Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Traceable Alphabet Book

ABC & 123
Tracing Book
I have wanted to make an alphabet tracing book for Super Tot for a while now and finally got around to doing it.  I am thrilled with how it turned out, too! 

I started with a 4x6 plastic photo album from Dollar Tree.  It had room for 36 photos, which was perfect for including the entire alphabet plus the numerals 1-10.

Next, I went to this website and created my tracing cards.  I used the Print Style Worksheets Sentence Worksheet Maker.  I did one letter at a time so that I could enlarge them to my desired size.  For the “sentence,” I put a space before the letter and then typed the Uppercase & Lowercase letter.  I clicked on Portrait-Style and ¾ Inch Size.  You can even change the color of the lines, as well as the text color.  Then, I hit print and zoomed it to 250%.  This printed only a portion of the page, but I only needed one set of letters.  I tried numerous other sizes and variations, but this was the only one that worked for what I wanted.  

I redid this for each letter and numeral.  Then, I got to cutting!  Using a paper cutter, I cut each letter and numeral out and attached them to cardstock using scrapbook adhesive. 
I then placed them in the album and searched for clipart I liked for the cover (I don’t own the clipart, so I can’t share it). 

Using a dry erase marker, Super Tot will be able to use this book over and over!  He loves to write and is so excited to be learning his letters.

The completed project took under an hour and used supplies I already had on hand (including the album that I had previously purchased for such a project). 

I plan to have this available for Super Tot in the car during our upcoming Staycation (see my Staycation Binders here).  Then, I will be placing the tracing book into one of Super Tot’s Busy Bags (see here) for use at church, dr.’s office waiting rooms, etc.  I know we will get LOTS of use out of this simple and affordable project!


Monday, July 16, 2012

Staycation Binders and Fun!

Because we are still fairly new to our city, we decided that it would be fun to do a Staycation this summer and enjoy the many fun things our new home and surrounding area has to offer.  However, we wanted to be sure that it still felt like a vacation, so we made some plans to make it feel different from our every day life. 
First off, we are turning our home into a mini hotel, complete with turndown service, chocolates on the pillows, travel-size toiletries, etc.  My niece is flying in from out of state, so that will make it feel different, too!  

We have something fun planned for each day of our Staycation.  Several of our destinations are in neighboring cities and will require short travel.  While that doesn't exactly equal a road trip, I wanted to simulate that as much as possible.  I have created travel binders for road trips in the past, but many of the travel ideas I've used are for much longer road trips.  I was inspired by an idea I saw on Pinterest, and decided I could make the travel binders work for our week of fun.
Each child has their own binder.  The older girls' binders are identical, while Super Tot's is slightly different.  They all have a pencil case with a pen, pencil, dry erase marker & colored pencils.  The front pocket of the pencil case is for their "Staycation Bucks" (see below).
My favorite addition to our Staycation Binders, and something I have never done before, is Staycation Bucks.  The children can earn Staycation Bucks each day and trade them in for spending money.  See the FAQ below (which is included in the binders) for an explanation of how they work. I have also included the following printables at the bottom of this post:
Staycation Bucks
Staycation Bucks FAQ 
  -and, in case you are going on a regular vacation-
Vacation Bucks
Vacation Buck FAQ
 Staycation Bucks FAQ

What are Staycation Bucks?
Staycation Bucks are like spending money for our Staycation!

How do I earn Staycation Bucks?
Each day of our Staycation will present new and different opportunities for you to earn Staycation Bucks.  See each day’s itinerary for specifics opportunities available for that day.

Is there a limit to the number of Staycation Bucks I can earn?
You may earn up to 3 Staycation Bucks each day for catching Mommy or Daddy use the “Word of the Day.”  Each BONUS Staycation Bucks Challenge can be completed one time, earning 1 additional Staycation Buck per BONUS.

What do I do with the Staycation Bucks I have earned?
Staycation Bucks may be traded into cash at any point(s) during our Staycation. 

How much money are Staycation Bucks worth?
Each Staycation Buck is worth one (1) dollar.  However, if you save them up and trade them in 10 at a time, you will earn an extra dollar.  For example:

* 1 Staycation Buck = $1
* 5 Staycation Bucks = $5
* 10 Staycation Bucks = $11

Once I trade them in, what can I use my money for?
Once you’ve earned them, they are yours!  You can spend them on anything you want during our vacation souvenirs, gifts, etc.

Do I have to spend my Staycation Bucks on the day they are earned?
No, the Staycation Bucks are good for the entire Staycation, so feel free to save them up, or spend them however you choose!

Will you be buying me souvenirs or giving me additional spending money for our Staycation?
The Staycation Bucks are our contribution to your spending money, and we will not be providing you with additional funds.  We will, however, be covering all other costs during our trip, such as admissions, tickets, food, etc.  You are welcome to add your own cash to your spending money, as well.

I created a daily itinerary sheet for each day of our Staycation.  I also made cardstock dividers separating each day.  The dividers show the day and location.  Behind each divider is the daily itinerary.  
 The itinerary sheet highlights what we are doing that day, including fun things to look for and do, the Word of the Day (see the FAQ above), as well as a daily BONUS Challenge to complete to earn an additional Staycation Buck.  

The BONUS Challenges are different for each day and include scavenger hunts, historical trivia they will learn at specific destinations, physical challenges, etc.
Also included behind each divider is a journal sheet for that day.  If the kids complete their journal page, they will earn an additional Staycation Buck.
A few of our destinations are historical sites & museums.  I have included history sheets & information to read on the way behind the tabs for those days.  

The binders also include some fun games to play on the way to our various destinations.  I made an "I Spy" game which will actually be stored in a separate bag, but the "Find-It" Lists are in the binders.  The girls have a list of items, while Super Tot has pictures of the items to look for.
I also found some fun travel games online and included them in our binders.  They are placed in page protectors so they can be played multiple times.  You can find the games here, here and here.
I also printed off some Mad Libs for the girls and a few mazes for Super Tot.

The last item in the binders (though difficult to see here) is a large clear envelope.  This is for the kids to put brochures, ticket stubs, or other flat souvenirs from our trip.
In addition to the binders, I have a bag in the car of additional travel games and activities.  I actually created the bag for a road trip back in 2010 and have kept it in the car since that time.  We use it often!  It includes some Color Wonder activity pads, a small binder with additional travel games I made and printed, a book of travel games, and a set of Road Trip Scavenger Hunt cards I made.  

We have enjoyed this homemade game many times over the past 2 years, and I know we will enjoy it for many years to come.  I purchased a set of blank, Make-Your-Own flashcards and a set of rainbow Sharpie markers.  Then, I got to work!!  I made a list of 100 items we might see on various types of driving trips (city, country, etc.).  It took me several hours, but I drew and colored each of the 100 items, giving our family a one-of-a-kind road trip game!  When we play, we each draw 5 cards.  As we find an item on one of our cards, we place it in a "found" pile and draw another card.  When we get to our destination (or just decide to be finished playing), we tally up the found cards and whichever player has the most wins the game.  Almost all of the cards will work for any time we play, but if one is drawn that we know is impossible (ie. a toll booth where there is no toll road) - we allow that card to be exchanged.  It really is a fun game!  There are similar games available for purchase, but we love that ours is special and personal.  
I am so excited about our Staycation, and I know our kids are, too!  

Staycation Printables:

Vacation Printables:

Linking to: