Easy Puzzles for Kids

Easy Puzzles for Kids

Puzzles are lots of fun, but they can be a tricky toy to master. This activity is a great introduction for kids who aren’t quite ready for the real puzzles yet. You’ll make your own puzzles out of sponges, and then you’ll make outlines for each puzzle you create. Your child will be able to start off using the outline to put the puzzles together, and after she gets the hang of it, she’ll be able to do them all on her own!

What You Need:

  • Sponges
  • Card stock
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Marker

What You Do:

  1. Outline shapes on the sponges. Be sure to create a variety of basic shapes. Squares, triangles, and rectangles all work well.
  2. Carefully cut out the shapes.
  3. Arrange the shapes so that they create a design or picture or some sort.
  4. Transfer the arrangement to the piece of card stock. Then, use a pencil to lightly outline the shapes on the card stock. The card stock is the puzzle base and will serve as a reference for your child.
  5. Retrace the pencil marks with a thick black marker, using a ruler where needed.
  6. Give your child the sponge puzzles and the guides, and encourage her to fit the shapes together to complete her puzzle.

Once she’s gotten the hang of it, challenge her to put the puzzles together without the guides. This is her first step towards doing real puzzles on her own!

 

thin-sponge-puzzles-bigthumb

A Guide to Kids’ Coughs

A Guide to Kids’ Coughs

What’s that sound? This chart helps decipher your child’s coughs

The key to finding it? Knowing what’s causing the hack to begin with. The chart below can get you on the road to peace. In the meantime, watch out for certain danger signs: If your child’s been coughing for more than two weeks or develops a high fever, take her to the pediatrician. If she has trouble breathing, begins turning blue, or can’t eat or swallow, head straight to the ER. And if you’re tempted to give her an over-the-counter cough medicine, hold up. Studies show they’re not effective, and some may even be harmful.

A Guide to Kids’ Coughs

If your kid’s cough is:

Wet and Productive

It means: she has mucus to clear out of her airways, or she’s got post nasal drip
The likely cause is: an infection (such as a cold, sinusitis, or pneumonia), or allergies
For sweet relief: Use saline nose drops, and offer her lots of fluids to thin the mucus. If she’s got a fever along with the cough, call the doctor to rule out a more serious infection.

Dry and Raspy

It means: there’s irritation somewhere in her airways
The likely cause is: an infection, allergen, or other irritant, such as dust, pollen, or smoke, that produces little or no mucus
For sweet relief: Soothe it as you would a wet cough, with nose drops and lots of fluids. If you suspect the cough is allergy-related, do your best to limit your child’s exposure and wait it out.

Sounding Like a Barking Seal or Dog

It means: her airways are constricted and/or inflamed
The likely cause is: croup, a viral infection that’s usually worse during the night
For sweet relief: Sit with her in a steamy bathroom for 15 to 20 minutes, or go outside in the fresh air if it’s cool (not cold). If she’s having significant trouble breathing, go to the ER.

Accompanied by Wheezing

It means: she has mucus to clear out of her airways, or she’s got postnasal drip
The likely cause is: asthma, or bronchiolitis, an infection of the lungs’ small airways that’s usually seen in kids under 3
For sweet relief: See the doctor to find out exactly what’s going on. If your child has asthma, her medication may need tweaking. If she has an infection, she may need antibiotics.

A Severe Coughing Followed by a “WHOOP”

It means: she’s literally coughing all the air out of her lungs, then taking in a deep breath
The likely cause is: whooping cough, a bacterial infection known as pertussis
For sweet relief: Call the doctor at once. He may prescribe antibiotics to make your child less contagious, but these won’t treat the cough or shorten its duration. This can be a dangerous infection in babies, which is why staying on top of the pertussis shot is so important.