Encouraging Good Behavior: Reward Store



When we started homeschooling this year I wanted to have some type of reward system in place.  At first I made a sticker chart where they could earn small rewards each week.

Then I came up with something a little more concrete:  our Reward Store.


simple way to encourage good behavior in kids


I’ve found that having something more concrete that they can work towards is a HUGE motivator.

All of the items in our store were little things I had picked up at the dollar store and stashed away for a “rainy day.”  In the future, when our store needs restocked I might let them pick up items they’d like to earn.

I didn’t want to use real money for our store for several reasons.  So I came up with our own “store dimes.”


homemade coins for kids home reward store



Our dimes are simple circles cut from aluminum foil.  The kids each have a “bank” to save their dimes in.

Each of the items in our store is labelled with a price written on masking tape.

I made sure to have small items (lollipops and other small candies) that are worth ten cents each (one “dime”).  This ensures that they can always purchase something at the end of class if they have given their best effort and earned that dime.

Other items range in price from 30 cent ring lollipops, to 50 and 80 cents and even a dollar (or 10 of our dimes) for the larger items.  I plan on increasing prices over time, making each reward take a bit longer to earn.

I also included a few shared rewards in our basket, like going for ice cream.  This way the kids need to work together towards a few of the rewards.


The reward store has been a big hit with both of my students!


Not only are they earning small prizes for good behavior and trying their best each day at school, but they are also learning so much from our store!

*  They are counting by tens.  (That’s why all our coins right now are dimes!)  The youngest has learned that if he wants the 50 cent Silly Putty, he needs to earn 5 dimes to buy it.  We go over counting our coins by tens at the end of each lesson to see how much is in the bank.

*  They are both learning to save their money for what they want to buy.  The candy may be tempting, but they know that if they want to earn that Lego set they need to have ten dimes.

*  They are learning to make good choices.  “If I buy the candy I will enjoy it for a little bit, but then it will be an extra day before I can buy that Silly Putty that will be fun to play with for a long time.”

*  They are learning patience.  That first day my youngest didn’t understand that he wasn’t getting a prize out of the basket every day.  Now his attitude is a lot different!

*  They are learning to work together.  Remember those shared rewards?


As an added benefit they aren’t always begging for a “little something” when we go to a store.


So far our reward store has only been associated with school, but I am thinking we may eventually tie it in with good behavior throughout the day.  Maybe earning one dime for school and having a chance to earn a second dime for completing chores and having good behavior the rest of the day.  (If we do that, those prices will definitely be increasing a bit!)


Do you have a reward system in place?

I’d love to hear about it!


simple way to encourage good behavior in kids

Pin it for later!


Sight Word Tic-Tac-Toe



Looking for a fun way to practice those sight words with the kids?

Make your own simple sight word game with sight word tic-tac-toe!

Halloween version of Sight Word Tic-Tac-Toe


To make your own sight word tic-tac-toe game, first draw a large tic-tac-toe board on white paper.

To re-use the game board, I slid ours into a plastic sleeve.  Then I used a dry-erase marker to write one CVC word in each square.  (You could also do sight words or even math problems!)


Next you will need some cute markers!  I used construction paper to cut out black bats and orange pumpkins for our markers.  I recommend making 5 of each; you want to have plenty for any ties you might have!


Halloween sight word tic-tac-toe


To play sight word tic-tac-toe:

Players take turns reading the words.  If they get the word correct, they get to put a marker in the square.  If they don’t read it correctly, they miss their turn and the other player gets to go.

The first player to have three of their markers in a row wins!


You could easily personalize the game using markers like princess pictures or cars (whatever your child is in to).

Since it is near Halloween, we went with the Halloween theme!

Halloween sight word tic-tac-toe

Pin it for later!

Decorating a Disney Frozen Birthday Cake



Disney’s Frozen movie is still making waves, as evidenced by all the Elsa and Anna costumes and party ideas popping up all over Pinterest.  My daughter is one of those Frozen fans, and this week we had a Frozen birthday party, complete with this easy to make Frozen-themed birthday cake.


Disney Frozen birthday cake


How to make a Disney Frozen birthday cake:


I used two cake mixes for our cake.  The first one I cooked in a large glass measuring cup (like this one), much like I did for her tea pot birthday cake.

The second I cooked in a 9 inch round cake pan and a cupcake pan.  (I only needed the round cake; the cupcakes I put up in the freezer to enjoy later.)

I assembled the two cakes like the picture below, using plenty of icing between them to hold them together.


how to make a Frozen cake



Originally my daughter wanted steps on her Frozen cake.  After watching the movie once again, and seeing how the stairs curved, I decided to use half of a waffle bowl (like you use for ice cream sundaes) to build a curving bridge to act as the stairs for our dear Anna to stand on.

To keep the bridge from sagging beneath Anna’s weight once it was decorated with icing, I squished two large marshmallows beneath it, resting on the round cake below.


making a Disney Frozen cake


(In the picture above you’ll notice our waffle bowl bridge, waiting for icing.  You’ll also notice two other waffle bowl halves that I originally used to build Elsa’s castle.  Unfortunately, the icing made them too soft and they eventually sagged down to the cake.  Thankfully I had time to remove them and had plenty of left over icing to touch the cake up before party time!)


Once we had plenty of white icing on the cake, we used lots of tiny candy pearls and large silver sugar crystals to decorate the ice castle.

Light blue rock candy sticks and these Elsa and Anna dolls finished off of our cake.  (A little powder sugar snow on the cake stand completed our look.) 


Disney Frozen birthday cake



I wish I had a picture of the birthday girl’s face when she first saw the cake.  It’s exactly why I spend time creating the birthday cakes they ask for.


Do you have a Frozen fan at home?  Or have your kids let it go….


If you have a Frozen fan, check out the easy Rock Trolls craft we did at the party!





20 Spider Crafts and Activities



Fall is the perfect time of year to do some fun spider crafts and activities with the kids!  (And these crafts are so cute it’s hard to stop at just one, so go ahead and try a few!)


20 spider crafts

Spider Crafts and Activities


These Lollipop Spiders would be cute to hand out for Trick-or-Treat or for a class party.

Make some cute and fluffy Pom-Pom Spiders.

Collect some pine cones on your next walk and make a few of these awesome Pine Cone Spiders!

These Paper Plate Spiders are simple and fun to make.

Make a spider you can wear with these Spider Hats!

Or create a fun Spider Hairdo that’s sure to get attention!

Make a family of these Fingerprint Spiders.

I love how cute these Paper Cup Spiders turned out!

Recycle a few cardboard tubes for these fun Toilet Roll Spiders.

Or search the recycling container and make adorable Recycled Fruit Cup Spiders

Bring the Itsy Bitsy Spider to life with Itsy Bitsy Spider Finger Puppets.

This Beaded Spider Craft is cute and strengthens fine motor skills.  

And these Hand Print Spiders are sure to make you smile.  

Finally, get a little sensory play in with this fun Spider Slime!


And as long as we are talking spiders…

Spiderweb Crafts


These Coffee Filter Spider Webs make lovely decorations.

Work on lacing skills with this simple Paper Plate Spider Web.

These Spiderweb Window Decorations are just too cute!

Make an over-sized Spiderweb Maze and watch the little ones work their way through it.

Give your web some texture with these Sandy Spiderwebs.

Or use craft sticks for these Craft Stick Spiderwebs.