Category Archives: Play

The Ginghams Visit Grandma Paper Dolls (Free!)

The Ginghams Visit Grandma (Free!)

One of my most frequently pinned posts is The Ginghams Paper Dolls (Free!). So many people remember these from their childhood and are thrilled to find them again! There is another set of paper dolls called The Ginghams Visit Grandma. These are super cute too!

The set includes the four Gingham girls as well as a Grandma paper doll. There are lots of sweet clothes and furniture to cut out as well.

And don’t forget about the Little House on the Prairie Paper Dolls! This is a fun set for pretending with Mary, Laura, Carrie, Ma … Read more »

How we ended up relaxed homeschoolers and what it looks like

How We Ended Up Relaxed Homeschoolers and What It Looks Like

I realized we were relaxed homeschoolers somewhere along the beginning of Caroline’s second grade year (this year). I had kind of wandered in the wilderness of trying to figure out how to answer the question when people would ask what kind of a homeschooler I was. This was mostly due to trying to figure out how to best teach Caroline rather than any specific philosophy I might have held before I had her.


For quite a bit of kindergarten and first grade I wondered if we were unschoolers. I think because I had to be so unstructured with her compared to … Read more »

Kindergarten, Play and Testing Obsessions

Kindergarten, Play and Testing Obsessions

Here is another great video about the importance of play for young children. This video focuses specifically on play in kindergarten.

The push to full day, academic kindergarten is such a tragedy. Expecting all children to learn to read by the end of kindergarten is simply wrong. The push for the Common Core standards is just going to make all of this that much worse. High-pressure standardized testing in early elementary is criminal. We are burning out these sweet children and will pay the price later on.

My favorite quote from the video: “Do we raise robots who can regurgitate facts and … Read more »

The Critical Importance of Play for Young Children

The Critical Importance of Play for Young Children


This thought-provoking video about the importance of play for young children is soooo good.

The need for play is one of the key reasons we have chosen to home educate Caroline. She is becoming an amazing problem solver because she has had so much unstructured time to explore and play. Playing and creating nearly every day for the past four years with TinkerToys alone has been fantastic for her. Her ability to create, think outside the box, and problem solve is so far beyond her age level.

Would she learn to adapt to little to no playtime if she was in … Read more »

Does Your Child Have Nature Deficit Disorder?

Does your child have Nature Deficit Disorder

Does your child suffer from Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD)?  I think it is a very common problem with long-term implications for today’s children.

What is NDD? explains in Nature Deficit Disorder (bold mine):

A lack of routine contact with nature may result in stunted academic and developmental growth. This unwanted side-effect of the electronic age is called Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD). The term was coined by author Richard Louv in his book Last Child in the Woods in order to explain how our societal disconnect with nature is affecting today’s children. Louv says we have entered a new era … Read more »

The Importance of Play for Small Children

The Importance of Play for Small Children

Perhaps one of the hardest decisions I’ve made as a home educating mother was the decision to let Caroline play.

Sounds silly?  I can imagine it does.

But it is hard to swim against the cultural tide that is currently obsessed with academics and performance.  Even though I believe in the importance of play for small children, I second and third and fourth guessed myself as I really backed off from most things academic and just let Caroline play.

Preschool Play or Academics?

I started off our preschool home education year with the decision to use, among several things, an inexpensive preschool curriculum … Read more »

Science and Art in the Bathtub with Crayola Color Bath Dropz

Science and Art in the Bathtub with Crayola Color Bath Dropz

I happened on Crayola Color Bath Dropz at Meijer and decided Caroline might enjoy them. I had no idea they would revolutionize bath time! We now have science and art in the bathtub!

She enjoyed playing with them, but was continually putting containers of colored water up on the edge of the tub.  She wanted to mix the colors and experiment, but I was concerned about a huge colorful mess ending up on the floor.  In a flash of genius, I grabbed the white plastic crate we use to hold all the bath toys, turned it upside down in the … Read more »

The Ginghams Paper Dolls (Free!)

The Ginghams Paper Dolls (Free!)

Here is a free download of adorable paper dolls. This link will take you to The Ginghams Paper Dolls Book in PDF format. (Also see my post on The Ginghams Visit Grandma!)

I’ve already decided that I’m not showing this to Caroline until we get all the furniture, dolls and some of the clothes cut out. David will have to do all the cutting so I need to give him time to get some of it done while she’s in bed.  But I know she will love it.

Caroline has been playing with her Little … Read more »

Creating an Indoor Sandbox for Preschoolers

Creating an indoor sandbox for preschoolers

One of Caroline’s favorite activities at the Children’s Museum is the sandbox. So far we haven’t put one outside for her, but we may look into that next spring.  In the meantime, I wanted to come up with a way she could enjoy an indoor sandbox over the winter since she enjoys it so much.

So here is my easy and inexpensive solution!

I purchased a large plastic storage box and sand at Lowe’s.  I added funnels, measuring cups and strainers purchased at Dollar Tree. I also dug out some marbles from when I was a child.

We put it on a … Read more »

Easy, Creative Fun with Do-a-Dot Paints and Books

Easy, Creative Fun with Do-a-Dot Paints and Books

This summer I introduced Do-A-Dot Rainbow Art Set Paints to Caroline. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but she LOVED them.  She’s used them regularly ever since.

I purchased a few of the books such as Do-A-Dot Discovering My World Activity Book and have been making copies of the pages that interest her. (That way the books last a lot longer and I’m within the copyright permissions in the book.) I also give her plain paper at times so she can be creative and do her own designs.

I like that they allow her to be creative without creating a … Read more »