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Screening for Adolescent Depression

New guidelines ask pediatricians to screen pre-teens and teenagers for depression. This is a good addition - due to the number of teens who go undetected for the disease.

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I've never been a big fan of Jello, the taste of it anyway, which is why Aurora and Gray have never even seen the stuff before. So, when I made up a bin full of green "slime" as Aurora called it, and shoved some snakes and frogs in it, she was convinced it was completely inedible! This may have been the first actually tasty (if you think Jello is tasty) sensory bin I've made for the kids, but it took quite a bit of coaxing to get them to try a bite of the Jello pond!

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Categories: lifestyle,


Jim Gaffigan is the father to four kids, and his wife delivered them all at home - apparently in their 2 bedroom apartment. This is one of the funniest things I've watched in awhile; makes me wonder about the personality of those kids.

Happy Friday everyone! Enjoy some laughter at the end of your week!

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One of my New Year's resolutions was to be more intentional each day about making one on one time for each child for preschool. We do a lot of guided sensory play and free play already, but I wanted to add a bit more structure in to our routine. One of the things that has been working well for us is the introduction of "tot trays." The simple explanation is that I set up a learning focused activity on a tray and the kids each work on their own tray while I supervise. For a more thorough explanation, check out 1+1+1+1's article on the basics of tot trays. 

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Categories: lifestyle,


I recently had a friend ask me for some tips on how to get started with sensory play. Her son has a motor disorder and the doctors tell her that sensory activities would be good for him, but she isn't sure where to start. It can be overwhelming. Searching "sensory" on Pinterest will generate a wealth of activities, but even more than acquiring a new to do list, sometimes it's best to start with inquiring about the importance of this "new fad" and the 'how to' will follow. I've laid out this article in terms of frequently asked questions that a lot of people have when they hear sensory play mentioned. I know I had a lot of them before we delved in, so take your time and learn about why sensory play is important and how to set up these fun experiences for your kids!

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Categories: lifestyle,


Cold Weather Activity Precautions for Your Kids

I am always glad when parents are concerned about exercise and their children.

Statistics show that almost a third of children and adults are obese. In addition to childhood health risks, studies have found that overweight kids are at greater risk of becoming obese adults, with all the health problems associated with obesity lasting throughout their lives.

These long winter months make it tough to get outside and cabin fever may be settling in. Your children may be looking for ways to get outside and burn off some energy, and the cold weather might also be an excuse for kids to increase time spent watching TV, playing video games or using electronics.

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Categories: parenting, health-notes,


I'm super excited to share the activity we did this morning, it combines the best of science, art and sensory play in to one activity! We had so much fun painting, molding, and exploding this dough, I can't rave about it enough! We began with a simple recipe for faux snow, a two ingredient sensory dough, and added a little bit of chemical reaction magic to it!

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Categories: lifestyle,


My kiddos love to cook. Anytime I'm in the kitchen preparing a meal, you can be sure to find them underfoot or hauling a chair in from the dining room so they're tall enough to help! They don't generally care what I'm making, so long as they get to participate, but I think if you're going to cook pretend food, then it ought to be something fun! So, we decided doughnuts would be fun to whip up, and I wanted to use foam dough for this project since a few blogger friends are also featuring this dough this week!

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Categories: lifestyle,


So, I heard the majority of the states experienced a "polar vortex" last week. It's been cold here, but not that cold, I feel for you all! To take our minds off of the chilly temps, we decided to make a desert small world and envision ourselves stretched out on the sand getting tan... Well, maybe that last part only applied to me! We made up a batch of moon sand and set off exploring the great Sahara!

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Categories: lifestyle,


Aloha, I’m Brigette, and these two kinder are Aurora and Grayson. I blog over at Life Lesson Plans where I share some of the art, science and sensory play projects we do together.

We're a bit of a culturally blended family, we have roots in the US Midwest, our kids toddled in the Hawaiian surf, and we now live in the German countryside. With three distinct cultures in four years, it has been quite an adventure. I'm always surprised to hear my two year old babble in multiple languages, and my four year old reminisce about catching starfish!

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Categories: parent-stories,


As we welcome the new year, many of us reflect on our lives and think about ways we want to improve or areas where we want to focus more attention. Some of us create New Year's Resolutions filled with ideas and goals for the coming year. For many, these goals often include exercise, organization, eating healthier, finishing a long-term goal, or just taking that difficult first step.

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Categories: parent-stories, lifestyle,


One of the things I wanted to start doing this year was to have more intentional "school" time with the kids each week. I haven't quite mapped out a plan for our days yet, there are so many things I want to teach them, but I don't want to overcommit our days and wind up with cranky kids and a cranky mommy who didn't accomplish all of her goals. I'll be continuing to fine tune the details, but I know for sure that I want to do more tot trays with the kids. They're great for us, because I can prep them in advance, I can have one activity that the kids both do, or prep two trays with separate activities, and they're so easy to clean up afterwards!

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Categories: lifestyle,


If you've been following our epic saga of the lost blacklight flashlight, then you'll know that back in October, I hinted at a very exciting, glowing project that we were working on. Then my two year old "misplaced" our flashlight and the project has been delayed for many months. Finally, I'm excited to unveil our very belated, Halloween small world! Yesterday, I showed you the process we used for growing our glowing crystals, and today I'll show you how we played with them!

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Categories: lifestyle,


Here's a throwback Thursday, remember about three months ago when I decided that October would be "glow month," and we would do all of these awesome activities like make glowing bubbles and a glowing ocean and swamp sensory bins. About halfway through that glow-rific October, Aurora and I started working on this glowing crystal project and then when we went to get the blacklight flashlight and discovered that a certain naughty toddler had hidden it. Well, after many months of looking for the flashlight, I broke down and bought a new one so we could finish our super awesome project!

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Categories: lifestyle,


5 Tips for Keeping Your Child Warm in the Extreme Cold

Wind chills, snow, ice – welcome to winter in Nebraska! We would all like to stay inside by the heater on some frigid days, but school and work call. Whether waiting for the school bus, building a snow man or playing outdoors – you can practice a few important habits to keep kids well.

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Categories: parenting, health-notes,