Hooray, It’s back! This is one of the kids favorite “holidays”, free museum day! If you’re looking for some adventure on Saturday, September 22, check out the event website here, and pick a museum!
Luckily for us here in San Diego, there are TONS of museums for us to chose from. One thing that I like about the site is that it shows you which museums are free every day. So if it’s something that appeals to you and your family, you can chose to go another day and not have to fight the crowds.
This event is taking place all over the US, so regardless of your location there should be a few participating museums near you!
Talk Back: Which museums are you interested in visiting?
On Friday afternoon, the kids and I, along with some friends and their moms got together at a local park to explore some fun STEM based games from Smart Games.
I invited my home schooling friends, along with other moms that are like me: always looking for educational and fun games and opportunities for kids. What I love about the games from Smart Games is that they are fun- the kids didn’t realize that the games were educational. The kids took turns playing Penguins on Ice, which was the overall kid favorite. The moms liked Quadrillion the most, and we all took turns playing it with the kids and each other.
While the games are one player, the kids all worked together, which was great to see. There are no batteries needed, none of the games make sounds or have flashing lights, so it’s all about imagination and working it out. The Younger kids gravitated towards Trucky 3, which is a great visual puzzle game with larger block and little trucks.
The other crowd pleaser was Color Code, which quickly was also popular with the moms.
Color Code was also the game that we gave away- I love that Tryazon and Smart Games sent us 4 games to try out and keep, and I love sharing with friends- So I try and give away at least 1 item at each party I have.
It was a perfect, educational afternoon! There was a lot of giggling, play time, and learning.
If you want to learn more about Smart Games, their website is full of great information.
And if you want to learn more about Tryazon, their website has tons of information about all of the cool campaigns and parties they have coming up!
I received the games free in order to facilitate a group party with friends and their kids. All opinions are my own. I was not financially compensated, however, we do get to keep the games!
I love Craftsy! I love making stuff and being creative, but sometimes it’s hard to learn a new skill or hone one you already have on a budget. Craftsy to the rescue! They have awesome free classes where you can learn to do all kinds of cool stuff from cooking and baking to knitting!
The free mini classes can be viewed on any device, so you can learn anywhere! Right now there are 47 mini classes that are free. Mini-courses feature student-led discussions and are shorter in length than regular courses. They are a perfect way to learn new skills and experience the Craftsy platform first-hand.
Here are just a few of the ones I’ve saved to watch and explore:
#8 is a resolution that I thought would be closer to the top of the list: Learn something new!
There are lots of ways that you can learn and grow without breaking the bank!
Borrow books from the library- most libraries have their card catalogs online, so you can check and see if your local library branch has the book(s) you are looking for before you step foot in the library. AND- some libraries have the ability to hold the books for you until you can get down there (usually 24 hours).
Can’t find the books in print near you? Check out Google Books. There are tons of free books that you can read online.If you head over to Amazon you’ll find thousands of Free E-books on Amazon in all reader formats.
Check out community learning opportunities. Grossmont Adult Education has tons of great classes, including some great Mommy and Me style pre-school classes for kids!
Check YouTube for tutorials or seminars that are of interest to you.
Harvard (yeah, *THAT HARVARD*) has free, no credit open courses here. Other Colleges including MIT, Yale and Stanford offer free online no credit classes for the public to take/sit in on.
Check your local museums for free days for locals. San Diego Locals- here is a list of free museum days in Balboa Park.
Craftsy has a ton of free classes and patterns! Check out this post with just a few of my favorite classes!
There are tons of free opportunities for kids to learn here. Most public libraries have story time or other free activities and workshops for kids. Check out Red Tricycle’s website for all kinds of free and cheap learning opportunities for your littles!
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Henry loves Animals- All Kinds. So a few months ago we decided to do a craft that focused on his love of sea life. I try to do a craft with him 3-4 days a week in the morning after breakfast. And we do it on a budget. I spend no more than $10/month of craft supplies. I’ve posted my money saving tips for crafting at the bottom of this post.
Making our Aquarium took a few steps.
Gather supplies: Construction paper, glue sticks, scissors, pipe cleaners, and googly eyes. We also use a lot of glitter glue.
Cut out “water” and glue/paste it to large piece of craft paper.
Then we selected 4-5 sea animals the he likes, made them out of construction paper (and pipe cleaners for the crab!), drew faces on each animal based on what the animals do (mean face for crab because he pinches, big open mouth for the hungry piranhas). We made a few of the sea animals 3-d (anemones and jellyfish and crabs legs and pinchers).
If you aren’t sure what kinds of sea creatures to make, check out Octonauts (they are on YouTube), or other nature shows for kids (we also like Wild Kratts). There are tons of cool books about undersea creatures aimed at kids at your local library.
If your kids aren’t into undersea animals, here are a few other fun crafts with animals:
Make a goldfish bowl: Start by pasting goldfish to fishbowl shaped paper and use water colors to paint the water in the fish bowl.
We also love to make what Henry calls “Going to the zoo”: Draw animal cages on paper or make them out of pipe cleaners or stick pretzels and put different animal crackers in the cages. We do this before a zoo trip. I try to keep 2-3 zoo maps with our craft stuff too, so we try to find the animal cracker animals on the zoo map too.
Caterpillars: I cut out wiggly caterpillars from green construction paper. Then we glue pom poms to his body (because caterpillars are fuzzy), add googily eyes and draw a mouth. Sometimes we add antennae.
To make our crafts more educations, during our craft time, we talk about the sounds that the animals make, where they live (habitat), what do they eat (meat, plants, both?).
Sometimes we make Monsters. This is a great opportunity to talk about different body parts, and how people and animals are all different. Here is a photo of out Monster assembly line:
We try to do a craft each day: drawing, painting, cutting paper into shapes. These activities help foster his creativity and imagination, and they help hone his motor skills. To keep Henry engaged, I select crafts and activities based on subjects that are of his interest.
Tips to keep daily/weekly crafting frugal:
We re-use all kinds of stuff: paper towel or toilet paper rolls for kaleidoscopes or pirate spyglasses, magazines for pictures in collages, cardboard egg cartons make caterpillars, clamshells, baby chickens, or spiders.
Dollar tree and 99 cents only have great selection of craft supplies like construction paper, glue and glue sticks, googly eyes, jingle bells, pipe cleaners.
I try to make a batch of playdoh each month. I use glitter and food coloring to make the playdoh a little more fun. We use playdoh to crafts and creative play. I’ll post my Fool Proof Play dough recipe later this weekend.
Stuff around the house that isn’t strictly a craft supply can be used: cupcake liners make flowers or butterfly wings, q-tips, sponges (cut them up to paint), potatoes (stamping or painting).
Using stuff from nature: Henry loves the little “pokey balls” from the Chinese elms. Right now they are porcupine puffer fish, but in the past they’ve been all kinds of fun stuff. Paint leaves, use cat tails as paint brushes, gather small sticks and use them to make houses, stack them up, or paint them to use another time.