DIY Cherry Blossom

What you need:DIY Cherry Blossom
• Branches
• Pink tissue paper
• Scissors
• Glue

What you do:
• Gather branches that have fallen outside.
• Let dry.
• Cut out 2-inch squares of pink tissue.
• Pinch tightly in the middle to create blooms.
• Glue the flowers to the branches.
• Display.

Shamrock Pin

What you need:
• Green pipe cleaner
• Pony Beads
• Scissors
• Safety pin
What you do:
• Take one stem and twist ends together making a hoop.
• Push hoop down into 3 areas and twist each to form one shamrock.
• Form the 3 hoops into hearts.
• Place pony beads on safety pin and attach as shown.

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Holiday Planter

What you need:
• Empty Oatmeal Container
• Ruler
• Scissors
 •Craft foam
• Pen
•Old newspaper
Mod Podge
• White paint
• Glue gun
• Tall branches

What you do:
• Measure out, mark and cut five 1.5” wide strips from a sheet of thin craft foam. 
• Mark your guide lines on your oatmeal container.
• The 42 oz. container I used was 9.5” tall, so I made marks at 1.5”, 4”, 5.5” and 8” down. I also made four sets of marks around the container so that I could keep the foam strips level as I glued.
• Hot glue foam around the top, bottom and middle of the oatmeal container, keeping the strips flush with the top and bottom and the center band level.
• Before covering with the newspaper, I added a few drops of water to my Mod Podge to thin it out just a touch to help it really soak into the heavier newsprint. 
• Making sure to get plenty of Mod Podge along the lip of the foam strips so that the paper sticks well.
• Make sure you line up your newspaper seams over top of the foam seams in the back or you’ll end up with lots of seams all over the place. 
• Paint
• For the filler, use some tall branches.
• Decorate with your favorite ornaments.

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Tae Kwon Do

Activities like tae kwon do, kung fu, and aikido are a fun way for both boys and girls to achieve fitness and focus
The martial arts actually help teach self-discipline and socialization skills. In fact, many parents whose children have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) report great success with these programs because self-control and concentration are exactly the skills underdeveloped in ADHD kids.
A typical hour-long class begins and ends with a bow to the teacher, or master. After a warm-up, students practice the art’s particular skills, which may include kicks, punches, and blocks. Each requires concentration and strict attention.
Taekwondo is a total learning activity. Lessons are tailored to a child’s age and skill level. The child begins by practicing basic patterns and forms, board breaking, kicking, blocking, striking, and punching. These fundamental skills increase your child’s physical coordination, flexibility, balance, and mental acumen.
Taekwondo develops your child’s athletic abilities and self-awareness, and improves the child’s capabilities in self-defense. It emphasizes moral development as well. Children learn respect for themselves and others, heightened concentration, and increased self-discipline and self-restraint.
The self-discipline that develops as a result of learning and practicing the techniques usually carries over into other areas of the child’s life. School grades often improve as your child learns to focus on objectives and to work toward achievement. The self-discipline and self-resect which Taekwondo develops can provide your child with the skills and mindset necessary to resist peer pressure.
Progress is often marked by the belt system, which takes the beginner from a white belt through a variety of colors until black. Testing for each new level, generally every three months, is a good exercise in setting and achieving goals.
Children can start classes as early as 4 or 5 years old. In terms of physical fitness, coordination is developed as TaeKwonDo helps strenghten both sides of the body as the child learns to kick with both legs and block/punch with both arms.
Finding a good Martial Arts school is crucial and cannot be over emphasized.The quality in teaching ranges enormously from school to school. Finding the right school depends on the attitude of the child and even yourself as a parent. Do you want your child to be an Olympic Champion or just find an enjoyable sport that will develop them mentally and physically and see where this takes them? Do not settle on the first club that you go to, as there is a huge range of levels of teaching. Most importantly, your kid has to enjoy what he/she is doing and also learning in the correct way at the same time. Discuss the clubs policies with the teacher and you will get a good feel for how the club is run.

Wooden Dragon

What you need:
• All purpose glue
• Scissors
• Wooden spoon
• Acrylic Paint
• Construction paper
• Wiggle Eyes
• Pencil
• Ruler
• Markers

What you do:
• Paint a wooden spoon green, let dry.
• Turn spoon over so the scooped part is on the bottom. With pencil eraser, paint dots.
• Glue on wiggle eyes.  Let dry.
• Cut out wings from construction paper and trace outside edge with marker for emphasis. Fold in half and attach paper to back of the spoon handle with glue.
• Cut a 1-1/2” x 6” strip of construction paper of one color, a 1-1/2”x 5” of construction paper of another color and 1-1/2” x 4” of construction paper of the third color. Cut short strips about 2” on the construction paper. Glue non-cut ends to inside spoon.
• Using pencil, curl around construction paper to make tongue.

Reading can be fun!

Think of all the things your child has learned to do since birth- walking, talking, getting dressed, riding a trike- the list is endless. The next important step towards independence is learning to read.
Reading, a big step for your child.
Walking, getting mobile.
Children can be either cautious or daring when they take their first steps. Remember when your child was between eleven and twelve months? How he pulled himself on to his feet by holding on to the bars of his cot? How he moved around by holding on to the furniture? And how, finally, perhaps with a little help from you, he was fully confident… and was off!
Speaking, getting heard
Before you know it, your child is making “ago” noises and other gurgling sounds. Then comes the endless  ‘dadada’ and ‘mamama’ sounds and odd words here and there. This is followed by groups of words and sentences. By talking to your child, you have already been preparing him to learn to read.
Reading, a key to the world
Reading will probably not be completely new to your child. You may well have been reading bedtime stories aloud since he was very small, when he would snuggle up to you and ‘read’ the pictures as you read the words. The pictures are child’s word-free way into the story. By learning to understand the words, your child will be able to access the world of stories independently, and feel at ease in today’s world.
Whatever your child does later in life, he will need to know how to read and write.
Understanding the written word is important:
• to get on at school
• when filling out forms later on
• when reading instructions to operate a machine
• when accessing the world of technology and culture
•  to enjoy books and magazines
Walking, talking and reading are hard work for all children. They need time to develop at their own pace, and they need your support and encouragement to move forward. As a parent, you are an essential part of the process!
To be continued…


Crayon Doodlers

How to Make Crayon Doodlers

• Peel the paper off of old broken crayons
• Preheat oven to 300 F
• Help your children separate the broken crayons into fun color combos in muffin trays
• Turn heat off and place muffin tin in the oven
• Bake for about ten minutes
• Place tray in the freezer for about half an hour
• Take out of freezer until doodlers reach room temperature
• Flip tin over and bang out doodlers (onto a soft surface such as your hand or lap-not a counter)
• Get coloring!

Recycling For Kids

What is recycling
Recycling means taking materials from old discarded materials and making other new products from them.
If you drink juice or soda from a can make sure you recycle the can, because doing that will save energy and other natural resources. That can will stay in the recycling loop and out of the landfill saving space in the landfill and other resources that are used to produce new cans from entirely new materials.

What is the recycling loop?

Have you ever seen this symbol before? This is the recycling loop. There are other forms of this symbol but this is the most common form.
The three arrows in this symbol stand for the three steps in the recycling process. The first of these steps is the collection of the recyclable materials through curbside or other kinds of collection facilities. The second step is taking the old material and making it into new products. The third step happens when you buy products made from materials taken from products that you would have thrown away.

Why should we recycle?
Recycling or making new things from recycled ones takes a lot less money, much less energy, and saves a lot of the Earth’s natural resources, thereby helping the environment.
Recycling also saves space in landfills. Instead of your garbage being thrown away and taking up space and possibly damaging the environment it’s better to recycle it.
The energy saved by recycling also results in less pollution and we all know how bad pollution is to our environment. When you make new products from old but still useful materials think about the natural resources that are saved because of the material from old products that would otherwise have been thrown away.

How do we recycle?

You begin to recycle when you separate recyclable materials from other your other trash. The segregated materials are collected by different collection programs.
If you live in Peoria, IL curbside recycling service is available through Peoria Disposal Company (PDC). PDC offers recycling pick-up to all Peoria residents at no charge. Residents who sign up will pay a one-time refundable deposit of $50 for a 95-gallon roll-out container.

What kinds of materials can we recycle?
Ever wonder what materials can be recycled?
Paper, glass, cardboard, aluminum cans, steel cans, and other metals can all be recycled. Plastic bottles can also be recycled to make new products. These products can be used to make playground equipment, the steel in skyscrapers, bottles that hold food other household products, and even bottles for drinking water.

Where can you find out more about recycling?
These are some sites where you can find out more about recycling. Most of these sites are government sites and others are set up by private organizations: