Are you looking for some free printable activities to teach your child the alphabet? Who doesn’t love a good freebie?
Sometimes, you just need a good sit-down activity for your tot. Maybe you aren’t able to invest in other learning resources. And I totally understand! As a stay-at-home mom, we often times have to get creative or find deals.
Recently, I wrote about preschool readiness. I’m not a teacher or professional, but I am a Mom of 3 boys. And in this article, Pro’s and Con’s of sending kids to school are listed, along with various activities to encourage your kids now and through the school year!
Practice one letter activity per day with your 3 or 4-year-old. This can be a great way to encourage your child to focus on following instructions. The younger, your child is, the more of your help he or she will need.
Last year (our now 4 year-old) showed very little interest in structured activity. Through a whole year, learning activities were optional at home. Now, he is so excited for preschool!
There are other ways to incorporate early learning without sitting down. Actually, small children learn quickly when music and dance are incorporated! So if this type of activity isn’t right for you, there is hope!
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“Frugal” can be explained as stingy, penny-pinching, and tight. But for those with the conservative lifestyle, the word has an entirely different ring to it; thrifty, economical, and resourceful.
It could explain the type of person who likes freebies, when in fact nothing is actually free. Everything costs someone; labor, shipping, ideas, and just solid goods in general.
But for most, “frugal” is a mentality of prioritizing, saving, and getting extra creative when you can’t have everything.
My family has learned the art of being frugal over a span of 6 years. In 2012 my husband and I were expecting our first baby, near the time of his second deployment. So I made the easy decision then, to quit work. As our family expanded, I continued to stay home. We always made it work, despite the occasional challenges. I feel strongly in being a part of our kids’ early childhood development and learning. And my husband’s been even more on-board after finding out what child care costs!
As a stay-at-home mom, I always felt like I wanted to contribute more. Finally 3 kids later, I’ve been able to take a couple of gigs that still allow me to be home 6-7 days a week. However, one of the best ways to contribute as a stay-at-home mom is to save a little cash. I wish I had stumbled upon an informative blog post then about frugal living.
I’m not a financial adviser, but here are some creative ways to help you save:
Tips for saving:
Monthly bills: Understand needs from wants
Needs: housing, electricity, propane, water, car(s), insurance, gas, phone(s), nutritional food, and medical services…
Keep tomato paste on hand for pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce, and tomato-based sauces/dips, sloppy joes…
Know how to make other sauces- Alfredo sauce is so easy!
Freeze juices of beef/pork roast, slow cooker chicken, or ham… (use in soup later)
Boil the bones from your chicken, turkey, ham, etc. with water to make stock
Refrigerate bacon grease drippings to substitute butter in savory dishes
Divide those packs of chicken and freeze individually (use 1 breast per meal)
Same for hamburger (I divide this into 1/2 lbs for when it’s just me and the kids)
Meat is expensive, divide other roasts as well
Grind up crusty bread to substitute panko or add to meatballs
Freshen up leftovers by combining them to make a new dish
Use browned fruits in smoothies, cooked oatmeal, or make a bread from it
Other areas to be frugal: How to get some help/support
Gladly take hand-me down clothes, furniture, or appliances from a close friend or family member who doesn’t need them any more! My sister gives us all of the clothes my nephew’s grown out of. Thanks Sis! 😉
Give your items that aren’t being used a new home. Or make some cash selling them for a low price online, or selling them at a second-hand shop.
Instead of buying new books or movies, borrow from your local library
Grow a garden in Spring (& share abundance with friends and family)
Know about the free/low cost events/attractions near you including neat parks
Know what other resources/benefits are available to you
That’s all for now!
There’s no shame in being resourceful or even asking for help from the right people. Just remember, that is their sacrifice to you. It’s a wonderful ability to reach out among humankind. I believe we were all made to lean on each other sooner or later.
Part of raising a family is sometimes needing to sacrifice. It’s hard because we can’t do it all. And even if we can afford it, we don’t have time for all of it.
Frugal living is just sacrificing for now. You’re just investing in yourself and your family.
One way we show our children love is through buying them toys. And it’s not all bad. It’s natural to give tangible gifts as signs of affection. What an easy way to brighten a small person’s day!
But how do you know if your kids have too many toys? What are their favorite toys? For our boys, cars, trucks, tractors, and trains. The rest of the toys tend to get thrown, scattered, and stepped on! OUCH!
My husband and I found this out on our parenting journey- toys have seasons. And in those seasons, kids have a few favorites that they tend to play with. Especially if it’s something new.
So what do we do when one toy seems to be in the end stages of it’s season? We buy more! Which is kind of nuts when you think about it.
Baskets. Boxes. Overwhelming heaps of toys. They go unnoticed. Sometimes lost. And we are the ones earning the money for these little collections that go untouched for some time.
I have 10 solutions for you! Here are some ways to give more variation and condense.
Stick to birthdays and Christmas only. With the exception of small potty rewards (hot wheels, bubbles, stickers…).
They see a cool toy at the store? “Not today sweetie. Add it to your wishlist.” They will decide what value the toy will have in the future.
When kids are old enough to learn about how money works, they can earn a couple bucks for doing extra chores. Hard earned cash might not get spent so quickly.
Gift-givers like you or grandparents can do non-toy gifts like movie theater gift card, science kits, arts and crafts kit, books, movies, snack bag, or some money to add to a college savings account. What other types of non-toy gifts would your kids love?
Even ask birthday party guests to not bring gifts. They can still bring cards to show well wishes.
Box up half of the toys that they don’t play with very often. Put these in storage. When they get bored again, just switch them out.
Fill a donation box before the holidays. Maybe for a nonprofit organization. Or on a garage sale site for low cost or free. What would your kiddos give to someone in need?
Toss out the toys that are badly damaged or broken. Plus audible ones with bad wiring. Happy meal toys can go too.
Be particular. “Quality over quantity.” Like educational toys that encourage STEM learning or development. Some of our favorites are Fat Brain toys and Melissa and Doug toys.
Avoid too many electronics, especially at an early age. These can be more addicting and then you end up needing to limit their screen time. Ya, try pulling them away from it now! YIKES!
Well, that’s that. Toys can really be a blessing to kids. It influences their learning and imagination. However, with overabundance often times comes waste. So moderation is key!
(Our John Deere Gator is one of our boys’ favorite toys, they take turns riding it several times a day).
Have you ever wanted to give your infant, toddler, or preschooler a music education in the comfort of your own home?
Here’s a glance at the world’s first of it’s kind music e-learning platform for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. “The first music-making classes for families ever put on video.”
The Founders of Pomelody are Adam and Anna Weber of Poland. They are professional musicians and parents of two young sons.
Adam and Anna created this engaging new concept for young kids like theirs. Pomelody invites kids to bond with their parents and creates an educational experience together. And they want to share this with the world!
What have Adam and Anna been doing to finalize this project?
Recording series of songs
Creating music theory tutorials for parents
Creating animated stories for kids
This will all be available on PC, laptop, and tablets. Series will be released quarterly to users.
Here is a mix sample:
Right now the entire first season is a go. They are currently trying to fund the online platform along with other seasons.
The Webers are slowly making their way to their goal with support from other professional musicians like Zoltan Ziss and Adam Rapa.
Co-founder, Adam Weber states, “Music is such a powerful medium to stimulate a child’s imagination. Its benefits stretch way beyond childhood with many reports suggesting that it can boost an individual’s adult IQ by up to 18%, compared to children with no early years music exposure. Whilst this is motivation in itself, it’s the sheer joy and bonding between a child and its parents that makes interacting with music so magical. With Pomelody we have created a unique opportunity for families to bond, to learn, to have fun and to stimulate the next generation. We are very excited to bring this project to market and, fingers crossed, we can achieve our stretch goal and give free access to underprivileged children around the world.”
If you help fund the project on Kickstarter.com, you will receive a gift: