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Triumph and Tragedy

Love for Logan

Have you heard about this story? This dear two year old, Logan, had a tragic accident with a car window. During his time in the hospital, his mother, Lisa, would post on Facebook any updates that occurred with her son while demonstrating her and her husband’s solid faith in Christ. Thousands of people began following their story and felt encouraged through Drew and Lisa’s courage and faith. Sadly, after a week without much progress, on August 24, 2017, Logan passed away.

I knew Logan quite well. In fact, my family is close friends with his parents and several members of the extended family. Because of this,it has taken me awhile to know what to post. In some ways, I just wanted to ignore it and keep posting about regular lessons. I could continue with another classroom activity or a recipe for the family. No one would really know the difference- not many people read this anyway. However, dealing with grief is a difficult thing. Ignoring the sadness won’t help. Even though this post won’t change the past, it can help honor sweet Logan and his family.

Our boys when they were about 6 months old.

My son is only a few weeks younger than Logan. The plan was for our boys to go through life together. We had imagined teachers comment about their mischievous ways. The two were going to play basketball together, already passing the balls around in the gym after church. We had assumed they would be performing in many more Christmas pageants as little stable animals like they did the Christmas before.

It hurts when things don’t go according to your plan. It’s painful to watch dear friends go through their (and your) worst nightmare. Yet, my family’s daily life has not changed dramatically. Even through the grief, we still wake, go to work, and put both our children to bed at night.  Earlier, I was chopping a watermelon up so my son would be able to eat it for the next week. It occurred to me for the one-thousandth time that these small things will always be different for Logan’s family.

My biggest question for God has been “Why them?” I feel panic moments when I think about how easily that could have been our family. Throughout the last few weeks I’ve looked at my son and tried to imagine what they might be going through. I can’t do it. It hurts too much.

We may never fully know why God took Logan away so young. However, God has been revealing Himself in small ways throughout this process. I have already seen certain broken relationships start to be restored. Others, who had seemingly drifted away from their faith, were seen in church the last few Sundays. Thousands of people followed this story and in doing so, shared hope with each other and glimpses of Christ’s love. God has been triumphant through Logan and this tragedy and will continue to work through it. Logan’s death may very well bring life to hundreds of others.

Even with that knowledge, it is not easy. After a death, especially that of a child, people often feel helpless. Nothing you do or say will bring the person back, yet, you want to do anything and everything you can to help. Someone posted this article called What You Can Do to Help a Grieving Family. It was written from a mother who also lost her son and contains ideas of what people can (and shouldn’t) do for a family who has experienced tragedy. 

Logan’s parents have seen an outpouring of people’s love in many ways mentioned in the article. They continue to receive gifts, donations and prayers from people in the community as well as hundreds of miles away. Yet even with the abundance of support, I think they will always have pain – the feeling of something missing. Nothing anyone can do will fix that. However, there is still hope. Because of Christ, they have the hope of eternity. Though the time on Earth will be difficult, it will be just a blink compared to the eternity they will have with Logan in the presence of Christ.

That is the triumph within the tragedy.

Elements of a Successful School Bulletin Board

Our school’s academic theme this year is science. This means we will be having a few more extra events and activities relating to the sciences. In the spring, we will have a science fair and STEM night.  It’s exciting, but means a little bit more work for me this year!

In one of my previous posts I shared some of the bulletin boards up in my classroom. I was still working on a science themed board for our middle school hallway. I thought I would share that today.

A fellow teacher found this one on Pinterest for me and I’m so thankful! (I could only find the picture and not any website to go with it!) I immediately loved the idea of making a periodic table, but rather than it having the true elements, including the important characteristics for a school. What a great way to introduce the school to our new middle school students and to remind returning families what makes a school truly successful.

How to create one yourself:

It didn’t take much to put it together. I made each element box on the computer and printed them out. The symbol went in the top left and the “atomic number” in

 the top right. The “name” or characteristic when on the bottom. That was it! I was surprised at how quickly I thought of the different “elements”. I used some from the picture I saw, but included many of my own as well. Since we are also studying the Fruits of the Spirit this year, I made sure those were incorporated into the board.

Examples:
  • Pt: Patience
  • K: Kindness
  • A : academics
  • Ri : Rigor
  • F : Failthfulness

You can choose whatever characteristics describe your school and the ways it is successful.

I then decided to back them in different colors, just like elements on the periodic table are sometimes displayed. I used 32 element characteristics    , but you could do more or less. Just make sure you arrange them to look like a periodic table for the board to make sense! And I have to give a shout out to my husband – he helped me staple everything in a straight line. That is the hardest part!

I have had so many compliments on this board. I may just leave it up for a few months!

 

Solar Eclipse of 2017 – It’s a big deal!

So if you haven’t already heard (which hopefully you have) there will be a huge event happening on Monday, August 21. A solar eclipse of this extent does not happen very often. And when it does occur, it is rare that we can actually see it from the US!

This solar eclipse will be a total solar eclipse for many areas of the United States. This means, that for a 70 mile wide path from Oregon down through South Carolina, people will be able to experience the total solar eclipse. North and south of that path will experience a partial solar eclipse. Depending how close or far away you are from that path, you will experience more or less of the eclipse! You can check out a map here to see the exact path.

What is a solar eclipse?

An eclipse occurs when the sun, earth and moon all align in a specific way. During a solar eclipse, the moon “blocks” the sun from the Earth. In other words, the moon is creating a shadow on a small part of the earth’s surface.

Image Credit: NASA 2017 Total Solar Eclipse Event Page. Image not to scale.

 

Because of the size differences, the moon only casts a shadow on a small part of earth’s surface. For this shadow to be directly in your path is pretty incredible and a once in a lifetime experience!

Image credit: Wikipedia.org

So what should you do?

1. Get Glasses

You will need to have special certified glasses that filter out the sun’s harmful rays. Looking at the sun directly is very dangerous and can cause eye damage. This is NOT a good thing. The glasses help protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. However, I think the glasses are selling out fast, at least in my town! I had to go to two several stores to find enough for my class. They sell glasses at Walmart, Lowe’s, Toys ‘R Us and possibly a few other places.

2. Check when the eclipse will happen near you

For us, the entire eclipse will take place between 12:56 pm and 3:46 pm. The closest to totality we will see happens at 2:22 pm. My plan is to take my science classes outside from 1:45-2:45.

3. Watch the weather

My big fear right now is that it will be storming or super cloudy on eclipse day. This would be sad, but fortunately, NASA will be offering live streaming of the event somewhere sunny! You can catch the live streaming here

4. Enjoy the show!

If you are lucky enough to be in the path of totality, soak it in! What an amazing sight. And if you’re not (like me) it will still be quite a show. It’s awesome to me how everything can line up just so. To me, it demonstrates our Creator’s creativity and power.

 

Monday, August 21 – Catch the Eclipse!

Bulletin Boards – Brilliant or a Bust?

With school just a couple weeks away, I have been focusing on putting my bulletin boards together. The plan for this is usually to make as many pieces as possible at home, so when I do get the chance to get into my classroom, I can grab my stapler and go to town! (That is, if my children that I must take with me are occupied enough. And my stapler actually has staples in it. And I manage to remember to take all the pieces I need.) It’s always a good plan…

I will admit, once the school year starts, I am terrible at changing bulletin boards. I just forget! Summer always brings good intentions and great ideas: big plans to have awesome, interactive bulletin boards for students in my class. But, then I get involved with the activities, lessons and assessments throughout the year and don’t have much extra time and energy for the boards. And so these plans go from being brilliant to being a bust.

 

School Theme

I have one large bulletin board in my classroom that I divide into two or three sections, depending on the year. One of the sections is for our school spiritual theme. I keep this one up year round. This means, I usually put a good amount of effort into it before school starts so it actually looks good! Our spiritual theme this year is Fruit of the Spirit, so here is what I came up with. I enjoyed putting together all the different fruits!

 

Student Work

Another section is used for displaying student work. I put a poster or two up at the start (since I don’t have any student work to display yet!) and then as we do projects, put them up. I do change this throughout the year, but probably still not as much as I should.

All three boards. The posters will soon be replaced with student work!

The Third One…

 

The third section is where I always think “I’ll do better with it this year!” Well, this is my 8th year teaching, and I’m pretty sure I get worse changing those boards. One year I did a “Scientist of the Month” section where students learned facts about a different scientist. That one was pretty successful! It had QR codes students could use and occasionally I would include an extra credit question about that scientist. Two years in a row I thought I would keep up with a “Science in the News” board where I would post articles and news of current science events. Fail. Both years. I think I changed it once. Or maybe there was just nothing happening in science those years!

This year, I am hoping to pilot Chromebooks in my classroom (more on that later). So, because of my lack of board-changing abilities and necessity to emphasize digital citizenship even more, I decided to do a “THINK” board. I had seen this on Pinterest a few times and we even had different mini posters and sheets that had similar ideas on them displayed in several classrooms. I think reminding students the importance of thinking before posting, videoing, tweeting, etc. is necessary more than ever! And the words are not only true with social media, but with the words we speak as well. So I’m hoping that my “brilliant” bulletin board will be a hit. It’s already better on my end because it will be applicable throughout the year!

 

With my classroom boards complete for the school year, I can move on to other things! (Like actually lesson planning…) We do have a few other bulletin boards in the hallway that I will have to create this year. It is the big science fair year at our school = lots more work for me! Also, the teachers will be looking at curriculum more closely to make sure we are aligning to the newest standards. Anyway, I may have to post a few more sciencey bulletin boards as I create them for our hallways throughout the year! 

Make Ahead Pizza Crust – Perfect for a Last Minute Dinner

This is the time of year (unfortunately) I start thinking ahead to the beginning of school again! But rather than getting into my classroom, I start thinking about what I can do at home. Preparing a few make ahead meals is always my goal! Doing this saves me loads of time and stress, especially those first crazy weeks of the school year.

One of our family favorites is homemade pizza. We have pizza at least once a week, but we rarely order out. Occasionally we have frozen pizza, but we really love to make our own. I grew up making pizza. My dad would buy frozen dough, let it thaw, then roll it out to make a few pizza crusts. Everyone could personalize their part (or whole) pizza and make it with whatever sauces, cheese and toppings they chose!

Although those pizzas were delicious, they required a long time in the oven to make sure the dough was fully cooked. We also had store bought crusts, and these were quicker, but not quite as good in my opinion.

Then I found a recipe for make ahead pizza crusts that was simple, easy and delicious!

MomsByHeart.net shared this recipe for make ahead crusts. (There is also a recipe for sauce that I’ve not tried, but would like to!). I’ve adapted the crust recipe slightly here.

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 1 ½ cups warm water
  • ⅛ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
Instructions:

1. First, combine the yeast, warm water and olive oil in the bowl. Let the yeast sit in the water for just a few minutes (while you prep the other ingredients!)

2. Then, add the flour and salt and use the paddle attachment on the mixer and knead for 5 minutes. (If you don’t have a mixer, you can do this by hand… consider it exercise!) 
  • Sometimes I find that it is too sticky and needs a little more flour, and sometimes it is too dry and needs a few drops of olive oil or water. The dough should be sticky, but not so much so that it won’t form a nice ball!
3. Put it into a bowl that is lightly covered in oil. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise until it about doubles in size (about 45 minutes to an hour).

 

4. Divide the dough. If you plan on freezing them, you will want to make sure they fit into the plastic Ziploc bag! The recipe makes six “equal” sized balls of dough which turn into about 10-12” crusts (but no matter how hard I try, they never come out the same size!)
5. Set the sections of dough back in the bowl and let rise for another 5-15 minutes.

 

6. Preheat the oven to 500 ℉ (Yes that hot!)

 

7. Roll each crust out

 

8. Bake for 3-4 minutes until they can hold their shape well.

 

9. If you want to freeze them, make sure they cool completely, place in a sealed bag. They will stay good for several months!

When making the pizza:

1. Preheat oven to 425℉

 

2. Take the crusts out of the freezer (the crusts do NOT need to thaw ahead of time) and add any toppings you want!

 

3. Cook the pizzas for 7-10 minutes. Usually, the more toppings, the more time. Just watch carefully!

 

We love to customize our own pizzas with different toppings. I usually like to have crusts on hand for when guests come too. It’s a great alternative to ordering out, and people have fun making their own pie! You could even have a BYOT (bring your own topping) party and enjoy exchanging flavors! The possibilities are endless!

Happy 4th of July!

A Roundup of Toddler 4th of July Hand print (and foot print) crafts!

Most people enjoy the middle of summer holiday with some good food on the grill, time off from work, and watching some fireworks. But if you have littles at home, fireworks may be too loud or too late to see! Instead, you could make your own holiday crafts. And of course, include the hand or foot prints of the kids! Here is a quick round up of some 4th of July handprint (or footprint) crafts for your littles! Why not try one of these for the holiday?

Flag and footprints

House of Burke has some great ideas for flags or footprint fire crackers! Super cute!

From houseofburkeblog.com

Patriotic Hand

Krissy from B-inspired Mama shows a super cute patriotic hand print. If you can get your child to sit still long enough to paint it, do it!

Patriotic Hand Print Craft 1
From B-InspiredMama.com

Hand wreath

Really, you could do this project for any holiday! For the 4th, use patriotic colors and arrange the hand prints around in a wreath. You could do different hand prints of all your kiddos! Thanks for the idea, Decorating with Dodi!

From dodi47.blogspot.com – Decorating with Dodi

Hand print fireworks

The blog Ava’s Alphabet shares step by step tips on how to get a great hand print with a youngster. I LOVE this fire work idea and will have to try it!

Handprint Fireworks
From avasalphabet.com

Hand and Footprint Canvas Flag

And lastly, this adorable idea from Sewing for Sanity. I love the hand and foot print combo! Super cute.

From http://littlethingsbybeth.blogspot.com/2011/07/american-flag-art-4th-of-july-kids.html (Sewing for Sanity)

Try these out! Create a keepsake for your family! If you like these hand print ideas, you can check out some of my other holiday hand prints here!

Here is how one of our projects turned out (my son painted the background fireworks!)

Happy 4th of July!

Potty Training Begins!

Last week, I started officially potty training my son. Now, he had been wearing a pull-up and using the potty for several months. At his day care, during the school year, he would also go on the potty fairly consistently. We had even tried him wearing underpants once this spring. However, he only lasted about an hour (with a few potty trips) before an accident. He was mortified by, “My peepee so hot!” and he would not wear underpants again for awhile.

After letting it go for another couple months, (and after turning two and a half) we thought he was more ready. All we needed was to be super vigilant about it for a few days. In fact, I had heard 3 days is all it takes. 3 long days, but only 3! I could handle 3 days… maybe.

I had told myself that when summer came and I was home with the kids, that was the time. The first few weeks of summer involved quite a bit of traveling for our family, as well as conferences and meetings for me. When I looked at the calendar last week and saw that nothing was scheduled for me, I thought…

Potty Training Begins!

I always thought I would read up on all sorts of methods, possibly look up some apps to use to encourage him, and find multiple special treats or prizes as bribes. But let’s be real… when was I really going to do all that? And though I was doubtful it would only take a few days, I figured, might as well just start!

The night before, my husband and I both made a big deal about wearing underpants. We had been talking about underpants for weeks, so when I asked my son if he was ready to wear them again, he was actually excited. He went to bed saying “I wear underpants like a big boy!” This was a good sign!

Day 1

After breakfast, I let him choose which pair of underwear he wanted. We are fully stocked with Disney’s Cars underwear, ready for anything! He put his little Elmo potty seat on the toilet, and we were set to go! Because I didn’t have much time to prepare anything fancy, I simply took a crayon and paper and made a chart with about 20 boxes. I also quickly pulled stickers out from my stash of scrapbooking supplies (it’s not like I’ve been scrapbooking recently…) and dug around in our candy bin for one small pack of M&Ms.

Here were our guidelines:

  • Every time he went potty, he received a sticker for the chart
  • If he also had dry pants when he went potty he got a single M&M
  • Once he filled up the entire chart (20 times of going potty) he was able to pick a “special treat” from our candy bowl. The bowl contained things like mini Milky Ways, smarties, Hershey Kisses, etc.
  • Naps and night time he would still wear a Pull-Up or diaper for now

    The potty charts. We will just keep adding charts as necessary!

The first day was definitely the longest. Pretty much every minute I would ask him if he had to go. Every 15-20 minutes I would take him. Obviously, he got sick of this interrupting play time, so there were several times I had to bribe him with the stickers and M&Ms. Most of the time this worked. He had one minor accident before lunch. I thought that would be the end of it, but he agreed to wear a new pair of underwear and continue on! By the afternoon, I was sick of being in the house on such a beautiful day. We ventured outside, only to make sure to come in every 20-25 minutes to go potty. He had one other accident that afternoon because he was playing hide and seek with daddy and got a little excited.

 

Day 2

This day was a little easier. My husband was home to help a little more and we allowed my son to go closer to 30 minutes before trying to go. He did have one accident because he had to go #2 and is still very suspicious of doing this on the potty. He pretty much holds it in until a pullup or diaper is on. Oh well. For nap time though, he had a dry pull-up and woke up telling us he had to go potty! Success! By the afternoon, we were playing outside much more. I still constantly asked him if he needed to go, but let him have more of a say of when we took a potty break. Stickers and M&Ms still worked, but he was starting to forget about them. There were a few times he went and forgot about getting a sticker afterwards!

Day 3

Our third day I let him direct when he needed to go (most of the time). I kept reminding him that we wanted dry underpants! He did great! Sometimes it was almost an hour before he said he had

to go. Other times, he had to go after 10 minutes. But he was directing, and we had no accidents! After dinner we even braved the store. He told me he had to go there, which was fine (but gross)!

Going strong!

Three days and I feel like we have a great head start on this potty thing. I know we aren’t completely free of problems, but so far so good! So what is my advice?

  • Keep it simple. You don’t need a whole lot to make a 2 year old excited.
  • Make sure to continually tell him or her how proud you are of what they are doing! My son LOVED hearing how he was being such a big boy.
  • It’s ok to have setbacks, but keep encouraging!

Next step? Going number two on the potty…

 

The Greatness of Garage Sales

The last few Friday mornings, at least one of my kiddos and I have been hitting up local garage sales. I have always had a love of finding special treasures for cheap and I believe my son is learning to love it as well! In fact, last week, I asked him, “Would you like to go to a garage sale with me?” And his 2 ½ year old response: “No, Mommy, FIVE garage sales.

So what is the greatness of garage sales?
  • I think as a mother and a teacher, garage sales are the best way for finding things you may need (or just like) for your home, kids or classroom without breaking the bank!
  • By reusing someone else’s things, you are being more environmentally friendly! This may seem like a stretch, but really, if you think about what would happen if we all just through away our stuff when we were through with it (which some do) how much waste we would have? By reselling and buying used things that are still in good condition, we are reducing our need for new products, and recycling!
  • You get to know people in your community! Just the other day, my son and I went to a neighborhood garage sale a few blocks away from our house. In that neighborhood alone, we talked to someone you attend the same out of state college as me, a woman whose daughter shared the same name as mine (and it is not a common name!), and discovered that a close relative of one of my students lives just around the corner from me. Get to know your neighbors. And their junk.

But where do you start? I know some people just like the thrill of the hunt and have no set plan. Usually I like to have an idea of what I’m looking for at the start. This way, I can drive by and scope out whether it is worth it to stop and get out (especially with two kids).

Here are the top things I currently look for when I’m garage saling:
  1. Kids Clothes/shoesThis, right now, is my number one purchase at any garage sale. If there is a chance someone will be selling toddler boy or baby girl clothes, I stop. I’m discovering that most times, girl clothes seem hardly worn! I’ve purchased brand new or like new clothes for $1 for my baby girl. However, rarely do I find this in toddler boy sizes. Why? Going by personal experience, it is because boys wear out their clothes so much faster than girls. And trying to find boys gym shoes in good condition? Good luck!
  2. Books – I know several other teachers at my school get almost all their classroom library books from garage sales. Not only does it save the teacher (and the school) so much money, but you can find a variety of books, genres and reading levels for super cheap! When most people buy books, they read the book once and then are done. Almost every garage sale I’ve been to has some sort of book section. It does take some time looking through the titles, but if you have the patience, you can find some classics, or some great new novels! Also, board books for the littles are popular to sell, so sometimes I grab one or two for my own kids.
  3. Storage containers – These are not very expensive to buy new in the store, and I often do that. But I’ve found some really cute, unique or just super cheap containers that will hold anything and everything. I’m always looking for tubs to hold my children’s outgrown clothes or a place to hold some toys. In my classroom, having tubs, buckets, and containers for everything from scissors and colored pencils to marbles to leftover owl pellets is a must (And yes, I do have a container of leftover owl pellets).
  4. Toys and games – Typically my son finds at least one thing he just loves at each garage sale. Typically, I let him pick just ONE thing that is less than a dollar or two. A truck, a new Minion sippy cup and a Nemo watch have been his latest finds. Board games and puzzles priced low (and with all the pieces) can be perfect for those rainy day recesses.
  5. Those random, yet perfect items that you weren’t expecting to find – It’s all worth it when you find that one thing. That thing that you didn’t know you were looking for, but found! Or that thing that you did not know existed until you saw it. For me, that was a camera tripod a few summers ago. My purpose for it wasn’t for a camera, but for a solar system lesson in my classroom. I think I bought it for $3 and I was expecting to have to pay close to $20. Awesome! My husband (who doesn’t garage sale much) happened to stumble upon landscaping rocks at a sale by our house. He had just started to fix up our backyard those were a perfect fit. Who knows what your treasure will be… a beautiful, antique tea set? A like-new piece of furniture? Something completely random for your classroom?

So get in the spirit of treasure hunting. The Greatness of Garage Sales is only truly great if you go out and search. Get some more use out of other people’s things. Start talking with your neighbors and learn more about those you live around.

Happy hunting!

Tech Tools to Use in the Classroom

Even though school is out, I have been busy attending conferences and prepping to present at one myself! The first conference I attended was an eLearning conference for our school district. This is the second time I’ve attended this conference. Both times, I’ve left with about 5 million ideas but an overwhelming sense of knowing there is no way I can implement them all!

After going through my notes, my goal is to take two or three of the ideas I found and try them this coming year. If I can do more, great! However, I would rather do a few things well then just try to cram everything in at once.

Here are the tech tools that made the top of my list! And I must mention that they are all free! I will definitely be trying these out once school starts again. Feel free to do the same!

Desmos and Desmos classroom 

I actually had previously stumbled upon this website during the semester and loved it. After hearing more about it at the conference, I know I will utilize it more in my math classes! Lessons are already prepared on the site and include a variety of topics. Students are able to work at their own pace through the lesson answering questions and completing tasks. Questions require students to think and respond with sentences as well, so you can see their thought process as well. Teachers are able to monitor each student’s progress as well! I loved the fact that I could see who was struggling or not staying on task right from my computer! Whether a student needs extra practice or enrichment, Desmos can help!

Sample question for inequalities lesson

Quizlet Live  

Maybe you, like me, had already heard of Quizlet. I’ve had students use this app for a few years as an option to study their vocabulary words in science class. Students type in words and definitions, then can play review games such as matching, guess the word, etc. I’ve noticed that those students that have used Quizlet typically end up performing better on any vocabulary assessments.

The people at Quizlet really amped it up for Quizlet Live and made it a whole classroom experience!  Students are randomly placed in groups and given an animal name. Why an animal? I have no idea, but being a Siberian Tiger or a Bald Eagle makes it that much more exciting! Each student must have a device within the group. The groups then must work together to find correct terms for the given definition. Since different terms are listed on different group member’s devices, everyone must participate in order for the group to finish first. What a great way to increase vocabulary proficiency!

Quizziz

This game is very similar to Kahoot  (which I have used many times and love!). The difference though, is that students can go at their own pace and do the questions by themselves. You do not need to project one question at a time on the screen. The students still can compete against each other and see their scores (which is what they love about Kahoot). You can use the quizzes that are already on the site, or you can make your own. Adapt the quiz for whatever subject you need and use it for review, pretesting or just for fun!

Start screen for Quizziz

Commonsense.org   

Students truly need to understand how to become responsible digital citizens. How do we teach this? First of all, make sure we as educators are being good role models. Sometimes we assume students know how to be responsible in this area simply because they know how to work the apps and tools. Commonsense.org has developed several lessons for the classroom that hit on many areas of digital citizenship for all grade levels including strategic searching, cyberbullying, and copyright issues. The lessons include videos and activity ideas that you can download as pdf files. There is even a “Digital Compass game where students choose what to do in a scenario and see the consequences of that choice. I have used bits and pieces of this in the past, but think I should do more with my middle schoolers.

 

So take a look! Maybe one of these will become your favorite tech tools this coming year too!

Toddler Travel Idea Roundup

Our first big plans for the summer involved taking a trip out east that would take 12 hours in the car… one way. Needless to say, doing this with a 2 ½ year old and a 7 month old is a big endeavor. My littlest is easy – eat, sleep, give her a toy or two and she will be fine. But my toddler??What were we thinking planning this?

So in preparation for the big “Toddler Travel” trip, I have rounded up many tips from other experts!

Let’s start with a packing list. I’m forever trying to remember everything that I need to remember! Whether it’s a two hour trip or a 12 hour trip, there are some essentials that need to be packed. This was helpful for me to remember those! TodaystheBestDay has many helpful tips on how to travel with a toddler. It also includes this awesome packing list that I used. Simple, but covers everything.

Packing List for A Toddler
Source: Todaysthebestday.com

 

Snacks

Pre-packing snacks on a road trip is a must for the children. And let’s be honest, even more important for myself! This idea helps make sure the car is well stocked with snacks. Prepping and sorting these healthy snacks into smaller bags prevents extra pit stops for junk food, keeps messes to a minimum and will reduce the risk of eating a whole bag of something because of boredom. (That’s my problem!) Cupcakeskissesncrumbs does a great job showing how to prep snacks for the week when you’re not traveling too!

Source: Cupcakesncrumbs.blogspot.com

 

Activities

Since school just let out, I have not had time to properly prep extra activities. If I had a couple more days to prep, I would make a few more of these fantastic busy bags from HandsOnAsWeGrow. There is a great explanation of what makes a busy bag and SO many ideas.

Even though I don’t have much time to create kits, I will be doing some of these activity ideas! Tunemyheartblog contains a few fantastic ideas for toddlers. There is a link to free printables that can be used with dot stickers. I will raid my teacher closet for a binder with page protectors and complete an awesome letter book! Hopefully that can keep my busy boy entertained for more than a few minutes! 

Purchasing a new cookie sheet from the dollar store also has been added to list of things to do before leaving. I’ll put some magnets we already own in a bag and boom! He can play with his letters! It can be used as a table for eating, coloring, or book reading too. Playdatecrashers lists a few other great ideas for the cookie sheet! 

And lastly, I found this brilliant idea. Whoever came up with this is a genius!! I know my toddler will think a bucket pulley system is the coolest! It will also prevent me from spending half the car ride facing backwards and getting car sick… maybe. Now I’ll just have to make sure to rig it up right! I do teach science, so I should be able to figure it out… Thanks Kidsactivitiesblog.com!

I know at least a few of these ideas will keep our “big” kid entertained for awhile. And our little one will then hopefully be entertained by the big kid! We will just take it one mile at a time and remember that seeing family will make it all worth it!