Tips for Creating a Great Play Room for a Child

If you are lucky enough to have some extra space in your home to dedicate to a play area for your child, we have some suggestions for you on how to make it great! The early years of a child’s life include a significant amount of brain development, so you want to make sure they are using their imaginations and have an enjoyable environment to develop their talents. Making sure they have a safe place to do this is essential. Here is how to get started:

You Must Be This Tall to Play

No matter the size of the room, there is something you can do to improve it for your child’s use. The most important thing to think about when the child enters the room is ease of use. Smaller chairs and tables, as well as fun colors and decor, will help set the stage and let them know that this is a space made for fun. Keep shelves lower and storage easily accessible, so whatever they take out can also be placed back there by them. This teaches them their first chores and responsibilities while simultaneously helping you out with clean up!

Let Creativity Flow

If your child has a particular hobby or interest, be sure to supply them with what they need to develop it. Whether it is art, photography, or books, be sure to create a little area for them to spend time creating and reading about new things. Provide books, a desk area, and arts and crafts supplies so they can let their imaginations run wild. Use a wall for displaying their work and create a safe spot for them to pause their progress until the next day. Knowing when to clean up items and leave them alone will not only show your child that you trust them, but it will let them know that you respect their space as well.

Sharing Is Caring

Finally, keep in mind that although they may spend a lot of time using this area as their own personal space, there are going to be times when they are going to want to share in it with others. This may include you, other family members, or friends. Be sure there is sufficient space not only for your child to play independently but for them to share the space and play well with others.

Have you created a play space before in your home? What do you feel are crucial elements of it? Let us know below in the comment section.

Fun Summer Activities for Your Kids | Part Two

Summertime is right around the corner, and your children are probably looking forward to enjoying the outdoors. You want your children to remember all the great activities that they participated in during their childhood because this is a crucial part of their lives where activities can help them develop. Today, we are going to look at three summer activities you can do with your child to help get them outside and enjoying the Arizona warmth:

Beaches

Do not forget to bring sunscreen! The simplicity of the beach will allow their imagination to become more powerful. Your children love the beach and the opportunity to explore a new atmosphere. You do not need to bring much to enjoy the beauty this landscape has to offer. Bring some beach towels, frisbees, buckets, shovels and maybe some beachballs. Come up with some fun games or ideas for the day. If you plan on staying long, do not forget to pack snacks to eat throughout the day.

Farmer’s Market

The farmer’s market is a perfect place to help children adapt socially. They are not too crowded but go through simple skillsets of interacting in groups. Allow your kids to help with some shopping. Plus, this is an opportunity the children can be taught to say “please” and “thank you.” With the farmer’s market, you will be able to get out of the house and enjoy the sun.

Crafts

Creativity is powerful and can help the mind grow. Let your child explore their artsy side with crafts. Some outdoor crafts can be as simple as chalk drawings in the driveway. This can let your child enjoy the weather of the summer and still be crafty. Painting rocks, building a kite, and helping in the garden can all be different ways to explore creativity in your child’s life. You can even allow your kids to build their own boats and take them to water to see if they float for two summer activities combined!

Spending time outdoors this summer with your kids is essential. While children take a mental break from school, it is never time to stop developing. Remember to expand your children’s adventurous side and creativity levels by adding outdoor family fun into the plans. Make sure to check out the last part of the series to get some more fun ideas!

Fun Summer Activities for Your Kids | Part One

Every season comes with fun, entertaining activities for friends and family to enjoy. Since summer gives us longer days and more time to enjoy outside, it is always fun to find new activities and games for the kids. At Fulton Homes, we understand that childhood is a significant time in a kid’s life to explore different sports and hobbies and find their interests. To help you make the most of summer, here are the top summer activities your children should try:

Sports

Getting your children active in different sports can help develop teamwork skills. Children working towards a common goal will help with problem-solving as well. Your child can also discover that practicing a particular sport can help develop skills in life. Whether baseball, soccer, or swimming, your child will experience growth through training and practice. This can also help your child discover what they like and do not like. Plus, sports can also be a great physical activity to keep children from living sedentary lifestyles.

Water Games

Kids love water games, and in Arizona, the summers can be hot! From sprinklers to water balloon fights, water games are a blast that the whole family can enjoy. Plus, water games will help your child experience the outdoor environment more. You can invest in a slip-n-slide or go to a nearby water park. These types of activities are fun, bonding time and let your child explore many different water activities like water slides and diving boards to stay cool during the hot Arizona days.

Parks

Today, children spend much of their time indoors and have little motivation to go outside the home. Taking your children to a park has many benefits. They usually are free admission and can allow your children to explore. Plus, exploring can help with mental development. This time will help with developing a relationship with your children as you hike, explore, and create an adventure together.

Summertime is a crucial time for children to enjoy while away from school. Finding diverse activities can help your child not only socially develop but physically and mentally as well. Make sure to have fun and let your child be creative. For more ideas and adventures, make sure to check out the rest of our Summer Activities series.

Homework Central Approaches

DSC_0184 (1)What can you do to help facilitate your children’s attention to homework? There are a number of approaches suggested, ranging from insisting that homework be finished immediately after school and parents keeping close track, to a more hands-off style where you expect the child to stay on top of it or suffer the consequences in school. Most parents fall somewhere in the middle.

There are things you can do to make the homework process easier without taking a “homework police” role. Here are a few suggestions.

Help each child create a test and homework calendar. Different classes could be designated by color, and milestones set for larger projects. This way both of you can keep up with what is due when, and “Have you checked your calendar” seems friendlier than “Did you do your homework yet?”

Designate a homework location in your home, complete with desk, office supplies, and a computer if needed. In this teen room located in the O’Connor model at Legacy, the desk provides good lighting, room for a laptop, and drawers and cupboards for books or knapsacks. You could add some office features such as in-and-out boxes, and there’s even room for a printer. With just a few additions, you can create a special “homework central” so that everything is ready whenever your child is.

To make it feel even more like a personal office, you could replace the artwork with a bulletin board and pin the current month’s calendar to it. Providing the opportunity to be organized makes the entire homework process easier and more enjoyable.

Finally, a few simple rewards such as a snack waiting when homework is done provide an extra incentive to finish and get to more fun activities.

 

Getting Ready for Halloween – Children’s Party

22259324_S Planning and hosting a children’s Halloween party – either in tandem with or instead of trick-or-treating – can be fun for everyone. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Match scary to size. If the party features a younger bunch – under eight – keep the spooky to a minimum. Older ones look forward to being scared.

Take a look at the two very different Halloween tables below. One is for the littlest bunch, with non-threatening pumpkins and unrealistic gummy worms. The main goal at these parties is to maximize the fun and minimize the crying. Activities such as decorating their own fake pumpkins with plenty of glitter glue, a trick-or-treat adventure inside the house by having them go to every door – including closets if possible – and picking up different candies and prizes given by adults or older children, and pinning the broom on the witch are good ways to make the party special.

15012950_SNow let’s consider the older ones – ten years old through pre-teen. These children are hoping to be scared silly. This is the time to pull out the jars of peeled grapes as eyeballs, oily spaghetti as people innards, and any other combinations you and your kids can discover. Ghost stories are always a hit, and go wild with your Halloween table. Blood soup with more realistic gummy worms combined with a real-looking non-alcoholic Bloody Mary provides snacks that can make them shiver.

22629576_SOnce they hit the teen years, it’s pretty hard to scare them. You might want to organize a trip to one of the local haunted houses and leave the frights to the professionals. Hand out several digital cameras, or encourage photos with their camera phones. Then round them up and bring them back for some hearty late-night munchies and a chance to laugh and compare notes on the experience and the photos.

Whatever the age, be sure to include a nice variety of Halloween candy – you’re never too young or too old to enjoy the tricks and treats of Halloween.

Helping the Teacher Teach your Child – Grammar

10611940_SFor most students, grammar in school is tedious and confusing. But good grammar has a significant impact on your child’s potential for success in the future. Bad grammar is like cursing: you don’t notice it when it’s not there, but it’s painfully obvious when it is.

While you don’t want to have to diagram a sentence with your child, you have an invaluable chance to make sure your child speaks properly. Don’t expect teachers to manage this on their own. You can make a big difference. If your child is having some problems in this area, here are some ideas to encourage good grammar.

Correct grammar mistakes immediately and without judgment. Bad grammar is a combination of ignorance and habit. Over time, your reminders will sink in, but it’s important to make your tone reminding rather than critical. It’s hard for a child, or anyone, to face corrective feedback, so keep your tone light. Also, don’t correct in front of friends or anyone other than immediate family. The goal is learning, not humiliation.

After a while, ask for the correct grammar, don’t give it. At first, it’s your job to provide the correct response, but over time your child will know the answer, so have them say it out loud. It will strengthen the lesson.

Explain why correct grammar is so important. Even the best ideas can get lost if the speaker distracts with bad grammar. It also damages credibility and is seen as evidence of lack of intelligence. It can also hold people back from opportunities they deserve. In school, good grammar can make the difference between good grades and mediocre ones.

Keep a grammar handbook handy. Strunk & White’s Elements of Style is a short classic that has virtually everything you need to check for proper grammar. It is available for less than $5.00 at any bookstore. Or you may want to browse the grammar books and help your child choose one that is appealing or understandable. You can also access grammar information online.

Written and spoken words can have power, or can compromise a person’s goals. Good grammar is more than a set of seemingly arbitrary rules; it provides a basic step in building strong communication skills.

Helping the Teacher Teach your Child – Homework

14980249_SIt can be a challenge as a parent to decide how much to help your child with homework assignments. Ignoring homework and expecting your child to be responsible on his or her own often demands more responsibility than a small child can handle. However, it’s easy to end up doing too much for a child, limiting their ability to develop skills and personal focus.

The best place to start when deciding your role with your child’s homework is with the teacher. Every educator has a different perspective on homework and parent involvement. Speak directly with the teacher about his or her expectations and goals. This allows you to support the teacher’s efforts and your child’s learning. Here are a few general suggestions:

Set a schedule for homework: After a short break and snack, homework should happen if possible before dinner or early in the evening. Delay – a common tactic – just makes the process harder as bedtime grows closer. It’s also a good lesson to focus on work before play. Have them complete homework from hardest – while they’re fresh – to easiest.

Do your homework too: If you read, balance your bank account or pay bills while your children work on their homework, it helps them to see that even grownups have responsibilities. It’s also hard for a child to do homework when parents or siblings are having fun. Use homework time as an opportunity for the whole family to complete projects.

Keep it quiet: No television or loud music, even if your teen says he or she can study better with it. Find some soft instrumentals, recordings of nature noises or mellow classical pieces to provide a relaxing background if you like.

Provide guidance, not answers: The goal of homework is practice on what was taught in class or to give the opportunity to apply learning to new problems. Ask questions and go through the textbook and instructions with your child. This is more time-consuming, but you’re helping your child learn to think, as well as teaching that you won’t supply answers, just support.

Homework can be challenging but it can also be rewarding. Encouraging your child or children can help them discover the pleasure of solving problems on their own and finding answers without help, skills that will serve them well as they grow.

Help Your Child Get Ready for School

15192775_MAfter an entire summer off, heading back to school can be a tough transition. Changes that you start making now can make the process easier for you and your children. Try some of these ideas:

Adjust their sleep schedules: Take the next few weeks to slowly get everyone used to going to bed and getting up earlier, until your family is on the school schedule.

Start a breakfast habit: Studies show that children who start school with a good breakfast, including a combination of protein and good carbohydrates such as fruit, stay focused and do better in school. Experiment with different breakfasts until you have a menu of choices that everyone enjoys.

Make space for homework: If you haven’t done this already, set aside a place for every child to organize their books and assignments. If you have one of the Fulton drop centers, it provides a perfect place to set up everything needed for the next day so nothing is forgotten in the morning. As children get older, desks and file cabinets in their rooms provide a central place to track schoolwork. A calendar – either paper or on a computer or tablet – can help them track when assignments are due.

Build a reference library: Although you can find many resources online, having a dictionary, thesaurus and grammar handbook handy encourages your children to look things up as needed. If you know what books they’ll be reading in school, you might want to pick up some of them so they are ready when needed.

Plan an end of summer event: A party or family gathering to wrap up the summer can help prepare everyone for the upcoming change. You could have some fun school supplies as favors and backpacks ready to fill. This will encourage everyone to look forward to the start of school, not just the parents.

Planning a Special Party for your Tween

18898512_MIt can be difficult planning parties for children who are too old for children’s games – or think they are – but are still too young to attend or host a typical teen party. Try these suggestions:

Separate boys and girls: During the pre-teen years, maturity level and interests are noticeably different between the sexes. With some exceptions, most children will prefer to socialize with those of their own sex at this age. If you want a coed party, choose a structured activity such as bowling or Laser tag to allow them to interact with less awkwardness.

Involve your child in the planning: Children at this age are starting to be aware of what activities, music or other party elements their friends will think are “cool” or “lame.” By planning the party in the company with your child and possibly a friend or two, you can avoid embarrassing your child more than you’re starting to do just by existing.

3239601_SPlan a single strong activity to make the party special: For girls, you could hire a photographer and provide dress up clothes such as boas, hats and jewelry for “glamour” shots. Boys and girls would appreciate a chance to practice skills at favorite sports with a local coach who knows how to work well with tweens. Or you could schedule a contest using a WII or some similar game console with prizes for good performance at the various games.

Keep snacks simple: Food takes second place to doing things, but the guests will get hungry. Pizza, hot dogs, and a combination of easy snacks such as nuts or chips will work well. Be sure to include one or two more healthful options as a good example at least.

This is a great age for socializing. They’re starting to want to act like adults but they will still relax and have fun if you find things that engage them. Create the right party environment, and they will have a great time!

Planning a special children’s party

5760630_SYou don’t have to spend a fortune to organize a special party for children. Planning and creativity can make any party something to remember. Here are a few suggestions:

Choose a theme: Current children’s movies often offer a full selection of paper products such as plates, cups and centerpieces, but don’t limit yourself to these options. For example, a “Toy Story” theme could feature actual character dolls – smaller ones to decorate a cake, and larger ones to serve as a centerpiece.

Plan activities: To keep the energy going, set up a series of games and activities. Here in the Southwest, a piñata provides a great way to get every child involved. Be sure to make it harder to hit the piñata at first, so that every child has a chance to take a hit. Other games could include relay races and, for older children, a treasure hunt. You may want to mix active games with quieter ones. Be prepared to explain the rules and process for each activity, and encourage your little host or hostess to give everyone the opportunity to play.

Stick with finger foods: Pizza fingers are easier to manage than full slices, and sandwiches are tidier than fried chicken. Offer a variety of kid-friendly options. For dessert, consider cupcakes or cookies.

Plan for parents: If you are inviting the parents to stay have an assortment of drinks and appetizers ready for them. You may want to encourage them to bring cameras to document the party, with photos that can be shared later. Clearly define a time for the party to end, for the benefit of parents who drop their child off at your home.

Prizes for everyone: Children who aren’t as good at games should leave with prizes and treats also. Goody bags filled with small packages of candy and an assortment of inexpensive toys are a nice way to wrap up the day.

Above all, remember that children may come prepared to have fun, but could still be shy and unsure in a social setting. Pay attention to the wallflowers and encourage them to get involved in the games and play. With this approach and your careful planning, everyone will have a terrific time!