Characteristics of children with autism

Characteristics of children with autism
Characteristics of children with autism

No one will exhibit all of these characteristics, as each case of autism has its own unique gifts and struggles. This is a list of commonly seen characteristics found on the autism spectrum. This list is provided for educational purposes and not meant to be used for diagnosing autism. Many of these characteristics can also be found in those struggling with ADD/ADHD. Generally, an individual with autism will have struggles in several categories below, not just one.

Characteristics of children with autism
Characteristics of children with autism

No one will exhibit all of these characteristics, as each case of autism has its own unique gifts and struggles. This is a list of commonly seen characteristics found on the autism spectrum. This list is provided for educational purposes and not meant to be used for diagnosing autism. Many of these characteristics can also be found in those struggling with ADD/ADHD. Generally, an individual with autism will have struggles in several categories below, not just one.

Cute birthday cupcake ideas for kids

Cute birthday cupcake ideas for kids
Sweet Blocks

35 Cute (and Easy!) Birthday Cupcakes for Kids
Need cute (and easy to make) birthday cupcake ideas for your kid? We've got 'em!

Cute birthday cupcake ideas for kids
Sweet Blocks

35 Cute (and Easy!) Birthday Cupcakes for Kids
Need cute (and easy to make) birthday cupcake ideas for your kid? We've got 'em!

Mike Wazowski Paper Plate Craft

Mike Wazowski Paper Plate Craft
Mike Wazowski Paper Plate Craft

We brought our kids to watch Monsters University recently and they really enjoyed the show.
Their favorite character is the adorable little monster called Mike Wazowski.
So I decided to do a Mike Wazowski Paper Plate Craft with my kids when we got home.

I came across a beautiful website by Kimberly that has printables for Mike Wazowski.

Mike Wazowski Paper Plate Craft
Mike Wazowski Paper Plate Craft

We brought our kids to watch Monsters University recently and they really enjoyed the show.
Their favorite character is the adorable little monster called Mike Wazowski.
So I decided to do a Mike Wazowski Paper Plate Craft with my kids when we got home.

I came across a beautiful website by Kimberly that has printables for Mike Wazowski.

Spring Flower Bowl

Spring Flower Bowl
Spring Flower Bowl

Create daffodil-shaped candy dishes for a fanciful table display using coffee filters and food coloring.

Full post: Spring Flower Bowl
Spring Flower Bowl
Spring Flower Bowl

Create daffodil-shaped candy dishes for a fanciful table display using coffee filters and food coloring.

Full post: Spring Flower Bowl

14 Summer Activities for Children

Summer Activities for Children
Summer Activities for Children

Summer is here, which means that the kids will soon be asking, “Mom, what can I do?” These fifteen ideas should help you answer that question, whether your child is artistic or active. And many of these activities will help them keep learning over the summer while they’re having fun.

Summer Activities for Children
Summer Activities for Children

Summer is here, which means that the kids will soon be asking, “Mom, what can I do?” These fifteen ideas should help you answer that question, whether your child is artistic or active. And many of these activities will help them keep learning over the summer while they’re having fun.

Kids’ Felt Superhero Masks

Kids’ Felt Superhero Masks
Felt Superhero Masks

My brood of nieces and nephews is growing at an alarming(ly adorable) rate, so when Christmas came around, I was looking for gift ideas for them that wouldn’t either (a) break the bank for me or (b) add to the tsunami of toys that their mothers are constantly fighting against. While putting together my SlowMama Holiday Gift Guide, I was particularly smitten with these felt superhero masks (from the “Opposite of Far” etsy shop): They seemed like the perfect thing for the 3-to-7-year-old set I was shopping for — and because I already had some felt on hand, I decided to try creating something similar on my own.

Kids’ Felt Superhero Masks
Felt Superhero Masks

My brood of nieces and nephews is growing at an alarming(ly adorable) rate, so when Christmas came around, I was looking for gift ideas for them that wouldn’t either (a) break the bank for me or (b) add to the tsunami of toys that their mothers are constantly fighting against. While putting together my SlowMama Holiday Gift Guide, I was particularly smitten with these felt superhero masks (from the “Opposite of Far” etsy shop): They seemed like the perfect thing for the 3-to-7-year-old set I was shopping for — and because I already had some felt on hand, I decided to try creating something similar on my own.

Rainbow Soap Foam Bubbles Sensory Play

Rainbow Soap Foam Bubbles Sensory Play
Rainbow Soap Foam Bubbles

This is one of those fun activities that's quick, easy, and soooo open ended. It took me around 10 minutes total to whip up this huge batch of bubbly, puffy, rainbow soap foam fun. We've played with soap foam before, but just plain white bubbles so our baby could play too. I decided it was time to add some color and feel the rainbow. And since S is such a fan of bubbles, I decided to fill our entire sensory bin with the rainbow soap foam!

Rainbow Soap Foam Bubbles Sensory Play
Rainbow Soap Foam Bubbles

This is one of those fun activities that's quick, easy, and soooo open ended. It took me around 10 minutes total to whip up this huge batch of bubbly, puffy, rainbow soap foam fun. We've played with soap foam before, but just plain white bubbles so our baby could play too. I decided it was time to add some color and feel the rainbow. And since S is such a fan of bubbles, I decided to fill our entire sensory bin with the rainbow soap foam!

How to Make a Leak Proof Water Blob

How to Make a Leak Proof Water Blob
Leak Proof Water Blob
By now, I am sure you have seen these water blobs circulating on Pinterest and all over your favorite blogs. And - for good reason! Water blobs will keep the kids entertained for hours. 

The only problems that seem pretty universal with the duct tape method is that they take a long time to prep - and they leak within minutes!

This tutorial is a little different. I used about 6-inches of duct tape on the entire thing! It has been sitting in our yard for 3 days now - with NO leaks, at all. And - it only took about 20 minutes to get ready!

*Update: I just drained our water blob. The grass under it was dying and stinky. :( I'm hoping that it will perk back up in a few days - but I definitely won't leave it out for more than 2 days next time!

I knew there had to be another (better, faster, & easier) way!

I had used a similar method in making my own walls-of-water for my tomatoes earlier in the spring, and so I knew right away how I would put together our water blob!

How to Make a Leak Proof Water Blob
Leak Proof Water Blob
By now, I am sure you have seen these water blobs circulating on Pinterest and all over your favorite blogs. And - for good reason! Water blobs will keep the kids entertained for hours. 

The only problems that seem pretty universal with the duct tape method is that they take a long time to prep - and they leak within minutes!

This tutorial is a little different. I used about 6-inches of duct tape on the entire thing! It has been sitting in our yard for 3 days now - with NO leaks, at all. And - it only took about 20 minutes to get ready!

*Update: I just drained our water blob. The grass under it was dying and stinky. :( I'm hoping that it will perk back up in a few days - but I definitely won't leave it out for more than 2 days next time!

I knew there had to be another (better, faster, & easier) way!

I had used a similar method in making my own walls-of-water for my tomatoes earlier in the spring, and so I knew right away how I would put together our water blob!

How to Put a Toddler to Bed in 100 Easy Steps

How to Put a Toddler to Bed in 100 Easy Steps
How to Put a Toddler to Bed in 100 Easy Steps

1. Announce that it's time to go to bed.

2. Wait for your toddler to stop crying.

3. Explain that bedtime is not a punishment.

4. Explain that bedtime is not a new concept.

5. Explain that, yes, bedtime will happen every night.

6. Console your toddler.

7. Announce that it's still bedtime.

8. Let your toddler know that we don't call names in this house.

9. Tell your toddler it's time to go upstairs.

10. Watch your toddler move at a snail's pace.

How to Put a Toddler to Bed in 100 Easy Steps
How to Put a Toddler to Bed in 100 Easy Steps

1. Announce that it's time to go to bed.

2. Wait for your toddler to stop crying.

3. Explain that bedtime is not a punishment.

4. Explain that bedtime is not a new concept.

5. Explain that, yes, bedtime will happen every night.

6. Console your toddler.

7. Announce that it's still bedtime.

8. Let your toddler know that we don't call names in this house.

9. Tell your toddler it's time to go upstairs.

10. Watch your toddler move at a snail's pace.

Observing Plant Growth Using Bulbs

Observing Plant Growth Using Bulbs
Observing Plant Growth Using Bulbs

One of our favorite science activities for kids is observing plant growth. In this science experiment for kids we’ll be forcing bulbs into bloom and observing the changes that take place over time!

Kids love taking part in plant experiments and always seem so fascinated by living things and how they grow. (Be sure to check out our Bean Dissection Experiment for Kids!) In this experiment children will be observing the growth of a bulb over time and recording their observations on a free printable observation sheet!

Observing Plant Growth Using Bulbs
Observing Plant Growth Using Bulbs

One of our favorite science activities for kids is observing plant growth. In this science experiment for kids we’ll be forcing bulbs into bloom and observing the changes that take place over time!

Kids love taking part in plant experiments and always seem so fascinated by living things and how they grow. (Be sure to check out our Bean Dissection Experiment for Kids!) In this experiment children will be observing the growth of a bulb over time and recording their observations on a free printable observation sheet!

7 healthy lunchbox ideas for kids

Healthy lunchbox ideas for kids
Healthy lunchbox ideas for kids

Hopefully you pack your kid’s lunch and they eat it. Hopefully your kid doesn’t go to the food truck and spend your hard earned money on high calorie junk food instead of eating the lunch you prepared. If you aren’t so lucky, you may need to be more creative in what you pack. Many schools serve lunches that children don’t eat, or they only eat a few components, donuts anyone? Many schools have financial pressures and limited staff, making it hard to prepare healthy and good tasting food. So you must do the job! Here are some ideas to pack lunches your kids’ will enjoy.

Healthy lunchbox ideas for kids
Healthy lunchbox ideas for kids

Hopefully you pack your kid’s lunch and they eat it. Hopefully your kid doesn’t go to the food truck and spend your hard earned money on high calorie junk food instead of eating the lunch you prepared. If you aren’t so lucky, you may need to be more creative in what you pack. Many schools serve lunches that children don’t eat, or they only eat a few components, donuts anyone? Many schools have financial pressures and limited staff, making it hard to prepare healthy and good tasting food. So you must do the job! Here are some ideas to pack lunches your kids’ will enjoy.

Best DIY electronics and programming kits for kids

Best DIY electronics and programming kits for kids
DIY electronics kits for kids

If you’ve seen your kid take to your iPhone like a fish to water, maybe you’ve thought about how to get them interested in DIY, or introducing technology as something they can do, not just something they use. Luckily, there are plenty of kits and tools out there making it a lot easier to get someone introduced to the wide world of electronics (or robotics, or gaming, or mobile development).

Before we get to it, I’ll let you in on a little secret: These kits are fun for anyone who’s interested in playing with these technologies or learning more about them, not just kids. Check them out!

Best DIY electronics and programming kits for kids
DIY electronics kits for kids

If you’ve seen your kid take to your iPhone like a fish to water, maybe you’ve thought about how to get them interested in DIY, or introducing technology as something they can do, not just something they use. Luckily, there are plenty of kits and tools out there making it a lot easier to get someone introduced to the wide world of electronics (or robotics, or gaming, or mobile development).

Before we get to it, I’ll let you in on a little secret: These kits are fun for anyone who’s interested in playing with these technologies or learning more about them, not just kids. Check them out!

12 Everyday Literacy Activities for Toddlers

Literacy Activities for Toddlers
Literacy Activities for Toddlers

Literacy is an important aspect of every person’s life… Like it or not, it determines the success of individuals way beyond school, simply because literacy is everywhere and life is just a continuous process of learning, reading and adapting new things. Having said that, every parent would love to give their kids a head start when it comes to reading. But more than learning the technicalities of phonetics and sight words, the important thing to establish in toddlers and babies as young as 6 months old (as young as they can sit independently) is the love of reading, the love of books.

And an effective way of doing this is to make literacy activities for toddlers a pleasant, happy experience, preferably doing activities with lots of snuggles and bonding time with mum or dad.
This list of everyday literacy activities for toddlers are simple and easy to do. They are mostly little things you can do in spurts of 5-10 minutes within your busy day. They may seem overly simple, but never underestimate all the information your little toddler takes in. In these young precious years, their brains act as a sponge, absorbing every little language and sensory experience in their environment. But best of all, your little one will love the attention and enjoy the interaction with mum or dad.

Literacy Activities for Toddlers
Literacy Activities for Toddlers

Literacy is an important aspect of every person’s life… Like it or not, it determines the success of individuals way beyond school, simply because literacy is everywhere and life is just a continuous process of learning, reading and adapting new things. Having said that, every parent would love to give their kids a head start when it comes to reading. But more than learning the technicalities of phonetics and sight words, the important thing to establish in toddlers and babies as young as 6 months old (as young as they can sit independently) is the love of reading, the love of books.

And an effective way of doing this is to make literacy activities for toddlers a pleasant, happy experience, preferably doing activities with lots of snuggles and bonding time with mum or dad.
This list of everyday literacy activities for toddlers are simple and easy to do. They are mostly little things you can do in spurts of 5-10 minutes within your busy day. They may seem overly simple, but never underestimate all the information your little toddler takes in. In these young precious years, their brains act as a sponge, absorbing every little language and sensory experience in their environment. But best of all, your little one will love the attention and enjoy the interaction with mum or dad.

6 Great Toys for Children with Autism

Sports toys can promote important social skills
Sports toys can promote important social skills

Parents often think of toys as a vehicle for pure fun and play—and for typically-developing kids, they often are. But for autistic kids, toys can serve another purpose—as a teaching tool. “It sounds counterintuitive, but we really need to teach these kids how to play,” says Jan Blacher, Ph.D., a developmental psychologist and director of the SEARCH family autism research center at University of California-Riverside. “For children with autism, play does not come naturally because they don’t have built-in knowledge about what to do with toys and how to interact with other kids.”

Sports toys can promote important social skills
Sports toys can promote important social skills

Parents often think of toys as a vehicle for pure fun and play—and for typically-developing kids, they often are. But for autistic kids, toys can serve another purpose—as a teaching tool. “It sounds counterintuitive, but we really need to teach these kids how to play,” says Jan Blacher, Ph.D., a developmental psychologist and director of the SEARCH family autism research center at University of California-Riverside. “For children with autism, play does not come naturally because they don’t have built-in knowledge about what to do with toys and how to interact with other kids.”

Printing with bubble mitts

Printing with bubble mitts
Printing with bubble mitts

I just love bubble wrap painting or printing. The texture and the designs that can be explored and created by using this material is wonderful. As part of our study on bubbles, we did a little printing with our homemade bubble mitts…

Printing with bubble mitts
Printing with bubble mitts

I just love bubble wrap painting or printing. The texture and the designs that can be explored and created by using this material is wonderful. As part of our study on bubbles, we did a little printing with our homemade bubble mitts…

Crafts for every letter of the alphabet

Crafts for every letter of the alphabet
Crafts for every letter of the alphabet

Letter of the week is one of my more popular features on No Time For Flash Cards, we have multiple uppercase crafts for each letter and most lowercase as well. I am often asked if you should follow an order when introducing letters to your child. Some will say yes, others will say no. I am sorta in the middle. Here is why… my goal with letter of the week is to introduce the letter, that’s it.  I don’t spend all week focusing only on it, it’s simply the focus of one craft every week.  There has been debate and studies done about the ineffectiveness of focusing only on one letter the entire week so I choose to continue focusing on all letters, after the one craft. If you choose to follow up with crafts or activities with the letter focus, choose ones your child relates to so the connections come naturally.

Crafts for every letter of the alphabet
Crafts for every letter of the alphabet

Letter of the week is one of my more popular features on No Time For Flash Cards, we have multiple uppercase crafts for each letter and most lowercase as well. I am often asked if you should follow an order when introducing letters to your child. Some will say yes, others will say no. I am sorta in the middle. Here is why… my goal with letter of the week is to introduce the letter, that’s it.  I don’t spend all week focusing only on it, it’s simply the focus of one craft every week.  There has been debate and studies done about the ineffectiveness of focusing only on one letter the entire week so I choose to continue focusing on all letters, after the one craft. If you choose to follow up with crafts or activities with the letter focus, choose ones your child relates to so the connections come naturally.

Ten tips for circletime in the preschool classroom

Ten tips for circletime in the preschool classroom
Circletime in the preschool classroom

For every teacher you ask about how to run circle time, you will get a slightly different answer.  Today I want to share with you a little bit about our circletime process along with ten tips for making circletime more than just a routine experience but instead an engaging and interesting experience in the preschool classroom…

Ten tips for circletime in the preschool classroom
Circletime in the preschool classroom

For every teacher you ask about how to run circle time, you will get a slightly different answer.  Today I want to share with you a little bit about our circletime process along with ten tips for making circletime more than just a routine experience but instead an engaging and interesting experience in the preschool classroom…

Marble Launch

Marble Launch
Marble Launch

Teach an old pool noodle a new trick by turning it into a backyard raceway for kids' marbles.

Marble Launch
Marble Launch

Teach an old pool noodle a new trick by turning it into a backyard raceway for kids' marbles.

25 Family Time Activities - At Home

Family Time Activities - At Home
Family Time Activities - At Home

One of our goals for this year is to spend more quality time together as a family. We are setting aside time each week to be intentionally and purposefully together.  And maybe your family is planning to do the same. But what will we do during all of this family time? Don't get in a rut just because it's part of the routine. Here are 25 family time ideas to keep things interesting! Fun is never far with these ideas.

Family Time Activities - At Home
Family Time Activities - At Home

One of our goals for this year is to spend more quality time together as a family. We are setting aside time each week to be intentionally and purposefully together.  And maybe your family is planning to do the same. But what will we do during all of this family time? Don't get in a rut just because it's part of the routine. Here are 25 family time ideas to keep things interesting! Fun is never far with these ideas.

30 Jokes Your Kids Will Love

Jokes Your Kids Will Love
Jokes Your Kids Will Love

To say that my son loves jokes would be an understatement. I'm constantly on the lookout for more kid appropriate jokes to spare me from hearing the same ones over and over. So I thought I'd share some of the ones that make us giggle. I've also asked several amazing bloggers about their kid-tested favorites and I've included them at the end of this post. I hope your family gets a laugh, and a knee slap, out of them too!

Jokes Your Kids Will Love
Jokes Your Kids Will Love

To say that my son loves jokes would be an understatement. I'm constantly on the lookout for more kid appropriate jokes to spare me from hearing the same ones over and over. So I thought I'd share some of the ones that make us giggle. I've also asked several amazing bloggers about their kid-tested favorites and I've included them at the end of this post. I hope your family gets a laugh, and a knee slap, out of them too!

Chore Chart Tutorial

Chore Chart Tutorial
Chore Chart

It's often hard to get kids to remember their chores, and a visual reminder is always useful. You can invest in a fancy pre-made chore chart, or you can make your own on the cheap. We love this idea from My Name is Snickerdoodle for a magnetic chore chart that couldn't be easier to make.Amy from My Name is Snickerdoodle came up with this simple solution for a chore chart. You need only a few materials, and you can customize all aspects to your heart's desire. Involve your little one, and maybe doing chores will become that much more enjoyable!

Chore Chart Tutorial
Chore Chart

It's often hard to get kids to remember their chores, and a visual reminder is always useful. You can invest in a fancy pre-made chore chart, or you can make your own on the cheap. We love this idea from My Name is Snickerdoodle for a magnetic chore chart that couldn't be easier to make.Amy from My Name is Snickerdoodle came up with this simple solution for a chore chart. You need only a few materials, and you can customize all aspects to your heart's desire. Involve your little one, and maybe doing chores will become that much more enjoyable!

10 Kids Writing Activities

10 Kids Writing Activities
Kids Writing Activities

I still remember those school exercise writing books with those pale blue lines, the cover adorned with a drawing of the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. I remember spelling tests and dictation every Friday morning. I remember handwriting books with those extra lines to let us know where the tops and bottoms of letters should be. I remember creative writing. Oh, what I would give to still have some of my old school books. To see my written work when I was a child, learning to write.

I love collecting written work. I have collected odd bits and pieces of my children’s work but I really have to get my act together and get them all together in one place in some organised manner. I think I just came up with my Christmas/New Year project (yay!). My kids on the whole like writing, and I enjoy their written work. It’s a happy partnership.

Here are 10 fabulous kids writing activities...

10 Kids Writing Activities
Kids Writing Activities

I still remember those school exercise writing books with those pale blue lines, the cover adorned with a drawing of the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. I remember spelling tests and dictation every Friday morning. I remember handwriting books with those extra lines to let us know where the tops and bottoms of letters should be. I remember creative writing. Oh, what I would give to still have some of my old school books. To see my written work when I was a child, learning to write.

I love collecting written work. I have collected odd bits and pieces of my children’s work but I really have to get my act together and get them all together in one place in some organised manner. I think I just came up with my Christmas/New Year project (yay!). My kids on the whole like writing, and I enjoy their written work. It’s a happy partnership.

Here are 10 fabulous kids writing activities...

Recycled Milk Carton Bird Feeder Shaped Like An Owl!

Recycled Milk Carton Bird Feeder Shaped Like An Owl!
Recycled Milk Carton Bird Feeder 

Recycled milk cartons are great for crafting, and especially for making bird feeders shaped like owls! And simple enough to whip up just in time for this shabbat, "shabbat shira" for which there is Jewish tradtion to leave food out for the birds on Friday afternoon. As you can see, our feeders have yet to be filled, but we won't forget!

Depending on the kinds of birds that one would like to feed, you can of course add a little stick which runs from from to back to give the birds a perch. The small birds around here are quite hardy and will have no problem going right into the milk carton, though we'll have to see.

Recycled Milk Carton Bird Feeder Shaped Like An Owl!
Recycled Milk Carton Bird Feeder 

Recycled milk cartons are great for crafting, and especially for making bird feeders shaped like owls! And simple enough to whip up just in time for this shabbat, "shabbat shira" for which there is Jewish tradtion to leave food out for the birds on Friday afternoon. As you can see, our feeders have yet to be filled, but we won't forget!

Depending on the kinds of birds that one would like to feed, you can of course add a little stick which runs from from to back to give the birds a perch. The small birds around here are quite hardy and will have no problem going right into the milk carton, though we'll have to see.

Egg Carton Crafts a Color Sort Activity

Egg Carton Crafts a Color Sort Activity
Egg Carton Crafts a Color Sort Activity

I must confess that I have been collecting a few egg carton trays lately, well for over a year now. You see I have this idea that they are useful and I could make some craft stuff out of them.

I love to recycle into crafty things and plan on thinking up a few more craft projects using egg cartons soon.

Here is our egg carton craft!

Egg Carton Crafts a Color Sort Activity
Egg Carton Crafts a Color Sort Activity

I must confess that I have been collecting a few egg carton trays lately, well for over a year now. You see I have this idea that they are useful and I could make some craft stuff out of them.

I love to recycle into crafty things and plan on thinking up a few more craft projects using egg cartons soon.

Here is our egg carton craft!

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