Monday, November 10, 2008

Welcome to the Sidewalk Zoo


Yet another activity with those darn animals. Hit up your local Ross or dollar store I tell ya! This time we made a zoo outside on the front walk. We made sidewalk chalk cages and I labeled them all as they told me what they wanted to place in them.

We even had a visitor take a little tour. He had a season pass....All the sea creatures were having a grand time together swimming and splashing in Blue Chalk Pond.
And then you tell the little zookeepers that they must gather food for the animals to eat (grass) and bring a little dish of water around so they can drink. And then you throw your zookeepers up in a tree and tell them to make funny sounds.......

video

VARIATIONS: stuffed animal zoo, draw pictures of animals and make a zoo, cut pictures out of magazines or old workbooks. If you need to stay indoors use masking tape on a hard-surfaced floor to make cages. It's a great activity to teach organizing and sorting. You could have older kids create the zoo and charge a nickel admission to the zoo, just to add an element of entrepreneur-ism to it.

COST: Well, the animals cost $2.00 a tube at Ross (Dress for Less)...... we have about 4 of them. And the sidewalk chalk.... that's cheap too.... We just have these things.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Goodnight Animals

I came upon a group of raucous children a few weeks ago. They were the children of the choir members and were waiting in the nursery room at church for their parents to finish. Control had been lost. They were bouncing off the walls, pouncing on each other and just being plain rowdy.

I flipped the files in my head to CONTROLLING CRAZY CHILDREN and we started playing some organized games. Simon Says mostly, until it got old, then we sang some fun songs. In a moment of desperation I told them I had a really fun game for them but they all had to lay down and pretend they were sleeping.

And the craziness stopped.
They all laid down and although there was some loud snoring, they were still. My mind raced again but I was coming up with nothing. Finally I said,

"Okay, when you awake, you will be snakes"

Then I said "GOOD MORNING SNAKES!"

And they all slithered and hissed, not yelling or hitting.

I then said "GOODNIGHT SNAKES!"

They all went back to sleep.

"GOOD MORNING COWS!"
moo moo moo chew chew moo moo
"GOODNIGHT COWS!"
zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
"GOOD MORNING PIGS!"
oink oink oink snort oink
"GOODNIGHT PIGS"
zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

This went on and on for nearly 20 minutes. I started taking requests: unicorns, slugs, bats. It's fun to do the rowdy ones like dinosaurs, lions, tigers and gorillas but just make them go to sleep faster and draw out the quiet ones like butterfly, turtle and worms.

I couldn't believe how much fun they had playing this.
I have had them come up to me at church asking to play it with me again. I have since played it with other groups and it has been equally successful. A great transitioning activity from very active to quieter and more attentive.

COST:FREE

VARIATIONS: You could do professions (good morning bakers! good morning firemen!) , you could do food you are pretending to eat (time for spaghetti! time for corn on the cob!), you could do sports (good morning swimmers, good morning basketball players!), you could do emotions/moods (good morning grouchy! good morning nice! good morning cheerful!).

Sunday, September 7, 2008

And SNAP! The Job's a Game!

While folding two loads of laundry I found myself frustrated trying to keep my toddler from constantly un-piling my piles. It finally dawned on me to take my own advice and get him to help out.

I made a pile for each person in our family: Mommy, Daddy, Max, Oliver

I held up an item - (let's say it's Daddy's shirt) and asked him "Is this baby Oliver's shirt?" He would answer "No" but really it was more like, "NoooooooooooOO!" with a dip of inflection in the middle and a punch of an "O" at the end. I would follow up by saying, "Then whose shirt is it?" "Daddy's Shirt!!!!!!" he would reply. Then I would fold it and he would put it in the right pile.

We played that game through the ENTIRE two loads of laundry. It was magic. He thought it was so funny when I would say that the baby's shirt was my shirt. I even pretended I was trying to put it on, and that really cracked him up. Did it take three times as long? Yes. But did I teach my child something in the process? I think so.

It's all about a switch in perspective. I was almost to the point that I wanted to give him a timeout but I just made a simple change in my outlook, seeing an opportunity to have fun and learn, and it turned out to be a grand time.

That Mary Poppins was onto something.


Cost: FREE, unless you pay your kiddos for helping with the chores
VARIATIONS: Have your child sort the laundry. I sorted my own laundry in elementary school. You can start them as a toddler sorting whites and darks and towels and colors and by the time they hit school age, they are doing it on their own. I also knew a family where they put a basketball hoop over the hamper in their boy's room, inviting dirty duds to make their way into the hamper in a fun way.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A Little Jam in the Morning

Aunt Linda gave us the greatest Christmas present a few years back - A Family Band set from Restoration Hardware. Totally retro and totally me. We love it and use it at least weekly, if not much more. The set came with a tambourine, some maracas, some bongos, a rattle type instrument and a couple other percussion instruments.
Over the years we have been adding to our collection. It started off with some normal things like a harmonica and a cowbell (more cowbell! - anyone?) but I have since added some peculiar noisemakers.

After breaking two cosmetic jars and looking at the two metal lids headed for the trash I clanged them together and decided they would make great cymbals. I added two mismatched potlids - free from a yard sale and they are great additions to the bongo drum set.

"Everyting is music!"
- Bjork parody on SNL (remember that one?).

Get funky in the morning and pump up some music --Let the little ones bang bang away creating sound. It may not be lovely sound just yet, but with a little practice... well, a lot of practice....

Monday, August 18, 2008

Playing Olympics

Not only are the Olympics invading our bedtimes around here, but they are invading our play time too! We spent a morning last week "playing Olympics" with a couple neighborhood friends. We used hand-me-down army combat dudes as our athletes. Barbies could be used too, really any type of figure although plastic would be best for swimming I suppose.
They did gymnastic routines .
video
And they swam.
video
and then my memory card was filled up. The athletes ran races and did the long jump. We put on music for floor exercises. It was hilarious to watch these army-type dudes get all gymnastick-y.

We didn't do it, but diving would be fun. Synchronized diving would be even more fun with a friend. Make up a dive and practice it until you can do it perfectly.

Another thing to do it hold your own olympics with your REAL kids and the neighborhood kids. Assign countries, run races, put out a 2x4 "beam", if you have a pool you could run real swim races, you can do long jump, shot put, discus (frisbee).

the kids will love it. Even better would be to have them organize it all. Planning it is half the fun and older kids will really enjoy hosting a neighborhood event like this.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Who knew Canadians were this cool?

I came across a website that was a list of online kids computer games. I will just start by saying that as a general rule, I do not like video/computer games. Ask any former student of mine.

Some, I would concur with them, are educational, but the majority (at least the ones that they play) are not. So, on this site Max and I messed around and I got him playing a few of them. I originally got on to find a game that would encourage his current love of letters. Well, we weeded through the muck and found a gem.

A Canadian site developed by a kids tv network called tvokids. Maybe you know about it, I didn't. The games are great, have cute artwork and are seriously so funny. Maybe I am a nerdy mom but this one makes me laugh out loud. I dare you not to laugh. I loved this one (the bird's voice is so cute - OH - DID YOU HEAR THAT???) and this one too. Max loved this one as well.

So I mention that it's Canadian because you will hear a couple Canadian-ish things, like zed, which is what they call the letter z apparently. Maybe my Canadian brother-in-law can clarify that for us -- what's up with zed? and you will also hear a bit of Canadian accent, like the word out sounding like oot. Cute little Canadians.

Have fun! Let me know if you find any other favorites!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Tickle Contests

I grew up with a father who hosted tickle contests on Sunday afternoons. It is a great activity if you need the kids to stop running around the house and just be still. A great transition from noisy, busy activity to quieter...

How it works:

Have your child/children lay on the ground all in a row on their backs. Tell them that the two rules are that they have to stay still and they can't laugh.

Start at the feet. Tickle the bottom of the feet for about 3 seconds. Do the next kid's feet, and the next until all the feet are done. Next do the knees. Tell them to bend them and then you start at the top and run your spreading fingers around their kneecap. Do one knee at a time and then move to the next victim. Next - thighs (that was always my worst) Next tummies. Next armpit. Next neck. I think we may have done ear every once in a while, maybe he blew in it or tickled it with a feather. Do them all for about 3 seconds. Don't do it until they laugh - that's not fair.

You will be surprised at how much kids get into this. Every kid I have ever played this with has loved it.

If you really want to make it a contest then you can say the first one who laughs is out or you can award points for passing a "level". They didn't laugh on knees, armpits and neck so they get 3 points. Highest points win.

It's fun to do it with a lot of anticipation. Start wiggling your fingers and saying "here I come" much before you actually do tickle. Sometimes they will bust out laughing even before you tickle them. It's so funny to see them writhing and squirming and tight lipped to suppress the inevitable laughter.

You can make it last longer by starting at the feet and going up and then working your way down until you lastly come to the feet again. You could also pull out a body part out of a hat and do whatever you pull. Put them in back again after they are picked. Some child may get feet over and over. You could even have the children write the little papers or have them draw a picture of the body part to be tickled.

With a younger child you can even practice body parts wen you tickle. Command at your child - "Tickle mommy's arm" "Tickle mommy's foot" "Tickle mommy's hair" you can also say to them - "I am going to tickle your nose!" "I am going to tickle your tummy!"

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Walk Down Sesame Street

On our daily walk/jog I try to think of new things to do to make it more interesting. We walk on the opposite side of the street and I push the jogging stroller toward the oncoming parked cars. So, we are actually ON the street. Are you picturing this? Maybe you feel more safe in your neighborhood on the sidewalk, but our neighborhood is pretty low traffic.

For weeks now I have been playing "I spy" on the walks.

Do you see a flag?
Do you see a red car?
Do you see yellow flowers?

Last week it dawned on me that these walks were turning into an authentic learning experience. I started going toward the cars and reading off the license plates to the boys . After a couple of days of this we turned it into a game that we couldn't go any further until Max recited the license plate to me. He is getting good at it. I am walking toward it and stopping now but when he gets better I will go faster and faster until he can say them before I even reach the car and I won't have to stop at all anymore.

We also read addresses on mailboxes, curbs and houses. We read stop signs.

COST: FREE
VARIATIONS: Make a specific thing you are hunting for - flags, flowers, trucks, pumpkins in the fall (when MAx was an infant we went on a pumpkin hunt in the stroller and counted the pumpkins). An older child can walk on his/her own and bring a clipboard and tally the things that are seen. You could even make a scavenger hunt type list for the things you see on a walk. Friends could make lists for each other and walk around the neighborhood. You could have all the number or letters and cross them off on a sheet (license plate bingo style).

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Fishing in the sink


So, yet another sink game. I tell you, the sink is magical. We have come up with dozens of things to do during sink time.

This one is simple. Fill one side of the sink with water and add dish soap to create a place for objects to hide under. Give you toddler a pair of tongs and let them "fish" for the objects and drop them in a bowl on the other side of the sink. You could use all kinds of things as the treasures to be found: army men (could it be a rescue mission?), dice, canning jar rings, large legos, etc. It is a good exercise in fine motor skills and patience. My little Max dropped the first animal 4 or 5 times before he got it into the bowl. After a couple more he was doing great.

Cost: FREE

Variations: You could do this outside in a swimming pool --with the soap. You could do it with a younger child and just have them search for the objects with their hands and then put them in a bowl. Maybe a good and fun way to clean those little hands :)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Twilight Pillow Fights

During my summers in Idaho as a child we had such fun adventures. One of our absolute favorite memories at Grandma's house was our twilight pillow fights. My siblings (there were four of us) and I would all get our nightshirts on and each get handed an old pillow. After the sun went down my mother and grandmother would just sit on the front porch and watch us go at it out in the yard. We would just nail each other over and over again and surprisingly enough, there were very little tears shed over the course of the years. There were a few rules and there were set boundaries (you had to stay on the grass), but there weren't too many restrictions. We would hit each other so hard we would fall over and once you had fallen you would get attacked by everyone. My mother and grandmother would just laugh and laugh and occasionally they would throw a pillow or two.

We would have our pillow fight for a good twenty minutes to half an hour. Until we were nice and exhausted. Then we would brush our teeth, say our prayers and go to bed.

You might need to set some more ground rules for your families/cousins/friends like no hitting in the head and maybe there could be an optional safe zone where you could go and not get hit.

Gosh, just thinking about this again makes me want to go out right now and nail my brother Travis in the head with a pillow.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Different Strokes for Different Folks

Do you have a dumpster a yard sale or a thrift store near your house???
Do you want to keep a handful of kids busy and get a project or two done while you are at it?Do you have an "oops" section at your local hardware store paint department?Do you have a swatch of upholstery fabric lying around?

We summoned up a couple helper friends and painted up a storm. Carianne painted a wooden crate I picked up for $5 at Jo-ann's craft while her younger brother, David, and my Max helped paint the chair I found on the side of the road (read about that here). Just make sure the kiddos have small brushes and you'll need to be on the lookout for big drip marks.

You have to get in the frame of mind to just let them go for it. After they finish, you can go over it yourself and give it a good finishing coat.

I used paint that I found at Home Depot for $5 for the gallon (oops paint) and a sample swatch of fabric that I picked up at a going out of business sale at Storehouse. Check your local furniture/reupholstering stores for old out of date sample swatches. Mine cost me $2, but many times they are free.

The point of this is not to get them painting something completely random and clutter-y but something useful and practical. Think about painting projects you already want to do and just get the kids involved somehow.

COST: depends on how much you have around the house...
VARIATIONS: Check behind your local thrift store for things they are throwing away. I found a sewing machine table there once. free. Also, you could do something more simple, like a frame or a small wooden box. If you are painting a room, don't make your kids stay out. Just give them a very small brush and their own very small cup of paint. Lay major drop cloths down, but let them in on the fun. Encourage them to help with your projects.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Ink Pad Jungle

This was named "Ink Pad Jungle" by the artist who created it.

Her sister's creation: Crazy GeorgeMax's contribution: Curious George and the Looney Bird Earthquake


Some cute neighborhood girls came over and I let them have free reign of the stamps and ink pads while I chatted with their mother. They created some beautiful artwork! I wouldn't have even thought of using the actual ink pads as an art medium. Small little ink pads like those you can find for about a dollar or so in the craft stores. Check the dollar sections. They always have stamps and pads.

Variations: Don't forget about fingerprint animals. Press a finger in the ink and press it on the paper and use that shape to create an animal.

Cost: Under five dollars

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Toys that are not toys

Here is a link to my family blog where I posted a great toy that is not a toy.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

shedding some light on the alphabet

I mounted these vintage flashcards onto the wall of my boy's bedroom with mounting tape. At night as a part of our nightly routine, we use a flashlight that we keep by the side of the bed and we go through an alphabet quiz. I ask Max for a letter and then he points to it with his flashlight. It's a fun way to practice our letters.

Cost: less than five dollars for flashcards, or free is you make you own on the computer and hang them up.

Variation: For older kids you could say a word and they would have to shine the light on the letter it starts with. Or you could shine the light on a letter and they have to say a word that starts with that letter. You could get really tricky and say, What is the third letter in penguin??? Also, we sometimes take the flashlight around the house and do a bit of a scavenger hunt. Where's your toothbrush? Where is the refrigerator? Where is the front door? Where is the baby?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Google-Eyed Play-Do



I have a jar of Google-y eyes. Packs of them are less than a dollar a the local craft store. They really do make the play-do creatures come to life. Schmeese had fun making funny faces and just sticking 20 eyes on one blob of play-do. He also had fun watching me make the creatures he would tell me to make and then he would be in charge of putting the eyes on.

I keep a very small container of the eyes IN the play-do bag so they are always on hand during play-do time.

COST: Less than $5 for play-do and eyes. Free if you already have them. You can make the play-do as well...
Variations: You could use large beads to add to your creations or sticks and such for arms and legs.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

One Hand Two Hand Red Hand Blue Hand

name that tune:

DUN DUN DUN
DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUN

DUN DUN DUN
DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUNdundundundun
dundundundun
dundundundun

dundundundun
dundundundun
dundundundun
da da da da
da da da da
da da da da da daaaaaaaaaa!!!!

Now, see if you guessed correctly:
Align Center video

This activity is pretty self explanatory but here are a couple details:
  • The shirt is from good will. I cut off the sleeves and made a painting smock.
  • I just had him use a water color brush from a watercolor set.
  • Don't be afraid of painting on the windows, it washes off easily with warm water and a little dish soap.
  • Use washable tempera paints like the school kids use.
  • You could cover the floor if you wanted to, but my son isn't crazy messy, so I didn't. The drips wipe up easily.
  • Put very small amounts of paint on the paper plate palette. This prevents spills and encourages fun mixing. You can always add more, but it's hard to take away some once it's poured.
  • I didn't plan on Max using his hands at the end but he did and it was fun and the paint came off his hands MUCH MUCH easier that I thought.
  • Throw on your favorite classical music - it's a lot more fun.
COST: Under $5 dollars
Variations: Obviously older kids could paint something not as abstract. They could draw your family. Draw what they WISHED or IMAGINED they saw out your window. Encourage them to do seasonal art on your windows, or to write things like Happy Fourth of July or Happy Birthday. They could practice their spelling words on the window. How's that for homework? Toddlers could be given only the colors for that upcoming holiday - orange and black, pink and red, etc. to create an abstract holiday masterpiece.

So much fun.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Stone Soup

Gather 'round, my dear friends.
It's time for Stone Soup.


This whole afternoon project started off as a couple of neighborhood kids wanting to dig somewhere. I told them they could dig in one area of my yard. Then the sisters came over and wanted something to do. They made mudpies in that old muffin tin that rusted out - remember??? and then we started making the soup. The glorious stone soup.

The trick is to get them really excited about all of the ingredients. Put some regular dirt in for color but add pinches of "magic chinese earth" (potting soil) and "buttercup fairy flowers" (dandelions). Raid your vegetable bin for bendable carrots and stalks of celery and wilting spinach. Throw in a handful of dry pasta, cheerios, a tsp sugar.... whatever suits your fancy. Just name it something funky and really go over the top with the drama.

Pretend to taste it and pretend to spit it out and say "NEEDS SOME PICKLE JUICE!!!!" or whatever.. I think you get my point. Just have fun with it.

I got them started and boy did they go with it. After I supplied a few things from the kitchen I told them they now had to find outside ingredients to add. And they had to name them.

It was a lovely afternoon.

Cost: FREE
Variations: Read them the book Stone Soup! It will make the whole experience even more fun. You could most definitely do this inside as well, with no dirt. I used to love "making recipes" when I was young. If you know your neighbors well, it may be fun to knock doors and see what each neighbor could add to your soup. Maybe even like a scavenger hunt. NOW THAT would be fun wouldn't it??? The list could ask for things like stale bread and withered apple and egg shell - things that people do not want... Man, I better stop before I get out of control with the ideas.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

DIY dollhouses

I don't have girls but if you do, check this out

I would have totally loved that as a young girl. A great way to use old catalogs and mags.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Muffin Tins

So the animals got a totally luxurious private bath at the Muffin Tin Day Spa the other morning.

The muffin tin in the above picture actually rusted that day because the animals soaked for too long.

woops.

I set the muffin tin out on our deck with the intent of re-storing it somewhere besides my kitchen (like for a future mud pie kitchen) because it is pretty much un-usable now. While it was out there, Schmeese found it and started gathering rocks to put in each cup. Totally on his own with no prompting. He did that for like 15 minutes.

Muffin pans are wonderful. I can remember my mother using them with my little sister. She went to the local "teachers lab" where they had an Ellison press and she cut and laminated tiny paper hearts (maybe like an inch by an inch) and she would have my little sister sort them into the muffin tins by color. She has also used colored buttons for sorting. You could use little shapes or letters or numbers.

Cost: Pretty much free unless you wanted to go and laminate the little paper hearts

Friday, March 14, 2008

Takin' it back to the old school

'cause I'm an old fool who's so cool.

When I taught sixth grade before becoming a mother I realized that my students didn't know JACK-SQUAT about geography. They could possibly name and locate half of the states, but a small percentage of them would be able to find the U.S. on a world map.

Because our area of study was world history I took geography to heart and had a goal to have my students label on a map EVERY country of the world. Lofty goal eh? I had parents tell me, "Really, you think they can do that? Memorize EVERY country of the world and be able to label them on a map?" I would say back to them, "At different points in the year, they will have experienced labeling the entire world. I do not expect them to remember it all at the end of the year but they will at least have been exposed to every continent and every country so that when they hear War in Iraq on the news they have a vague idea, if not know exactly, where Iraq and the Middle East are."

At the beginning of the school year I gave them a large blank world map and asked them to fill out as many countries as they could. I think the most countries correctly labeled averaged between 3-5 or so.
If that.
The US, Canada, Mexico, and then a sampling of China, Great Britain, Brazil, France, Japan. Hardly any variation from those.

It was sad.

By the end of the year when we did the same exercise again they labeled dozens upon dozens - some nearing 100. They were floored at their own knowledge and they felt empowered.

We would do monthly quizzes on different regions. I owe much of their success to this website.

Warning - the site is addictive. After I made that goal for my class I decided that I couldn't have a goal for my class that I hadn't conquered myself. I spent a good solid week on that site a couple weeks before school started and I felt like I had a good handle on the world.

Because of school mandated curriculum and testing, many very worthwhile subjects have been thrown out the window. If your child's teacher is not keen on teaching geography, take matters into your own hands and get your family a little more world-savvy. Buy a world map and display it prominently somewhere in your home. Use that site with your older ones. World map place mats or US states place mats? Puzzles? games?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Going on a Lion Hunt

Swabby wakes up between 6:00-6:30 and this mama is usually not keen on getting up just yet. I usually sweep him up out of his crib and bring into me for a morning snuggle. Schmeese wakes up around 7:00 and is rarin' to go. He finds us under the covers and joins the party.

It reminds me of fond memories I have of my siblings and I finding mom (and dad on the weekends) in the morning and joining her, one by one until there are five of us snuggled in the queen sized four poster bed; elbows in faces, knees in tummies, like a family puzzle.

I've been trying to stretch out our days a bit. Enjoy each part of it. Because I don't have school aged children and no particular place to be in the morning I lay in bed a bit longer with them.

And we play bed-games.

The favorite one lately is Lion Hunt (although Schmeese just calls it "Yie-eee"). We all, four month old Swabby included, throw the sheets up and hide underneath quietly and patiently. I turn to Schmeese wide-eyed and asks him what he sees.

Answers I have been given:
"Ummmmm.... Yie-eee????" (Lion)
"Ummmmm... ooh ooh?" (monkey)
"Ummm....... wee-oh weeoh?" (whale)
"Ummmm...goggie?" (doggy)

As soon as he spies the beast we just go crazy. Kick the legs, flail the arms, pretend we are running like mad to get away from the whatever it is. The baby LOVES it (I sort of protect him during the craziness part)

Then we throw off the sheet in relief and pretend that we barely made it.

And then the sheet gets thrown up again and it starts all over.

Variations: This doesn't have to be on a bed. You could play on the couch or the floor with a blanket if you wish. You could also pretend that one of the people playing was the actual animal and the other person had to guess what they saw in the sheet jungle.

Cost: FREE assuming you have a sheet and a bed.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

animal wash

Not just a dog wash, my friends.
We got out our jar o' animals and they got a good washing.
You can get tube-fuls of little plastic animals many places. I happened to find them at Ross (dress for less) for around $3 a tube. farm animals, jungle animals, sea animals. Between my mother and I hitting the Rosses here in MD and there in CA we pretty much have the whole collection.
Since water playing time isn't an option outside now, The Schmeese loves nothing more than standing on a chair in front of the sink for a good half hour.
dipping animals in and out of bubbly water, making them swim,
filling up cups and containers and dumping them into each other,
washing the baby's bottles :)

above is another day with just containers and no animals.

Variations: a Barbie bubble bath, a car wash, an army man underwater excursion- maybe the army men can be pirate men??

Cost: Free - just use the toys you have.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Kiddie Music

Sometimes, when you have children, you can't listen to whatever you want. Well, you can, but you become more conscious of it and you become hyper-aware of the feeling it creates in your home. Some music that I have in my library naturally lends itself toward little ears. We play a lot of classical music around here as well as folk. We also turn up dancy-tunes. Where I have come to find a lack in my library is in music specifically written for children.

A favorite right now is Renee and Jeremy, introduced to me by my friend, Molly. Here is a song I am loving right now. I don't mind the repetitiveness of it at all because I know how children love repetition. Sometimes I can just sing 'Jesus said Love Everyone" over and over until little lids get heavy.

Jesus said love everyone,
treat them kindly too
When your heart is filled with love
Others will love you.

I am also loving Elizabeth Mitchell, who sings in the group Ida (if you happen to know them - I doubt it though). She has recently released a few children's albums.

There are a few more children's music artists I enjoy, but maybe I will introduce them in another post. Link me up in the comment section if you know of anything great and equally kid and adult friendly.

It's great to get a collection of REAL music geared toward kids instead of barney-esque repetitive ditties.

And can I die over the artwork in this video:

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Bentos?


Egg bento toddler
Originally uploaded by pixelvale
Am I the last one to hear about this craze? Bentos. Apparently a Japanese trend of creating fun artistic lunches. I guess it starts with a bento box which is compartmentalized. There are all kinds of accessories like molds that make your boiled eggs star - shaped and sauce dispensers and tiny cookie cutters to cut cheeses, meats, veggies and fruits, food dividers, fun toothpicks, paper and silicone food holders. There is a whole bento world out there to be discovered.

The picture on the right is of a lunch that a Dad made for his daughter for school. You can click on here to see daily pics of the bentos he makes for his daughter.

here are some more links:

Owl Bento

Kawaii Bento

Bento Boxes