“Every heart beats true for the red, white, and blue”… may be some of the musical lyrics you hear this 4th of July celebration! Parades, park adventures with the family, camping, picnics, and fireworkds are all part of the celebrations today as we commemorate the 242nd birthday of the United States of America! Join us for some tasty, festive snacks and fun activities for the kids!
Red, White, and Blue “Firework” Pom Poms
Hosting a party or BBQ? These little pom poms are fun, fairly quick, and festive decorations for your porch or dinning area. Here is what you will need!
Tissue paper: red, white and blue of course! Chose white with colored sparkles to create firework-style pom poms
Ribbon or fine string
- Fold tissue paper in half 3 times until you have a rectangle approximately 7 x 10 inches. Cut along the folds until you have 8 pieces. If using a different size tissue paper, simply cut into 7″ x 10″ rectangles. Repeat for each set of tissue paper.
- Take two cut sheets of each colour and layer on top of each other: red, white, blue, red, white, blue or sparkly color tissue paper.
- Folding horizontally along the short end of the rectangle, create an alternating accordion fold about 1 inch think along the tissue paper sheets. You should be flipping the tissue paper over with each fold to create the accordion fold.
- Pinching the folded tissue paper together in the middle, staple once in the center to secure all of the layers in place.
- Flip the accordioned tissue paper over, and center the ribbon over the backside of the staple. Staple again to secure the twine or ribbon to your folded tissue paper layers.
- Trim each end of your folded pom into an arrow point.
- Gently fan out one half of the folded pom, and gently pull each layer of tissue paper away from the centre to fluff. Repeat for all layers of tissue paper on both the top and bottom half of each pom. You should have a cute, round pom once you’re done!
- Repeat Steps 1-4 to create the next accordion pom. To make one continuous garland, simply measure the amount of space you would like between poms before directly stapling the folded pom to your twine or ribbon. Repeat Step 6 & 7 to finish each pom. Keep going until your pom pom garland is to your liking!
Hand print Keepsake Fireworks
Hand print artwork is a classic keepsake to look back on as your kids grow up; this little activity is perfect for those parents who enjoy these memorable pieces and ideal for kids who love to get messy with the paint! (water washable paint is the best!)
Red, blue, gold, silver, cardstock/construction paper
White cardstock (2) smaller than color cardstock/paper
Acrylic paint of choice or washable paint
Glitter glue – gold, silver, or multi color
Paint palette (paper plates work well!)
Paint brushes (foam brush and regular paint brush)
Paper cutter or scissors
Wipes for cleaning up!
Festive stickers (optional)
- Gently tape white cardstock (matte side up, shiny side down!) to the table for secure hand printing painting
- Apply desired paint color for handprint to a paper plate or paint palette and use the foam brush to apply to your child’s hand, apply a thin coat to prevent globs and reduce smearing.
- Gently press their hand down on the card stock. Encourage them to hold still by gently tickling their palm before pressing down to stimulate a spread reflex (works well for young babies and toddlers). As they press down, run your fingers across the tops of their fingers to encourage the same reflex.
- Pull their hand straight up and either wash at the sink or wipe away the paint
- Next, on seperate piece of cardstock, add detail of fireworks with regular paint brush or help guide your child’s little fingers to make strokes of paint. Use multiple colors of choice and start with an “X” shape, adding strokes all around between.Use glitter glue to add some sparkle streaks for a firework resemblance.
- When the handprint dries, cut out along the edges and glue to the middle of the cardstock with the firework detail. Or, attach handprint to still wet glue of firework detail.
- Cut cardstock to fit inside color paper, using the color paper as a frame.
- Don’t forget to write the name and date at the bottom!
- Add festive stickers or glitter glue to the border of your frame if desired.
Fruit is in season and often on sale this time of year. It is well-known as nature’s candy and kids are commonly fans, so pick out their favorites and make some tasty snacks…think red, white, and blue!
Angle food cake cut into squares or rounds (cookie cuters!)
- Fairly simple, prepare your fruits and foods of choice. Wash berries and cut Strawberry tops, slice bananas, cube watermelon and Krispy treats and cake bits to desired bite size.
- Place your choices on a plate or in cups and let the kids pick and stick!
We hope you all enjoy a memorable and safe Independence Day this year with family and friend! Make some of these fun craft and snack ideas part of your celebrations and keep those smiles bright!
These fun tips were brought to you by Kidds Place
A child’s mind is always active, and they are constantly seeking new wonders and adventures. Children are natural explorers, and there is so much to do and see in your own backyard. Keep in mind that extravagant vacations to exotic places are not necessary, in order to fulfill a child’s never-ending need to see all that the world has to offer.
Fun in the Garden
Your own backyard is a great place for your children and their friends to be occupied for hours. Some great ideas include:
- Have the children go on a spider web hunt.
- Make a crown made from leaves, or even have them design their own place setting made of leaves, that they can use for the evening meal.
- Rock painting is becoming a fast enjoying trend. Rocks can be found in your own backyard, and once painted; they could be hidden in secret places around the community to be found by others. This is a great way to keep children occupied, and bring a smile to the face of strangers.
- Growing vegetables is a great way to teach children about food and nature. Growing a sweet potato is something that could be done above ground, so children can experience the wonders of all stages of growth.
- Attempting to catch butterflies with a home-made butterfly net is a great way to get children to create something of their own, and also to appreciate nature.
- To tap into their imaginary side, encourage children to make a fairy garden, or build a tiny house for fairies. Also, they can whip up a batch of fairy potion with a few household items, such as a jar, water, flower petals (or other items from the backyard), food coloring, and of course a magic stick to stir the potion.
- Camping and stargazing in the backyard has been something that children have been doing for years, and this is a tried and true activity that children love.
Your backyard is going to the place to be, where you share your homemade large games with the neighborhood. Remember, building the game is half the fun.
You will need some string to make sure your lines are straight, but more importantly, you will need spray paint cans of blue, yellow, green and red. A 5 gallon bucket with the bottom (about a 10 inch circumference) cut out is recommended for the pattern template. It is strongly advised, to allow the paint to dry before playing, to keep children from ruining clothes and shoes (or tracking wet paint into your house). Use the spinner from the original game, if you don’t have one, just call out random combinations and watch the fun unfold.
DIY a Lawn Tic-Tac-Toe set
For the board, you can use spray paint, pool noodles, chalk, or use rope or yarn for the lines on the board. Then you will need the “X” and “O” (5 of each) – these can be anything, like painted rocks, bean bags, or large handmade cutouts.
DIY Giant Backyard Bowling
PVC pipes can be used to create this great, larger than life backyard game, but you can also use some common household products, such a large plastic soda bottles (filled with water with food coloring added), empty cereal boxes, or empty paper towel tubes filled with rocks (tape both ends of the filled tubes).
To create this fun game, you will just need a few 2’ by 4’ boards. Most home improvement stores and lumber yards will cut the wood to your specific lengths, so you don’t even need a saw!
It may or may not be common knowledge that there are nearly 100 to 200 species of bacteria, at any given time, lurking in your mouth. This is bacteria that also take up residence on your toothbrush as well! Now you know. How you store toothbrushes can also contribute far more greatly to the issue if you aren’t careful. After all, the point of brushing our teeth is to remove bacteria, so inevitably, there will be much present on your toothbrush. It may not be a pleasant subject to read about or discuss, however; teaching consistent habits early on will help construct healthy choices for your little one’s health and overall well-being.
So why should you care about where the toothbrush is placed between uses and why should you change it out? Does it really matter? Read on to find out the how and why you may not be aware of!
Germs thrive in warm, moist environments
Making toothbrushes prime estate for germs to live and grow. Bathrooms are often warm and damp from the steam of bathing, which creates an environment where your toothbrush may remain damp between uses. The ideal way to store toothbrushes is upright such as in a toothbrush clip/holder in a place where it can dry between uses, such as in a tight-closing mirror cabinet or even in the cupboard under the sink if you have a cabinet counter.
Avoid air tight travel cases too as they don’t allow air flow to dry and create an ideal environment for visible mold, which starts to grow well before you see it! Air drying kills anaerobic bacteria that can cause gum disease and cavities. Use the bathroom fan to circulate air and prevent steam from building up in excess. If you have a bathroom window, open it slightly to allow steam an escape.
Airborne and splash bacteria
Have many sources in the bathroom alone. Droplets of wastewater from flushing the toilet, hand washing, and even shower steam introduce an array of other bacteria to your toothbrush… all day long. Wherever you do find best for storage in your space, DON’T store toothbrushes off the side of the sink or on the counter top, no matter how rushed you may be! Close the toilet lid before flushing and instruct children to do the same. Teaching this during potty training days too can help ingrain this habit to help reduce contamination of the rest of your bathroom.
The common cold and flu
Viruses are active days and weeks before visible symptoms are present. They can also linger a while, though usually not for long. Still, you should change your toothbrush if you have been sick and be careful not to store toothbrushes of family members together to avoid cross infection. When you buy toothbrushes or visit your dentist, ask for one or two extra to keep on hand, unopened, for a fresh replacement after illness.
Normal wear and tear
Changes your toothbrush effectiveness more than you may think. Bristles can break down and splay causing them to become dull and unable to reach into the cracks and crevices of the teeth. Three months is the general guideline and if you or your kids tend to be heavy handed on toothbrush use, you may find replacement required more often. Use common sense to figure out when you and the family are due for new brush. Keep in mind too that maintenance between uses will greatly help and even prevent unwanted nasties.
Here are a few things you can do between uses:
Rinse in hot water
For about 30 seconds before and after brushing to remove all traces of toothpaste and kill off a majority of microbes, many of which can’t survive beyond about 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Rinse the brush at a head-downward angle and tap out excess water with the bristles facing down prior to storing upright. Once a week, you can boil water a few minutes and submerge the brush head for about 20-30 minutes in a glass container.
Soak brush heads in mouthwash
In an antibacterial mouthwash for 20-30 minutes after rinsing with hot water. A gum disease-fighting mouthwash or one with alcohol or cetylpyridinium chloride will do the trick. White vinegar is also a good option aside from mouthwash. This is also ideal for toothbrushes fresh out of the package as they are not perfectly clean either.
Hydrogen Peroxide rinse
Isn’t just for owies! This is especially helpful after each brushing if you are sick. Soak for 5 minutes once a week for regular maintenance. Just don’t reuse the same hydrogen peroxide, particularly because it will break down and lose effectiveness when exposed to light.
Don’t forget the toothbrush holder!
This study by NSF International revealed that the toothbrush holder takes the title for germiest place in the bathroom! Whether you use a clip holder, cup, or other upright-holding way of toothbrush storage, clean it in hot, soapy water at least once a week or when you clean your bathroom. You can also rinse or soak with vinegar rinse under hot water. Air dry on a clean towel or paper towel.
Germs are everywhere, it’s a fact of life, and why we have immune systems to help protect us on the daily basis from common household bacteria. Don’t push your luck though and now that you know just how bacteria ridden the toothbrushes in your household really can be, take a few moments to maintain them between replacements every three months. Happy brushing!
Getting your kids involved in the kitchen is an easy way to expose them to the important life skill of cooking. Fortunately with baking sweets, most kids are more than eager to participate (being able to lick the spatula was always the best part when we were kids, right?).
Baking is always a fun way to have a sweet snack here and there, however much of the ingredients called for in baked goods recipes consist of unhealthy options such as Crisco or butter, bleached four or high amounts of white refined sugar. With the awareness of nutrition on the rise, there are so many healthier options out there to give you alternatives for each ingredient in your recipe to make them just as yummy but healthier at the same time.
- Flour –
There are a lot of flour substitutes out there such as whole-wheat flour, which gives you more fiber than its bleached form. Nut flours are also very common. They have healthy oils in them and also more fiber.
- Sugar –
There are so many alternatives for sugar it would be difficult to list them all. Natural honey, maple syrup, agave nectar or coconut sugar are just a couple options you can choose from when searching for a sweetener. These can be just as effective as refined sugar except they don’t have as high of a refined sugar content.
- Eggs –
Not everyone likes to eat eggs or thinks that they are healthy for you, especially people who are committed to a vegan diet or have high cholesterol. Some excellent egg alternatives are chia seeds or flax-seed meal which still have emulsifying agents like eggs but are from plant sources.
- Butter –
Butter can typically be substituted with any nut butters or unsaturated oils. Some other good options would be applesauce which has a low calorie content or ripe bananas which can still have the creamy texture of butter but are filled with nutrients and natural sugars.
Coming up with way to make your favorite recipes healthier for yourself and your family can be a fun exercise and is definitely worth it in the end!
Easter is the biggest holiday of the spring with so many children eager to dive into the fun. However with all the excitement and tradition of Easter, there is the downside of the amount of candy consumed. Easter is definitely a holiday that has morphed into a day of sugar and treats. As a parent, this can be a bit worrisome if you’re concerned for your children’s dental health. There are some good tricks though that can still give your kids fun surprises but cut down on the amount of sugar consumed.
Sugar-free gums which use zylitol or any other alcohol sugar, are excellent alternatives to still give your children something sweet to chew on but without the high sugar content. Alcohol sugars don’t cling to the teeth as regular sugars do and are not loved by the bacteria in the mouth.
Stickers are also always a favorite with kids. Its easy to find stickers with your child’s favorite Disney character or superhero that they will easily love just as much or even more than a piece of hubba bubba.
Trailmix with yummy nuts and some semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips will significantly cut down on the amount of sugar found in a regular amount of m&ms but is still a yummy treat!
Play dough is a super fun alternative as well. I don’t think there is a child out there who doesn’t like play dough! Pick dough in your child’s favorite color and they will be entertained for a much longer time than if you gave them jelly beans.
Baking some treats with half the sugar or alternative ingredients is always a healthier option than anything you would buy at the store. Baking with date sugar, coconut sugar or maple sugar can be some good alternatives that are still sweet but not hard on the teeth like cane sugar!
- Creating coupons is always a fun way to make Easter baskets more interactive. Having a coupon for a trip to the movies, a local arcade, a theme park or just a fun outing with mom and dad can be a great idea. Kids love going on adventures more than getting piles of sugar to eat.
Mostly all kids love getting and eating candy. As a parent it can be very easy to want to give into these wishes but I think most kids would agree that is given some of these fun Easter basket alternatives, they would choose them any day over a bag of candy!
Choosing the best foods to put in your child’s lunch or give them as a snack can often be a challenging task. As a parent you want to choose something they will like but also something that is healthy for their body and their teeth. If a child is regularly eating candy or sugary snacks during the day, that sugar will just sit on their teeth until they brush them in the evening. Here is a list of some snack options that promote children’s dental health as well!
- Oranges, sweet peppers or strawberries all contain the popular nutrient vitamin c. This vitamin is especially helpful in fighting certain types of bacteria in the mouth because they don’t like its acidic nature.
- Nuts or foods containing seeds have healthy oils in them which can coat the teeth and act a protective barrier to invading bacteria. Some examples could be peanuts, almonds, whole grain breads or hearty granola bars.
- Milk and Dairy products can also be healthy for teeth because they are an excellent source of calcium, which is helpful in keeping kids teeth strong and resilient. Dairy products also increase the acidity of the mouth and thus ward off any acid loving bacteria.
- Apples, Carrots or celery can be excellent choices because they mechanically clean the teeth. Their crispness acts as a kind of abrasive surface on the teeth, helping scrape off any plaque or buildup.
- Always give water. Children of course love juice and sugar drinks however the less you give these to your children, the better off their dental health will be. Always promote drinking water because it helps rinse the mouth as well as hydrate.
These are just a few ideas to help inspire healthy snacks, which are also healthy for the mouth. Limiting the amount of times your child snacks a day is also very helpful in keeping the sugar loving bacteria to a minimum. Being a parent is never easy, but promoting and instilling healthy snacking habits in your child will always pay off, especially concerning their dental health.
Teething or the development of baby teeth is something every child has to go through during their early years of life. It is a process, which normally causes discomfort and restlessness and can therefore be an exhausting period for the child and the parents.
Teething typically begins anywhere from 3 months to one year when the primary teeth are finding their way to the gums surface. The soreness at this time is most often due to the swelling of the gums as the teeth begin to move. This discomfort can leave the child fussy and unsettled. Every baby is going to be different during this time however, here are some remedies, which will hopefully help, ease the process!
- A clean finger -moving over the surface of the gums can relieve some of the teething pain.
- A damp washcloth put in the fridge and then offered to your baby to chew on can offer some cool relief.
- Breastfeeding can be a simple and soothing option to help distract your baby and relieve some of the pain.
- There are also certain pain relievers or Tylenol you can ask your doctor to recommend.
- Amber Teething Necklaces-are a trending holistic solution with the belief that the heat from your child’s skin warms the amber beads which then releases oils containing succinic acid which are then absorbed into the blood. Succinic acid is a natural pain-relieving agent.
- Mesh Teethers-can also be a good solution by placing frozen fruit inside and giving the baby something cold but yummy to chew on.
These remedies are not a solution to everyone’s teething baby problems. However, hopefully they offer some temporary relief or more sleep filled nights.
Easing into a tooth-brushing routine can often be a difficult process with young children. The magic of being a “big kid who brushes their teeth” doesn’t last for very long, eventually making the repetitive routine of teeth brushing a bit painful.
There are always some tips and tricks however, which can make this adjustment process much simpler!
- Let your kids practice by letting them brush your teeth. This can be a promising solution because it allows them to feel like you are in this process with them and not just the tooth-brushing dictator.
- A reward system can also be effective. Add stickers to a calendar or quarters to a jar or maybe a fun game before bed. This helps give the child incentive and makes them feel like they are doing something right by brushing their teeth. (Just don’t make it candy or chocolate on a daily basis, as this is semi-counter intuitive to purpose of brushing teeth!
- Changing toothpaste can also be effective by adding a new flavor and helping it feel like a new experience. Sometimes even making toothpaste optional at first, can make the initial experience a bit less dramatic.
- Giving independence. Allowing your child to put on his or her own toothpaste and do a lot of the brushing themselves as well as rinse out their own mouth can help them feel responsible and in control.
- Brushing to music makes tooth brushing into more of a party or game, which can help break up the monotony of the routine.
- Use an Analog timer. These timers are a fun visual for children and can help give them a 3D image to watch as well as know how long they need to brush.
Brushing teeth is never an easy task at the beginning, but hopefully these six simple tips help you better negotiate with your reluctant brushers!
Fluoride can be a controversial topic when discussing the dental health of children. There are many different opinions as to whether fluoride is actually helpful in preventing tooth decay or if it has any dangerous health implications. The facts surrounding what fluoride is, where it can be found and its multiple uses may help decipher whether fluoride is a good choice for you and your children.
Fluoride is a monatomic, inorganic anion from the element of Fluorine (F). An anion is a negatively charged ion, which is attracted to positively charged substances. Fluoride can be found in multiple different mineral sources on earth but is mostly found in trace quantities within water. It has a slightly bitter taste and no color.
Due to the fact that fluoride is an anion it sticks very firmly to the calcium ions found within the enamel of a tooth. Tooth enamel is comprised of calcium and phosphate and can be easily broken down by the sugar-loving bacteria found within the mouth. These bacteria produce acid as their bi-product, which decays the tooth. Saliva acts as a natural repair device for the enamel in the mouth by neutralizing these acids. However, the amount of acid decay often can be too much for the saliva to properly neutralize, this leads to cavities and decay in the mouth. Fluoride is a helpful agent in this case because it sticks tightly to the teeth, reinforcing the enamel and protecting the teeth from bacteria and acids.
Normal doses of fluoride can occasionally leave white marks on the teeth. In extreme doses, discoloration can take place in brown or yellow coloring. There are certain studies which state fluorine in high doses can be toxic to the body, mostly the bones (skeletal fluorosis). However, many of the negative effects of fluoride are still open for discussion and study.
As with most substances, moderation is key. Fluoride certainly falls into this category. Kids should not use a toothpaste with fluoride in it until they are at least 2 years of age. After that, only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on the toothbrush is enough to get the job done!
For most young adults wisdom teeth will eventually become a topic of discussion. Do I have them? Should I have them removed? Have they already grown in? These are some common questions you may ask your dentist when considering what to do with your wisdom teeth. Having a fuller knowledge about what wisdom teeth actually are, why they exist in the human mouth and the risks associated with them will help you understand the whole process much better.
Wisdom teeth are called by that name because they normally begin to show in the human mouth around the ages of 17-25 years old. These years are typically thought to be the “ages of gaining wisdom”. They are said to originally exist in the mouth because humans used to have to eat much harder or grainy foods so they needed to have extra molars in order to grind it down. Today, food is much more processed and so the necessity for wisdom teeth has become less and less.
The main risk is that wisdom teeth are quite large and can easily cause crowding within the mouth. Crowding can lead to multiple complications such as tooth decay or jaw problems. If the mouth is overly crowded, wisdom teeth can become displaced and grow in sideways or only partially emerge from the gums. Partial eruption is dangerous because it makes the tooth difficult to clean and allows debris to be easily trapped around the tooth, which can lead to infection or decay. If the wisdom tooth never erupts at all, it can cause problems below the surface of the gums such as tooth displacement or crowding.
In certain situations the wisdom teeth can grow in straight to become fully functional. These scenarios typically don’t require immediate removal of the teeth however they still need to be watched and monitored closely because complications can occur later on. Fully emerged wisdom teeth are set very far back in the mouth making proper cleaning difficult. This leaves them always at high risk for decay or causing certain gum infections.