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. Sat, 23 May 2015 22:28:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 6 Ways to Increase Your Toddler’s Vocabulary through Play http://handsonaswegrow.com/toddlers-vocabulary-play/ http://handsonaswegrow.com/toddlers-vocabulary-play/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 01:00:54 +0000 http://handsonaswegrow.com/?p=55967 I find that I always worry about my child’s ability to talk in the early years, and then all of a sudden, it explodes. Lindsey, of Kiddo Korner, is sharing 6 ways to help increase your child’s vocabulary, more specifically your toddler’s vocabulary, and doing it through play. That’s what toddlers are best at, right? […]

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I find that I always worry about my child’s ability to talk in the early years, and then all of a sudden, it explodes.

Lindsey, of Kiddo Korner, is sharing 6 ways to help increase your child’s vocabulary, more specifically your toddler’s vocabulary, and doing it through play. That’s what toddlers are best at, right?

Tips to increase toddler's vocabulary through play

6 Ways to Increase Your Toddler’s Vocabulary through Play

1. Use sensory words.

Encourage sensory play where you and your tot describe what you see, feel, hear, taste and smell.

This could be a planned sensory activity like playing in a sand box with hidden treasures but it doesn’t have to be. Use the sensory words during any type of play to get your tot used to using them.

This will give them many more descriptive words to use.

Find sensory activities to explore here.

Sensory activities to increase toddler's vocabulary

2. Explore a variety of environments together.

Everyone loves a little adventure and your tot is the same. Take him out for a special adventure to explore a wooded area, new park, beach, or river front. Look for different types of birds, bugs, and animals.

Talk about what you see, smell, taste, touch, and hear. These new environments will excite your tot and give him many new things to talk about. Before or after your exploration, pick up a book about the environment to learn more.

This can really be a vocabulary explosion for your tot.

Go on adventures and outings to help increase your toddler's vocabulary

3. Role play ideas from books.

Take ideas or scenes from books and act them out. Do this with your tot and soon she will be doing it on her own.

This creates the perfect opportunity for her to use new vocabulary she has learned from the book. The new vocabulary will be integrated into her own spoken vocabulary.

See 12 of the best interactive books for kids!

4. Encourage your tot to play with children of different ages.

Playing with children of different ages helps your child to try out different roles. As the older child, your tot may be more of a leader. As the younger child, he gets a chance to learn from the older child. Peer play is also great for him to practice his language and social skills.

Learning to play with children from different age groups will give your tot a chance to play in different ways.

5. Make a wide variety of toys available that require different types of language.

Your toddler probably has a favorite type of toy to play with. Right now, my son loves vehicles and balls. Even though those are his favorites, I try to have a variety of toys to play with.

Different types of toys require children to use different types of language during play. Playing with farm toys encourages children to use words like cow, puppy, barn, tractor and so on. While playing with vehicles may encourage a child to use words such as cement mixer, road, bridge, trailer etc.

Having a variety of toys available helps children to develop specialized language for each toy theme.

6. Give your tot time to play with you and play alone.

Playing with your tot gives her a great example of how to play plus you can teach many vocabulary words at this time. It is also important that toddlers have some time to play by themselves. This gives your toddler a time to practice language on her own and explore different items that seem interesting. This also allows her to explore her own imagination as she directs the play.

Learn about our one on one time.

Ultimately, just spend time with your toddler to help increase their vocabulary (among many other things!)

Interested in learning more about developing your child’s language and literacy skills? Click here to get the FREE guide: 5 Early Literacy Toys that will SKYROCKET Your Child’s Language Skills. 

Lindsay Drewes is a former 4th and 5th grade teacher and current stay-at home-mom and Momprenuer of www.KiddoKorner.com. Lindsay holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in education. As founder of KiddoKorner.com, Lindsay followed her passion of mothering to research and offer the best educational, Eco-friendly and innovative products made for babies and toddlers.

increase childs vocabulary-20140601-8 (2)

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Ways Kids Can Use a Slide (Other Than Sliding Down It) http://handsonaswegrow.com/slide-activities/ http://handsonaswegrow.com/slide-activities/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 01:00:37 +0000 http://handsonaswegrow.com/?p=55410 Head to the backyard or playground and find a slide! There are so many ways to use slides as outdoor gross motor activities! Beyond just sliding down it!

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I am so relieved that lovely weather is arriving so my preschoolers can move their gross motor activities outside. The snow was fun in November and December, but come January (not to mention February, and March) I was over it.

We managed to find some fun indoor gross motor activities to get us through the coldest of the winter days, but now we can take those activities where they really belong – Outdoors!

I was thinking of some of my favourite outdoor gross motor activities for preschoolers and realized a lot of them have one thing in common. Something that is a staple in parks, and in most backyards too.

Fun ways kids can use a slide -- other than just sliding down it.

Slides!

Slides are fun for kids to use as they are meant to be used – great for balance too. But there are so many other ways to use a slide.

So many ways to play with slides!

A slide makes a great climbing wall.

Slides are fun to climb up, and great for developing lots of muscles and balancing skills too. We add a rope to the top of our slide (and the bottom for safety – ropes and climbing kids makes me nervous). This adds in a challenge and makes it more like a rock wall.

developing gross motor skills with a slide

A water slide.

Pop a sprinkler over the slide on a hot summer day for some speedy, slippery, crazy quick sliding fun. Depending on the slide, you might even be able to put a little pool at the bottom. Try this one out carefully of course, sometimes kids will REALLY zoom down a wet slide.

More ideas to Beat the Heat can be found here.

A slide makes a great ramp.

Rolling balls, toy cars, and sticks down the slide is a great way to playfully explore science and math concepts. My boys take turns being the roller and the catcher – the catcher has the tricky job of trying to throw or roll the ball or toy back up the slide. Watch this one though … once my preschooler saw his toy car zoom down the slide it wasn’t long before he tried to get his tricycle to the top of the slide.

gross motor activities for kids using a slide

An art easel.

Pop some really big paper down on the slide and let little ones create really big artwork. They will strengthen arm muscles by reaching and stretching with paint brushes, and it will also stretch their creativity. Try adding in some rolling painted balls for a whole new art experience.

More ideas for ‘Big Art’ can be found here.

There are so many ideas for using slides for outdoor gross motor fun! Who needs expensive equipment? A trip to the park, or to most backyards, and your little ones have all they need to develop those big muscles.

Not to mention burn off that energy (though I do always mention that … it is very, very important in our home!)

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A Sample Weekly Plan of Sensory Activities http://handsonaswegrow.com/week-sensory-activities/ http://handsonaswegrow.com/week-sensory-activities/#comments Mon, 18 May 2015 01:00:09 +0000 http://handsonaswegrow.com/?p=55548 Every weekend I try to make a plan of activities for the coming week to start on Monday. I start with the gauging what my child is interested in (using the “My Child This Week” sheet of the free weekly planner). I fill one out for each of my kids and what they’re into at the […]

A Sample Weekly Plan of Sensory Activities on handsonaswegrow.com

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Every weekend I try to make a plan of activities for the coming week to start on Monday.

I start with the gauging what my child is interested in (using the “My Child This Week” sheet of the free weekly planner). I fill one out for each of my kids and what they’re into at the moment. I use this as my guide to plan our activities accordingly.

With each of my kids’ interests, I brainstorm 7 activities to do that week. I jot them down on the simple ‘Activities To Do This Week’ planner.

Below is a sample week of sensory activities.

5 weekly plans of activities for each one year olds, two year olds, and preschoolers (plus a learning one too!)

A week of simple sensory motor activities to do with the kids!

Monday: Create a sensory bag with hair gel in a baggy. Add other small objects, such as googly eyes or sequins, if desired. Tape it to the window to explore in the sunlight. Supplies: gallon size baggy (2 to double bag it), hair gel, small craft items (nature, sequins, googly eyes), tape

Tuesday: Mix 2 cups flour with 2/3 cup oil to make cloud dough! Play with it like wet sand, mold it any way they like! Supplies: oil (baby, vegetable, etc), flour or cornflour

Wednesday: Have a water play day! Set out tubs of water with some scoops to transfer water back and forth. Add color to the water if you’d like. Supplies: tubs or buckets, water, food coloring (optional)

Thursday: Spread flour on a baking sheet to explore! Move the flour around or try writing and making lines. Supplies: flour, baking sheet or tray

Friday: Make sensory foam with dish soap and a little bit of water and food coloring in a food processor. Put on a tray to explore! Supplies: dish soap, water, food processor or blender, baking sheet or tray

Saturday: Go on a scavenger hunt around the yard to explore textures. Can you find something that’s bumpy? Supplies: bucket or basket (optional)

Sunday: Fill plastic jars 2/3 with water and some dish soap. Add food coloring and glitter! Seal the lid on with glue and shake, shake, shake! Supplies: large plastic jars with lids, dish soap, water, food coloring (optional), glitter (optional), super glue

5 weekly plans of activities for each one year olds, two year olds, and preschoolers (plus a learning one too!)

discover+play+engage+learn-bundle

There are four eBooks of 5 weekly plans of activities each that are perfect for ages one through preschoolers. Fun ways to get the kids moving, work on fine motor, do arts and craft projects and have fun as a family! Each weekly plan includes a handy supply list and activities broken down to know exactly what to do in a simple sentence or two.

Get your weekly activity plans here.

A Sample Weekly Plan of Sensory Activities on handsonaswegrow.com

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How to Make a Lava Lamp Without Alka Seltzer http://handsonaswegrow.com/how-make-lava-lamp-without-alka-seltzer/ http://handsonaswegrow.com/how-make-lava-lamp-without-alka-seltzer/#comments Wed, 13 May 2015 01:00:36 +0000 http://handsonaswegrow.com/?p=55876 Want to know how to make a lava lamp without Alka Seltzer tablets? I often don't have Alka Seltzer on hand - but always have this alternative!

How to Make a Lava Lamp Without Alka Seltzer on handsonaswegrow.com

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Have you ever wanted to know how to make a lava lamp without Alka Seltzer tablets? I often find myself without those on hand!

We’ve made lava lamps in the past using Alka Seltzer tablets. We actually just did it again with Louis for the first time. It was fun to see his reactions! But, the fun didn’t last long… I ran out of Alka Seltzer fast (I only had 2 tablets to begin with).

Learn how to make a LAVA LAMP without ALKA SELTZER!

It wasn’t even a day later that a member of my Facebook group, The Huddle, asked how to make a lava lamp without Alka Seltzer. That got me searching to find an answer! I found an awesome video here with an explanation of what to do.

Then we had some fun making lava lamps again, this time, without Alka Seltzer tablets!

Learning how to make a lava lamp without Alka Seltzer tablets

I also finally found some skinny glasses to use. I kept looking for bottles, but once I thought of using glasses, skinny ones were easy to find!

How to make a lava lamp without Alka Seltzer tablets:

I filled each glass about two thirds to three-fourths full with water. (Another plus of this concoction is that its mostly water and not nearly as much oil!)

From there, the boys took over. They chose their color of food coloring and put a couple drops of each in. I do recommend keeping it on the lighter side to see the bubble effect better.

On top of that, fill the rest of the glass with oil, leaving a good half an inch at the top of the glass (we filled ours too full this first time we tried it).

Learning how to make a lava lamp without Alka Seltzer tablets (and less oil!)

And then the fun begins, and this is the secret ingredient to make a lava lamp without Alka Selzer.

Salt.

Just regular table salt.

You could pour it in, or spoon it in like the boys did.

Find 30 experiments that preschoolers will love.

Learning how to make a lava lamp without Alka Seltzer tablets -- the secret ingredient!

At first it crazy bubbly as the salt finds its way to the bottom, its fast!

But then the slow part begins, the true lava lamp part, as the bubbles slowly emerge from the salt at the bottom finding their way to the top.

How to make a lava lamp without Alka Seltzer tablets - slow and bubbly

I actually think this way to make a lava lamp is much more accurate to the lava lamps we used to have in our bedrooms (affiliate link).

All the kids loved learning how to make a lava lamp without Alka Seltzer

The boys truly enjoyed watching the effects! And this was all before a day at school. They may have gotten up super early that day…

Here’s a quick video of Louis dumping in the salt to create the lava lamp effects. (I wish I could show it better!)

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Earth Art Designs for Kids to Make http://handsonaswegrow.com/kids-earth-art/ http://handsonaswegrow.com/kids-earth-art/#comments Tue, 12 May 2015 01:00:37 +0000 http://handsonaswegrow.com/?p=55539 We all know it’s good for our kids to be outside in nature. And today, I am excited to share one of the most addicting nature activities with you. Earth Art is one of my go-to activities with the children in my nature classes and camps as well as with my own two kids (2 […]

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We all know it’s good for our kids to be outside in nature. And today, I am excited to share one of the most addicting nature activities with you.

Earth Art is one of my go-to activities with the children in my nature classes and camps as well as with my own two kids (2 and 5).

6 ways to make art using nature - Earth Art!

Children are mesmerized as they watch me transform a pile of items from nature into marvelous pictures and designs. Their hands begin to fidget and their eyes wander in search for their own materials.

I have learned to keep the introduction short and share only three important rules:

  1. Children are allowed to gather materials that are laying on the ground.
  2. If they want to pick a flower or leaf, they may take some if there are lots of flowers or leaves.
  3. We never pick anything of which there is only one.

If you don’t have enough materials in your own backyard, head out to a park or nature preserve to gather your nature treasures.

Wondering what exactly Earth Art is? Let me explain…

Earth Art is the creation of images and structures using only materials from nature. Andy Goldsworthy is one of the most well-known artists and his work is simply awe-inspiring. It’s one of those things you never get tired of looking at.

When I introduce children to the concept of Earth Art I show them a few pictures of Andy Goldsworthy designs and other artists to get the kids inspired and the creative juices flowing. I have found that it works best to limit either the number of materials (e.g. only rocks and sticks) or the number of design ideas to 1 or 2. More than that and children get too overwhelmed and don’t know where to start.

Making a tower with nature --- Earth's art :)

The beauty of earth art is that you can do it almost anywhere in nature…your yard, the playground, the beach or hiking at a nature preserve. AND you don’t need to do any preparation or buy materials. What mom doesn’t love that, right?

Ready to get started?

6 Earth design ideas your child will love

1. Caterpillars, Snakes and Worms

This basic form is ideal for toddlers but also a good way to get started for older children. Use any materials you can find. Rocks, sticks, pine cones, seashells, nuts…you name it. Some toddlers love the gathering of materials more than creating the snake or worm, while others could sit there for hours adding rocks to their caterpillar. Wind them around trees, along paths or see who can make the longest.

Making caterpillars from things found in nature -- Earth's Art!

2. Faces and People

For this variation, I like to use as many different materials as possible. Flowers and grasses add a colorful touch, while pebbles and sticks are ideal for creating the basic shape of the face. Before you know it you will have an entire family and your child may even want to add a body, arms and legs.
Smiley faces from nature! Earth's art!

3. Pizza and Pie

This works well for multiple children. Gather 3 or 4 longer sticks and cross them in the middle or use 6 or 8 shorter ones that meet in the center. Then ask everyone to find one item from nature and fill one section of the pizza with it.

Pizza from nature!

4. Letters and Words

Older preschoolers and school-aged children enjoy this variation a lot. It is best done with smaller items such as twigs, pebbles, nuts, or seashells. Design only the first letter of a name or the entire name. Older children can also spell out entire messages.

Create art from the Earth

5. Pictures and Stories

Toddlers will delight in simple designs such as flowers, animals or even a snowman. Older children often start with a simple object and then continue adding more elements weaving everything together into a story. Storytelling is powerful skill to have for children of any age (and adults) and doing it in nature gives your child a major brain boost.

Tell stories from nature - Earth art!

6. Mandalas

You may be familiar with mandalas through drawing and coloring but they are also a beautiful foundation for working with nature. Start with the center and work outward in a symmetrical pattern. Everyone can create their own design or you can work together as a family, taking turns adding more and more layers.

Earth art mandalas to make

Now, it’s your turn.

Gather. Imagine. Create.

Noreen Greimann from Entangled HarmonyNoreen Greimann helps parents take the stress and guilt out of modern parenting with her Back-to-the-Basics approach. Download her FREE guide “The 5 Non-Optional Elements of Childhood” at Entangled Harmony, which encompasses 20 years of her experience coaching families to successfully live the lives they truly want. Noreen runs a nature program for children in Pennsylvania, where she lives with her husband, two kids and several colonies of honeybees on an acre filled with gardens, tree forts and fairy houses.

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A Sample Weekly Plan of Gross Motor Activities http://handsonaswegrow.com/week-gross-motor-activities/ http://handsonaswegrow.com/week-gross-motor-activities/#respond Mon, 11 May 2015 01:00:27 +0000 http://handsonaswegrow.com/?p=55546 Every weekend I try to make a plan of activities for the coming week to start on Monday. I start with the gauging what my child is interested in (using the “My Child This Week” sheet of the free weekly planner). I fill one out for each of my kids and what they’re into at the […]

A Sample Weekly Plan of Gross Motor Activities on handsonaswegrow.com

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Every weekend I try to make a plan of activities for the coming week to start on Monday.

I start with the gauging what my child is interested in (using the “My Child This Week” sheet of the free weekly planner). I fill one out for each of my kids and what they’re into at the moment. I use this as my guide to plan our activities accordingly.

With each of my kids’ interests, I brainstorm 7 activities to do that week. I jot them down on the simple ‘Activities To Do This Week’ planner.

Below is a sample week of gross motor activities.

Find more sample weeks of activities here.

5 weekly plans of activities for each one year olds, two year olds, and preschoolers (plus a learning one too!)

A week of simple gross motor activities to do with the kids!

Monday: Tape a runway of contact (sticky) paper to the floor, sticky side up. Run across, crawl over, or lay on it! Supplies: contact (sticky) paper, painter’s tape

Tuesday: Wad newspapers into ‘basketballs’. Aim and shoot them into a basket! Supplies: tub or bucket, newspapers

Wednesday: Tape two lines as the sides of the roads around the house! Create intersections and curves! Supplies: painter’s tape

Thursday: Lay pillows and cushions on the floor in a line. Attempt to walk across them! Supplies: pillows and cushions

Friday: Tape lines of tape on the floor equal distances apart and challenge the kids to a jumping game. Measure how far they can jump. Supplies: painters tape

Saturday: Go on a scavenger hunt around the yard to explore textures. Can you find something that’s bumpy? Supplies: bucket or basket (optional)

Sunday: Make a ring toss! Cut the centers out of paper plates to make rings. Write the letters of their name on the bottoms of cups. Toss the plates to ring the letters of their name. Supplies: paper cups, markers, paper plates, scissors

5 weekly plans of activities for each one year olds, two year olds, and preschoolers (plus a learning one too!)

discover+play+engage+learn-bundle

There are four eBooks of 5 weekly plans of activities eachthat are perfect for ages one through preschoolers. Fun ways to get the kids moving, work on fine motor, do arts and craft projects and have fun as a family! Each weekly plan includes a handy supply list and activities broken down to know exactly what to do in a simple sentence or two.

Get your weekly activity plans here.

A Sample Weekly Plan of Gross Motor Activities on handsonaswegrow.com

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Flour Sensory Play for Toddlers (& Being Okay with the Mess) http://handsonaswegrow.com/flour-sensory-play-toddlers/ http://handsonaswegrow.com/flour-sensory-play-toddlers/#comments Fri, 08 May 2015 16:13:00 +0000 http://66.147.244.106/~handsoo6/2011/02/21/flour-free-play-self-portraits/ A wonderful go-to busy activity, not to mention a fun sensory activity for toddlers, is to set out a tray for flour play! I recently challenged my newsletter subscribers to three very simple activities (get on the list to get the challenges!). I love these challenges and often find that they even help myself get […]

Flour Sensory Play for Toddlers (& Being Okay with the Mess) on handsonaswegrow.com

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A wonderful go-to busy activity, not to mention a fun sensory activity for toddlers, is to set out a tray for flour play!

I recently challenged my newsletter subscribers to three very simple activities (get on the list to get the challenges!). I love these challenges and often find that they even help myself get out of a rut. One of the three activities was this one, set out a tray of flour to let your kids explore. You can see the fun readers had with the challenge (and previous ones) here.

After giving that challenge, I saw all these photos coming back of their kids doing the flour activity. I found myself kind of panicking with the messes in their photos and surprised that so many chose to do that activity because of the mess.

It was kind of a wake up call for me. I don’t normally mind messes! And I usually promote messy play. But we haven’t been messy like that in a long time (See Henry’s version of this activity from 4 years ago). The challenge that I prompted my readers with actually challenged me to do it! So we did!

I just gotta remember that messes can be cleaned up! And thanks to our sponsor, Clorox, for having clever cleaning hacks and handy supplies to make it easier than ever to clean up our messes!

And can I tell you that now, after allowing the mess, my kids are asking to do this activity every single day since? And it is one of the simplest ever!

Simple flour play for kids to do

I found two trays I had on hand for each George and Louis. And dumped just a quarter cup of flour on each. That’s plenty! Don’t overdo it, because you will be cleaning it all up and the trails it makes with the kids…

I gathered a few supplies, such as measuring spoons, a slotted spoon and a can strainer. And I just let them have fun!

They made doodles.

Making marks in flour for prewriting -- simple idea for toddlers!

And drew letters and shapes.

Making marks in flour for prewriting -- simple practice for preschoolers!

They made handprints (over and over again!) which led to flour splashing out.

Making a mess with flour

We learned quickly that we could erase away any of our marks my a quick shake of the tray. Much like an Etch-a-Sketch (affiliate link)! And they could start right back over again.

Then the boys dug out their cars and trucks to drive in the flour. There had to be a snowplow to move all the ‘snow’ too.

Flour sensory play to keep kids busy

Just the first day we got the flour trays out three times. Cleaned up, shoved them off to the side and came back later. This is one that I need to learn to be okay with the mess, because its well worth it!

My quick cleanup tip for this activity:

Get the kids involved in cleanup! What can they do to help? My kids love the vacuum so they get to suck up all the spilled over flour mess. After playing with all the toy cars in the flour, they were a mess! I set them to washing off the toys in the sink, and they just think its part of the fun!

See more quick clean up tips at Clorox.

Here’s how Henry’s played a few years ago

I set out a jelly roll pan with a layer of flour spread along the bottom.

Be sure to only add as much flour as you want to clean up, because it is guaranteed to spread… (but wait, don’t get discouraged, check out these 10 tips to keep messy play clean, plus we had fun with our clean up, read on!)

I intended for this to be practice for drawing and writing with his fingers in the flour. However, Henry only made a circle and that was the extent of that. Oh well.

Flour Play Sensory Activity for Toddlers

Henry soon got his backhoe, loader, semi and went to town plowing ‘snow’ and clearing the path.

Its like an indoor sandbox!

Flour play as a sensory activity for toddlers

This provided the entertainment for the entire morning. Even through Grandma visiting.

I’m not sure which was more fun though… the plowing… or the cleanup.

Check out these tips from Clorox after you’ve made a mess with such a fun activity like this!

Sucking up the flour with the vacuum showed instant gratification. It’s always nice to see that it actually makes a difference when you’re cleaning.

A sensory activity for toddlers -- flour play!

I did set a sheet down under Henry, although flour still got everywhere – but it’s easily cleaned up. This is one of the 10 tips to keep messy play clean.

Vacuuming gets the majority of the flour mess, but it doesn’t make the table spot clean. I followed up behind the boys with Clorox Pump ‘N Clean™ Bathroom & Multi-Purpose.

clorox clean tip-20150424-8

It’s super slick and fast for cleaning up small areas like this.

clorox clean tip-20150424-9

Find amazing cleaning tips at Clorox!

$50 AMEX Gift Card Giveaway

Enter to win a $50 AMEX Gift Card by commenting below with your favorite cleaning tip!

Need some ideas? Find some in the Clorox Tips.

This sweepstakes runs from 5/8/15 – 5/18/15. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You will have 2 business days to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected. This giveaway is open worldwide to participants age 18 or older. The Official Rules are available here.

Follow Clorox on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube

Disclosure: This post and giveaway is sponsored by Clorox.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Clorox via Burst Media. The opinions and text are all mine.

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