5 Reasons For A Tea Party

Have you had a tea party with your kids lately?

I’m not even necessarily talking about big floppy hats, pearls, or over-sized fancy dresses, but some of my favorite childhood memories are wrapped up in those details.

I’m just talking about a simple playroom tea party: making tea, having some cookies/crackers out, and encouraging your kids to use little cups and plates and talk about all things tea time.


Playroom Tea Party


Here are 5 reasons why we have a tea party at least once a week:

1) My kids will drink TEA with a little cream in it and that excites me for some reason.

2) I feel like we are having old-fashioned fun, and making memories that will last.

3) We talk in British accents and say “Cheers!”


Tea Party Cheers


4) We talk about table manners and what is “proper” for when it is appropriate.

5) The tea party experience gives my kids something to imitate when they play by themselves.  I love to hear my two year old say “Here is your tea, but blow on it first because it is hot hot!”

Don’t you feel like some of the things that we did as children are forgotten?  I want to hold on to those pure, precious memories that made my childhood so meaningful.

My Kids Watch TV – Mommy Teacher Spotlight

For the last couple years I always sat back amazed at my sister Becca who would dissolve problems between our oldest children who are not even two days apart in age.

When our kids would fight over a toy she would start singing “You can take a turn, and then I’ll give it back” and they would almost immediately jump in singing and taking turns became a game.

When they got mad she would start singing “If you’re feeling mad and you want to roar… take a deep breath and count to four – 1 -2 -3- 4.” And they calmed down and started counting.

When we were about to leave the park she would sing, “It’s almost time to go, so choose one more thing to do. That was fun and now we’re through.”

I learned techniques similar to this in my under-grad and my teaching experience so I always sat back amazed that she would handle guidance in such an age-approriate way!

After about six months of enjoying her little songs, we finally discovered “Daniel Tiger” (The PBS TV show)  I finally made the connection, calling my sister on the phone saying, “BECCA! Hahah I am just now figuring it out!  I love it!  You stole (“borrowed”) those guidance techniques from the show – you are so smart!”

It’s funny because experts help write kid-friendly series to make them educational and some people treat TV like it is the devil. Or, you feel like you are a bad parent if your kids watch TV – NOT TRUE!  There are plenty of shows (especially on PBS kids) that are beneficial for kids – especially when you watch them, pause them, discuss them, dialogue with your kids about them, and even use some of the same tips in your parenting.

I tell Sean Patrick all the time not to take things out of someone else’s hands because he doesn’t want to be a swiper (Dora).


Swiper No Swiping


Or if he wants all the toys to himself I tell him to share like Jake not to be greedy like Captain Hook (Jake and the Neverland Pirates)


Don't be Greedy


Here is a guidance song that I didn’t know as well, but it is something we experience every day with our little ones:

And here is another on feelings:

Are there any quotes/songs from TV shows your kids watch that have helped your parenting?

Happy Mardi Gras!

The weather on this Mardi Gras Day is anything but parade-friendly.

It’s cold, wet, and icy; which is NOT what we are used to Down here in Louisiana!

So, the Mardi Gras activity pack that I made for my young kids is coming in handy!!!

Here is a glimpse from my TpT store 🙂


The Mommy Teacher Mardi Gras Activities on TPT


The packet has a mask template, a king cake shape puzzle (that can also function like a game board), and a bead necklace pattern template.

You can get it here at this link: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Mardi-Gras-Activities-with-mask-template-1133280

Or, if you are a member, I am adding it now. 🙂

A friend of mine took a picture of her little one eating king cake while doing the king cake activity and it made my day:


Mardi Gras King Cake Activity


Enjoy!

Room Rating – Operation: Clean Up!

So this happened…


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Which was then followed by a few impulse buys…

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…and a complete new behavior modification system to discourage future closet explosions.

I introduce to you…

The Room Rating

(located right outside of their bedroom door for those times when it is so messy I can’t even walk into it)

Green:  Mommy approves!

Yellow:  Slightly messy.  You will have to clean it before bed.

Red:  Total wreck.  You may not come out of your room until it is clean.

or, according to my husband,

Green:  Mommy approves!

Yellow:  Daddy approves!

Red:  Just shut the door.



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I was looking for a dry erase board to put on my clipboard, but found this doodle pad instead! And then I thought that this is pretty genius so I don’t have to leave a marker within reach of the kids… I’d definitely have another mess to clean up!  I used Command strips to secure it to the clipboard.

Check back in with me in a week and let’s see if we stick to this!  So far, the kids are excited about trying to keep it on green!  Green = Clean!  Say it with me!  Green = Clean!



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Everything is nice and neat, and labeled by size and article of clothing so that they can read the tags on their clothes to determine who they belong to.  Once they are sorted, they know exactly where they need to go!  Definitely encouraging some independence (and help around the house) here!

4T, 5T, XS = L’s clothes

6+, S+ = J’s clothes

Oh, and another thing new we’re trying?  Bins for BIG TOYS and bins for small toys.

No more organizing by type of toy for us.  It was just taking way too long to clean.  The new rule is that if it is larger than your hand, it goes in the bin for BIG TOYS.  If it is smaller than your hand, it goes in the bin for small toys.



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And BONUS x 2!  All these labels are GREAT for increasing print awareness for my 4 year old and encouraging reading for my 6 year old!

Mommy Teacher Spotlight: Little Free Library

By:  Erin Walker



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I read about Little Free Libraries in a local newspaper and fell in love with the idea. The basic concept is that a Little Free Library belongs to the community, and anyone can take or donate a book. When you’re finished with the book you can return it to any LFL location around the world or pass it on to a friend.

The first decision was where to put it. People locate their LFLs near their church, school, home, or place of business. We decided to place ours in our front yard because our house is located at the entrance of our neighborhood and faces a street with lots of pedestrian traffic, so we thought our Little Free Library would be used by neighbors and passersby. Having it at our house also makes it easy to maintain, and it’s fun check out the latest activity!

Next, the design: there are so many possibilities for how to design your library! You can buy a pre-made one from littlefreelibrary.org, use their plans to make your own, or create your own unique design. My dad built ours from plans on the LFL website and painted it to look like our house.

Choosing books: some LFLs have a specific theme, like children’s books or hobby books, but we live in an eclectic neighborhood with young families, retirees, college professors, and lots of college students walking by, so we filled our LFL with a variety of books. We included novels, travel books, hobby books, children’s books, etc. We’ll keep an eye out for what kinds of books people seem to like and try to stock more of those types of books. We’re also planning to have a party to invite friends and neighbors to visit our LFL and bring a buck and a book to help keep it stocked.

Before placing the books in our LFL we imprinted each one with our special LFL seal (ordered from http://www.littlefreelibrary.org) so that when the books are passed on people can see where they came from. We couldn’t imprint the thick pages of children’s board books, so we just placed a sticker inside those.

We also placed a notebook in our LFL for people to write comments, suggestions, reviews, and requests.  Reading the notebook is a fun way to feel connected to the people who enjoy our LFL.



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To teach people about our LFL we posted our LFL plaque and some basic instructions, and I printed fliers with more detailed instructions and placed them inside the library for those who wanted to know more.

We also registered it at LittleFreeLibrary.org so people can search for it.

During the installation several neighbors stopped by to ask what it was and offer to donate books.



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A few hours later we went outside to admire our LFL and noticed that someone had already donated a book!  It’s exciting to walk outside and see what people have taken from and added to the library. I’m looking forward to when my son is old enough to choose books to donate to and borrow from the library. For now he just has fun opening and closing the door.



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If you’re in the Baton Rouge area stop by or visit our Facebook page at Walker Little Free Library.

Erin Walker is a teacher, Industrial/Organizational Psychologist, and soon to be stay at home mom. She earned her B.S. in Psychology and Sociology from Louisiana State University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from University of South Florida. She’s taught at University of South Florida in Tampa, FL; Saint Joseph’s School in Shreveport, LA; and Catholic High School, Saint Joseph’s Academy, and Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA. She currently works as a Selection Consultant in the telecommunications industry. She lives with her husband, 15 month old son, and two dogs, and is expecting a baby girl in July. She very occasionally blogs at firstyoumakearoux.typepad.com.



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