Thursday, June 21, 2018

Beat Summer Boredom with an Outdoor Scavenger Hunt!

With an 8 and 10-year-old living here, my home is FILLED with toys, gadgets and other entertainment. I have an entire closet of board games and shelves filled with books, yet every day in the summer, one or both of my children still say,

"I'M BORED!"

To which I respond,

"GO OUTSIDE!"

And I don't just yell that because I want some peace and quiet (although that is part of it :) I also tell them to go outside because what I have learned about my kids is that when they are inside, surrounded by endless toys and gadgets, they are always in a perpetual state of boredom. But outside, they can entertain themselves for hours with just a ball and a bat, or a pile of sticks and pinecones. 

Its magical.

But even in the magical outdoors, kids still love a fun activity or craft, so I wanted to share some of the great finds I've come across online recently in case you want to add some new outdoor activities or crafts to your arsenal.

First up, if you are looking for games to play when you have a gaggle of neighborhood kids at your house, then check our this list of 10 Neighborhood Games for All Ages from Family Education.

Next, if your kids are into crafts (made out of items you probably already have around the house or in your yard), then check out this list of 23 Incredibly Fun Outdoor Crafts by DIY Joy.

If you are campers like our family, then you probably already read the Camping World Blog, but if you don't, here is their list of 10 Things You Must Do While Camping.

What I love about Camping World's List is that you don't even have to be at a campground to do a lot of the fun activities they suggest, such as the new treasure hunting craze called Geocaching.

And in the spirit of treasure hunting, if you really want a fun activity that is an oldie but a goodie, then be sure to download our updated Outdoor Scavenger Hunt



There are two versions of our Outdoor Scavenger Hunt to choose from. Our "Backyard Version" is an easier list with items that are more commonly found in your backyard or neighborhood, while the "Park Version" is more detailed and works best in public areas like campgrounds, playgrounds, parks or vacation spots. 

FUN TIP: Before heading out on your scavenger hunt, grab a pack of brown handled shopping bags and print copies for each child (2-to-a-page makes them the perfect size for bags). Then your kiddos have a place to store all of their treasures as they collect and they won't misplace the list.

This Outdoor Scavenger Hunt is always a big hit when we go camping, and we still have some of the "Treasures" we have found on those trips.

And speaking of summer trips, be sure to check out our awesome Happy Camper Planner and Travel Planner in our Printables Shop! These sets are just $5 each and will help you plan, pack and organize your trip and keep it STRESS FREE (or as stress-free as any trip can be :)


We hope you are all having a fantastic summer!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Summer Schedule with SCREEN TIME Minute Tracker

Ever since we shared our new set of FREE Summer Printables, we've had a lot of requests for a more detailed Summer Schedule for kids, especially one that offers weekly theme activity days, a blank daily routine checklist that can be personalized for each child AND a screen time menu so kids have to EARN their minutes each day.

We thought these were GREAT ideas and so, we wrapped them all into one useful Summer Schedule printable!!!


Trying to decide which themes to do for our weekday activities was a lot of fun, and while we had some clever topics, we thought the following themes were the easiest to follow and make your own.

MAKE IT MONDAY: This is personally my favorite day of the week because I love a good craft project. If you need some inspiration for projects or ideas, I love Easy, Peasy & Fun and she has a ton of great projects and free printables for kids. 

TIDY UP TUESDAY: I know this theme doesn't scream FUN, but its a necessity around here. I like having one project a week that we can concentrate on together, whether it's yard work, closets, filling a donation box of toys, changing sheets, etc. 

{Side note: If you are looking for some organization inspiration, I am just starting a new book called "Cluttered Mess to Organized Success" by Cassandra Aarssen and I think this is going to be a game changer!! Check it out here.}

WHATEVER WEDNESDAY: I will give all credit to my daughter Addie for this theme. Whatever Wednesday should be just that...whatever you want! In our house, we will all get to take turns choosing that day's activity, but you can personalize this theme any way you want! And don't forget to check on that day's Holiday from our Summer Holidays list. I believe National Ice Cream Soda days falls on a Wednesday :)

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: I've seen this theme on many other summer calendars and I love it so much!! The first thing the kids want to do this summer is paint and hide kindness rocks, but we also found lots of great ideas on this list of 100 Acts of Kindness for Kids from Coffee Cups & Crayons.

FUNDAY FRIDAY: Okay, maybe this is my favorite day of the week :) Funday Friday should be all about FUN! Use this day to check something off your Summer Bucket List, take a trip to the beach or zoo, organize a neighborhood baseball game, or have a family movie & game night. 

In addition to filling out your weekly themed activities, decide on your child's daily routine checklist. As you can see in our sample, our daily checklist is pretty simple. The kids need to get up each morning and get themselves dressed, brush teeth, make their bed, put away any laundry that is in their room and tidy up a bit. The great thing about printing out a schedule for each child is that you can customize their list for their age and/or responsibilities. You can also add any other daily chores to this list if you don't want to use them as a screen time incentive.

And speaking of SCREEN TIME, let's talk about how this section of the schedule works. We compiled a list of the most common screen-time-earning activities, such as reading, studying (in the form of a workbook, tutor, educational website/app, etc.), building something, making something, writing or journaling, helping around the house (beyond normal chores), exercising, playing outside, etc. We also left two blank spaces that you can fill in with other incentives, such as walking a family dog or practicing an instrument. Each activity earns 15 minutes of screen time, but when it comes to the length of time on each activity, that is entirely up to you!

CUSTOMIZING BEFORE PRINTING: Many customers ask if there is a way to customize our printable before printing, and there is! To add in your weekly theme activities and daily routine checklist, just open our Summer Schedule PDF in Adobe Reader and click on "Fill and Sign". This will create a text box on the printable and you can access all the fonts and colors on your computer. Just place a text box over each area you want to enter text and then you can save and print! Easy peasy.

MONEY SAVING TIP: If you want to save some money and ink with our new Summer Schedule, we highly recommend printing a copy for each child and then laminating it (or putting it in a frame with glass) so that you can use dry/wet erase markers all summer long! No editing and no wasted ink and paper!

We hope you find this new Summer Schedule helpful!! Download your copy {HERE}


We would love for you to share our Free Summer Schedule Printable with your friends and family, but we ask that you PLEASE link to this blog post and not to the downloads directly. These printables are free to download and use for personal use, but they MAY NOT BE EDITED, SOLD OR PRINTED FOR RESALE in any way. If you have questions about these printables and how they may be used, please contact us :) Thank you!

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Saturday, May 12, 2018

FREE {Printable} Last Day of School Signs!

Another school year has almost come and gone, and for this mama, it's a bittersweet time. My oldest is finishing her LAST few weeks of elementary school and while she is so excited for 5th grade, I may shed a few tears. 

But before I get all weepy and venture into the last few crazy weeks of May, I wanted share year's Last Day of School Signs!


As always, we have Preschool - Senior year signs available for download and they are dated for the 2017-2018 year.

We really enjoy seeing all of your kiddos holding our signs, so if you would like to share with us on social media you can tag us @ThePolkaDotPosie or you can use the hashtag #thepolkadotposielastdayofschool

Stay tuned for a few more summer freebies this month!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

It's Teacher Appreciation Week!

I saw an interesting Facebook poll not to long ago that asked teachers what they really hope to receive during Teacher Appreciation Week. Many teachers responded that they didn't want anything at all...unless it was supplies for their classroom :) While we LOVE the idea of giving supplies and special handmade gifts to our teachers to acknowledge their hard work, we also know that teachers:

A. Spend a LOT of their own money for classroom necessities.
B. Love to be organized.
C. Require a lot of coffee

We also know that in the crazy month of May {or as we like to call it, the month of Cray}, Teacher Appreciation Week often sneaks up on us quickly. So if you are in the same boat as many other parents who want to acknowledge their wonderful teacher, but didn't get those special handmade gifts done or ordered, let us help you.

As a teacher myself, I know that Target, Amazon, iTunes and Coffee gift cards are a saving grace throughout the year, so we've put together these adorable, easy-to-print and assemble gift card boxes! You can download the entire set {HERE}. All you will need is a pair of scissors and a glue stick.


Next up, if you love word art as much as we do, you can download this FREE printable set {HERE} that you can frame for your teacher, or give along with a gift card. There are six quotes to choose from and they are sized for easy 4x6 printing. 


And finally, if your teacher loves to be organized and you want to give a gift that keeps on giving year after year, be sure to head over to our Printable Shop {HERE} and get this special offer for a Printable Teacher Planner! You purchase the set and we personalize a gift card that you can print and give to your teacher! Then we take care of the rest :) It's fast, easy and such a wonderful gift for a teacher that loves to plan.


We hopes these great, easy ideas help you pull together the perfect Teacher Appreciation Gift (even if it is last minute :) 

And to all the AMAZING teachers in our lives...thank you for all that you do!!


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Get Organized for Summer with these FREE Printables

We've got SUMMER on the brain over here at ThePolkaDotPosie! Our camper is coming out of storage, summer trips are being booked and Summer Camp catalogs have been arriving in the mail. We may still have 6 weeks of Spring left, but that doesn't mean it's too early to start planning!

Although we LOVE the Free Summer Printables we've shared the last few years, we thought it was time for a little makeover!


Our Summer Holidays list has been a big hit for kids and adults, so we made sure to keep that in our set. In addition to Father's Day and the 4th of July, our list covers holidays like National S'mores Day and Honey Bee Awareness Day. As you will see, there is something to celebrate every day of the summer!

The next printable in our set is the Summer Bucket List. This is such a fun worksheet to fill out together as a family. Use the top line to write your summer goal, such as, "This Summer we will spend more time outdoors!" or "This Summer we will take the trip!" Next, list out the things you would like to make and do, as well as the adventures you would like to take. Those adventures could be a bike ride to the park, a campout in the woods, a trip to the zoo, or a road trip to the beach! And finally, make a list of the books you would like to read and the great summer movies you would like to see. If you are looking for some book ideas, be sure to check out our Facebook page. We have a great list going from World Book Day!

After you've made your Summer Bucket List, check out the Summer Schedule docket. You can use this to plan meals, weekly camps or activities, babysitter schedule, errands, to-do list and more! Print multiple copies for your planner, or print one copy and laminate it for your fridge or family bulletin board!

Finally, be sure to print out our NEW Summer Reading Log! After many requests for this printable, we thought it was finally time to add it to the set. Print out a copy for each member of your family and track the books you read and give them a star rating! We kept this printable simple so that adults and kids can use it! We have a great book list going on our Facebook page, but feel free to comment below if you have a great book to recommend!

To download this Free Summer Printable Set, click the size below:


Happy Summer Planning!!
***

We would love for you to share our Free Summer Printables with your friends and family, but we ask that you PLEASE link to this blog post and not to the downloads directly. These printables are free to download and use for personal use, but they MAY NOT BE EDITED, SOLD OR PRINTED FOR RESALE in any way. If you have questions about these printables and how they may be used, please contact us :) Thank you!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

FREE Easter Planning Printable

It's that time of year! The tulips are starting to bloom, the sun is shining {except in Chicago} and with less than two weeks until Easter, it is time to start planning!! 

Whether you host Easter brunch or dinner at your home, or simply have a busy schedule with Church and family gatherings, our FREE Printable Easter Schedule will keep you organized! You can download this printable in 3 planner sizes, or print it in Large {8.5 x 11} and post it on your fridge or family bulletin board!



We hope you enjoy using it! You can download your copy {HERE}.