and sit on your bottom. Lift your legs to a 45 or 60-degree angel. Keep your arms parallel to the ground. Make sure your legs, arms, and back are all straight!

This pose may be a little harder to hold but don’t give up and make sure to breathe!

Once you’re little ones are steady in this position, rock back and forth like a boat on the water!

 

We hope your little yogis are excited for these summer yoga poses! If there are any yoga poses your little ones love let us know in the comments. Click share on the side of the blog to let your family and friends try these awesome poses.

Summer Fun

During the midst of the summer keeping your little ones entertained and having fun all day long can sometimes be difficult. We have gathered a list of five, super fun and inexpensive activities to do whether you are spending a day at the lake, staying in a summer house, or simply having a calm day at home. Check out our list for some great activity ideas for all of the different places summer takes you!

Continue reading “Summer Fun”

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