“I can do it myself!” Surely, a battle cry for the ages: well, ages 2-18. In the spirit of the DIY revolution, we’ve put together our own home schooling guide, Babble style. Here are 25+ tips and how-to’s for teaching kids lots of useful and, frankly, not-so-useful-but-really-fun new skills, from floating in the pool to curing an ice-cream headache to losing like a winner. – Allison Pennell
How to Make a Couch Fort
The perfect antidote to cabin fever: the couch fort. Let your kids gather every pillow and cushion on the premises. Use the big bottom couch cushions vertically as walls (either on the couch or the floor nearby) and drape sheets over for the roof and doors. A play tunnel makes a great entrance. You can also use chairs to drape sheets over. Remember, there’s no one right way, and necessity IS the mother of invention.. Bunk beds also make for a great two-tiered hide-out; just hang sheets with a sturdy clip or shoved into the mattress. Last but not least, give all builders their own flashlight before retreating to the comfort of your cushion-less chair to read the paper.
How to Tell Your Left
from Your Right
Kids can learn this as soon as they know what the letter L looks like. Have your little guy hold out his hands, palms facing away, fingers to the ceiling, thumbs facing each other. The hand that forms an L is the left hand. Simple!
How to Cure an
Ice Cream Headache
Have her press her thumb up against the roof of her mouth as soon as the pain sets in.
How to Clean Up
If you’ve found yourself trotting out the evergreen “Do I look like your maid?” lately, this one’s for you: five parent-tested ways to get kids to “do their share”:
• Toy Out, Toy In – Teach the golden rule: Only one class of toys can come out at a time.
• The Carrot – If she can clean up the clutter in the next ten minutes, there’s a reward in store.
• The Stick – Not too PC, we know, but the quiet threat of toys heading off to the Good Will can work wonders. Place a garbage bag or can prominently in the center of the offending area and let ’em know they’ve got 15 minutes.
• Musical Accompaniment – We like Laurie Berkner’s song Clean It Up, available here as a 99-cent download.
• Make it a Game – Play “I Spy” (something green or round or fluffy) and the room could be cleared in record time.