15 Ways to Keep the Kids Busy this Summer

15 Ways to Keep the Kids Busy this Summer

Summer is quickly approaching and it’s hard to believe. If you need ideas of how to keep your kids busy this summer, I want to share some ideas. It’s tough thinking of ways to keep the kids busy this summer, but it’s possible. Moms and dads get ready because “I’m bored” will be a phrase of the past. Check out these ways to keep the kids busy this summer.

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How to Improve Your Child’s Reading Comprehension

How to Improve Your Child's Reading Comprehension

Reading comprehension is a crucial reading skill that every child needs to develop. It is the process of understanding and interpreting text that has been read. As a parent, it can be difficult to watch your child struggle to understand what he or she is reading and this is something I’ve worked on quite a bit with my children. If you want to improve your early reader’s reading comprehension, here are a number of tips that will help:

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4 Creative Ways to Keep Your Kids Busy This Summer

4 Creative Ways to Keep Your Kids Busy This Summer

Summer vacation means only one thing for children: Freedom from school! For young ones, this time of the year means a blissful few months without having to wake up early, do homework or see their teachers. It means fun, fun and more fun. For parents, however, summer vacation can be a completely different story. Many parents tend to stress over just how much time their children should spend lazing around on the couch and watching television or playing computer games.

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Mind, Body and Soul Fitness with BGCA Triple Play

Disclosure – I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Boys & Girls Club of America. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”

Kids Playing Basketball

There are so many screens vying for my kids attention these days – television, tablets, computers, XBox and Wii – and while I think technology is great and I’m glad they have access to these things, I worry sometimes that they’re not getting enough activity away from the screens.  It is so important for kids to develop good habits early in life for mind, body and soul health and wellness.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of America has developed their Triple Play healthy lifestyles program to help kids learn about the importance of physical activity and proper nutrition.  Did you know that nearly 3 out of 10 kids in the United States is either overweight or obese? The BGCA has partnered with The Coca-Cola Company and Amerigroup Foundation to help motivate kids to be healthy through nutrition and health education.

Kids Playing Basketball

You can download the BGCA Triple Play Parents Game Plan to get lots of great information and fun mind, body and soul activities that you can do with your family. There are wonderful tips for teaching your kids how to make healthy food choices, including what to look for in fast food restaurants, convenience stores and even at the school cafeteria. I really liked their tips on helping children to believe in their self worth and positive relationships with others in addition to their suggestions on how to include physical activity in your daily schedule.

TriplePlay_Amerigroup_Lockup

One of my favorite ideas in the Parents Game Plan is their Basketball Challenge – they include lots of techniques and instructions to help kids improve their skills and the challenge also details several different games for kids of different ages. We have a basketball hoop in our driveway and the kids and I like to play HORSE in the afternoons after homework. It’s such a fun way to do something physical together and it keeps everybody away from their screens for awhile!

Save a Bundle on Back to School Expenses by Planning Ahead

Kids with Back to School Supplies

Our back to school expenses each year add up pretty fast between the lengthy school supply lists the teachers give us, new shoes, backpacks and clothes. That could be a big hit to the budget all at once if I didn’t plan ahead for each year’s expenses in advance. Check out the HUGE bags of back to school supplies my kids had to take last year! Altogether the cost of those five bags of supplies was less than $30!

Ever since my children started school I started buying school supplies for the following year, so that when the next year came all I had to do is fill in with a few things that may have been added to the list.  Here is how this works:

Starting in early July everybody is doing school supply sales, and some stores, like Office Depot, do 1 cent sales on a few items, or 25 cent sales on a few items to get people into the store.  As an example, last week Office Depot had 3-pack pink school erasers, reg. $2.49 for 1 cent each (limit 3), hand held pencil sharpener, reg. $1.00 for 1 cent each (limit 3) and bottles of school glue, reg. $1.49 for 25 cents each (limit 3).  Because I have 5 children to buy for, this is the time for teamwork with my mom and me.  We each get the limit of the 1 cent and 25 cent items, plus another item to make a total of $5.00 (must have $5.00 purchase to get the “next to free” items).  That’s all we bought, because in  next weeks’ paper there will be more of those type deals.  In previous years we have gotten packs of notebook paper for 25 cents each, duo tang 3 prong/2 pocket folders for 8 cents each, composition notebooks for 25 cents each , spiral 1 subject notebooks for 25 cents, crayons for 10 cents, packs of pencils for 10 cents, B1G1 backpacks and so on.

About 6 weeks ago, Office Depot had a special “deal” – their  3 ream cases of copy paper were on sale for $10.01 – then if you had a “reward” card with them, you got $10 back in reward money, making the cost of the 3 reams of paper only ONE CENT!  I bought 3 of the deals in June, then in July got my reward money of $30, so actually got 9 reams of copy paper for 3 cents.  SCORE!  Now I have enough copy paper to send a pack to school with each of the children, and have 4 left for me!

I figure the TOTAL cost of school supplies for my 5 children (4 elementary school and 1 middle school this year), is about $20-$25.  Check one of those school supply lists provided by the school and see what the costs would be at retail price!

If this is the first time for you to do this, here is my suggestion.  Keep the list of school supplies handy – check what your child needs THIS year, then look to see what will be needed NEXT year.  Each week check the papers to see what the special deals are (1 cent, 10 cents, 25 cents), and get THOSE items for this year and next year.  Find a shelf or cabinet to keep the ones for “next year” separate from what you need now.  As you purchase the various discounted items each week, your “next year” shelf will get fuller and fuller, until the time when school starts, you can see that you are NOW prepared for next year.  However, as it gets closer to school starting  and you have a few items like hand soap, paper towels, and other items that you still need, you can usually get some deals on them at a grocery store.

HOT TIP:  My children LOVE to make things, so I also try to get extra construction paper, glue, crayons, etc when they are super cheap to stock the “craft” shelf.

HOT TIP #2:  My childrens’ elementary school each year has a school supply drive to collect school supplies that they give to children in need.  This is a good cause that I collect additional items for at the “next to free” sales (if there are no limits on how many you can buy), so when the children bring home the papers that the school supply drive has started, I have a good number of items that I divide up between all the kids so they can each have a bag of school supplies for the needy kids.  I figure this is a good lesson in “giving” for my children and they love to carry those bags of school supplies to their teachers!

HOT TIP #3:  I just this minute got an email with a preview of  next weeks’ ad for Office Depot.  Guess what!!! Those bottles of school glue that I paid 25 cents for last week are one of the “get people into the store” deals next week for 1 CENT!  That’s ok, we’ll still need more glue, so Mom and I will each be getting 3 more bottles of school glue!  PLUS  3×5 index cards will be 1 cent (I need many packs of those, because I write the kids’ spelling words on them each week, so we can practice their words at home and in the car).  Also they will have their 10 pack pens for 1 cent each (each of the kids need either a pack of red or a pack of blue).  I noticed that there are also a number of 25 cent items.  WHOOHOO!!!  This is going to be a good week for school supplies!

 

Protect Your Family this Summer with Banana Boat

Disclosure – “I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Banana Boat®. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”

Cousins at the Pool

During these warm summer months my five kiddos enjoy spending as much time as possible outside doing all sorts of fun things like going to the beach, swimming and riding their bikes. When they can get together with their cousins from out of state and do those things they’re thrilled and our whole extended family has a blast! Here they are with a bunch of their cousins hanging out in the condominium pool during their visit. In order to make sure they all have an enjoyable time for the whole weekend they’re here we have to protect their skin from getting a sunburn.

My kids are in summer camp during the week where they also do lots of outdoor activities there and since you should apply an ounce of sunscreen to their entire bodies at least 30 minutes before going outside, we make sure to apply it before we leave for camp in the mornings and the kids take bottles with them so they can reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming.

Banana Boat Sunscreen

Banana Boat has three new sunscreen formulas out that I am very happy to have been able to try. The new SunComfort™ Clear UltraMist® Sunscreen moisturizes skin that has been dried by the sun and chlorine, and it also allows sand to brush off easily. The newly reformulated Dry Oil Clear UltraMist® Sunscreen now includes argan oil. This one is my new favorite since the dry oil formula is lightweight and doesn’t leave your skin with that greasy feel. They’ve also  launched a new Sport Performance® Lotion Sunscreen with Powerstay Technology™ for sport enthusiasts and active people to be sweat and water resistant for up to 80 minutes.

Check out the great adventure together videos at the Great Big Family Reunion website for lots of fun family activities and you can also enter a sweepstakes for the chance to win a reunion for up to 5o of your family members. You can also click through the widget below to enter. While you’re at it, be sure to check out the Banana Boat website and follow them on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with all the latest products and promotions.

Banana Boat “Great Big Family Reunion” Sweepstakes

My Kids Started Summer Camp with Mabel’s Labels

Disclosure – I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Mabel’s Labels. I received a voucher to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”

Mabel's Labels

My kids are thrilled that school is out for summer and they got to start summer camp this week. I have a full time job so they’ll be at camp until school starts back and we’re blessed to have found a great one for them to attend. At least four days out of every week they go on field trips to great places like the beach, skating rink, bowling alley, swimming pool, Bay Bears baseball games and lots of cool area museums, adventure parks and other attractions.

Mabel's Labels Camp Edition

The kids are so busy and entertained during the day that they’ve been falling into bed at night and I consider that an added bonus. The only problem is that the kids can sometimes be casual with where they leave their stuff, especially when they’re tired or busy, and it’s always a bummer when they lose something.

They carry so much stuff to camp every day like their backpacks, water bottles, sunscreen and flip flops in addition to bathing suits and towels that that they have to have a good system to keep track of everything. We pack their things and get water bottles filled and put in the fridge before they go to bed at night for the next day and we make sure to label everything clearly in case they do misplace something so it can come back to them.

Mabel's Labels Camp Edition

Mabel’s Labels has this really cool Limited Edition Camp Label Pack with a bunch of neat design options that help us avoid mix-ups and lost items. The customizable labels are beautiful and the best part is that they’re 100% guaranteed to be laundry, dishwasher and microwave safe. That means that we can put the labels on their swimsuits and jackets in addition to their backpacks and toiletries, which is a huge plus for me and the kids.

The Limited Edition Camp Label Pack that we chose retails for $39.95, but you can get a coupon below worth anywhere from 15% to 50% off your purchase through June 22nd when you sign up for the Mabel’s Labels newsletter and complete one additional social share.

Mabels Labels Camp Combo

Back to School with Kohl’s and Disney Apparel

Disclosure – I participated in an Ambassador campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Kohl’s. I received promotional items and product samples as a thank you for participating.”

Kohl's Disney Collection Sofia the First

There are eighteen days until my five kids go back to school, not that I’m counting or anything (wink, wink). They’ve been in summer camp all summer and they’re really having a great time and go on lots of field trips every week, but I think they’re ready to go back to school too, and I’m positive that the budget is beyond ready.

I’ve been busy getting all the school supplies that they’ll need ready, but I think the most important thing is that they have something new and “cool” to wear the first day. I remember when I was a kid and how excited I was to put on a new outfit with new shoes and a new backpack and head to school to make some new friends and see all the old friends that I’d missed over the summer. That always got me excited to be back in school and I (sometimes) envy the kids when I see how excited they are to be doing all the back to school shopping.

My kids are all huge Disney fans and my girls absolutely love Sofia The First so they are really going to enjoy these new outfits for the first day of school. It always amazes me how different the quads are from one another, even though they were all born within two minutes. One of my girls is a “girly” girl and loves dresses and fingernail polish so she’s going to adore this Sofia the First tiered dress with a tulle skirt. My other girl is more of a tomboy and loves animals of any sort so she’s going to wear these bling leggings with the tiered skirt and Sofia the First “I love my animal friends” shirt.

There is a whole new line of Sofia the First character apparel now available at Kohl’s as well as a new line of Jake and the Never Land Pirates clothing that my boys are going to go crazy for. They are available in kids sizes 4 to 7 and toddler sizes. Check them out online or in store and let your kids experience the adventurous spirit of wearing Disney clothing by Jumping Beans.

Smarter SmartPhone Plans for Kids from Zact Mobile

Disclosure – “I participated in a campaign for Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Zact. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating”.

My kids are begging for smartphones for Christmas! They keep listing all the other kids who have them and the reasons that they “need” them. I would love for them to be able to contact me when we’re not together, but I also have concerns about their mobile usage and the risks associated with smartphones.

I just recently learned about Zact, a no contract nationwide mobile service, that has parental controls where I can easily set amount of text and data usage as well as set curfews, like at meal and bed times. Zact was recently awarded the seal of approval from The National Parenting Center and their average monthly bill is only $22! Are your kids asking for a smartphone this holiday season? If so, check out Zact Mobile and learn how their features help provide parents peace of mind!

Sponsored: Headfirst! Expert Advice on Lice A New Head Lice Website Resource for Parents

The below content is sponsored by Sanofi Pasteur’s Headfirst! Expert Advice on Lice campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

headfirst

When sending the kids off to camp this summer, it’s important to think about a common and hard-to-treat problem: head lice. Luckily, expert information parents need for dealing with and treating head lice is in one place at ExpertAdviceOnLice.com. Get educated by the Headfirst! Experts and have the information to battle head lice with confidence!