Welcome ROCmommas, ROCpoppas, and Friends!

Have fun with your kids - that's what it's all about. If you're looking for fun places to go in Rochester, NY (ROC), awesome
crafts to make, and yummy treats to bake with your kids - as well as some ideas for Date Nights - then you've come to the
right place. Welcome to ROCmomma. Happy reading, and please share your comments. Thank you!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Father's Day Card for a Sports Fan

While looking for Father's-Day-card inspiration today, I realized that there is an abundance of Father's Day "stuff" out there for hunters, fishermen, and guys who like tools. Those don't really work for us; we're vegetarians and while power tools are fun, I don't associate them with my husband.

There are also a ton of shirt-and-tie related ideas. But ya know what? Most people don't really like going to work, and many companies have even gone business casual, so the necktie thing doesn't seem right.

And barbecue-themed Father's Day stuff? Well, as much as I love cooking and baking, I don't really want a card or photo frame with whisks and spatulas so why would I do BBQ tools for my husband?


My kids are sports fans largely because their dad is a huge sports fan. Voila - the winning idea. Sports jersey cards! But I could not find one out there. So I made it myself. If you have a sports fan, you have to make one of these cards with your kids.

TIP: If you're not sure about the colors of your team, do an image search (i.e., search "Buffalo Bills jersey" in your favorite search engine).


  • Construction paper in the colors of your team
  • Scissors
  • Markers
  • Glue stick


1. First, take a sheet of construction paper in the main color of your team's jersey. Fold it in half width-wise. Cut the top corners for the shoulders, cut a "V" for the neckline, trim the sides to make the torso and sleeves, and trim the bottom to your desired size. (I did not measure any of this; it is all free-hand.)

2. Cut out the details for your jersey. TIP: For thin stripes next to thick ones, cut the thick stripe a little wider than you want it, then use marker to draw the thin-stripe trim, as with the red stripes in the photo below. TIP #2: If the jersey includes a logo, as with the Sabres below, you may want to find the image online and print it…I'm going to say the kids drew mine.
Don't cut thin stripes! Just use marker to outline the
white stripes instead.

For the laces on the neckline, use a marker or gel pen.

3. Now it's the kids' turn: hand over the pieces and a glue stick so they can decorate the jersey.

Yes, this card is a little labor intensive for you. But overall it's pretty simple. I think it has taken me longer to upload the photos and type this than it did to create the jersey cards and all the details. Plus, I know they are going to be a big hit…so it's worth it.

I hope you enjoy these team jersey cards! Post a Comment and let us know how yours turned out. As always, thanks for reading.

Happy Father's Day 
(a bit early) 
to all the ROCpoppas out there!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Sidewalk Chalk Activities to Keep the Kiddos Busy

Summer vacation is almost here. If you're home with the kiddos, you might be anxiously pinning ideas on Pinterest or frantically scheduling play dates to keep the kids busy. Or you might be in denial. That's okay - ROCmomma to the rescue!

Last summer, we posted a summer's worth of DIY Backyard Summer Camp themes and activities. This summer, we're making the most of things you have around the house (or things you should have around the house if you want to keep the kids occupied).

One thing you need in your summer arsenal? Sidewalk chalk. Oh, the things you can do with sidewalk chalk! Of course there's hop scotch, four square, and drawing pretty pictures…but don't stop there.

Tic Tac Toe - Draw a Tic Tac Toe grid with chalk and ask one kid to collect rocks while the other collects sticks. Take turns tossing rocks and sticks onto the Tic Tac Toe squares; three rocks or three sticks in a row wins.

Corn Hole (Bean Bag Toss) - Draw two sets of targets with chalk; draw different sizes and assign different point values. Grab bean bags or rocks and take turns tossing to hit the targets. Use chalk to keep a tally of points.
Corn Hole/Bean Bag Toss targets
"I got this, Mommy."
Shape Soccer - Draw a goal (large rectangle) with chalk, then draw different shapes that are large enough to stand on. Each shape should be a few feet from the goal, in somewhat of a semi-circle around the goal. Grab a ball and take turns standing on a shape and kicking the ball. If the ball passes through the goal, that player gets one point. Do this at each shape, and use chalk to keep a tally of points. Variations: Swap the soccer ball for hockey sticks and a small ball, or try bouncing a basketball onto the goal.
Here is the Shape Hockey variation.

Obstacle Course - Use chalk to draw spots for kids to hop, run, jump, turn around, zig zag, you name it! Once the novelty wears off, time them. Challenge them to beat their best time. Then have them try to go through backwards. Then while holding hands. Then while singing a song the whole time. The fun never ends!
START! 3 Hops (right foot)
3 Hops (left foot), then Turn Around
Jump Over, Jump Over, then Zig Zag
Turn Around then Run to the Shapes
Hop from Shape to Shape (follow the arrows)
Victory Dance! You made it!
Chalk City - Use chalk to draw streets, stop signs, buildings, a park, your house, etc. Kids can ride bicycles or tricycles through your city.
Of course we had to have Target
in our Chalk City. (and I can't
believe I didn't take more pictures!)
I hope you enjoy these games, and have fun coming up with your own.

How do you play with sidewalk chalk? Post a Comment and let us know. As always, thanks for reading.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Make a Checklist of SUMMER FUN!

Are you looking to make the most of this summer? Then it's time to make a Checklist of SUMMER FUN with your kids!
Last June, my boys and I made a list of all the places we wanted to visit during the summer. We separated things to do on sunny days from things to do on rainy days (or days when it's just too hot out), as well as some day trips. By mid-summer, we had checked off 19 of 43.

One of my fellow ROCmommas saw the list hanging in my kitchen and told me that she had never heard of half the places on our list. I wondered how many other families are not aware of these wonderful locations in the Rochester, NY area...so it seemed like a good thing to share.

If you're not in the Rochester area, we can still help you make your own list.

3 Easy Steps to Make Your 
Checklist of SUMMER FUN!

Step 1: List all the places to visit on a sunny day. 
*What are some places to visit animals? Or farms with pick-your-own fruit available?
*What parks and playgrounds are close by? Are there any spray-grounds or spray-parks, water parks, beaches, or lakes in your area?
*List any outdoor miniature golf locations as well as other outdoor attractions.

Step 2: List all the indoor places to go on a rainy day or when it's unbearably hot out.
*What museums are in your area?
*Are there any indoor family entertainment centers or bounce-house centers in your area?
*Do you have access to any indoor swimming pools?
*Think about locations specific to your children's hobbies.

Step 3: List all the locations that would be fun to visit, but are more than a few minutes away.
*What cities or towns are about an hour away? Are there any attractions that would interest your kids? Think about zoos, state parks, beaches, farms, and museums.

There you have it! Hang up your list and try to check off as many as you can before school starts.

For all my fellow ROCmommas and ROCpoppas, here are some ideas for your Checklist of SUMMER FUN in the Rochester, NY area.

  • Lollypop Farm (Fridays: storytelling at 11 a.m.) - Visit the dogs and cats inside the main building, rabbits and more in the barn, plus lots of farm animals along the walking path in the back.
  • Wickham Farm (Tuesdays: $2 mini golf games) - Activities are available for a fee: jumping pillow, mini golf, batting cages, & train ride. Plus feed the goats, sit on a tractor, or get some ice cream. 
  • Powers Farm Market - Feed the animals (bring quarters) and stop inside the market for a huge, freshly-baked cookie.
  • Powder Mills Trout Hatchery - Feed the trout! (bring quarters)
  • Seneca Park Zoo - There's always a lot to see and do. Be sure to visit the new babies: orangutan, tamarin, and lions!
  • Mendon Ponds Park - Be sure to check out Wild Wings from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, or Friday.
  • Kings Bend Park - Playground, plus a good spot to watch trains go by.
  • Kreag Road Park - Playground, sandbox, picnic tables, basketball and tennis courts, and baseball diamonds.
  • Tinker Park - Playground, duck pond, and nature trail.
  • Veteran's Memorial Park, Calkins Road - Several playgrounds and picnic tables.
  • Erie Canal - Great walking path from Schoen Place in Pittsford or near Perinton Park in Fairport; great for spotting boats and kayaks.
  • Camp Arrowhead Pool and Sprayground (YMCA members only) - Open weekdays 4:30 - 8:00 p.m., weekends 11:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
  • Camp Eastman Sprayground - Sprayground and dry playground; great spot for picnics. (Click here for directions.)
  • Seneca Lake State Park Sprayground - Open 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. weekdays; there is a parking fee.
  • Pineway Ponds Sprayground - Sprayground and dry playground; covered picnic tables.
  • Ontario Beach
  • Roseland Waterpark - Check website for coupons.
  • Seabreeze - Check website for coupons.
  • The Clubhouse - Mini golf, go karts, and indoor arcade. Check web site for daily deals and coupons. (e.g., Tuesday = 60 tokens for $10; Sat/Sun until noon = $12 for unlimited go karts and golf plus 10 tokens)
  • Adventure Landing - Mini golf, indoor arcade, batting cages, etc. Check web site for daily deals and coupons. (e.g., All You Can Play on Mon-Thurs until 6 p.m. and Sat. until noon)
  • Long Acre Farm - Outdoor kids' activities, farm market, and more.
  • G and S Orchards - Pick your own fruit.
  • Green Acre Farms - Pick your own fruit.
  • Whittier Fruit Farm - Pick your own fruit.
  • NY Museum of Transportation - Only open on Sundays; step onto real train cars, see the model train display, and take a 1-mile ride on a real trolley.
We visit Wickham Farms almost year-round.

Lots of fun at the library!
Digging for fossils at Penn-Dixie.

We hope this list turns your summer into one exciting day after another. Be sure to Post A Comment and share your favorite summer spot! As always, thanks for reading.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Another Fun, Easy, No-Prep Scavenger Hunt

I must admit: my kids tend to like doing the same activities over and over. And I'm okay with that. We love scavenger hunts around here (check out these three) and today was no exception.

Technically, it is Spring. But this sure is turning out to be one rainy season. We hope that means lots of flowers from these April showers, but until we can enjoy the outdoors again, we will keep up the hunts!

This afternoon began with a typical indoor obstacle course, and then my four-year-old wanted "a list to find stuff." Click the link below to print out a free, ready-to-go, no-preparation-required, super-fun scavenger hunt.
Free Printable: All-Star Scavenger Hunt

The items are all generic enough to do in just about any household. Of course, you can help your kiddo interpret any items as needed. For example, "A star" could be an item in the shape of a star or an item with a star on it. It's up to you.

If your kids like this scavenger hunt, check out three more! Again, these are free printables and there is no preparation required. Simply print it out, grab a pencil, and you're ready to go.

I hope you and your kids have fun with this scavenger hunt…and hopefully the sun will come out tomorrow so we can play outside. As always, thanks for reading!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Fun Dough! (Simple, Quick, No-Cook Recipe)

The weather keeps teasing us here in Rochester, NY! It warms up, we play outside. The next day it's back to 17 degrees with chilling gusts of wind. Who wants to play outside in that?! We just want Spring to get here already.

While we await the big thaw, we keep testing out indoor activities. My four-year-old wanted to make cookies; but then I will spend the remainder of the week eating all the cookies. It all goes down like this:

KID: Mommy, can we have some cookies?

ME: You have to eat your lunch, and then you can have a cookie. (When Kid is not looking, sneak a cookie and shove into mouth. Repeat as necessary.)

Using my masterful skills of misdirection, I asked if he wanted to make some "messy stuff" instead - which is usually saved for outdoor play, where messes do not matter. But desperate times, ya know?

We decided to make some homemade play dough, instead of cookie dough. A quick search for recipes yielded this simple, no-cook version. Bonus: we had all of the ingredients on hand.
To make this version of fun dough, you'll need:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 envelope of unsweetened Kool-Aid OR sugar-free Jell-O
  • 1 cup boiling water
1. Mix together the flour, salt, oil, and Kool-Aid or Jell-O in a bowl.
2. Pour in the boiling water; mix well. Once cool enough to handle, AN ADULT should knead the dough until smooth.
3. Have fun with your fun dough! Be sure to store in a sealed container after playing. Storing in the refrigerator will extend the life of the dough. However, our dough has been in containers on the counter for a week and it is fine. 

Since the original request was to make cookies, and since all of the ingredients in this fun dough are edible (NOTE: the dough is technically edible, but it will taste awful), we used the rolling pin and the real cookie cutters.

Of course, with my boys it always comes back to cars. Or dinosaurs. Or both. The dough quickly became a roadway for trucks, and eventually a landscape for dinosaurs!
What do your kids like to do with fun dough/play dough? Post a Comment below and let us know!

I hope you have fun with this quick and easy fun dough. As always, thanks for reading.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Snow Day Fun: Playing "Home School"

We all know how to create one: Wear pajamas inside out. Keep a spoon under your pillow. Put ice cubes in the toilet. Spin around three times with your eyes closed and say, "Snow day, snow day, snow day."

But once that wish comes true, how do you keep kids entertained? Especially if it's too cold to actually go outside and play in the snow? (It's every parent's nightmare.)

We found out about the last snow day on the evening before, so I had a little time to plan and prepare. First, I asked my kids if they had any ideas. They had one; they wanted to play school. What kinds of activities did they want to do at our school? Of course, we had to recreate my first-grader's daily classroom schedule. In order.

ROCmomma's Tips for a Fun Snow-Day Home-School:

  1. Assemble a supply bin with glue sticks, markers, safety scissors, crayons, and pencils
  2. Gather materials for your first couple of activities
  3. Print out & hang up the ROCmomma Circle Time Materials; print worksheets from links below


1. LEGO Challenge - We started on a creative note. The boys were each given a LEGO base plate, a marble, and a tub of LEGO bricks. The challenge was to create a marble maze, with one entrance and one exit for the marble. Once they finished building, they had even more fun guiding the marble through the maze!

2. Math problems - My first-grader wrote out four math problems for each of us to solve. (7+3= __, 7+1=__, 3+3=__, and 3+1=__) He wrote the problems three times so we each had our own worksheet, and then set them up around the table with a pencil for each of us. My little future teacher!

Have some books handy in case one child is finished before the others.

1. Calendar, weather - go over the days of the week, months of the year; fill in the date and weather
2. Month/season worksheets - try these free printable winter worksheets from Learning 4 Keeps

There are five different activity stations; each person does one activity and will have the opportunity to do more later.

1. Computer Station: We set up the laptop so the kids could read/listen to the Pocoyo e-book "Baby Bird's Birthday Party" and play games on the HITN Early Learning Collaborative
2. Word work/writing: Word Detective worksheet (page 11 in the Freebie Word Work Activities from TeachersPayTeachers.com); Letter Grab Bag (pages 24-25 in the Freebie Word Work Activities)
3. Writing Journal - Provide some paper and pencils, and ask them to write (or draw, depending on the ages).
4. Read to someone
5. Read to self
The Daily 5,  Station 1: Playing Pocoyo games on the
Early Learning Collaborative web site
The Daily 5, Station 2: Word Detective worksheet
We wrote "___OT" on a piece of paper and the kids brainstormed "-ot" words while I wrote them down. Then we reviewed the list together. Finally, each child selected one word from our list and used it in a sentence.

Station activities are the same as above; each child selects a station they have not yet completed.

A well-deserved break for everyone! Choose a favorite song (You TubePandora, or Songza are good options if you don't have a particular song in your music library) and have a mini dance party. We are big fans of Cha Cha Slide and Happy.

Same as above.

1. Visit BedTimeMath.org together on the computer and complete a few problems together.
2. Math worksheets - try these free printables from TeachersPayTeachers.com

Be creative and get the kids moving:

  • Use painter's tape to create a hop scotch board on the floor; use a bean bag or small stuffed toy as the marker.
  • Play Simon Says.
  • Play balloon volleyball.
  • Play Freeze Dance.
  • Set up empty water bottles in the hallway; roll a ball for indoor bowling.
  • Play a physically active game on Xbox Kinect, Wii, etc.

My boys love the Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne. They snuggled together and we read "Afternoon on the Amazon" from cover to cover.

Write about your snow day (pre-school variation: draw a picture of your snow day).
Make snowflake rubbings! Perfect for a snow day.

Materials needed: hot glue gun & glue sticks (OR yarn & craft glue - as per the original instructions on Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational), scraps of cardboard (an empty cereal box works well), construction paper, crayons

1. ADULTS ONLY: Use a glue gun to draw snowflakes on scraps of cardboard. (OR use the craft glue and yarn, per the original instructions)
2. When cool, instruct children to place construction paper on top of the snowflakes and use the crayons to create rubbings of the snowflakes. Children may then continue to decorate the page with additional drawings, etc.


Ask each child to select one thing from the house that is special. Sit together and take turns talking about the item and why it is special.

Sit together and talk about what we learned today. If your kids have a goodbye song from school, ask them to teach it to you.

I was actually shocked that my kids completed ALL of these activities! We made the list the night before, and I prepared for all of them, but figured we would skip a few here and there. Oh no. They kept me on task and made sure we followed the list. In fact, my six-year-old kept tabs on the clock as well. School is over at 3:00, so we were not allowed to be finished until 3:00.

This was such a fun day for the three of us, and I'm glad we did it. If you're looking to fill an entire day with lots of boredom-busting fun (and a little learning, too!), then try out these snow day home-school activities. Be sure to Post a Comment and let us know which one your kids liked best! As always, thanks for reading.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Three Easy, No-Prep, Super-Fun Scavenger Hunts

We are big on scavenger hunts lately! My four-year-old asks me daily, "Can we make a list and find stuff?" That would be a scavenger hunt.

Last month, we stayed at a house in Lake Placid with a few other families (11 adults, 8 kids ages 1-8). We try to get the kids out of the house during the day, but once the sun goes down it's cold…so I even brought a scavenger hunt there as one of the activities to keep the kids occupied in the house. Worked like a charm.

As you can imagine, we are amassing a variety of scavenger hunt challenges around here. What else would I do but SHARE THEM with the awesome ROCmomma followers?

These are all fairly generic so anyone can use them in just about any home. There are links to print each scavenger hunt page (PDF file) within the captions below.
Free Printable: Super-Fun Scavenger Hunt
Free Printable: AWESOME Scavenger Hunt
Free Printable: Extreme Scavenger Hunt Challenge!

Looking for more scavenger hunt variations? Check out these indoor and outdoor ideas on ROCmomma's Time for a Scavenger Hunt.

Have fun using Scavenger Hunts to fill in the last few wintry days before Spring is finally upon us! Hopefully, that's not just wishful thinking. As always, thanks for reading.
Blogging tips