Learn Through Play

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Hi!  So, recently, a few friends have asked me for some suggestions on how to “teach” early concepts to kids in a fun way…Learn through play!  So I drummed up ten of my favorites for you (and because this list took all my brain power, all below images are from Google images, minus the ones of my little)!

  1.  Muffin tins:  use liners with letters or numbers written on them. Have child throw a ping pong ball into the muffin tin to see what letter it lands on and have the child…
      1. Name the letter/number
      2. Name the sound
      3. Name a word that it starts with
      4. Find a word in a book it starts with

      (progressively get harder as child develops)Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 3.18.28 PM

  2.  Egg cartons:  complete the same types of games as mentioned for the muffin tins
  3. Tic-Tac-Toe: Use this simple game board in many ways!
  4. Twister:  Get an old (or new) Twister board and put letters/numbers in the circles (use 3×5 cards so they are interchangeable).
      • For more advanced math, have them put one foot on one circle (with numbers in them) and another on another circle and add the two numbers.
      • Teach colors and Left/Right for very young children
      • Play a fun game of Twister if it is age appropriate for you child, or if he/she is too young, just have him/her jump/hop/walk in the circles.
      • Have them toss a stone onto a circle and name the letter/number, sound, word that starts with, etc.Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 3.18.59 PM
  5.   Hopscotch- draw chalk hopscotch board with letters/numbers and have child state the letter/number they jump on, use games above as a guide.  Kinesthetic games are always good for easing boredom and encouraging learning with fun for young ones.
  6. Wand ABC- Get your child a wand or superhero stick. Have them find the ABCs using the wand to point at the letters in consecutive order.  You can use books, wall poster, newspaper, magazines or any other type of print. For more developed children, you can have them find the letters for their name, etc.
  7.  Tactile Letters-  When teaching children letters (recognition, writing, sounds, etc.) it is helpful to use different materials and have them “FEEL” the letter.  Some good materials to use for this:
      • Cut letters out of sand paper
      • ABC Pasta
      • Playdough letters
      • Use sand in a little box and have child write in the sand
      • Pipe cleaners (form letters with them)
      • Cut letters from felt
      • Try any other “cool” material
  8.  “Gone Fishing!”- this is one of Zach’s FAVORITE games.  And it is under 5 bucks!  I decided we could alter it by making it a fun learning game!  Options:
    1. Put tiny stickers on the underside of the fish so that when he “catches” the fish he will say the letter and sound (and later a word that it begins with, even later than that, he can spell words even).
    2. Put tiny stickers with numbers on the bottom
      1. Name the number
      2. “Catch” two fish and add the numbers together
      3. “Catch” two fish and say which is greater than or less than.Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 3.25.02 PM
  9.  Easter Eggs:  Cut up letters that spell a word (perhaps begin with your child’s name) and put them inside the plastic Easter eggs.  Write the word and have the child put the letters together to spell the word, like a puzzle.
  10.  Magnetic Letters-  Many use the fridge for these fun learning tools.  I, myself, prefer using dollar store cookie sheets with the letters and so do my littles.  We play “hide and seek” with the letters and the inexpensive cookie sheets make this portable and fun.


ENJOY!  And as always, feel free to comment or email!



How YOU “drawer-in”???

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Guys.  In case you aren’t a HUGE fan like me, that title was a shout out to my FAVORITE, Wendy Williams (How YOU doin’?!).  Don’t judge.  Anyway, I wanted to talk about drawer organization .  I know.  Snooze.  But seriously…


Labels included but cut out of the picture

This is where it’s at.  I’ve been known to be quite Type-A at times, and I guess this post will support that supposition ;)


Labels on the left

SO, I overhaul the boy’s dressers at least once a season. I am seeing that I will have to do G’s more often as he tends to cycle through clothing quicker than Z.  Yesterday I completed said overhaul and wanted to give you some tips:

  1.  Take everything out of the drawers and create piles (for me it is three:  Keep for current drawer, donate, save for next child)
  2. Leave SOME (a few pieces) of the last (ending) season’s clothing in the drawer for a-typical weather days, etc.
  3. Think outside the box when organizing your drawers.  I don’t put clothing in the “typical” stacking way.  Some roll to see better, I stack but keep a space down the middle so that I am able to see each item within the stacks well.
  4. Make a stack of “outfits.” I LOVE outfits that come put together. I used to put all shirts together and all pants, etc. While I still make separate pant and shirt stacks, I now do an “outfit” stack for ease and speed.


OK, so now that I’ve bored you, go take a nap (or organize your drawers)!



Bye, September! Don’t let the door hit ya!

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Not gonna lie.  SUPER happy September has come and gone because it really wasn’t my favorite, BUT with all things, we must choose to see the positive.  So here are some September highlights!


Running on the Ben Franklin Bridge sans cars thanks to the Papal visit

I completed my streak!  90 miles for September, with a literally EVEN average of 3 miles a day (not soooo shabby for no rest days and a lot of speed work, tempos, etc.)!


Big guy’s first day of school


Blue Apron dinners on fleek!


Little guy moved on to the big boy bath.


Big guy started (and LOVED) soccer lessons!


Backyard (much needed) overhaul


Big guy started drum lessons (ummmm beyond adorable)!


TONS of brotherly bonding (finally at the age for this!).

Eh.  Maybe September wasn’t TOO bad, but October…Bring it on!


Diaper. Debacle.

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OK, so this post isn’t really about potty training…if you want my “thing” on that, it is basically that when they’re ready, they’re ready. (Hopefully) No one goes to college in diapers <insert bad joke here>.  Seriously, though.  Anyway…this post isn’t about that. It IS about a “move” I wanted to share with all of you diaper insight seekers.  Guys, I’ve had so many conversations with other parents about how “at school they put the diaper on while my kid is standing up and I can’t figure out how to do it at home.”  I know.  Riveting exchange.    In all seriousness (silliness),  this is how you do it:

Your little one stands up and you kneel behind them (cav creeper and little babe audience optional)…


Open the diaper’s sticky strips and pulling your big babe closer to you to anchor the back of the diaper, secure the one strip to his/her shirt.


Then, Secure the other side (much easier because the other side is fastened already).



You’re welcome.

What are you training for?

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The answer, my friends?  Nada.  Nothing.  Zero.  Zilch.



Well, I normally LOVE racing.  And I am sure I will eventually love it again (in fact, my fingers are itching as I type to google some upcoming local races) however, having two kids now, the sport of running has changed its shape a bit for me. Basically, I get what I can, WHEN I can, and simply cannot rely on a training plan to prepare for a race.  I tend to injure easily and so being PHYSICALLY (and mentally) prepared for a race is so important.

Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 9.39.14 AM

When one of my littles is so young, it is just too hard to formally train for a race.  The one component that is too variable is the LONG RUN.  In order to successfully train for my favorite distance (either a 10-miler or half mary), I HAVE to get one long run a week (at LEAST 10 miles) and I simply cannot count on  that.  So, yes, I am running DAILY still (#septemberstreak) and running a ton.  Along with this my running is varied (outside, inside tread, tempos, speedwork, etc.) but the long run is lacking :(

Why is the long run so important?

Mental Strength.  Physical Strength.  Fueling practice.  Endurance practice.

Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 3.07.41 PM

So, I will be back to racing soon, but for now, I am going to continue reaping the benefits of running “for the run of it!”  Join me!