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Irish Wishing Rocks Game to Make

By dadsplay at March 4, 2011 | 1:00 pm | 0 Comment

Irish Wishing Rocks Game to Make

Here’s a fun game you can make with the kids for St. Patrick’s Day or any day of the year.  We made ours green but you could use any color.  It’s a fun original game created by our ZiggityZoom creative director.  Easy to make and easy to play…. for kids and adults.

Need:
MAKING the GAME :

What You Need:

  • 12 smooth stones/rocks (or make 12 smooth rocks out of clay that you bake)  You can also use plastic disks or make Cardboard disks.
  • Green paint (optional)
  • Brush
  • Marker or stick on Letters

What to Do:

  • Gather the 12 items you have chosen for your Wishing Rocks.
  • Paint green, if so desired.
  • Using marker (or stick on letters), put 2 letters each for I – R – S – H (you will only have 3 i letters).
  • Leave 2 Rocks blank and draw a Shamrock on the other 2 remaining rocks.
  • Put Rocks into container or Sock to start the game.
What To Do:
The object of the game is to get all the letters that spell Irish.  I-R-I-S-H The first person who can spell Irish, by “wishing” and choosing, wins the game.  Fun for kids of all ages.

RULES :

  1. Each player is given a piece of paper and pencil.  For ease of play with young children, draw the letters I-R-I-S-H on their paper, spaced apart just a bit.  When a player gets a letter, they can then just circle that letter.
  2. Put Wishing Rocks into a container that is deep enough so players can’t see the rocks.  Or use a large sock.
  3. Starting with the youngest player first, player will first say his wish …for example, “I wish for an H”
  4. Player then pulls out a Wishing Rock.  If they got their wish then they can circle that letter.  The rock is then put back into the container.
  5. Play contines as each player takes their turn.
  6. If a player pulls out a Shamrock they can circle any letter that they still need.  If a player pulls out a blank rock, the player must skip his next turn.
  7. The first player to circle all the letters to spell Irish is the winner.

For more St. Patrick’s Day activities

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Make a Personal SNOWMAN Pizza with the Kids

By dadsplay at January 2, 2011 | 2:01 pm | 0 Comment

Make a Personal SNOWMAN Pizza with the Kids

Kids love pizza whether it’s a holiday or any other day of the year.  Why not make pizza night into a “make your own snowman” night?  And a favorite food just got healthier!You can use our “healthier” version for the dough or buy ready-made pizza dough but, either way, this is a truly fun family dinner idea.

Let the kids help to roll dough, make snowman and add sauce, cheese and pepperoni.

What you need:

Dough

3 ½ Cups whole wheat flour

1 Cup white flour

2 Tsp. active dry yeast

1 Tsp. sugar

1 ¼ Tsp. salt

1 ½ Tsp. olive oil

¼ Tsp. garlic powder

2 Cups water

¼ Cup grated parmesan cheese

Other Ingredients

Tomato sauce

Mozzarella cheese

Pepperoni

Capers

Carrot

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Slowly add water, a little at a time, knead until dough is firm and smooth.  Using olive oil, grease bowl and place dough ball in bowl, turning once so all surfaces are oiled.  Cover with a cloth or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot until double in size, usually about 2 hours.

Place dough on a well-floured surface and roll dough to about ¼ inch thick.  Cut out three different sizes to form each snowman, by hand or using pastry cutters.  Assemble snowman on baking pan, attaching “balls” by pressing together.  Add sauce, cheese and Snowman decorations.  Cut pepperoni into scarves, piecing two pieces together, if necessary.  Make noses by cutting tiny carrot triangles.

For more ZiggityZoom fun food ideas.

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Letters from Santa

By dadsplay at December 7, 2010 | 1:07 pm | 0 Comment

Letters from Santa

As a single dad, I’m always looking for fun things to do with my daughters or ways to really
brighten their day. We’ve done active things like geo-caching (hiking for ‘treasure’),
roller skating, and rock climbing. We’ve also done playful stuff like playing doll dress-
up or make believe or painting their fingernails (and occasionally mine). But I’m very
excited about a new (new to me) endeavor we’re going to do for the Christmas holiday.
The girls are going to ‘write a letter’ to Santa Claus and he’s going to send one to them!!
IMPORTANT – Letters have to be submitted by December 10th in order to arrive before
Christmas (according to the websites below)

I’ve reviewed several different sites and two that I really like are
SantaClausHouse and SantaSentMeALetter. Both place specific information about your
child in the letter from Santa and each site even allows for you to customize text.

The SantaClausHouse allows for a paragraph (254 characters) of custom text and they
simply replace one of the paragraphs in the stock letter with your paragraph. The cost is
$10 per letter and is mailed from North Pole, Alaska. It also includes several items in the
letter, but this really wasn’t the selling point for me.

SantaSentMeALetter allows you to type a complete letter, which you can obviously
customize with whatever details you like. This is the option I am going with as I wanted
to reference how much Santa loves the cookies they bake for him and how well they’ve
been sharing with each other. The cost is $7.95 per letter and is “postmarked with a one-of-
a-kind NORTH POLE POSTMARK” The paper they use ‘feels’, to me, to be more like Santa’s
paper. I also noticed they have a $9.95 option if you don’t want to write the letter, but
want your own customized details that the stock letters can’t include.

The one drawback to both of these is you don’t actually see the output of your
customized letter, which has me slightly concerned that it won’t fit or look right. I’ll
update this post once we’ve completed the letters and received them back from Santa.

Merry Christmas!

Randy

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Reindeer Pancakes Are Easy to Make with the Kids

By dadsplay at November 27, 2010 | 3:51 pm | 0 Comment

Reindeer Pancakes Are Easy to Make with the Kids

Make breakfast into a fun activity over the Holidays. Dads, here is a fun food that you can serve to your kids during the Christmas break .  Make some colored pancake mix and let the kids have fun making and eating their creations.  We made these cute Reindeer pancakes, but you can also try some colorful ornaments and snowmen. It’s super easy using plastic squeeze bottles.  Find them in a kitchen department of most stores.  You can find the clear kind or ones designed for use with ketchup or mustard.  Be sure to get one one for plain cake batter besides the colored batter you will make.

Let the kids help make their own pancakes with parental supervision.  Our kids enjoyed making their own creations and so will yours.

What you need:

Pancake mix

Eggs

Vegetable oil

Milk

Red food coloring

Green food coloring

Plastic squeeze bottles
Make pancake mix according to directions on package.  Prepare batter using directions for 2 cups pancake mix.  Divide batter into containers.  For reindeer, mix ½ cup batter and 5 drops red food coloring.  For green batter, use ½ cup mix and 4 drops green food coloring.  Leave remaining batter as is.

Pour each color batter into a squeeze bottle.  Heat griddle to medium heat.  For reindeer, make a dot for eye, then add plain batter on top of eye to form a 2 inch circle.  Add a red nose and a red collar.  To form antlers, make a thin line touching head and then make a small branch coming from first part of antler.  Antlers will spread, so only make a fairly thin antler.

For more fun Christmas foods check out ZiggityZoom.com

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How to STOP your child from wanting to read with you….

By dadsplay at November 24, 2010 | 3:58 pm | 0 Comment

How to STOP your child from wanting to read with you….

This is not what I set out to do, but it’s what I effectively accomplished with my first
born daughter. I’m a hands-on dad who loves teaching my daughters and assisting with
their homework (which includes reading with them). When my oldest was first learning
to read, I would sit and read with her. I would let her read some ‘sight’ words (simple
words that they learn to recognize, such as “the” or “I”) while I read the rest of the story.
This actually worked out well, as I would praise her constantly for remembering various
words. Each reading, I would try to introduce or re-introduce sight words and continue
to praise her as we read. Everything was going great, until….I tried to teach her HOW to
read….sounding out words/letters.

Well, to be clear, it wasn’t that I’d chosen to teach her to sound out words/letters, it
was the way I would correct her
. When we were working with sight words, I’d simply
remind her of words, if she couldn’t remember the word, and praise her when she got it right. When
she would attempt to sound out a word, I would quickly (or sharply sometimes) correct
her and, I’m fairly certain, I probably said “no, it’s this….”. It’s the “No” or negative
feedback that I did for a long time that shut her down and pushed her to not want to read
with me. While I would still praise her when she’d get it right, the ‘no’ was coming way
too often. Eventually, she would cry or put her head down if I asked her to sound out a
word and she couldn’t get it right.

I’m not sure when I realized what I was doing, but once I did, I completely changed my
approach
. I still correct her, but I make it a point to give her positive feedback first, then
say something like “try changing the sound of this vowel” or “make the ‘c’ have this
sound”. We now have lots of fun reading and she isn’t afraid to read with me anymore,
but it took a lot of self awareness and control, on my part, to ensure I wasn’t beating her
down, but rather praising her up. Reading SHOULD be fun, focus on that always and the
rest will work itself out.

By R.S. Pierce

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Geocaching Is A Fun Fall Outdoor Activity With Kids

By dadsplay at November 10, 2010 | 12:32 pm | 0 Comment

Geocaching Is A Fun Fall Outdoor Activity With Kids

Fall is officially here in most of the country.  With leaves changing colors and crisp mornings and early sunsets, it’s hard to miss.  Now that the weather has shifted and we’re all bundling up a bit more, finding outdoor activities to do with kids becomes more difficult.  One activity my daughters and I like to do is “geocaching”.  Just last weekend, we hiked through Seashore State Park in Virginia Beach, VA for about 2 hours, with a nice picnic break after we found the ‘treasure’ and swapped out some of the girls own toy trinkets for new trinkets in the newly found treasure.  Treasure found, treasure traded, bellies full, we headed home talking about all the cool stuff we found/did along the way.

Taking the definition from www.geocaching.com, geocaching is: “a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online.”  “How does a geocache get created?” you ask.  A new geocache comes into existence when an individual (anyone that would like to hide their own container) hides a container in a public place, where geocachers are allowed to travel, then logs the container’s GPS coordinates at www.geocaching.com along with a description, size of the container and other miscellaneous details.  Then, would be searchers log on, identify the area they would like to hunt and identify the various geocaches they are interested in hiking to.

Here are some basic steps I go through prior to our adventure.  First I identify what area we’d like to explore and pull up the map of that area (Here is a map of one area we explore in Hampton Roads area of Virginia.)  Once I have the map, showing geocaches in the area, I mouse over each cache looking for our search criteria.  Criteria 1) Cache must be medium size or larger as this improves probability of toy trinkets (largest criteria for my girls).  Criteria 2) Difficulty and Terrain shouldn’t be greater than medium, as I don’t want my girls stressing over the trip.  As they get more experienced, we may change the criteria, but for now this works for us.  If a cache meets our criteria, I will click on it and upload to my GPS device.  While I am doing the research, the girls are packing the backpack with picnic items and toy trinkets as well as fall gear (hats, gloves, compass, flashlight).  Once they are packed and I have identified 3-5 caches, we head out the door for our next adventure.  Often Lola our dog accompanies us as an added bonus the girls really enjoy.

As a side note, geocaching.com has an iPhone app and probably apps for other smart phones.  The one issue I had using my iPhone was the signal would ‘bounce’ when I was in deep woods and could not hone in on the actual GPS location.  One moment, I’d be 10 feet away, 2 steps later, I’d be 50 feet away… in low wooded areas, I’d suggest using the phone app, but not for any serious woods geocaching.  Happy Hunting!!

By R.S.. Pierce

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Halloween Pumpkin Carving Fun for Dads & Kids

By dadsplay at October 28, 2010 | 6:31 pm | 0 Comment

Halloween Pumpkin Carving Fun for Dads & Kids

Remember helping mom bake around the holidays or shopping for a Christmas tree with the family?  I do.  Another one of my favorite memories is when my brothers and I would carve pumpkins at the kitchen table.  Mom and dad would clear the table, lay out newspaper, place the pumpkins on the table and we’d stand on chairs in front of our pumpkins ready to dig it.  The memories are still vivid and bring a smile whenever I think about the fun we had.  Build the same memory for your kids and it will be memories that will last a lifetime!

My daughters, Nannie (my mom) and I recently visited the local pumpkin patch to track down the coolest, biggest (this is my eldest’s criteria) and strangest pumpkins we could find.  The girls were so excited to get to pick out their own pumpkins and took a careful look at various pumpkins, examining bumps, which side would make for a good face or even the cool stalk coming out of the pumpkin.  After several trips around the patch and several selection changes, we finally found the pumpkins they wanted and headed home.

Once home, the girls insisted that they carry their pumpkins into the house, which was a chore for the older one, as her pumpkin was HUGE!  Somehow she managed to get it inside without making squashed pumpkin our newest Halloween decoration.  Then I prepared the table while the girls raced to our storage area and found the pumpkin carving tools and designs from the prior year.  Each one also donned one of my ‘grunge’ shirts for the messy moments ahead and within minutes was at the table, chairs in position hovering over their pumpkins ready to start.

Luckily I recalled a mistake I made last year where I neglected to cut the lid out using an angled cut.  The angled cut allows the lid to be placed back into position once the carving is complete.  Once the lids were removed, the ‘gross’, ‘cool’, ‘yuck’ comments started as each dug in pulling out pumpkin guts and seeds.  While they were busy at work, Nannie copied their selected designs to their pumpkins using a Sharpie marker.  (You can tape the design to the pumpkin, but I’ve found the design gets pretty beat up as carving continues).  After all the guts were out and the girls had taken several ‘opportunities’ to apply guts to my face, the carving began.  I’m far from a master carver, but have learned you do all of the interior work first, while the pumpkin walls are stronger.  Once the girls (with Nanny and daddy’s assistance) finished their pumpkins, we took them outside and found the perfect place to show them off, with lit candles and all.  The girls were so proud of them and I’m certain will cherish their pumpkin carving memories for years to come.

A few notes: 1) You can find carving kits at most super stores and probably even at your local supermarket.  Have these already purchased as the kids will be most into the carving when you first buy the pumpkin.  2) Be careful with the really big pumpkins, if the walls of the pumpkin are too thick, it can make it more difficult to carve.  3) if you will be using candles inside your pumpkin, make sure you clear all the stringy pumpkin matter from the inside of the pumpkin (particularly the top) as this can dry out and burn, creating an awful smell.  I’m not sure whether it catches fire, but know you don’t want it smelling from the burning.

By R.S. Pierce

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Halloween Safety Tips

By dadsplay at October 12, 2010 | 3:23 pm | 0 Comment

Halloween Safety Tips

Second only to Christmas, the holiday that Kids look forward to the most is Halloween.  Picking out costumes, decorating Spooky places and eating candy corn.  Witches, ghosts and pumpkin-carving fun.

To ensure your child has a Safe and Happy Halloween, here are a few Tips.

  • Make sure Costumes are the proper length so that your children are not tripping over their capes, pant legs or dresses.
  • If a Mask will be worn, make certain the mask fits well and that your child can see well and breathe well.  Consider using nontoxic face paint instead of a face-covering mask.
  • Take advantage of Reflective tape or Glow in the Dark accessories so that your child will be visible in the dark.
  • Check Trick or Treat time schedule for your city or county.  Times and days for this activity vary greatly.
  • Remind your kids to only go up to Houses that are Well Lit.  If there are no lights on they should skip those houses completely.
  • Make a No Eating candy rule until candy has been inspected at home.

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