Tag Archives: family time

Special Event for your kids!

0002493_jonathan_james_and_the_whatif_monster_300One of our favorite author/illustrators, Michelle Nelson-Schmidt provides an online live story hour every Wednesday evening for anyone who wants to come.  She does this as a free service to the many children nationwide who have connected with her via school visits, but guess what? She LOVES spending time with kids and it makes her so happy to “see” lots of kids during these events. She doesn’t care how you found her. She just wants to love on the kids.
0008680_dog_and_mouse_300If you have preschool and elementary-aged children, you’re welcome to join her every Wednesday as she reads her books live and delights in the wonderful world of children. Share this with other families too. Be early to Story Time so you don’t miss anything. You might even win something extra special for attending! Here’s the link for Story Time and here’s the link for Michelle’s current titles that we offer. Once you meet her, whether “live” at Story Time or in person for a school visit, you’ll be excited to find out what she’s coming out with next. Maybe she’ll share during Story Time.

Simple and easy birthday party idea

Does your child love to read?  Here’s a simple and easy 3-step idea for a child’s birthday party or themed gathering.  You love easy, right?  12378457-happy-children-cartoon-sitting-on-the-floor-while-reading-books

STEP 1 – Contact Me to Set Your Party Date

I’ll set up your Facebook Event page and plan occasional posts and pics to get everyone excited about your special day.  You can start inviting people right away (moms and kids) or I can do that for you.  I’m happy to help!

STEP 2 – Use Birthday Party Invitations as Reminder Cards

Kids love to get mail so we can make them feel really special and remind their moms about the party at the same time.  Email me a quick guest list with addresses and I’ll take care of this for you too.

STEP 3 – Prepare as You Normally Would for the Birthday Party (but it’s even easier then that!)

Order a cake and mix up some punch or lemonade.  That’s it!images

What makes this so simple?

1.  You don’t need to buy party favors for the guests.  All the kids will be getting new books so you don’t have to stress about shopping for them and you don’t have the stress on your wallet either.

2.  The guests don’t have to shop for a present for your child so no stress for them either.

3.  Your child gets to pick out all the free books earned so they get exactly what they want.  No more gifts to return, no more acting like they like it when they don’t, no more getting gifts that they already have.

4.  You can easily arrange for party games or a sleepover after the shopping time is done, or send them all home if sleepovers aren’t your thing.  In any case, you get a chance to get to know your child’s friends and their parents a little better.  And in today’s fast-paced world, that’s always a good thing.

Set your date today.  If you are not in my area but still want to do this, contact me and I’ll find an Usborne Books & More rep in your area.

 

 

I recently happened upon a fascinating yet easy idea by way of a simple blog post.  The Warm Fuzzy Jar described therein is a superb tool that can be easily implemented.  If you don’t want to buy pom poms, use painted rocks for heavens sake.  Just do it, like Nike says.  Take the time to at least skim the post from Hands Free Mama (see link below) and consider the lasting impression you have on your own kids and the kids you care for.  Here’s a short quote to give you a taste.DSC_0040-e1432856425292

“It became clear to me that constant corrections were not helping my children become more successful, more productive, more effective, or more fulfilled.  Being critical was hindering my children’s gifts and causing them to be unsure of their abilities. Criticism was diminishing their unique lights that made them who they are.”

Now, consider changing your kids’ lives by changing yourself first.  Here’s the link for the article in its entirety  http://www.handsfreemama.com/2013/05/29/how-to-fill-up-a-child/

I remember having some of these art books a long time ago but now, I think you have to be looking for them.  I haven’t run across something like this in my local grocery store book selection lately.  These are so much fun you’ll probably want to join in.  I’ve included a video of the Magic Painting Book.  You just have to see it for yourself.

Isn’t that delightful?  I wish the background music could be included with every book purchased  as well!

0005374_300For the more advanced artist who appreciates the beauty of  intricate patterns we offer seven titles which yield countless hours of creative pleasure.  Choose from Art Deco Patterns, Celtic Patterns, Christmas Patterns and 0006965_300more.  One reviewer states that when shared, these books are not only relaxing, but a bonding experience.  At only $5.99, you can purchase an extra one for yourself to provide a calming respite from the hustle and bustle.

What are your kids doing this summer?

As the school year winds down you may be wondering how you’ll keep your kids active and engaged this summer  There are many options but camps and childcare can be so expensive.  One idea is to have your own Summer Brain Camp with a small group of like-minded families.  It isn’t as difficult as you’d think and you’ll probably spend only a fraction of what you’d spend on other activities.  Ask around and you may find more parents than you expected who have the same concerns.  
0008156_300I can help you find the resources you need to pull it off.  For example, you could get together once a week for simple and fun science experiments like the ones in 365 Science Activities or 101 Science Experiments.  0000419_300The activities usually involve common materials you’d find in your own home or at a nearby dollar store. Each family can take a turn directing the science activity, or one organized person can be your Camp Director and the other families can chip in snacks and drinks.  The possibilities are endless.
0000533_300If you have free spirited kids, we can help inspire the artistically minded.  The Art Treasury is unique in the way it “combines dazzling art from around the world with exciting projects to do that will inspire every young artist. It includes 0001343_famous_artists_book_of_il_300famous European paintings, delicate Japanese prints and traditional African masks, and each work of art is followed by a project influenced by the artist’s methods or ideas.” (from the catalog)  Pair it with The Usborne Book of Famous Artists to delve deeper into the lives of thirty-five of the world’s most talented artists.

Visit the website for yourself or get in touch for more summer ideas.  I’m here to help you find what you’re looking for.

Teach Your Monster to Read…our FREE online game for kids

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(Pick on image to view informational video)

Did you know…

the British founder of Usborne Books Publishing, Peter Usborne, and his two adult children have developed a free online game through their charitable fund, the Usborne Foundation?  Created by reading experts and gaming professionals, this game has been available to kids around the world for four years now and your kids can use a PC or laptop and  join the fun too.  A downloadable App is also available for a small fee.

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(Pick on the image to view an informational video)

Get more information at TeachYourMonstertoRead.com .  Read the reviews, join the blog, try the demos or start a free account.  Available for use both in home or at school, this is another tool you can use to make reading fun for your kids.  Get started today!

 

14990_674085702720200_1598832175211752452_nFull credit to Adam and Misti Yerton who own this wonderful clock, and have provided a guide to how it was made – http://imgur.com/a/KUyfg

I thought it would be fun to use your child’s favorite books and put it up in their room. As their favorites change, you can change out the books. Adam and Misti’s version has a plain white face for now but you could spruce that up according to your child’s personality and make changes to the look of the clock face as they grow.

Interesting and sneaky parenting tips from a recent Time Magazine article

6 Sneaky but Scientific Ways to Help Kids Learn

@katejleary

Jan. 22, 2015

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Anna Pekunova—Getty Images/Flickr RF

 

Parents want to teach kids the skills they’ll need to lead happy, productive lives. But we have too much to do and not enough time to do it. Ellen Galinsky, author of Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needsacknowledges this “time famine” at the outset of her book, which is filled with evidence-based ways to help kids learn the skills they need. Here are a few of her suggestions. Chances are you’re already doing some of them. Now you can rest assured that research supports your methods, and maybe you can try a couple of new things. As Galinsky says, “we teach best when we are learning.”

  1. Play games backwards. For example, “Simon Says, Do the Opposite.” It’s the classic with a twist. If Simon says, “Be quiet,” the kids should be loud.

Why:
This helps kids practice inhibitory control, an important executive function. Executive functions also include focus, cognitive flexibility, and working memory. These skills predict academic success at least as well as IQ scores.

  1. Talk about feelings. Encourage your kids to talk about how they feel (She’s sad and frustrated that she left her new necklace at Grandma’s and won’t be able to get it back until next week. She’s also envious of her brother, who remembered his necklace.) Speculate about how others might feel, whether it’s in real life situations (Another driver cut you off, and that made you angry, but maybe that driver was having a terrible horrible no good very bad day) or in a book (Alexander was disappointed when the shoe store had exciting striped sneakers for his brothers but only white ones for him.)

Why:
This helps kids learn the skill of empathy. Kids who are able to understand what others are feeling and understand their intentions have smoother transitions to school, college and beyond because they can see others’ point of view.

  1. Tell Stories. Read. Talk about what you’re reading. Read to your kids, or ask them questions about their books. Tell stories. If you go to a friend’s house, encourage the kids to tell the story of the visit later. Family life is filled with what Betty Hart and Todd R. Risley call “business talk.” This kind of talk usually uses simple vocabulary and conveys what an adult wants from a kid. Storytelling and discussion of books uses richer language and is called “extra talk.”

Why:
It promotes good communication skills. In a survey Galinsky conducted, employers were most concerned about employees’ verbal and written communication skills. Extra talk correlates positively with academic performance. Of course, it might also be pleasant.

  1. Choose toys that have no point. Lego bricks, not sets. Or break up sets after the thrill wears off and see what your kid can make. Guide instead of taking over. (“It doesn’t seem to fit here? Where else could it go?”) Don’t wrest the brick from her hand even if you know you could make something cool.

Why:
This kind of play promotes object, space, and number sense, skills that help kids make connections. Information is easy to come by in the age of Google, but it’s of limited use if you can’t make creative connections.

  1. Write Out the Fights.You probably don’t feel like pulling out a notebook when the kids are fighting, but try Galinsky’s approach, supported by research and tested on her own kids. Collaborate with your family to:
  • Identify the dilemma.
  • Determine the goal
  • Generate a list of solutions. Go beyond your typical solutions.
  • Think about how these solutions might work, and not just the ones that were your idea.
  • Pick one and try it.
  • After you’ve tried it, discuss how the solution is working and either tweak or change the plan.

Why:
This process models critical thinking, which Galinsky defines as “[T]he ongoing search for valid and reliable knowledge to guide beliefs, decisions, and actions.” Life is packed with decisions to make and problems to solve, but in the short term, good critical thinking skills might help your kid judge when a friend is influencing him to make a mean-spirited or dangerous choice.

  1. Praise effort — not talent or intelligence. Instead of saying, “You got that problem right. You’re so smart,” say “You worked hard on those problems and you figured them out. That’s great.” Talk through how they deal with challenges and praise persistence.

Why:
Kids who receive this kind of praise are more likely to take on challenges. They have a “growth mindset,” which means that they see their abilities as something they can develop. This sets the stage for a lifelong interest in learning.

Continue reading Interesting and sneaky parenting tips from a recent Time Magazine article

Is there ever a better time for this new title?

Do Nice, Be Kind, Spread Happy.  What could be more fitting to teach our children?  This book starts with a note to the reader;

“Congratulations!
Now that you have this incredible book, you automatically qualify for membership in the worldwide “kindness club” – a secret society of undercover agents with a common purpose: 0006941_do_nice_be_kind_spread_happy_300to spread happiness, smiles, magic, and a bit of mischief throughout our world. By committing acts of ninja niceness.
And do you know the most powerful thing about your acts of kindness? Kind acts make people happy, and happy people are nice to others, so the movement grows and grows.”

What follows are pages and pages of activities, a total of eighty different activities, that kids can do to spread happiness and kindness in their piece of the world.  Doesn’t everyone want to make a difference?  Start a Kindness Club at school or make acts of kindness the focus for just your own family.  For more about this title click here.