Go Fish

Staying indoors to escape the heat/cold/rain? Keeping driving to a minimum because of gas prices? Trying to figure out how to entertain a preschooler without going crazy? Try Go Fish.

This will require some patience and a deck of cards. Preferably a deck of kids’ cards with pictures of Elmo or Winnie the Pooh. The Boy has a set of Thomas cards which have pictures of the Thomas characters – 4 of each. This set has given us many hours of fun and hasn’t even gotten all bent up an thrashed yet. We first used the set to play things like matching ‘games.’ The Boy would turn over cards until he found two of a kind. Each set of 4 cards has four different colored borders, so color matching is another ‘game’ we played. He’s now has a pretty good attention span, so lately we’ve taught him Memory and Go Fish.

For Memory, I pull out anywhere between 3 and 10 pairs of cards, shuffle and lay face down. We take turns turning over 2 cards to see if we can find a match.

For Go Fish, I deal each of us 5 cards and we put the rest in the middle, in a ‘fish pond.’ Here’s where we deviate from the rules a little. We lay our 5 cards out in front of us so we can each see what the other has. It is too hard for The Boy to hold onto the cards in his hand and he hasn’t gotten the hang of keeping what cards you have a secret. So we have to ‘cheat’ a little – usually in his favor. 😉 Right away he picked up on “Mommy, do you have a …?” and the response, “No, Go Fish!”

The tricky thing for both of these games is that he often wants to play Now! So we’re learning patience too. I think we could start learning a game like Uno in this same way – placing all our cards on the table in front of us.

Gifts for the Second Child

What do you take to a shower for a mom who is having her second or third (or more) baby? This question especially rings true if you know they are having another of the same sex they already have. And what can you do for a gift that won’t break the bank? Here are some ideas:

  • Diapers. I’m guessing that everyone would need diapers, for whatever sex. Even if they usually use cloth, disposables are so handy to have for travel, etc. When your own child grows out of a certain size, save the leftovers from the smaller size. You can put a nice gift bag together with diapers of all sizes. Babies might start with the newborn size diapers, but eventually they will need the bigger sizes.
  • Clothes. Hand-me-downs can be made into a really nice gift. This is especially for moms who are having a different sex than they already have. Wash, dry and fold your nicest hand-me-downs and wrap them up for a shower gift. Maybe even attach a note telling about how some of them were your favorites or memories you have of your own kids wearing them.
  • Toys. Chances are, second-time moms already have plenty of toys around. If their first child is much older, then baby toys are a good bet. Toys that will be chewed on are also a good idea. You can often find some of these cheaply at mega-stores like WalMart or Target. If you have toys that are in excellent condition, they might make a good hand-me-down too.
  • Gift Cards. If your budget allows, the new mom might appreciate a gift card to the local grocery store or Target – somewhere that they can go to get their own necessities for the new baby.
  • Meals. Another thing you might be able to do on a small budget is fix a meal or two for the family. One meal before the baby comes (when mom is getting too big and tired to cook) and one after the baby arrives.

Frugality: Something New?

Over at Yahoo, there is an article from BusinessWeek about The New Age of Frugality. It talks about how people are beginning to think about spending less money, imagine that! It has some good tips and the family that the story is about also started a blog called Suddenly Frugal. I applaud the family’s decision to get themselves in the black and take charge of their finances! I just wish frugality wasn’t a fad that comes and goes so much.

The best start you can give your kids is practically FREE

From Parenting.com, an article about the top five things that you can do to raise a happy, emotionally healthy kid.
An exerpt: “…experts say, all babies, toddlers, and preschoolers will thrive as long as they are:

* Provided a predictable life with a reasonably ordered environment
* Held and touched often
* Talked to (or sung to) often
* Read to frequently
* Exposed to interesting experiences
* Given many opportunities to learn through play.”

All things that we at SIP advocate and encourage. The best part? None of these things will take your life’s savings. “Interesting Experiences” do not have to include flying to another country. It can mean taking an exploration walk around your neighborhood to look for insects, birds or colors. It can mean taking a backroad to Grandma’s house instead of the freeway in order to stop at a local cheese factory. Try it today!