Mama’s Moodlifters Cards: review

Disclaimer: I was given a set of cards in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Do you ever have one of “those” days when everything explodes into chaos? No, me neither. But if you ever were in need of something to lift your mood, these cards are the cutest.

Mama's MoodLifter Cards review

 

Mama’s Moodlifters Cards are a set of cards with fun play ideas to shift the mood of your day. Each card has a super cute play idea—wrap your baby like a burrito and gobble him up, make funny faces, create funny “toasts” to each other, dance the “blues” away, and more—plus an inspirational quotation. Let me just say, I was sold with the idea of a baby-burrito. What could be more fun than throwing pillows and stuffed animals on a blanket and rolling your toddler (or 7 year old) up into a blanket burrito and pretending to eat him!

Mama's MoodLifter Cards review

Or for those days when I’m really scrambling for a moment, just one minute to regather my scattered thoughts, I’ll send them off with one of the ideas. It does lift my mood to hear them hysterically giggling in the bathroom as they make funny faces in the mirror. Then, of course, I get to see the “prize” faces, the funniest faces they could come up with, and we all get a good giggle.

Mama's MoodLifters review

It’s such a cute idea, and a real help. I’m not always good about thinking of creative things to play with my kids, but another reason I love them is that they help me to embrace my kids in those hard moments rather than push them away. They also make great “rainy day” ideas!

A set comes with 32 cards—32 fun ideas and inspirations—in a cotton drawstring pouch for $17. They are a fun gift idea for moms, too, especially with Mother’s Day approaching (*wink*). Visit the website to read more about the cards or to purchase your own set.

Disclaimer: I was given a set of cards in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. You can read my disclosure policy here.

Art in the Mail: Kelly Kits review

During my online holiday shopping this season, I stumbled upon a product that was an absolute God-send. Art kits that come in the mail with all the supplies included! Can anyone else say “hallelujah”?

Kelly Kits Art Review

And I’m not referring to craft kits. This is real art—sculpting, painting, drawing, collage, and printmaking—complete with a mini-lesson on a famous artist and a cross-curriculum lesson incorporating another subject. Kelly Kits are sold as a monthly subscription service (purchased monthly or annually) or in packaged kits of 5 projects. The subscription packages come with enough supplies for two projects, $9.99 a month including shipping.

But when I received our art in the mail, I’ll be honest, I was a little disappointed. It was soap-sculpting. Sculpting soap was an art project I must have skipped at least three different times last year. I had no desire to see my children make a mess with a bar of soap and butter knife. I didn’t want the tears when their tools slipped and carved into their masterpiece. And I didn’t want to end up carving for them.

So when our mail-project included a bar of soap, I was bummed. (Why not watercolor, pastels, or print-making?) And yet, it couldn’t have been more perfect to illustrate the awesome-ness of Kelly Kits. Here I was at the kitchen table with everything my kids would need for this project: two bars of soap, different sized carving tools, and templates. I had no excuse.

Kelly Kits Art review

 

Kelly Kits art review

Of course, the kids thought it was fantastic. I showed them the instructions and helped to get them started (I traced the template onto their soap for them). Then I let them get to work. They needed a little help from me but did most on their own. And they loved every moment of it. When they were done, they even carved embellishments, a face and scarf on the snowman and ornaments for the tree. Because I had everything I needed, my kids got to enjoy a project that I definitely would have continued to skip over.

Our mini artist lesson was on Michelangelo. It gave an example project to google, a brief bio, and a couple of age-appropriate discussion questions.

The bonus was a science lesson and experiment with the left-over soap shavings. We learned about molecules and surface tension.

I did the whole kit in one morning. The kids had so much fun that they couldn’t believe they had done school. Because, of course, learning about sculpting, Michelangelo, molecules, and surface tension doesn’t count as school, right?

Kelly Kits art review

If art is something you have trouble fitting in, or if you’d just like the convenience of having all you need right at your fingertips, Kelly Kits are awesome!  You just can’t beat getting art in the mail, with project supplies, instructions, and everything included.I have been super-impressed with Kelly and with her Kelly Kits. Her YouTube videos are also fantastic and really give you a good picture of what the projects include.

Check out the new Kelly Kit website and art videos, or visit her Facebook page.

Singalong Stories for “big” kids: a Music Together review

Disclaimer: I received these products for free in exchange for an honest review. I have not been compensated for a positive review and all opinions are entirely my own. 

I’m finishing up a review I started in my previous post about Music Together Singalong Stories. Last post, I wrote about how much my toddler loves these. Now, I want to highlight how these same books engage my older kids, too. Older as in 5 and nearly 7 years old.

Their favorites:

five year old Middlest—Sandpiper, Ridin’ in the Car, and She Sells Seashells (see previous review here)

six year old Oldest—All Around the Kitchen and One Little Owl (see previous review here)

The storyline of these books is set to music, so the books are intended to be sung rather than merely read. Why is that important?

I’m no expert, but I’ve seen music hold my children’s attention riveted, while they’ll fidget through a typical read-aloud. Also, it helps my pre-reader really stay engaged on her own. She has the book memorized, every note of it. I hear her in her bedroom, singing through her books all on her own. (If you have a four or five year old, you know how important those four words are.) It’s a book that she can be independent with, a book with words no less, before she’s quite ready to read it by herself.

Music Together Singalong Storybooks review

Music Together Singalong Storybooks review

Then, there’s the pictures that carry multiple little story lines of their own. Every picture is a story in itself. The illustrations keep us talking about the book, stopping mid-song to point something out, practicing counting, or simply laughing at the characters.

Music Together Singalong Storybooks review

Last, there are the suggested activities at the end of a book. And what a perfect place for those suggestions. We finish a great reading time, and then—oh, wait! It says to make up our own song verses, or act out the actions in the song, or something similar. So what happens? We start the book again, reading it through with the suggested variation. And these activities are what seals it for my oldest. He’s big enough to read on his own, but now he gets to create, to act, to become part of the story and the action. He’s learning rhyme and rhythm. He’s learning creativity, and he’s learning to explore a book rather than simply read it and close the cover.

All Around the Kitchen activities
All Around the Kitchen activities

These are valuable lessons, lessons that, even though I’m a book-lover, I don’t think I would have thought of on my own! If someone asked me what books to include in a home library for their children, these would definitely be among my recommendations. I have never encountered a set of books before that so totally engaged my children, all of them.

The Music Together Singalong Stories are available as hardbacks ($13.95) or board books ($9.95) on the website or on Amazon. Visit the website to watch a video of one of the storybooks, listen to samples of the music, and read reviews from teachers, librarians, and language experts that rave about these books. 

(Note: My five year old helped with the taking of some of these pictures so that you could see us reading together. I’ve got such great little helpers!)

Disclaimer: I received these products for free in exchange for an honest review. I have not been compensated for a positive review and all opinions are entirely my own. For more, see my disclosure policy.