Browsing Category: kids stuff

Free Printable: Halloween Treat Bag Tags

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Halloween is fast approaching, and if your child(ren)’s school is anything like my kids’, then you’ve been volun-told/tasked/guilt-tripped into preparing treat bags for your child’s class! A couple years ago, I made some “Ghostly Grub” for my boys’ class, which was a HUGE hit with the children. It’s super easy to make and these treat bag tags will top off your hard work perfectly!

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Recipe for Ghostly Grub:

Combine the following:

Chex cereal – Monster Scabs
Pretzel sticks – Skeleton Bones (*Optional – cover the pretzel sticks with melted white chocolate or candy melts)
Candy Corn – Jack-o-lantern Teeth
Chocolate chip morsels – Witch’s Warts
Marshmallows – Ghost Poop

I put the mixture into ziplock bags, then placed the plastic bags into a cut up paper lunch bag. I wish I had had time to send the children outside to look for sticks, but living in a city without a yard or trees of our own, I realized that it was a bigger task than I could handle. I did, however, have some wooden chopsticks, which worked in a pinch to create broomsticks!

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Both treat bag tags are available here for free: Just click on the image for the high-resolution jpeg and right click to download!

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Ghostly Grub Tags

 

 

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No Tricks, Just Treats! Tag

 

 

The tags measure approximately 2.5 inches in diameter, and I recommend using a 2.5 in circle punch to cut them out although scissors work just fine!

Happy Halloween! 👻🎃

Fairy Princess Photo Shoot

A couple months ago, my bestie flew in from Naples, Italy for a 2 week visit. We did a bit of exploring in Pittsburgh, which is still new to me, and we road tripped down to Baltimore for a weekend, visited Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, and we spent an inordinate amount of time watching TV, taking selfies, and giggling like teenagers.

The best part of her visit is that it was an absolute surprise. She and my husband took it upon themselves to plan this trip without my knowledge, so I had no time to prepare for her visit. I didn’t care that my house was a mess and that we hadn’t even finished unpacking all our crap, that the guest bedroom was still in shambles, or that I had no childcare plans for while she was in town. However, the big downside was that I had NO TIME to plan and style a photoshoot for my kids!!! The fabulous Zayda of Zayda Barros Photography and I had talked about so many different styled photo shoots we wanted to do with my children, and here she was… And I didn’t have a thing prepared.

Thankfully, we had 2 weeks to put something easy together–thanks to my beautiful, wooded backyard–and my daughter wanted nothing more than to become a fairy princess for a day so it was perfect. And Zayda made it happen!

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There was a mad dash to order things from Amazon and visits to Michaels and Joann Fabrics. Thanks to the genius of Pinterest, I was able to put together a very easy tulle dress very similar to this one. I just loop tied long strips of tulle to a crochet chain “thread” and belted it with another piece of tulle. Easy peasy! I spray painted a cheap black lantern with metallic gold spray paint, and we ordered a beautiful pair of wings, a flower crown, paper butterflies, and a bottle of glitter from Amazon. Then through the magic of photography, Zayda transformed my little girl into a fairy princess!

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And because sometimes, Mommy wants to be a fairy princess too… 😝

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To see more from Penny’s Fairy Princess Photo Shoot, visit Zayda’s website: Zayda Barros Photography

Free Pattern – Choco Hugs and Kisses Hat

It has been far too long since I’ve been able to post/update the blog! Since the kids got out of school for summer vacation, my life has been a whirlwind of activity. Our family of 5 traveled to Florida for my nephew’s high school graduation/family reunion, which was absolutely wonderful because we’ve been out of the country for 3 years and unfortunately missed out on lots of family gatherings here in the U.S. Plus, we were on the beach, and really, who doesn’t love being on the beach?

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Right after we returned from our trip to Florida, my wonderful husband surprised me with a 2 week long visit from the BFF (the very talented Zayda of Zayda Barros Photography), who lives in Naples, Italy! We had such a great time while she was here–giggling like school girls and acting like complete lunatics and taking LOTS of selfies! 😉

 

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Plus, on top of her visit, my 15 year old niece is spending her summer vacation with us, then we had a HUGE family gathering at our house over the 4th of July weekend, and finally… I’ve got a minute to sit at my computer and catch up on a million things.

One of the things that I’ve been planning to do/working on but haven’t had a chance to actually take care of is the closing of the jkwdesigns Etsy shop (not to be confused with the delightfuledesigns Etsy shop!). As listings expire, I haven’t been renewing them because my plan is to make all of those patterns available FOR FREE right here at jkwdesigns.com! If you’re interested in any of the patterns currently available in the shop, I encourage you to sign up for the jkwdesigns mailing list by subscribing to the blog so you’ll receive email updates. You will never receive any other email aside from notifications of blog updates, and your email address will never be passed on to any other company/advertiser!

Here’s the first of many more patterns to come!

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The Choco Hugs and Kisses Hat Pattern – Crochet

What better way to top off your little sweetheart than with something that inspires thoughts of sweet, chocolatey goodness! This hat makes a wonderful baby shower gift, an excellent newborn photo prop, and an adorable addition to your baby’s wardrobe.

The pattern is suitable for beginners. The hat is crochet entirely in hdc, giving it just the right amount of thickness and stretch. The “ribbon” is made in sc, then folded in half after the letters are stitched on in order to hide the yarn on the back side of the work.

To download the FREE PATTERN, click here: Choco Hugs and Kisses Hat

Enjoy and stay tuned for more free patterns!

DIY My Little Pony Themed Bedroom – Ikea Hacks!

My 4 year old daughter is absolutely obsessed with My Little Pony, and before we moved into the new house, she told me that she wanted a My Little Pony bedroom. When we were living in Korea, I didn’t do much to her room. She was only about 10 months old when we moved in, and she rarely slept or spent time in her room anyway, so I just didn’t put in the time and effort. However, in our new “forever house” as the kids call it, I’m excited to make a space that she will love spending time in. Primarily because I would love for her to actually sleep in her own room!

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Ikea since I bought my first piece of Ikea furniture back in 1999 when I moved out of the dorms into my very first apartment. I love the minimalist, easy-to-construct designs and the prices, but I hate the cheap, particle board covered in laminate quality. Even when I moved beyond the least expensive Ikea items and purchased higher priced Ikea furniture, the quality never impressed me. HOWEVER, over the years, I’ve discovered that the best Ikea products are actually their absolutely cheapest ones–the nondescript, unfinished wood pieces–because these pieces are made from REAL WOOD. None of that particleboard laminate crap.

My latest DIY projects are a strange homage to crappy Ikea particleboard/laminate (which I hate) and their more sturdy but super cheap unfinished wood (which I love). First up is the crappy Lack side table. It was surprisingly easy to paint. I removed the old stickers, unscrewed the legs, lightly sanded the surface and primed with a spray paint primer. As a side note, I LOVE SPRAY PAINT.

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I did two coats of latex paint, which I had to mix (Rust-oleum white and navy blue) because they don’t make “Rainbow Dash blue.” I probably could have found the exact color in a spray paint, but I had to paint the entire dresser as well in the same color, and that’s an awful lot of spray paint fumes so I mixed a batch in a disposal plastic container.

Once the paint was dry, I printed out a stencil of Rainbow Dash’s Cutie Mark. Thankfully, there are only 4 different colors in the Cutie Mark. I cut out the stencils (one sheet for each color), then spray painted the Cutie Mark. I finished with Rust-oleum Crystal Clear Enamel rather than using polyurethane or any other top coating because… Well, honestly, I didn’t know how the polyurethane would work on cheap, crappy laminate.

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Overall, I’m very pleased with how the table turned out. There are a few imperfections, but it’s for a 4 year old. She doesn’t care!

Next up, the dresser. I started with the Ikea Tarva. Plain, simple, unfinished drawers.

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The color choices were easy because my daughter is so stubbornly clear on what she likes. I primed, sanded, then painted the top, sides, and legs in Rainbow Dash blue using latex paint and the drawers with spray paint. Two coats of polyurethane and some rainbow prism drawer knobs later…

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I’m very happy with how the drawers turned out! I decided not to stencil on Rainbow Dash’s Cutie Mark for the sake of time. I have some Star Wars themed drawers to work on for the boys’ room, which I really need to get to work on soon because I can’t stand the piles of folded clothes sitting on the floor of their closet. Oops…

Anyway, Princess Penelope’s room is slowly but surely coming together! Can’t wait to share the finished room with you–but for now, here’s one little corner! 😉

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Disclosure: This post contains links to products on amazon.com. These are products that I purchased and used for my own projects with no compensation. However, if you click on the link and purchase the product, I will receive a small fee from Amazon.com.
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jkwdesigns.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
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Bento Box Love!

When my family left Korea, we traveled with 6 suitcases, and the rest of our worldly possessions were packed up and put on a (very) slow boat back to the U.S. Six weeks later, we are living in a tiny little apartment with only the things we brought with us in those 6 suitcases and the random things we’ve purchased since we arrived in country. I miss my crafting supplies, my yarn stash, my sewing machine, MY PRINTER (because I had to buy Valentine’s Day cards for my boys’ class when I had some great ideas for making some myself!), and most of all, I miss my bento box making supplies!!

It’s not necessarily because I love making cute lunches more than any of my other crafting endeavors, but making the boys’ lunches is something that I do on a near-daily basis. Although I brought their bento boxes with us because I knew I would need to pack lunches for a few weeks before our household goods arrived, I didn’t pack all the cute accessories I’ve collected over the past year and a half of lunch-packing, so I’ve been missing out on dressing up their lunch boxes.

Since I don’t have any fun lunches to share lately (somehow, sandwiches packed in ziplock bags just don’t have the same appeal), here’s a round-up of the lunches I packed for my boys during the fall semester before we left Korea!

Can’t wait to get all my lunch-making supplies as well as move into our new house where I will have more than 12 square inches of counter space! 🙂

Free Printable: Star Wars Chocolate Treat Bag Tags

IMG_0960I’ve recently received several messages from people asking about the chocolate favor tags that were used during my boys’ Star Wars birthday party. I don’t know why I didn’t include that as a free download in my original post, so here it is!

I’ve removed the names of the chocolate truffles that I made for the party so the tags are more generic and can be used for any type of chocolate. Just click on the link to download the PDF. Enjoy!

Star Wars Chocolate Tags

 

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Starting a Fairy Garden

Despite the fact that we still have about 28 days before we move into the new house and the apartment we’re staying in short-term is tiny and under furnished and all of my crafting supplies are packed up and probably somewhere in the Pacific Ocean right now and I really should be waiting until we get to the new place to start any new projects… I just couldn’t help myself! It doesn’t help that while the boys are at school, I don’t have anything else to do here besides think about a million different projects to work on and scour Pinterest for ideas!

My daughter (who will be turning 4 in just under a month), is absolutely in love with all things sparkle-fairy-ballerina-princess, which I find strange because her brothers are not into gender-specificity. They love “boy” stuff like cars and trucks and dinosaurs and superheroes, but they also love My Little Pony and will play tea party with their little sister without a second though. Princess Penelope, on the other hand, is just that. A princess. Her entire world would be pink and purple and covered in glitter if possible. Go figure!

Anyway, she wants a fairy garden, and to be perfectly honest, want one too! So with nothing better to do and a craft store right next to the apartment complex (dangerous!!!), I just couldn’t resist. Penny insisted that she wanted her fairy garden to be indoors because she wants to keep it in her bedroom once we get to the new house, which simplifies things for me because I don’t have to weather proof everything. We headed over to the craft store to see what we could find, and here’s what we just couldn’t stop ourselves from buying:

  1. Wooden dog house – $2.17 (There were several different styles, including one with a domed roof that I thought would be better for a fairy house, but my daughter really wanted the dog house!)
  2. Bag of Spanish moss – $3.97
  3. 2 bushes of fake flowers – $1.50 each ($3 total)
  4. Mini craft sticks – $1.97
  5. Tiny birds (3 birds in package) – $1.49
  6. Bag of glass gems – $1.97
  7. Paint, paintbrushes, glue gun – $5.94 (I only had to purchase these because I don’t have any of my crafting supplies!)

Total spent on the fairy garden (so far): $14.57 ($20.51 including the extra misc. supplies I had to purchase)

I wish I’d taken a before photo, but Penny was so eager to paint it as soon as we got home that I forgot. She chose the purple, and I let her paint to her heart’s content. Her brushstrokes can only be described as scribble-scrabble, so I had to go over it again and clean up her paint job. I painted the roof a maple brown, and once the paint dried, I hot-glued some Spanish moss to the roof. I tiny little branch fell out of the bag of moss, which I glued over the window for the little bird to perch on. I added a couple of flowers to the roof and that’s about it! I’d like to find some twigs to glue onto the pitched roof and to make a rustic and whimsical looking door to the house.

I really don’t know how long I’ll be able to hold off working on other aspects of this fairy garden, especially considering that I have nothing else to do–haha! I’ll keep you posted! 😉

Also, I obviously haven’t used all the materials yet. I cut off a few flowers, and we haven’t gotten to the mini craft sticks, which we’ll be using to make a fence. We’re also planning to put the glass gems down as stepping stones. There’s still lots to do, so stay tuned!

Free Printable: Thank You Card for Teachers

I’ve spent the past several weeks working diligently on things for my delightfuledesigns shop on Etsy. With my big boys headed off to school in just a few short days, my mind has definitely been on teachers and the classroom.

So here’s a little peek at what I’ve stocked my shop with lately:

But I’ve also been teetering on the brink of insanity while my kids bounce off the walls and have become The. Neediest. Children. EVAR. as we get closer to the end of summer break. All I can say is WINE. Yep. Wine.

So as my children drive me to drink and the first day of school draws near… THANK YOU, TEACHERS!!! 😉 For all the moms out there who would also like to thank a teacher, or two, or ten… Here’s a free printable for thank you cards with a beautiful quote about teachers from Albert Einstein. Just click on the image to access a high resolution JPEG file with 2 thank you cards on an 8.5×11  inch/letter sized sheet of paper. Select “letter borderless” for printing, and make sure that the image is set at 100% scale. Print on card stock, cut, and fold! The cards fit perfectly in A2 envelopes.

Etsy Template for Greeting Cards

And if you’re looking for something to gift to the special teacher who will be caring for and shaping your darling child(ren)’s little heart(s), the delightfuledesigns Etsy shop has a 50% off coupon code–good until August 31st! Just enter ONEYEAR at checkout to get 50% off any purchase, including personalized items.

Enjoy the free printable, the coupon code, and THE FACT THAT KIDS ARE GOING BACK TO SCHOOL!!! I’m looking forward to it not being so ungodly hot and sticky that I can pull out my yarn and start knitting and crocheting again. Yay for cooler weather and hopefully, some new knit/crochet patterns in the coming months!

Preschool Adventures in Seoul: Marvel Avengers STATION Exhibition at the Korean War Memorial and Museum

*This exhibition is OPEN RUN with no ending date announced at the moment.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a new Preschool Adventure in Seoul, mainly because my big boys entered kindergarten last fall, and although I thought it would be easier, it’s actually much more difficult to explore the city with my now-3-year-old because I have to be back at the boys’ school to pick them up at 1:50pm. But it’s summer vacation now, and we can’t just sit at home and do nothing! 😉

The Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. Exhibition (website in Korean only) has been at the Korean War Memorial and Museum since May, and I was reluctant to take my kids simply because of the cost. Tickets to the exhibition are 20,000W for kids (age 3 and up) and 25,000W for adults, so for my kids and myself, it would cost 85,000W. However, Ticketmonster currently has discounted tickets for 13,000W for children and 16,250W for adults (good only until 9 August 2015), which kind of took the sting out of the ticket price… Plus, we’re in the middle of monsoon season. Rain, rain, rain in the forecast for days on end. And it’s about 8000 degrees in our house. We needed to do something!

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The exhibition is not in the main building, but to the east of the main building, next to the Children’s Museum, which is located behind the outdoor exhibition space (where all the planes are). Tickets can be purchased at the ticket booth on site (although the discount is only offered online). As you enter the exhibition, you’re given a Samsung smart watch, and at the first station, you scan the QR code on your watch and enter your name and birthdate. At the second station, your watch is scanned again, and you get your photo taken for a STATION ID badge, which you can purchase for 5,300W at the end of the exhibition. You will also have a photo taken of your entire party before entering the exhibition space for yet another souvenir photo (5,300W). Once that’s done, one of the exhibit guides explains how the smart watches work inside the exhibition space. Your watch alerts you to missions that can be completed in the exhibition space. The kids were getting pretty darn excited at this point, until the guide informed us that the “missions” and the “quizzes” are only available in Korean. Bummer!

From there, you enter a high-tech “briefing room” where a STATION employee explains what you’ll be doing in the space. In Korean. I really can’t complain though that everything is in Korean considering that we ARE in Korea… 😉 My boys loved this small white space with laser beams crisscrossing across the floor. My 3 year old daughter, on the other hand, was immediately uncomfortable as the doors shut on the space. Once the briefing video ends, another set of doors slide open and you’re in the exhibition space.

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The exhibit itself explains the history of the all the major characters. It’s all very high-tech and glamorous, but there’s a great deal of reading, which isn’t so great for my beginner readers. On the bright side, most of the text is in both Korean and English!

The interactive stations aren’t so linguistically sophisticated; however, the exhibition guides will take you through the screens and explain what’s going on. There are a number of fun activities for young children that allow kids to compare their strength to Captain America’s. My boys were bummed that they’re no where near as strong–hahaha!

 

The interactive portion of the exhibit includes a virtual reality station as well as a full body, interactive video game station.

IMG_3459 IronManMy boys didn’t really have much to say about the virtual reality glasses, but they LOVED the full-body Hulksmasher game. The coolest part for them was watching their own bodies on the screen in front of them transform into Iron Man because what little boy doesn’t want that??

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There are also some cool life-sized models, but the vast majority of the exhibition is digital, which makes sense considering the exhibit is sponsored by Samsung Galaxy.

My 3 year old daughter had a tougher time with the exhibition overall. Because most of the exhibit consists of digital monitors, the space itself is fairly dark. Also, a number of the interactive portions are quite loud. She started off a bit uncomfortable when the doors shut in the briefing room, but when we got to the Bruce Banner/Hulk portion of the exhibit, a large digital image of Hulk suddenly moved and roared at us, causing all 3 of my kids to run screaming from the room and my 3 year old to begin crying and shaking uncontrollably. From that point on, she wanted to be held or otherwise wanted to bury herself under my shirt.

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It took a bit of coaxing for my boys to go back into the Hulk room, and even after getting acquainted with the space, they refused to walk in front of the particular screen that had scared the crap out of them.

As you exit the exhibition space, you’re given the option of purchasing the photos that were taken at the beginning of the exhibit. Prices are clearly listed, and you can see the items before purchasing/printing. To the left as you exit is the gift shop. My kids were especially excited for the gift shop because they brought their own money from their piggy banks to buy something–something small. BIG MISTAKE. The shop is incredibly overpriced, even for a museum gift shop. The are absolutely no items under 7,000W. Most things in the shop are 25,000W and up. So if you’re taking your kids, I suggest skipping the gift shop altogether because your kids will want to buy ALL THE THINGS and you will be forced to say NO to all the things because you just spent an arm and a leg getting your kids into the exhibit!

Overall, I felt that my kids were simply too young for the exhibit. My boys are 6, heading into 1st grade. They don’t read Korean, and they’re beginning readers in English. They weren’t interested in all the text, and the handful of interactive stations just didn’t justify the cost for me. We were in and out of the entire exhibition space in less than an hour. And it was absolutely a waste of money for my 3 year old!

I would recommend the exhibit for kids aged 9 and up. Kids who can read independently. And I would absolutely recommend it for adult fans of the Avengers! However, if you’re an adult fan of the Avengers and you grew up reading the comic books… You’ll likely be pretty disappointed because the entire exhibition is about the recent MOVIES (unlike the Transformers exhibit last year at DDP, which covered the entire history of the Transformers).

IMG_3455The boys had a good time, but even they admitted to me that they didn’t like it as much as they thought they would. They thought it was too short, and there really wasn’t enough for them to do, but that goes back to the age-appropriate thing. I’m sure they would have liked it more if they were just a few years older!

 

 

Free Printable: Simple Chores Chart for Kids

With 3 kids between the ages of 3 and 6, keeping up with chores is a MAJOR chore for me. Over the past several years, I’ve actually come to hate chores. Not the act of doing them myself, but the whole trying to keep with with my kids getting chores done and keeping track of it part. I’ve tried different types of charts, and they ultimately end up shoved into the junk drawer in the kitchen–abandoned… Because it was simply too much work for me to keep up with it! And it’s not like my kids don’t love doing chores. They’re still at the age where they LOVE to help, so I really should capitalize on that, right? I should take full advantage of the fact that I have a tiny army of helpers… Plus, there’s the whole teaching kids the value of hard work part too! Haha!

So, in my attempts to basically simplify the chores and chores chart process to a point where the kids and I can keep up with things without feeling overwhelmed by chores, I created a single chart for all 3 kids with ONE CHORE PER DAY because honestly, between school and martial arts classes, homework and the very valuable play time and family time, my kids don’t have a whole lot of time to devote to chores. Nor do I want to work them to the point where they hate doing chores.

IMG_3336So for my 6-year olds, their weekly chores include swiffering the floors, putting away laundry, cleaning their playroom, watering plants, taking out the recycling (only because we have to walk down 3 flights of stairs and our regular trash bags tend to be pretty heavy), washing dishes–with supervision!–and wiping down bathroom surfaces. For my 3 year old, I had to keep things simpler. She can help with putting away laundry and cleaning the playroom with the boys, and since toys seem to migrate from the playroom to the rest of the house, her job is to make sure those toys go back into the playroom. I can also entrust her with dusting the windowsills and wiping down doorhandles!

At the end of each week, the kids receive a SMALL reward for completing their weekly chores. I do want to give them some incentive for being responsible, but I don’t want them to think that they should be rewarded for doing things around the house that they should be doing anyway. At the end of 5 weeks, if they successfully complete all of their chores, my husband and I treat them to something special, but their rewards are family-oriented rather than individually-oriented. For example, a new family board game, ice cream at Baskin Robbins, lunch with Daddy during the work-week.

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There are three different versions of this chart available for download:

Weekly Chores Charts

Version 1 is the same chart I used, but the individual chores have been left blank for you to fill in yourself. Version 2 has a colored grid rather than lines, and Version 3 has no lines or grid.

These charts can easily be used for a number of other things–not just chores! You can track your child’s summer reading progress, homework throughout the school year, your own work-out schedule, etc. And the blank space at the end of each week is a great place to write down an incentive for getting things done throughout the week!

Just click on the links below to download the PDF files and print as many as you need. Please feel free to share on your own blogs, but provide a link back to jkwdesigns.com if you do. Teachers and educators, you’re welcome to use the chart however you’d like!

Version 1: Weekly Chores with Grid Lines

Version 2: Weekly Chores with Color Coded Grid

Version 3: Weekly Chores w/o Grid

Hope you enjoy the chart! I’d also love to hear your ideas for getting chores done simply and effectively, especially if you have several young children in your family.