Fun

Oodles Of Local Holiday Events

LCA Holiday1

There is plenty to do around this time of year! We don’t want to cram the holidays full of “doing” at the expense of enjoying this holiday season, but it’s fun to enjoy some festive things with the family along the way.

Our first Lionheart Children’s Academy is located in Arlington, TX, so here are some events going on in and around Arlington that are fun for the whole family:

Arlington

Check out the Spirit of Arlington website for a big ol’ list of events going on in Lionheart’s backyard!

Fort Worth – Sundance Square

Here is a great list of events going on in downtown Fort Worth at the beautiful Sundance Square.

Grand Prairie

Here’s a calendar of Grand Prairie’s events including lights, live events, and Santa!

Mansfield

Here is historic Mansfield’s calendar of holiday events.

Hurst

Hurst has Santa’s Mailbox, tree lighting, and much more! Check out their calendar here.

Euless

Euless has a parade of lights, breakfast with Santa, and a historic park Christmas celebration – find their calendar of events here.

Bedford

If you’re in Bedford, they’ve got a tree lighting at the Historic Old Bedford School and a community wide decorating contest! Get the details here.

Grapevine

Grapevine, TX claims to be the “Christmas Capital of Texas,” so it’s probably worth checking out!

Irving

If you’re in Irving, you won’t want to miss the Holiday Extravaganza! Get the details here.

 

We hope this Christmas season fosters togetherness in your family – how ever big or small it may be!

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LCA SigAbout Lionheart: Lionheart Children’s Academy is a non-profit Christian organization committed to excellence in early childhood education. We are passionate about equipping kids to be world changers, and supporting working parents who need quality, affordable care and education for their children. Our first center is located at Lake Arlington Baptist Church in South Arlington.

At Lionheart Children’s Academy, we place a priority on our relationships with not only our children, but also our parents. We invite you to visit us in person and take a tour of our facility. We’ll answer your questions and then walk you through the enrollment process. To schedule a tour, please call us at 817-768-6865 or click here to schedule online.

To read more about Lionheart Children’s Academy, visit our website.

 

Exploring The Great Outdoors: Fall Edition

Down here in the south, it’s finally cool enough to get outside and enjoy the outdoors! Here are some basic, free, and educational fall activities we’ve come up with. Let us know which are your favorites and feel free to add to our list in the comments!

 

Objectives: sensory experiences – motor skills, talk with them – language development, laugh with them – emotional development/relationship building, let them explore the outdoors and their developing autonomy – building confidence

  • Crunch leaves in hands.
  • Walk through leaves barefoot.
  • Smell leaves.
  • Walk and talk about what you see, hear, and smell outside (wind, cool weather, trees, birds).
  • Go to a new outdoor place or park to explore (it could be the next street over in your neighborhood).
  • Talk about the wind, let them see it blow the leaves or your hair.
  • Take them on a wagon ride and narrate your walk, what you see, whose house you’re passing, or even which foot your walking with. Talk the whole way.
  • Let them explore a plant store by smelling, touching, and exploring (on a slow afternoon and within eye shot, of course).
  • Find favorite leaves and practice sharing them with each other – taking turns looking at and holding.
  • Make sensory/sound boxes with things you find outside – take an old kleenex/shoe box, fill it with rocks, tape it up and see how it sounds/feels different than a box with leaves or acorns in it.
  • Throw leaves. You could include some directives in this activity to develop listening skills, following directions, and directions such as up/down – “throw the leaves up in the air,” throw the leaves down to the ground,” throw the leaves while running,” etc.

 

preschool

Objectives: Autonomy, independence, problem-solving skills, gross and fine motor skills, communication, identification, classification.

  • Glue leaves. Let them use the glue and take the lead.
  • Cut leaves with scissors. These are my three year old’s favorite scissors (with adult supervision, of course). This is good for motor skills because the scissors actually cut but are not too sharp and have a blunt tip.
  • Color on leaves.
  • Trace leaves.
  • Talk about/identify colors outside. Talk about two colors that come together to make one color.
  • Talk about the wind and the weather changing: why the wind blows, why the weather changes, opposites.
  • Talk about the autumn season – leaves changing, holidays coming, going to grandma’s house.
  • Talk about things/people/actions/emotions you’re grateful for.
  • Play “I spy” outside.
  • Throw leaves.
  • Rake leaves/bag them up.
  • Let them collect things: acorns, leaves, rocks, pine straw, pine cones, pumpkins, different gourds.
  • Talk about the different shapes, sizes, weights, and colors of collected things: compare and contrast, challenge them to find two of the same and two different.
  • See if things sink or float.

 

school age

Objectives: critical thinking, experimenting, problem-solving, communication/language development, relationship building, community awareness.

  • Science experiments: How different objects fall at different speeds – talk about gravity & velocity, how far you can throw things – do heavier things travel a longer distance, newton’s laws (in language they can understand).
  • Have a scavenger hunt.
  • Walk and talk about what makes the seasons change.
  • Go on a bike ride.
  • If you live by the beach, bundle up and go for a cool walk on the beach to experience it at a different season.
  • If you live by the mountains, go on a cool hike.
  • Talk about the coming winter season and where snow comes from/how it’s made.
  • Plant flowers, herbs, and autumn plants, and teach them about plants/photosynthesis.
  • Talk about and explore in-season fruits and vegetables.
  • Lay on the ground and do some cloud watching using your imaginations.
  • Clean up the front yard.
  • Pick up trash in your neighborhood/a local park.
  • Clean the outside windows.

 

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LCA SigAbout Lionheart: Lionheart Children’s Academy is a non-profit Christian organization committed to excellence in early childhood education. We are passionate about equipping kids to be world changers, and supporting working parents who need quality, affordable care and education for their children. Our first center is located at Lake Arlington Baptist Church in South Arlington.

At Lionheart Children’s Academy, we place a priority on our relationships with not only our children, but also our parents. We invite you to visit us in person and take a tour of our facility. We’ll answer your questions and then walk you through the enrollment process. To schedule a tour, please call us at 817-768-6865 or click here to schedule online.

To read more about Lionheart Children’s Academy, visit our website.

Lately At Lionheart: David & Goliath

David & Goliath

Lately, our Lionheart kids have been learning about the story of David & Goliath. We’re learning to be brave, that we can do important things even when we’re young, and to have a good heart. Here’s a little peek at some of our munchkins learning about David & Goliath:

On the left, Jaxon is standing on Goliath sized feet. He must have been a big dude, but David’s story teaches us that we’re never too little to do important things!

On the right, some of our four year olds are role-playing with armor teaching us to be brave and not give up.

We have lots of fun while learning some very important character lessons here at Lionheart Children’s Academy! Visit our website today to learn more about us.

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LCA SigAbout Lionheart: Lionheart Children’s Academy is a non-profit Christian organization committed to excellence in early childhood education. We are passionate about equipping kids to be world changers, and supporting working parents who need quality, affordable care and education for their children. Our first center is located at Lake Arlington Baptist Church in South Arlington.

At Lionheart Children’s Academy, we place a priority on our relationships with not only our children, but also our parents. We invite you to visit us in person and take a tour of our facility. We’ll answer your questions and then walk you through the enrollment process. To schedule a tour, please call us at 817-768-6865 or click here to schedule online.

To read more about Lionheart Children’s Academy, visit our website.

Teaching Kiddos To Spread The Love

love; beautiful hands of children holding green heart shapeThe holiday season is coming! In my house, it starts with Halloween, followed by Thanksgiving, and topped off with Christmas & New Years. Those are the big guys, anyways.

We love giving and receiving gifts, dressing up for Halloween & trick-or-treating, and giving lots of thanks.

Along with eating lots of food. 🙂

I also live for decorating.

More importantly, this year I’m excited to incorporate some “giving back” into our holiday traditions. To me, it’s important to teach our three-year-old that there are other people in this world, and some of them need help. My husband and I want her to experience the privilege of giving first-hand and see the joy in helping others.

Here are some causes you can be part of, or donate to, if you want to spread the love this holiday season (or any time of year):

  1. Donate that extra Halloween candy to our troops.
  2. Donate to Toys for Tots.
  3. Donate or volunteer with the Salvation Army’s Christmas Angel Tree.
  4. Sponsor a child. There are lots of organizations to choose from, find one that resonates with your family.
  5. Donate food to or volunteer to distribute food at a local food bank.
  6. Go through closets, bookshelves, and toy boxes and donate things. Here’s a big list of who needs/accepts what.
  7. Make Care Kits for the Homeless. This is something little ones can help with, and it can be stored in your car for times when you see someone in need.
  8. Make a card to send to out of town family – we can serve loved ones in addition to strangers.
  9. Make a jar of hearts for dad, mom, sister, etc.
  10. Contribute to or pay the bill of the person behind you in the check-out line at the grocery store.
  11. The next time you go out for a meal, pay another table’s bill.
  12. Pick up trash in your neighborhood.
  13. Deliver Meals on Wheels (we did this one Christmas day when I was a kid).
  14. Make Chemo Care Packages for a local oncology center or for someone you know going through chemotherapy.
  15. Contact a local foster care agency and make care packages for their children. Often children arrive at the center with nothing and have great needs.
  16. Write letters and send care packages to service men and women.

(Lots of these ideas came from Pennies of Time & FeelsLikeHome)

Which cause do you like the best? Which one are your kids most excited about? What other ways does your family give back? I’d love to hear, so leave a comment below!

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LCA SigAbout Lionheart: Lionheart Children’s Academy is a non-profit Christian organization committed to excellence in early childhood education. We are passionate about equipping kids to be world changers, and supporting working parents who need quality, affordable care and education for their children. Our first center is located at Lake Arlington Baptist Church in South Arlington.

At Lionheart Children’s Academy, we place a priority on our relationships with not only our children, but also our parents. We invite you to visit us in person and take a tour of our facility. We’ll answer your questions and then walk you through the enrollment process. To schedule a tour, please call us at 817-768-6865 or click here to schedule online.

To read more about Lionheart Children’s Academy, visit our website.

A Toddler-Safe Play-Doh Recipe

Today is National Play-Doh Day. Did you know that Play-Doh was first invented as a wallpaper remover? Or that more than 2 billion cans of Play-Doh have been sold, weighing the equivalent of 2,000 Statues of Liberty? That’s a lot of Play-Doh! (For more fun Play-Doh facts, check out this article.)

I have such great memories of playing with that soft, gooey mess as a kid, so I thought this would be a great excuse to introduce it to my own 14-month-old little girl. I love finding fun “science experiments” for her to do on the porch that let her get messy and be creative. Because she still puts everything in her mouth, it was important to me to make something safe for her to eat (it has a LOT of salt, so I wouldn’t recommend letting your little ones chow down on it, but a few licks won’t hurt them).

a

I followed this recipe with simple ingredients I keep in my pantry. The prep took about five minutes (one change – next time I would add a little more water), and I added some yellow food coloring to make it fun (and because I thought red might stain Wrenn’s clothes).

b

A few tips:
1. We do all messy projects on the back porch. They key is to take freezer paper and painter’s tape and tape down a place for your little one to play. This makes clean-up so much easier and keeps dirt out of your Play-Doh.

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2. Dig up some utensils that make the playing more fun. For my 14-month-old, I pulled out some different shaped plastic toys along with some baby forks and a spatula so she could practice chopping, cutting, and making pictures with her Play-Doh.

3. Toddlers have short attention spans, but don’t worry – this Play-Doh can be saved in a zip-loc bag and reused again and again. However, instead of saving mine, I called my mom friend who lives one street over and offered to give it to her kids (ages 3 and 5 – they LOVE Play-Doh) as an unexpected treat. Because with motherhood, we might as well share the love, right?

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Bethe LCA SigAbout Lionheart: Lionheart Children’s Academy is a non-profit Christian organization committed to excellence in early childhood education. We are passionate about equipping kids to be world changers, and supporting working parents who need quality, affordable care and education for their children.

Our first center is located at Lake Arlington Baptist Church in South Arlington.

At Lionheart Children’s Academy, we place a priority on our relationships with not only our children, but also our parents. We invite you to visit us in person and take a tour of our facility. We’ll answer your questions and then walk you through the enrollment process. To schedule a tour, please call us at 817-768-6865 or click here to schedule online.

To read more about Lionheart Children’s Academy, visit our website.

Cooking with kids: Go ahead – play with your food

Whether your kids are wee ones or almost grown up, they all can benefit by spending time in the kitchen with you. Here are some ways to make cooking together special.

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play

Sources clockwise from left: 123

Our littlest ones might not be ready to do much cooking, but they LOVE to find new ways to play! Make them feel like they’re part of the cooking process by helping them turn food into play. Whether they indulge their inner fashionista with a fruit necklace (note – blueberries STAIN clothes and carpet!), play architect by building things with toothpicks, or simply enjoy something “gross” like worms made from jello, your kids will love the freedom to FINALLY play with their food.

Hint: Tape freezer paper to your kitchen table or counter for quicker clean-up.

 

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decorate

Sources from left: 12

As they get a little older, they may not yet be ready to cook, but they love to “help” in the process by decorating what YOU cook. Decorating cookies is such a childhood staple, whether it’s a holiday or hot summer day. Rummage through your pantry for candy to make faces, or use your food coloring and (new) paint brushes to let them paint directly onto their cookies.


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fun

Sources clockwise from top: 123

For your older kiddos, walk them through the process of cooking their own meal. It will give those picky eaters some buy-in for the meal, and it will make them so proud to serve their finished product to mom and dad. We have created a Pinterest board with kid-friendly recipes, and don’t forget – you can take something normal and make it special with something as simple as food coloring or a cookie cutter.

 

title4 recipe

Source

It’s true for parties, and it’s true for kids, too: the little touches can make something go from mundane to memorable. Create a fun cooking space for them by taping down freezer paper, laying out all of the tools/ingredients (like you see on the TODAY Show cooking segments) and writing out the recipe so they can follow along themselves. Let them wear your apron (or buy them their own) and chef’s hat, and make a BIG DEAL out of the finished product. If your kids are older, let them set the table with your fanciest linens and dishes and proudly serve mom and dad their creations while you RAVE about their cooking. Bravo!

 

title5One of the greatest things my mother-in-law did was require her two boys to plan a menu one night a week, complete with making a shopping list and doing all of the cooking. She said that she and my father-in-law ate some rather creative meals that her young boys planned, but she also instilled a true love for cooking and creativity in the kitchen in her both of her sons. My husband is now an amazing chef, and he credits a lot of it back to practicing over and over as a kid… and loving it. So don’t be afraid to let your older kids take responsibility for meal planning and cooking, and regardless of how it turns out, continue to encourage them to learn and experiment and grow. After all, that’s what we want for our kids, right?

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Bethe LCA SigAbout Lionheart: Lionheart Children’s Academy is a non-profit Christian organization committed to excellence in early childhood education. We are passionate about equipping kids to be world changers, and supporting working parents who need quality, affordable care and education for their children.

Our first center is located at Lake Arlington Baptist Church in South Arlington.

At Lionheart Children’s Academy, we place a priority on our relationships with not only our children, but also our parents. We invite you to visit us in person and take a tour of our facility. We’ll answer your questions and then walk you through the enrollment process. To schedule a tour, please call us at 817-768-6865 or click here to schedule online.

To read more about Lionheart Children’s Academy, visit our website.

 

 

Keep The Shark From Circling

iStock_000020564784SmallWe’ve all experienced it: the bored child.

I’m not sure about yours, but mine literally walks around in circles whining. Sometimes the circles are around me, or the cat, or the dining room table. I’m laughing out loud thinking about the words I just wrote because, to the outside world, the scene really sounds like something straight out of Calvin and Hobbes. All the while, I’m remembering how torturous it can be when I’m just trying to make a healthy dinner to feed the precious growing girl who’s circling me.

Like a shark that’s about to devour its prey.

Here are a few things that work in my house to help keep the joy-filled shark from circling:

1. Relocate: Hide toys & make it a game to find them, rotate them by putting some away in the closet for a month then swapping them out every once and a while (mine loves to re-discover her old baby toys), or the favorite in my house… put inside toys outside.

2. Water: Sounds messy, and it can be, but it’s just water. I’ll take water over whining ANY day. I get two of the biggest Tupperware containers I have, put them on either side of my sink, put a towel on the floor, and a stool in front of the sink. Then add anything that’s not a toy but safe from the kitchen (spoons, measuring cups, plastic bowls) to the water. Instant and free water table!

3. The Big Helper: PJ loves to help me cook. Sometimes I have to pray for three extra doses of patience to make it happen, depending on the day, but it’s usually a fun memory! I let her use small cutting boards, smaller utensils, and pieces of what I’m cutting so she can mutilate till her heart’s content. This is a great way to spend some quality time together, cure boredom, introduce new foods, and practice motor skills.

Not everything works for everyone, but this is what works in our house (most of the time). What works in your home? Leave a comment… I’d love to hear!

 

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LCA SigAbout Lionheart: Lionheart Children’s Academy is a non-profit Christian organization committed to excellence in early childhood education. We are passionate about equipping kids to be world changers, and supporting working parents who need quality, affordable care and education for their children.

Our first center is located at Lake Arlington Baptist Church in South Arlington.

At Lionheart Children’s Academy, we place a priority on our relationships with not only our children, but also our parents. We invite you to visit us in person and take a tour of our facility. We’ll answer your questions and then walk you through the enrollment process. To schedule a tour, please call us at 817-768-6865 or click here to schedule online.

To read more about Lionheart Children’s Academy, visit our website.

If Moms Played Like Three-Year-Olds

Children And Mothers Eating Jelly And Cake At Outdoor Tea PartyThe other day, my three-year-old told me about playing on the playground with her friends. She was pretending to be the big sister and her friends were pretending to be the mom and the baby. Adorable, right? Also, I’m very excited about the imaginative and role-playing she’s engaging in!

She gave me the play-by-play. Walking up to them, she said, “Hey. Can I play with you?” They kindly replied, “Of course!”

And the rest was history.

If only life was that easy. I think, in some ways, it can be.

Picture us moms on the playground saying to one another, ” Can I do life with you?” and “Of course you can!” Think of what a sweet and genuine community of moms that would be. No judging, no comparing, no one-upping. Just doing life together, being real, encouraging, supporting, affirming, and helping one another be the moms we are wired to be.

Here’s a challenge: Next time you’re around other moms you haven’t met before, introduce yourself.

I dare you 🙂

One thing all moms have in common is the fact that we have kiddos. Whether we birthed them or adopted them, it’s one thing we share. An easy conversation starter is to ask about another mom’s kids. Talk about how old their kiddos are, what their names are, or how many kids they have.

Boom. Instant friends.

LCA Sig

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About Lionheart: Lionheart Children’s Academy is a non-profit Christian organization committed to excellence in early childhood education. We are passionate about equipping kids to be world changers, and supporting working parents who need quality, affordable care and education for their children.

Our first center is located at Lake Arlington Baptist Church in South Arlington.

At Lionheart Children’s Academy, we place a priority on our relationships with not only our children, but also our parents. We invite you to visit us in person and take a tour of our facility. We’ll answer your questions and then walk you through the enrollment process. To schedule a tour, please call us at 817-768-6865 or click here to schedule online.

To read more about Lionheart Children’s Academy, visit our website.