Exploring Free Play- Fostering Imagination and Growth

As a Gen X parent, I never quite understood why we “had” to fill our kids afternoons and free time with 10,000 activities (sports, club meetings, scouting, etc.). My brother and I didn’t have tons of stuff each day after school. By the time I was in the 5th grade, both my parents worked, and frequently we were left home alone for a few hours after school a couple times a week.

We did our homework, played, read, and did chores. Even before that, there were plenty of times where we were home without structured activities. We still had scouts, soccer (my brother did AYSO for one season and decided it wasn’t for him), Key Club, Choir, JV Football. Many kids in my generation were latchkey kids and filled their afternoons with free and imaginative play.

Free play is an incredible learning tool for kids. It fosters imagination and gives kids opportunities to discover and explore. There are all sorts of toys that encourage free play- dolls, food toys, blocks, legos, to name a few.

My two love Playmobil. Playmobil is a German company that has been around since the 1970’s. They have so many different sets and types of toys- everything from princesses and fairies to knights and safari sets.

A jungle adventure after preschool. Complete with a feast

Recently, my son and daughter started pulling out some of their people as well as some of the animals and created their own adventure. Enter Carl the Mongoose and Mr. Chicken. Carl is a Meerkat, and Mr. Chicken is a Bald Eagle, but the names have stuck.  Other characters include The Birdkeeper and The Man with the Gray Hat, and Cleopatrick (my daughter named her). All of these people are from various sets, Cleo was the only one that sort of resembles her name, as she came from an awesome set of Cleopatra and Julius Caesar.

The animals and their people have all sorts of adventures. They have run a food truck, run a zoo, been on a cruise, gone on safari, hunted for wild animals, opened an iron and gold mine, run an orphanage (we have a lot of little kid Playmobil people), gone to college, gone to preschool, and taken a road trip to the “ocean” in Ohio. We paused the game for a bit to look at the US map to discover there is no ocean in Ohio, but they could go to Lake Erie instead. It was deemed the “Lake Erie ocean beach” adventure.

These adventures give the kids a chance to explore themselves and work on interpersonal relationships, even if it’s as a talking Bald Eagle and his keeper.

Even in these crazy times where nothing is certain, give your kids some time to play and explore. Taking a “brain break” (which is what the big kiddos teacher calls them) throughout the day for some playtime may help your kids more than you think.

Right now we are all home together, trying to scramble into some sort of routine of distance learning, being quiet while we all learn/work, breaks, and trying to play after school is over without making too much noise while grown ups work. It’s tough. It’s crazy. The house is messy, we’re frazzled, and we weren’t “with it” last week to follow our meal plan. But we got through it, and we’re trying again this week.

We’re all learning. And that means we should grant ourselves grace.

Be kind to yourself. Wash your paws, wear a mask, flatten the curve. Have a good week!

 

Free 8×8 Photobook from Shutterfly!

Screen Shot 2019-10-21 at 9.42.04 AM.png **This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Woo Hoo! Shutterfly is hooking you up with a free 8×8 photo book with code FREEPB.

Plus, get 50% off almost everything else by Tuesday, Oct 22, 2019.

I love giving photo gifts for Christmas gifts. Grandparents LOVE photo books, photo mugs, and calendars!

I’ve been collecting photos of the kids all year, and I’ll start working on our photo gifts for relatives in the next few weeks!

Make Your Own Book With Blurb!

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Have you been collecting family recipes for years? Time to turn the scraps of paper and old recipe cards into a family recipe book with Blurb!

Blurb easy it is to create a travel book, memoir book, wedding book, children’s book and so much more. Blurb makes it easy to self-publish a book to last a lifetime whether it’s for personal or professional needs.

Photo books, memoir books, or cookbooks make great holiday gifts!

Field Agent: Secret Shopping, Audits and More!

IMG_5660I’ve written about Field Agent before, but I’ve got an awesome update!

The new referral program pays you money for telling your friends about Field Agent.

unnamed.pngFor every new agent that uses your referral code, Field Agent will pay you 10-percent of what they earn until they reach $100. There’s no limit to the amount of referrals you can give out. The more, the merrier!

My Referral Code is abxbnqx. If you haven’t signed up yet, please do! I did 3 audits at our local Walmart today and earned $12 for 15 minutes of work.

 

My Favorite Side Hustle: Field Agent!

IMG_5660Last summer, I wrote about all of my side hustles. You can read the article here.

Well I got another one to share! I’ve actually had this one for quite a while (about a year and a half), but I’ve always been hesitant to share it. Recently, I have been approached by more than a few people who are looking for ways to make money, and I decided that I was finally going to let the cat out of the bag and share perhaps, my favorite side hustle of all.

Field Agent is an app you can download for your smart phone. It’s different from secret shopping apps and websites, in that you are only shown assignments in your area, that you qualify for. All of the assignments are self assigned, which means that if you want to job you can apply for it you don’t have to email and hope they pick you- which is my big gripe with most secret shopping/audit companies.

IMG_5657
Different types of jobs that are available on the Field Agent App

The other thing that makes Field Agent different is that when you select the job, you have a specific time allotted for you to complete the task after you apply and are approved. The time varies based on what type of job it is, but it’s usually 2 to 4 hours from the time you choose the job and you are approved.

 

Jobs can be as simple as a photographing an end cap at a store or can be as difficult as photographing the exterior of the home to help out an insurance company.

The key to doing these jobs well is to be discreet. You’re not gonna walk into a store and loudly announced you’re here to do an audit, or that you’re here to do a secret shopper. All jobs can be completed with the use of a smartphone, as you will do the job while you are in the store in the app, and photograph using the app as well.

All jobs can be completed with the use of a smartphone, as you will do the job while you are in the store in the app, and photograph using the app as well.

I tend to do assignments when my big guy is at school, and it’s just me and the little one, although if there are higher paying gigs on weekends, I will gladly take both kids if it is a simple task.

Screen Shot 2017-09-07 at 4.36.30 PM
I haven’t made very much this year, but now that school is back in session, It’s time to earn some money!

I’ve taken a lot of time away from this year and have not been using the app to earn money as often as I should. But now that my big guy is back in school, I have been doing assignments like mad. I have earned about $40 in the past week and a half. And that’s just one to two hours a week.

They pay either through EFT to your bank account. It takes only a few days for the money to be transferred into my bank account, and then I can spend (or save) it how I please.

If you think Field Agent is something you’d like, you can check out their website here, and download the app from wherever you get apps!

 

Sweet Photo Gift Deals from York Photo!

It’s never too early to start stockpiling photo gifts for Holiday gifts- You know I love to give photo gifts. They are great for relatives, especially those who live far away!
Custom Photo Fleece Blanket – Just $19.99 – Save $38 On Each! Use Code: FLBLANKET. Open to All Customers. S&H Not Included. Order Quantity Limit 3. Ordered Online.

101 Free 4×6 Prints– This is a great deal, and would be great for at least two gifts! 101 free 4×6 prints (use coupon code FREE101).  All you need to turn these prints into a gift is a cute photo album (keep your eyes open at Michael’s- they frequently have good sales on albums, or use a 40% off coupon from their website).

 

Custom Photo Mug Order your 11 Oz. Custom Mug from York Photo for only $.99. Use Coupon Code CUP. Shipping and handling starts at $5.99 These mugs are perfect for Grandparents!

Order your Custom Shopping Bag from York Photo for $1.00. Use Coupon Code FLTOTE. Shipping and handling starts at $3.99.

 

Oh, and the best part: All new customers get 40 4×6 prints, regardless of  what you purchase!

Free Mug from Tiny Prints!

I am excited to announce that today and tomorrow TinyPrints is giving away a Free Magnet, 11 oz. Mug, Notepad, or $15 credit towards your Gift or Home Décor purchase, plus enjoy 30% off Holiday Greeting Card and Holiday Party Invitation orders using the code TPFREEGIFT at checkout! Your Choice!

I’m def. picking up another photo mug- they make very popular gifts with our family! Here is the mug I made for Hubs recently:

 

Screen Shot 2015-12-13 at 12.15.59 PMI’m off to make another one!!

Here is the fine print: Offer expires 12/14/2015 (11:59 P.M. PT). Enjoy one (1) free magnet, 11 oz. mug, notepad, or $15 credit towards your gift or home décor purchase, plus enjoy 30% off holiday greeting card and holiday party invitation orders using the code TPFREEGIFT at checkout. There is no minimum purchase required for this promotion. Free offer applies exclusively to magnets, 11 oz. mugs, notepads, gifts and home décor and is not applicable to previously placed orders, shipping, taxes, rush processing charges, gift certificates, personalized postage stamps and personal stationery. The 30% off promotion applies exclusively to holiday greeting or holiday party invitations and is not applicable to previously placed orders, shipping, taxes, rush processing charges, or any other product available on TinyPrints.com. This promotion code cannot be combined with other offers. Offer cannot be redeemed more than once per account and/or billing address. This particular offer code can only be redeemed once. Offer is only valid on Tinyprints.com and is not applicable on third party or partner websites. To prevent fraud or abuse, we reserve the right to discontinue or modify this offer or cancel any order.

Shutterfly Deals- Perfect for Holiday Gift Giving!

This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase, I may be compensated.
Shutterfly-LogoHere are two limited time deals from Shutterfly:
1. New Shutterfly Customers: Enjoy a choice of one Free set of Address Labels or 50 Free 4×6 Prints using the code YOURCHOICEAFF at checkout.  Offer expires November 25, 2015 (11:59 P.M. PT). Offer is good for one free set of address labels or 50 free 4×6 prints throughshutterfly.com or our mobile-friendly site. Must select one of the two products listed. Valid only for new Shutterfly customers (those who have never purchased from Shutterfly). Offer cannot be redeemed more than once per account and/or billing address. Taxes, shipping and handling will apply. Not valid on other print sizes, other products, prepaid plans, prior purchases, orders placed for in-store pick up and purchases made on the Shutterfly apps. Cannot be redeemed for cash or combined with other offers or credits. Not valid for resale.

2. ALL Shutterfly Customers: Enjoy 30% off qualifying merchandise orders of $1-$48.99; 40% off $49-$148.99 and 50% off $149+ using the code BIGSAVINGS at checkout  Offer expires November 26, 2015 (11:59 P.M. PT). Offer is good for 30% off qualifying merchandise orders of $1-$48.99; 40% off $49-$148.99 and 50% off $149 or more (after any other discounts and before taxes, shipping and handling) through shutterfly.com, our mobile-friendly site or Shutterfly apps. Taxes, shipping and handling will apply. Not valid on TripPix, Make My Book, personalized postage stamps, prepaid plans, gift certificates, Videograms, cards sent using mailing services, prior purchases and orders placed for in-store pick up. Cannot be redeemed for cash or combined with other offers or credits. Not valid for resale.

Pick up a free 8 x 10 canvas from Canvas People & Everyday Family!

I think one of the best gifts for family is the gift of photos, especially if you have kids!

Right now when you sign up at EveryDay Family, you’ll be emailed a code of a free 8 x 10 canvas from Canvas People!

Joining EveryDay Family is free!v What a perfect way to get a jump on your holiday shopping list.

Good Deal Alert! 101 free 4×6 prints from Shutterfly

DSC03682I don’t know about ya’ll, but we’re melting here! Despite the heat, we’re managing to have lots of fun, and I’m taking a ton of photos.

Thankfully there is a new freebie from Shutterfly! Now through August 10, 2015 all customers enjoy 101 free 4×6 prints with promo code 101TREATS at checkout.

Boring Fine Print: Offer expires August 10, 2015 (11:59 P.M. PT). Offer is good for 101 free 4×6 prints through shutterfly.com, our mobile-friendly site or Shutterfly apps. Offer cannot be redeemed more than once per account and/or billing address. Taxes, shipping and handling will apply. Not valid on other sizes, other products, prepaid plans, prior purchases and orders placed for in-store pick up. Cannot be redeemed for cash or combined with other offers or credits. Not valid for resale.