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The Best Card Game Recommendations for Kids

Friday Game Day is very popular in our house. Instead of engaging in our usual learning routines, we pull out a board game or card game to enjoy.

Playing games can teach so many important lessons. Even though the kids think they're not learning, they really are.

It is a well known fact that I am not a fan of board games as much as I am card games. When it's my turn to choose, everyone knows we're going to be playing cards.

Today I thought I'd share the best card game recommendations for kids in my opinion.


The Best Card Game Recommendations for Kids


The Best Card Game Recommendations for Kids


Our kids are introduced to card games when they're young and when they show interest in playing games with the family.

We always try to start out with the easiest options to ensure the experience is as positive as it can be. Mind you there's always a chance of issues when it comes to losing a game.

The Best Junior Card Games for Kids

Depending on what type of junior card game you're into, there's sure to be something that meets your needs and styles.


The Best Junior Card Games for Kids


These are our absolute favorites. Sunshine still needs some assistance with a couple of them, but the rest she's really great at.

Skip-Bo Junior Sequencing

Phase 10 Junior

Five Crowns Junior

Quiddler Junior

Clumsy Thief Junior

Uno Junior


All of our kids have found that junior card games can be just as fun as versions for older kids when the whole family can join in the fun successfully.


The Best Card Games for Children Ages 5-10



Once the kids graduate from our favorite junior card games, the move on to four others.


These games have withstood the test of time. Every single kiddo in the house has loved them!


The Best Card Games for Children Ages 5-10

These games range from a starting age of five to eight years old, but have been played by all our kids within that age frame and beyond.


Guess Who?

Sleeping Queens

Go Nuts for Donuts

Infinity Gauntlet: A Love Letter Card Game


Now that three of our kids are older, they love a challenge and a lot of fun as they play card games. 


The Best Card Games for Preteens and Teens


We've tried and tested a lot of card games over the years with our preteens and teens. These are still our favorites and the most worn from use. Lol.


The Best Card Games for Preteens & Teens


Please note that this list does not include our favorite Harry Potter themed card games. For those you need to click HERE.

But this list does include all the rest!


Five Crowns

Quiddler

Rack-O

Spin Doctor


We hope this list gives you a few new games to try and fall in love with. 

Card games are perfect for so many occasions at home, on the road, and more!

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the resources below.

 

How to Help Your Autistic Child Play Board Games Successfully Disney Villians Halloween Party The Best Harry Potter Themed Gifts How We Do Montessori Middle School at Home 24 Fun Family Physical Fitness Ideas A Minimalist Living Room

The Best Card Games for Kids


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One Sure Way to Improve Couples Communication with ADHD & Autism

 "Stop interrupting me!"

"Would you let me finish my sentence please?"

"If you didn't interrupt me when I was speaking, then you'd know how I feel."

These became common phrases my husband and I would say to one another as we were trying to have serious and/or sensitive conversations.

Conversations became arguments, and well...

Neither of us were our best selves.

That is until we implemented One Sure Way to Improve Couples Communication with ADHD & Autism.


One Sure Way to Improve Couples Communication with ADHD & Autism


Jason struggles with pausing before speaking in conversations and interrupts often.

His ADHD, autism, and other mental health issues impact his ability to communicate in multiple ways.

Think impulsivity, executive functioning issues, struggles with strong emotions, and so much more.

This does not mean that he's bad or wrong. It just means that conversations can be challenging.

When he speaks he tends to speak for a long time going round and round, and I lose track of his main points.

I become frustrated because I never get a chance to speak and get confused trying to keep up with all of the twists and turns of what he's saying. 

This results in me interrupting him just to get a word in edge wise, before I forget the main point.

Obviously, the situation worsens.

As you might guess, this is a recipe for disaster.

Both of us needed help when it came to communicating with each other effectively.

After having three children with ADHD and autism, when there's an issue in our house, my brain automatically goes to problem solving mode.

What supports can I put in place to help the child be successful?

Because our communication struggles were impacting us in big ways, my brain decided to do the same thing with my husband.

What supports could I put in place to help him?

That's when the idea hit me.

What if we used a timer?

What if we set a timer for five to ten minutes, while one of us spoke? 

The other could take notes on a piece of paper to address on their turn.

Would that help?

My instant gut reaction was that it would help, but this was something that both my husband and I had to agree to try. So, I asked him about it.  

At first he was a bit nervous and felt a little uncomfortable, but eventually went along with it.

Sure enough it worked!

I am so thankful he was willing to try.


Couples Communication with ADHD & Autism


Our conversations may last anywhere from 10 minutes to hours, depending on the subject, but there are no longer interruptions, harsh words, or either of us feeling like we're not heard.

The timer provides Jason with a visual cue to pause. The pen and paper give him a chance to write down feelings, emotions, thoughts, and questions, as I'm speaking in a safe way.

By the time he starts speaking he's able to communicate more effectively and calmly.

I feel heard, which feels amazing.

The paper and pencil also help me to keep track of the main points of what Jason is saying, even when he takes a full ten minutes to express his thoughts and he jumps from topic to topic.

We've been using the timer during serious conversations for about six months now. I don't think we'll ever go back.

The timer has made that much of a difference for us.

Over time, because of the timer, we've also been able to discover and communicate what we need from each other in regards to knowing that we're listening.

Jason loves for me to start my turn speaking by recapping what he said, or at least the main points in a couple of sentences. I now can do this because I'm able to keep track!

He feels validated when I do this.

I, on the other hand, appreciate when he's able to comment positively about something I've said or how I've said it.

When he starts with a compliment, I know we're in a safe space to talk about big feelings and he'll be okay.

The timer may not be the solution for everyone, but it can help so many.

In order for it to work at all, both parties have to agree.

Whether you or your partner have ADHD or autism or neither, this may just may be the perfect solution for you!

Psst! It also works with your kids, especially teenagers.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the resources below.


Overcoming Struggles with Autism I Think My Husband Has Autism It's Time to Have a Serious Talk About Autism Morning and Bedtime Routine Visuals and Supports Chores and Practical Life Visuals and Supports Outdoor Visuals and Supports

One Sure Way to Improve Couples Communication with ADHD & Autism


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Breathing Exercises for Kids with FREE Printable

When Sunshine is feeling strong feelings, taking deep breaths helps her to not aggress or engage in negative behaviors in the moment.

However, she does often find breathing boring and complains that it doesn't seem to help with the actual emotion behind the behaviors that she's feeling at the time. 

That was the case, until we introduced the breathing exercises for kids mentioned in this post.

Sunshine absolutely LOVES them. They seem to work every time, so long as her brain isn't too activated.

I created a free printable to go along with the breathing exercises so that no matter where we go, we can bring the visuals to cue Sunshine when they are needed. For her, the visual is everything.

Breathing Exercises for Kids with FREE Printable

Confession time.

I can not take any credit for these breathing exercises. Full credit goes to Kira Willey, author of Breathe Like a Bear, and her amazing illustrator Anni Bets.

Breathe Like a Bear Book


Kira Willey wrote a magnificent book full of 30 different breathing activities that help children to calm, focus, imagine, energize, and relax.  (We do not use the energize activities with Sunshine as they activate her brain too much.)

Our entire family LOVES this book because it takes deep breathing to the next level, helping children visualize and engage with their mind and body in positive ways that not only help with behaviors, but also the emotions behind them.

Breathe Like a Bear

How doe Kira Willey do this you ask?

Each breathing exercise comes with a story and visualization. The exercise takes the child out of current circumstances and transplants them into another that is positive and enjoyable. 

For Sunshine, this is HUGE. 

Her brain deactivates. 

Instead of going to a dark place in her mind while she takes simple deep breathes, she visualizes the breathing exercises and goes to a happy place.

Once the result of the breathing exercise has been reached, she is able to talk about her emotions calmly and safely.

We absolutely LOVE the book, Breathe Like a Bear.

Breathe Like a Bear Cue Cards


Now, I've shared all of the pros of this book, but I must confess there is one con.

This book does not fit in my purse and is really hard to carry around to other places outside of the home!

To my knowledge, the author and publisher have not created portable cards to carry around to use in all settings. If they do, I'll be the first one to purchase them. I would LOVE it if they included the story on the back with the picture on the front for my reference.

But alas, there is no such thing, nor will there be until the author, illustrator and publisher decide to do so.

If and when they do, I will be replacing the resource below with the author and illustrator's work.

 In the meantime, I've had to come up with my own portable option.  I have created Breathe Like a Bear Cue Cards.


FREE Breathe Like a Bear Cue Cards for Kids

Now let me clarify what these cards are and aren't.

  • These cards do NOT include instructions and stories written by Kira Willey related to the breathing exercises found in the Breathe Like a Bear book.
  • These cards do NOT include the beautiful illustrations created by Anni Betts, nor claim to be anything like them.
  • These cards do NOT replace the incredible effort that Kira Willey and Anni Betts put into their masterpiece.
  • These cards do NOT work without having full details of the breathing activities in the book, Breathe Like a Bear.
  • These cards DO give true-to-life visuals that represent breathing activities listed in the book, with a title and a one word description of what type of breathing activity each card represents.
  • Those who choose to use these cards DO need to purchase the book in order to understand what any of the titles and exercises are.
  • These cards DO allow me to provide Sunshine with visuals for the breathing activities in the book, Breathe Like a Bear, when we are on the go and I'm unable to transport the book, but only after we've used the book to practice and memorize all that's necessary to remember while using the cards.
  • These cards are for personal use only.

How We Use the Breathe Like a Bear Cue Cards


Option 1:


These cards were created two years ago when we thought that Sunshine would be returning home to us sooner than later.

Before her last hospitalization we read through the book together and had her choose one to two breathing activities that she liked most. 

After practicing the breathing activities when she was calm to ensure that she had mastered them, I would initiate their use when emotions were high.

The goal was to have Sunshine eventually initiate them, choosing one or two a day to use when necessary.

Selecting her breathing cards for the day would be part of her initial check-in of the day.

These exercises worked every time, when Sunshine's brain wasn't too activated.

Option 2:


 Big emotions are not just something that happens at home. These cards are perfect for carrying in my purse when I don't have the book on hand to use.

When we prepare to leave, Sunshine will pick one or two breathing exercise cue cards to bring along if necessary. That way when she struggles, she has something tangible and visual to remind her of what to do.

If you do not own the book, Breathe Like a Bear, I HIGHLY recommend it. Though it's designed for children ages 4-8, I love it as an adult!

Finding the breathing techniques that work for your child specifically is so important. Understanding that every child is different is crucial to success.


If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the resources below. 


4 Steps to Managing Aggressive Behaviors Four Prompts to Encourage Mindfulness in ChildrenOne Sure Way to Help Your Child Work Through Emotions How to Create and Use an Individualized Emotional Regulation Chart Anger Management for Kids Morning and Bedtime Routine Visuals and Supports
Read More »

How to Create and Use an Emotional Regulation Chart

 It's no secret that Sunshine REALLY struggles with emotional regulation and anger management. 

One of the biggest challenges we have when others care for Sunshine is that they do not understand what Sunshine's behaviors mean.
 
When caregivers miss important emotional regulation cues,  everyone suffers. 

Instead of working on prevention and regulation strategies, caregivers end up focusing on behavior strategies.

This is why it's so important to teach emotional regulation in ways that a child can understand. 

Today I'm going to show you how to create and use an emotional regulation chart for your child!


How to Create and Use an Emotional Regulation Chart


Emotional regulation is something that we've always worked on at home in various ways. It was super easy when Sunshine was home all the time.


But when she started attending a day program emotional regulation was not a focus in the classroom. Sunshine suffered because of this.


After some great meetings with her team, they introduced a color based emotional regulation program and chart at school. We carried over what was being taught at home, adding on to what we were already doing.


The program used at school introduced green representing the emotion happy. Blue stood for sick and/or sad. Yellow stood for emotions like anxious, nervous, scared, etc. Red stood for angry.


The concepts taught in the program at school were great, but based on Sunshine's struggles with brain activation, we realized we needed to add another emotion option to her chart, which we call "fire red." 


Sunshine reaches "fire red" when her brain is activated to the point of having a behavioral seizure. During this time, behaviors do not stop until the seizure is finished. Most often these behaviors include hurting others and sometimes Sunshine hurting herself.


The goal with Sunshine is to always keep her as calm as possible. As she identifies what color she's on at check-ins throughout her day, the goal is return to green as quickly as possible through using various coping skills.

Using a chart with colors and corresponding emotions is a huge help! It's the perfect visual for kids.

How to Create an Individualized Emotional Regulation Chart


1. Identify target emotions and assign color to them.


When creating an emotional regulation chart, you do not need to use the same colors and emotions introduced by Sunshine's school. You can choose any colors and emotions you'd like based on observations of what your child will respond most positively to.

If you're enlisting the help of your child when creating a chart, have them pick their own colors and match them to emotions.

For us, the colors introduced at school transformed into multiple emotions based on observation and identification.

2. Choose a way to represent emotions that match colors.


I chose to use emojis to represent corresponding emotions in our chart because Sunshine LOVES emojis and still can't read.

If you choose to create a chart similar to mine, it's super easy to purchase emoji stickers and use them.

Other options you may consider are drawings, photographs of the your child in different emotional states, or simply writing out the emotions depending on your child's age.

Whatever your choose is completely up to you! 

If it's possible, and your child is willing, they could participate in this process. 

3. Create a three column chart.


The first column is for colors. Next comes corresponding emotions. Last is a check in space is available for the child to use when possible.

4. Place color markers and corresponding emotions in the appropriate places on the chart.


This is the fun part where everything comes together!

Children may enjoy putting their chart together using glue, stickers, markers, crayons, or whatever you choose to use.

I created ours on the computer since Sunshine isn't at home right now. This way it can be printed out and used in multiple settings. 

When she does come home, I'm excited for her to create her own.

This is Sunshine's chart!

Sunshine's Emotional Regulation Chart

This chart was created by me and is designed specifically for Sunshine. It is not available for use by anyone else for free or through purchase.


Please know it's okay if each color has only one corresponding emotion. 

Sunshine's chart is based on her ability to recognize different emotions. If your child isn't able to recognize more than five simple emotions, only include those.

5. Decide how your child will do an emotional check-in.


The third column is a place where the child does a check-in about how they're feeling. It can be used in various ways.

Your child can draw the emotion their feeling in the proper box.

Your child can use a clothespin and clip it to the correct box.

Your child can draw a check mark in the correct space.

In all honesty, the sky is the limit!

Whichever way you choose to use the last column, be sure to use cardstock and/or laminate your chart for durability. 

I will be asking Sunshine to use white board markers to draw the correct emoji face when possible at home.

6. Make a list of emotions and corresponding behaviors.


DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!  

It is one thing to teach your child how to identify their emotions by color, but a completely different to identify emotions by behaviors, which is the whole point of creating the emotional regulation chart in the first place.

Take time to observe your child.

Observe the child's behaviors and emotions.

Ask questions based on your observations. 

"I am observing that when you are feeling nervous when playing, you are unkind to your friends. Is this correct?"

Obviously you will modify questions based on what the child can understand and answer.

Write down behaviors that you can associate with emotions. 

This is your guide to helping your child understand emotional regulation.

Sunshine's list is below. I use colors rather than emotions to make it easier.
Sunshine's Emotional Regulation Colors & Corresponding Behaviors

Once you have your list, use it!

When using the emotional regulation chart, the goal is to teach your child how they feel and what behaviors they display when they have that feeling.

From there they can learn to identify the emotion and behaviors themselves and decide to change them to those that are more positive.

We have handed this list out to Sunshine's day program, respite workers, and every RTC team she has had. When they choose to use it, it makes such a difference.

Adults are able to catch Sunshine before she escalates too far and activates her brain.

Over time the goal is to teach Sunshine to catch herself before she activates, after lots of practice and constant use of the chart, associating behaviors with emotions the entire way.

It may take a LONG time, but I do believe it's possible!

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the resources below.


Anger Management for Kids Four Prompts to Encourage Mindfulness in Children 4 Steps to Managing Aggressive Behaviors One Sure Way to Help Your Child Work Through Emotions 5 Lessons to Teach Kids About Balancing Emotions Fun Ways to Teach Children About Emotions
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Birthday Bash Bundle Sale

One doesn't turn 40, but only once in a life time. 

It so happens that this month on the ninth, I did just that.

April is always and extremely chaotic month.  Sunshine's recent transition to another RTC, the stomach flu spreading through each member of the family, and Easter have all postponed my birthday celebration.

But now that those events are all over, it's time to spend the rest of April embracing my 40-year-old self.

I'm kicking off this celebration with a Birthday Bash Bundle Sale!

All Every Star Is Different Bundles are 40% OFF now through Tuesday, April 26, 2022 at 11:59 PM EST.

Birthday Bash Bundle Sale

 Did you know that we have created THIRTY bundles over the last few years? 


We have so many resources available for Montessori preschool and elementary classrooms at home and at school.


All are designed to meet the needs of every child in the classroom no matter their skill level or abilities. 


Every Star Is Different Bundles are filled with beautiful true-to-life images.


This Birthday Bash Bundle Sale is not to be missed! 


It will be the only time during 2022 that all of our bundles will be on sale.


Be sure to grab them while you can. No promotional code is needed. The prices already reflect the discount.


Every Star Is Different Bundles


To purchase the bundles that you would like, just click on the images below and add the products to your cart. Happy shopping!


Back-to-School Bundle The Ultimate Montessori Math Bundle Montessori-inspired Language Bundle Montessori-inspired Art and Music Bundle Montessori-inspired Holidays Around the World Bundle Montessori Grammar Bundle Montessori Telling Time Bundle Montessori-inspired Continents Bundle Montessori-inspired Astronomy Bundle Montessori-inspired Self-Care Bundle Montessori-inspired Chemistry Bundle Montessori-inspired Vertebrates Bundle
Cursive Montessori-inspired Language Bundle Montessori Arthropods Bundle Montessori-inspired Halloween Bundle Montessori-inspired Thanksgiving Bundle Montessori Word Study Bundle Holidays Around the World Bundle II Montessori Skip Counting and Multiplication Bundle Winter Activities Bundle Diversity and Inclusion Bundle Fractions Bundle U.S. Presidents Bundle Earth Day Bundle United States Government and Constitution Bundle Day of the Dead Mini Bundle Money Bundle for Beginners Scandinavian Christmas Mini Bundle Valentine's Grammar Bundle Construction Site Bundle

This month is the perfect time to start planning for the next school year!

Don't forget to plan for holidays as well.

When you purchase bundles now you have plenty of time to print, cut, laminate, and prepare for next year's work.

April is also the perfect time of year to start preparing for any summer learning that might take place. In our home we learn year round. Summer is usually our least hectic time of year for us.

No matter when you're planning for, these bundles are absolutely spectacular as you'll read about in reviews left by others who have purchased and used them, when you click on the images above.

Don't wait until it's too late! Grab your Every Star Is Different Bundles today at 40% OFF as part of my 40th Birthday Bash Bundle Sale!
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