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It’s fun Friday and we are continuing with our theme of children’s Springtime activities and crafts. Our little chicken craft also doubles as a goodie basket for you to celebrate Spring with your children!
What you’ll need:*
- Cardboard egg carton
- Non-toxic markers or paint
- Colorful plastic eggs
- Yellow pom poms for each chick
- Orange felt, triangles for beaks
- Small black wiggle eyes, 2 for each chick
- White craft glue or a glue gun (to be used by adults only)
How to create your chick & goodie basket:
Color the egg carton. if you use paint make sure you give it time to dry. It can be colored green so the chicks look like they are sitting in grass or you can let your child be creative and use whatever colors he or she wants!
- Take a pom pom and glue the wiggly eyes on it. Cut a small triangle of orange felt or the beak and glue that under the eyes. If you want your chick to be bigger you can glue the pom pom with the chick face on top of another pom pom for the body.
- Place hatched chicks into the egg carton.
- Decide how many chicks you want hatched and fill eggs with candy, coins, a little love note, etc. Place filled eggs in egg carton.
Display your child’s chick and goodie basket on the dining room table or somewhere else where everyone can see it.
Do you have a favorite Springtime craft to do with your children? Feel free to share it with us!
And if you make a chick goodie basket, feel free to post a picture in our Magical Moments section of your child creating this masterpiece!
*Since there are small parts to this craft, it is not recommended for children under 3 years old.
Kolcraft understands that there are a lot of expenses that come along with parenting. For the first-time parent the list of baby “supplies” seems endless: diapers, baby clothes, bassinet, diapers, stroller(s), bottles, toys, bouncers – did we mention diapers? It can be overwhelming for any parent – experienced or not.
Kolcraft wants to help parents by giving them products that have an “extended life.” One of these such products is our Tiny Steps® 2-in-1 Walker. This walker grows with baby from an activity walker to a walk-behind walker bringing endless enjoyment for your child from infancy to toddlerhood.
Some features that we love about this new walker:
- Easily converts from activity walker to walk-behind walker
- Electronic music tray includes lights and music
- Folds easily for travel and storage (we understand that space can be tight when you are trying to accommodate all your baby gear!)
- Includes height adjustment for growing babies
- Non-skid friction pads on base for child safety
What are your “must have” features for a baby walker?
Whether it’s Spring break or you just want ideas for creative time with your children, we decided to have two fun activities for this week (stay tuned for our Fun Friday craft!). We know when your children are out of school, it can be difficult to keep them occupied if they Spring fever. We thought what better way to enjoy all that Spring has to offer than to have a crawling creature activity!
Crawling Creature Hunt:
Your backyard, local park or forest preserve is a wonderful bug habitat – all you have to do is look. A few things will be needed for your crawling creature hunt:
- magnifying glass
- insect net
- clear plastic container
What to do:
Tell your child you are going on a hunt to see your neighborhood bugs. You can look for centipedes, worms, grasshoppers, ladybugs, beetles, spiders or bees. Be sure to look all around you – in air, in the grass, on leaves and flowers, under logs or rocks – almost anywhere outside. If you and your child put on your “bug goggles” (feel free to decorate a pair of sunglasses with a “bug theme”) and equip yourself with curiosity, you will find all sorts of crawling creatures!
Once you find a bug, gently catch it with your net or container. You and your child can observe it for a few minutes and then set it free. If you want a closer look, use your magnifying glass. Some things you can point out to your child are the bug’s many legs, hair on its body, wings, etc. You can keep a notepad (a.k.a. bug book) to write down your findings. If your child takes special interest in a particular bug, you can research the bug on the internet when you are done with your crawling creature activity.
Have you ever bug hunted with your child?
Do you have other favorite Spring-break activities?
Spring brings flowers, budding trees, birds singing and… cleaning! Whether you are someone who likes to do major cleaning a little at a time or all at once, it can be a challenge to get children to help out. We decided to dedicate this Tip Tuesday post to spring cleaning and how to make it as fun as possible for you and your children.
Make Spring Cleaning Fun:
- Host a cleaning party complete with music. Let your kids chose a special cleaning outfit (make sure it’s clothes you don’t mind them getting dirty), give them party hats and blast music throughout the house. End the party with a special treat to celebrate your clean house.
- Have a cleaning contest. Divide into teams. Each team takes a room and cleans it. The team that cleans the fastest and the neatest wins. The prize for the winning team can be that they pick the dinner menu for a night during the week.
- Make cleaning a scavenger hunt. Hide prizes in the rooms or within projects that have to be cleaned. For example, if you have a lot of laundry to fold, hide a prize in a sock in the laundry pile. If you have several rooms to clean, hide prizes in the hard to clean places of the room. Prizes shouldn’t be expensive. You can hide a small amount of money, an inexpensive prize you buy from the Dollar Store or a little coupon valid for special time at your child’s favorite park, etc.
- Create a surprise cleaning jar. Put pieces of paper with jobs written on them in jar. Each person picks a job out of jar. When one job is finished, the person gets to pick out another “surprise” job out of the jar.
What ways do involve your children in spring cleaning?
Share your tips with other parents in the comment section!
Today we are throwing a “curve ball” into our Mom Mondays and are interviewing a “Northern Neighbor” – Calgary Daddy. We love Calgary daddy’s sense of humor, take on parenting and wisdom as he travels through fatherhood. We present to you our first dad on Kolcraft’s Mom Mondays!
We love the story of how you met your wife. Was it love at first sight in first grade?
I often joke to everyone that she had the BIGGEST crush on me in 1983. I know that she used to sneak little glances over my way! To be honest, Becky does not even remember me from Grade 1. (or so she says…..lol.)
And now you are parents to a beautiful baby boy. You talk about your wife becoming your hero after she gave birth to Kyron. What was it like being present at your son’s birth?
It was both amazing and surreal at the same time. Everything happened so fast and I was just overwhelmed by the situation. Your adrenaline is going so fast and it is so hard to explain. It was so emotional to finally see Kyron in person. I will never forget the moment or the feeling that came with it.
What have you learned after 2 months of parenting?
That being a Mom is probably one the hardest and most important jobs in the whole world. I am amazed at how natural parenthood has come to my wife. It is really a 24-hour-a-day job being a mom. No matter how “hands-on” I try to be, I will never be able to do what Becky does on a daily basis!
What has been your greatest joy of fatherhood?
The most amazing thing to me is seeing Kyron smile at me when he wakes up in the morning! I am also intrigued when I try to imagine who he is going to be when he grows up.
How about your biggest challenge?
Personally, I think that keeping up with all of the information out there is the biggest challenge in my opinion! Parenting advice seems to differ depending on who you talk to or what you read. Trying to make sure you are doing everything correctly is the biggest challenge for me. That and trying to fit Kyron’s arms into his sleepers!
Now for a quick glance into Shane’s life.
What is your “top dream” for Kyron? That he grows up to be a good man.
What is your “wildest dream” for him? That he becomes Prime Minister of Canada! (You heard it here first folks!)
If you had a free weekend with your wife & could take her anywhere, where would you go & why?
I would take her to either Tahiti or Hawaii! These are her top 2 vacation destinations and we didn’t get to go before Kyron was born.
Favorite thing to do when you have “guy time”? Go to Calgary Flames Hockey Games. (We are Blackhawks fans here, but we certainly respect Canada & their true love of all things hockey.)
Shane, it was great talking with you.
If you haven’t seen Shane’s blog, head on over. You will love our Northern neighbor’s take on life as a dad.
Remember Michelle LaRowe – the mom, nanny and author who we featured last Mom Monday? A few days after our interview, she had her second child. We couldn’t be happier for her and welcome her beautiful baby boy. Luke LaRowe (great Hollywood name) weighed in at 8lbs, 3 ounces and 19 inches long!
We are very excited here in Chicago over the new Francois langur that was born at Lincoln Park Zoo on March 18th. It got us thinking about how fun and educational trips to the zoo can be. This time of year is a special time to visit your local zoo because many zoos have new “members” as baby animals have just been born. We love Zoo Borns as a resource to find out the newest & cutest baby zoo animals.
A trip to the zoo can be a time to learn about animals, an opportunity to get outside and create memories and to see mommy animals taking care of their babies which is a great informal way for children to see mom/baby connections even in the animal world!
Some ways that you can enrich your trip to the zoo:
- Ask your child what animal they REALLY want to see. Go to your library and check out a few books or fun DVD’s to learn more about that animal. This will not only enhance your child’s experience when she/he sees the animal at the zoo, it teaches them that your local library is a great resource.
- Have your child make a photo journal of that zoo trip (see March 19th post on “Seeing the World Through Your Child’s Eyes”). If they do this several times, you will have a keepsake of your child’s favorite zoo animals.
- Adopt an animal at the zoo and let your child name it. Every time you return to the zoo, you can “check in” on your animal. Adopting an animal not only helps defray costs of caring for the animal, but teaches your child that he/she can make a difference for that animal.
And don’t forget to pack your favorite Kolcraft stroller in case someone’s little feet get tired.
Do you have tips on how making a zoo trip memorable?
Please share them with us!
It’s Kolcraft Thursday and today we get to have a behind the scenes chat with Traci Barron, Senior Project Engineer. For the past 14 years Traci has engineered everything from pharmaceutical delivery devices to strollers. We were able to catch up with her & get a glimpse of her world.
You don’t always see women in this role as an engineer. How did you pick this as your career path?
As most kids do, I struggled with choosing a college major and career. I was good at math and science, so many people suggested engineering. At Purdue University, the first year of coursework in engineering exposes you to all the different types of engineering. I ended up choosing Mechanical Engineering as a major because it seemed like the career choices for that degree were very broad—and I still was not sure what exactly I wanted to do! It was not until I took a couple of Product Design and Mechanism Design courses in my junior and senior years that I really felt I had a definitive career direction in Product Design. I like to think of myself as a creative person—and I am interested in design and aesthetics as well as engineering, so it seemed to be a perfect match for me.
What exactly goes into engineering a product? Where do you even start?
Every product starts with an idea—some of those ideas are new to the world, while others are just variations of products that already exist. The average person does not look at a product and think, “That is great engineering.” They might think, “That product has a great design.” I think design and engineering are so closely intertwined that it is difficult to talk about one without the other. In ideal product development, engineers and industrial designers work together to ensure that a product meets all functional requirements and is aesthetically pleasing. Engineers and designers collaborate on how the product functions, how the product will be assembled, and how it is adjusted (i.e. height adjustable products and reclines). Engineers are responsible for making sure a product can withstand weight and forces that will be put on a product through any and all foreseeable use. Engineers also develop tests to provide confidence that products are safe for any foreseeable use. Engineers have to ensure parts are made out of the correct materials and that the components will always assemble even considering typical manufacturing variation.
You just had baby #2. Can you tell us some of the challenges & benefits of being a mom who works outside the home?
The biggest challenge is that there is never enough time in the day. No matter what I do, I have to work through some level of guilt about not having more time to spend with my kids. When I am not at work, the kids get near 100% of my attention while they are awake. As you might imagine, that does not leave much “Mom time” or “Mom and Dad time”—especially when you also factor in upkeep of a house with a 3 yr old, a 6 mo old, and a dog living there! It is a constant struggle to find balance. For me I know it is the right choice—it is something every mom has to evaluate for themselves. I get great fulfillment out of both of my jobs (Mom and engineer), and I cannot imagine my life without one of them. I also like the idea that I am teaching my daughter that a woman can have a career—just like Daddy.
Has working at Kolcraft informed how you look at baby gear for your own family?
Definitely. Part of my job is to stay on top of new product ideas and categories. I have a much higher consideration for the value of baby gear products—every purchase becomes an evaluation of product cost vs. features that are useful to me.
And how has being a mom affected being an engineer?
In a way, I never stop working. Every day life caring for my kids—and watching other people care for their kids—highlights so many challenges. My mind is always taking note of those challenges and thinking of ways to make life easier on caregivers. I also have a lot more personal experience to draw upon when I am considering how babies/toddlers might behave in a product—or how older siblings interact with a baby/toddler in a product. This really helps when I am considering the safety aspects and foreseeable use of the products I help to develop.
Traci at a glance:
Favorite part about being a mom?
The smiles on my kids’ faces when they see me, the hugs and the “I love you Mom’s”. I cannot get enough of that.
Favorite time of day?
Morning. The kids are always so happy in the morning—and any frustration from the day before has subsided over night.
Favorite Kolcraft product?
Best “sanity” break to recharge your mom battery
A glass of wine (or two) after the kids are asleep
Thanks for taking time out of your busy day to talk with us Traci.
If you have a burning question for our “engineering mom,” feel free to leave it in the comment section!
You finally arrive at that stage where baby can actually start on solid food. You head over to the grocery store and stock up on all those yummy baby food flavors only to have sticker shock at check out. The good news is there are options – like making your own baby food. And it’s not as difficult as it seems. Michelle LaRowe has a great, easy guide to making your own baby food. (Remember the mom, nanny & writer that we interviewed this past Monday for Mom Monday?)
Here it is:
How To Make Your Own Baby Food:*
- Steam or bake fresh fruits or vegetables until tender.
- Puree cooked fruits or vegetables in a good processor or blender.
- Fill an ice cube tray with pureed food.
- Cover the filled ice cube tray with plastic wrap and freeze.
- Once the puree cubes are frozen, transfer them to a plastic freezer storage bag and label it with the food type and date. Cubes should be used within one month of freezing.
- Thaw and heat as needed. Breast milk, formula, or water can be added to thin the puree before serving. Each cube equals about 1 ounce of baby food.
Do you make your own baby food? What “tricks & tips” work for you?
Share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment & you will be entered to win a copy of A Mom’s Ultimate Book of Lists by Michelle LaRowe!
No parent ever wants to think about having a medical emergency with their child, but no matter how vigilant you are, your child will get sick and can have an accident. One thing you will always want handy in the car and at home is a child’s first aid kit. You will want the kit to contain medications, “instruments” such as sharp scissors, tweezers and emergency contact numbers of your pediatrician, etc. A great resource for suggestions of what to put in your child’s first aid kit can be found at babycenter.com.
Do you have an emergency plan or first aid kit for your child?
If so, please share with us what you have included in it.