Thursday, March 31, 2016

Pretend Popsicles Freebie

Download and create these pretend popsicles to open up your pretend ice cream shop.  It is available in color or black and white.  Combine coloring and creative play with this freebie.  

Check out all the other pretend play printables from Growing Play.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Category Hot Potato Campfire Game

Here is a fun game to play around the campfire - Category Hot Potato Game.  You will need one marshmallow for your "hot potato". Download Category Games or the Category game freebie. Cut apart the category cards.  

How to play:
1.  One person is IT and holds the marshmallow.  Pass the marshmallow to the person on the right.  
2.  Pick a category and start to pass the marshmallow to each person around the fire.
3.  The person who is IT has to think of three items related to that category before the marshmallow makes it all the way around the campfire back to him/her.

To make it harder:  pick a category and a letter.  Start with the letter A.  The person who is IT has to think of three things in the category that starts with the letter A.  For the next round move on to the letter B.

To make it easier:  pass the marshmallow around the campfire twice while you think of three items from the category.

To add in some tasty fun:  The player to the left of the person who is IT, has to eat the marshmallow to end the round.  Therefore, the person who is IT can continue to name things from the category until the marshmallow makes it around the campfire and the last person eats and swallows the entire marshmallow.  

Here are some more games to play while you sit around the campfire.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Creative Brain Series Question #3

How have you been doing with the series?  These questions make you stop and think right? Here is question #3 - Name as many things as you can that you would change about a pet to make it easier to care for.

This post is part of the Creative Brain Series from Growing Play on creativity, imagination, outside the box thinking, something quick to do while you are waiting or a boredom buster.  The series will include one question every couple of days to get children and adults to think on their feet.  There is no right or wrong answers just try to be creative.  Spend 1-2 minutes to think or just blurt out the first thing that comes to mind to share your answer.  

Here is my answer to question #3 - I would teach my dog how to open and close the door so he could let himself outside.  (Our dog barks like crazy when someone comes over.  But, he won't make a sound when he needs to go out).

Answer Creative Brain Series Question #2
Answer Creative Brain Series Question #1

Monday, March 28, 2016

Creative Brain Series Question #2

I figured I would get this Creative Brain Series going fast and furious.  Here we go with question #2 - Imagine that you are trapped in the witch’s house in the story of Hansel and Gretel. What would you do or say to escape?

This post is part of the Creative Brain Series from Growing Play on creativity, imagination, outside the box thinking, something quick to do while you are waiting or a boredom buster.  The series will include one question every couple of days to get children and adults to think on their feet. There is no right or wrong answers just try to be creative.  Spend 1-2 minutes to think or just blurt out the first thing that comes to mind to share your answer.  

My answer to question #2: Our father is a dentist, if you let us out he can fix all your cavities. (remember answer quickly - my answer is the first thing that popped into my head and then I couldn't get it out of my head!)

Write your answer in the comments.

Answer Creative Brain Series Question #1

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Creative Brain Series Question #1

Here is the first post in the Creative Brain Series from Growing Play on creativity, imagination, outside the box thinking, something quick to do while you are waiting or a boredom buster.  The series will include one question every couple of days to get children and adults to think on their feet.  There is no right or wrong answers just try to be creative.  Spend 1-2 minutes to think or just blurt out the first thing that comes to mind to share your answer.  

So here we go.... drum roll please....question #1 is - If you could create any type of vending machine, what would you sell and why?  

My answer: I would sell holograms so I could be in two places at once!

Share your answer in the comments section.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Switch It Up Drawing Game

Here is another super simple pencil and paper game to play. You can play with one person or a large group.  Everyone grab a pencil and paper.  Start by drawing one object with your dominant hand. Now it is time to switch it up and try drawing a different way.

Try drawing with:
1.  your non-dominant hand
2.  the pencil in your mouth
3.  the pencil in your toes
4.  your head upside down
5.  your eyes closed
6.  your dominant hand after you spin around in a circle 10x
7.  a super tiny pencil (use a golf pencil or smaller)
8.  a huge pencil (duct tape the pencil to a wiffle ball bat)
9.  your paper taped to the underside of a desk (Michelangelo style)
10. a round of Silly Sketches

What crazy ways can you switch it up?

Silly Sketches includes 10 drawings to create by following 6 simple directions.  There are 10 drawing starters for each silly sketch to make the activity easier if necessary.  This is suitable for one child to complete or for a group of children.  This electronic book is in black and white.

This download encourages:  drawing skills, ability to follow step by step directions, creativity, visual motor skills and visual perceptual skills.

As with all our products, the activities are reproducible to use over and over again with all the children that you teach.
Get sample game page from Silly Sketches

Remember this is an electronic book.  Following payment you will receive a link to download the book.  To purchase the Silly Sketches download for $1.99 with credit card click on the ADD TO CART button.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Do You Ever Dream of a Totally Different Life?

Some days I find myself dreaming of us all running away to live somewhere else.  It is usually a cabin in the woods.  I don't want to go alone.  I want to bring the family with me. It is just that on some days, I get tired of the hecticness that real life brings with it.  Drive here, work, meetings, homework, laundry....

In my imagination, I dream of that cozy cabin in the woods where we don't have to do any of those things (oh yeah and my toddler would be completely independent in the cabin too)!  We can read, play games, fish, explore the outdoors and no one can interrupt us.  Sounds selfish I know, but one can dream....

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Sweet or Sour Game for Car Rides

We call this game Sweet or Sour but I think it goes by other names too.  For some reason, the kids love to play this game especially if there is a friend in the car.  When a car ride gets long, the kids get tired of waiting and look for easy entertainment.  This is certainly easy entertainment.

All you do is wave to people in other cars.  If they wave back, they are SWEET.  If they don't wave back they are SOUR.  The kids keep score to see if Sweet or Sour wins the ride.

That's it!  Might sound boring to adults, but trust me kids in the 5-10 year old range seem to love it. Mix it up - if you salute someone will they salute back?  How about hang 10 sign?  Peace sign?  Thumbs up?

Waiting Games is a 22 page download of twenty games to play while on a road trip, waiting for an appointment or sitting around a campfire.  This collection of activities encourages children to develop self-regulation, creativity and communication skills while they wait.  Get more information here or add to cart below. 

To order Waiting Games for $3.99 click on the ADD TO CART button. You will receive an email with a link immediately following payment to download the book.  

Friday, March 18, 2016

How to Play Spud

Spud is definitely on my top 10 list of games to play with a large group of children in an outdoor space or indoor gym. All you need is a soft ball to toss around and one adult or child who is not playing.  To start, the person who is not playing, whispers a number into each player's ear.  If you have 8 people playing you will whisper any number between 1-10.  If you have 10 playing whisper any number between 1-12.  Once you get a number do NOT tell your number to anyone.  There will be two leftover numbers which are called ghost numbers.

One player is 'IT' and will start with the ball.  Everyone stands in a circle around the player with the ball.  The player throws the ball up into the air and calls a number. Everyone runs away unless it is your number that was called.  

If your number was called, you grab the ball as fast as you possibly can and yell "SPUD."  Once "SPUD" is yelled, everyone must stop running.  The person who grabbed the ball, takes three giant steps towards any player.  This person then throws the ball at the player and the player can NOT move their feet.  You can not throw near the player's head.  If the ball hits the player, the player gets the letter 'S'.  It the player catches the ball, the thrower get the letter 'S'.  

Now, the player who had the ball thrown at him/her is 'IT' and throws the ball in the air, calling a number, yelling "SPUD", taking the three giant steps and throwing the ball at a player.

If the person throwing the ball up calls a ghost number (no one has the number) then the thrower get a letter in SPUD.

If you spell out the word SPUD, you lose.

If you want to make it easier, just call the children's names and don't bother with the numbers.  If the children are running too far away make the boundary lines smaller where they can run.  

Head outdoors and go play SPUD!  

If you need a super, fun low prep group game for indoors try Set the Record.   The Set the Record download is a collection of 25 different finger testing, singing and physical activity challenges.  Pick a challenge and see who can set the record for the fastest, longest, most, shortest and tallest skills! Write down the top scores to keep track of who holds the records for each challenge.  Print as full size pages or smaller cards for travel size. You will need some household items to complete the challenges such as paper, pencils, coins, etc.  Download a free challenge page and try to be the fastest.

Only $1.99.  Add to the shopping cart and check out.  You will receive an email with a link to download the games immediately!

Check out all the other game ideas!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Amusement Park Boredom Buster Activity

I am soooooo excited to announce our latest freebie from Boredom Busters Volume #1.  If you have school aged kids you know that feeling when boredom sets in.  Here is a new activity pack that will absolutely be a boredom buster!  To start, check out this freebie from Volume #1 - One Minute Challenge Amusement Park.  Can you complete all the activities in under one minute?

You can download the activity from Growing Play.    

Boredom Busters Volume #1 is a HUGE download collection of 20+ activities to keep the kids busy. It includes mazes, activity challenges, puzzles, board game, quizzes, silly stories and more!  Almost all of the activities can be done with just one person!  This is not your usual puzzle book.  It is perfect for rainy days, road trips, camping, hotel downtime and anytime a child needs to unplug.  

Boredom Busters encourage: executive functioning skills, logic, memory, physical activity and more.

You can get more information here.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

5 Reasons Why Every Family Should Go Camping

I am starting to get super excited.  It is almost time to go camping here in the Northeast.  When I was a child, each year we went camping together as a family.  Now we have a camping trailer that we use each season from May through October on a beautiful lake.  Here are the 5 reasons why I recommend that every family should go camping:

1.  Less responsibility.  We have a busy household during the school year.  When we leave to go camping, I don't have to do laundry, we have minimal dishes and I plan super easy meals.  All of our lives get a little easier and less stressful.

2.   Less whining.  Our kids are never bored when we are camping.  Whether it be swimming, fishing, frogging or reading there seems to always be something to do.  The littlest ones require the least amount of entertainment when exploring the outdoors.

3.  Time to unplug.  Many campgrounds will have poor service so you have no choice but to ditch the smartphone. Many campers/RVs come with televisions.  We have a no TV or movie watching rule while camping.  We watch the campfire instead.  Instead of video games, try some games that require no equipment.  

4.  Amazing views.  Whether you go hiking, boating, exploring or just stay on your campsite you will have amazing views of your children.  To watch a child interact with nature is something no parents wants to miss.  Slow down and just watch them swim, fish or dig in the dirt.

5.  Making memories.  My entire family would agree that our best memories are when we are camping all together. Rainy days especially when we all get a little giddy and wound up from the bad weather.  Games get played for hours.  We have gone on scavenger hunts, created campfire cooking challenges and swam at midnight in the lake.  I would not trade that for any vacation!

Monday, March 14, 2016

St Patrick's Day Maze and Coloring Page

Here are 2 freebies for Saint Patrick's Day to keep the kids busy.  Follow the path to determine what numbered line leads to the shamrock or color in the shamrock coloring page.  You can download the 2 pages at

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Easter Basket Coupons

Here is an amazing FREE download to mix things up in the Easter basket.  The kids will love playing with you instead of eating candy all day.  All right, maybe they will still want to eat candy all day but... when it is gone they can use the coupons to work off all the candy they ate!

Download the FREE Springtime coupon book at Growing Play.

Monday, March 7, 2016

How to Play Sardines - The Best Group Hide and Go Seek Game EVER!

Sardines is the best group hide and go seek game ever!  It was a super fun game to play when I was a child and all of my children still play it now.  It works great outdoors or indoors.  You do need at least 4 people to play.  This is a great last minute game at birthday parties.

Here is how you play Sardines:
One person is 'IT' and he/she goes and hides.

Everyone else counts to 50.  Everyone then starts to look for the person who is hiding.  If you find him/her, you hide with them quietly.  As each person find the person who was 'it', the hiding spot gets more and more crowded.  Once everyone finds the hiding spot, the first person who found the hider is it for the next round and gets to hide first.  

I think the reason the kids enjoy it so much is because there is a hint of fear with this game.  You start out with everyone looking, but sooner or later you may be alone and the only person hunting for everyone else.  It is great childhood fun!

Need more group game ideas?  Check out Set the Record.  

Friday, March 4, 2016

10 Crazy Artwork Ideas

Are your kids getting tired of the same old artwork or craft ideas?  Give them a challenge - what is the strangest way to create artwork besides the usual drawing with a pencil or painting with a paintbrush?  Warning:  this may get a little messy! 

Here are some suggestions to get their creative juices going:

1.  Head outdoors and paint with a tree branch.
2.  Catapult paint with plastic spoons onto a big piece of paper.
3.  Roll up tinfoil into a ball and paint with it.
4.  Drawing a picture with your non dominant hand and eyes closed.
5.  Sidewalk chalk on trees inside of the driveway.
6.  Kickbox painting
7.  Melt crayons on hot rocks and leave them along a hiking trail.
8.  Sculpt with fabric
9.  Mixed Medium - add glitter, dried beans, paint, sand, sticks or whatever you find around the house to create a work of art.
10.  Vegetable Sculptures - this is a yearly contest at our county fair.  Always interesting to see what the children create.

What can your kids come up with?  Still bored?  Open up The Crayon Cafe to serve up new doodles daily!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Crayon Cafe - Combine Pretend Play with Drawing

Here is a wonderful new download that combines pretend play with drawing!  Just print and open up your restaurant. The Crayon Cafe - Fast Food Menu is a creative way to open up your very own doodle cafe.  This digital download includes three blank place mats, fast food menu, guest check, open sign, today's special board and 12 how to draw pages for all the items on the menu.  

The Crayon Cafe encourages:
writing skills

Price: $5.00

To purchase the download of The Crayon Cafe - Fast Food Menu click on the ADD TO CART button.  Following payment you will receive an email with a link to download the book.