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Friday, May 18, 2018

Four Ways Solo Dads Can Gear Up for Summer by Daniel Sherwin




Another guest post by Daniel Sherwin, author and father.





Planning for the summer as a single father presents plenty of challenges. However, if you properly “gear up” for the season by getting appropriate equipment and clothing, you can make the most of summer as a family. Here are a few areas to focus and work on this coming summer.




Pool Area

Summer is going to be hot, and the focal point of any hot summer is the pool. Kids love them, and their exuberance can mean they may not fully appreciate the dangers associated with them. Unfortunately, life is not always accommodating to solo dads, and you may not be around to provide the necessary supervision. With that in mind, it's important to “gear up” your pool's safety. Look to local stores as there may be bargains to be had, and their insights could be better suited to the specific needs of your area. Safety equipment options are diverse, so concern what works best for you and the legal requirements of your location.  Fences are a good choice because they can create an initial barrier of security against unsupervised pool use, and are often required by law. Back this up with a lockable, alarmed gate as an additional deterrent. A pool alarm could provide another layer of safety, as it can be triggered when an object, like a child, hits the water.

Clothing

Shopping for clothes isn't the easiest thing to do when it comes to summer gear. Our kids may be picky, and they may turn their nose up at some of the choices we make for them. Given that, it could be a good idea to give your child some leeway when it comes to the process of summering up their wardrobe. Not only will they feel more engaged, but it could stimulate their imagination when it comes to visualizing their “look.” Whatever their preferences, however, some basics will be important, such as bathing suits, sandals, sunglasses, and wide-brim hats. Summer-appropriate gear should ideally be cotton. There will be additional considerations to take if you plan on vigorous activities with your kids, like biking, hiking, or other sports. Therefore, don't overlook necessary protective gear, like helmets and padding.

Fun Equipment

Sometimes, kids just want to lounge around in the heat or stay inside with air conditioning. However, summer is a great time to stay active and for your kids to enjoy some really valuable quality time with their dad. If you're worried about the expense―and finances can be an issue for all single parents—you could consider checking charity shops. thrift stores, or consignment shops. You may find a few inexpensive gems that your kids might love. Bikes and scooters, rollerblades, baseballs and soccer balls, hula hoops, jump ropes, and racquets are all great ways to bond, have fun, and make the most of an active summer. All of these activities will require appropriate summer gear to keep your children safe from the heat and any physical injury.

The Home

Your neighborhood will be teeming with life come summer. It's the perfect opportunity to immerse your children in their environment and help them learn while they enjoy the heat. Look locally to make various additions to the outside of your home. If you don't have a bird feeder or bath, consider installing them because they are perfect for creating more wildlife activity in your yard. It's a great way to get children excited about nature firsthand and up close.  Get your kids involved in garden maintenance. Buy child-friendly tools and encourage them to care for new pots and flowerbeds, as well as weed and water parts of the yard. It can be an effective way to connect with your children and reduce some of the strain you deal with.

Summer is a wonderful time, ideal for creating enduring memories and strong bonds. Fatherhood is not easy at the best of times, but with the right investments, especially locally sourced, you can give yourself the tools necessary to provide an exciting and fun environment for your children. By giving attention to summer gear, you can help strengthen your familial relationships.

Image Courtesy of Pixabay


Daniel Sherwin is the proud single father to two amazing kids (a daughter and a son). After noticing the lack of resources on the web for single dads, he started DadSolo.com so that others could learn from his successes, failures, and everything in between.





Blog Administrator:  Trisha Roberts
proeducationaltoys@gmail.com


Copyright © 2018 TNT Inspired Enterprise, LLC, All rights reserved.







Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.





Friday, March 23, 2018

101 Ways to Play Outdoors









I came across this great poster on the website:  http://childhood101.com by Christie Burnett, Editor.

Several years ago they featured a poster of 101 Ways to Play Outdoors, which I would like to share with you here.

                                             

  • Play leapfrog
  • Jump rope
  • Climb a tree
  • Build a fort
  • Play hide and see
  • Kick a ball
                           
HOSE RAINBOWS
  • Make a rainbow with the hose
  • Pull weeds
  • Ride a bike, scooter, or horse
  • Create a nature collage
  • Build a sand castle
  • Head out on a treasure hunt
  • Roll down a hill
  • Make a bug hotel
             
HOTEL FOR BUGS
BUG HOTEL
  • Balance along a wall
  • Throw a frisbee
  • Balance a bean bag on your head
  • Have an egg and spoon race
  • Hug a tree
  • Create patterns in damp sand
  • Make story stones
  • Paint a fence with water
  • Make texture rubbings with crayons
               
CRAYON RUBBINGS
  • Swing your hips in a hula hoop
  • Make a rain gauge
  • Play tag
  • Draw something you can see
  • Jump in a puddle
  • Play hopscotch 
  • Draw on the trampoline or the sidewalk with chalk
  • Read a book
  • Catch raindrops on your tongue
  • Make a set of stilts from tin cans
                  

TIN CAN STILTS
  • Have a game of marbles
  • Enjoy breakfast outside
  • Rake leaves
  • Set up a worm farm
  • Decorate mud pies
  • Run under the sprinkler
  • Paint the outside of a window
  • Make a daisy chain
  • Start a nature journal
  • Lie in a hammock
  • Toast marshmallows
  • Find 10 things to float in a tub of water
  • Write in the sand with a stick


                                   
PRESS FLOWERS
  • Press flowers
  • Make a pinwheel
  • Make a stick scupture
  • Make a pet rock
  • Try leaf printing
  • Draw around a shadow on the ground
  • Plant vegetables and herbs
  • Grow a bean or sunflower plant
  • Take photos of what you see
  • Have a 3-legged race
                        
3-LEGGED RACE
  • Have a wheelbarrow race
  • Gaze at the stars
  • Set up a lemonade stand
  • Paint with feathers
  • Decorate a tree
  • Create a home for a fair or an elf
  • Make a tin can telephone
  • Enjoy a teddy bar picnic
  • Make a drip castle with wet sand
  • Write a letter on a leaf

FLY A KITE

  • Fly a kite
  • Make up a new game
  • Put on a show
  • Grab a magnifying glass and go bug hunting
                             
EXPLORE USING A MAGNIFYING GLASS
  • Try a somersault, handstand or cartwheel
  • Watch a sunset
  • Spin and get dizzy
  • Start a collection
  • Float a paper boat
  • Make a cave for a dinosaur
  • Wash the dog
  • Wash the car
  • Create a small world for your favorite figurines
MAKE A SUNDIAL

  • Make a sundial
  • Host a paper plane flying contest
  • Blow bubbles
  • Dance and sing
  • Make your name from sticks
  • Make a road for toy cars
  • Play flashlight tag
  • Build a compost bin
  • Throw water balloons
  • Make object impressions in clay
  • Put on a cape and fly
  • Grow a grass head
  • Make a bird bath
  • Make a bird feeder
  • Make petal perfume
PETAL PERFUME

  • Dig for treasure
  • Make a leaf crown
  • Hang laundery
  • Draw a map of your space
  • Set up a snail race
  • Lie back on the grass and look for shapes in the clouds

SEE HOW MANY MORE YOU CAN ADD TO THE LIST AND LET ME KNOW!




Blog Administrator:  Trisha Roberts
proeducationaltoys@gmail.com


Copyright © 2018 TNT Inspired Enterprise, LLC, All rights reserved.







Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.


Friday, March 9, 2018

Fun and Fascinating: Easy Experiments for Kids and Dads by Daniel Sherwin







Parents are up against a powerful foe on the weekends. Video games occupy kids for hours on end. Though entertaining and engrossing, most of them don’t do much for your child’s development, which makes weekends an intellectual black hole. Most kids roll their eyes at the idea of educational activities that cut into their gaming time, but an instructional activity doesn’t have to be boring and school-like. Some can be as effective at holding your child’s attention as the latest video game and may even spur an interest in science, a dream scenario for any parent. They’re especially handy for single fathers, since they can be done as a family and are a great way to spend some quality time together. 
Cool experiments
The water cycle bag experiment is an easy activity requiring nothing more than some plastic sandwich bags and food coloring. Simply place ¼ cup of water in a dish and add four drops of food coloring. Then pour the mixture into a plastic bag, seal it, and take it to a window. The sunlight gradually causes the water to evaporate, and it eventually changes back into condensed water, in imitation of nature’s water cycle. Ultimately, you’re left with a form of precipitation in a bag!
Young kids love activities that allow them to incorporate their name in decorative and striking ways. The crystal names experiment uses Borax, food coloring, pipe cleaners, and a little fishing line to produce colored crystals which adhere to pipe cleaners spelling out their name. Hold each “letter” up in the sunlight to see how they sparkle. Borax dissolved in water creates a suspension, with solid particles that are big enough for sedimentation to take place, and colored crystals are formed.
Few home experiments are as fun as making a glass of lava. Simply fill a glass ¾ full of water, add five drops of food coloring, and then pour in ¼ cup of vegetable oil, which will float to the top since it’s lighter than water. The fun really starts when you sprinkle salt on top to make globs of “lava” begin to move around. Homemade puffy paint is also a fun experiment for all ages. Mix Elmer’s glue and shaving cream in a container or on a paper plate, and then add a few drops of food coloring and mix slowly until you get the proper consistency. All that’s left is to get some paper and brushes and let your imagination take over.
Your kids may be familiar with the tried-and-true egg-drop challenge, since it’s a popular experiment among science instructors. The objective is to build a container that’s capable of keeping an egg from breaking when dropped from a high place. This one is fun because there’s no limit on the kinds of material you can use—as long as they’re soft! For this one, try toilet paper rolls, newspaper, popsicle sticks, a shoebox, plastic bag, rubber bands, string, and balloons. Attach toilet paper rolls at four corners of a sponge using tape. Place an egg in the middle of them and run tape around the outside of the rolls to secure the egg. Next, attach a plastic bag as an umbrella, attaching it to your “egg carrier” with string. Now, it’s time for your experiment. You can use a play set in the backyard, drop if from the top of a step ladder, or let it fall out the window. Just make sure the coast is clear before you let go!
If your kids are into geology, your own backyard can be your laboratory. Conduct your own “acid” test using white vinegar to determine whether you have limestone deposits. Pour vinegar into several bowls, find some rock samples, and place one in each bowl. If bubbles form in one, you know you’ve found a limestone rock!
Single dads are often challenged to find educational activities that their children can enjoy. Scientific experiments can be fun as well as instructional. The best part is, you can do many of them at home with commonplace household items.
Picture Courtesy of Pixabay.


About Our Guest Author:

Daniel Sherwin is the proud single father to two amazing kids (a daughter and a son). After noticing the lack of resources on the web for single dads, he started DadSolo.com so that others could learn from his successes, failures, and everything in between.








Blog Administrator:  Trisha Roberts
proeducationaltoys@gmail.com


Copyright © 2018 TNT Inspired Enterprise, LLC, All rights reserved.








Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.


Friday, February 2, 2018

Spring Break Travel Tips for Parents by Trisha Roberts






Spring Break Vacation is almost here!  Many families will be hitting the road for recreation and leisure. As I discussed in my blog article, “Road Trip with Kids—‘Oh, No!’ or ‘I’ve Got this’” on March 13, 2016, Traveling with children can be a challenge. 


Pack Good Travel Toys



Many parents fall into the trap of lulling their children into silence by playing an endless cycle of videos in the car.  I’m not saying that videos should never be used, but there are so many other things that can be used for entertainment and promote learning at the same time. 



I highly recommend our Travel Toys Surprise Packs for Girls and Vacation Toys Travel Surprise Pack for Boys.  




Each package contains 8 wrapped toys or activities appropriate for play in a vehicle. I personally have used these with my children and found them to be invaluable!  Each child was allowed to choose and open one gift every hour of the trip.  They loved opening the surprise gift and then playing with it for the next hour.  I added a few extras to the Travel Package, like a juice box, animal crackers or package of gum, to stave off hunger and add variety.  I LOVE the fact that the Vacation Surprise Packages are pre-wrapped!  All the work is done! (And who needs more work preparing for Vacation?!?)  The package comes ready to throw in the car!  Mom Scores!  Kids are Happy!  Kids are Learning and Playing! 






Another of our great Travel Toys is our line of Read Along Books
























These are wonderful Reading Tools for Kids that educate and entertain.  Children follow along word for word in each book to familiar stories as they are narrated and accompanied by sound effects and songs.  Your child is prompted to turn the page at the sound of the Chime. These are Great Language Toys that stimulate an interest in reading for young children and improve the reading skills of older children.  They are a phenomenal way to encourage a love for books and reading!  






We also offer an affordable, portable CD Player and volume-limiting headphones specifically designed for children.




                                                                 














 Stop Frequently and Encourage Physical Activity


Some suggestions are:

  • Stop at a rest area or travel plaza and designate a running or walking course around picnic tables or other obstacles;  add a competitive challenge by timing each child using the stop watch on your smart phone. 
  • Play a quick game of Leap Frog.
  • Enjoy 5 minutes of Frisbee Fun.
  • Set up a "goal" between two objects and let everyone kick a playground ball to score points.





Have a Great Spring Break!  Please comment and leave tips on how YOU make vacations special for your children!








Blog Administrator:  Trisha Roberts
proeducationaltoys@gmail.com


Copyright © 2018 TNT Inspired Enterprise, LLC, All rights reserved.







Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Preparing for Parenthood When You Have a Disability by Guest Blogger Ashley Taylor







Being a parent is challenging, but when you have a disability, parenthood can present even more obstacles. Of course, that doesn’t mean you won’t be an amazing mom or dad. Whether you have a physical, emotional or learning disability, here are some tips to help you prepare for the wonderful but terrifying job of becoming a parent.




Your Doctor


Before you decide to become a parent, speak with your doctor about any concerns you have  about bringing a child into your life. Your doctor may provide advice about any community services available to parents with disabilities.

 
Find a Support Network


Before your baby arrives, establish a support network that can help you with tasks and responsibilities that may be difficult to do because of your disability.  Family, friends, community organizations and social services agencies can assist with a number of tasks. They may be able to connect you with resources that can help you care for your child.

 Preparing Your Home


Like any other parent, you want to prepare your home for your baby’s arrival. This includes setting up the nursery, buying baby clothing and diapers as well as other important items. But since you have a disability, it’s also important to purchase items that will help you overcome any obstacles to caring for your child’s needs. For example, if you use a wheelchair, purchase a baby crib that is specially built for parents who use wheelchairs. These types of cribs have an opening similar to a gate. This allows the parent to open the crib from the front and move the wheelchair directly to the crib mattress. The parent then places the baby in bed without even needing to rise from the wheelchair.

Do you have a visual impairment? Use tactile labels for items so that you can easily find them in the house. Whether you’re labeling the baby lotion, diaper rash cream or baby formula, tactile labels let you use your sense of touch to identify something.

Some people with physical disabilities have trouble fastening buttons or zipping zippers. If this describes your situation, find baby clothing that uses simple velcro fasteners. It will be easier to dress and undress your baby. Add loops on baby shoes to help you put them on your little one’s feet.

Use adjustable tables so you can lower the table and place the baby on top of it. Once the baby is secured with a seat belt or velcro, raise the table to a comfortable level so you can change the baby’s diaper.

 Emotional or Intellectual Disability


If you have an emotional disability, seek extra support in the community to help with anxiety, depression or any other issues that may arise after the birth of your child. Find support among family and friends so that you can receive the encouragement every new parent needs during difficult times.

Maybe you have an intellectual disability. If so, find family members, friends, mentors and counselors who can help you overcome any problems that occur as you care for your child. People with intellectual disabilities can receive help with managing money, interacting with doctors, going grocery shopping and a host of other tasks that will help them be a more effective parent.

 Self Care


One of the most important things you should do when you have a child is make time for yourself. Taking care of a newborn is a demanding job. Even parents without a disability feel stressed and exhausted. Late night feedings, crying babies, changing diapers and surviving on a few hours of sleep will make anyone feel like they’re going crazy.

So in order to maintain your emotional and physical health, take care of your own needs too. This often means taking a nap when the baby naps. It may mean asking a family member or close friend to babysit for a couple of hours while you sleep or read a book. There’s nothing shameful about asking for help. All new parents need a break once in awhile. Deal with your stress in a healthy way and use your support network to help you get through those tough times.


Parenthood is an exciting and scary time. You’re responsible for a defenseless child who depends on you to fulfill all of his or her needs. Like any parent, a parent with a disability needs to carefully prepare for a baby’s arrival. But disabled parents need to go a step further. Finding tools that help you care for your baby’s needs and organizing a strong support network will help you successfully prepare your home and life for your new bundle of joy.




Ashley Taylor is a freelance writer, photographer, and advocate for people with disabilities. She created DisabledParents.org to provide information and resources to other parents with disabilities. When she isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children.




Blog Administrator:  Trisha Roberts
proeducationaltoys@gmail.com


Copyright © 2018 TNT Inspired Enterprise, LLC, All rights reserved.






Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.


Three Unique Challenges Single Fathers Face and How to Overcome Them by Guest Blogger Daniel Sherwin




Photo courtesy of Pixabay


No one walks down the aisle anticipating splitting up after the kids are born, but it happens at an alarmingly high rate. All the sudden, the family unit that was nurturing one, two, or three little ones suddenly becomes fractured, and each parent is left to figure out how to care for the children's needs alone. But is it different for the father than for the mother?

In many ways, life as a single father is much different than that of a single mother. For example, while a single dad can fight for custody of his children, the law automatically grants initial custody to the mother in most cases. But that’s not the only difference, as other challenges like dating and caregiving are usually also different, albeit equally difficult. The following are some unique challenges that single fathers face along with ways to overcome these challenges.

1.  Dating

Sure, dating has its challenges both for single moms and single dads, but according to the Chicago Tribune, fathers tend to have a stronger need to have a “partner in the house” than single moms. This puts them at a higher risk for ending up in a bad relationship and putting their children in uncomfortable situations.

How to Overcome It

While no one is suggesting a single dad should never date again, it’s important to proceed with caution. First of all, take a little time for yourself and your children after the divorce. Try not to date anyone until you feel your wounds are starting to heal, and don’t introduce a new love interest to them until you are certain it will be a long-term relationship. Family Education suggests letting your children get to know her in small doses and to never let the responsibility of informing your ex-wife fall on them.

2.  Self-Care

Single parenting can come with a lot of guilt, fatigue, and overall emotional stress. But men are less likely than women to seek help or even find someone to talk to. According to Psychology Today, the reason for this might be something known as hegemonic masculinity.

Hegemonic masculinity is the innate need that men tend to have to conform to their gender roles of fearlessness and toughness. In other words, they equate needing help with weakness. They tend to feel that they should be able to handle anything life throws at them by themselves and without emotion.

How to Overcome It

Taking care of your mental health and making good choices is crucial not only to keeping yourself healthy, but to helping your children function normally as well. The way we eat, drink, love, and cope with stress, depression, anxiety, and sadness all play a big role in the state our mental health is in. Sometimes, it’s necessary to take a step back and ask yourself if you’re doing the right thing for you, and not the easiest thing. Take time for yourself. Find someone to talk to, even if it’s just a trusted friend.

3.  Work-Family Balance

Another factor that both single parents deal with is a lack of time they feel is necessary to spend with their children. And as a single parent, you are now living on a single income rather than the dual income you were probably used to. While it’s true that the struggle with work-family balance is a strain for both parents, men naturally tend to make work the center of their lives. Research suggests that this is because they view “ambition and a strong work ethic” as “sacred.”

How to Overcome It

The best way to deal with the struggle between the guilt of missing out and work obligation you may feel is to make a commitment to devote a certain amount of time only to your children. In other words, make a decision to devote that time to them and shelve your work responsibilities as much as possible. Some inexpensive activities you can do together may include:

     Movie and pajama night at home
     Cooking dinner together
     Picnics in the park
     Riding bikes
     Water balloon fights
     Visits to the library


There are unique challenges to being a single father. While being a single parent isn’t easy, if you make the time to spend quality time with your children and take care of yourself, it can quickly become the most rewarding thing you’ll ever do.




Daniel Sherwin is the proud single father to two amazing kids (a daughter and a son). After noticing the lack of resources on the web for single dads, he started DadSolo.com so that others could learn from his successes, failures, and everything in between.







Blog Administrator:  Trisha Roberts
proeducationaltoys@gmail.com


Copyright © 2018 TNT Inspired Enterprise, LLC, All rights reserved.






Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.