Spy Games for Kids – Create Your Own Invisible Ink in 4 Easy Steps

Secret messages, treasures maps, and notes that big sister isn’t allowed to read – those are a few of the many reasons that young boys need to know how to make invisible ink.  Luckily for Mom, it’s easy, non-toxic, and shouldn’t make a big mess.  You only need two ingredients – baking soda and water.

Step 1.  Mix equal parts water and baking soda.

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Step 2. Dab a cotton swab, toothpick, or paintbrush into the mix.

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Step 3. Write a message onto white paper using the baking soda solution as the ink.
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Step 4. Allow the ink to dry thoroughly.
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Reading the message is easy, and there are two ways to do it. The first is to hold the paper up to a heat source. An incandescent light works perfectly for this. The baking soda will cause the writing on the paper to turn brown.
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The second option is to paint over the message with purple grape juice. The message will appear in a different color than the juice.

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This Year Fill Their Easter Basket with Adventure

I’ll admit it – this year, I cringed when I saw the marshmallow eggs, the generic jelly beans, and the colored fake grass start to creep on the store shelves.  Not that I don’t love a good Cadbury Egg once a year, but the thought of buying all that sugar, bringing it home, and then letting it get spread all over the house in a pile of messy grass and empty wrappers DID NOT fill me with joy.

Adventure Filled Easter Basket

Be creative and fill their basket with fun and inspiring gifts.

I know I sound like a bit of an Easter Scrooge, but I’m sure I’m not alone.  My quest was prompted in part by conversations I’ve had with other moms who are likeminded.  After all, I think there has to be something else that I can fill their basket with besides calories. My mission this year is to reduce the basket calorie count and replace some of it with a little more fun and adventure.

With adventure in mind, here are my top picks for mom approved, kid-friendly, reduced-calorie Easter Basket Gifts.

Survival Themed Easter Basket – A survival themed basket is easy to put together and is ideal for the outdoor-oriented kid.  Items to include are:

The Ultimate Readers Adventure Themed Easter Basket – If you have an avid reader in your house like I do, then this Easter Basket will keep them happy for a long time!

The Hands-On Child’s Dream Basket – When you have a “take-it-apart, see-how-it-works” kid in the house, you need productive and interesting projects to keep them occupied.  Add one or more of these items to their basket and they’ll be thrilled!

A themed adventure basket is a great idea to inspire your kids and keep the easter afternoon sugar coma at bay.

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Get Outside Spring Scavenger Hunt for Kids

Now that spring has arrived, it’s time get outside, explore the world around you, and have some fun.  What better way to get reacquainted with the great outdoors than with a spring scavenger hunt?  This simple scavenger hunt will keep the kids busy as it opens their eyes to the world around them.

Download your FREE printable Spring Scavenger Hunt here.

Get Outside Spring Scavenger Hunt

Take this list outside and see how many of the spring items on this list you can find.  You’ll have to look high and low!

_______ Green grass

_______ Flower

_______ Acorn or other tree nut

_______ 1 brown bird

_______ A bee

_______ A butterfly

_______ A tree bud or leaf

_______ A pine cone

_______ Animal track(s)

_______ A worm

_______ An ant

_______ A feather

_______ A spider web

_______ A cloud shaped like an animal

_______ A colorful bird

_______ A bird nest

_______ A empty plastic bottle

Are you looking for more fun adventure ideas?  Check out our library of Adventure books that span all ages.  You’ll find books on survival, camping books for kids and families, outdoor adventure stories, and dozens of how-to manuals and guides for outdoor adventure.  With JM Cremp’s as your go-to resource, your kids will never be bored!

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Beat Winter Break Boredom With These Family-Friendly Activities

Christmas break is upon us and that means the kids are home and the house is busy.  Don’t be alarmed if after the excitement of presents, visiting, and Christmas cookies wears off, the “boredom” phase of vacation sets in.  This year, you can be prepared with a few “suggestions” to keep the kids (and even some of the adults) happily occupied.  Here are a few of our favorites.

Snowball fight!

Build a snow fort (or two) along with an arsenal of snowballs,  and challenge the family to an old fashioned snow-ball fight!

1.  Build a Snow Fort.  On second thought, build two snow forts.  That way you can join the kids in making an arsenal of snowballs, and the whole family can have a good old fashioned snowball fight.

2.  Plan Family Game Night.  Family game night is a staple at our house.  We pick a few games, order pizza, and let the family rivalry begin!

3.  Do Some Night-Time Sledding.  This is a fun diversion and an extra-special night for the younger children who are usually in the house after dark.  Grab some lights (headlamps work best), your favorite sled, and hit the sled hill.  The younger kids find this exciting and quite thrilling.  Finish your special night with a good cup of hot chocolate, and you’ll be a shoo-in to win the “Parent of the Year” Award.

If all else fails, you can do what I do.  I usually suggest a few chores, and within minutes, the boredom magically disappears!


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A Christmas Memory 100 Years in the Making

"Christmas Truce 1914" by Robson Harold B - This is photograph Q 50719 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Christmas_Truce_1914.png#mediaviewer/File:Christmas_Truce_1914.png

“Christmas Truce 1914″ by Robson Harold B – This is photograph Q 50719 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums..

The Christmas season often bring memories and reflections on Christmases past.  One of our favorite Christmas stories is the infamous Christmas Truce between British and German soldiers during World War I. If you haven’t shared this beautiful and miraculous story with your children, take a moment and do so on this 100 year anniversary of that event.

On the days leading up to Christmas Eve, 1914, German troops posted along the western front began decorating the area around their trenches.  On Christmas Eve, they put candles in the trees and in the trenches and began to sing Christmas carols.  Because they were ensconced in their trenches within shouting distance of the British line, the British soldiers could see and hear the festivities occurring.  Before long, the British responded with carols of their own, and soon both sides were shouting Christmas greetings to each other.

Within a short period of time, some brave soldiers laid down their arms and crossed the No-Man’s Land between the two trenches to personally greet the soldiers they were supposed to be shooting at on the other side.  This led to the exchanging of small gifts between the men.  They shared food, games, mementos, tobacco, chocolate, buttons, and even hats.  More importantly they shared pictures of their families and stories of their home lives.  One British soldier had received a new soccer ball from home and an impromptu soccer game broke out between the two sides.

Henry Williamson, a nineteen-year-old private in the London Rifle Brigade wrote to his mother, “Dear Mother, I am writing from the trenches. It is 11 o’clock in the morning. Beside me is a coke fire, opposite me a ‘dug-out’ (wet) with straw in it. The ground is sloppy in the actual trench, but frozen elsewhere. In my mouth is a pipe presented by the Princess Mary.  In the pipe is tobacco. Of course, you say. But wait. In the pipe is German tobacco. Haha, you say, from a prisoner or found in a captured trench. Oh dear, no! From a German soldier. Yes a live German soldier from his own trench. Yesterday the British & Germans met & shook hands in the Ground between the trenches, & exchanged souvenirs, & shook hands. Yes, all day Xmas day, & as I write. Marvellous, isn’t it?”

This wonderful truce may have only lasted through Christmas Day, 1914, but it has managed to inspire people the world over for a century.  Share it with your family to keep the memory alive and to remind them of the joy and blessings the Christmas season brings.

Merry Christmas from JM Cremps!

The above photo is Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Christmas_Truce_1914.png#mediaviewer/File:Christmas_Truce_1914.png

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Christmas Party Scavenger Hunt

Christmas season means parties, get-togethers, family and friends. If you are hosting a Christmas party with kids in attendance, here’s a great way to keep them occupied – at least for a little while!  Download your printable Christmas Party Scavenger Hunt here.

Candy Cane

Have fun at your next Christmas party and keep the kids entertained at the same time.

____  Candy Cane

____  Santa Hat

____  Gumdrop

____  Snowman

____  Flower

____  Christmas Ornament

____  Hot Chocolate Mix Packet

____  Marshmallow

____  Cranberry

____  Pine Needle

____  Tinsel

____  Gingerbread Man

____  Bell

____  Sleigh

____  Popcorn

____  Wrapped Package

____  Stocking

____  Christmas Cookie

____  Christmas Plate

____  Star

____  Christmas Carol 
(cd, sheet music, ipod song)

____  Scarf

____  Partridge in a Pear Tree 
(double points for this one!)

____  Reindeer

____  Christmas-Themed Book

____  Christmas Card

If you can’t find any of these items, look in a book for a picture – that will work too!

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Tips for Hunting Christmas Trees With Kids

It’s Christmas Tree Decorating season.  For many families this is a much anticipated tradition.  Whether you use an artificial tree or a real one doesn’t really matter.  What matters is that the decorating tradition is unique to your family.  At JM Cremps, we are all about family traditions.  One of our favorite traditions is to set up the Christmas tree, gather the kids, and read Jan Brett’s Home for Christmas.

Make Your own family tradition

Make your own family tradition during the hunt for the perfect Christmas tree. (photo courtesy of growinghunters.com)

If your family doesn’t have an established tradition, make this your year to start one.  Finding a live Christmas tree can be a wonderful way to establish your own family tradition.   Nick Myatt, author of the Growing Hunters blog, gives some helpful tips to make sure your hunt for the perfect tree turns into a memorable and enjoyable family experience.

Christmas Carols Required

Make the drive half the fun of your trip.  Christmas is the one time of the year where it is socially acceptable to sing as a family in the car.  Think National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.  Play Christmas carols obnoxiously loud and sign along.  Be corny; have fun.

Take Your Time

Don’t rush things.  Make sure you have plenty of time to enjoy yourselves and spend time as a family.  Allow time for distractions and side adventures – going to the woods for a tree doesn’t have to be all about finding a tree.

Road Hunting Encouraged

Save your little guy’s legs and slowly drive along forest roads looking for good trees or spots to get out and explore.  Stop often and take mini tree-finding expeditions.  Speaking from experience; don’t wonder very far from the truck – otherwise Dad will have to carry that perfect tree that Mom found a long way! You don’t want Dad to turn into the Grinch.

Make A Day or Weekend Out of It

Make this tradition more than just a trip into the woods to cut a tree.  Getting the tree should be the focal point of the day, but after you find a tree, spend time sledding, build a bonfire and roast marshmallows, or have a snowball fight.  Better yet – make it a full weekend and rent a cozy cabin in the woods.

Get The Kids Involved

Make sure your kids are part of the process, not just along for the ride.  Let them help hunt for the tree, choose where to stop, and which tree to bring home.  Letting them help select the tree can take some creative parenting at times – especially when they get their hearts set on the scraggliest, most Charlie Brown of all trees in the forest.

This article was reposted from the Growing Hunters Blog. Read more tips and the complete article, Hunting Christmas Trees with Kids, by clicking here.

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