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Amanda Rock

Amanda's Parenting Preschoolers Blog


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Celebrating a Preschool Graduation

Saturday May 31, 2014

In a few weeks, Mr. S.'s preschool will be holding its graduation ceremonies. Which means it wont be long before I make a fool of myself, bawling my eyes out in front of a roomful of people! Still, it's fun to hear people talking about what their plans are for graduation parties and what they plan on getting their little one.

If you've got a preschool graduation on the horizon, but aren't sure where to start, check out:


How do you celebrate a preschool graduation?

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Friday Find: Are You Ready for Kindergarten? Game Show (Plus a Coupon!)

Friday May 30, 2014

Are You Ready for Kindergarten? Game Show

In a few months Mr. S. will be heading off to kindergarten. He is so excited and so am I. He had his kindergarten screening a few weeks ago and I went to a parents-only orientation earlier this month.

While we were there, the principal of the primary school explained that coming in to kindergarten, there is really nothing that the children are required to know. But they did hand out some sheets with some suggested activities, just to get the kids ready for what they will be learning come September.

So you can imagine how excited I felt when the very next day Mr. S. and I got a kindergarten preparation game to review in the mail. Are You Ready for Kindergarten? Game Show (manufacturer's site) is a super fun way to assess if your little one is ready to start school in September. (There are Game Shows available through fifth grade.) Set in a quiz-show format, kids earn pretend cash for every question they answer correctly. As you play, you keep track if your child got an answer right or wrong. Once you the show is over, you can go online, enter questions their child missed and get an instant online assessment that pinpoints areas where help is needed. Lakeshore even provides free printable activities and product recommendations to help build skills even further.

Mr. S. and I (and other family members) had a ball playing this game. We've played it a few times now, so I actually photocopied the assessment and answer sheets. There are different levels to work your way through and different categories for kids to answer questions in. I found the questions to be right on his level -- some he knew the answers to, others he didn't -- but in all cases he was definitely learning (and having fun!) as we went along. This will definitely be a game we will be playing all summer.

How are you getting your preschooler ready for kindergarten?

To get $10 off any Are You Ready? Game Show®, enter code 9141 at checkout or click here for a store coupon. Expires 7/31/14.

Related: How to Transition from Preschool to Kindergarten

Image: Lakeshore Learning

Disclosure: A review product was provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

Is Your Preschooler Hitting? How to Stop It

Tuesday May 27, 2014

How is your preschooler in a crisis? For example, what if his brother takes his toy away? Or what if a friend threatens to tattle? Does your little one yell? Tattle himself? Or does he behave more aggressively -- such as by hitting?

Hitting is another one of "those behaviors" that little kids engage in. It's annoying and it needs to be stopped, but is also very common for this age group. Many young children don't have the vocabulary they need to express when they are angry or frustrated about something so they react physically instead. There are ways to stop your preschooler from hitting, including figuring out the root of the problem so you can help her feel more in control of her life.

In any event, not matter what is causing your little one to hit, it's important to get a handle on this issue sooner rather than later. Luckily, with some patience, time and diligence from you and any other caregivers, it is a problem that can be solved.

Does your preschooler hit when he is upset? What do you do?

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Fun (Free!) Things to Do Outside As a Family

Sunday May 25, 2014

Martial Colomb

How has your Memorial Day weekend been? My family has been having a great time. Sometimes though, after a long few days off, towards the end we get a little antsy and run out of things to do.

If the weather is nice though, we'll simply head outside. Even just hanging around in our back yard, we can usually come up with something. If you need some inspiration, check out our list of 50 Things to Do Outside with Kids and then share your own ideas in the comments section.

What's your favorite outdoor activity with your little one?

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Image: Martial Colomb

Friday Find: Barbie & Potty Training Taffy

Friday May 23, 2014

   Barbie & Potty Training Taffy I love Barbies. They were my absolute favorite toy to play with growing up. When my daughter was younger the two of us would sit and play with them for hours. I was so glad to be able to experience them with her. I think one of my favorite parts of playing Barbies with my daughter now, versus when I was a child is how far the dolls have come -- all the different incarnations that are available.

I recently received a Barbie & Potty Training Taffy (compare prices). I shared it with a neighbor's child, a 5-year-old girl who loves Barbies as much as I did. She was super-excited to check out the doll and her puppy Taffy. Taffy eats her treats and then, when Barbie takes her for a walk, she poops them out.

For those of us who have to clean up after dogs for real, this may seem like a strange way for a child to have fun, but my young neighbor's mother assures me that her daughter is obsessed with this doll, as is all of her friends. She also said she thought it was a great way to teach her child the responsibility that comes with caring for a pet.

It comes with Barbie, Taffy, a pack to hold her dog treats, a doggie food dish with treats, a pooper scooper, and trash can. It retails for about $20 and is appropriate for kids ages three and older.

Image: Mattel

Disclosure: A review product was provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

When Do You Buy School Supplies?

Thursday May 22, 2014

I know, I know, some of us (me included) still have kids in school this year! But I was thrilled the other day when my kids both came home with order forms for next year's school supplies. For the the second time, their school is participating in a program where we can pre-order a preset pack of what they need. It's going to save me a lot of time and aggravation of having to hunt down everything.

When my children were in preschool, they actually didn't need school supplies, but I know a lot of other schools that ask for basic items like washable markers and safety scissors. And of course we did need backpacks and lunch boxes, taking us on a shopping expedition that made my little ones feel like big kids.

Whether your child's preschool provides you with a list of supplies or not, it might not be a bad idea to pick up a few things in anticipation of the first day. Going shopping for back-to-school supplies is a great way to help get your child used to the idea of preschool and what he'll be doing there. And even if you don't have a supply list, there are some essential first-day-of-school items, like a change of clothes and a photo of you, that you might want to consider placing in that shiny new backpack. (Likewise, there are some things you shouldn't send your child to school with.)

When do you start shopping for back-to-school supplies? Take our poll and leave a comment below!

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Finish Your Conversation with "The Interrupt Rule"

Wednesday May 21, 2014

One of the biggest things that I struggle with as a work-at-home mom, is finding time to do my work while keeping my kids entertained. While we've settled into a pretty good routine over the past month, (I do as much work as I can in the morning or late at night and we save the afternoons for fun and errands) there are times when I need to make a phone call at an off-time and need to rely on my kids (Mr. S. included) to stay quiet while I talk. I generally go into another room, but sometimes, there are questions that my kids have decided are very, very important and need an answer immediately (99.9% of the time they aren't).

That's why I've instituted "The Interrupt Rule," a trick taught to me by my elder son's preschool teacher almost a decade ago. Why I waited until now to use it is beyond me, but it really has been valuable in helping me set some boundaries and finish my tasks, while letting my kids know that I know they need me and I will help them as soon as I can.

Does your child try to talk to you while you are on the phone?

Related: How to Stop a Child From Interrupting

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Poll: Does Your Preschooler Have an Imaginary Friend?

Saturday May 17, 2014

When I was a preschooler I had two imaginary friends -- Marshay and Johnson. I don't remember when they arrived on the scene, nor do I remember when they left, but I do know that Marshay had the most beautiful long black hair and a kind voice and Johnson was loosely based on the Sesame Street muppet Franklin.

None of my kids have ever had imaginary friends, but they are actually very common in the preschool years and can show up for a number of reasons (I had a great imagination, but as an only child as a preschooler, I think I might have been lonely). If you find your child playing with an imaginary friend (or two), it's important to not discourage her or worry that something is wrong. Instead, you should encourage your child and be supportive. For more tips, click here -- Understanding Your Child's Imaginary Friend.

Does your child have an imaginary friend? Take our poll and share your thoughts in the comments section.

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Friday Find: Hot Wheels Track Builder 5-Lane Tower Starter Set

Friday May 16, 2014

Hot Wheels Track Builder 5-Lane Tower Starter Set Does your preschooler like to play with cars? Mr. S. loves to. It amazes me how he will sit for hours just lining them up, making them race, putting them into circles -- he has found an endless amount of ways to play. And then one day my husband bought him a Hot Wheels track and his world changed. If we thought he loved cars before, that was nothing compared to how he felt once he had a track.

That's why he was so excited when we got to test out the Hot Wheels Track Builder 5-Lane Tower Starter Set (compare prices). It is a track set that can be set up in many, many, many ways. Together Mr. S. and his 13-year-old brother spread out on the kitchen floor and had an absolute ball, creating loops, drops, jumps (through flames!) and more. There are connectors, so they were actually able to pull from his other sets and make an even bigger track.

I like that the set is something he can do on his own. While the creations are much more impressive when he has help, Mr. S. was able to make some pretty neat things on his own. As with all Hot Wheels tracks, the quality is very good, and with brightly-colored pieces and interesting accessories, there is a lot to inspire kids with creatively.

The Hot Wheels Track Builder 5-Lane Tower Starter Set costs about $30 and is appropriate for kids ages four and up.

Image: Mattel

Disclosure: A review product was provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

Want Your Preschooler to Eat Right? Bring them Into the Kitchen!

Tuesday May 13, 2014

blueberry cake recipe tofu dessert recipe

My preschooler eats well enough, but I'd still consider him a picky eater. He's got his favorite foods and has really very little interest in straying from them. So my new mission lately has been to get him to try new things. But how?

Erin Dow, Expert Chef at Guiding Stars has bunch of great ideas and she's shared them with us here, along with a great recipe for Blueberry Cake make with tofu that your kids will be sure to gobble up. (Really!)

Is your preschooler in an eating rut?

Related: How to Get Kids Cooking

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Image: Guiding Stars

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