Big Hands, Crafts, Everyday Life, Little Hands, Two Legged Fun

Read for Treats! Printable Reward Chart

Reading Rewards Game Board_Free Printable Reward Chart

Summer is fast upon us and one thing I want to work on during the break from school is the kids reading.  They both love the routine we have gotten into of us reading to them each night, but I also want to help encourage their own reading progress.  I have ordered some beginning levelled readers for my daughter and a few new chapter books that I thought would interest my son, then came up with a fun reward system that has them excited to read daily.

Reading Rewards Game Board_Free Printable Reward Chart

My children like frozen treats in all shapes and forms, so when it came to coming up with a reward system for their summer reading it only made sense to use ice cream and frozen drinks.  A lot of these I would likely be treating them to and buying anyways, but this way they are earning them and can feel a sense of accomplishment as they enjoy them.

Reading Rewards Game Board_Free Printable

I looked through several different summer reading tracking ideas on Pinterest, and settled on the idea of making it look like a boardgame.  I liked the idea of having that visual tracking as they work towards their goal, and I know a boardgame is something fun and simple they understand.  My 8 year old son is also highly competitive and I know he is the one we will have issues getting to read, so having both kids on the same gameboard will encourage him to keep up with his younger sister.

Reading Rewards Game Board_Free Printable

For the physical gameboard, I wanted something magnetic to hang on the wall and stick my pieces to.  My initial thought was to use a cookie sheet from the dollarstore, but I was happy to come across this inexpensive whiteboard at Miniso that I knew I could cover and provide that magnetic surface for my game pieces.  I have also seen similar magnetic whiteboards at the dollar stores if Miniso is not an option.

Reading Rewards Game Board_Free Printable

Using a template boardgame from Tim’s Printables, I fit it to the size of my board and drew on some ice cream treats and added color to give it more of a Candyland type vibe.  Once designed, I printed it out in color on 100lb cardstock and had it laminated for durability.  I was planning to use rubber cement to adhere it to the magnetic board, but lucked out and, since it was sized to fit, I was able to just slip the laminated sheet into the whiteboard frame and it held securely in place.

Reading Rewards Game Board_Free Printable

If you have gone out for ice cream with the family recently, you will know that it can add up quite quickly.  I love that there are now so many different novelty forms of ice cream and treats out there, but they all come with a price.  Because of this, I decided to have two different levels of treats and alternated between inexpensive options like Slurpees and Wendy’s Frosty’s (99 cents all summer) and more gourmet options like rolled ice cream, banana splits or extreme milkshakes.  You could easily pick and choose what works best for you.

Reading Rewards Game Board_Free Printable Game Pieces

I color coded between the two different levels of treats and left the reward spaces on the board blank to let the kids pick the treat when they get to each of the blue or pink circles.  The choices were made as separate game pieces that I printed and attached to adhesive magnetic sheets to easily stick to the numbered circle spots and move around on the board as the kids see fit.

Reading Rewards Game Board_Free Printable

I decided to go with a spacing of a treat after every 5 days of reading, giving them a chance to earn up to 11 treats over the course of the 55 space board.  This should work nicely over the course of the 2 summer months.

Reading Rewards Game Board_Free Printable

For my playing pieces, I wanted a small toy or figure to represent each of my kids.  Any small toy like a Shopkin, toy car or Lego minifigure would work.  Once my kids had each selected a character from our Lego collection, I hotglued strong magnets to the backs and they were ready to stick to and move along the reward path.

Reading Rewards Game Board_Free Printable Reward Chart

We have several camping trips planned throughout the summer, so I love the portability of the board.  I plan to add a 3M command hook in the trailer to hang the board on and continue our progress while we are away from home.

Reading Rewards Game Board_Free Printable Reward Chart

This reward board could easily be adapted and used for other things besides reading.  Daily chores or even potty training progress could be tracked daily on the same board.  If you do not like my reward pieces, you can create your own set of items for your kids to work towards earning

Make your own board using the FREE printables HERE:

ReadingRewards_Gameboard

ReadingRewards_GamePieces

Do you like this idea?  What are you planning to encourage your children to keep learning this summer?  My kids were excited to see the board and are already begging to get started on earning their frozen treats.

 

 

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Everyday Life, Two Legged Fun

5 Fun Things to do with Kids at Fort Edmonton Park

5 Fun things To Do With Kids At Fort Edmonton Park

There are so many great things to love about Fort Edmonton Park.  A  visit to Fort Edmonton Park is a must-do item on our yearly Summer Bucket List and after taking the kids for the past 4 years, I think I have gotten it down to a bit of an art.  I have come to know which attractions in the park will keep the kids entertained and happy, and how to make the best use of our day at this great City of Edmonton attraction. Continue reading “5 Fun Things to do with Kids at Fort Edmonton Park”

Celebrations, Everyday Life, HOME, Two Legged Fun

Family Fun Down on the Farm

It has been a pretty great past several days at the Doll house.  After sitting around all last long weekend waiting for a sod delivery that never came, we finally got our grass on Wednesday evening and were able to get the backyard all done Thursday afternoon.  I love the grass and can’t tell you how happy I am to have the dirt covered up and finally feel like there is an end in sight to our summer long landscaping projects!

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Thursday morning was also a big day for Camden as he got to go check out his preschool classroom and meet his teacher for the first time.  He seems pretty excited to start school next week and was even a little disappointed that Keira and I were staying with him for his first day.

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Friday was my birthday.  We celebrated with a low key lunch out at Red Robin (hello free birthday burger!) and a delicious cake my husband picked up locally from Wild Earth Bakery & Cafe.  It was a delicious banana cake, coated in peanut butter buttercream with a covering of chocolate ganache.  It was also adorned with chocolate covered bacon which we were a little unsure of, but my kids both can’t seem to get enough of.

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I have been trying for the last couple weekends to get my husband to step away from the landscaping/yardwork and accompany the kids and I to the Lacombe Corn Maze.  After managing to get the sod laid Thursday and using my birthday as a bit of a manipulation tool, I convinced him to take the one hour drive south Saturday morning to visit the Kraay Family Farm and get lost in the maze.  The weather was perfect and I was happy to get some quality family time in on what could be one of the last fleeting days of warm weather.

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My husband and I had been to the corn maze several summers back and I was impressed to see how much has changed in the 10+ years since we first went.  From what I remember, the main highlight was the corn mazes and there were only a few small attractions for the kids.  Now, the corn maze seems to play second to all the playgrounds, games, rides, animals, and other kid centered attractions throughout the farm.

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There was a lot to take in, but one of the first things Camden decided to try was the giant bouncing pillows just inside the gates.  Camden had fun, but you do get bounced around pretty good if there are other jumpers nearby.

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Next up Keira led us towards the animals.  There were ducks, chickens, pot bellied pigs, a miniature donkey and some goats.  The goats have a nifty set of catwalks that go all over the animal pens and allow you to view the goats far up above your heads!

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We then took a short tour around some of the farm in a tractor drawn wagon train.  Camden was excited to point out the pumpkins turning orange in the pumpkin patch and Keira was just happy to go for a ride!

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On the drive down I was feeling a little bad about not having completed quite a few of our Summer Bucket List items, but we were able to check off a few from this outing.  Mini golf was on our list, and the farm had a great dinosaur themed course that is included with price of admission.

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And while it isn’t quite go-karting, I am counting these pedal powered karts as going go-karting on our Bucket List.  Camden was just big enough to be able to pedal them and was happy zooming past the other drivers as he made his way around the small track.

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With slides, a tire horse merry-go-round, multiple play structures, a giant sandbox and unique crooked playhouses this is one of the best play areas we have been to all summer.  There were no shortage of things to keep the kids busy and I am sure we could go back repeatedly and they would not be bored.  We had a hard time prying them away to try some of the other activities we wanted to see!

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One activity I was surprised by how much Keira enjoyed was playing in a bin full of dried corn.  I think she would have happily stayed there for hours rolling in it, digging her toes into it and running it through her hands.  There was a giant sandbox just steps away, but she was far more interested in the corn.

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After a quick hot dog lunch, we made out way over to play a few games and get ready to watch one of the twice daily pig races.  There are a couple concession stands throughout the farm as well of plenty of tables and seating if you wanted to bring in your own picnic lunch.  The farm also rents out barbeques and there are tents available for special events such as birthday parties.

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The pig races were short, but cute.  “Boss Hogg” did a good job commentating and getting the kids involved, and it was funny to see some of the pigs not too sure of where they should be running.

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Then, finally, we made our way through one of the three corn mazes.  It was a lot of walking and both kids were getting pretty pooped by the end, but my husband did a good job of not leading us too astray.  There are also clues and employees throughout the maze for those who might be completely directionally challenged!

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And we ended our trip to the farm with, what else, but ice cream!!  I think the kids would be more then happy if I built next summer’s bucket list solely on places we could go to enjoy ice cream.

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The farm and corn maze visit made for a fantastic day, but the icing on the cake was really in the evening when this happened:

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While relaxing with some drinks in the front yard, I watched how well Camden was doing riding his balance bike and decided to take the training wheels off his pedal bike to have him give it a try.  I was expecting some wobbliness and failed attempts, but what he did blew both my husband and I away.  With little more then a small push from my husband, my little guy took off pedalling his 2 wheeler like a pro.  Within minutes he was going up curbs and riding in circles like it was old hat to him!  I didn’t even have the video camera ready to catch the first try because there was no way I thought he would be able to do it that easily.

I couldn’t be prouder of my little boy and can’t think of a more wonderful way to start off being 32.  I  am looking forward to more upcoming family adventures and am excited to watch as the kids continue to grow and surprise us in the year ahead.

 

For more information on the Kraay Family Farm, be sure to check out their fantastic website or visit the Lacombe Corn Maze on Facebook.  As you can see by my many photos, there is no shortage of things to do on the farm and I would highly recommend it for anyone looking for fun activities to do with their kids in and around Central Alberta.

 

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Two Legged Fun, Uncategorized

Goin’ to the Zoo, Zoo, Zoo….

One of our Summer Bucket list items was to visit the zoo.  We have managed to complete this Bucket List item twice over, at two different and amazing zoos: The Calgary Zoo and the Edmonton Valley Zoo.

 

The Calgary Zoo

Back in June we made a weekend trip to Calgary to visit my sister.  The main purpose of the trip was to pick out the paving stones we wanted to order for our patio, but we decided to make an entire weekend of it.  I looked at other things to do with the kids in Calgary, but ended up coming back to the Calgary Zoo again because it was something we had done before and enjoyed.

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I knew the kids were going to like it, but I was still surprised by just how excited my 2 year old animal lover got over seeing all the creatures.

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I had brought our folding wagon along because I know it is a lot of walking, but my two year old was insistent on walking almost the entire zoo on her own so she could see all the animals up close.  Nothing beats seeing the excitement come over a young child when they spot an animal in one of the habitats!

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And, of course, like most of our outings this summer, there had to be ice cream.

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After our ice cream break, we headed to the back of the zoo where I was excited to see they have added on some kid friendly attractions such as a carousel, train ride and a great playground.  It was a nice break from the walking and the kids were excited to try out the rides and animal themed park.

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Camden also discovered some large rocks that he happily climbed.

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And in true little sister fashion, Keira had to get in on the climbing action too!

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The dinosaur park has been there for as long as I can remember.  I remember enjoying it as a kid, but since it is such a big zoo we have ended up skipping over it the last few visits.  This time Camden seemed pretty interested in seeing the dino’s so we decided to take a walk through the Prehistoric area where we discovered all kinds of different dinosaurs along the path.

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And, we finally got to see the penguins on our way back out.  I think Keira could have spent the entire day just watching the penguins swimming and waddling and hopping around their Penguin Plunge habitat.  I don’t blame her, this is one of my favorite parts of the Calgary Zoo now too.

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Edmonton Valley Zoo

I can’t say enough about how impressed I am with the improvements to the Edmonton Valley Zoo.  Before it didn’t even compare to the Calgary Zoo, but the new entrance and expanded facilities has it looking more and more like a “real zoo”.

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I don’t know how, but some how we managed to miss seeing the biggest animal at the zoo – Lucy the Elephant.  She must have been out when we passed by her cage and then we didn’t see her out on her walk as we made our way through the rest of the zoo.  I was a little disappointed since we didn’t get to see any elephants at the Calgary Zoo either, but there were still plenty of other amazing animals to look at.

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One thing that hasn’t changed in decades at the Edmonton zoo is the petting zoo area, now known as their Urban Farm.  Camden sat it out so he wouldn’t have to wash his hands after petting the animals, but Keira was right in there with the goats, sheep, ponies and chickens.  This kid really has no fear when it comes to animals and I love seeing the excitement on her face and the jump in her step with each new creature she gets to come face to face with.

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Another highlight is the train that runs past the Urban Farm and through a tunnel.  It is a short ride, but the kids love it and there always seems to be a pretty good line-up to get on the train.  I also love that this attraction is now included with admission, whereas we had to buy tickets to ride the similar train at the Calgary Zoo.

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And I must say the Edmonton Zoo has Calgary Zoo beat hands down for ice cream selection.  They have a concession stand dedicated solely to frozen treats where you can find any kind of popsicle or hard ice cream flavor you could ever want.  Camden was pretty darn excited to pick out a Sonic popsicle complete with gumball eyes!

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In the newer area of the Valley Zoo is a whole section of rocks and tunnels meant to be climbed through and explored.  It made it a little hard to keep track of my two kids, but they had a great time.  I particularly liked the giant beaver house the kids could walk right into.

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Although they were two different trips, there were many common elements that made for a fun day.   For my kids you seem to be guaranteed a good time if there are interesting animals, a train ride, big things to climb on and ice cream!

And the marker of a good time for me?  Two happy, sleeping kids in the backseat after both visits!