5 Fun, Educational Valentine’s Day Activities for Kids

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Valentines’s Day doesn’t have to be just about the candy for kids. Here are some fun activities to do with the kids that don’t involve eating lots of candy. They might eat some cookies that they make themselves, though!


5 Fun and Educational Valentine’s Day Activities for Kids


5 Fun, Educational Valentine’s Day Activities for Kids


Conversation Heart Science Experiments – some fun experiments using those little candy hearts


Heart Attack – write nice comments about your kids on hearts and put them on their doors. Have the kids write comments on hearts for their siblings, too.


Set up a Valentine Station – put all the crafting supplies needed to make Valentine’s in one place so the kids can easily make their own. You can put everything on one desk, or put all the supplies in a bin that can be carried a table or desk when the kids want to create some fun Valentine’s Day art


Valentines Day math with free printable candy heart sorting chart.


Practice using fractions while baking cookies – Get the kids in the kitchen and make heart shaped cookies with them. Let them do as much of the measuring and mixing as they are able to. Measuring involves fractions, so it’s the perfect time to discuss them. Let the kids get creative decorating them.

Sharing the cookies they made with others is fun, too!




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PLAYMOBIL Children’s Hospital Playroom

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Having a child in the hospital is very difficult. My son spent a lot of time in the hospital. It’s not just hard and stressful for the parent, but for the child, also. Having a great playroom to visit during a hospital stay goes a long way towards the mental and emotional well being of a child.


Check out this great PLAYMOBIL Children’s Hospital Playroom!


(Hackensack, NJ) September 14, 2016 The Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center, a member of Hackensack Meridian Health, together with PLAYMOBIL, a leading toy manufacturer since 1974, held a special ribbon-cutting ceremony today to dedicate the new PLAYMOBIL Playroom. The playroom, dedicated to pediatric patients, is fully equipped with playsets, a life-sized PLAYMOBIL character and themed backdrops from PLAYMOBIL.


The ribbon-cutting ceremony took place at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital as patients, families and team members joined with PLAYMOBIL USA members to dedicate the new play area in the outpatient area of the children’s hospital.

Playmobil Children's Hospital

The Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at HackensackUMC along with PLAYMOBIL USA dedicated the PLAYMOBIL Playroom fully equipped with playsets, a life-sized PLAYMOBIL character and themed backdrops from PLAYMOBIL. Pictured from left to right: Theresa Valentino, director, Development, Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital; Robert B. Budelman, III, executive director, Individual Giving, HackensackUMC Foundation; Sarah Person, marketing manager, PLAYMOBIL USA; Colleen Kearney RN, MSN, APN, NE-BC administrative director, Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital; Mark Cohen, vice president of Sales and Marketing, PLAYMOBIL USA; Rosemarie “Ro” Sorce, vice chairwoman of the HackensackUMC Board of Governors and member of HackensackUMC Foundation Board of Trustees; Stephen Percy, M.D., acting chairman, Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital; and Jon M. Fitzgerald, president, chief development officer, HackensackUMC Foundation.


“The PLAYMOBIL Playroom will truly be a special place where our pediatric patients can play in a nice bright, vibrant atmosphere and not dwell on their medical procedures,” said Stephen Percy, M.D., acting chairman, Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at HackensackUMC.

“We are so thankful to PLAYMOBIL for the very generous donation of the play sets, life-size PLAYMOBIL figure and the colorful backdrops. It is a wonderful gift for our patients and their families to enjoy,” said Jon M. Fitzgerald, president, chief development officer, HackensackUMC Foundation.

“Our hope is that while the children are here at Hackensack University Medical Center, they have a chance to just be kids, have some fun here in this wonderful new playroom, and use their imaginations. After all, a little ‘PLAY’ goes a long way,” said Mark Cohen, vice president of Sales and Marketing for PLAYMOBIL USA.

PLAYMOBIL, Germany’s largest toy manufacturer, has been producing and distributing toys since 1974. Now PLAYMOBIL has a new Furnished Children’s Hospital (MSRP $79.99).



PLAYMOBIL now has a Children’s Hospital Playset for ages 4-10. After seeing this in person, I think that there is value in this playset for outside the stated age range. For those kids that have to be in the hospital a lot, for their siblings, and for special need kids that have to be in the hospital a lot. There are a lot of small pieces, so use great caution if using with or demonstrating for kids under 4. Removing the smaller pieces and only using the people and beds would work for 3 year olds, I think.

playmobil childrens hospital

The playset includes nurses, doctors, exam rooms and tons of other accessories. The operating room is fully equipped with an adjustable table, tilting lights, and lots of medical instruments. The children’s ward and baby room can be reached by using the functioning elevator. There are 291 pieces included in this playset! There are so many pieces, and so many things to do within the playset, that it will keep kids occupied for hours.


playmobil childrens hospital


My son would have loved this playset. My other kids would have loved it, too. It would have helped all of them deal with what has happening to my son. For kids, play is therapy. Kids use play to work through what is happening in their lives. I think this Children’s Hospital Playset would have helped ease my son’s nerves before procedures. We explained everything to him, but having this playset to show him what was going to happen would have helped immensely.

Visit the PLAYMOBIL website for more information about the Children’s Hospital Playset.


The PLAYMOBIL Children’s Hospital Playset is also available on Amazon.

There is also a Helipad available for the Children’s Hospital Playset.

Another great addition to this playset would be the Child in a Wheelchair set.



*Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” My opinions are my own.

*This post contains affiliate links. If you click the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission.

Give Kids The World 30th Anniversary



Give Kids The World, a nonprofit organization that provides children with life-threatening illnesses and their families week long, fantasy vacations, celebrated its 30th anniversary in March, marking three decades of providing the happiness that inspires hope.


My family stayed at Give Kids the World in 2002 on my son’s wish trip. I wanted to be sure to share this with you since I have first hand experience in how awesome Give Kids the World really is!


give kids the world


Since 1986, the organization has hosted more than 143,000 children and their families. Give Kids The World partners with more than 240 wish-granting organizations from around the world to bring these families to Central Florida to experience the world’s most beloved theme parks. There is no cost for visiting families.


give kids the world


The inspiration for Give Kids The World was a wish that went unfulfilled. Thirty years ago, a 6-year-old girl named Amy wanted to visit Walt Disney World. But despite efforts to make that dream come true, Amy, who had leukemia, passed away before all of the pieces could come together. An Orlando hotelier and Holocaust survivor named Henri Landwirth was so moved by her story he pledged that no child’s wish would ever again come too late.


give kids the world


With the help of his friends and colleagues in the hospitality industry, his new venture could make a wish come true in as little as 24 hours. Give Kids The World started in 1986 as a few rooms spread out between several local hotels. Three years later, the whimsical Give Kids The World Village resort opened in Kissimmee, and has grown to encompass 79 acres with 144 two-bedroom villas.


give kids the world


The one-of-a-kind Village looks as if it leapt off the pages of a child’s storybook. It features the Castle of Miracles, where golden stars personalized with each wish child’s name twinkle on the ceiling. There’s a magical carousel, a child-size train, a dinosaur-themed mini golf course, two pools and a spectacular splash pad. Halloween and Christmas are celebrated every week, as is the birthday of Mayor Clayton, a six-foot rabbit who serves as honorary mayor of the Village. All the amenities are designed to help the children and their families forget – if only for a week – the challenges that living with a life-threatening illness present.


give kids the world


Today, the mission of the Village is fulfilled with the help of dozens of corporate partners and countless donors, including Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando, as well as Kennedy Space Center, LEGOLAND Florida Resort, and Gatorland, all of which provide admission tickets.


give kids the world


Visiting families enjoy complimentary breakfast, lunch and dinner provided by Perkins Restaurants & Bakery, Boston Market and Papa John’s Pizza. Additional support comes from longtime partners such as Mears Transportation, InterContinental Hotels Group Owners Association and Orange Lake Resorts, Home to Holiday Inn Club Vacations.


give kids the world


“Over the last 30 years, we’ve welcomed thousands of children and their families into our Village home and into our hearts. Each one of them has made an indelible mark on our lives,” said Pamela Landwirth, President and CEO of Give Kids The World Village.


give kids the world


“As we look back through the years, we are so thankful for the incredible generosity of our corporate donors, our partners, and everyone who has helped support our mission,” she said. “They have shared their time, talents, and resources to ensure that our families leave the Village with memories they will cherish for a lifetime.”


give kids the world


Every wish kid gets a star on the ceiling of the Castle of Miracles, shown above. My son’s star is just inside the front door, on the ceiling right outside what used to be the Fe Fi Fo Fun Game Room. They’ve done a lot of changes since we’ve been there, so I’m not sure if that is still a game room, though.


In 2015, the Village welcomed more than 7,700 families, a number expected to grow in 2016. To accommodate the continuing growth, additional villas are under construction. The first phase of Banyan Park, which includes an additional 24 villas, is scheduled to open this fall.


give kids the world


Also this year, Give Kids The World is bringing memories of the Village to “alumni” families during “family reunions” to be held in cities throughout the country. These ice-cream socials will allow guests to reconnect, reminisce and rediscover the feeling they had at the Village while meeting other families with stories much like their own. The family reunions are scheduled in cities such as Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Columbus, and Philadelphia.


give kids the world


Our time at the Give Kids the World Village was amazing. The peace that you feel when you are in the village can not be felt any where else in the “real world”. It truly is an incredible place for the wish kids, and their whole families.


For more information on Give Kids The World Village’s mission, the resort or how to make a donation that will help provide the “Happiness that Inspires Hope,” please visit GiveKidsTheWorld.org.


What I Told My Kids About Candy

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What I Told My Kids About Candy


A Moms Gotta Do What A Moms Gotta Do.


What I Told My Kids About Candy


Ever since my oldest kids (who are now 29 & 26) were old enough to eat candy I told them this story.

“The Special Dark candy bars in the Hershey’s Miniatures are put in the bag just for the Moms. If the kids eat them, they will get sick.”



Seriously, I told my kids that. And they believed me. For the most part. My oldest son at one point decided to try one. Since he was like most kids and didn’t like the taste of the dark chocolate, I told him, “See? I told you! Those are just for the moms! Good thing you didn’t eat the whole piece!”

We didn’t buy these all the time. Sometimes we went years in between purchases. But I always made sure to tell all my kids the story.


So I could have my favorite candy!


Now all 6 of my kids know the truth. And will flaunt it in my face. “Look! I’m eating a Special Dark and I’m not getting sick!” Gone are the days of my having all the Special Dark candy bars for myself. sigh….


So, do you think I was wrong to tell my kids this candy story? Or do you think a moms gotta do what a moms gotta do to get her favorite candy?


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Too Many Graduations

Back in the day, hahaha, when I was in school, there where only 2 graduations by the time you finished 12th grade. Kindergarten and high school.

Many kids go to Pre-School now and have a graduation before they even go to Kindergarten. Complete with caps and gowns.

I think kindergarten graduation started because kindergartens were privately owned when they first started. When public schools started offering kindergarten, they kept the graduation. That’s my theory, anyway.

Too Many Graduations - When did changing school buildings become full cap and gown graduation worthy?


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Family Movie Night with Pop Secret

*Thanks to Pop Secret for sponsoring today’s discussion

We love gathering in the living room and watching movies together as a family. We have 6 kids, the oldest of which is 28, so we have had a lot of family movie nights. A family movie night is not complete without popcorn!

Pop Secret

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Let Your Kids Build a Fort

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My kids love to build forts when their cousins come over. They build big elaborate forts that they also sleep in. Every summer they try to out do the forts they built the year before. Even though the four kids at home are all teenagers, they still like to build forts.

Here’s the fort my daughter and niece built and slept in last night.

An eclectic arrangement of sheets, blankets, and a few towels. Help up by clothesline, clothespins, chairs, and a Ladder Ball game. lol

Yes, all the blanket, sheets, and towels will have to be washed again before putting them away. Yes, it costs money for electric, water, and laundry deteregent.

But the memories they make together are priceless!

So let your kids build a fort. Let them have fun together. Or with cousins or friends.

Let them make great memories together.

Because that’s what really matters!


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