hands on : as we grow http://handsonaswegrow.com Hands on kids activities for hands on moms. Focusing on kids activities perfect for toddlers and preschoolers. Mon, 30 Mar 2015 01:00:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Fun & Simple Cornhole Game for Kids to Make http://handsonaswegrow.com/cornhole-game-kids-make/ http://handsonaswegrow.com/cornhole-game-kids-make/#respond Mon, 30 Mar 2015 01:00:17 +0000 http://handsonaswegrow.com/?p=53948 This is a super simple way to make a Cornhole game for kids! Jessica of The Leadership Notebook will show you how to make your own!

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This is a super simple way to make a Cornhole game for kids! Jessica of The Leadership Notebook will show you how to make your own!

Need a great indoor-outdoor activity that bridges creativity with active play? I’ve got you covered!

I’m a big fan of repurposing items. My son and I recently found a great way to reuse cardboard boxes; so great, in fact, I think other parents should know about it!

Make a simple cornhole game for kids at home

Wait? What is Cornhole?!

Cornhole is a popular outdoor game that is most commonly associated with backyard BBQs and sports tailgating events. I won’t go into all the technicalities now; you can read this super thorough explanation though it will tell you everything you need to know about the game.

Basically, cornhole is a bean bag toss game. You set up two elevated platforms (usually constructed out of wood). Each platform (called a board) has a hole you try to aim for. A bag that passes through the hole earns three points; a bag that lands on the board earns one point. Opponents take turns tossing four bags each. The first player to reach 21 points wins.

A word of warning for any die-hard cornhole fans out there: our cornhole game equipment is far from official. We didn’t follow hardly any of the traditional rules. Sorry to disappoint you. We had to go with the flow. That’s part of being a mom!

Don’t want to make one? Click here to purchase your own Cornhole Game Set (affiliate link)

Creating Our Own Cornhole Game Set for the Kids

Cornhole is really popular where we live. It seems people are pulling out their boards everywhere we go. Our family has never purchased a set, but we’ve certainly enjoyed playing when other people have the equipment out. While watching the bags fly one day, I realized it would be easy to make our own cornhole game set out of cardboard boxes.

First, we gathered our supplies.

  • One or two cardboard boxes
  • A circular template (paper plate, bowl)
  • Something to trace the circle (marker, pencil, pen)
  • A box cutter (or knife)
  • Tape
  • Bean bags, affiliate link (or tossing alternatives like socks)
  • Art supplies (paint, glitter, markers, crayons, stickers, etc.)

What you need to make a cornhole game for kids

Choosing a Box

Technically, a cornhole game set has two boards. The players alternate, tossing at each board in turn. I didn’t want to try finding two identically shaped boxes. I also didn’t want to worry about storing two boxes until we were ready to play again. So, we cheated and only made one.

The size of box you use will depend on the age of the players. Younger kids will like a larger target (meaning a bigger box and hole). Older kids could handle a smaller box with a smaller hole, making the game more challenging. However, a large box has a few drawbacks. Younger kids aren’t able to pick up a large box and move it around. Plus, if it is too deep, they can’t get their bags out after each inning.

Before cutting out the hole, tape all the flaps down securely. It would be ideal to make the hole on a side that doesn’t have flaps, otherwise, you?ll have to cut through double the cardboard. However, this might be unavoidable if you choose a shallow box.

Making Bean Bags

I’m a fan of using what’s on hand. We didn’t have any bean bags and I didn’t really want to buy any. One option I thought of was to put dried beans, rice or corn in socks to make our own bean bags. I figured I could just tie a knot at the top for an easy no-sew solution.

Once I got the socks out, I realized they were perfect for tossing as is, no filler necessary. We simply gathered up all the lone socks in the house and rolled them up into balls.

Customizing Our Cornhole Boards

Once we got the box taped up, we had to cut the hole. Choose a circular template that is the perfect size for your young one.

Make a cornhole game for kids

Traditional cornhole platforms are usually customized. Anderson is big into stickers right now. Rather than use all his favorites to cover the box, we decided to make ‘stickers’ by cutting out shapes of paper and gluing them on.

This ended up being a good learning opportunity as we talked about the shapes and colors. Another option would be to simply let their creativity fly. Give your kids all sorts of art supplies and see what they come up with.

Kids can decorate their cornhole game

Once the glue dried, we were ready to play!

Finished cornhole game for kids

Putting Our Plan into Action

We took our cornhole board outside and got ready to play.

First, I used a rock to prop up one end of the box. Having it at an angle made it an easier target. If you play inside, just put a small toy under one end to make it higher than the other.

Next, we put a few rocks inside the box to weigh it down a bit. I doubt our sock cornhole bags were heavy enough to make it slide around much, but we wanted to avoid any game interruptions! If you use real bean bags and play on a slippery surface, you might need something to hold the box in place.

I also put a bat on the ground marking the ‘foul’ line. I intended Anderson to stand behind the line because I knew he would creep forward without it. But he creeped forward anyway!

Kids playing cornhole

Kids are naturally inclined to throw overhand. In fact, teaching kids to toss underhand is core curriculum concept for physical education classes in schools. Now would be a perfect time to start working on that skill with your child.

Find more gross motor activities here.

Because we chose to just toss balled-up socks, we had to stop every once in a while to roll them back up. Or maybe it was just Anderson?s exuberance!

A simple and fun Cornhole game for kids to make for themselves!

Cornhole participants can be any age, toddlers to grandparents. Anderson let me play with him for a while and we both had fun!

Why I Love This Activity

As a former early childhood education teacher, I’m drawn to this activity for many reasons:

  • This activity opens the door for a conversation about recycling, the environment, and being eco-friendly. Not only did we avoid buying something that would someday end up in the landfill, we saved other things from the same fate by recycling both our lone socks and the cardboard box.
  • I love open-ended art projects. While Anderson was far more excited about getting out to play than customizing his cornhole board, this project has the potential to involve several different creative mediums. It’s great to give your kids the necessary tools and watching what they come up with.
  • The game helps improve large-motor skills like hand-eye coordination.
  • Keeping score helps kids practice simple math.
  • Playing with other kids would teach teamwork, sportsmanship and healthy competition.

Can you think of any other benefits of a DIY cornhole game for kids?

Do you think this is something your kids would enjoy?

Jessica is a mom blogger who enjoys writing about subjects that are currently affecting her family. You can find her at The Leadership Notebook and on Twitter.

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What OTC Medicine Do I Give My Kids? http://handsonaswegrow.com/what-otc-medicine-kids/ http://handsonaswegrow.com/what-otc-medicine-kids/#respond Thu, 26 Mar 2015 01:00:09 +0000 http://handsonaswegrow.com/?p=52874 Is it allergies? Is it a cold? What the heck do I give him? Why does parenting have to be so dang hard sometimes? How often have I taken the kids to the doctor for something so basic to find out its only allergies and what over-the-counter medicine I can give them? And then to remember […]

What OTC Medicine Do I Give My Kids? on handsonaswegrow.com

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Is it allergies? Is it a cold? What the heck do I give him?

Why does parenting have to be so dang hard sometimes?

How often have I taken the kids to the doctor for something so basic to find out its only allergies and what over-the-counter medicine I can give them?

And then to remember that information for next time. I don’t know why, allergies are mind-boggling to me.

The last time we went to the doctor for this very reason she recommended an allergy medicine for daytime and then another one for nighttime. But, of course, recommended getting the generic version of them. So I did.

Now I have those two bottles in my medicine basket and I don’t know which is which and when I should give either.

What OTC medicine should I take, or give my kids???

With OTCs, there’s great freedom and flexibility. I can get what I need when I need it, they’re fast and convenient. But OTC medicine information can be so overwhelming. How am I supposed to know how to use it when I need it so quickly? Its quite a responsibility!

Am I the only crazy mom that can’t keep my OTC medicines straight??

I am extremely, over the top, excited to be collaborating with the announcement a new website that is going to solve my problem every time: KnowYourOTCs.org

I just head on over the KnowYourOTCs.org’s Medicine Cabinet when I have a medicine bottle that I want to know more about.

Or, the other way around, I can search for the kids’ symptoms and learn everything I need to know about it.

Whether it is really allergies or a cold, plus I find tips for how to give medicine to the kids and rules to follow.

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The next time my kids are up in the middle of the night with the crazy coughs that they tend to get. I can figure it out, in terms that I understand, what I can, or can’t, give my child.

And I can be confident that I’m doing it right and taking charge of my family’s health. Knowing what’s in my medicine cabinet.

Be sure to check out KnowYourOTCs.org and bookmark it for those middle of the night questions!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of OTC Safety. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Visual Addition Pom Pom Drop http://handsonaswegrow.com/visual-addition-pom-pom-drop/ http://handsonaswegrow.com/visual-addition-pom-pom-drop/#respond Tue, 24 Mar 2015 23:57:57 +0000 http://handsonaswegrow.com/?p=53754 A pom pom drop is fun and easy to set up! We set one up to do some visual addition. Visual addition? Yes. Seeing what you're adding!

Visual Addition Pom Pom Drop on handsonaswegrow.com

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We had a little learning fun with a pom pom drop! So simple!

If you want to make just a basic pom pom drop for toddlers, just take out the visual addition element of this. It’s super fun for toddlers to poke pom poms into it.

This time, I didn’t have any cardboard tubes on hand because I didn’t plan to do this. It kind of just came up while I was researching for another post and came across this addition activity in a classroom from Mothering with Creativity.

We made cardboard tubes out of cereal boxes. I cut the front and back off a cereal box and cut it in half. I rolled it into a tube (inside out) and taped it together with painter’s tape.

I know many parents don’t like to use toilet paper tubes, so these homemade tubes would be a great replacement.

Make your own cardboard tubes (no toilet paper tubes!) for crafts and activities

I taped the tubes to a wall.

Honestly, the hardest part of this activity is finding a blank wall! I don’t have much of that…

A visual addition activity with pom poms

When I taped the tubes on, I had the boys test the placement to make sure the pom poms (actually, we used cotton balls because I couldn’t find our pom poms for some reason) would fall through both tubes in the run.

I positioned the tubes to be in two different runs, but falling into the same basket.

I added a simple addition sign between the tubes and equals sign before them (but above the basket).

Learning with Visual Addition

The equation is Run 1 + Run 2 = Basket.

Find more addition activities for kids.

Counting cotton balls to add together

We did a practice run first. I had both Henry and George pick out 2 cotton balls and put them in (one at a time) their tube to fall in the basket.

When they were all in the basket, they would count the total number of cotton balls.

This math is new to George, but a very visual addition lesson.

Dropping pom poms to visually add together in a pom pom drop

Once we got going, the boys chose how many cotton balls they wanted to put in each time.

After they wanted to put in 100s, I put a limit on 10 at the most for each run.

Adding pom poms together in a pom pom drop for visual learning

Henry would do the math in hid head as they were putting them in the tubes. He’s in first grade, so most of these equations were simple for him. He didn’t need the visual.

But George would count them out in the basket to solve the equation.

The counting was perfect for George to do. He’s been working through the teens!

Visual addition activity

More addition activities:

Visual Addition Pom Pom Drop on handsonaswegrow.com

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Activities to Do on a Rainy Day with Your Toddler http://handsonaswegrow.com/rainy-day-activities-toddlers/ http://handsonaswegrow.com/rainy-day-activities-toddlers/#respond Tue, 24 Mar 2015 02:08:36 +0000 http://handsonaswegrow.com/?p=53437 A handy list of rainy day activities for toddlers to do when we're stuck inside for rainy days. For both indoors and outdoors when its a nice rainy day!

Activities to Do on a Rainy Day with Your Toddler on handsonaswegrow.com

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Well, tomorrow it’s supposed to rain… but… today school was cancelled because of four inches of snow here in Iowa… so who really knows, right?

However, it is the season of rainy days! April showers bring May flowers! And April is just a few days away.

I, honestly, cannot wait! That means greener grass and flowers popping up everywhere in our yard! Such a fun and happy time! Spring is full of colorful fun.

Rainy days, however, sometimes brings a damper on that fun. What in the world are we to do on a rainy day?

Lots of fun rainy day activities for toddlers to do

When we’re stuck inside for rainy days, its often during the school year, so I’m often looking for ways to entertain my toddler, Louis.

I’ve put together a handy list of rainy day activities for toddlers to do. For both indoors and outdoors when its a nice rainy day.

Indoor rainy day activities for toddlers to do

Indoor rainy day activities for toddlers

See a whole lot more ideas for indoor activities here.

Outdoor rainy day activities for toddlers to do

Outdoor ideas for toddlers on a rainy day

Make art in the rain. Some ideas to make art in the rain:

Go for a walk in the rain! From Still Playing School

Just play in the rain! From Adventures from Adam

20 more ideas for playing in the rain from Sun Hats & Wellie Boots.

What do you and your kids like to do on a rainy day?

Activities to Do on a Rainy Day with Your Toddler on handsonaswegrow.com

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Leak-Proof Bag Experiment – Astonishing! http://handsonaswegrow.com/leak-proof-bag-experiment/ http://handsonaswegrow.com/leak-proof-bag-experiment/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 01:00:49 +0000 http://handsonaswegrow.com/?p=52666 The leak-proof bag experiment is a fun science experiment in which your kids get to poke pencils right through a plastic baggy filled with water.

Leak-Proof Bag Experiment – Astonishing! on handsonaswegrow.com

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The leak-proof bag experiment is a fun science experiment in which your kids get to poke pencils right through a plastic baggy filled with water.

Amazingly, the water doesn’t come pouring out!

The leak-proof bag experiment is such a fun experiment for kids to do!

Leak-Proof Bag Experiment Supplies:

  • A plastic baggy (I use quart-size, but sandwich size will also work)
  • A few sharpened pencils to poke through the bag
  • A permanent marker to draw faces on the bag
  • Water to fill the bag about 2/3 full

Then prepare the bag as shown in the video below.

The Added Fun

To spice the experiment up, we’re going to pretend that germs have invaded our water supply. Your kids will come to the rescue and help us exterminate those pesky germs.

And to make sure your kids get into the spirit, Bob the Dragon and I shot a short video to set the stage.

Watch the middle portion of this video with your kids:

The Science Behind the Leak-Proof Bag

Why doesn’t the water leak out of the bag? It’s because plastic bags are made of polymers, or long chains of molecules. The pencil squeezes between two chains, increasing the gap between them at the point, but it doesn’t break the chains.

Watch this part of the video to see how many pencils I was able to poke through one bag — it’s really an amazing example of polymer science.

Extra-credit

Latex balloons are also made of polymers, which means you can poke a skewer right through a balloon without popping it (if you know the secret). If you want to blow your kids’ minds, follow this link to get my super-simple explanation of this fun magic trick / science demo. Your kids will love it!

More experiments like the leak-proof bag experiment:

The leak-proof bag experiment is such a fun experiment for kids to do!

Curt Nelson is a former science teacher and school assembly presenter. Now he (and Bob the Dragon) use stories to make learning science fun at MakeAKidnection.com. Follow along with him on YouTube and Facebook.

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Spring Tree Craft for Toddlers http://handsonaswegrow.com/spring-tree-craft-for-toddlers/ http://handsonaswegrow.com/spring-tree-craft-for-toddlers/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2015 01:11:55 +0000 http://handsonaswegrow.com/?p=53561 This is a very simple, easy to make, Spring tree craft for toddlers. Its more of a collage then anything, but beautiful to display in the end!

Spring Tree Craft for Toddlers on handsonaswegrow.com

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I think I say it in every post lately, but I am so glad that Spring is here. Its always so refreshing. Its also my very favorite time of year for my front yard where we have the most gorgeous tree in the Spring, its a crab apple tree.

We’ve made a cute apple tree craft in the past. It was so easy and lovely to display. We needed to make a version of this for spring! A cute Spring tree craft for toddlers to make!

Its super easy and doesn’t matter at all how it turns out.

Now, remember my tips for crafting with toddlers that I mentioned in the Easter crafts for toddlers? Those apply here too of course!

I started out the Spring trees by cutting a tree trunk and branches from a dark brown paper. If you child has cutting skills, this would be great practice for them if they’re up for it.

George and Louis then glued the trunks onto a piece of white paper.

Making a Spring tree craft

Then it was completely a free for all!

Making a Spring tree craft

I brought out pink construction paper, pink tissue paper and pink yarn for the boys to rip and cut into small pieces.

Louis doesn’t have great cutting skills yet, he’s still learning how to hold it properly.

He got a kick out of using Henry’s ‘special’ fancy scissors (affiliate link if you’re interested in the set he has).

Cutting 'blossoms' for the Spring tree

They glued them on as the blossoms of the crab apple tree (or these would make beautiful cherry blossoms).

Balling up the tissue paper makes it looks like bright little blossoms that creates nice texture. Along with the yarn, it gives the whole tree some fun attributes.

Making a Spring tree craft

However they wanted! As much or as little.

Making a Spring tree craft

It was great gluing practice for both of the kids and Louis got to try out his scissors skills.

Simple Spring tree craft for toddlers to make

Simple Spring tree craft for toddlers to make

We topped off this Spring tree craft with some pink glitter to make it sparkle.

I love the multi-colored glitter container I have, the glitter doesn’t seem to pour out like other containers I’ve gotten.

Simple Spring trees for toddlers to make

They both turned out awesome. It’ll be a pretty addition to the house this Spring!

Spring Tree Craft for Toddlers on handsonaswegrow.com

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42 of the Simplest Easter Crafts for Toddlers http://handsonaswegrow.com/easter-crafts-toddlers/ http://handsonaswegrow.com/easter-crafts-toddlers/#comments Wed, 18 Mar 2015 01:23:18 +0000 http://handsonaswegrow.com/?p=53349 These Easter crafts for toddlers to make are the easiest! They can be used to decorate windows, table settings, or even as Easter garlands!

42 of the Simplest Easter Crafts for Toddlers on handsonaswegrow.com

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I am so in love with Spring right now. It’s such a welcoming time of year after being cooped up inside for way too long.

Whenever I think Spring, I also think Easter. And when I think Easter, I think crafts: Easter eggs, crosses and of course Easter bunnies!

But I still have a toddler in the house and I often stop myself when choosing crafts to do because he can’t do them along with us.

A few pointers when doing crafts with little kids (one and two year olds):

  • Do the crafts with them, either alongside them on your own, or helping them along.
  • Don’t expect it to turn out exactly how you have it pictured in your head (or on Pinterest!).
  • Let them get up and leave and come back, expect them to only want to craft for 5-10 minutes at a time.
  • Before doing them, realize what they’re able to do and what you could do for them. Not all crafts are completed by toddlers 100%.
  • Even if you’re not juggling multiple kids, answer these 3 questions.

With those tips in mind, now let’s get onto the fun part! The Easter crafts for toddlers to make!

42 Easter crafts for toddlers to make - including Easter eggs, bunnies, sheep, chicks and crosses

I’ve scoured the Easter archives here on hands on : as we grow, along with Pinterest and my favorite blogs to find the most simplest Easter crafts for toddlers to do.

Remember, its about the process and don’t worry too much about the end product! They very likely will not turn out just like these, and that is perfectly okay.

The 42 Easter crafts you’ll find below:

  • 18 Easter egg crafts for toddlers to make
  • 18 Easter bunnies, chicks and sheep crafts for toddlers
  • 6 Easter cross crafts for toddlers to make

Easter time is also perfect for a scavenger hunt!

18 Easter egg crafts for toddlers to make

Easter Egg Crafts for Toddlers

Easter eggs are a staple at Easter time! They can be used to decorate windows, table settings, or as Easter garlands! They are sure to brighten up a room!

Have more Easter egg fun when you’re decorating Easter eggs (26 ways!)

18 Easter bunny, chick and sheep crafts for toddlers to make

Easter Bunny, Chick & Sheep Crafts for Toddlers

Along comes the Easter bunny to bring those bright Easter eggs. But don’t forget chicks and sheep too! They come out this time of year too, and they’re too adorably cute to be missed!

Find more adorable cute Spring crafts for kids here.

6 Easter cross crafts for toddlers to make

Easter Cross Crafts for Toddlers

What is Easter really all about? Not the Easter eggs and Easter bunny, that’s for sure. Get back to the true meaning of Easter with these gorgeous Easter crosses toddlers can make.

More fun for the Easter holidays can be found here:

42 of the Simplest Easter Crafts for Toddlers on handsonaswegrow.com

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