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Showing posts from January, 2013

Ten for Tuesday: National Puzzle Day! Play, Learn + Love Puzzles

As a child, I absolutely LOVED puzzles and even (at some point) had a giant puzzle board with my name painted on it that we would slide under the bed because it was the only place it fit. Ah, the memories! Well, I recently discovered that today, Jan. 29th is National Puzzle Day, so I pushed back (AGAIN!!) the resumption of my Ten for Tuesday: Things That Go! Series to give you 10 (or more) educational benefits of puzzles for kids (with an emphasis on Early Childhood Education, since my kiddos are little) -- plus, I am sharing some great great DIY puzzles and fun puzzle activities as well. Enjoy and get puzzled!

1. Problem Solving is a basic (and very important) skill that children gain from doing puzzles as they ask themselves: Will it fit? and assert which puzzle piece goes where. This type of problem solving is clearly in action with this great DIY Wood Block Puzzle from In Lieu of Preschool. 

2.Spatial Recognition/Shape Matching - Puzzles also encourage kids to engage in spatial r…

{Project 101: Weekly Library Challenge} Week #2: Feeling A Little Frenchy!

Last week, I decided to start Project 101 in honor of the 101st birthday of our library, the County of Los Angeles Public Library. I will be writing about 2 books each week that we are currently reading. 1 book will be a library book that the boys are loving and the other will be a peek into what I am reading. Last week, it was Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters by Barack Obama, which Wild Thing was really drawn to, and I had just finished a re-reading of Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. Now on to this week where my kid pick and adult pick are connected, loosely, by France. 

Wild Thing (my 3 year-old son) picked Madeline's Tea Party out at the library the last time he went with me. I was a bit surprised and almost told him to pick something else - thinking that a girl book about a tea party was not something that would interest him. Thankfully, I stopped myself. I realized that having him select a different book would do two things: 1) send the message to him that I do …

Kid's Co-Op: Snowmen Activities + Snacks

While we rarelyget snow here in Southern California in the Winter and have not yet ventured to the closest snow in the area yet, Wild Thing and Caterpillar still love snowmen and the idea/concept of snow, and their two favorite Winter books: Snowmen at Night and Snow Sounds inspired us to get creative. Our creativity has included
Snow-Inspired Sensory Play and Spool Snowmen, which I featured in our Snow Baby Play post and some snowmen snacks (which are much more sugar intensive than what I usually give them). We are sharing those snacks here along with our favorite Snowmen activities from the Weekly Kid's Co-Op last week.

Above you can see our simple snowmen donuts (with a clementine smile), our sledding snowmen and a great snowman breakfast from JDaniel4sMom from the Co-Op last week. Plus, here are some creative snowmen activities that also caught my eye last week:

Counting Snowmen from Housing a Forest, Roll a Monster Snowman from Chicken Babies and Five Ways to Make a Snowman …

{Virtual Book Club for Kids} Move, Eat, Draw, Learn with Boy, Bird and Dog by David McPhail

David McPhail is another author we discovered through the Virtual Book Club for Kids, and Boy, Bird and Dog was a huge hit in our house. I love this book for the reading/literacy stage that Wild Thing (just turned 3 in November) is at. He is doing well with identifying beginning letters of words (i.e. B is for Baby). He understands that letters create sounds and thus words, and he is getting interested in putting together those letters/sounds and identifying words. He has some words already under his belt: Go, Stop, Mom, Dad, as well as his name. 

The simple words, writing style and structure in which Boy, Bird and Dog is written compliments exactly where he is at with the reading process and provided us with key sight words/new words to add to his I can read list: Boy, Bird, Dog (obviously) and Up. 

If you follow the blog, you know we always love to share the ways that we Move, Eat, Draw and Learn with our book club books, so here it goes.

Move: This book naturally invites pretend play.…

Ten Random Acts of Kindness for Kids That Cost Nothing

I am excited to be participating in Toddler Approved's 100 Acts of Kindness Project, which kicked off yesterday and runs through Valentine's Day. Coffee Cups and Crayons, a blog I love that often focuses on kindness and giving, got things started with the Kindness Challenge for Week 1: Love the Environment, which couldn't be more perfect for our post since we have some environmentally-friendly ideas on our list too. Everything on our list is an act that may take some time and effort, but does not take any money.

1. Pick Up Trash - Kids can do this at the park or perhaps at an empty lot in your neighborhood or even along the side of a not-too-busy road with very diligent supervision, of course. This is something anyone/everyone can do. (Wild Thing picked up trash at a community event when he had just turned 2!)

2. Shovel Snow/Rake Leaves/Weed - No matter what the weather/season where you live, a great way to surprise a neighbor and make someone's day would be for a child…

Project 101: Weekly Library Challenge - What We're Reading Now

I recently realized that our library, the County of Los Angeles Public Library will celebrate its 101st birthday this year, so this year I will share 101 books discovered or enjoyed because of our public library --  I am calling it Project 101. If I start this week and share 2 books each week, we will hit 101 by the end of the year, which is actually an underestimate because I would guess that, on average, we probably have 20 books out from the library in any given week (often more) as well as 3-5 DVDs. Yet, writing about 20 books each week would be a bit much! :)

I have decided to share 1 kid book (i.e. a book that we are enjoying/discovering as a family), and 1 adult book (i.e. a book that I am reading). 
Very appropriately, this week I am highlighting Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters by Barack Obama, illustrated by Loren Long (most known, probably, for illustrating The Little Engine That Could). I have been on an Autobiography/Biography kick and in searching our library …

Kid's Co-Op + Simple Ideas for Baby Play at Home #6

I love my baby play series, which focuses on Simple Baby Play Ideas primarily using Household Items, and the posts are quite popular so I think all of you do too!

Sadly, I suspect my baby play series will be coming to an end soon as Caterpillar will be 18 months old next month and really is, everyday, so much more like a toddler than a baby. Still, I have decided to do two more baby play features (today and next month) before selecting a new series to replace it.  

Still, I plan to enjoy it while I can and am excited to feature this week one fabulous household item for baby play: the humble coffee can. One coffee can can produce lots of play opportunities, as we have discovered.

Babies can roll the can, which is lots of fun.

There is also the option of kicking the can, also very fun.

And, of course, there is the fun of running around the house carrying the can!
This coffee can play is best for babies that can sit up and crawl on their own, as well as early walkers as babies not …

Diversity, Character, Parenting and MLK

"…that my children will be judged, not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

In the comic book series "13" every child is guaranteed such a world. One in which the trajectory of their lives will be determined not by their skin color, race, creed, or nation of origin, but by the most equitable of criteria - a mathematical computation of their character. How can that be? Well, at the age of 13, every kid is given a power, for one year. They can do whatever they like with that power. No one will stop them. However, for that 13th year, each child's parent is given one full year of paid maternity/paternity leave to shepherd them.

If you had one year to focus exclusively on parenting and help your child determine how the world would view them for the rest of their lives, what would you tell them? If your child had the ability to run a river down Main Street, or fly, what choices would them make? What would you hav…