POSTS WITH TAG: activities

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    My kids love art. I mean most kids love the opportunity to be creative, express their imagination, and make a mess. Which is why this recipe to make your own finger paint will not only be a fun activity to do with your kids, but it will also save you money.

    This finger paint recipe comes from the Home & Family Show, which airs weekdays at 10 a.m. on the Hallmark Channel.

    So, here's how it's done:

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    Where have all the pen pals gone? Back in the day, we all had 'em. We'd procrastinate when it came to writing essays for school, yet we'd happily pen six-page tomes to our pen pals and wax poetic about our 12-year-old lives (my mom is soooo mean for not letting me go to concerts!). We would wait impatiently until we received that foreign-looking envelope in our mailboxes -- the one that was practically bathing in exotic-looking stamps.

    The benefits of corresponding with someone whom we'd ordinarily never have gotten a chance to meet in real life are numerous -- but letter-writing is a dying art.

    That is, unless you're Julie Paris -- a British mom who lets her 8-year-old daughter write to and receive letters from prisoners who are serving time for murder.

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    Have you seen the "No-Bullshit, No-Drama Friendship Manifesto" that's been shared all over Facebook? It's from a blog post published on Renegade Mothering, and I've seen it linked over and over from moms who are like, "THIS." Or "YES." Or "THIS. YES."

    The no-BS friendship manifesto has some great stuff in it that I fully identify with. Like when she says "When you swear in front of my kids I won’t care. Because obviously." Or "Maybe your house is clean. Maybe it isn’t. Maybe who gives a rat’s ass?"

    But the stuff about giving our fellow moms a free pass on being complete and utter flakes? Dude. No. No, no, no, no. Being a parent doesn't mean we should treat our friends like they aren't important to us.

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    At first glance, playgrounds may look like idyllic places where everyone is smiling, happy, and having fun... parents, however, know better. Every grabbed shovel at the sandbox, every child breathing down another one's neck for a turn on the swing has the potential to turn ugly -- and parents are just as prone as their kids to end up in tense altercations or tussles.

    To help you navigate this treacherous terrain and not get sucked into petty playground battles left and right, here's a little advice on what NOT to do at the local park.

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    20 Signs You're a Free Range Parent

    posted by Judy Dutton August 7 at 5:00 PM in Big Kid
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    I first realized I might be a free-range parent when I lost my kid at the playground -- don't worry, it was just for five seconds -- then found her at the tippy top of the jungle gym, grinning, while other kids' mothers hovered nearby saying "Jimmy, be careful." As with any parenting strategy, free-range parenting may have its flaws and catch some flack, but I think it sure beats helicoptering any day!

    In case you're curious where you stand on the free-range scale, check these clues below and see if they ring a bell. If so, you're free-range all the way!

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    You know those cute little battery-powered ATVs that mimic mommy and daddy's car but travel at like one mile per hour and can barely make it past the driveway? Yeah, well, you may want to sell your Honda now, save some money, and consider one of those babies because, apparently, your kid can take his anywhere -- even as far as a busy highway.

    An autistic 6-year-old boy in New York did just that when he managed to escape his family while they were at a park and take a joy ride on the Bronx River Parkway.

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    I just went to a fair with my kids, where all four of them participated in a hula-hoop contest. My children are not world-class hula-hoopers. They are mediocre at best and didn't outlast the winner. It was just something fun for them to do.

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    Family road trips can be disasters waiting to happen. Between carsick kids, sibling spats, and incessant "Are we there yet?" whining, traveling with kids in tow is enough to make any mom swear off these jaunts for good.

    Still, since driving is often the only logical way to get to the beach, amusement park, campground, or any other family fun-oriented point B, we figured we'd ask some moms with plenty of car travel under their belts for their best family road trip tips. Keep these 9 stress-reducing tricks handy before your next outing on the open road.

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    Is there anything better than a good old-fashioned family vacation? Why it's as traditional and all-American as apple pie and short-lived Internet outrage. Over-packing, realizing five hours from home that you forgot your phone charger, yelling at the kids to be quiet or you will turn this car around so help me, enduring the 900th complaint of "Are we THERE yet?", arriving at your destination only for someone to immediately come down with the barfing flu ... it's all part of the glorious experience.

    There's almost always something that goes at least a little bit wrong on a family vacation, and when it does, all you can do is laugh. Because, well, the alternative -- weeping inconsolably into a dubious-smelling hotel pillow -- isn't going to do much good. For everyone who's ever had a summer getaway slide off the rails, here are 12 tragically hilarious moments from family vacations gone bad.

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    Dreading the "I'm bored"s sure to come with summer vacation? Might we remind you that the Fourth of July is coming up fast? If you're wondering what the two might have to do with one another, we have three words for you: July 4th crafts.

    Wait, let's add a few more: crafts that the kids can do! So long boredom, hello patriotism! We checked in with some of the craftiest moms in the blogosphere for patriotic activities that will keep the kiddos' fingers and minds busy for hours ... and help the whole family celebrate the national holiday.

    More from The Stir: Fourth of July Craft for Kids: How to Make Tie Dye T-Shirts (VIDEO)

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