Crafts, Projects, Science Experiments, and Recipes for Moms with Young Children - Funology http://www.funology.com A huge collection of activities for moms with young, elementary school-aged kids Thu, 03 Apr 2014 20:28:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9 Funology Favorites: Toy List http://www.funology.com/funology-favorites-toy-list/ http://www.funology.com/funology-favorites-toy-list/#respond Sat, 14 Dec 2013 20:42:26 +0000 http://www.funology.com/?p=9829 Here at Funology, we have played with our share of toys and games, and boy do we have fun! Here are some of our favorites.

Favorite Video Games

Skylanders Swap Force

Embark on an exciting new adventure with the Skylanders and the SWAP Force. For generations, the SWAP Force protected the volcano that replenishes Skylands’ magic. That is until an epic battle caught them in an eruption that blasted them apart, sent them to Earth and gave them the ability swap powers. Only you can mix and match their tops and bottoms, put them on the new Portal of Power and help save Skylands.
More information…

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Pokémon X

The Next Evolution in Pokémon comes to Nintendo 3DS.

  • All-new Pokémon and past favorites come to life with detailed graphics and intense 3D battles.
  • Become a Pokémon Trainer and set out for adventure in a vast and wondrous new region filled with new Pokémon to catch, trade, and battle.
  • In Pokémon-Amie, you can pet, feed, and play with your Pokémon to form a deeper bond, which may benefit you in future battles.
  • Connect and communicate with players around the world at any time. Challenge them to a battle, trade Pokémon, and much more.

More information…

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Animal Crossing: New Leaf

Welcome to Animal Crossing, where as mayor of your own town you make the decisions that shape your town and your life. Experience a living, breathing world where new friends and new discoveries await every day, morning, noon and night. Express yourself by customizing your character, your house and your town as you create your own ideal world. Expand and extend your Animal Crossing experience with the Animal Crossing Plaza application for the Wii U console! Post messages and attach screenshots of your Animal Crossing: New Leaf moments and learn about new characters and in-game tips. Invite others to see your town by sharing your town’s Dream Address, organize your photos, and more!
More information…

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Disney Infinity Starter Pack

In Disney Infinity you have the freedom and endless opportunity to create stories and play experiences starring some of your favorite Disney and Disney/Pixar characters. Discover three Play Sets, including Monsters University, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the Incredibles, with up to 2-player local co-op.

  • Monsters University: Play as Sulley in his early student days in the world of Monsters University.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Plunge into adventure as Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean and find pieces of the Kraken’s Bane.
  • The Incredibles: Activate the powers of Mr. Incredible on a quest to save the world from Syndrome and his super villains.
  • Toy Box: Create your own worlds in Toy Box with up to 2-player local or 4-player networked online play. Mix, match, and mash up unlocked toys from the Play Sets along with Disney and Disney/Pixar characters to invent just about any adventure you can imagine. You can also expand your Disney Infinity experience by downloading user generated Toy Boxes created by Disney and the community.

More information…

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Wii Party U with Black Wii Remote Plus

Have fun together with this new medley of living room party games! Four game modes change up the way you play with the Wii Remote controllers* and GamePad. Attend a game show that tests how well others know you, or dance together to familiar tunes in House Party mode. If you’re just looking for a short burst of fun, look no further than Minigames mode, which features tournament brackets and a solo dojo fest. Try TV Party if you’re in the mood for a board game. You can also shut the TV off and play two-player tabletop games exclusively on the GamePad, which range from foosball to baseball to slot-car racing. Every kind of party can be found in this one unique package, which includes a Wii Remote Plus as well as a horizontal stand for your Wii U GamePad.
More information…

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New Super Luigi U

With Mario nowhere to be found, it’s up to Luigi to save the day in a brand-new adventure that takes place in the world of New Super Mario Bros. U. Experience new gameplay challenges as you guide Luigi, complete with his high jump and unique slide, through all-new courses. Enjoy high replay-ability and satisfaction from mastering each course, and then share your triumphs via the Miiverse feature. Up to five players can jump into the fun, with Nabbit taking the place of Mario as a playable character. Help Luigi finally prove he has what it takes!
More information…

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LEGO: Marvel

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes features an original story crossing all the Marvel families. Players take control of Iron Man, Spider-Man, The Hulk, Captain America, Wolverine and many more Marvel characters as they try to stop Loki and a host of other Marvel villains from assembling a Super weapon which they could use to control the Earth. Players will chase down Comic Bricks as they travel across a LEGO New York and visit key locations from the Marvel universe such as Stark Tower, Asteroid M, an abandoned Hydra Base and the X-Mansion.
More information…

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Favorite Toys

Electronic Snap Circuits

Snap Circuits makes learning electronics easy and fun. Just follow the colorful pictures in our manual and build exciting projects such as AM radios; burglar alarms; doorbells and much more. You can even play electronic games with your friends. All parts are mounted on plastic modules and snap together with ease. Enjoy hours of educational fun while learning about electronics. No tools required.
More information…

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LEGO Chima Cragger Command Ship

The ultimate swamp battle is on. Leonidas and Lonnex are making a jet-bike escape with the Croc tribe’s CHI, but it takes more than that to outsmart croc prince Cragger. Fire up Cragger’s Command Ship and go after them! Activate the huge snapping mouth, swipe the croc tail and fire the CHI-powered missiles! Call in their Raven ally Rawzom to track them from the air or to swoop down from above and catch those CHI-nabbing cats! Then, deploy the stealthy mini boats and high-flying croc helicopter to stop them from ever leaving the swamp. Includes 6 minifigures with assorted weapons.
More information…

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Spot It

Spot it! is the addictive, feverishly fun matching game for every generation. The first thing to know about Spot it! is that there is always one, and only one, matching symbol between any two cards. Got it? Now all you need is a sharp eye and a quick hand to play all five party games packed into the grab ‘n’ go tin. Including up to eight players, Spot it! is a cinch to learn, plays fast, and is irresistibly fun for all ages!
More information…

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Qwirkle Board Game

An addictive strategy game in the tradition of Sequence, Scrabble, and Othello, the Qwirkle Board Game from MindWare has a simple, straightforward premise: match tiles and win points. But the real joy of the game lies in plotting and scheming your way to victory. Winner of the Parent’s Choice Gold Award and a Mensa Select National Competition Winner, Qwirkle is destined to be a family game night favorite. This game is designed for ages six and up and for two to four players.
More information…

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Ticket to Ride

Ticket to Ride is a cross-country train adventure game. Players collect train cards that enable them to claim railway routes connecting cities throughout North America. The longer the routes, the more points they earn. Additional points come to those who can fulfill their Destination Tickets by connecting two distant cities, and to the player who builds the longest continuous railway. For 2 to 5 players ages 8 and older. Playing time: 30-60 minutes. Comes with: 1 Board map of North American train routes, 240 Colored Train Cars, 110 Train Car cards, 30 Destination Tickets, 5 Wooden Scoring Markers, 1 Days of Wonder Online access number, and a Rules booklet.
More information…

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Rainbow Loom

Make super fun to wear rubber band bracelets and more! Step by step instruction is provided in the package.

  • Includes: Two templates, Hook, C-clips, Instruction, and 600+ pieces latex free rubber bands.
  • Makes up to 24 rubber band bracelets.

More information…

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Thankful Turkey http://www.funology.com/thankful-turkey/ http://www.funology.com/thankful-turkey/#respond Tue, 03 Dec 2013 03:04:37 +0000 http://www.funology.com/?p=9847 Thankful Turkey 1 Thankful Turkey 2

What You Need:

  • Brown construction paper
  • Black construction paper
  • Red construction paper
  • Multiple colors of construction paper
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Black marker or crayon

Instructions:

  1. Cut two circles out of brown construction paper, one larger than the other. The larger circle is the body of the turkey, and the smaller circle is the head of the turkey.
  2. Glue the head onto the body.
  3. Cut a turkey waddle out of the red construction paper, and glue it under the head.
  4. Cut turkey legs out of the black construction paper, and glue them under the body.
  5. Draw eyes and a beak on the turkey.
  6. Choose several different colors of construction paper for the feathers.
  7. Cut out several feathers from the colored construction paper. (We made 6 feathers in 5 different colors)
  8. Tape the body of the turkey up on the wall.
  9. Write “I am thankful for…” on one of the feathers and tape it on the turkey in the center.
  10. Give the kids a black marker or dark crayon, and have them write what they are thankful for on the each of the feathers. Each person can make one or several.
  11. Tape the feathers around the turkey.
  12. Keep as a decoration and a reminder of all of the things you are grateful for.

 

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NPR maps out accessible playgrounds across the country http://www.funology.com/npr-maps-out-accessible-playgrounds-across-the-country/ http://www.funology.com/npr-maps-out-accessible-playgrounds-across-the-country/#respond Wed, 28 Aug 2013 15:08:25 +0000 http://www.funology.com/?p=9694 I just heard about “Playgrounds for Everyone,” a new tool that parents can use to find accessible playgrounds in their area, and thought it was worth sharing. The app currently lists over 1,300 accessible playgrounds, with features such as smooth surfaces, swings with backs or safety harnesses, ramps to allow children to access play towers and slides, or sound-play features like drums or chimes.

The app is easily the most comprehensive list out there, but they could still use the community’s help in identifying even more playgrounds to add to the list.

You can download the app now at http://apps.npr.org/playgrounds/.

Or, if you prefer, you can access the playground list online at http://www.accessibleplayground.net/playground-directory/.

 

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Diorama building techniques for kids http://www.funology.com/diorama-building-techniques-for-kids/ http://www.funology.com/diorama-building-techniques-for-kids/#respond Tue, 27 Aug 2013 16:02:12 +0000 http://www.funology.com/?p=9689 Last weekend, we visited the Greenberg Train Show as it rolled through town, and I was particularly interested in learning some tips and tricks that the model train enthusiasts use for building their train layouts. We have some diorama projects lined up for cub scouts this year, and I can’t wait to show the scouts how to build their own projects using some of these techniques.

cub scouts diorama building tips

By using styrofoam boards as the base structure, it’s easy to stack and carve hills or valleys. An added advantage of this material is that it is extremely light and easy to carry around.

Once you have the styrofoam carved, you can coat it with a layer of Plaster of Paris to smooth out all the joints and rough edges. Then you paint the whole scene with different earth tones, and before the paint dries, sprinkle on some ground foam, which you can buy at hobby shops. The paint acts like a glue and adheres all the small particles of ground foam to the base.

Now, all you need to do is add some props — maybe some sticks for trees, or small action figures or Matchbox cars.

model train scenery

Who knows, maybe the kids will get really ambitious and create a work of art like this model train set up!

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A visit to the Lego Brickfair http://www.funology.com/a-visit-to-the-lego-brickfair/ http://www.funology.com/a-visit-to-the-lego-brickfair/#respond Tue, 06 Aug 2013 17:43:15 +0000 http://www.funology.com/?p=9674 The Lego Brick Fair makes a stop in our town every year, and it is always a big event. This past weekend’s show was no exception, as we had to stand in a line that wrapped around the building, but it was well worth it.

lego brick fair

The kids are amazed to see the enormous constructions, and the adults are just as amazed at the creativity and passion that goes into the displays–it really is impressive to see!

One of the favorite aspects of the show is the Great Ball Contraption, which shuttles small Lego soccer balls through hundreds of feet of “machinery” in a constant loop. It takes a ball 45 minutes to make it through an entire cycle, and we made sure to see the whole thing in action.

lego-brickfair-3

Our little guys are always thrilled to see the trains. What is it about trains and kids?!

lego-brickfair-2

These sweets look good enough to eat!

lego-brickfair-1

I thought this fish tank was extremely clever — and it would be a whole lot easier to maintain than a real aquarium!

If you ever have the chance to visit a Brick Fair or similar Lego event in your area, I can’t recommend it enough. Go!

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Pick me! Pick me! http://www.funology.com/pick-me-pick-me/ http://www.funology.com/pick-me-pick-me/#comments Wed, 31 Jul 2013 15:42:45 +0000 http://www.funology.com/?p=9664 I’ve been taking my 5-year-old to swim lessons for the past couple of weeks. At the end of each lesson, the teenage instructor plays a few rounds of Sharks and Minnnows with the class. The kids love it and splash around, frantically trying to escape the “shark.”

Here’s my problem–the instructor picks from the same three kids to be the shark EVERY day. All the other kids raise their hands, wanting a chance, but the three boys who are the loudest and most visible, are the ones who keep getting selected. I know my little guy wants a chance at being the hunter rather than the hunted, but he goes with the flow, but this Papa bear isn’t so agreeable. I want to go to the instructor and tell him to give some of the other kids a chance, but I don’t want to be “that parent.” So, I sit there in my sunglasses, seething on the inside as, once again, the same boys get chosen to to be the shark.

It’s never easy seeing your child ignored or overlooked, and I really am trying not to make it into a big deal, but as the days go by, it gets more and more difficult. Have you ever been in a similar situation with your kids? how did you respond?

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Who’s up for a picnic? http://www.funology.com/whos-up-for-a-picnic/ http://www.funology.com/whos-up-for-a-picnic/#respond Tue, 30 Jul 2013 17:06:08 +0000 http://www.funology.com/?p=9651 Last night, we loaded the kids in the car and headed out for some takeout. While sitting in the drive-thru at Chick-Fil-A, the kids were complaining about not being able to eat in the restaurant–meaning, they wouldn’t be able to climb around in the play zone. We assured them that we had something better in mind, but they were not convinced, and the whining reached the upper decibels before we reached our true destination.

Rather than the play zone that smells like a pro football locker room, we opted for a blanket beside a nearby pond. The food was wolfed down quickly as the boys couldn’t wait to see what bugs they could catch. My wife and I proceeded to enjoy a nice quiet dinner, and we were actually able to have a conversation without constant interruptions. After finishing our dinner, we all went for a short hike around the pond and on some of the park’s nature trails. The boys found their “perfect sticks” and led the way.

water snake

We came across a snake swimming in the water–I’m still not sure if it was a scary one or not–and the boys were on the hunt for more! As the evening light started to fade, we headed back to the car without a single complaint–the boys were satisfied and their tiny legs were spent. (Have you ever noticed that kids walk three times as far as we do, with their constant back-tracking and running around?)

With the boys thoroughly scrubbed and snug in their beds, our 5-year-old started to retell the story of our adventure and ended it by declaring that it was the best dinner ever–and we’re going to now eat by the pond every night. It really is amazing how something as simple as eating in a park can be such an adventure for the little ones.

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If you could buy anything in the store… http://www.funology.com/if-you-could-buy-anything-in-the-store/ http://www.funology.com/if-you-could-buy-anything-in-the-store/#respond Mon, 29 Jul 2013 19:58:01 +0000 http://www.funology.com/?p=9648 Over the weekend, my wife and I decided to reward the kids for being good this Summer and let them have a little fun at the toy store. We handed them each a $20 bill and said they could spend it on whatever they wanted. This was really their first time with a large amount of money to spend freely, and I was curious to see how it would go.

Our youngest is five years old, and being that age, he’s fairly impulsive. He knew what he wanted before we were even inside the store — the huge Lego crocodile boat! Well, I knew that set was beyond his spending limit but let the scenario play out. When we made it to the Lego aisle, he saw that the set was over $60 — well beyond his limit. He was pretty bummed, but we looked around a bit and then he remembered the Big Boots Police Station that he has been bugging us for since Christmas. This little guy LOVES his Big Boots, and when he saw it was exactly $20, he grabbed it off the shelf and hugged it until we made it through the checkout line.

Our other son is eight, and was much more methodical with his selection. No joke, we went up and down every aisle four times. He kept taking things off the shelf but then put them back after finding another more appealing choice. He settled on a G.I. Joe action figure (which was on sale for half price) and then picked a Big Boots truck so that his little brother could play with it too. That decision floored me, because he has never shown an interest in those toys–he was actually doing something nice for his little brother!

With those two toys in the cart, he had five dollars left over but chose to not spend it and opted to put it in his bank instead. Again, I was floored. If mommy and daddy were buying, you can bet he would have asked for a pack of Pokemon cards or something else to round out the $20, but when the money was physically handed to him ahead of time, he was much thriftier with it.

Maybe we’ll have to employ this technique more often in the future and avoid overspending on items that the kids don’t really want all that much. It was certainly an eye-opening experiment.

Have you ever done anything like this with your kids? What was the result?

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2013 Back to School Sales Tax Holidays http://www.funology.com/2013-back-to-school-sales-tax-holidays/ http://www.funology.com/2013-back-to-school-sales-tax-holidays/#respond Sat, 27 Jul 2013 19:11:48 +0000 http://www.funology.com/?p=8834 back to school sales tax holidays

August is almost here, and back to school sales are back. In order to lighten the impact on our finances, many states offer tax-free holidays on school supplies, clothing, and sometimes more. We have created a list of participating states, and their sales tax holiday information. Check your state, and start saving!

Alabama

Note: Not all counties are participating in the holiday.

August 2-4, 2013

clothing less than $100 per item
computers less than $750 per item
school supplies less than $50 per item
books less than $30 per item

More information: http://www.revenue.alabama.gov/

Arkansas

August 3-4, 2013

clothing less than $100 per item
school supplies

More information: http://www.dfa.arkansas.gov/

Connecticut

August 18-24, 2013

clothing and footwear less than $300 per item

More information: http://www.ct.gov/

Florida

August 2-4, 2013

school supplies less than $15 per item
clothing less than $75 per item
computers less than $750 per item

More information: http://dor.myflorida.com/dor/

Georgia

August 9-10, 2013

school supplies less than $20 per item
clothing less than $100 per item
computers less than $1,000 per item

More information: https://etax.dor.ga.gov/

Iowa

August 2-3, 2013

clothing less than $100 per item

More information: http://www.iowaccess.org/tax/

Louisiana

August 2-3, 2013

All tangible personal property less than $2500. Food and cars not included.

More information: http://www.revenue.louisiana.gov/

Maryland

August 11-17, 2013

clothing & footwear less than $100 per item

More information: http://www.marylandtaxes.com/

Mississippi

July 26-27, 2013

clothing & footwear less than $100 per item

More information: http://www.dor.ms.gov/

Missouri

Note: certain cities, counties and districts have elected not to participate. Also, back to school sales tax holiday rates vary throughout the state.

August 2-4, 2013

clothing less than $100 per item
computers less than $3,500 per item
school supplies less than $50 per item

More information: http://dor.mo.gov/

New Mexico

August 2-4, 2013

clothing less than $100 per item
computers less than $1,000 per item
computer equip. less than $500 per item
school supplies less than $30 per item

More information: http://www.tax.newmexico.gov

North Carolina

August 2-4, 2013

clothing less than $100 per item
school supplies less than $100 per item
instructional material less than $300 per item
computers less than $3,500 per item
other comp. less than $250 per item
sports equip less than $50 per item

More information: http://www.dornc.com/

Oklahoma

August 2-4, 2013

clothing less than $100 per item

More information: http://www.tax.ok.gov/

South Carolina

August 2-4, 2013

clothing
school supplies
computers
other

More information: http://www.sctax.org/

Tennessee

August 2-4, 2013

clothing less than $100 per item
school supplies less than $100 per item
computers less than $1,500 per item

More information: http://tn.gov/revenue/

Texas

August 9-11, 2013

clothing, backpacks and school supplies less than $100 per item

More information: http://www.window.state.tx.us/

Virginia

August 2-4, 2013

clothing less than $100 per item
school supplies less than $20 per item

More information: http://www.tax.virginia.gov/

 

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As a parent, you must learn to adapt http://www.funology.com/as-a-parent-you-must-learn-to-adapt/ http://www.funology.com/as-a-parent-you-must-learn-to-adapt/#respond Fri, 26 Jul 2013 20:04:50 +0000 http://www.funology.com/?p=8855 cancelled-camping

We were supposed to be camping under the stars tonight, fighting off mosquitos and roasting marshmallows over the fire. Unfortunately, life has a way of getting in the way sometimes, and we had to cancel the trip. Our oldest son came down with a stomach bug yesterday and was fairly uncomfortable this morning. Rather than spending a weekend in a tent with a miserable young boy, we decided to cancel the trip and stay home.

It’s not a huge deal, since we were camping on property owned by a family member, and we wouldn’t be out a security deposit or anything, but it’s still a bit of a bummer. I was probably looking forward to the outing more than the boys (and definitely more than my wife!), but we’ll just have to make do. Our younger son, may have been excited for the trip, but he’s as adaptable to change as anyone I know–he sets an example that we should all learn to emulate.

The great outdoors isn’t going anywhere, and we can certainly plan another weekend for our camping trip. This isn’t the first time we have had to alter and adapt our plans, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Have you ever had to cancel a trip or modify your plans due to the kids?

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