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New Sensory Bin Inspiration! Summer Themed Sensory "Beach"
Sensory play continues to be a family favorite, and with summer approaching, it was time to bring the season to the sensory bin! But why stick with a basic kinetic sand sensory bin? I upped the ante by including water beads (for some extra texture contrast).
Putting together this sensory activity is easy with a few simple items:
Water beads can be a choking hazard, so this may not be appropriate for younger toddlers (and make sure to monitor a child of any age, especially if they may put the beads in their mouth or nose). That said, this is a great preschool activity (and can be a good toddler activity for the right child, with supervision).
Looking for more sensory bin inspiration? Check out my growing library of ideas, perfect for toddlers and preschoolers!
And check out more great summer content:
NEW TO THE RESOURCE LIBRARY!!!!
Free Fun Father's Day Question and Answer Printable for Kids, plus 15 more fun questions to ask kids about their Dad!
Grab your copy of this question and answer activity for Father's Day! Guaranteed to get some laughs from Dad, this Q&A for kids is perfect to include in a scrapbook, picture book, card, picture frame, or on its own. Want to see how your child grows? Have them do one every year! "Kids say the darnedest things", am I right?!
You can get yours by subscribing to my mailing list here. There are loads of other great, free printables available on my subscriber's library, too. I'm always adding new content, so once you sign up, check back regularly. Also follow me on social media for updates (my newsletter will be coming out soon with updates as well).
Are you looking for great gift or celebration ideas for Father's Day? I have you covered with this Father's Day post (more ideas are being added regularly). There are also free cards available for immediate download there.
If you do this activity with your child, be sure to tag me on my social media accounts! I'd love to see what creative thoughts they have about their fathers.
Want to elaborate on this activity? Try some of these questions out:
Have other fun questions to ask the Dads in your life? Comment below to share!
Be sure to share this article!
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases. Commisions earned help suppport my small business, and my participation in this program comes at no added cost to you. You can learn more here. Nothing contained in this article constitutes medical advice. Always speak with your doctor for information about your family's health.
Chances are, someone you know, and love, has a food allergy. With how common food allergies are, you wouldn't think there would be a lot of misinformation out there. And yet, myths abound.
Food Allergy Awareness Week runs from May 9th to May 15th, 2021, and May is Asthma and Food Allergy Awareness Month.
In honor of the occasion, and in line with my mission to continue providing evidence based parenting and caregiving solutions, I've put together a list of 8 common food allergy myths, and the related facts. How many of these myths have you heard?
Myth: Food allergies and intolerances are the same.
Fact: Food allergies and intolerances are not the same thing. Thet are two separate medical conditions, affecting two separate systems. Food allergies are the result of an immunological response. In contrast, intolerances are a gasterointestinal disorder.
Food intolerances are also not typically threatening. In contrast, food allergies can be.
Myth: If you have a mild allergy, you can eat small amounts of your allergen.
1. There is no such thing as a mild food allergy, only mild reactions.
2. If you have a food allergy, you should avoid ingesting any amount of your allergen.
Never, ever feed someone with food allergies any amount of their allergen, for any reason. Food allergy support groups are filled with anecdotes of family, friends, and educators giving people their allergen because "a little bit can't hurt". "A little bit" of someone's allergen can be enough to kill them. If you do not understand someone's allergen, ASK. Do not, for any reason, make assumptions or executive decisions about what a food allergy patient can or should eat. Ever.
Myth: Not all food allergies are life threatening. Peanut allergies are the most severe.
Fact: Any food allergy has the potential to be life threatening.
Myth: If you have always had mild reactions to your allergen, you are not at risk for anaphylaxis.
Fact: Past reactions generally do not predict future reactions. Any food allergy patient can be at risk for anaphylaxis!
Myth: There are only 8 food allergens: peanuts, treenuts, wheat, dairy, eggs, soy, fish, and shellfish.
Fact: There are more than 160 identified food allergens!!!! With the passage of the FASTER Act in 2021, there are now 9 top allergens (#9 is sesame). The FASTER Act goes into effect 1/1/23.
Myth: You can tell if a product is safe for a food allergy patient to consume by reading the label.
Fact: Labels can tell you if a product is NOT safe, but not if it is safe. Companies only have to disclose if their product contains the Top 8 allergens, and do not have to disclose risk of cross contact.
Myth: You should only epi if your throat closes, or you can't breath
Fact: Signs of anaphylaxis vary. Speak to your doctor, or see FARE's action plan to learn more. You'll notice that symptoms are not just confined to the respiratory system. Allergic reactions can affect the skin, nervous system, cardiorespiratory system, eyes, and even the gasterointestinal tract. My reactions to peanuts have varied from hives to an itchy throat and swelling of my lips and mouth. I have also experienced severe headaches. I have family members who have had severe GI symptoms, but no skin or respiratory symptoms. Other family members have profuse hives, GI symptoms, and wheezing. Knowing all the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis, and acting early by administering epinephrine, can save a life.
Your individualized action plan will be the best source of information of when to administer epinephrine, so be sure to obtain one from your allergist if you do not have one (and follow it closely).
EPI FIRST, EPI FAST!!!
*When prescribed by a doctor, administered under the guidance of a medical professional, and/or used as directed. Always speak with a medical professional to see if epi is right for you. Also note, in some places, epinephrine is a component of first aid kits. In these regions, epinephrine has been deemed safe enough to administer when anaphylaxis is suspected. Do not rely on this article to dictate if epi is the correct medication for you, or your family.
Want to learn even more about food allergies? Be sure to visit Food Allergy Research and Education! Also, check out my list of 5 things I've learned as a food allergy parent, and visit my food allergy portal for even more food allergy family resources and blog posts!
Food Allergy Research and Education also has a section on food allergy myths and misconceptions. You can find that here.
Be sure to share to help raise awareness!
Find the perfect gift for dad, or way to celebrate the fathers in your life! I'll be adding to this post periodically with new lists, resources, and printables, so check back regularly!
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases. Commissions earned help support my small business, and my participation in this program comes at no added cost to you. You can learn more here.
Great Father's Day Gifts
Free Printables - Great for Gifts, DIY Cards, and More!
FATHER'S DAY "ABOUT MY DAD PRINTABLE"
Sign up for my email list to get access to this printable, and loads more great free content in my subscriber's library!
Free Father's Day Cards - Printables for Instant Download
You can also download one of two Father's Day cards instantly below! No strings attached!
FREE FATHER'S DAY COLORING PAGES!!!
Grab your free Father's Day coloring pages over on the Facebook group! While I share many exclusives with my email subscribers, I also offer Facebook group only exclusives such as these:
Make Memories: The Best Father's Day Activities
With food allergy awareness week around the corner, I am back with a new printable available for immediate download. This free food allergy advocacy resource has 100% no strings attached! Why?
Because raising awareness about food allergies is life saving work, and to make a difference we need to include our children in the discussion.
Food allergy bullying is a common problem, and one way to combat it is with early education. Food allergies are a life threatening disability. There is nothing funny about that.
You can find more tips for addressing bullying over food allergies here.
Stay tuned, because even more printables are coming soon!!! And be sure to participate in Food Allergy Awareness Week from May 9th - May 15th. Food Allergy Research and Education has a ton of activities planned; you can find the entire schedule here.
Or, check out my last blog post for access to tons of graphics, an overview of FARE's event schedule, and more!
And, of course, the real reason you came to this post.... the printable! You can download it via the image, or click on the file below.
Free Kids' Food Allergy Awareness Printable for Immediate Download
Be sure to share this post to help other families raise awareness about food allergies!
It is almost that time of year again; food allergy awareness week 2021 is mere weeks away! Food Allergy Research and Education has loads of great digital events planned for the occassion, and as always, I will be sharing tons of food allergy content.
Leading up to Food Allergy Awareness Week, which takes place from May 9th - May 15th, I'm resharing some of last year's content about food allergies, as well as other information about how to participate this year yourself!
If you are a newer reader, make sure to catch up on some of my articles about managing food allergies from 2020! You can find those below:
2021 has welcomed a much anticipated change for food allergy families... The passage of the FASTER Act!!
While you will be hearing a lot about this throughout Food Allergy Awareness Week (if you haven't already), catch up in advance by watching my video about why this law is so important to families like mine!
Grab Your Graphics!!!
Last year I also shared a number of infographs and awareness graphics. The best way to use these are to share on social media, so I've linked to the images so you can share them with friends, family, and followers to raise awareness. You can find them on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest! Or, feel free to download this one (be sure to tag me on social media if you use it):
Watch my MOCHA Interview with FARE!
Last November I was honored to be a guest on MOCHA's Thanksgiving episode. Learn why I was (and still am) grateful as a food allergy parent:
Check Out My Food Allergy Portal
Follow FARE and participate in their great activities throughout the week!
FARE has a number of great digital events planned throughout Food Allergy Awareness Week. Here is a list of them all (be sure to visit their website to get all the details)
You can follow FARE on most major social media platforms for updates and tons of great content:
And be sure to share this round up!!
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases. My participation in this program comes at no added cost to you, and helps support my small business. You can learn more here.
Make the moms in your life feel extra special by finding the perfect gift for mom (or any woman you want to celebrate)! Whether you have a large budget or are looking for a special homemade mother's day gift, there are ideas for mother's day that work for every family on this list!
PS. We all know preparing for mother's day can be a scramble. Luckily, almost everything on this list is perfect for last minute mother's day gifts!!!
Here are some of the best gifts you can get for mom this year!
Spa Day at Home
Make mom feel extra special by giving her the gift of relaxation and time to her self. Start the set off with a luxurious bath pillow, add some shower steamers or other aromatherapy for bath and body options, and round it off with the most comfortable bath robe you can find! Make sure to upgrade the locks on the bathroom to ensure the kids leave her alone!
Here are a few of my favorite at home spa products:
And, here are some highly rated product recommendations, to help give mom the perfect at home spa experience!
And don't forget a basket to put it all in!
Personalized Jewelry and Gifts for Mom
Okay, so jewelry is cliche, but it is popular for a reason! Give mom a special personalized jewelry gift from the kids, so she can have an everyday reminder of how much she is appreciated. Here are a few recommendations of top rated items for mother's day jewelry that she will love (some of these options are even small artisans, so you also get to support a small business).
Pro tip: Personalized gifts can take awhile to ship. If they won't be to your home in time for mother's day, don't panic! Print a picture of the gift, and put it in a card. This has been a way that my husband has dealt with the issue, and I am always super excited about the gift that is on it's way!
Homemade Gifts for Mom
What mom doesn't love a homemade mother's day gift?! Here is some inspiration to help you find the perfect handmade gift for mom this year!
From Baby/For Mom on Her First Mother's Day: Footprint Flower Art
Ideas for homemade gifts from older children:
From the Entire Family:
Give Mom Memories and Experiences
This is my favorite way to celebrate Mother's Day! Every year my husband and child bring me breakfast in bed. We then go to the local nursery and pick out the perfect new perennials, bushes, or a new tree, which my husband plants for me. Sometimes we go out for a nice dinner, other times my husband cooks (he is a chef, so I can't complain about staying in!!). Here are some other ways to show mom you appreciate her this Mother's Day!
Didn't find what you were looking for on this list? Amazon has a great mother's day gift guide full of unique, handmade items! Or, check out my holiday gift guide for her for even more inspiration!
Don't forget to pin this to reference later!
This post has been sponsored by ZenTyme Moments via a gifting collaboration. All opinions within the article are my own.
Disclaimer: This post may include affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases. Commissions earned help support my small business, and my participation in the program comes at no added cost to you. You can learn more about my participation in this program here.
With Mother’s Day around the corner, it is again the season to scramble and find the best ways to show mom how much you care. I say scramble, because as a mom myself, I know exactly what my household looks like in the lead up (also, as someone with a mom, I also know Mother’s Day preparations always felt like chaos because it is mom who usually did all the planning!)
This year, I’m offering a few last-minute suggestions for those still scratching their heads about how to treat the mothers in their lives. And my first product feature is guaranteed to help mom relax on the rare occasion she gets to treat herself at home. Because what mom doesn’t love a luxurious bath?
That brings me to the product itself: theZenTyme Moments ergonomic bath pillow. I’d never been a huge bath person before having my kid, but as a mom, I am totally beginning to see the appeal! And no bath is complete without a relaxing place to rest your head! This pillow is incredibly plush and luxurious, making it absolutely perfect for mamas looking for me time in the tub! Drying the pillow is super easy because of the convenient (and sturdy) hanger, and storage is a breeze thanks to the bag included (because let’s be honest, our homes are cluttered enough with all the stuff from our kids). The pillow has many suction cups hold it firmly on the tub, so no need to worry about it slipping, and the ergonomic design with elevated sides to ensure you also don’t slip, either. I’m absolutely obsessed with mine, and I know any mom who enjoys a nice bath would love this product as well (hint, hint for those still looking for Mother’s Day gifts!!).
Where can you find it?
Head over to the ZenTyme Moments website, or find the product on Amazon!
Looking to up the ante with the spa day at home essentials? ZenTyme moments makes a wide variety of self-care products! And what makes them even better is this company is a small American owned business featuring many made in America products. Who doesn’t love supporting the made in America initiative? Plus, all their ingredients are ethically sourced and the company is committed to sustainability. Plus, they never test on animals. You can learn more about their commitment here. Now if only mom could find a way to keep the kids out of the bathroom when she is trying to get some time alone. Perhaps invest in a good lock, too?
More ZentTyme Moments products you may love!!
Stay tuned for more great gift ideas for Mother’s Day (or birthdays, Christmas/Hanukah, or just to treat yourself, mama!). Or, check out myholiday gift guide for her, which also has a bunch of options that would make great gifts for mom!
Shopping later? Be sure to save this on Pinterest so you can find it later!
The books discussed in this post were gifted to me by Jolie Canoli for the purpose of review. All opinions are entirely my own!
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases. Commissions earned help support my small business, and my participation in the program comes at no added cost to you. You can learn more about my participation in this program here.
The school year is dragging on, and yet, it is almost over for many students. Virtual learning is just not quite as effective as in person learning, is it? Even if your child is going to school in person, they may be missing quite a few days due to the current circumstances. Especially for very young children, reinforcing the basic foundational skills they learn at school has become all the more essential.
Enter Jolie Canoli Phonics!
If you are looking for a supplement to school based reading instruction for your preschooler, kindergartener, or even early elementary student, these books are an amazing resource. They are also great for families looking to give their children a head start on the foundations of fluent English reading. As I’ve previously shared, literacy science indicates five critical areas of reading instruction, and phonemic awareness and phonics (together making up the larger category of phonological awareness) are two key areas to focus attention on early during reading development (National Reading Panel, 2000). I’ve also noted that many kids’ books and programs do not adequately promote development of critical phonological awareness strategies. Given this fact, I am happy to add Jolie Canoli texts to the list of books that I can enthusiastically endorse as using effective letter sound mapping strategies. Plus, these books have the added benefit of promoting decoding/carry over of skills.
Each text starts with an introduction for parents and caregivers. Essentially serving as a crash course in the basics of how to use the text and concepts of reading and reading instruction, these brief instructions are in simple language that even those without a degree in education can easily retain. But they don’t just focus on speech sounds. Both books in the phonics series offer prompts for how to write each letter. This is the only widely available phonics/alphabet book series I’ve found with that feature, setting them apart from competitors.
About the Alphabet Book
In the alphabet book, the text is presented in rhyming form, and ties the grapheme characters into the story seamlessly. Onomatopoeia is used as a device to help children further understand the sounds that letters make. Phonemes are repeated multiple times in different words, as well as different places within the words. The author also provides fun rules for letters that have multiple phonemes to help children understand where a letter might make one sound or another (my noting this inherently means she also spends time focusing on the fact that different letters can make many different sounds in the first place; one example is the hard and soft G that many books neglect to explicitly address).
Periodic check ins provide an opportunity for children to practice blending/decording using the phonemes and graphemes they have just reviewed. As I’ve previously noted, decoding/word segmentation is a critical skill associated with later reading fluency (eg. Muter, 1998; Hjetland, et al., 2017). While it is not the primary focus of the text, the introduction to blending/decoding practice is a fantastic addition that many children’s alphabet books neglect.
About the Vowels Book
The vowels book pairs with a song by the author, available for download on her webpage. Like the alphabet book, the vowels text reviews the multitude of sounds each letter can make, in a variety of places within the words, and introduces phonics rules in rhyming form. The characters each letter becomes also helps indicate to readers what sound each respective letter makes (e.g. up vs. unicorn for the letter u). Like the alphabet book, the pages are colorful, fun, and interactive.
While there are no major drawbacks within these texts, there were two areas where I could see some minor room for improvement. Both were in the alphabet book, and the first can easily be addressed by using the vowels text in addition to the alphabet book. This was that the letter A was not addressed using one of the most common sounds it makes; a as in apple. Instead the author uses the word ant for the short a sound, and a in acorn for the long a sound. As a former educator training in the Wilson school of phonics instruction (a methodology supported by extensive research), I would much prefer the boring a for apple over a for ant. [Note: I am not in any way sponsored or affiliated with Wilson; I am simply a major proponent of their method). That said, this is not something I see as a major problem with the alphabet book given the audience is parents and their children rather than teachers involved in early reading instruction, and the vowels text does address the matter further. The second critique I had of the alphabet book was that one of the blending practice words used a double e (which makes a long e sound), despite not explicitly covering this concept. However, this is a children’s book we are discussing here, not a curriculum package (reference my audience comment prior). I am not horribly concerned as a result!
These books get a definite recommendation from me! I am pleased to add them to my child’s library, and would certainly encourage other parents to do the same! They are fun, engaging, and importantly, have content presented in a way I believe would aid in the development of early reading skills*.
Where can you find the books?
Other books by the author
*I say believe because, as a scientist reviewing a program not supported by science, I am incapable of drawing causal claims. That said, these are children’s books, not a curriculum program, and as such, there is no necessity to support the books with scientific studies.
10 Low or No Cost Outdoor Family Activities for the Spring and Summer (that AREN'T going to the Beach!)
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases. My participation in this program comes at no added cost to you, and commissions earned help support my small business. You can learn more about this program here.
When the weather starts getting nice, my family loves spending as much time outside as possible. We are outside on days we work from home (I am writing this from a lounge chair on my deck!), we play outside, eat outside, and generally find every excuse possible to be outdoors. But every parent has had the experience of their child feeling bored with outdoor free play. Here are 10 ideas that are low or no cost, and perfect for keeping the entire family entertained outside throughout the warmer months!
2. Water Play
3. Messy Art Activities
4. Take a Nature Walk
If you happen to live in or around Westchester, I also strongly encourage you to check out Lasdon Park's Dinosaur walk!!! It is an amazing resource available FOR FREE!!! The trail isn't particularly long by adult standards, but it is perfect for little feet. Along the way take time to learn about the different dinosaurs, their environment, and more. The trail also offers a virtual reality experience and stations where you can scan signs to learn more!
6. Outdoor Movie Nights
7. Get Dirty!!
Mud kitchens, dirt play, sand boxes, and mud pies are all great ways to have fun getting dirty! While many parents cringe at the idea (admittedly, I am included in that), kids love it. Warm spring and summer days are perfect for getting dirty, because you can do it in a swim suit. Just spray off with a hose when done!
8. Backyard Camping
Grab a tent, a sleeping bag, and a flashlight; then head outdoors! You don’t have to sleep outside to experience the fun of camping! Get comfy, light a fire in your fire pit if you have one, and roast some marshmallows. When it is time for bed, you can always head inside, but not before taking a long gaze at the night sky! There are some great apps out there that help you discover stars, planets, and constellations.
9. Go for a Bike Ride
Even small children can partake in family bike rides with a balance bike (which is obviously a lot slower than a regular bike, but a great tool for helping kids get ready to use a big kid bike!) or wagon attachment. Biking is great exercise, and allows you to get out and explore faster than using your own feet. My community has some excellent cycling trails, or just take a ride around your neighborhood.
10. Obstacle Course
Want even more ideas? I update my Instagram stories regularly with new activities I am doing with my preschooler, or things we are doing as an entire family. You can also find great ideas from around the web on my Pinterest account!
What are some of your family’s favorite outdoor activities for the spring and summer? Comment below and let me know!
Be sure to share this with other parents looking for creative ideas to stay busy outside this spring and summer!
May 2020 (Prior to 5/31)
Find more recipes, product recommendations, activities, and more!
View my author page for Westchester County Mom here.
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