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Welcome to Piggy Giggles - Activities and Crafts for Kids

Our goal is to draw families together by providing wholesome activities for kids and parents to do together.  Help us grow by visiting often, joining our community and submitting your favorite crafts.  We want to provide a way for parents and teachers to connect, share ideas, and show off your kids' craft creations!  Our Activities for Children are constantly growing.  Our Crafty Piggy section features Crafts for kids, check it out!  Don't forget, enter your email address in the box under "Follow Us" so that you'll receive all our newest crafts by email!!

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As children, we always had a teddy for a best friend, or that constant companion Mr.Bunnysworth. “Teddy bears and many other stuffed animals are most often among the first toys handled by a child. These toys are considered to be soft and safe for little kids, and have various educational benefits,” resource site 82Who.com shares.

stuffed animals

There are so many ways our beloved stuffed companions can help a child develop and learn life lessons. Here are some instances:


Transition to Schooling
Toddlers transitioning to kindergarten school address their concerns in various ways. Given that they are still exploring how to communicate their feelings and thoughts, their attitude or reactions can be easily misunderstood as misbehaving. Health.Harvard.edu tackles this transition issue that all kids will go through. One suggestion they provide is “try to do some play therapy at home. Small figures, stuffed animals, or puppets will do. Have your ‘actors’ experience a transition to a new place. Don’t forget to ‘act out’ coping strategies.”


Interest Identification
Role-playing is always a good way for a child to discover who he or she is and what interests him or her. With the unisex nature of stuffed toys, they are perfect for play and learning activities. Social etiquette, and other interpersonal skills can be learned provided you guide the child to be open to where he or she wants to go. Never impose. Many toy retail stores have this challenge on not imposing what should be played by who, and although still adjusting, brands like Marks & Spencer have made it a point to address diversity as pointed by many consumers.


Dealing With Loss
Dealing with the death of a pet is a good way to prepare children in becoming emotionally capable of dealing with the loss of loved ones. Stuffed animals can play an integral role. In one of the coping suggestions of Pet HealthCare Gazette, “allow your child to pick out a stuffed animal that resembles the family pet, pretty flower arrangements to display at the pet’s funeral and even a small tree to plant in honour of the animal.”


Overcoming Fears
It is wise to use a child’s companions to better express emotions, especially fear. “Use puppets or stuffed animals to practice social skills and work through fears with younger children. This is also a good way to practice talking about emotions,” a parenting article by BuffaloNews.com highlights.

So as a parent, you also need the creativity and imagination to make use of your child’s furry, stuffed friends so they grow up well-equipped to face the social world. What creative ways have you done to teach your kids life lessons using their favourite teddy?

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bordrum turkey

If you're planning a family holiday to Bodrum this summer, you needn't worry about hearing the dreaded "I'm bored". This beautiful corner of Turkey has plenty of things to see and do for all ages, and more than enough activities to keep the little ones entertained. You can find out more about Bodrum breaks online here - www.thomascook.com/lp/1x6-enbynk/holidays-bodrum - and in the meantime, here are just a few of our favourite family attractions in Bodrum:

St Peter's Castle

Capture your children's imagination with a trip to Bodrum's famous landmark, St Peter's Castle. It was built in the mid 15th century using marble and stones from the mausoleum, complete with moats, fortified walls and turrets. Take the kids for a tour of the castle and discover various attractions including a glass-blowing workshop, a courtyard cafe, a chapel and various marine sights including a reconstructed ship and the remains of ancient wrecks. Play pirates around the magnificent fortified walls before treating them to an ice cream as you enjoy the views across Bodrum and out to sea.

Museum of Underwater Archaeology

Kids and museums don't always mix, but this one is quite something. It's based within St Peter's Castle so you can't miss it. Inside the museum you'll find incredible Bronze Age shipwrecks and ancient trinkets, such as Roman glass, ancient coins and jewelry, bronze daggers, and even gold treasures including a crown. These gold pieces are thought to have belonged to Queen Ada, the last Carian queen who was reinstated by Alexander the Great. Older kids will love the creepy dungeons at Gatineau Tower, where enemies were held captive and tortured. Be warned, the torture display might not be suitable for young eyes - especially as the gate's ancient inscription reads "Where God Does Not Exist". Enter if you dare!

Camel Beach

There's only so much history the kids can take in before they get bored, so with that in mind, no trip to Bodrum is complete without some fun on the beach. Bodrum's local Camel Beach is a great spot and, yes, it has camels too! Laze out on golden sands, paddle in the shallows or take photos of your kids enjoying camel rides. It's a great way to relax and the little ones are bound to have plenty of fun too.

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If you are a dog lover you will no doubt find the idea that there are countless dogs currently living in animal shelters without homes of their own.  If you feel strongly about it you may want to think about ways in which you could help those dogs to lead a happier life.  There are two main ways in which you can do this: by adopting or fostering a dog, or through voluntary work helping a charity like the RSPCA with the never-ending task of rehoming dogs.

dog at animal shelter

Voluntary Work

There are quite a few ways in which you can help an animal charity like the RSPCA through voluntary work.  Their website has a list of current volunteering vacancies and you can select those that are located close to where you live.  You are sure to find vacancies that suit your skills and personality and sometimes training can be given to willing volunteers for more specialist roles. 

You could volunteer to be a driver, transporting dogs between shelters or to and from shelters and their new homes; you could volunteer to help in the shelters themselves, feeding, grooming and exercising the dogs.  The RSPCA also needs people to raise awareness of their projects and to help with fundraising activities. 

If you have particular skills, for example if you have a background or experience in office or computing work or can offer practical skills such as joinery, plumbing or gardening then it would be extremely helpful to the RSPCA if you could put those skills to use in their administration teams or in and around the shelters.  If you volunteer these skills for free then the charity does not have to pay someone else to provide them.

Fostering or Adopting

The task of rehoming dogs is central to the work of the RSPCA animal shelters.  You may have a dog or dogs of your own already and do not feel able (financially or in terms of time) to care for another dog; or perhaps a member of your family may have an allergy – in any of these cases then putting yourself forward for voluntary work to help with the task of rehoming is a very useful and valuable alternative to fostering or adopting a dog yourself.

But if you do feel able to provide a good home for a dog or dogs, then please contact the RSPCA for details of how to do this in your area. 

Foster carers provide crucial support for dogs that may have been mistreated or abandoned, helping them to recover properly and feel secure.  Sometimes the RSPCA may have taken a dog into their shelter after allegations of abuse have been made: in those cases, the owners are presumed innocent until proven guilty and the dog cannot be permanently rehomed unless and until they are found guilty.  In the meantime the dog needs a home and this is where foster carers are vital.

Smaller branches may need to rely on foster carers rather than keep their dogs in kennels, so get in touch with your local branch to see if you can help.

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Sometimes a bouncy castle and a party-bag just don’t cut it. Below are 5 slightly different party ideas to consider for your child’s birthday or another special occasion, and you can browse a selection of kids' clothes on Woolworths' site if you're in need of fancy dress ideas. 

party ideas for kids

1. Zumbatomic Parties

The recent meteoric rise of Zumba dance classes has inspired Zumbatomic children’s parties. The children will learn a fast-paced dance routine interspersed amongst fun party games to make for a great children’s party. Although girls may usually favour typical dance parties, this fun-filled party with club-themed dance music makes it appealing for young girls and boys alike.

2. Children’s Quad Bikes

Suitable for children above the age of 6, mini-quad bikes are fun, safe and exciting, and provide the child with the buzz of being able to control a motorised vehicle at such a young age. However, the bikes can be restricted to set speeds allowing the children to test their driving skills but within safe parameters.

3. Olympics Themed Party

The 2012 Olympics captured the imagination of children and adults alike which is why an Olympic themed activity party is such a great idea. Single sport parties, such as football parties, are fun, but do not offer the variety available with an Olympic themed event. Introduce some healthy competition by assigning different teams their own country to represent, and tailor sports kit to represent this.

4. Baking Parties

A fun and tasty idea is to have a children’s baking party. With all-things cupcake in fashion right now, it is a perfect time to stage a baking afternoon which allows your child and their friends to learn baking skills at an early age and also have some fun along the way. Such parties can even see children make edible jewellery.

5. Treasure-Hunt Parties

Treasure hunts are exciting and most importantly, very flexible. They can be tailored to suit the weather, location, and budget. Treasure hunts can be set to a theme, for example Treasure Island or Pirates of the Caribbean. Add friendly competition to the day by splitting the party members up into teams.

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We've recently sold our home and moved into an apartment.  Our plan is to build a home...we're still trying to figure out if that is going to happen.  It's been a challenge trying to draw up plans that come in under a tight budget and the huge jump in interest rates recently didn't help!

So in the meantime we moved into a 2 bedroom apartment.  Moving from a 2400 square foot house with a 2 car garage to a 2 bedroom apartment with no garage has had its challenges.  We had to store all the craft supplies...which stinks!!  The kids and I are constantly needing something that we've stored, it's worse when they are in school.  However, with only 1 table (with carpet under it) there really isn't a great place to do crafting here, sigh.

The kitchen is another HUGE challenge.  It's small with not a lot of counter space.  I've been trying to change all our eating habits to SUPER HEALTHY and that means cooking with raw ingredients (not using premade stuff).  One of my biggest pet peeves here is the smoke detector....it's always going off!  You kind of need two people cooking, one to cook and one to wave a pillow under the smoke alarm!

smoke alarm

Of course this problem has really got me thinking about what to do when we build a house.  I REALLY don't want this problem on a permanent bases.  So I've done a little research.  There are a few different kinds of alarms, as you can see here:  http://www.sdfirealarms.co.uk/fire-protection/domestic-fire-protection/smoke-alarms-detectors.html 

My question is, how am I going to prevent the smoke alarm from going off every time I open the oven door but still be safe?

There a two kinds of fire alarms:  Ionization (or some spell it Ionisation) Smoke Alarms and Photoelectric Smoke Alarm (sometimes referred to as Optical Smoke alarms) and there is a combination of both of them. 

With the research I did, it seems that photoelectric smoke alarms are less likely to nuisance

alarms in the kitchen area than ionization smoke alarms, but they both still do produce false alarms.  It seems that it's more about location of the alarm, which might be our problem since our kitchen and living room are open to each other with the smoke alarm in the middle.  So I will make sure that I pay careful attention to the location of THAT alarm when and if we build our house!

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The summer holidays are fast approaching and the inevitable fear may be starting to set in about what on earth you are going to do to keep the kids entertained during their six whole weeks at home. There are only so many times you can visit the same park or rehash the same arts and crafts ideas before they will start to wear thin, and you need a few good trips up your sleeve to punctuate the summer stretch.

With the recession still casting a shadow on many family’s hopes of a holiday abroad, and with prices over the school holiday’s leaping up to meet the demand this simply isn’t an option for many. Looking closer to home for things to keep the smaller members of your troop entertained has led many to rediscover the delights of their very own capital city. London has loads to offer families and a stay can cost less than you might think by staying here: https://www.travelodge.co.uk/hotels/book/london-hotels.

This summer sees the opening of a brand new family show in the West End as Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is brought to life as a musical. This is a real children’s classic that can be enjoyed just as much by adults who will remember the book and story of Charlie Bucket from their own childhood. See the factory come alive as Willy Wonka invites the lucky golden ticket winners inside his magical land of chocolate and sweets, but in typical Dahl fashion, all is not what it seems.

Director Sam Mendes and musical directors Marc Shaiman and Hairspray’s Scott Wittman have adapted the much-loved children’s book into an all singing all dancing spectacle. Following the success of the 2005 Tim Burton movie, and the continued love audiences have for the original 1971 version of the film there are high hopes for the stage interpretation, and so far it has received great reviews. The show at the Theatre Royal on Drury Lane opened on the 25th June and will run 6 days a week with matinees on Wednesdays and Saturdays for the foreseeable future.

It is currently restricted to the over 7s as there are some darker scenes in keeping with Dahl’s writing style. This age limit is to be reviewed in the future however, and may be removed as the musical becomes more established to allow younger guests at parents discretion. For slightly older kids, and those who are still kids at heart, the show promises to be a fantastic experience in the home of musical theatre, London’s West End. Why not re-read the book in the run up to the holidays ready to revisit the story at the Theatre Royal.

There is no need for boredom this summer with so much to do right on your doorstep. Take a trip to the capital and enjoy the iconic sights on an overnight theatre trip, for a summer adventure that your kids will talk about for years to come.

~Guest Post

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Twelve years ago as a missionary in the Czech Republic, I remember a lady recounting her story of awakening one morning to the Soviet tanks rolling in the town square of the city where she lived in Prostejov. 

tanks

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It was one thing to read about Communism in history books but quite another to hear about someone's real life example living under it.  She described the shock of it and how people were being  shot for just walking out on the streets. 

soviet invasion 

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For the first time, the people of the Czech Republic saw the True face of Communism....once you Opt In, you can't Opt Out.  You see on February 25, 1948, the President of the Czech Republic  gave into the demands of Communist Prime Minister and appointed a cabinet with the majority Communists.  From there they slowly moved toward socialism by purging out the nonconformist...this then led to communism and dictatorship.

frog boiling water

Soon the entire education system was submitted to state control.  The Bill of Rights that was past emphasized economic and social rights like the right to work, leisure, health care, and education...  But it deemphasized Civil rights, major restrictions were placed on media, travel and speech, the right to use your property and resources how you want, etc.    Source

By the late 1960s, the Czechs were getting tired of all the restrictions placed on their life. ..

I mean, "Why should I have to get permission from the government if I want to name my child Apple?"

apple

Gwyneth Paltrow and husband with baby daughter, Apple

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Or

"If I want to take a vacation to Italy, why should I have to ask the government if I can?"

itay

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Or

"If I don't agree with what the government is doing, I should be able to say something."

political protest

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Or

"I have a right to believe and worship in God"

worship god

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So, what is known as the "Prague Spring" began.  The attempts were made to decentralize the economy, loosen restrictions on the media, speech and travel....basically the attempt was made to humanize communism.  Source

The communist party did not like what was going on, "Late at night on August 20, 1968, they struck like lightning, initiating a massive invasion of their wayward ally. By the morning of the 21st Czechoslovakia was inundated with tanks and troops from East Germany, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria and the U.S.S.R. Within a week there were over a half million Warsaw Pact troops in the country."  Source   Keep in mind that the Czech Republic is about the size of South Carolina.  The Czechs where taken by complete surprise, there was no resistance by the Czech army.  The citizens tried to protest without violence, but the Czech leaders didn't stand up for the reform they had attempted and gave into Communism.

Where were you September 11, 2001?

I was in the Czech Republic on September 11, 2001.  We were teaching free English lessons that night at our church building and our Czech students came in talking about the attacks.  Wait? What?!  At first I didn't actually believe them....I could hardly wrap my mind around it.  It seemed so unreal  like an and end of the world type of situation. 

sept 11

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I can't even imagine what it would have been like to be on one of those planes.  I can imagine I might have thought that if I sat still and did what the hijackers said, maybe it would turn out okay.  Or maybe, I would have attempted to fight or reason with the hijackers to not do this, but still hoping it would be okay.....However, by the time one of the last planes was hijacked, the people on board knew what had happened to the other planes and knew what was going to happen to them.  Their actions matched the seriousness of the situation.  They did what was needed to divert the plane from its target, knowing their lives would be sacrificed, but knowing it would save so many others.  Wow!  That takes a moment to sink in. 

What can I learn from their sacrifice?

 

Have the tanks rolled into the streets of the United States of America?

With every new piece of legislation or new scandal hitting the news about the United States government these days, I can't help but ask myself, "Have the tanks rolled into our streets?" Do our actions match the seriousness of the situation?  Are we willing to sacrifice to save the future of America for our kids?

kids america

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Where's the proof that the tanks have rolled in?

So what's got me so worked up?  What's causing me to believe our freedoms are being taken away like what happened in the Czech Republic?  Why do I think we are frogs in the pot with the temperature slowly being turned up?

frog boiling water2

Well here it is, degree by degree:

  1. Freedom of Speech - A few years ago, if you had told me that I wouldn't have Freedom of Speech in America, I would have NEVER believed you.  Back when I was in the Czech Republic (12 years ago, I was there for a little over a year and in England for 2 months before that), we went over to some Czech friends' apartment and they were clearly agitated.  They told us to "Look at this" and turned on the TV and started flipping through channels...Okay?.....we didn't see anything....all we saw was static or snow...you know what you see when the TV isn't on a channel that is broadcasting anything.

tv

They said, "This is supposed to be the News, and this one here is suppose to be a News channel, and this one too and...."  Nothing, no news.  Why? You may ask?  Well there were protests and rallies going on in Prague and the government didn't want everyone to know about it so they just turned it off.  At the time I thought, "I'm glad I live in America, nothing like this will ever happen there." 

(Of course, my husband just informed me that our government has already employed an "Internet Kill Switch" , where the government can turn the internet off when they want which was used in the Bin Laden raid in Pakistan...I'll let you google that b/c I'm really getting all googled out at the moment)

Did you know that our Freedom of Speech Rights could be taken away here in the good ole US of A?

Apparently, according to the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011, you can be arrested if you are knowingly on any grounds that have been designated as "restricted" and you engage in any disorderly or disruptive conduct....So if you want to go and physically protest against what the government is doing, the area you are on can be designated as "restricted" by the secret service and you can be arrested.

political protest

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What??!!  You might say and I know some of you will immediately start searching the internet to see if it's true.  You'll  find some hits that say it's true and some that say that's bogus only BECAUSE this law has been around since Nixon and they only revised a few things.....well, heck, I don't care who started it....this is a law that does violate your Freedom of Speech because the law states that, "(d) None of the laws of the United States or of the several  States and the District of Columbia shall be superseded by this section."  Source

So when you are arrested for holding a sign showing you don't support the president and they arrest you for disorderly conduct in a restricted area, don't go claiming you have Freedom of Speech because NO OTHER LAWS SUPERSEDE THIS LAW.

So maybe you can shrug this one off....but, man, that water isn't so cold and refreshing anymore.

2.      The Killer Drones - I just can't even wrap my brain around this drone thing...what?!!  It sounds like some futuristic, end of the world, sci-fi type movie.  On one hand, they are using these unmanned drones to swoop in undetected and kill off terrorist....but, wow, that is kinda scary to let someone have that kind of power...convicted without a trial....do you trust everyone in a government office? 

drones

...Whew...that water is getting a little warm.

3.      Bullet Hoarding - Why is the Department of Homeland Defense stockpiling bullets?????  They now have 1000 more rounds of bullets PER Person than the ARMY.  Source

Getting a little toasty in here, I'm starting to sweat.

  1. ObamaCare - I totally agree, everyone should have access to healthcare, I hate to think about people suffering and there is no one to help them.  But we can easily look at other countries and see that the government getting their hands on it doesn't work. 

What happens when the healthcare system gets flooded with a lot of new, non-paying customers and doctors are forced to take them?

Well, instead of going through a lot of political mumbo jumbo (uhh..mainly b/c I don't know how to talk "political")...I can give you firsthand accounts of what happens.

I've lived in 2 countries with government run health care and it basically means NO healthcare.

  • I know of a lady who lived in England who needed a knee replacement.  She was placed on "the list".  When her turn came up - 10 YEARS LATER - she was told she was TOO OLD for a knee replacement.  Just to contrast that, my sister here in the USA needed a hip replacement and got scheduled in a couple of weeks.
  • My mother-in-law had a heart attack a few years ago and we are soooooo grateful for the quick thinking of her daughter for recognizing the signs and getting her to the hospital.  We also extremely grateful that she was life flighted into a hospital that could take care of her immediately and get her into surgery.

I can't help to contrast her experience with another relative of mine.  My mom was born and raised in Scotland and she still has relatives there.  A few years ago, my mom's cousin went into congestive heart failure on TWO different occasions and  fluid built up in her lungs and she couldn't breath .  She had a faulty valve in her heart that was causing the blood to fill in her lungs.  Here in America, the first time it happened she would have been made a priority case and been into surgery within days.  But what happened to her in Scotland wasn't even close.  It took 9-10 MONTHS for her to finally get in to have her valve replaced and open heart bypass surgery.  She even died once and they had to resuscitate her and still she had to wait months for the surgery.  When doctors aren't rewarded for the extra effort to be on the cutting edge of technology and they are overworked for no extra pay, they don't have the latest knowledge and technology for diagnosing problems.  So with her doctors not being able to figure out the problem along with being placed on a waiting list for the surgery almost cost my mom's cousin her life.

  • "Free" Dental Care - when I went to Europe, I had NO preconceived notion about teeth.  I had never heard any jokes or rumors comparing American teeth to English or European teeth, so I only speak from the experience of living there and being out talking to many different people all day long, every day for 1 1/2 years.  I never knew how bad rotten teeth could look, until I went to England and the Czech Republic.  I read an article a few years back about the mindset with dental care over there (and I can't find it again), basically most people don't take care of their teeth until they are rotted out and by their 20s they are ready for dentures or for their teeth to be filled down and crowns put on.

This is what I mostly saw in England:

rotten teeth1

I saw tons of cases this bad in the Czech Republic:

rotten teeth

Then I'd see them filed down ready for crowns:

crowns

Okay, so you might be gagging, yeah, but you can see people with rotten teeth here in America...and I'd say to you, yeah, but we don't have "free" dental care.  You can see that it hasn't helped their teeth at all by the government making dentist provide dental care for everyone at no cost.  The government keeps trying new policies to get the system to work but dentist are finding it so hard to meet with their quotas set by the government and still do a decent job on their patients' teeth,  that they can't stay in the government program and they go private.  There are huge dentist shortages in England and the Czech Republic...you can read many stories about people resorting to pulling their own teeth because they can't get in to see a dentist.  So either you DIY dental or you pay exorbitant prices to see a private dentist ON TOP OF ALL THE TAXES you are paying in to get free dental and health care. 

Oh yeah, don't even get me started on taxes....when I was in England, we had some guy come and knock on our door wanting to come in and count all the TVs we had because everyone was taxed on the number of TVS they have...as if a sales tax wasn't enough, they also got yearly taxes on them.

taxes

And another side effect of the government having too big a play in your health care...Czechs would tell me all the time, if you called in sick to work and didn't go, you HAD to stay home because they routinely sent out people to your home to see if you were really sick or not....no playing hooky.

Man, I'm hot, I don't like it in this Pot anymore

  1. IRS Targeting Conservative Groups and Data Collecting - Well thanks to the IRS we have learned that if the government don't like ya, they can turn your life into a living "H. E. Double Hockey sticks" by tying you up with lots of red tape regardless if you haven't broken any tax laws.

red tape

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Did you know the IRS has all the latest in computer technology?  Oh yeah, they are capable of sifting through emailing patterns for millions of email addresses, they collect all kinds of fun data on you, like eBay auctions you've won to Facebook posts to credit card transactions.  If you're on the internet they are watching you.... and that's just the IRS   Source

watching you

Sounds kind of like our own version of Gestapo or secret police.

I don't think this pot is what they told me it was going to be

  1. Common Core and Data Collecting on our Kids - Okay, so as if the water in that pot hasn't gotten more than uncomfortable...all that is coming out about the Government centralizing Education (uhhh, hello?!  if you didn't read about what happened in the Czech republic, go back to the top and start over) in the USA is what finally prompted me to write this article....I'm like a mother bear....DON'T MESS WITH MY KIDS!!!

mother bear

There are still a lot of unanswered questions with this whole centralized, common core education. 

There really isn't any proof that standardization and centralization of education works.  Read this quote about China and Singapore, both have common core education:

“China, another behemoth of centralization, is trying desperately to crawl out from under the rock of standardization in terms of curriculum and testing (Zhao, 2009) and the effects of those practices on its workforce. Chinese officials recognize the negative impacts a standardized education system has had on intellectual creativity.

The same holds true for Singapore. Authorities there have tried several times to move the system away from standardization toward creativity. Standardization and testing are so entrenched in Singapore that every attempt to diversify the system has failed, leaving Singapore a country that has high test scores but no creativity. The problem is so widespread that Singapore must import creative talent from other countries”.  Source

High test scores, but no creativity....focusing on standardization and testing sacrifices creativity and problem solving...you turn out just a bunch of robots with no thoughts of their own.

The other problem with the Common Core education is the Data Collecting they are talking about.

data collecting

Here is some of the things they are proposing to collect:

National Education Data Model:

Sample from over 400 data points recommended for SLDS

Born Outside of the U.S.
Birthdate
Bus Route ID
Bus Stop Arrival Time
Career Objectives
Citizenship Status
City of Birth
Class Attendance Status
Class Rank
Days Truant
Death Cause
Death Date
Developmental Delay
Dialect Name
Diploma/Credential Awarded
Discontinuing Schooling Reason
Disease, Illness, Health Conditions
Distance From Home to School
Dwelling Arrangement
Economic Disadvantage Status
Electronic Mail Address
Family Income Range
Family Perceptions of the Impact of Early Intervention Services on the Child
Family Public Assistance Status
Federal Program Participant Status
Immunization Date
Insurance Coverage
IP Address
Nickname
Non-school Activity Description
Religious Affiliation
Social Security Number
Voting Status

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It's that Gestapo thing rearing its ugly head again.  Yeah let's give the government all this data so they don't have to guess.  That will make the IRS's job a whole lot easier when they are ready for their next round of targets.  Or maybe you'll be on the Drone's target list.....  Man, I'm seriously thinking of homeschooling now...something I thought I'd NEVER do. 

You might be asking yourself how did all this Common Core stuff get started.  I know I did because it seemed to come from nowhere....all of a sudden it was adapted in schools before I even heard they were doing it.  It's all came about with because to the power of one man with a lot of money, Bill Gates.  He is the one that has come up with all this stuff, BYPASSING legislation.  Then he's encouraged groups to support or else lose their grant money.  I don't want ONE person telling me the right way.  That has dictatorship written all over it.  We have the Constitution for a reason, to prevent only ONE person from deciding what is the right way to educate my kids.

I won't even go into the plans what the government has funded in ObamaCare for sex education for your Kindergarteners because as you can see I like to use pictures and this isn't a P .0. R.N. site.  Sorry you'll have to google that at your own risk....I did and it still makes me want to throw up thinking about it.

 

Okay, so what?

So if you are still asking yourself, so what's the big deal.  I don't have a problem with the government taking control of everything...shoot that's one less thing for me to think about....

Do you know what happens to people who are forced to do what's right or rather to what someone else thinks is right?

force

I think this answer will be my biggest take-away from experiencing life in a country that had to suffer through communism.  I still get a little teary eyed when I think about the moment I landed in the Chicago airport after being gone for 19 months and I looked around at everyone going about their business and literally wanting to KISS THE GROUND that I was back in America.  I wasn't home sick, I had already spent 4 years before my mission away from home at college in a different state. 

I literally felt the oppression of Communism lift off my shoulders and the peace of Freedom flood in.  I was in the Czech Republic 11 years after the fall of communism, but you could still feel the everlasting effects that communism had on them.  I don't think that you can ever fully get rid of it because after a time communism changes people and their beliefs even if they try to stay apart from it. 

It's really hard to explain all the little nuances that made me feel the oppression but I will give you a few examples:

I went to the Czech Republic a newly graduated Business major from a private university.  My mind was full of ideas and ideals about what it takes to make a business succeed and succeed well.  I had heard stories about a store that gave a customer his money back when he returned some tires he had bought at a tire store that WAS at their location.  The tire store had gone out of business and this store had moved in by the time the guy came back to return the tires and they STILL took them.

So me, being newly arrived in the country and still working on learning the language, thought it would be a good idea to go into a copy store and get all my grammar charts shrunk down, laminated, and bound in a mini book so I could carry it in my purse so I could study it anywhere I was throughout the day.  I explained what I wanted to the lady and she Huffed and Rolled her eyes and whipped around to go to the back to do it.  What?!  What was the problem?  I asked nicely and was willing to pay whatever the cost was.

copies

I also had a friend who went into a grocery store, got her groceries, went to the check out, started unloading her cart on the conveyor belt....well what could possibly have happened, you say?  She got all her groceries unloaded (which weren't many) and looked at the cashier who was just standing there staring at her with her arms crossed and not moving.  My friend thought, what could possibly be wrong??  She decided to try moving her groceries forward on the belt a little to indicate she was ready to check out because she had put them on the end farthest the cashier.  NOTHING...so she scooted them a little closer....still Nothing...she didn't speak Czech so she was at loss as to what the problem was.  She finally moved them even closer until they were within reach but not right there and the cashier FINALLY turned on the belt that moved her groceries the rest of the way and checked her out.

cashier

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Crazy huh?  This is what happens when everyone is assigned a job under communism.  You go do the job and get paid.  You don't get rewarded for doing more than required or going the extra mile.  If people are in this situation for long enough it's going to change them.  I've always had the mindset that there is no limit, I can be who I want to be, do what I want to do, as long as I'm willing to work hard for it.  I've never thought I would get just a job...I knew I would get a job and work hard at it and be rewarded by moving up and getting paid more and it would turn into a rewarding career.  I want to reach my potential.  It makes me sad to think that communism has stifled who they could become and could keep them from reaching their true potential.

For those of you who are religious....yeah, you risk going to jail or your life if you want to practice it under communism.   There were few members of my church in the Czech Republic during communism.  They had to meet secretly and they would hold Yoga classes and shared a disguised message of Christ's love with others.

yoga

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A lady in the Czech Republic told me that Jesus Christ was the first communist.....Wow, I hadn't expected that...never in a million years would I have ever thought that.  I was so sad that she thought that.  You see, she liked communism, she didn't have to worry about having a job or money or having a home.  She was quite content.  It was kind of like seeing a beautiful bird in a nice cage.  I grew up in a average, middle class family and I could see how deprived they were. 

I know when you see pictures of the Czech Republic this is what you mostly see:

czech republic

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Beautiful isn't it?!  The Czech republic is very beautiful.  Beautiful country sides and beautiful town squares with lots of history...but the reality for people living there is this:

panelak2

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They are called Paneláky, prefabricated buildings that they mass built during communism to provide living for everyone.  They were everywhere and the majority of people lived in them.  It was these teeny tiny apartments with thin walls and doors like you'd find in an RV and very, very old furniture.  Most people told me that in order to survive, there had to be two of them working, one income covered the rent and one income covered the food.  One of the people there told me of times during communism that they stood in super long lines that wrapped around the block to get lentils.  Then they invited their family over and had a big lentil party.  Woo Hoo, now that's a party!! 

As a missionary, I've been in many of paneláky, all of them very clean but small and dated.   When I was there 12 years ago, they had started painting them these bizarre colors that didn't even match but I applaud them for their effort to brighten things up.  Kind of like a symbol that they were out from under communism...things didn't have to be just functional anymore.

panelak

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Of course, I didn't get my hair cut once while in the Czech Republic because those little old ladies with hair different colors of the rainbow got me a bit worried.

purple hair

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Anyway, back to that bird in a cage thing and Christ as the first communist. 

bird

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What's the difference between socialism/communism and what Christ taught?  Both think that poor and needy should be taken care of.  There is no doubt that if you read the bible that we are responsible for our fellow humans beings who do not have enough. 

The biggest difference and what makes a huge impact on us is whether we are allowed to do it willingly or we are forced to do it.

 2 Corinthians 9:7-8 talks about how we should give, "Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work."

I don't think I will go into all the implications and what happens to people when they are forced to do things and also the implications of when there is only one person who gets to decide if it is the right thing and you don't get that choice yourself.  I mean just think about it yourself...what would happen if you were told where to live, what job to do, where you could go, what you could learn in school; if you were given just enough money to survive and the government took the rest to use as they saw fit?

My husband and I pay 10% of our income willingly to help those who are less fortunate than us and we made a pledge a year ago to try and restructure our lives and priorities so that we are better able to help more when the needs arise.  I think that willingly giving our money makes us better people, we have more compassion for those suffering, it makes us less focused on Things and more focused on People.  Don't get me wrong....it's not easy because sometimes I get a bit selfish and think about that bigger house we could have or those vacations we could go on if we didn't give so much, but then I can't really justify all those extravagant luxuries when there are so many people suffering in the world.

So no Christ wasn't a communist or socialist...you get 2 entirely different kind of people under each way of living.

So let me wrap this up, I know that we get really busy in our own individual lives and don't want to take even more of our precious time and look around at what's going on around us much less do something about it....Ignorance is Bliss....right?  But if you do that then you are that Frog in the Pot thinking you are swimming in a nice pond.  Let's learn from people who've gone before us:  once you Opt In, you can't Opt Out...or it's going to take even more pain and sacrifice if you wait to opt out than if you did something about it in the beginning....what's that saying...Let's just "Nip it in the bud" now while it's easier and not have to go down this road of more sacrifice, loss and heart ache.

frog - no boiling water

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Some Great Articles to read:

~ Great article on how Communism changed health care from being one of the Best and top rated to one of the worst  

~Here is a really great article about how socialism makes people worse.  People who are more religious and conservative give more money and time to helping others.  People in states that vote Republic give more than ones in states that vote Democrat.

~Great website about Common Core Education

 


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Is your child begging for a ‘real’ bike? Does he drop sly hints about his friends’ bicycles? Maybe she’s had a growth spurt and you have to hunt down a new kid’s bike in a rush. 

ASDA Direct lets you order from a great range of kids bikes without having to navigate traffic, find parking, or queue to pay.

 Whether your child is moving on from a tricycle or already using a model with handbrakes, you’ll find a bike with us. One that fits your safety standards and suits your kid’s personal style needs.

It’s All About the Wheel Size…

You probably bought your last bike with frame size in mind. With children’s bicycles, wheel size is the key measurement.

Choose a bike size that lets your kid straddle it without rising on tip toes. He should also be able to turn the handlebars with ease, and get on the saddle with only a slight tilt of the bike.

…and the Brakes

Of course you want your child to be confident on his bike. A big part of that is stopping control. That means the brakes on the bike you choose should suit your child.

Smaller kids usually have bikes with coaster brakes. These work by pedaling backwards. So the rider with little hands or less developed coordination doesn’t have to reach for handbrakes while balancing.

Older children can use handbrakes more easily. Or you could get a bike that has both types of brake, to ease your child into more advanced bike riding.

Check the Bike Materials

Kids’ bikes are often as heavy as adult bikes, as they tend to have steel frames rather than metal alloy ones.

However, bikes with alloy wheel rims are usually safer than those with steel-and-chrome rims. This is because they have better grip. A useful feature in Britain’s wet climate.

As for the branding and styling, you’ll need to follow your kid’s top tips.

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Make Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer out of a craft foam sheets, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, and a red pom pom for the nose.  We also took this a step further and made 8 reindeer and a sleigh (you'll see that in another post :)

foam-sheet-reindeer

Directions for making a Foam Reindeer:

  1.  Start out by making a cylinder for the body.

  foam-sheet-reindeer-step1  2.  Then make 2 thinner but longer cylinders for the legs.  Put a pipe cleaner in the middle so you can bend the legs when it's finished.foam-sheet-reindeer-step2

  3.  Cut holes on both side of the cylinders to push the legs through.  You'll notice we put the holes at the back of the body so that is room left for the head.

foam-sheet-reindeer-step3

  4.  Next, form the head by using a low-temp glue gun to make it stay where you want.  Bend it up and glue, hold until the glue dries.  Now you have the neck formed.

foam-sheet-reindeer-step4

  5.  Then form the head the same way, glue in the fold and bend it down and hold until the glue dries.

foam-sheet-reindeer-step4b

  6.  Glue inside the cylinder and hold closed until it dries, to keep the head flat.

foam-sheet-reindeer-step5

  7.  Then shape the head by cutting diagonally on each side of the head.

foam-sheet-reindeer-step5b

  8.  Now you are ready to embellish.  Bend a pipe cleaner into antlers, add eyes and a pom pom nose.  Bend the legs to make it stand up.

foam-sheet-reindeer-step6

Did you try this craft?  Let us know how it went!

Happy Crafting!!  Piggy Giggles

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Here is an easy craft to do with your kids or with a group of kids.  For this Foam Christmas tree, the instructions and are simple and you only need a few supplies. My six-year daughter had lots of fun making the Christmas presents for under the tree.  We had a one of those buckets of Shapes foam stickers - there are lots of different shapes:  squares, rectangles, triangles, circles, ovals...perfect for making gifts.  She used a low temperature glue gun to glue the boxes together but you could also just unpeel the sticker and use the glue from the sticker to put them together.  She used beads and sequins to embellish them.

christmas-tree-made-from-foam-sheets

Directions for the Christmas Tree:

  1. Draw and Cut out 3 identical Christmas Trees without the trunk on the bottom.  A wide bottom works best.
  2. Decorate one side of each of the three Christmas trees and let dry.
  3. With a low-tempurature glue gun, Glue the outside edges of just one side of Tree 1 to the identical outside edges of Tree 2.  Don't get any glue in the middle of the trees, you really just want to go around the outer edge of one side on the side that ISN'T decorated.
  4. Then glue just the outside edges of Tree 2 to the outside edges of Tree 3
  5. Then connect Tree 3 to the side of Tree 1 that isn't glued to Tree 2.  You are then left with a standing Christmas Tree.  You can add stars on top to each of the sides if you want.

If you are working with a group and have a limted amount of time to finish the tree, then decorate the tree after you have it assembled and standing up.  You can get small foam stickers for decorating and you won't have to have any drying time.

Did you try this craft?  Let us know how it went!

Happy Crafting!!  Piggy Giggles

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Once you get used to making bodies out of the Craft Foam Sheets, the sky is the limit on what you can do with it.  Using the same concept as our Foam Nativity, we made cute little angel ornaments to hang on the Christmas tree.

angels-made-from-craft-foam-sheets

We made these angels wider than our nativity people and for the pink angel, we made smaller cones for the arms.  We also used a hole punch around the edges to add a little something extra.  You can use wood balls for the heads, doilies for the wings, and pipe cleaners for the arms.

Did you try this craft?  Let us know how it went!

Happy Crafting!!  Piggy Giggles

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Here is a cute craft to make for Christmas.  This is Santa and Mrs Claus made out of those Craft Foam Sheets you can buy at any craft store.  We used the same concept as our foam nativity, but just used bigger foam sheets and made the body bigger.

santa-and-mrs-claus-foam-sheets

We used small foam balls for the heads and had tons of fun embellishing Santa and Mrs Claus.  For Santa's hair we used more of the foam sheets and for Mrs Claus's hair we used cotton balls.

Did you try this craft?  Let us know how it went!

Happy Crafting!!  Piggy Giggles

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paper-plate-crown1

The pomp and ceremony of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations should have provided plenty of inspiration for young kids to make some wonderfully colourful arts and crafts. So why not provide them with the raw materials to make a homemade crown? As all you need to make this crown are a paper plate, some scissors and some adhesive flower decorations, it really is a task that a prince or a pauper could do!
If you organised a Diamond Jubilee street party then you might well have some paper plates left over. You will need one of these (a nine-inch one) to begin making your crown.
First fold the paper plate in half. The one I used has a pink upside (the side you put the food on) and is white underneath.

paper-plate-crown2

Next, make an incision in the middle of the plate.


paper-plate-crown3 

Then make further ‘triangular cuts’ along the folded part of the paper plate. Basically, the key is to cut the paper plate like a pie but don’t cut the segment so that it comes away from the pie/paper plate!


paper-plate-crown4 

It’s important to ensure that the incisions are the same length – this will make sure that your crown looks neat when it is finished. As you can see from the picture above my incisions are of a slightly different length – try and make sure you do a neater job than I did!


The next stage involves cutting a line down the folded edge of your plate (the edge in the picture above which is nearest to you). It is important to cut down the crease of the folded line on both sides.


paper-plate-crown5 

Don’t fold up your points just yet – it’s time to decorate the crown. Open up your plate so that the pink side is showing. Then peel off the back of the sticky adhesive flower decorations and attach them to the points of your crown.
Once decorated, it’s time to fold back the points. Don’t fold them up too far – your head will do this naturally once it wears the crown.


paper-plate-crown 

Remember that if your crown turns out higgledy-piggledy as the one featured in these photographs then you can always learn from your mistakes and make another one. Practice really does make perfect!


Guest Post By:  James Christie writes for Yellow Moon. Check out Yellow Moon’s fabulous range of party supplies for kids.

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Sometimes kids need a little encouragement to take up reading. Luckily, art and craft company Baker Ross has lots of reading encouragement stickers to reward children who show an interest in the wonderful world of literature.

Designing and making a scratch art bookmark is another incentive for kids to become bookworms. Once budding designers see the finished bookmark they will be keen to make use of it to keep their place and read lots of fun books.

Combining books with art is always a great idea – just look at the number of Roald Dahl books which have been brought to life by Quentin Blake’s fabulous illustrations.

SCRATCH ART 1

A scratch art bookmark kit contains all kids need to make a bookmark which will be the toast of the classroom. The craft materials inside are:

  • A blank black bookmark
  • Ribbon
  • A double-ended wooden scratch art tool

Have some scissors (not included in the kit) at hand too before you begin.

SCRATCH ART 2

Begin your task by picking up the plain black bookmark – it looks quite unpromising doesn’t it but should be viewed as a blank canvas for your imagination.

SCRATCH ART 3

The thinner end of the scratch art tool is the key to sketching in the initial details. In the example used in this article, Kate has decided to depict a beautiful sunset scene of a ship sailing on the sea.

SCRATCH ART 4

She starts by drawing some wavy lines representing the sea – a choppy ocean looks so much more artistic than still waters!

Next it is time for an outline of a boat – you can include a triangular sail or circular cabin holes if you like. Or maybe you’d like to draw a ferry complete with a rectangular funnel.

By now the ship should look like its sailing in a pitch-black ocean; but we want it to bob above the waves in a rather happier setting.

SCRATCH ART 5

So it’s time to turn the scratch-art tool around and use its thicker end to apply the broad brush strokes which will create the colourful sky under which the ship sails. Scratching off the background will reveal the beautiful rainbow colours which lurk beneath the black exterior of the blank bookmark.

Take extra care while you are scratching near the boat and the surface of the waves – if you go over the boat’s edges you will spoil the outline and might have to scratch the project.

Black material will flake off while you scratch away but don’t worry – the end result will be worth it.

SCRATCH ART 6

Once your masterpiece is completed you can loop the ribbon through the hole at the top and tie it in a knot.

If, like me, you are a little better at calligraphy than you are at drawing then you can always scratch ornate and swirly words on to your bookmark.

Kate seems to have had the same idea with the bookmark pictured below.

SCRATCH ART 7

Kate has helpfully posted a video tutorial detailing how she made her ‘ship at sunset’ bookmark on Baker Ross’s YouTube channel.

Did you try this craft?  Let us know how it went!
Happy scratching!  Piggy Giggles

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Have fun making these super cute rosettes out of Party Streamers. Homespun with Heart has a great tutorial on how to make these roses. You can use a Styrofoam ball to make a Rosette Ball or make them into a wreath. Check out another of our wreath tutorials to see how we used foam board to glue rosettes onto to make a square wreath.

Crepe-Paper-Rosettes-Wreath-or-Balls

See the tutorial

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Looking for a way to make cute Valentines for your kids classmates?  Try these suckers from make-happy.blogspot.com  These are suckers turned into flowers.  Make sure you make the leaf big enough so that you can write the "To" and "From" on them so that your kids can pass them out at school.

valentine-flower-sucker

Check out her instructions here.

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Here is a Choose the Right Craft that you can use for Primary or at home to remind your kids about making right decisions - CTR Necklaces and Badges.   If you are doing this as a Primary activity you can prepare more or less ahead of time depending on how much time you have for the activity.  I've added ahead-of-time-prep ideas to keep the craft short, but if you have more time then you don't have to do all of the suggested preparation ahead of time. 


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ctr-necklace

ctr-badge

Supplies Needed to make CTR Necklaces or Badges:

ctr-letters

  • Print the CTR font file on white or colored paper as many times as you need
  • Regular Foam Sheets for the necklaces and the Foam Sheets with the Sticker backing for the Badges (you could use Card Stock Paper if you need to keep costs down) (You can fun the Foam Sheets near the buckets of Foam Stickers in a craft store or craft section of a store)
  • Small Stickers
  • Ribbon or Yarn (Yarn is less expensive)
  • Scissors (Optional, you can do all the cutting ahead of time using a paper cutter, but the kids might like to trim the letters down even more and cut the Sticker Backed Foam Sheets to make borders on their necklace or badge.  You don't need to have one pair per child.)
  • Small Hole Puncher (You will only need one if you punch all the holes for the necklaces ahead of time)
  • Glue (preferably the liquid glue that dries clear because glue sticks don't hold as well)

Directions to make CTR Necklaces or Badges:

Ahead-of-Time Prep:
  • Cut the letters out using a paper cutter and keep the C's, T's and R's in separate bags so the kids can pick out which ones they want
  • Cut the Regular Foam Sheets (using a paper cutter) to at least a 3 inch by 2 inch rectangle for the necklaces.  The bigger you make the rectangle, the more room they will have to decorate.
      • Punch the holes in the foam for the ribbon or yarn (you can even go ahead and tie the ribbon or yarn on so that all the kids have to do is decorate the necklace)
  • Cut the Sticker-Backed Foam Sheets to at least 4 inches by 2 1/2 inches for the badges.
  • If you want to provide borders for the necklaces and badges, you can use a paper cutter and cut the Sticker-Backed Foam Sheets into thin strips and then the kids can cut them to the lengths they need

Directions for the kids assembling the Craft:

  • Let the kids choose which C, T and R they want
  • Glue the C, T and R on the Foam Rectangles (we used a glue stick, but kids always have a hard time getting enough glue on to firmly attach the letters, so the liquid glue would be better, but requires more drying time)

ctr-necklace1

  • Decorate with sticker-backed foam borders (that you cut) and stickers

ctr-badge1

  • Tie the Ribbon on the Necklaces if you haven't already done so

Did you try this craft?  Let us know how it went!
Happy Crafting!!  Piggy Giggles

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Here is an easy activity to use in Primary to introduce the 2012 Primary Theme, Choose the Right.  Print the PDF file for each child and have them color the squares that show people making good decisions.  MAKE SURE YOU CHOOSE PRINT PREVIEW BEFORE PRINTING AND PRINT IN LANDSCAPE MODE.  When they are done the page will display CTR, reminding them to Choose the Right.


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Choose the Right Primary Activity:

CTR-choose-the-right-activity

Choose the Right Activity PDF File

Here is the Answer:

CTR-choose-the-right-activity-answer

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This is a very easy Christmas Ornament for kids to make - miniature fabric wreaths.  This a great craft for for kids that are learning to tie.  You make this much like our other fabric wreaths only make it in miniature size.  There are two different versions of this wreath, one you tie a bunch strips of fabric on and the other you wrap one long strip of fabric around the wire, this version is good for kids that don't know how to tie.

christmas-tree-fabric-wreath-ornament

We used some thick wire that we found at the home improvement store.  We cut off a section to make the size wreath we wanted and taped the ends together with duct tape

Then tear your fabric into the size strips you want and tie them one by one.

christmas-tree-fabric-wreath-ornament1christmas-tree-fabric-wreath-ornament2

We also used another color fabric to tie a bow on at the top.

Here the other version of the Fabric Christmas Wreath:

wrapped-christmas-tree-fabric-wreath-ornament

To make this we started by gluing the end of a long strip of fabric to the wire ring and then wrapping the fabric around the ring. 

christmas-tree-fabric-wreath-ornament3

Did you try this craft?  Let us know how it went!

Happy Crafting!!  Piggy Giggles

 

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This is an easy and cute Thanksgiving craft for kids to make to decorate the Thanksgiving table.  This will make a timeless treasure that you can use year after year.  This felt turkey craft is even a great gift to make for Grandma and Grandpa.  You're child will not only have fun making it but they will have fun year after year measuring their hand with it to see how much they have grown!

felt-hand-turkery

Supplies Needed for a Thanksgiving Felt Turkery Craft:

  • Different colored felt
  • Scissors
  • White Craft or Elmer's Glue
  • Pen
  • Glitter, Jewels, etc (Optional)

Directions to make a Felt Turkey Craft:

  • Place two pieces of felt (that is a little larger than your hand) together and Trace your hand  with your fingers spread out on the felt the pen
  • Cut out the felt hands
  • Glue around the edge of one of the hands, leaving the middle and bottom of the hand unglued
  • Place the other hand on top of the glued side of the hand, lining up the fingers and Let dry
  • Cut out feathers and eyes from the other colors of felt and decorate with glitter, jewels, etc  or leave blank
  • Glue feathers, eyes, etc to both sides of the turkey hand, using the thumb as the head of the turkey
  • Let everything dry completely, then you can stuff the turkey with anything to make it stand.  (like a plastic bag, newspaper...)

Did you try this craft?  Let us know how it went!
Happy Crafting!!  Piggy Giggles

picture credit: All You Magazine


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If you've posted any fun kid projects then make sure to share them with us in our Show and Tell.  We are only looking for Crafts and Recipes that kids would like.

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If you don't have a blog that you post your crafts and recipes on, then you can show off your creations on Pig's Wall.  All you have to do is register and upload your pictures!!

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Also make sure to follow us by entering your email address under "Follow Us" in the top right hand corner so that you will get all our newest crafts in your email. 

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Too many plastic grocery bags?  You can make this fun upcycled/recycled plastic bag wreath using bags from the grocery store.  Using an iron to fuse layers of different colored grocery bags together make a really cool leopard effect.  Once you fuse the bags together you can make a number of neat recycled crafts.  This craft makes rosettes out of the bags that can be used to make a really cool looking wreath.

plastic-grocery-bag-flower-wreath

Here's a Rosette up close:

flowerA

Supplies Needed to make a Recycled Plastic Bag Flower Wreath:

  • Plastic Grocery Bags
  • Wax Paper
  • Iron
  • Needle and Thread
  • Scissors
  • Low-temp glue gun or glue dots
  • Beads or Gems for the center
  • Styrofoam wreath form or Foam Board

Directions to make a Recycled Plastic Bag Flower Wreath:

  • First cut off the handles and bottom of the bags to remove all seams, then cut your bag open so you have one big sheet (you can choose if you want to cut off the words on the bag or not)
  • Layer two pieces of the plastic together and lay on top of a piece of wax paper.  Place another piece of wax paper on top to protect your iron

melting- plastic-shopping-bag-1

  • Set your iron on a little above medium setting
  • Iron on top of the wax paper leaving the iron in one place for just a couple of seconds.  If you leave it too long you will seal the wax paper to your plastic, if the plastic doesn't melt after a couple of seconds turn your iron up a little.
  • When the plastic has cooled, peel the top layer of wax paper off and add another piece of plastic.  Replace the wax paper and iron again.  Do this until you have 4 layers of plastic melted together

melting- plastic-shopping-bag-2

  • Next cut your plastic into strips, the wider the strips the bigger the flowers you can make
  • Take your needle and thread and run it in and out along one edge of your strip of plastic, this will let you gather the plastic.  Once you get to the end you can pull on the thread and gather your plastic together

plastic-grocery-bag-flower-1plastic-grocery-bag-flower-2

  • As you gather the plastic, form it into a circle until you get a tight rosette.  Use the needle and thread to hold it all together by running the needle in and out of the center a few times until it holds together.  Tie the thread off in the back.

plastic-grocery-bag-flower-3plastic-grocery-bag-flower-4

  • Glue your bead, gem or rhinestone to the middle of your rosette

plastic-grocery-bag-flower-5

  • Make enough of these rosettes to cover your wreath
  • Next take your styrofoam wreath form or using a craft knife (adults only) cut the wreath shape you want out of Foam Board, like we did

plastic-grocery-bag-flower-wreath-1

  • Glue your rosettes to the wreath form and glue a ribbon on the back for hanging

Did you try this craft?  Let us know how it went!

Happy Crafting!!  Piggy Giggles


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Well I guess I have to admit to myself that summer is over...school starts on Thursday.  We got back yesterday from our beach trip to a messy house and lots of shopping that needs to be done to get ready for school.  I can't believe how fast it went.  We'll have a 1st grader and preschooler this year.  I'm glad they both are excited to start.

I did get a craft posted that we did a few weeks ago.  This is a really cool crafts that you could use in many different ways.  They are Yarn Balls made from Paper Mache Glue.  You can use them in a number of ways to decorate for a Party or Holiday.

Check out our Paper Mache Yarn Ball Craft

Oh, do you like my chandelier shade that I made??  I used a piece of plexi-glass that I cut into a circle (with a hole in the middle for the wires).  Then I sewed the fabric shade, making a channel in the bottom to run wire through so it would hold its round shape at the bottom.  Then I hot glued the top of the shade to the round piece of plexi-glass.

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  This Paper Mache Craft has endless possibilities.  We used our Paper Mache Recipe and instead of using paper to wrap around our balloons we used yarn.  You end up with a really cool hollow ball of yarn.  You could use these balls of yarn to decorate for a party.  We tied ours to a string to dress up our fireplace mantel, but you could also tie these balls to the individual lights on a string of Christmas Tree Lights and make a cool Party Lanterns.   We also tied ours to a chandelier to dress it up (see picture below).  My 6 year old had a little trouble holding the slippery yarn on the balloon as she wrapped, so this craft would be good for kids a little older who'd be able to work it better.

paper-mache-balls

Paper Mache Glue Recipe:

  • Mix 1 cup of water with 1 cup flour until smooth
  • Mix this mixture into 4 cups of boiling water
  • Add a little cinnamon if you want
  • Let cool and it's ready to use

Supplies Needed to make a Paper Mache Balls:

  • Balloons, in any shape and size.  We used small round balloons
  • Yarn, preferably thinner yarn because it dries faster
  • Paper Mache Recipe

Directions to make a Paper Mache Balls:

  • Make your Paper Mache Glue Recipe and blow up your balloons (try to make them all the same size)
  • Cut your Yarn into long, but manageable lengths (that won't tangle when you dip it into the Paper Mache Glue.
  • Dip one of your lengths of Yarn into the Paper Mache Glue and wipe of excess glue from the yarn as you take it out

paper-mache-recipe

  • Next, wrap the Yarn around your Balloon, make sure to wrap enough yarn around your balloon so that it's strong when it dries.

paper-mache-ball

  • Let the balls dry overnight (DON'T put outside in the hot sun to dry like we did.  Your balloons will shrink before your yarn dries.  We had to take out the shrunken balloons and blow up another one inside the yarn ball to save it).  
  • After the Yarn is completely dry, pop the balloon inside and pull out through a hole.
  • Depending on how you use your Yarn Balls, you might want to spray with a clear varnish to make them a little water resistant.
  • Tie to a string of ribbon or tie on your string of Christmas Tree Lights.  You can also hang them from a chandelier like we did:

paper-mache-ball-chandelier

Did you try this craft?  Let us know how it went!

Happy Crafting!!  Piggy Giggles

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We were inspiried by Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom, to make these Paper Mache Piggy Banks (you can click on the link to see hers).  The kids had lots of fun making this craft and even more fun putting in their money and taking it out. 

See how we made these Piggy Banks

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We had lots of fun making this Paper Mache Piggy Bank.  We used a flour and water Paper Mache Recipe, which is the cheapest way to make Paper Mache.  We made 2 Piggy Banks and used the entire recipe.  We didn't have any newspaper so we used Brown Paper Grocery Bags which worked fine, it just took a little longer to dry.  I was actually a little surprised at how NOT messy this craft project was.  I got everything together and left my 4 year old and 6 year old to it while I got the baby to sleep.  I thought I'd come back to a mess, but cleanup was super easy because I had laid down some plastic on the table.  My 6 year old did a great job covering hers.  I had to redo most of my 4 year old's after he was done, but he had a lot of fun doing it his way first and isn't that what its all about?  We did have a mishap with leaving our piggy banks out to dry in the rain!!  We found that the longer that it took to dry the worse it smelled.  You can add cinnamon or something to your Paper Mache Recipe if you want it to smell better!

paper-mache-pig

Paper Mache Recipe:

  • Mix 1 cup of water with 1 cup flour until smooth
  • Mix this mixture into 4 cups of boiling water
  • Add a little cinnamon if you want
  • Let cool and it's ready to use

Supplies Needed to make a Paper Mache Pig for Kids:

  • Plastic Container with a twist-on lid (juice container, protein powder container, etc)
  • Empty Egg Carton
  • Newspaper, Brown Paper Grocery Bags, or any other kind of Paper that you'd recycle
  • Low-temp Glue Gun
  • Paint and Brushes
  • Modge Podge or Clear Gloss Paint for Sealing
  • Paper Mache Recipe
  • Pipe Cleaner (we used the extra fuzzy kind)

Directions to make a Paper Mache Pig for Kids:

  • Make your Paper Mache Recipe and tear your newspaper into strips
  • Cut the egg carton into individual cups (you'll need 7 cups)
  • With the lid ON the Plastic Container, glue the egg carton cups on the Container for the feet, ears, and nose (glue the nose on the lid)

paper-mache-pig2

  • Cut a slit (to put the money) in the top of your container with one side your your scissors (adults should do this part)
  • Next, take the lid off and put some tape around the threads so that you won't get paper mache where the lid needs to screw on. (You want to make sure you glue the nose on when you have the lid on the container so that it ends up in the right place)

paper-mache-pig1

  • Now you're ready to start applying the paper strips
  • Dip each strip into the paper mache mixture and then wipe off the excess with your fingers.  Wrap the strip around your pig.  Keep doing this until everything is covered, including the lid.

paper-mache-pig3

  • Let your pig dry overnight and then paint.

paper-mache-pig4

  • After the paint dries, paint on the Modge Podge or Clear Vanish to seal it.
  • Feel with your fingers where the slit you cut for the money is and cut through the paper to access it.
  • Cut the pipe cleaner in half and glue on the back for the tail.  Use your finger to make it curly.

paper-mache-pig5

Did you try this craft?  Let us know how it went!

Happy Crafting!!  Piggy Giggles

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Make a pretty Paper Doily Butterfly Craft with your kids.  These are pretty white or with glitter added.  You can use these to decorate for a kid's birthday party or decorate your little girls room.

See how we made this Paper Doily Butterfly Craft

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