Too Many Toys – What To Do – ORGANIZE!

As an educator and a parent, in response to what read on another blog, here are my ideas about what to do to avoid being overrun by your children’s toys.

  1. Bathrooms need toys.  Those of us who are alone with little ones usually leave the door open so we can hear what our little tot is up to.  It’s good to have a special toy that will keep their interest rather than a new toilet paper carpet.
  2. Develop your child’s decision making skill and let them choose in cooperation with you what toys should be donated.  Have a donation box easily accessible to your child.  If they don’t play with any of the toys in an agreed amount of time (one or two weeks), then donate the toys.  Try to take your child with you so he/she has a meaningful experience.
  3. If you want to keep your living room free of toys, restrict the size so toys can be stored in an ottoman, bench or basket.  I made a toy train made out of cardboard boxes linked with cord so at clean up time, my son could put the top on the box and pull the train to his room or the playroom.  He’d make stops at certain crossing (the kitchen and the hall to pick up “strays”).  Always remember to give a 5 minute and a 2 minute “toot toot” as clean up reminders.
  4. The first playroom should be your child’s bedroom.  If your child is very young, you need toys in every room because you need to be watching him/her.  Organization will allow you not to feel like your are living in a toy store.  Although you could look at toy stores for organization and stlyling ideas (what goes on shelves – what goes in bins).  Any Montessori parent or educatior will tell you it is never too early to label where things go and train your child to put toys back.  It’s a matter of “What I learned in Kindergarten” providing the life skills your child will need later on.
  5. Not everyone has room for a separate playroom, but whether you do or don’t the approach is the same.  Younger children do better with bins that are open so they can see what in there.  Older children can have containers that are closed.  All containers should have labels with a picture of one of the objects pasted to the label.  Large glue dots work well and can be removed without damage.

 For more ideas and pictures, visit the Doodle Noodle website (, which will be fully operational next week.  You can also visit us on Facebook (Doodle Noodle LLC) or tweet me @gaildoodlenoodl


Everything I Learned As A Distric Leader…

I learned how to be a District eader teachng 1st grade – Smile, talk softly so they have to listen, keep everyone working, never threaten unless you can and will follow through, be prepared and make sure everyone else is too and, most of all, have high expectations and work hard.

Creative Halloween Candy Piggy Bank

Have your children “deposit” their candy in this easy to make piggy bank and set a limit on what they can “withdraw” each day.

Materials Needed:

  1. A large plastic jar with a screw top
  2. 2 sheets of pink card stock, 12” X 12”
  3. 2 wiggly eyes or buttons or black and white construction paper
  4. A pink bottle cap or large button
  5. Black electrical or duct tape
  6. Glue dots

This is so simple to make that your elementary school age child can make it herself with a little help.

  • Cut pink card stock the diameter and length of the bottle.  Affix with glue dots.
  • Trace cover on to card stock and cut out circle using glue dots to paste on cover.
  • Use scraps from circle to cut out ears and glue dot onto jar cover.
  • Cut strip the width of the jar cover rim and glue dot it onto the rim.
  • Use large glue dots to paste on eyes and nose.
  • To make legs, cut strips of pink card stock and wrap around a pencil.  Slit the top in quarters of leg can lay flat against glue dots on the bottom of the jar.  Wrap black tape around the bottom to create hooves.
  • Twist 2 pipe cleaners together to make a curly tail and secure with Velcro.

Happy Halloween.

More Ideas On What To Do With All That Candy

More ideas on what to do with all that candy:

Halloween is next Monday.  Visions of marshmallow ghosts, chocolate witches, Snickers bats and candy corn pumpkins are drifting into the dreams of your children, while stomach aches, toothaches and whines of just one more piece are probably disturbing your sleep.  So, plan and conquer, or, at least, plan and contain this Halloween.  Here are some ideas:

Improve on Dylan’s Candy Bar… Set up a play candy store (maybe download a picture of an old fashioned one that grandma and grandpa might have gone to when they were kids).

 Children think of a name – One Candy, Two Candy. Red Candy, Blue Candy or Jason’s (your child’s name) Candy Land or Candy Castle.

  Use boxes to construct the store.  The center box can be the counter and build a taller structure on each side so you can attach a sign across with the store’s name.

Children can use office labels for prices and make signs for bulk candy – M&Ms 3 oz, for 25 cents (let the children use your kitchen scale).

Older children might want to use glass containers and cloth and set up a party candy bar.

While they are having fun, children are learning to classify, recognize money, calculate, count, measure weight,  write and use their imaginations.





According to a report on The Today Show by Jenna Wolfe, 44 states no longer demand that cursive writing be taught in elementary schools.  In Indiana and Hawaii, it isn’t even part of the curriculum.

Why should we care? Even in the 21st Century, writing is an art form.   I am not talking about by husband’s signature which is more difficult to decipher than a Jackson Pollock painting, nor the graffiti painted on city walls and the curses and love notes written in bathroom stalls.

Okay , maybe I support script because I write much faster than I can type.  I don’t like typing.  For much of my generation of women, it holds the emotions of being told you could be a teacher, nurse or a secretary when you grew up.

Maybe it’s because I skipped 2nd grade, and my grade 4th grade teacher, Mr. Mc Cory, told my mother that I was doing very well in school, except for my handwriting, I took it upon myself to recopy all of my notes and practice my l’s, r’s and t’s until I had developed a very nice handwriting.  What?  All this for naught.  Just to be told cursive writing doesn’t matter anymore.

So, when my daughter and son-in-law wrote thank you notes to their friends and mine and to their relatives for their wedding gifts, they could have printed them or downloaded the card and typed on that.  Emily Post is shuddering so hard, her bones are clanking. 

 As an educator who has taught cursive writing to children, I think it is an important skill to learn.  First, it is developing fine motor control which is important in many areas of life.  It is not the repetitive rapid motion developed by playing video games or searching on the internet.  It teaches visual discrimination which sharpens our eyes and increases our appreciation of the beauty of a flower or the design of a fabric.

It teaches focus and concentration, so important in this world of rapidly moving images and “sound byte” political statements.

If we write by hand, we need pencils and pens, and people will design beautiful journals, papers, stationery and cards.

Not everyone will have an I-Phone in their pocket to read their grocery list.  Maybe, I’m old fashioned, but a tweet or a text doesn’t have the same thrill as passing a note to a friend sitting in the next row.

Like my fingerprints, my hand writing is mine, mine alone.



Dave Pilker finds a happly solution to bullying in this story about a dachshund who wears a hot dog bun costume his Mom made him.. He then bears the brunt of more teasing from the other dogs who eat all the treats before he gets there. In the end, Oscar’s short status and his bravery saves the day and he becomes a hero.

This book is a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year and is at reading level 1, ages 3-8.


Based on the well known “THERE WAS AN OLD LADY WHO SWALLOWED A FLY,” this old lady swallows wizards, bones, goblins, ghosts, a cat and one bat. “Imagine that!” At the end, she swallows a “goblin to cast a spell so she could yell – Trick or Treat.” On the very last page, she burps and everything she swallowed spills out.

This silly poem story will be enjoyed by all ages and aids in developing children’s rhyming and memory skills. Kids and parents can have fun making up their own “THERE WAS AN OLD LADY” poem.


“What can you find to use for the eyes? Is that too small to use for the head if you use that for the body?” These are the kinds of questions that children will have to think about if they are going to make their own costumes this Halloween. These are also the kind of questions that increase your child’s critical thinking skills. And you can adapt them to any age.

Aluminum oven trays and pans are easier to use and find than the cardoard boxes used in old robot models.  They are light weight and can be cut easily with a scissors if the size has to be modified.  Scraps from  around the house can easily be used to embellish the 2011 style.  If you don’t bake, you can buy the silver cupcake liners for 99 cents, the liner was $1.00.  Total cost was under $3.00, and it only takes an hour to make