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President’s Day: Fun Facts and Insights for Kids

Happy President’s Day! The holiday honors two of our greatest Presidents, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Every year, the third Monday of February is set aside by the federal government to honor these men and their contributions to the nation. The celebration officially started in 1880, when Washington’s Birthday (February 22) became an official holiday in Washington, D.C. It became a national holiday in 1885. According to the federal government, the holiday’s official name is still “Washington’s Birthday and on February 22nd each year, Washington’s farewell address is still read in the United States Senate.

In 1971, Congress officially moved the holiday to the Monday closest to Washington’s actual birthday. In the 1980s, the holiday became a celebration of the birthdays of Washington and Lincoln (born February 12).

Presidents’ Day is also a good time for kids to learn about some of the great leaders of our country. Ask if your children have heard any of these interesting facts about two of the presidents whom we honor on this day, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln:

George Washington:

  • Was the first President of the United States and served from April 30, 1789 – March 4, 1797.
  • Is the only president in the nation’s history to have been unanimously elected by the Electoral College.
  • Established the two-term precedent for presidents after declining to serve a third term and retiring to his home in Virginia, called Mount Vernon.
  • Began school at age six, but left at age 15 to become a surveyor, since his mother couldn’t afford to send him to college.
  • Never had children of his own. At age 26, Washington married Martha Dandridge Curtis, who already had two children.

Abraham Lincoln:

  • Was the 16th President of the United States and served from March 4, 1861 – April 15, 1865.
  • Led the country through the American Civil War.
  • Was largely self-educated and even taught himself law.
  • Is the only president to hold a patent. He created a device that would free steamboats if they ran aground.
  • Delivered one of the most famous presidential speeches, The Gettysburg Address, on November 19, 1863. It was less than two minutes long but had a lasting impact on history!

These are some activities that kids can take part in to learn more about our presidents:

Check out some more presidential fun facts and have a Happy President’ s Day!

14 fun and easy Valentine’s Day card ideas!

Sure, you could buy the uninspired Valentine’s Day cards from your local grocery store…or you could spend a few extra minutes creating these darling Valentines! Here are 14 of our favorites. 

1.  Pencil-Heart Valentine

Because, really, can your students ever have enough pencils?

SOURCE: Bits of Everything

2. Crayon Box Treat

Ahh! The beloved smell of a fresh box of crayons.

SOURCE: Crazy Little Projects

3. Silly Straws

These will make your students cheer!

SOURCE: Kinzie’s Kreations

4. Glow-Stick Magic

Because our students light up our lives!

SOURCE: The Teacher Wife

5. Love Bugs

Love the mason jar template these little bugs come in.

SOURCE: Dandee

6. Pencil Arrows

Play Cupid and aim for your students’ hearts.

SOURCE: Remarkably Created

7. Cuties

A sweet message to go with a healthy treat.

SOURCE: The Cards We Drew

Remember, you can save a little money on your cuties by using the code TEACHERS when you choose Walmart’s Online Grocery Pickup.

8. Slinky

Tip: Buy mini-Slinky toys in bulk at the dollar store.

SOURCE: Two Thirty Five Designs

9. Crayon Hearts

This is a great project for using up all those crayon odds and ends.

SOURCE: A Sprinkle of This

10. You Rule!

Let them know: In your eyes, they measure up.

SOURCE: Relocated Living

11. Tic-Tac-Toe Fun

If you’re still trying to stay away from candy, you could use jewel stones or beads instead of M&M’s. (Just make sure you change the message!)

SOURCE: Creations by Kara

12. Foxy Pretzels

Your kids will love this foxy little valentine.

SOURCE: Pink Peppermint Design

13. Scrabble Valentine

Use Scrabble Cheez-Its (who knew?) and this template to play Valentine Words with Friends with your students.

SOURCE: Positively Splendid

14. Dinosaurs

Pick up an assorted bag of plastic dinos and some cute washi tape, and you’re good to go!

SOURCE: Kitchen Fun With My Three Sons

Send a message a love from Loveland, the love capital of the world!

Send a message of love from the love capital of the world! 

Loveland receives more than 120,000 valentines from all 50 states and 110 countries across the world through its Valentine Re-mailing Program, the largest program of its kind. A group of 50 volunteers handstamps the collector’s stamp and postmark onto each individual valentine that comes through the city. 

2020 collector’s envelope artwork, remailing program deadlines announced

The 2020 collector’s envelope artwork was designed by Corry McDowell. It includes the following verse written by Teresa Boynton: “Dan Cupid continues to play his part. Though he doesn’t text or tweet, he knows a Loveland Valentine is a sweeter treat.”

To get this special collector’s envelope artwork and the special 2020 postmark, send your pre-addressed, pre-stamped valentines in an enclosed, larger 1st Class envelope. Then send this envelope to Postmaster – Attention Valentines, 446 E. 29th St., Loveland, CO 80538-9998. Once received, valentines will be removed from the larger envelope and stamped before being re-mailed to its intended recipient. 

All U.S. mail must be received by Feb. 7, and all Colorado mail must be received by Feb. 10 to ensure delivery by Valentine’s Day. Colorado residents can drop off their valentines at the Loveland Chamber of Commerce, 5400 Stone Creek Circle, Loveland, CO 80538 or at either Loveland post office by Feb. 8. Participants are encouraged to send their valentines to Loveland as soon as possible. loveland.org

The Colorado Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” Invites You to be Part of the Magic

Duct tape. Hot glue. Gallons of paint, emergency patches, and even vodka. As you watch ballet dancers perform in The Colorado Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker, most of the costumes and sets are being held together with items you might see in a hardware store. With skillful lighting and the view from the audience, you are probably unaware that the gorgeous flouncy and dreamy costumes are more than thirty years old. 

Not only are they thirty years old, they came to Denver via the San Francisco Ballet in 2005. Imagine the athletic demands of leaping around in delicate, hand-sewn thirty-year-old clothes every day in December. Principal dancers, Chandra Kuykendall, Francisco Estevez, and Asuka Sasaki shared stories of how costume mishaps affect performances. While they are seasoned professionals who know how to handle pressure, they tell tales of fingers getting trapped in fraying threads and the Nutcracker doll breaking at inopportune moments. When you watch scenes with masked dancers, know they have to wear goggles underneath because of little bits of foam that flake off into their eyes. Mother Ginger is literally held together with painted duct tape. Kuykendall, who recently announced her retirement after this season, expressed there are sentimental attachments to the costumes and sets, but it’s time for a change. 

The Colorado Ballet has launched a campaign to raise funds for brand new costumes and sets called Go Fund the Magic. 2020 will mark the 60th-anniversary production of The Nutcracker. The hope, according to Artistic Director Gil Boggs, is that new costumes and sets will last another thirty years. With proper storage in a new climate-controlled facility, the $2.5 million investment will ensure a new generation of The Nutcracker fans will be able to enjoy high quality, deeply artistic production that remains part of a beloved holiday tradition. 

Why do tulle and sequins cost so much? Again, quality. The Colorado Ballet needs 300 hand-sewn costumes. They are to be created in five shops around the United States, including a shop here in Colorado. The current Sugarplum Fairy costume, for example, cost $7,000. Seeing it close, the detail and care in construction is stunning. Likewise, the enormous set, with backdrops, props, and whimsical touches are to be handmade in the US. 

If you and your family are among the 60,000 audience members who attend a performance of The Nutcracker each year, you might be attached to the current costumes and sets. They become familiar friends. The quirky owl clock, the magic gift boxes, the growing Christmas tree, the old-fashioned glow of candlelight — you don’t want to imagine the experience without these elements. Boggs assures ballet-goers that they are keeping the Victorian style alive. It’s exciting to anticipate what the renowned designers, partnered with The Colorado Ballet will dream up for next year’s production. 

There are still tickets available to watch The Nutcracker’s final season using the current costumes and sets. They have served Colorado well for so many years. 

You can partner with The Colorado Ballet as they crowdfund a small portion of what they need to complete this project. Most of the $2.5 million will come from ticket sales and donations. Through Go Fund the Magic you can be a part of the historic effort to bring The Nutcracker into the 2020s and beyond. Click to learn more about the effort. There’s a great video that explains the campaign with dancer testimonies and close-up shots of the deteriorating costumes. Imagine sitting in the audience a year from now when the curtain rises on a new era for the production — and your generosity is forever a part of the magical holiday scene that unfolds. 

Tips for growing great succulents

Is anyone else obsessed with cute succulents?

Rob Proctor has tips for keeping your succulents looking good. He says the cold winter is a good time to give them some attention.

Use Your Resources: Games and Activities That Spark Learning Using Household Objects

Games and activities are essential for fueling your child’s enthusiasm to learn And guess what, the greatest ones don’t require expensive toys or complicated supplies. Check out these tips for fun games and activities using household items, and save yourself some money!

Here are a couple games to try with your newborn baby.

  1. The Dropping Game

Babies begin to build their hand skills very early, and being able to grasp an object is the foundation for lifelong skills such as buttoning a shirt or writing with a pencil. Put a capped marker or plastic spoon in your child’s hand, then wait for him to drop it! Make sure to praise him when he drops it, then try it again! Take a look at this video to get started.

  1. The Reaching Game

Dangle a scarf, sock or colorful piece of cloth in front of your baby. Help him touch the fabric or shake it to get his attention. Encourage any movements toward the fabric by smiling and complimenting his efforts. Your positive comments encourage him to practice this skill, even though he will only kick and swat randomly at first. Make sure to keep an eye on him during this activity because scarves can present a hazard to babies.

At six months, your sitting up-baby can partake in more complex fun.

  1. Where’s the Object?

Sit at a table with your baby in your lap facing away from you. Show her an interesting object like a piece of fruit or a board book and talk about it to stimulate her interest. Place the fruit on the table and turn your baby so that she faces away from the object. Praise your baby’s efforts if she tries to turn to locate it. If she makes an effort to find the fruit, give it to her and give her a hug.

  1. Acting it Out

Play a game using rhyming words and actions to help your baby learn to predict the future. Hold your baby on your lap while you sing a song, such as “This is the Way the Farmer Rides,” or say a rhyme, such as: Ride the horsey, ride to town. Ride the horsey, don’t fall down. Bounce your baby to the rhythm of the song or rhyme and have him follow the actions indicated in the lyrics. For example, for “Ride the Horsey”, bounce your baby and then have him “fall down” through your legs while holding on to his chest, under his arms. Repeat the rhyme and movements several times. Then, pause before having your baby “fall down”. If he smiles, kicks his feet or tries to move his body down, your baby is learning to predict the future! Check out this video to watch how.

For children that are on their way to toddling, here are more activities.

  1. Scribble, Scribble

Your child will enjoy making marks on paper with crayons or in sand with a stick. Allowing him to practice will help him become aware of out how it feels to draw while using his hands and arms. By offering positive feedback when he makes different types of lines, he will notice how it feels to make a variety of designs. Check out this video to watch how.

  1. Roll the Ball

Help your child learn to share. Rolling a ball back and forth teaches cooperation, which will prepare your child for more advanced kinds of play with other children. Sit a few feet away from each other and get rolling.

  1. Splish, Splash!

Playing with water is fun! Talk to your child about his actions bathing in the tub or splashing in puddles. Some things you could say are: “Wow, you are splashing a lot. The soap is really slippery! You are pouring your pail of water. Playing in the water makes you laugh and be happy!”

Your preschooler learns so much with games and activities. Try these ideas to stimulate her creativity.

  1. Learn to Trace

Collect a variety of lids, plates and boxes that have different shapes. Sit at the table with your child on your lap, and show him how to trace one of the objects with his finger. Then, give him a crayon or pencil to trace around the object onto a piece of paper. Show him the shape that you created. Invite him to trace the line with his finger, and talk about the shape. Discuss how it matches the object that he traced.

  1. Let’s Make Decorations

To do this activity, use string or yarn and objects with large holes. This could be shower curtain rings, bracelets, toilet paper rolls or cookie cutters. Be sure to pick items that will be safe for your child to play with, and stay close by. To start, tie one of the objects at the end of the string, and invite him to string the other objects through in whatever order he wants! Help your child hang it in his room when you’re done. Supervise this game because strings can be potentially dangerous for kids to play with. Follow along with this video to help you get started.

  1. Spatial Relationships

For this activity, you will need a cardboard box large enough for your child to fit in, but small enough to move around easily. Let her play with the box. Talk to her about where she is relative to the box. “Wow, you are in the box! Now you’re behind the box!” Try lifting the box over her head. “Now you are under the box!” You can do this with more than just a box. When you are getting ready or making a meal, talk about what you need. “The fork is in the drawer. The bowl is on the counter. See if you can find your shoes under your bed.”

Get more parenting tips, games, and other resources, based on the age of your child, sent right to your cell phone 2-5 times a week for FREE with Bright by Text. Text BRIGHT to 274448 or click here to sign up!

*Message and data rates may apply. Text STOP to 274448 to stop. Text HELP to 274448 for help.

 

Loveland’s Valentine ReMailing Program: What you need to know!

Loveland is perhaps best known worldwide as the home of the “Valentine ReMailing Program.”  Every year, more than a hundred thousand Valentines are packaged inside larger envelopes and sent to Loveland, where volunteers hand-stamp them with a Valentine’s verse and send them on to the intended recipients.

The Background

Each year a contest is held by the Chamber of Commerce and promoted through through the local newspaper, the Reporter Herald, for residents to submit their designs and verses. A winning verse and design are chosen from all the competition entries and the two are combined to form the ‘Official Chamber of Commerce Loveland Valentine.’ Leading up to Valentine’s Day, the city authorizes the placement of red hearts with sponsored personal messages on light poles and other fixtures of the downtown streets.

The Loveland Chamber of Commerce and Loveland Post Office sponsor the Loveland Valentine Remailing Program. Approximately 60 volunteers gather to stamp a special message from the Sweetheart City on valentine cards sent to Loveland from all 50 states and more than 120 countries in recent years. During the remailing program, the Chamber & Visitors Center becomes an official US Postal Service Sub-Station known as ““The Valentine Station” with a Postmaster in residence for the duration of the remailing program.

How to Remail From Loveland – the ‘traditional’ way:

If you would like to have your valentine card stamped with the official Loveland Colorado cachet and stamp, please mail your pre-stamped, pre-addressed envelopes (envelopes should each have 49-cent postage; postcards should have appropriate postage), add extra stamps/postage for heavier/odd shaped valentines, mail in a large stamped envelope to the Loveland Remailing program at this address:

Postmaster
Attn: Valentine Re-mailing
446 E. 29th St.
Loveland, CO 80538-9998

Deadlines for delivery by Valentines Day, Feb. 14:

For international destinations, your cards should be in Loveland by Feb. 1st. 2019.
For within U.S. and outside of Colorado, cards should be in Loveland by Feb. 7th. 2019.
For within the state of Colorado (and now Wyoming), cards should be in Loveland by Feb. 9th. 2019.

You may also drop off your stamped envelope at one of the remailing boxes in any local grocery stores, where provided – these should be in-store until the 1st of Feb. King Soopers & City Markets stores have done this yearly. There is a remailing box at the Post Office on 29th St. in Loveland, and in the lobby of the Chamber of Commerce / Loveland Visitor’s Center also.

If you have any questions about sending your own Valentine’s Day cards to Loveland to have it postmarked from Loveland Colorado, please contact the Loveland Chamber of Commerce at (970) 667-6311 or see withlovefromloveland.com.

How to Spark Creativity at a Young Age

Children need to express themselves through creative outlets like drawing, singing and playing pretend to stimulate brain development. We’re not talking baby modern art prodigies here — simple games and activities can inspire curiosity in young minds. Being creative encourages kids to take risks and cultivate their personality which helps them feel more confident as they grow. Set them on the path for success young with these tips to spark creativity.

From birth to twelve months, your child will be creating millions of neural connections each day and you can promote this growth by engaging in fun activities.

  1. Encourage your child to explore your face. Name the different parts of your face as he touches them to help him learn.
  2. When you’re child encounters a toy or object, does she touch it? Shake it? Bang it? Taste it? Talk to her about what she is doing, “You shook the rattle and made a sound.”
  3. Your child may not be walking or talking yet, but with your help, they can definitely boogie so turn on some music.

Between 12 months and three years old, children start use tools around them to engage with their world.

  1. Writing starts with scribbling! Encourage your child to draw with crayons or even with sticks in the sand. Check out this video to learn why it’s important.
  2. Collect a variety of lids, plates, or boxes of different shapes. Sit at the table with your child on your lap, and show him how to trace one of the objects with his finger. Then, give him a crayon or pencil to trace around the object onto a piece of paper.
  3. Playing dress up lets your child make decisions and have fun. This activity will build your child’s self-esteem as you accept and encourage her choices.
  4. Teach your child the names of body parts in both Spanish and English with this fun song.
  5. Children learn about themselves and the world through open-ended play – play that doesn’t have rules or adult reasons. One way to support this is to have a box of random objects available for your child to use. You can make a trip to the thrift store, trade materials with another family, save wrapping paper and bows, collect rocks and leaves from the outdoors – the options are endless.
  6. Tape a large piece of paper to the table and let your child draw with a crayon while you talk to him about what he creates. Even imitate what he draws–if he draws a red curving line, do the same.

Imagination and creativity are a huge part of your child’s preschool years.

  1. Expect your child to tell stories and sing songs as a means to communicate and navigate the world. This video clues you in on all the exciting milestones they’ll be reaching.
  2. Help your child develop creative fluency and flexible thinking. One fun way to do that is to take an ordinary household object, like an empty paper towel roll or wooden spoon, and have your child think of all the possible things that could be made out of that item. For example, an empty paper towel roll could become
  • A telescope
  • A magic wand
  • A tunnel for toy cars to drive through
  • What else?
  1. You can do many things to encourage a child’s natural creative spirit. Support their curiosity: if a child asks a question and you don’t know the answer (or even if you do), ask the child what they think the answer might be and why; then find out together.
  2. Help frame “mistakes” as “opportunities to learn.” A child will have much more resilience in school if they know that they will sometimes make mistakes along the way as part of learning.

Get more parenting tips, games, and other resources, based on the age of your child, sent right to your cell phone 2-5 times a week for FREE with Bright by Text. Text BRIGHT to 274448 to sign up!

*Message and data rates may apply. Text STOP to 274448 to stop. Text HELP to 274448 for help.

Spooky and fun Halloween slime recipes

Halloween just isn’t Halloween at my house without a huge batch of slime. At this time of year, my daughters’ friends hang out at our house begging me to make slime with them. It’s sticky. It’s icky. It’s gooey. It’s a must-have at Halloween.

Making slime is also a great way to teach about the properties of a polymer… or a long chain of molecules. The molecules start out as a liquid in this slime recipe but are quickly hooked together with the introduction of the Borax. The Borax solution is the “cross-linker” in the creation of the Slime polymer. Borax molecules are like tiny paper clips that hook together the long chains of molecules making a slippery, gooey concoction known as Slime. Slime can either be made using Elmer’s Glue or a liquid called polyvinyl alcohol (PVA).

Elmer’s Glue Slime

Recipe: Swamp Pea Soup with our Alligator Friend!

Mile High Mamas is excited to share another fun recipe from Lost My Name, an innovative startup that creates personalized children’s books, home décor, games and more that spark imagination, creativity and interactive play for the whole family.

Lost My Name creates unique products and activities that give every grown up creative superpowers to make magical, meaningful connections with children. From recipes to crafts, they are your go-to resource for fun, kid and family-friendly activities.  I’m sharing a few inventive recipes from the Lost My Name Clever Ideas blog that make snack time fun and adventurous for little ones and parents alike. 

Today we’re going to cook a dangerously good Swamp Pea Soup with our friend Alligator. But beware, this recipe is for courageous cooks only. If you’re afraid of green veggies (or green animals) this may be too much. We need fearless explorers with a tremendous appetite for adventure. Are you ready? Then put on some sensible footwear and your most adventurous hat!

Pea Soup Ingredients:

  • 6 Jersey new potatoes or 2 medium potatoes
  • 500g of peas (frozen or fresh)
  • 500ml vegetable or chicken stock
  • Fresh mint (15-20 leaves)
  • Half a bunch of spring onions, roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp Crème Fraiche
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • A splash of olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • ¾ cup of water
  • Salt

For your alligator:

  • Olive oil
  • Watercress
  • Pretzel sticks
  • Cucumbers
  • Black olives

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Some super snappy facts to finish

  • brrrrilliant: Did you know you could make delicious ice cubes out of water and mint and turn any glass of water into a refreshing drink? Beats a squiggle straw. Try it!
  • The smell of success: Researchers discovered that smelling mint improves concentration. Who knew? That’s why some companies put some small amounts of it through their air conditioning. Quite refreshing, isn’t it?
  • Power to the pea-ple: Did you know you could turn pea starch into plastic bottles? Talk about a tiny vegetable with a stupendous purpose!