Ideas for Learning with LEGO

posted in: LEGO | 2

 Ideas for

You know we love LEGO® in this house. We have had LEGO parties, have an amazing LEGO organizing system and gone on a scavenger hunt to find the Lion Temple. Chuck and I have always prioritized open-ended toys that require imagination over any other toys. We lean toward blocks, toy animals, art supplies…and, once they were old enough, LEGO!

While I am a huge fan of unstructured play for kids, some kids need a little bit of encouragement. Avi struggles with appropriate unstructured play and building with LEGO is a real struggle for her (and yet so good to encourage creativity!). Here are way to encourage learning and creativity with LEGO. 

LEGO Scavenger Hunt

There are so many ways to do this! 

Number hunt (find a 4×4 brick, find 3 2×6 bricks, etc).

Color hunt (for younger kids): find all the yellow pieces, red pieces, etc. Sort LEGO by color. Make a rainbow. 

Have your kids build a LEGO mosaic.

Tilly has so much fun recreating the classic LEGO logo. We created this using this book, but this link has instructions and some cute printables! 

Learning with LEGO: challenge your children to build a lay flat LEGO mosaic.

LEGO Building Challenge

We played this game at Avi and Apollo’s LEGO birthday party a couple of years ago. It was a hug  hit and I was so impressed with the pieces the kids built. You can download a free printable here

Encourage your child's creativity by using this LEGO building challenge.

LEGO Piece Guessing Game

Place a LEGO piece in front of the child. Put a handful of LEGO into a small bag or box. Have your children reach in and try to find the matching piece. This is a great sensory activity. 

Learning with LEGO: LEGO marriage proposal.

Tell a Story

Have your child tell a story with LEGO. After BEN! proposed to Adalia, Enoch reenacted the scene with LEGO pieces. This play can be extended endlessly. Kids can build scenes from history, from their favorite books, their dream vacation… 

The Upright Citizens Brigade has been using LEGO to tell stories in their improv (be sure and check out their video on YouTube). This is another great way to incorporate LEGO into your learning (especially if you have a reluctant builder).

While my kids love the themed LEGO sets  such as  the Chima Lion Temple and LEGO Friends sets, I am a huge fan of the LEGO Classic. These sets yield themselves to endless creativity. While the boxes do come with instructions for a few projects they are more ideas to launch the child, than directions. These make the perfect give for the LEGO fan (when you don’t know what sets they already own). I loved that LEGO Classic came with a couple of new colors (a mint green and lavender) that we don’t have in other sets. 

Pro Tip:

When you open a new LEGO set, always have your kids dump the pieces onto a cookie sheet. That way tiny pieces don’t get lost or knocked out of the way before you even have a chance to finish building the set. 

How do your kids play with LEGO? Do you have reluctant builders? 


I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Large Family Minimalist: How We Live with Less

posted in: Humor, Large Family | 10

The large family minimalist.

I am a minimalist by nature. Chuck commented years ago that if it were up to me we wouldn’t even have furniture…just a couple of pillows on  the floor. My response? Think of how easy it would be to clean! My friend Sara and her husband recently renovated an RV and now live in their tiny home with their two children. I’m just a wee bit jealous. Recently I was daydreaming about a minimalist lifestyle and suddenly I realized all the ways in which large families naturally live a minimalist lifestyle. Don’t believe me? Keep reading.

Large Family Minimalist. The surprising and humorous ways in which large families live with less.



The Large Family Minimalist can live with:

Minimal Supervision.

Lets face it, no parent can watch six or ten kids every moment of every day. This form of large family minimalism allows kids to have freedom to explore the world, stuff a goldfish in their wallet and wear their sister’s dresses. Want to teach independence? Have a large family.

Minimal Time in the Bathroom.

Truth: if you live in a large family you will learn to take two-minute showers, brush your teeth in 45 seconds or less and don’t fix your hair in there I need to use the toilet. This also has the bonus benefit of allowing you to use less water there by saving the environment. You also learn to be flexible about where you evacuate and how to survive on a single roll of toilet paper.

Minimal Money Spent on Haircuts. 

Not only will you learn to cut your children’s hair because who the heck is going to pay $8-10 a head for ten kids, but I can almost guarantee with less supervision (see above) your child will learn to cut their own hair

Minimal money in general. 

If you family is large enough, you too can experience less money. From smaller allowances and a nonexistent retirement, you can learn to get by on less, stock your freezer and manage hand-me-downs efficiently.

Minimal dinner leftovers.

Food and the large family. Anyone who grew up with half a dozen or more siblings can surely tell stories of there never, ever being leftovers. Years ago when we still had a small family of only 7 or 8 kids I was talking to the mother of 10 children. She was telling me about her and her husband’s weekly date night. She explained how she would buy a bag of fish sticks or chicken nuggets and tater tots, get out the calculator and divide the number of kids by the number of processed chicken and fish-like pieces. Yep, leftovers are rarely a problem in large families. On the bright side? You don’t eat mystery meal or have to deal with “Mom’s Special Casserole” at the end of the week.

Minimal Square Footage Per Person

The average family home was not built to house a dozen or more people. In a large family you learn to manage with less square footage per person. This is great prep for life in China, apartment living, or a calm, comforting padded room. In fact, as a parent of a large family you might just find yourself in a bedroom so small it fits your bed. And nothing else. I prefer to think of our room as a sleeping pod. It makes me feel ever so productive and worldly.

Minimal Pairs of Matching Socks (while simultaneously owning enough socks to start a monopod revolution).

Socks. We have no shortage of socks in this house. We have wool socks and cotton socks. Knee socks and crew socks and ankle socks. Super hero socks, sport socks and Bombas socks. The only thing we are lacking is matching socks. In a large family you quickly learn: two socks equals a pair.

So there you have it. You had no idea large families were actually minimalist, did you?

Did I miss any large family minimalist areas? Let me know in the comments. 

How to Draw Almost Everything

posted in: Homeschooling, Product Review | 2

Timberdoodle sent me a copy of How to Draw Almost Everything to review. I received no compensation for this post.How to Draw Almost Everything is a 224 page book full of simple cartoonish drawings that will delight your child.

My kids love to draw and we have an entire shelf filled with drawing books. Everything from portrait drawing to cartooning. Today I am excited to share with you a new drawing book our family has been using. 

How to Draw Almost Everything is a 224 page book full of ideas and inspiration for drawing. This is less a how-to book and more a here’s-an-idea-for-what-you-can-do book. The first few pages have recommendations for drawing supplies (always a plus) then it is on to the fun. The book is divided into color-coded sections dealing with items like: food, buildings, around the home, animals. It makes flipping to the section you want fast and easy.

How to Draw Almost Everything is a 224 page book full of simple cartoonish drawings that will delight your child.

The drawings are simple and easy to follow. There are very few words; it is basically a matter of looking at the pictures and and recreating them. I love working with colored pencils (these are our all-time favorites*) so this book was very appealing to me.

* for younger kids I love these Lyra Color Giants.

How to Draw Almost Everything is a 224 page book full of simple cartoonish drawings that will delight your child.

Many long years ago when I was young and still trying to be Laura Ingalls, I hand drew a menu board for our family. I wrote out our favorite meals and drew teeny-tiny pictures of the foods (what was I thinking? I have five kids five and under) to illustrate it. I really wish I had this book back then. 

I love the simplicity and variety of these drawings. Your kids will learn to draw everything from sea creatures to whiskey. 

How to Draw Almost Everything is a 224 page book full of simple cartoonish drawings that will delight your child.

These are my drawings on the bottom and Apollo’s on the right. 

How to Draw Almost Everything is a 224 page book full of simple cartoonish drawings that will delight your child.

Tucker chose to draw a zoo.

How to Draw Almost Everything is a 224 page book full of simple cartoonish drawings that will delight your child.

Hezekiah drew some animals, food and…whiskey.

How to Draw Almost Everything is a 224 page book full of simple cartoonish drawings that will delight your child.

I really like this How to Draw Almost Everything and am happy to have it as an addition to our drawing shelf. After just a few minutes with this book yur child will produce simple almost cartoon-like illustrations.

If they prefer portrait drawing I recommend these and if they are into actually cartooning, these ones are perfect

How do you handle art in your homeschool? It has been one of the kids favorite subjects for them and me.

Looking Towards Change with L’il Critters™

posted in: Apollo | 51

This is a sponsored post for which I’ve received free product and/or compensation, but the opinions are 100% my own.

Judah is home and Apollo is soaking up as much big brother time as possible.

Two and a half years after his referral, Apollo is finally scheduled to see a feeding therapist at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Two and a half years! At this point, we are really hoping to ditch the feeding tube entirely this summer, but we really could have used a feeding therapist back in 2013 when he was referred. I don’t know how many times I have said something has got to change in our medical system.

The only vitamins Apollo will take by mouth are L’il Critters™ Gummy Vites™

Anyway, he is now scheduled to meet with both his dietician and feeding therapist at the end of the month. In the meantime, he continues to grow as an eater. He has been getting school lunches most days. This has been way better therapy for him than his weeks of Breakfast Club. His palate and willingness to eat new foods has expanded dramatically over the past year.

You can read more about what we have been doing for the past year in this post.

Chuck brought home a huge box of peaches when he picked up Judah…I was trying to take some fun pictures of Apollo with his peach, but he wouldn’t stop eating long enough for me to get the images I wanted! 

So, what do we need to do to ditch the tube?

1. Show consistent weight gain…

This is what has been holding us up. Even though we have only used the tube for food a few times this winter, they need him to show weight gain. Not a lot of weight; they measure it by the gram, but he still hasn’t been consistent. I am really hoping at his next visit we can discuss removing it.

The only vitamins Apollo will take by mouth are L’il Critters™ Gummy Vites™

2. He needs to be able to take his vitamins orally.

Because his diet is inconsistent, Apollo’s dietician has been adamant that he takes vitamins. L’il Critters has been pleasing the palates of little humans since 1998.  The gummy texture is amazing and there is no “vitamin” taste or chalky texture. We have tried other vitamins but Apollo refuses to take anything other than L’il Critters™.  

Gummy Vites™ are gluten-free, and are made with natural fruit flavors and colors derived from fruits, vegetables and plants. This great tasting kid’s gummy vitamin helps support your children’s healthy habits. I love that they have no high fructose corn syrup and no synthetic (FD&C) dye.

L’il Critters™ Gummy Vites™ can be found at Costco, Target, Walgreens and CVS, but we usually pick ours up at Walmart. More information can be found here

The only vitamins Apollo will take by mouth are L’il Critters™ Gummy Vites™

3. Get past flu season

Seattle Children’s Hospital will only remove tubes during the summer months…not during flu season, which Apollo’s pulmonologist described as: November-April. 

The only thing I am nervous about is medicine…I feel like he eats well enough, and if he were really sick fluids can be given through an IV…but taking a dose of medicine? We haven’t given him oral medication since 2012…In preparation I have switched him to melatonin in a pill form, so he has a bit of practice swallowing (but those are tiny, and he just gets a quarter of the pill). I don’t want to let something like fear of getting him to take a hypothetical medicine get in the way of being tube-free.

We are so close…I am both anticipating and dreading his next visit to the feeding clinic. I am really hoping he will be able to start first grade tube free!

Do you kids take a daily vitamin? Do they love it or hate it? Tell me in the comments below for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card. 

This is a sponsored post for which I’ve received free product and/or compensation, but the opinions are 100% my own.

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