6 Ways to Encourage Hands-On Play With Kids

My kids are at ages now (6 and 8) where they’re busy with school, activities, and play with friends instead of mom and dad. (The picture above is one of my favorites, but it’s from back from E was only 3. So tiny!) When they were home more, learning through hands on play was an all day affair. Now I’m discovering that we need to be intentional and set aside time for it. Here are some of the ways I do that.

1. Take a step back. I’m going to start with this one because even as my kids get older, I still naturally feel a pull to be involved in everything they do. While I think it’s important to play with them, I also remind myself when I need to take a step and let them use their imaginations without any parent intervention. It’s amazing what they can do when they’re fully in charge of play.

2. Give them moldable objects. Slime may have ruined my sofa (long, painful story), but the truth is it’s great for great hands on, sensory based activity. Play dough and kinetic sand are as well.   

3. Give them building blocks. Whether wooden blocks or LEGOs, building blocks are incredible for encouraging kids to be creative, and they’re great for tuning fine motor skills as well. Both my kids love playing with them, and have since they were toddlers.

4. Give them art and craft supplies. I literally pile a table with a random selection of art and crafts supplies, and they both just go to town. Making art or building a craft is an easy and incredibly effective way for kids to learn with their hands. My son make something – from books out of printer paper to instruments out of mac and cheese boxes – every single day, and the older it gets, the more intricate they get. It’s fascinating to watch


5. Send them outside. I’m not an expert, but in my opinion, there is no better way to learn from hands on play then by just going outside. Riding a bike or scooter, playing backyard baseball, running barefoot in the grass, playing in the leaves, drawing with sidewalk chalk… It’s all hands on and it all encourages learning. 
6. Make sensory bins. Even my 8 year old still loves these! I love these! The possibilities are endless too. We’ve filled them with everything from dry beans to autumn leaves to cereal and more. Sensory bins are especially great for toddlers, and can be the perfect introduction to hands on learning.

I hope these tips are helpful. I’ll share more soon!

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Feeding Your Golden Retriever


All Golden Retriever puppies will nurture from their mother until Add Imagethey reach the age of seven weeks. Once they reach the age of three weeks, they should be fed with puppy food, which you should soak and mix into a warm grubby compound. This way, it resembles the food they get from their mother, and they will learn quickly how their food tastes and how they should eat it.

Once you bring your puppy home, you should always make sure that you use the same food that he has become accustomed to. The breeder will start training the puppy with food, and it’s up to you to ensure that he gets the food he has come to know. Golden Retriever puppies have very delicate stomachs, and they can be very receptive to any changes in their food.

When you first bring your new Golden Retriever puppy home, he or she may not be too interested in eating for the first few days. Being in a new home can be stressful for the puppy, which is why you shouldn’t force him to eat. The puppy will also realize that he doesn’t have competition at the food bowl, because he is away from his litter. You shouldn’t worry if he doesn’t immediately eat, as it will take him some time.

Once your puppy has slept through the night, you should take him outside and let him relieve himself, then bring him in and give him some food. You should also plan feedings throughout the day, such as the morning, middle of the day, then at night. Once you have planned feedings, you should make sure that you stick to this plan so that your puppy will get used to it.

Keep in mind that the last feeding of the day doesn’t necessarily need to be set in stone. You should always aim to feed your puppy at least a half an hour before you head to bed, so that you can take him outside after eating. If you time it just right every night, you can feed your Golden, take him out to use the bathroom, and still have plenty of time to get ready for bed. At night, when you sleep, you should have puppy pads or newspapers in an area that your Golden is familiar with so he can use the bathroom if he can’t get you to take him out.

First the first few weeks, your Golden will eat a little bit of the food. Once he has reached 8 weeks of age, he should be on dry food with a little bit of warm water added to it. The best way to feed is to keep adding a little bit of warm water to the food, and let the pup eat until he is finished. If you continue to do this throughout feedings, your Golden will begin to eat all of his portion.

Keep in mind that you should never rush him, or change anything about the way he feeds. Golden Retrievers will eat their share, although it will take them a bit of time to develop the proper eating habits. As the puppy gets older, his stomach will grow and he will begin to eat more. During this time, you won’t need to add any water to his food. Golden Retrievers are a truly unique breed, a breed that loves to be fed – and craves attention. If you stick to your plan when your puppy is little – he will be a healthy eater as he gets older.
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National Dog Walker Appreciation Day

If your work schedule has prohibited you from being home for the much-needed dog walk, you may have called on the services of a dog walker. These professionals, who walk rain or shine, picking up poop as they go, are recognized every year on National Dog Walker Appreciation Day. When is National Dog Walker Appreciation …

This post first appeared in DogTipper.com. Link to original post: National Dog Walker Appreciation Day

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Grooming Your Golden Retriever


Grooming your Golden Retriever is a never ending process. The entire process should be down once or twice a week, and will take you around a ½ an hour of time. Brushing your dog while he is shedding will help to control shedding quite a bit. While outside, if your Golden Retriever manages to get burs or other defects in his hair, you should instantly take a few moments of your time and get the burs or other matter out of his coat.

When you groom your pet, you should always start with a good brushing. Brush his entire body, then once you have finished brushing you can switch to a comb to get out any loose hair that remains in the coat. While you are getting out the hair, you can also inspect your pet for ticks, fleas, and other types of skin ailments. If you wish, you can also check his ears and trim his nails as well.

Bathing your Golden is essential to grooming, and can be somewhat complicated. Before you attempt to give him a bath, you should always brush him first, to get rid of tangles. During shampooing, you should always use shampoos that are specifically for dogs, since human shampoo can dry a dog’s skin out. You don’t need to bathe your dog often, once every other week is good enough. If you properly maintain your Golden’s coat, you’ll find it’s much easier to clean.

To prevent matting, which is very common with Golden Retrievers, you should always make sure that you brush your pet on a daily basis. Metal combs and brushes work extremely well, and will help you to get a great deal of the hair out. Although some people choose to use scissors and cut the mats, you can easily injure your Golden if he happens to move or jerk. Scissors aren’t recommended, as brushing and proper bathing will help to prevent matting of the hair better than anything else.

When you cut your dogs nails, you should trim them a great deal, all the while avoiding going down into the quick. You should never let your Golden’s nails get too long, as long nails can easily take the shape of the dog’s foot, resulting in a splay. Therefore, you should always check your Golden Retriever’s nails and trim them every few weeks. If you trim them just right, you’ll have at least 2 weeks before they need to be trimmed again. If you do happen to trim the nails past the quick, bleeding will occur. To stop the bleeding, always keep some styptic powder on hand to make sure that you are prepared if you do make a mistake.

With other types of grooming, you should also make sure that you clean your Golden’s ears as well. They can get ear infections quite easily, if you don’t clean their ears on a regular basis. To get the best results and protect your pet from ear infections, you should clean his ears once a week using a quality cleansing solution. This way, you can rest assured that your Golden has healthy ears.

Grooming is an essential aspect to the health of every Golden Retriever. All it takes is a little bit of time from your day to groom your pet and keep him healthy. If you don’t have the time to groom your Golden, you can always take him to a professional. Whether you do it yourself or take your Golden to a pro – grooming is something that simply must be done.
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Hip Dysplasia And Golden Retrievers


Hip dysplasia is a poor formation of the hip joints, which is a common growing disease with younger dogs of virtually every breed. With larger breeds, unsteady hip joints are common, although hip dysplasia can be a serious problem that will limit the physical activity of your Golden. Although many Golden Retriever owners don’t realize it, hip dysplasia is something that dogs inherit from their parents, and gets worse with age.

The signs and symptoms of hip dysplasia is nearly impossible to detect with Golden puppies, although it will start to show once the pup has reached the age of nine months. Even though you may take your Golden to the vet to have him looked at, your vet will tell you that you need to wait to see if the symptoms are there, once the Golden Retriever has reached a certain age.

The symptoms and signs of hip dysplasia vary, although the most common include crippling or the inability to walk properly. This disease can get better once the dog gets older though, due to the joints stabilizing, the inflammation going down, and the muscles in the hips getting stronger and more mature. Keep in mind however, that Golden’s who have hip dysplasia when they are younger will more than likely develop arthritis when they get older.

Golden Retrievers that suffer from hip dysplasia aren’t fit for breeding, although they can still live a long and healthy life. There are certain drugs that your vet can prescribe to your dog, which will help him control his weight and help control the disease. These drugs can also cut down on the pain as well, helping your Golden enjoy himself as much as possible.

Some Golden Retrievers that have hip dysplasia won’t begin to show any signs at all until they get a few years old, once the muscles start to wear down and the damage to the hip muscles start to become more noticeable. Although your dog may be active and healthy for most of his puppy years, dysplasia can slow everything down and make your dog look as if he is old and is suffering from the physical attributes of arthritis.

To eliminate the pain of hip dysplasia, there are surgery options available. Golden Retrievers have a high threshold for pain, and won’t normally show any signs of being in pain, even though you know they are. X-rays won’t show any signs of pain, although the limping or slow walking will tell you that your dog is hurting. Golden Retriever’s who have this disease won’t know it – which is why you should help as much as possible. If you do your part and help your dog seek relief – he will feel better than ever before – although he won’t let you know he hurt any at all.
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5 Tips for Organizing Your Fridge

How To Easily Organize Your Fridge

I’m just going to start this off by saying that I am not an organized person by nature. It took me until my 40s to even gain the smallest motivation to be more organized, and it’s still a struggle. My fridge does not, by any means, look like this at all times. But it does feel good to occasionally give it a refresh like this. If you can relate, here are some tips that work for me!

For reference, here is what my refrigerator usually looks like:
How To Easily Organize Your Fridge

1. Remove everything from your fridge. (I know, but just do it.)
Take it all out. Set everything on tables and counters. Then wipe down all of the surfaces inside your fridge and evaluate the situation. Throw out expired items. Maybe even make a grocery list of what you need.

2. Organize food and drinks by type.
I put all the product in a group, the condiments in a group, the leftovers in a group, the drinks in a group, etc. This will be useful when putting things back inside. Trust me. 

How To Easily Organize Your Fridge

3. Transfer items to containers.

I recommend investing in a good set of stackable containers with airtight seals. This really makes all the difference in terms of best utilizing space. I have been using Rubbermaid Brilliance Food Storage Containers. I like them because they’re stain and odor proof and I can wash them in the dishwasher. But any stackable container system will work. 
How To Easily Organize Your Fridge

4. Place items back in fridge – by type.I do the best I can to (mostly) arrange items by type. For example, I put all of the produce items on one side of the fridge. I put all of the cheese and meat in one drawer. If I’m feeling extra motivated I might even arrange condiments by type. It might seem overboard, but it really does make things much easier when we’re preparing meals. It looks better too.

5. Put most used items at eye level.This is sort of a life hack I learned that honestly works better for the pantry, but it’s good for the fridge too. I also try to put produce low so my kids are more inclined to grab the healthy stuff. (Can’t say it actually works, but hey, I’m trying.)

How To Easily Organize YourFridge

I hope these tips are helpful for my fellow organization challenged humans. Now let’s see how long it lasts…

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250+ Cowboy Dog Names for Your Buckaroo!

Are you a fan of cowboys and canines who has recently welcomed a little pardner into your heart and home? We’ve rustled up a list of possible cowboy dog names for your new barking buckaroo! Words Associated with Cowboys Bandana Boots Bronco Calico Chaps Chaparral Charro Corral Cowpoke Denim Dogie Drover Gallop Gaucho Giddyup Gingham …

This post first appeared in DogTipper.com. Link to original post: 250+ Cowboy Dog Names for Your Buckaroo!

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House Breaking Your Golden Retriever


To properly train house break your Golden Retriever, you must stick to a routine regarding your crate, and ensure that he doesn’t spend additional time outside of his crate. When he is outside of his crate, you should watch him at all times. If you don’t keep an eye on him when he is outside of the crate and he has an accident inside the house, you can’t blame no one but yourself as you didn’t correct him the second it happened.

To help your dog learn the right way to relieve himself, you should always praise him when he goes to the right location. You can crate him at night, then take him out when he wakes up in the morning and show him the correct spot. Give him some time, then praise himself once he starts to go. If you avoid accidents, you should be able to train your Golden without any problems. Once accidents begin to happen though, it can be extremely hard to break the pattern.

When you house break your dog, you should never give him any freedom. Getting it right is a lot of work for him, and chances are he’d rather be doing something else. If you are tolerant with him and allow him to make mistakes, you’ll find yourself needing to be a lot more stern to break him of the bad habits that you have tolerated and allowed. If you start when your Golden is young and enforce the rules, he’ll be a happy member of your family in no time at all.

When you house break, you should use confinement as much as possible. Confinement basically means that until you have housebroken your Golden Retriever, he isn’t allowed to freely move around the house. You should always keep a watchful eye on him and make sure that if he’s outside the crate – you know where he is at all times and what he is doing.

If you happen to take your eyes off of him even for a second, he could easily relieve himself on the floor. Once he starts to go on the floor, it can be really hard to break him of this habit. The smell will be there, and he will smell it the next time he is in that area. Each time he smells it, he will instantly go to the bathroom in that same area. The best way to prevent this from happening is to watch him at all times and ensure that he only goes in the area you have for him.

To housebreak your Golden Retriever, you should also allow him a way outside. Normally, a doggy door is the best way to do this, as your puppy can go outside and relieve himself when the time comes, without disturbing you. You should also use puppy pads or a litter box inside as well, so that he always has somewhere to relive himself. During times when he can’t make it outside, he needs somewhere else that he can go.

Housebreaking your Golden Retriever can take you some time, although it will be well worth it once your Golden is properly trained. He’ll be an essential member of your family, and not use the bathroom anywhere he takes a notion. He will only relieve himself outside or in an area that you have trained him. Golden Retriever’s need interaction with people, and if you are going to keep them inside – you’ll need to ensure that they have been properly house broken.
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Human Food For Your Golden Retriever


A lot of people wonder what type of human food they should feed their Golden. Even though many prefer to stick with dog food and only dog food, there are certain types of human food that Golden Retrievers love – and is actually good for them. Golden’s crave attention as we all know – and when they watch you eat it never hurts to give them a bite – as long as you know what they should and shouldn’t consume with their diets.

For your Golden’s health, feeding him foods such as chicken, raw vegetables, turkey, brown rice, fruits, and oatmeal are always great. Even though we think of these type foods as “human food”, they are actually good for many animals as well. All dogs have taste buds and noses, meaning that they get very excited when they see you with food.

If your Golden Retriever runs to the refrigerator when you open it up, he’s trying to tell you that he smells something good. Even though he may run to the refrigerator, he isn’t begging for food as many think, he is simply wanting to have some real food. Once your Golden starts to do this, you should give him some of what he wants. Although most real food is great for Golden’s, there are some that aren’t quite so good.

Egg whites
If you feed your Golden a large amount of egg white in his diet, he will get a deficiency in biotin, which is a B vitamin, due to the amount of avidin, which is a very destructive substance. If you are feeding your Golden Retriever egg yolks, you shouldn’t worry as the effects of avidin will be offset by the high biotin levels that are found in egg yolks. You can also feed your Golden egg shells as well, as they contain a large amount of protein. If you want the best for your Golden – try feeding him raw eggs – with the shell intact.

Any form of Chocolate
We all know never to feed chocolate to any type of animal. Chocolate contains bromine, which is very toxic to both dogs and cats. Unsweet chocolate is by far the worst to feed to your Golden, as it contains a large amount of bromine. Bromine is a very harmful chemical, one that normally leads to death of your animal should he be fed any type of chocolate.

There are other foods out there that can be good or harmful to your Golden. If you have any questions, you should always ask your veterinarian. Your vet will be able to recommended real food that is beneficial to your Golden, as well as foods you should avoid. You can experiment with real food if you like – although you should never allow your Golden Retriever to consume any type of chocolate.
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