Toddler activities about color: Homeschool preschool curriculum

The other day I hosted the first meeting for our new toddler homeschool preschool. I wanted our first topic to be “classic preschool”—as well as something accessible to our 2-year-olds. I thought about doing a back-to-school theme but figured it was too abstract; instead, I chose to focus on toddler activities about color.

Kiwi is constantly learning about the world through colors. When she asks for a bowl, she specifies what hue she wants. She calls on things not just by their name (“dog”) but by what kind of dog (“white dog”). And about 100 times a day she holds up one finger and announces, “Blue. My favorite!” (Followed immediately by, “Purple. Peeper’s favorite!”)

A homeschool preschool curriculum filled with toddler activities about color, then, was right up these kids’ alley. They enjoyed the fine motor skills-tuning project, the sorting activity that works on pre-math skills, and of course plain ol’ art.

Do you have little ones that would love toddler activities about color? Try these! Even if your toddlers don’t know yellow from red, they’ll enjoy these activities—and learn at the same time.

These toddler activities about color, for your homeschool preschool or just a fun project, are a great way for kids to learn about colors—and to have fun! Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

How your family can help kids thrive in school

I’m still riding the enthusiasm and excitement from the back to school season over here. Peeper is already adjusted to her half-days of pre-K (no tears, just a quick squeeze before we say goodbye!). And Kiwi just started homeschool preschool—more on that later! But not every child has what she needs to excel in school.

Back to school season is exciting - but not every child has what she needs to succeed. Here, 4 things your family can do to help. Ten Thousand Hour MamaBack to school time is exciting, but many kids don't have everything they need to succeed. Here are 4 ways your family can do good. Ten Thousand Hour Mama

School supplies lists can get expensive (the average family spent $100-200 on the required pens, pencils and binders, according to a national study), and that’s not even factoring in other expenses like clothes, electronics (required by many schools) and other items.

I wrote about how we can help ensure all the kids in our community start school ready to learn and thrive in my latest column for PDX Parent.

In it, I explore how even families with little kids—who don’t have many opportunities to volunteer in the traditional sense because they’re too young—can pitch in.

Your kids may be too young to volunteer, but any family can do good in their community by helping all children thrive in this back to school season. Here, 4 things you can do to help! Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

The best children’s books about grandparents

September 10 was Grandparents Day—a holiday that should come more than once a year, I say, especially because of how phenomenal my kids’ grandparents are. Although Grandparents Day has passed, we continue to love reading these children’s books about grandparents—and I have a feeling your kids’ grandma and grandpa would love them, too!

The 15 best children's books about grandparents will make your kids smile—and are a great gift idea for Grandma or Grandpa. Ten Thousand Hour Mama

This post contains affiliate links. If you click and buy, I earn a very small portion of your purchase—which helps me earn a living (and support my family)! Read more

Portland hike to the Witch’s Castle with kids

Lately Peeper has been on a mystery/spooky story kick—a predilection I could attribute to my own childhood love of scary stuff but is mostly due to her Grandpa Shempy’s long made-up mysteries about something called the Monkey’s Paw. So when I had a free morning and the kids miraculously ate their breakfast on time and without protest, I decided to try hiking Portland’s Witch’s Castle with the kids.

Hiking Portland Oregon's witch's castle with kids is a fun outdoor activity when you travel as a family - or if you live here in the Northwest! Ten Thousand Hour Mama

I originally heard of Portland’s Witch’s Castle in Forest Park from my blogging friend Renee. She wrote about hiking to the castle with her teens, and I’ve wanted to do it myself ever since then—but with my littler kids, of course.

Since the day’s forecast called for some rain, I wanted to choose a forested hike so we wouldn’t get totally drenched if it did drizzle. Forest Park, with its immense Douglas firs, provides quite a bit of shelter from the Oregon rain—but as luck would have it, the skies stayed mostly clear. (Thanks, weather!)

Rain or no rain, though, the hike was gorgeous—and the Witch’s Castle lived up to its spooky, and awesome, reputation!

Hiking Portland Oregon's witch's castle with kids is a fun outdoor activity when you travel as a family - or if you live here in the Northwest! Ten Thousand Hour MamaHiking Portland Oregon's witch's castle with kids is a fun outdoor activity when you travel as a family - or if you live here in the Northwest! Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Activity buckets for kids: Bringing fun on the go

At the beginning of the summer, a bunch of families I’d met at new moms’ group planned a joint camping trip. All our excited plans were canceled, though, when the weekend we’d meant to go turned hot. It seemed like insanity to take a bunch of kids camping with no lake or river when the temperature soared past 100. But I’d made activity buckets for all the kids, and I got to give them to the littles at a backyard picnic instead—a small consolation prize.

But I needn’t have been so disappointed! The activity buckets have come with us on many adventures since.

Going disc golfing? Heading to the beach? Playing in the yard? The activity buckets have brought fun wherever the girls take them.

Making kids' activity buckets lets them bring all their supplies for outside fun! Ten Thousand Hour MamaMaking kids' activity buckets lets them bring all their supplies for outside fun! Ten Thousand Hour MamaDIY kids' activity buckets for outdoor fun are a great family activity for camping, the beach, or anything outside - made from Dollar Store supplies. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Embracing a child’s joy in the rain

“Raining!” Kiwi shouted, her face beaming and shower-splattered. “Raining! Raining!”

As she ran, her joy in the rain was contagious. “It’s raining!” I echoed, laughing.

It rained this weekend—barely, but anything to quench our burning state’s thirst is welcome. As huge swaths of Oregon burned this summer, we played indoors, asked school to cancel outdoor recess, canceled trips. The inconveniences we endured from smoke-filled air are nothing in comparison to the communities ravaged by forest fire.

So as we skipped and stomped in the shallowest of puddles, the rain felt healing—like the most welcome weather in the world.

It's a welcome change to embrace a child's joy in the rain when the weather brings relief for the summer wildfires in Oregon. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

A mom flashback: Growing from the size of an appleseed

This weekend I had a mom flashback. You know the kind—definitely not triggered by any wild drug but inspired by some everyday reminder of how little your kids used to be and how big they are now.

I was standing at the kitchen counter peeling apples. The girls, my mom and I had picked like 30 pounds of apples at Detering Orchard outside of Eugene over the weekend. I knew I needed to do something with the giant box of apples on the counter, so I started to make applesauce.

And it was peeling those Early Macintosh beauties that gave me the mom flashback.

Mom flashback: Marveling at how my babies grew from the size of an appleseed into giant, beautiful, rowdy kids. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more