Sunday, June 29, 2014

Get Ready for Back to School with Little Passports

*The links in this post are affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

Technically, my annual Back-to-School Fiesta doesn't kick off until next month, but here's a great opportunity that I want to sneak in now before they sell out.

One of my favorite products for both homeschoolers and families with children in a traditional school setting is Little Passports (aff). And they are already working to get their explorers ready for back-to-school time. Keep the journey of Sam and Sophia going with new personalized products perfect for keeping kids organized as they embark on another year of learning.

Choose from...

  • 1 Folder 
  • 1 Notebook

  • Fun chalkboard for your own hand-written messages
  • Roomy at 7.5" x 6.5" x 4"
  • Sturdy tin design

Even better, pick up both! These items are only available for a limited-time so order today!

And don't forget that you can get the Little Passports USA Edition any time of year. It's perfect for both summer learning and supplementing U.S. Geography during the school year. It's very affordable, too. You can subscribe for one year for only $10.95 per month. My kids really enjoy these monthly packages in the mail, and my 8-year-old son will spend hours going through the activities and learning about new places. I really love the engaging activities that cover subjects like math and science while learning about the different states.

Disclosure: I'm a Little Passports affiliate and receive a small commission when you click on the links in this post. I only promote products I love and all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own! 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Girls Who Code: Nurturing Tomorrow's Female Tech Engineers

I was really excited to learn this week about Google's newest initiative to get more girls involved in computer programming. In addition to investing 50 million in grants for girls to learn coding, Google has also launched the Made with Code website highlighting girls and women who code and create amazing things. The site includes fun and easy coding projects for your girl to try, and online community, and a list of resources & events across the country that provide coding opportunities.

Despite that it is the fastest growing field in the U.S., less than 1% of high school girls consider computer science for a career choice. I can only imagine how many of them are Latinas! Which is why I think it is important to highlight this here on MommyMaestra. If your daughter is interested in computers - encourage her!

Here are a couple videos to introduce you to the program. Be sure to check out the second video of the EPA Chica Squad from East Palo Alto!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

25 Ideas to Avoid Summer Learning Loss

For the past two and a half weeks, my son has been out of school and enjoying his summer vacation! Thank goodness for great weather for outdoor play and lots of World Cup activities to do. Nevertheless, the days are long and I have to make sure my soon-to-be second grader is keeping his academic skills sharp so he is ready for school in September.

Summer is a nice break from school but it doesn't mean your child has to stop learning. If you don't want your child to miss a beat, have them practice and do a little from the list below every day. Even if they do 20 minutes of each subject, that is less than two hours a day of learning! Remember to keep things balanced. It's okay if your child read for an hour on Monday but didn't get to read on Tuesday. In our home, we pick two or three subjects a day and focus on it for a little longer than 30 minutes each.

Here are 25 ideas to help avoid summer learning loss (the links provided are helpful too):

Keep reading. 
Take trips to the library or book store frequently for fresh literature ideas.
Start a book club in your family. Kids love to see their parents read (especially the same book)!
Find kid-friendly comic books and magazines for a nice variety.
Join a reading program!
Reference books are always cool.

Write everyday.
Help kids keep a daily summer journal or diary.
Send postcards or letters to friends and family.
Make your own family newspaper.
Spelling test!
Write a story or book.

Math is fun
Play Math Bingo.
Allow Math Apps.
Follow a recipe.
Do fun word problems aloud (great on road trips)!
Sort your piggy bank money and take a trip to the bank.

Outdoor messy art: From sidewalk chalk to lots and lots of paint!
Play music while building with LEGOs, cardboard boxes and blocks.
Introduce new music genres to your kids.
Create a stage and perform a favorite song.
Open an art gallery with your best work. Don't forget the hors d'oeuvres!

Language practice
Play bilingual board games!
Make it a Spanish Summer.
TV time only en espanol.
Read, write, math, art/ Spanish.
Invite Spanish-speaking friends over for a play date!

Keep checking back for new posts with the best educational ideas! We hope that you have a great summer!

Betty Galvan, is writing "for smart and stylish moms" over

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Book Review - Soccer World: Mexico

A few weeks ago, this book - Soccer World Mexico: Explore the World Through Soccer -  was on sale on Zulily, so I bought it because I knew the championship was coming up and I wanted to find additional resources for my kids. It turns out that this is actually one of a series of books (the others feature Spain and South Africa).

This post contains affiliate links.

The series is written by former American professional soccer player Ethan Zohn. This particular book explores Mexico when Ethan visits Gabriel, his young soccer-playing friend from Mexico City. As they walk about the city, Ethan learns about food, history, and more. But the book is mostly a snippet of fast facts. It doesn't really go into a lot of lot of depth on any of the subjects, so it is a good book if you are looking for something light as a simple introduction.

It also includes a few activities, such as making salsa, beeswax candles and even compost. I think parents and educators will like the crafts, and also the Words 2 Know sections that introduce vocabulary words and their definitions.

The books is written in English with a scattering of Spanish words, and is best suited for kids ages 8-12.

Overall, I thought this was a nice book to share right now while soccer is on everyone's mind. I bought this little copy off of Zulily when they had a a super sale on books a few weeks ago. But you can find it on Amazon:

Happy reading!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

3 Gift Ideas for Grads from Best Buy

This is a sponsored post as part of the Best Buy Ambassador program. All opinions are 100% mine.

Do you know a high school or college student that just graduated? A couple of my friends have kids who just graduated in the last few weeks. I was thinking about what types of things graduates would enjoy nowadays. Things have definitely changed from when I finished high school and college! We didn't have access to so many tech devices back then.

I was looking through the Gift Center on Best Buy's website and was thinking about what gift I would want if I were a young graduate today. And here are the three gifts I think I'd love to get or give!

I love this Google - Chromecast HDMI Streaming Media Player. It boggles my mind that all you have to do is plug this thing into any HDTV and you can stream online video and music. And there are so many options, including Netflix, YouTube, HBO GO, Hulu Plus, Pandora, Crackle, Rdio, MLB.TV, ESPN, MLS, Crunchyroll, Google Play Movies & TV, Google Play Music, Google Photos, and Chrome! You don't need a special remote, just control it all with your smartphone, laptop or tablet. AND IT IS ONLY $35!!! (That's crazy to me.)

One thing definitely hasn't changed and that's the need for a good snack. For students heading to college, sometime you need a healthy little snack for a quick burst of energy to help you concentrate on a paper or project. And the campus cafeteria or snack bar may be closed or too far to go to get what you need. So a Frigidaire Compact Refrigerator would be high on my list of must-haves. They're a little more expensive at $225, but totally worth the investment when you can't leave your dorm because you have to study or write, or when you need to grab a quick breakfast because you're running late to class. 

And finally, because I wouldn't want my student to be late for class, I'd make sure he or she has a good WATCH to help them keep track of time and what day it is. I like these sports watches by Casio because they're sturdy and inexpensive at $17 - $20. I'd rather save and spend more for the bigger ticket items like their phone and grocery bills!

There are a lot of other fabulous gifts to give a grad, such as...
  • Stone Bake Pizza Oven
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 - 16GB Tablet
  • Thule Crossover Backpack
  • HP Envy Wireless e-All-in-One Printer
If you decide to buy something online from Best Buy, don't forget to check to see if you qualify for free shipping. And remember that Best Buy has a low-price guarantee, so if you find it cheaper somewhere else, just tell them and they'll price match!

Do you love twitter parties? Best Buy is hosting a Twitter Party on Tuesday June 24th at 8:00pm EST. Feel free to join us for a chance to receive Best Buy gift cards and other great products such as an Insignia Tablet. Just follow the #GreatestGrad hashtag and share your favorite grad gift ideas from Best Buy. I'll be there!

Disclosure: I am a Best Buy Brand Ambassador and was compensated for this post. However, all opinions shared above are strictly my own.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Sesame Street Airs a Bonus Half Hour This Fall

My mami loves to tell people that I used to watch Sesame Street until I was 13.

I'm pretty sure she's un poco exagerada (as most mamis tend to be when their kids grow up). She probably came home one day and found me watching it. Maybe I stumbled upon it while surfing channels and decided to take a trip down memory lane because, really, who didn't love Sesame Street as a kid? My own kids - ages 8 and 10 - still catch an episode every now and then.

Anyway, this popped into my head yesterday when I saw on my Facebook stream that starting Monday, September 1, a bonus half-hour SESAME STREET program will debut on-air and on digital platforms. The additional half-hour program will air on weekday afternoons on PBS stations, complementing the one-hour series that airs weekday mornings.

For the first time, viewers will also be able to stream SESAME STREET for free on PBS KIDS digital platforms. Selected full episodes of the 30-minute show will be available at, on the PBS KIDS Video App, and on the PBS KIDS Roku channel.

I can't help but think about how technology today is making education more accessible for children. And I can see how this helps busy parents who sometimes need extra help keeping their kids busy learning for 30 minutes during an important phone call, on a long drive, or while waiting at a doctor's office. I think back to those times when my kids were little and we'd go on errands. I usually would take a book or toy to keep them busy, but occasionally we go somewhere and I'd forget and all I'd have on me is my iPad or smartphone. I sure could have used something like this, knowing they'd be learning something educational!

Disclaimer: I'm a PBS Kids Ambassador, which simply means that I find out about information and opportunities from PBS Kids to share with you. I wasn't compensated for this post. All thoughts and stories are absolutely and totally my own (including the bit about me watching Sesame Street at 13!).

Monday, June 16, 2014

Review: Green Kid Crafts & GIVEAWAY

If you are looking for ways to stimulate your child's imagination and develop their STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, ART, and Math) skills at the same time, then consider subscribing to Green Kid Crafts, a socially responsible education company. The mom-owned company provides creative and educational crafts to families on a subscription basis.

GKC sent me two of their Discovery Boxes for this review, and I can honestly say that we loved them. Each box is filled with goodies that nurture young scientists so that they can complete three different activities. For examples, one of our boxes was all about kitchen science and had the materials for creating bubbling volcanoes, fizzy bath bombs, and homemade soap.

My son immediately ran off to make the fizzy bath bombs, which he promptly hid and saved for bath time. (And I have to say that they were REALLY fizzy!) My daughter, on the other hand, preferred to make the handmade soaps using the mini silicone mold and glycerin included in the kit. I had to help her with this one because it required melting the glycerin in the microwave for 10 seconds at a time, but we had fun doing the project together. She opted not to use the glitter that came with the kit, but enjoyed the whole process so much, we wound up buying more glycerin soap at our local craft store as well as soap dyes to add color. Next thing I know, she's made all of this...

She wants to sell them at one of our local shops. I'm excited that she found something she can make and that satisfies her entrepreneurial spirit.

The other box included projects that satisfy the mad scientists in our family (i.e., both my kids). It came with materials to make a fizzing lava lamp, a magnet friend, and a slime monster.  (Warning: some of the slime wound up on my carpet making this mama a little put out, so make sure your kids do the messy projects outside or in a room with easy to clean floors.)

Overall, these science kits were a lot of fun for my kids. And I like the fact that most of the activities were easy enough for them to do on their own. Each one comes with an instruction card that also provides an explanation of why/how the activity works.

I also really like that Green Kid Crafts is a green company and the materials they use are eco-friendly, AND they have a strong sense of social responsibility donating a portion of each sale to environmental charities.

If you want to learn more about this awesome company, or get more craft ideas, science projects, fun, activities, eco-friendly resources, and even coupons, sign up for their free newsletter.


Green Craft Kids has kindly offered to give one of their upcoming STEM boxes for July or August to one MommyMaestra reader! You can try one of these boxes out yourself and see if your family enjoys it.

To enter, simply use the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Free Bilingual Summer Fun with Audio

Summer is here! And you'll love this month's freebie from our sponsor, Spanish for You!. This bilingual summer fun booklet is great way for your child to practice their Spanish and learn new vocabulary. As usual, this great printable comes with an audio download with all of the vocabulary words to help learners with pronunciation.

If you are looking for a curriculum to help your child learn Spanish this summer, take a look at Spanish for You!. The lessons take 15 - 30 minutes a day, and they use a lot of fun, interactive games that help your child remember new vocabulary. They even have free mini-lessons and worksheets for you to try out.

If this is your first time here, you can find other free samples from Spanish for You! here. There are some great downloads of games and activities for you and your family to enjoy.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

App Review: Fun Soccer Math

The World Cup is only days away! All of my boys are super excited. I am keeping them busy with everything related to soccer. From the Panini sticker album to web resources on Brazil, these boys have it good. But recently, we discovered that there isn't much out there for a fun and educational World Cup app. I searched and searched and ended up just entering the key words "soccer" and "educational" and came up with this very thematic and educational game.

Name: Fun Soccer Math
Subjects: Math, Sports
Available for: iPhone or iPad, Google Play
Brief Description: This fun and educational app will have kids aiming to answer quick thinking math problems correctly to score goals and win.
Price: Free and $0.99
Language: English
Ages: 5 and up

What my kids like: Fun Soccer Math is the only soccer app that my seven year-old owns, making it an instant hit. Diego loves the ability to play alone or with a partner. The friendly competition between two players makes it a lot more fun. He also likes the freedom of choosing between addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, allowing him to play an "easy" game or challenging himself.

What I like: I like that this game is simple and educational. Teachers talk to me about having Diego practice addition and subtraction in his head quickly, making this app ideal for him.  Mental math is important for all elementary age students. It will help their memory and enhance high problem solving capabilities.The soccer theme is important for my son because he lives and breathes futbol! This app is hands down mami and teacher approved. I'm having Diego do a little math practice before every big match this summer!


Betty Galvan, is writing "for smart and stylish moms" over

Monday, June 9, 2014

Review: Sube Beginner Spanish Curriculum

Time for another Spanish curriculum review! This one is for teachers of K-5th grade and introduces you to Sube Spanish.

Name of program: Sube Beginner Spanish Curriculum Elementary Kit
Target age: Kindergarten through 5th grade
Amount of materials: Comprehensive
Price: $860 (for School Kit) $75 (for Homeschool pack)
MommyMaestra Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥


NOTE: This review is for a CLASSROOM curriculum. Spanish and ESL Homeschool Packs are available, and they include various elements listed here.

As befitting any good Spanish curriculum, this program comes with a comprehensive assortment of materials including:
  • ¡Ay Caramba! Bingo Cards, Book, and Markers
  • 1 Activity Book
  • 1 Reader Book
  • 1 Word Game Book
  • 1 Music CD & DVD
  • 1 Set of Spanish Flash Cards (covers all themes)
  • 2 Memoria & ¡Péscalo! Games
  • 1 Alphabet Puzzle
  • 8 Little Reader Books (1 for each theme)
  • 1 Lesson Manual
This is a really fun program that focuses on teach Spanish through art, music, and games. Eighteen years ago, Agnes Chavez  launched Sube and since then, Sube has been used to teach more than 414,000 students across the U.S. and 10+ countries. 

Teachers will find all of materials included in this program to be simple and activity based. There is a strong emphasis on reading, which I absolutely love and makes this particular course best used with students in 2nd through 5th grade in my personal opinion. However, teachers can certainly adapt the lesson plans according to their students' reading level and focus more on the games and songs with children in kindergarten and 1st grade.

The Lesson Manual is very teacher friendly and comes with an overview that explains the methodology and how to get started and organize your lessons. The Curriculum Maps are super helpful as they indicate the time it takes to complete each activity, the core units each activity supports, topics, and skill sets the activity develops.

There's also a Curriculum Planner that provides a visual chart listing all of the activities included in the curriculum according to thematic unit. The planner lists the songs, video, music, and activities for each them. But if you'd like to make your own planner, that's okay because they included a blank one for you to copy and fill in.

Sube includes a Take-Home Sheet for each theme, too. It tells parents what their child is working on each month with directions for things parents can do at home to support the classroom learning. There is a list of vocabulary words and phrases for the students to practice at home, and a section at the bottom where children have to describe the pictures (in Spanish!).

The Lesson Plans themselves are very user-friendly listing the materials needed, what the teacher needs to do to prepare for the lesson, the actual lesson plan, and additional ways to enhance the lesson. ALL of the lessons incorporate a project, games, songs, and a video.

Thirty-two, one-hour lessons cover eight themes:

  • Los animales
  • La comida
  • La casa
  • Los verbos
  • El cuerpo
  • La ropa
  • Los lugares
  • Las formas/Los opuestos

However, I would recommend that each lesson be completed over the course of a week with your class meeting 3 - 5 times/week simply for the sake of reinforcement. While the basic plan can be completed in one hour, there are additional activities that are recommended for multiple class meetings.

At the end of each lesson are unit tests, that can be given at the beginning or at the end of each unit to assess the student's prior knowledge or growth. There are two tests: One for the student to fill out and can be given to an entire class at once, and one for individual assessment that teachers can give and covers reading, speaking, listening and writing. 

My absolute favorite part of this curriculum is the little readers and the Reader Book. I think that seeing the written words helps students learn on several levels including language, spelling, and grammar. This promotes biliteracy. 

The program is very supportive of teachers using the curriculum and comes with a free one hour Skype training session. You can watch a short clip recorded from a session here. You can also download one complete lesson plan for free on their website.

I would highly recommend this wonderful curriculum for Spanish teachers who are looking for less textbook and more interactive lessons that engage their students fully.

Disclosure: I received the Beginner Spanish Curriculum from sube for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Free Download: L4LL DIY Summer Reading Camp in Spanish and English

I already shared this on my MM Facebook page, but I'm delighted to announce that the translator is finished and did an amazing job (Thank you, Lorraine!), and the files have been officially uploaded! Our L4LL DIY Summer Reading Camp is officially available in English AND SPANISH!

Who can download it?

Freemium subscribers: If you signed up for our basic, free summer reading program, you should be able to purchase the individual weeks (there's 10 weeks of 100+ activity pages divided into 10 themes) for $6. Check your emails on Monday for the link to the Spanish files.

Premium subscribers: If you already purchased the premium membership for $50 and are using the English version, just check your Accounts page to pull up the Spanish files and download them to your computer. (Don't forget, you save $10 when you buy the Premium subscription, and $15 when you use my coupon code - mm1410 - only for MommyMaestra readers!)

What does it include?

TEN weeks of activity pages to strengthen your child's literacy skills in English and/or Spanish. More than 100 printable pages are divided into 10 themes: Folklore, Sports, Art, Poetry, Immigration & Heritage, Nature, Summer, Music, Food, and Familia. I designed all of these with my own children in mind: I wanted to focus on fun while building their literacy skills.

The first week is Folklore and my children have been busy doing the English version. We focused on a different activity each day over this past week. We started off reading The Bossy Gallito by Lucía González, since it is on the recommended reading list that comes with each theme (these titles are in addition to the ones on our Summer Reading Lists), then the kids colored in their Fairy Tale Bingo Cards and we laminated them for extra durability before we played a bunch of rounds.

Then they filled out the Fairy Tale Storyboard, where they drew scenes from six different tales. Check out my daughter's completed storyboard below. She included both Ratoncito Perez, Cucarachita Martina, and Señor Gato (I don't really remember his story, but she said it was from another book by Lucía González).

Next it was time to make our own storytelling cards. My kids are big drawers, so they made a list of random items: people, places, things. Then drew them out.

They did a few more activities and ended the week learning the difference between folklore and fairy tales.

The L4LL blog is also posting additional resources such as videos and craft tutorials each week to complement that week's theme. This past Wednesday we shared an awesome video about Latino Folk Tales.

Free Download

Because I know you'd want to sample a page before you purchase anything, I have a free printable for you to enjoy. This freebie has the English and Spanish version. I had SUCH a hard time deciding what to offer you because there are so many awesome activities, but in the end I figured one of the cover pages would be best because every themed file has one at the beginning and it gives you an idea of what types of activities are included in the pack. Each week's activity pack comes with approximately 10 activity pages for your child to complete over the course of the week. 

Have a wonderful weekend!!!

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Role Dads Play in Their Child's Literacy

Do you know about the #DadsRead campaign? If you don't, please read on!

I suppose it isn't surprising that today, more dads are reading to their kids than ever before. But did you know that kids with dads who actively support their education and reading are:

  • Less likely to repeat a grade
  • Make A's in school
  • Participate in activities like sports and clubs
  • Enjoy school

Boys especially benefit academically (and, I suspect, emotionally) from having their father read to them.

While I know that as a parent and a homeschooling mom my children's ability to read and their love of books rests heavily on my shoulders, I'm not the only one who plays a major role in their literacy. My husband has taken an active part in helping me create a reading culture in our home life ever since our children were little.

Before they could read, it was common for my kids to pick up one of their favorite books lying around the house and climb into the lap of whichever adult was closest. My husband spent his fair share of time reading to them.

Later, he would read to them before bed from the set of Little House on the Prairie books that his own grandfather had given him when he was a child. When my daughter was born, he had me store them somewhere safe until she was old enough to enjoy the stories. Although our children are now 8 and 10, he still reads to them every once in a while before bed from that beloved set of books.

He also brings a very different set of reading materials into their lives. Twelve years go, he inherited an entire library of books about birds. Encyclopedias, field guides, fiction and non-fiction, manuals, name it, he got it. And because I was a major book buyer when I was still a zookeeper, we have an entire home library of books about animals and nature. He had to custom build bookshelves to hold all the books, and we still are overflowing.

It's not uncommon for him to send one of the kids into the library to grab a book and then I might find them reading it together. Or he might ask my daughter to study up on a specific animal and then tell him about it.

All of this doesn't just improve my children's literacy skills. It also gives them common ground - shared interests - with their father. It promotes love and companionship and helps them to find the connection that all family members need.

Today, both my kids are avid readers who read way above their grade level. They love a good story and even come up with pretty good ones themselves on a fairly frequent basis. It's not hard to create a reading culture in your home, but it does take both parents to do so.

That's why this Father's Day, I'm happy to support Zoobean and The Good Men Project's #DadsRead campaign. Because it's not just about reading. It's about supporting, encouraging... and loving.

Learn more about how you can participate this year in the #DadsRead campaign here.

Let's Party!

Don't miss the #DadsRead Twitter party on June 12 at 8pm ET. I'm looking forward to it and hope to see some of you there, too!

Disclosure: Although Zoobean is a sponsor of this site, I was not compensated for this post. I was asked if I would participate in this great initiative, and I said yes because I'm a big supporter of parental involvement and children's literacy. All thoughts and opinions are mine!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Free 100th Day of School Printables in Spanish

June's freebie from our sponsor, Lectura para niños is a pair of read-aloud worksheets that celebrate the 100th Day of School! Teachers, be sure to download this and save it for next year. Page one lists 100 easy syllables in Spanish, and 100 difficult syllables in Spanish for kids to master. Page two lists 100 words in Spanish for your students to read aloud.

Leah says:

This is what I have my students practice reading on the 100th day of school! They get so excited when they see 100 syllables, then 100 difficult syllables, then 100 words! Most of the kiddos are able to read most of the syllables and words. If the kids struggle on a word, I tell… go find a friend who can help you out to read them. Once they have read them, they get to check off that they have read and go on to another 100 day activity! We rotate centers on this day doing many different things to celebrate 100 days of learning. The kids LOVE becoming the teacher and teaching their fellow classmates how to read certain words. They also practice reading the words and their partners segment the words into sounds! Oh the possibilities!

For more awesome Spanish materials, especially those that teach children to read in Spanish, check out Lectura para niños on FacebookTeachers Pay TeachersBlog, and Pinterest.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

25 Ideas for Handmade Gifts for Father's Day

As promised, I wanted to share some of my favorite handmade gifts for Father's Day. If you and your children are looking for inspiration, here are some of the awesome tutorials that you can find in the blogosphere. There's a lot of talent and creativity out there!

Gifts Dads Can Use

Let's start with things that dads can actually use and think of their children whenever they do. 

  1. DIY Comic Book Coasters
    I love this idea from Drugstore Divas. I think most kids will love making these comic book coasters - so creative!

  2. DIY Comic Book Decoupage Picture Frame
    Or, if coasters aren't his style, this comic book picture frame is another brilliant idea. 

  3. Father’s Day Appreciation Plates
    Crafty Chica has this great idea for personalizing plates to celebrate Dad. 

  4. Mustache Jar Cozy
    This handmade cozy is just the cutest. Muse of the Morning has this tutorial for older children who love needle arts.

  5. How to Paint Ceramic Mugs
    If your little artist just needs a new surface to draw on, consider this tutorial from Simply Full of Delight for painting on ceramic mugs... dishwasher safe!

  6. How To Make A Wallet Out Of Fabric
    A simple tutorial from for older children who have some experience with sewing. The fabric can be substituted to best represent dad's interests.

  7. Wrapped Walking Stick
    Does Dad love to hike with the kids? Here's a tutorial from Imaginative Homeschool that shows kids how to decoratively wrap a walking stick. 

  8. Dad Rocks Salt Dough Paperweight
    Does dad have a desk job but a love of nature and the outdoors beating in his heart? Here's a great tutorial for merging the two together.

  9. Paint Chip Tie Pen Holder
    Super simple and quick craft from Two Kids and a Coupon. I think the concept could be adapted to be used in Dad's shop, too. 

  10. DIY Father’s Day Gift Bag
    Maybe you need a handmade gift bag to put your other handmade gift inside. Here's an idea from Ottawa Mommy Club that your kid can put together with some colored craft/scrapbooking papers.

Gifts Dads Can Eat

Maybe the way to Dad's heart is actually through his stomach instead. If you have young chefs in your house, maybe one of these recipes would be a great gift for dad.

Concha brownies by Sweet Life Bake

  1. Concha Brownies
    Oh my gosh. If Papi loves conchas, then... you're welcome. Shout out to Vianney from Sweet Life Bake for sharing this remarkable recipe!

  2. 3-Ingredient Sesame Seed Crunch Candy (Gluten-Free)
    This recipe from Strength and Sunshine literally has 3 ingredients and takes 15 minutes. SO SIMPLE for a candy-like brittle made of sesame seeds. 

  3. Honey Spelt Cookies
    If dad is on a restricted diet, maybe this healthy, sweet, and spicy cookie treat from Through the Fibro Fog would be a great surprise!

  4. Bourbon Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies
    Take your traditional chocolate chip cookies to the next level with this recipe from The Forked Spoon. Wow.

  5. Air Fryer Peanut Butter Cookies Recipe
    You guys know how much I love my air fryer! So, of course, I'm going to include this recipe from SummerYule. :)

Printable Gifts for Dads

If your kids would prefer to use some printable templates, cards, or coloring pages, here's a good place to start.

bilingual printables from Lorena y Lennox

  1. Printable Father’s Day Activities in Spanish
    These are fantastic. If you're looking for Spanish printables for Father's Day, check these out from Lorena y Lennox. (She also has these really cute coloring pages for Abuelo!)

  2. Free Printable Father’s Day Footprint Poem Craft
    This is just the sweetest printable craft from MomHacks101! I love it. And so easy to put together. It works no matter what age your child is. 

  3. Printable Father’s Day Coupon Book
    This coupon book from Mombrite is fun and easy to print, cut, and put together. 

  4. Father’s Day Quotes from Kids
    Is your child making their own Father's Day card? Maybe they need some inspiration on what to write inside. Here are 15 quotes from LilTigers for them to consider. (PSST! Watch the video for creating a surprise message card - it's brilliant!)

  5. Printable Father’s Day 3D Monkey Card
    This one comes with a free template and simple instructions from SwagGrabber. It's better for younger kids who just need to glue pieces together. Mom may need to help cut out the monkeys. Video tutorial.

  6. All About My Dad Free Printable Questionnaire
    A fun and simple printable from The Keele Deal that lets kids show how much they know about their dad.

  7. Baseball Father’s Day Card
    The Soccer Mom Blog has a super cute handmade card for dads that are into baseball. I put it in the printables section because it comes with a printable template, but most of it is crafty. 

  8. “Dino-Mite” Homemade Father’s Day Card
    If Dad isn't into baseball, maybe he likes dinosaurs? Here's another homemade card in a different theme.

  9. Father’s Day Rocket Card
    This is a super fun card to make - the rocket even moves! The Printables Fairy includes a video tutorial.

  10. Father’s Day Coloring Pages
    If you have little who just want to color, these coloring pages from Cenzerely Yours are super cute.

More Ideas for Homemade Father's Day Gifts

As I mentioned yesterday, my daughter loves making handmade gifts. So to help her with ideas each year, I created a Father's Day Pinterest board with various ideas to inspire her.

Some of my favorite ideas for handmade gifts for dad from this board are:
  • A shadowbox with images and items that reflect dad's personality, likes, hobbies, work, and more.
  • A book of coupons with treats, chores, and activities the kids will do for/with dad. (Foot massage, take out the trash, clean out/wash his car, read to dad, make dad's favorite dessert, etc.)
  • The favorite Backrub T-Shirt!
  • A handmade pencil holder
  • A terrarium for nature-loving dads like my husband
All of these ideas you can find on my Pinterest board. And if I'm missing something really cool, be sure to tell me! I'm always on the lookout for ideas for my daughter. :)

Happy crafting!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

5 Gift Ideas for Dad from Best Buy this Father's Day

This is a sponsored post.

In two weeks, we'll be celebrating Father's Day. I've been busy wracking my brain for gifts. Tomorrow I'll be sharing ideas for handmade gifts your kids can make to celebrate dad, but if your kids are older and/or maybe not into crafting, then perhaps you might prefer to think about what gifts you can buy for papi. 

My daughter likes to make handmade gifts, but my son not so much. So we decided to review the Gift Center that Best Buy has set up for Father's Day this year.  We quickly decided that the best category that fit dad best was the Fitness Fanatic because despite the fact that we're all getting older and our bodies no longer do everything we'd like them to without complaining, my husband is pretty physical and loves sports, camping, hiking and other activities that take him outside.

The Best Buy Gift Center is set up with the following categories:

Gizmo Guru  The dad that always wants to take his tech to the next level with the latest and greatest – always connected, at home and on the go.

Entertainer – The dad who aspires to set up the ultimate man cave complete with gaming, sports, movies, listing to music, or just hanging out.
Fitness Fanatic  The dad who doesn’t let age slow him down.  He has no fear and loves adventure, but aspires to be/keep healthy as well.

Memory Maker  The Dad that makes sure that not only all the memories are captured and stored (video/photo) but keeps the family organized and under control.

Five of my favorite gifts for dads are:

GoPro - Hero3+ Black Edition Camera - 

(Can you tell I really want this for my family? It was on my short list for Mother's Day, too.) We're talking heavy duty, people. Waterproof, auto low light mode, wide angle know. All those things you need when you have kids who like to go on adventures with you. You can shoot pictures or videos with this baby. I can't imagine any dad not liking this gift.

Apple TV - $93 (on sale)

Just connect to the Internet and stream movies, listen to music, and access a wide variety of other content. We'd watch educational shows, of course!

Stone Bake Pizza Oven - $80

Because daddy can cook, too! Really. You can, Honey. This one even cooks frozen and fresh pizzas.

InvisibleSHIELD Glass Screen Protector for Samsung Galaxy S 5 Cell Phones
 - $40

Because my husband is fire on cell phones. He has a physically demanding job and is always dropping/scratching/chipping his phone. Really, ANY screen protector is great for whichever type of phone your husband has. (This is my favorite gift under $50, but I also really like the Cobra - 16-Mile 22-Channel FRS/GMRS 2-Way Radios on sale for $29.)

Epson - PowerLite Home Cinema 2030 2D/3D 1080p 3LCD Projector

 - $850

I admit it. I want this one for us all. I've always wanted to host summer movies outside at our house and invite all of our homeschooling friends over. 

If you decide to buy something online from Best Buy, don't forget to check to see if you qualify for free shipping. And remember that Best Buy has a low-price guarantee, so if you find it cheaper somewhere else, just tell them and they'll price match!

Do you love twitter parties? Best Buy is hosting two Father's Day Twitter Parties on Thursday June 5th at 7:00pm CST and Wednesday June 11th at 11:00am CST. Feel free to join one or both of these parties for a chance to receive Best Buy gift cards and other great products. Tweet #GreatestDad with your favorite Father's Day Gift ideas from Best Buy. I'll be there!

Disclosure: I am a Best Buy Brand Ambassador and was compensated for this post. However, all opinions shared above are strictly my own.


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