With the Assist: activities

Check out this great idea that crossed my Pinterest feed.


This easily assembled magnet board gives the kids plenty of space to spread out, and won’t impede your snacking.

oil pan $15
4 wood screws
Electric drill + metal cutting bit
   (Another option is a large-gauge nail + hammer.) Simply punch the holes and mount to any wall. If you’re not resting it on top of the moulding as seen here, consider mounting it to the studs.
The assembly is pretty straight forward, so if you have older kids consider bringing them in on the hammering.


Why Have Hobbies?

Indulge your other interests, life is so much more than school.

Aunt Beulah

In a recent Peanuts cartoon, when Lucy told Charlie Brown she was thinking of starting some new hobbies, Charlie said, “That’s a good idea, Lucy. The people who get most out of life are those who really try to accomplish something.”

Looking appalled, Lucy replied: “ACCOMPLISH something? I thought we were just supposed to keep busy.”

In the past, I thought like Lucy. Viewing hobbies as busy work to fill my idle moments, I pursued decoupage, macramé, origami, tatting, and yodeling. Each endeavor enjoyed the same success as my wish to be 5’6”.Wreath

My search for a busy-work hobby peaked when I scoured fields and ponds for nuts, pinecones, grasses, and twigs, which I used to make Christmas wreaths. I gave these creations to loved ones, who exclaimed happily and hung them in their snug homes.

I had used liberal amounts of a smelly liquid adhesive to attach my found…

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A Quick Snack

Welcome back Grad Dads! The early morning quiet (before the kids spring out of bed) is precious, but also a good time to prep daily activities. Here is a great idea from fellow blogger (my wife) at love gentle birth.
Toddlers love using new fine motor skills, so take advantage! Rearranging small objects can be occupy their attention for a surprising length of time, combine with snack time and you have a winner!
Take an empty ice cube tray, and fill each nook with bite-sized snacks of various colors and textures. Food & fun in one!

Ice cube tray
Cubed fruit (1cm) Apples, pinapple, banana, strawberries, cheese, etc.

Cover with plastic wrap and regrigerate till you need those moments of respite!

Toast & Tumbling: Wintertime Activities

Welcome Back to graddads!
Scraping the bottom of the barrel for your kids’ entertainment? We’re starting a new series of posts on fun and easily assembled activities to keep the little ones off of the computer and away from the tv. CONTRIBUTE YOUR OWN IDEAS in the comments section!

The first installment is perfect for those snow days and perilously cold weekends when mother nature has gifted you with snow. If you just need to get that last article under your belt, try putting together this easy indoor snowscape. Start by gathering some snow in a large shallow plastic tub (I’d recommend a Rubbermade organizer at least 2’x4′), then fill 3 or more small tupperware cups with a mix of water and food coloring. Place these containers of color into the tub with plastic spoons, and watch as your little one pours and splashes different colors onto the snow creating slushy sculptures! **I would suggest setting up this activity in the kitchen or other laminated/hardwood floor.**

Most importantly, don’t forget to join in the fun when you’re done studying!
1 Large shallow plastic tub (appx. 2’x4′)
3+ small tupperware containers
3+ plastic spoons
3+ liquid food colors
snow, preferably clean
Random toys.
When you’re all done, throw the colorful mess outdoors to refreeze for more fun!

With the Assist: Why color isn’t just a theory.

The next time you look at a Coca-Cola can, T-Mobile ad, or food package, take a moment to think about one important detail: COLOR. Your color receptors are doing more than reacting to sunlight, they are subtly feeding your brain information that has been encoded over the years.

Consider the following facets of color psychology.
Green: associated with freshness, vitality. Look on your grocery store shelves for “fresh items,” odds are there this verdant shade is in there somewhere.
Orange: agitation, movement, aggression. Remember the window shades in your old elementary classroom? That offensive shade was put there to keep you awake!
Blue: wisdom, calm, stability. You’ll see this hue in a lot branding for the service sector and some commodities,  AT&T and IBM for example.
Keep in mind what these colors mean to the younger minds, too. Walking the aisles of Buy Buy Baby and other such retailers, my wife and I were stuck at the stark binary between sections for Boys and Girls. From infancy the color selection for clothing rarely strays beyond “baby blue” and “perfect pink.” How far does this carry through later adolescence? Check out this excellent post from Field Notes from Fatherhood. The Pink Section: What Our Toy Stores Are Telling Our Children.

Real Role Models

Looking for a real winner? It’s easy to hoist a celebrity on your shoulder as a hero, but check out a real A-lister, Benjamin Watson. The tight end from the New Orleans Saints has a Super Bowl ring, but also has some great pearls of wisdom for new dads.

Watch an outstanding set of interviews with Robert “Daddy” Nickell of My Life as a Dad!

Know a hero dad? Share your story!

Parenting in college

This is our inaugural post for graddads, yes that is college fathers, not grand-dads. Our collaborative environment will offer and request advice for college dads trying to find balance between #fatherhood, studies, work, and life.

Please submit comments and ideas you would like to share with our little community. Posts will center on topics such as: activities for you and your kids, feeding yourself and everyone, small snippets of financial advice, and whatever you would like to share!