Leanna

Apr 212017
 
 April 21, 2017  Book Reviews No Responses »

Do you have a child that loves animals? Or are you looking for a way to spark an older child’s interest in biology? Here are some of our favorite animal books. They are fun, beautifully illustrated, and guaranteed to encourage a love of all creatures great and small.

Our favorite fun animal books that children will love

I received complimentary copies of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Fun Animal Books Your Kids Will Go Crazy For

Stack the Cats is one of those books that’s almost too adorable to be real! These cats will win your heart from the get-go, especially since they are actually teaching your toddler early math skills! Why do the cats stack themselves? No idea, but then, who understands why cats do anything they do? All I know is that my little girls loves them, and their antics are helping her learn very early concepts like more and fewer, number recognition, and grouping. Oh, and did I mention how CUTE they are?? One of my favorite animal books for very young readers.

My toddler absolutely loves animals! She is becoming quite proficient at the baby signs for animals and loves to “chat” with me about the dogs, cats, and birds we spy as we go about our day. So when I first showed her Barnyard Boogie!, which is full of all kinds of animals she recognizes, I honestly thought she was going to pass out from excitement! She kept exclaiming and pointing at the pages, and her little hands could hardly keep up as she tried to do all of the animal signs at once. Barnyard Boogie! is such a fun book to read with toddlers because they are naturally drawn to animals and will love all the silly sounds and rhymes. My preschooler loves it too because it is a funny story about a cow trying to figure out what part he can play in the barnyard band. It’s not just for fun, though – it also has a sweet message about everyone having an important role to play.

Here is one that has been added to our bedtime story rotation. My preschooler thinks this book is HILARIOUS! There is quite a bit of suspense in The Giant Jumperee, as one by one the animals try to figure out who the Giant Jumperee is – but each in turn becomes too frightened and runs off! Until the Mama Frog comes along, that is. (Of course it is a mom who decides enough is enough!) My seven year old even looked up from his book and kept asking, “But what is a jumperee? What is it??” And as you can imagine, the answer is surprising and funny, and no matter how many times we read the book, it never fails to delight my preschooler. Really fun book with lovely illustrations, just what you’d expect from this powerhouse team – bestselling author of Room on the Broom and award-winning illustrator of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.

So Many Feet is a beautifully illustrated book that focuses on animal feet as a way to introduce some of the many creatures in nature. This book is great if you want to give your children a little more realistic view of animals but still keep it fun. I love that it can be read at two levels, depending on the age and interest of your child. Often I read it through quickly with my toddler – just reading the primary text (“High feet, slow feet, fast feet, snow feet…”) – but spend more time going through the book with my preschooler, who is interested in the secondary text as well, which gives additional information about each animal and how its unique feet help it. It is a lovely book that they also enjoy flipping through on their own, just to look at the pictures.

Speaking of amazing illustrations, Deep in the Forest: A Seek-and-Find Adventure is a stunning collection of seek-and-find scenes featuring jungle animals. As we follow the animals through their day, the reader is invited to find them on the page, including one in each scene who is hiding behind a flap, cleverly disguised on the page. The book contains drawings of over 50 animals and is a gorgeous introduction to the creatures of the jungle.

Ocean (Topsy Turvy World) is a whimsical look at creatures of the deep. It mixes fact and fiction for a wild journey through ocean habitats. The illustrations are incredible and just a bit off-kilter, encouraging children to use their imaginations at the same time as they are learning facts about ocean creatures. A really fun book to read, plus I love the extension activities included at the book.

What are your favorite animal books for kids?

Apr 192017
 
 April 19, 2017  Book Reviews, Geography 2 Responses »

One of the joys of reading with my children is of connecting them with great literature. Happily, you don’t have to wait until they are in high school to introduce them to classic stories from the distant past. Today you can find wonderful picture books of ancient tales designed for young readers. Here are some of our favorites:

Ancient Tales for Young Readers | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of several of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.

Ancient Tales for Young Readers

Of course I have to start with the Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the first great works of literature. This epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia dates from the early 3rd century BC and is a staple of high school world literature classes (or at least it was in mine!) But this is no dry tale that is foisted upon hapless students by cruel teachers, it is actually a really fascinating story that instantly drew in my kids. I highly recommend the picture book trilogy Gilgamesh the King by Ludmila Zeman. This series beautifully retells this epic story in a format that young children can easily understand and appreciate. She glosses over some of the more “adult” aspects of the original to create a kid-friendly version of these ancient tales that is nevertheless faithful to the spirit of the classic text. There are battles and quests, mystery, friendship, and romance. Really, what’s not to love?

This wonderful new series is inspired by the classic epic poem by Ferdowsi, the Shahnameh (Book of Kings). The first installment, The Story of Zal & Simorgh, tells of Zal, born with hair and skin as white as snow. His unusual appearance frightened his father so much that he abandoned the baby at the foot of a mountain. Yet Zal is saved by a mythical creature, a magical bird called Simorgh who raises the boy into manhood. Yet Zal is grown and encounters his father again, can he choose love over bitterness and forgive the man who left him to die? This is a wonderful story that touches on classic themes of love, friendship, and forgiveness. The story is engaging for younger readers, and the illustrations are beautiful! I love the attention given to details of the historical and cultural elements. One of my favorite spreads shows court musicians playing traditional Persian instruments. Such a beautiful tribute to this rich cultural heritage!

I am so excited that these stories from Shahnameh are now available for young readers. It is not well known in the West, and what copies are available are really too dense for children. When we studied ancient Iran earlier this year, I checked out a copy of the original Shahnameh and found it really was too difficult for my elementary aged son. That is why I jumped at the chance to review Shahnameh For Kids – The Story of Zal & Simorgh and am excited that they now have a Kickstarter to publish the 2nd and 3rd books in the series – it’s an all or nothing campaign that ends in just a few weeks, so don’t miss the chance to help make it happen!

Related Post: Folktales from Iran

The Monkey King: A Classic Chinese Tale for Children is a wonderfully fun story inspired by Chinese legends about the trickster Monkey. Long ago, the Jade King sent a pure-hearted monk on a journey to bring back the teachings of Buddha from India, in order to bring peace and order to the kingdom. This book is about the beginnings of this epic journey, and how helpers were recruited along the way, including Monkey. It seems that every step of the way the monk is set upon by enemies, but when they find out that he is on a mission for the Jade King, they have a change of heart and want to help him. As it turns out, the often short-tempered Jade King has condemned them to their current fates because of having offended him. They realize that if they help the monk, they may gain the King’s favor again and so return to their former lives.

This story has plenty of twists and turns, with battle scenes and narrow escapes and a cast of colorful characters. But I could just get lost in the lush illustrations. They are so beautiful and full of life that each page invites you to fall into it head first. This is one you will treasure on your bookshelf.

If you want to introduce your children to Greek mythology or get them excited about poetry, I highly recommend Echo Echo: Reverso Poems About Greek Myths. Each poem retells one of the Greek myths as a “reverso” poem, meaning it can be read the same forwards and backwards. The poems are so cleverly written, as each half of the poem gives emphasis to different words, often changing the mean of each line completely. Children who are starting to learn these ancient tales will enjoy seeing them captured in this format, and it is also a great way to spark their own creativity about poetry.

Apr 132017
 
 April 13, 2017  activities, crafts, Ridvan, STEM No Responses »

The Festival of Ridván begins next week, and because it commemorates Bahá’u’lláh’s stay in a garden full of roses, I love to do rose crafts and activities with my children to celebrate (like make these rose cookies). Inspired by the roses that were piled in Bahá’u’lláh’s tent each day (so many that His guests could not see each other over them!) I have gathered together a huge list of rose crafts, play and learning activities, and recipes for you. Enjoy!

A huge collection of rose crafts, play and learning activities, and recipes

Rose Crafts

From Living Ideas: DIY Rose Egg Craft

From Crafts by Amanda: Realistic Duct Tape Roses & Cardboard Tube Bouquet of Felt Roses

From Red Ted Art: Paper Towel Roses & Duct Tape Rose Pens

From Messy Little Monster: Celery Roses

From No Biggie: Pipe Cleaner Rose Rings

From Mum in the Madhouse: Simple Paper Roses

From Bellissima Kids: Paper Roses Bouquet

From FabDIY: Coffee Filter Rose

From Self-Reliant Living: Egg Carton Roses

From Mom on Time Out: Hershey’s Kisses Roses

From Kids Activities Blog: Paper Plate Roses

Rose Play & Learning Activities

From Teach Beside Me: LED Roses

From Schooling a Monkey: 3D Rose Model – Biology for Kids

From Mother Natured: Rose Study

From Homegrown Friends: Color Changing Rose Experiment

From Kitchen Counter Chronicle: Make a Book – The Giving Roses

From Nurture Store: Rose Petal Sensory Play Tub

From Frogs Snails and Puppy Dog Tails: Rose Petal Water Play

From Childhood 101: Rose Playdough

From Crafts on Sea: Rose Scented Playdough

Rose Recipes

From All Done Monkey: Rose Cookies

From Martha Stewart: Ring Around the Rose Petal Fools

From The European Mama: Rose Petal Jam

From Gimme Some Oven: Rose Cake

From Life of a Lost Muse: Rose Apple Pie

From Heather Christo: White Peach and Rose Sorbet

From The Pretty Blog: Homemade Rosewater Marshmallows

From Global Table Adventure: Rosewater Lemonade, Rosewater Tea, Sweet Semolina Cake with Rosewater and Lemon, & Sweet Saffron Custard with Rosewater

From Posh Little Designs: DIY Raspberry Rose Ice Cubes

From A Pumpkin & A Princess: Rose Petal Bath Soak

From Lulus: Coconut Rose Body Scrub

Apr 112017
 
 April 11, 2017  Ridvan No Responses »

As the Bahá’í festival of Ridván approaches, I’m pleased to share this beautiful Ridvan flower board idea from my friend Chelsea Lee Smith of Enable Me To GrowIt is a great way for families to celebrate this festival with kids! For more ideas, see our Walking Through the Garden of Ridván series.

Ridvan Flower Board with Activities for Children | Alldonemonkey.com

Ridvan Flower Board

Ridván is the “King of Festivals” for Bahá’ís and commemorates the 12 days that Bahá’u’lláh, the Prophet Founder of the Bahá’í Faith. camped on the banks of the Tigris River near Baghdad and, while there, proclaimed His mission to a small group of followers. (To read more click here).

I wanted to create some sort of way for our family to get a surprise on each of the 12 days (plus a decoration to have out during the Ridván period). Luckily I happened to find a piece of homemade art at a second-hand shop made out of wood with 12 wooden flowers, so I used it to make this Ridvan flower board.  I took off the random bits that were on it (stickers, pieces of paper, buttons, paper muffin cups etc decorating the flowers) and repainted it, cut up some leaves and painted them too, then added little jewels, some decorative ribbon, and some letters and numbers I bought.

Ridvan Flower Board | Alldonemonkey.com

You can make your flower board out of cardboard, card stock, cloth, etc. You could either add leaves or flowers – if with cloth a little tab of velcro may work well to attach them, and if it’s paper then try using blue tac.

I put a little surprise activity on a post-it note on the back of each of the leaves. The leaves are attached to the frame with sticky tac, so that my son can take them off to read on the appropriate day. (You can use pictures for younger children so they can “read” the notes themselves).

For a group project, you could give each child a flower or leaf to decorate and add to the board. And you could either post up quotations or numbers on top of the flowers/leaves for each day.

Sample Activities for Each Leaf

Bake a cake for the Ridván party

Plant a garden

Do a crown craft

Rdivan Flower Board | Alldonemonkey.com

Make a card for a friend

Have fun with sensory play

Enjoy tea and muffins while talking about the story of Ridván

Rdivan Flower Board | Alldonemonkey.com

Get ice cream

Tell the story of Ridván using a felt board

Make tents

Rdivan Flower Board | Alldonemonkey.com

Make a collage of flowers

Make rose cookies

Learn a new song

Go on a picnic

Ridván Flower Board | Alldonemonkey.com

Because we’ve been in the groove of celebrating Holy Days for the past few years, it is seeming to come so much more naturally now and I don’t feel stressed about getting things together but just going with the flow.  So if you are new to the idea of celebrating but want to do something, don’t worry if it seems difficult at first or like it’s too much to plan.  The smallest and simplest of things mean the most to children… like today I arranged the fruit on the plate in a pretty way for morning snack (ie grapes in the middle of the plate surrounded by cut up pears and apples) and the boys were super impressed.  Just putting in a little effort here and there to make things festive and remembering to talk about the meaning of the day is great.  And with a little practice, it will all come together easily.

Chelsea Lee Smith is a mother of three and is passionate about empowering families with tools for character education so that they can contribute to making the world a better place. She blogs at Enable Me To Grow offering activities, ideas and resources for character building and more.

Apr 072017
 
 April 7, 2017  crafts, Easter, Geography 2 Responses »

These days Pinterest is full of fun, adorable Easter crafts for kids, but how many Easter kite crafts have you seen? Although this time of year boasts great kite flying weather, kites are not associated with the Easter holiday here in the US, but kite flying is an Easter tradition in many parts of the Caribbean, especially Bermuda.

Make an Easter kite to learn about the kite-flying tradition of Bermuda

Make an Easter Kite to Learn About Bermuda

The story goes that once a Sunday school teacher wanted to help his students understand the ascension of Jesus to heaven and so came up with the creative idea of flying a kite with a picture of Jesus on it. The idea caught on, and now Good Friday finds many Bermudians out flying kites, including an annual Kite Festival at Horseshoe Bay Beach.

Traditionally people made their own kites from colorful tissue paper, although more and more imported plastic kites can be seen today.

Kite flying sounded to me like a wonderful Easter tradition, and a great way to do a craft that is both fun but also has spiritual significance.  I’ve got three little kids, so I keep our crafts simple, but if you want to make an authentic Bermuda kite (they are beautiful!) you can watch this slideshow.

Instead, I just opted for this very easy paper kite. They are fairly small and don’t fly as well as the big plastic ones, but I wanted to use materials that we already had on hand and to make kites that would be easy for the kids to put together and decorate themselves.

Make an Easter Kite to Learn About Bermuda | Alldonemonkey.com

They turned out really cute! I couldn’t resist putting bunny ears on mine. We were all very proud of ourselves and excited to put them into action. So the next day we headed for historic Gibson Ranch, a beautiful local park, to take advantage of the windy spring weather.

Make an Easter Kite to Learn About Bermuda | Alldonemonkey.com

Unfortunately it was a little too windy for the boys at first, but luckily they rallied (and the wind died down a bit) so we could test out our kites and enjoy the scenery.

Make an Easter Kite to Learn About Bermuda | Alldonemonkey.com

Beautiful Gibson Ranch

So this Easter try something different – make an Easter kite with your child and learn more about this wonderful tradition from Bermuda!

Series on Easter around the world

Easter is approaching, and once again we are excited to take you on a tour of the world and how it celebrates Easter! Explore the diverse traditions of Easter with us, and don’t miss our series from last year or 2015. You also will enjoy this wonderful overview of global Easter traditions. Find these posts and more on our Easter Around the World Pinterest board:

Follow Multicultural Kid Blogs’s board Easter Around the World on Pinterest.

March 27
Turning Dutch on Multicultural Kid Blogs: The Netherlands

March 28
Kori at Home: 8 Polish Easter Traditions and Customs for Kids

March 29
Hispanic Mama: Fun Easter Resources for Your Bilingual Kids

March 31
Globe Trottin’ Kids on Multicultural Kid Blogs: Celebrating Pascha – Greek Orthodox Easter Traditions

April 6
All Done Monkey

April 7
Living Ideas

April 10
Russian Step By Step

April 11
Pediatrician with a Passport

Apr 052017
 

Learning to navigate your emotions and those of others is an important set of skills for children to develop. This “emotional intelligence” is just as critical to future success and happiness as learning the multiplication tables and state capitals, perhaps more so. Children who are able to identify their feelings and work with them will be healthier, more balanced individuals who can empathize with others and connect with them in meaningful ways. Here are some tips for how you can help your children develop emotional intelligence.

Tips for parents to teach emotional intelligence

I received complimentary copies of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Emotional Intelligence: Tips for Parents

1. Name that Emotion

The building block of emotional intelligence is the ability to identify emotions. Teaching this skill can begin very early, as babies learn to read and mimic expressions. I love board books like Making Faces: A First Book of Emotions:

My toddler loves flipping through the pages of this sweet, simple book to see the photos of the baby faces. The book explores six basic emotions by showing one enlarged photo of a baby whose expression reflects that emotion then asking the reader to find that face again on a page of various smaller photos. Books like this are great because they capitalize on babies’ fascination with looking at other babies. My daughter loves to stare at the baby faces and often mimics their expressions, trying out the emotions for herself.

My little girl loves her new book Making Faces from @abramskids! Babies and toddlers love looking at faces, and this sturdy board book makes good use of that to teach little ones about emotions by showing them pictures of other children that are angry, happy, surprised, etc. The mirror at the end is an especially big hit! Great book to keep very young readers entertained and learning. Visit @annofdoodlesandjots for another #picturebookoftheday recommendation! . . . #mkbkids #kbn #momsoninstagram #kidbloggersofig #kidlit #books #booksforchildren #homeschooling #kbnhs #ig_motherhood #childhoodunplugged #motherhoodunplugged #picturebook #boardbook #ece #mytinymoments #ourcandidlife #playmatters #instagood #instakids #learningthroughplay #love #kbnmoms

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As children get older, the naming process can become more sophisticated, as children learn to identify more nuanced emotions. For example, in the lovely Today I Feel . . .: An Alphabet of Feelings we find I is for Invisible, O is for Original, and R is for Relaxed.

This is a book my preschooler often requests at bedtime. Again, the book makes use of an interest at this age (learning ABCs) to talk about emotions. In Today I Feel…, each letter/emotion pair is accompanied by an illustration, so it is easy to spark a conversation: “Why do you think he feels invisible? What’s your favorite way to relax?”

2. Check Your Judgment at the Door

Sometimes it’s hard to feel empathetic with a little one and their big emotions, if their problems seem, well, small to you. Why is your child throwing a tantrum over which color cup he can use or who gets to push the button on the elevator? Don’t they know there are bigger problems, like paying bills or dealing with global warming??

Yet remember that to them their problems are very real and very big, and only when we treat their feelings respectfully can we help our children grapple with their emotions. When we respond with respect, we open up a safe place where children feel comfortable sharing their feelings with us. One picture book that does a great job of this is Dad and the Dinosaur:

This beautifully illustrated book does not belittle the very real fears that children have about what might lurk in the shadows or under manhole covers. Instead, it introduces coping mechanisms to help calm those fears, like having a comfort toy or confiding in a trusted adult. The boy in the story is able to face his greatest fears because of his toy dinosaur, which is not afraid of anything. When the dinosaur goes missing, however, the boy’s fears become overwhelming. I have to mention that while I love that the father in this book takes his son’s fears seriously and sets out to help him find the dinosaur, I wish that he had also taught the boy that he didn’t need the dinosaur for courage but that he had the courage he needed inside himself all along.

3. Give Them Tools

All too often we find ourselves in the position of reacting to behaviors that are the end results of an emotional process, when the emotions are already too big to be easily dealt with. Try to get ahead of this during calm times, by helping kids gain the tools they’ll need to head off emotional explosions before they reach the boiling point. Teach them strategies like taking a deep breath, talking it out, and running out their energy to help them manage their emotions. One book that does an excellent job of teaching kids how to deal with anger is The tiger in my chest:

I mean, what a great metaphor for feeling angry! First it talks through how it feels to be angry as the tiger in their chest grows bigger and bigger. Then teaches kids that tigers can be tamed and that they can be tiger tamers – brilliant! My kids really love this book, and we’ve started implementing its suggestions for calming down body and mind. This book really breaks everything down into terms that children can easily understand and put into practice right away. I also love the emphasis on learning to accept, forgive, and move on (including forgiving ourselves).

4. Show Them the Bigger Picture

Perspective is everything, and one of the easiest ways to get out of an emotional funk is to do something to help others. Serving others not only will help children get their mind off their own problems, it helps put their troubles into perspective. However, resist the temptation to make too direct a link between others’ problems and their own, or children may become defensive or feel belittled. The point will get across, and, more importantly, their spirits will be uplifted and their horizons expanded, which in the long run will make a bigger difference in changing their perspective.

If you have tweens or teens, I really recommend the wonderfully creative book Hot Air (Kindle edition). (Visit One Voice Press for the paperback version).

Bored and frustrated with living with her alcoholic mother, twelve year old Annie decides to make a grand escape – by building a hot air balloon (the perfect metaphor for anyone who has wanted to escape from their troubles)! This magical adventure takes Annie across the world, making new friends at every stop. As she visits distant lands, she finds her own strength to help others and in the process sees her own life through new eyes. I love how multi-dimensional the main character is – we see her immaturity and naivety as she begins her journey, but we also see her selflessness and courage as she chooses again and again to help those in need. A wonderful book about leaving your comfort zone to serve others and gain a new perspective.

5. Model Emotional Intelligence

Finally, remember that actions speak louder than words, and your children will learn more from watching your behavior than they will from anything you say. Take time to check in with your emotions and use the same tools you recommend for your kids. Taking several deep breaths has helped me on many occasions! And being honest with your kids when you make mistakes and apologizing if you blow your top also go a long way to helping them learn to be gentle with themselves. Kids really respond if they feel you are all in it together!

What are your tips for teaching emotional intelligence?

Mar 302017
 
 March 30, 2017  Geography 2 Responses »

I was in junior high when former Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda were put on trial. As we discussed the situation in my social studies class, my main impression (other than all of those shoes!) was wondering why so many people in this Asian country had Spanish names! Over the years I have had a number of Filipino friends and was always fascinated by the Philippines’ unique blend of cultures but never had the opportunity to learn much about it.

That is why I was so pleased to receive two wonderful children’s books about the Philippines to review, which sparked my interest to discover even more resources to learn about these beautiful islands with my kids. Have fun exploring!

Resources for kids to learn about the Philippines

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.

Philippines: Resources for Kids

General

Did you know that there are approximately 7,100 islands in the Philippines, or that it was named for King Philip II, ruler of Spain during its 16th century colonization of the Philippines? Or that English is one of its official languages? Encyclopedia Britanica Online has a great article that includes these facts and more, mainly focusing on the geography and landscape.

National Geographic Kids has a country overview for kids, where they can see the country’s flag, currency, and a map.

Since Easter is coming up, have fun reading this article from Crafty Moms Share on how Easter is celebrated in this predominantly Catholic country.

Philippines: Resources for Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

As always we pulled out our Smart Globe Discovery SG268 – Interactive Smart Globe with Smart Pen by Oregon Scientific. My husband found this several years ago, and it is a great addition to our lessons, plus the boys just enjoy playing with it in their free time! With the globe’s smart pen, kids can find out the country’s language, government, currency, learn how to say “hello,” and listen to its national anthem. Older kids can even play games to test their geography skills!

Related Post: India Resources for Kids

Books

If you want to teach your children or students about the Philippines, you really must get a copy of All About the Philippines: Stories, Songs, Crafts and Games for Kids. It gives such a wonderful introduction to the history and culture of the Philippines, including activities, crafts, games, stories, and recipes. I can’t wait to do the Filipino version of hopscotch with them now that the weather is warmer, or make some halo-halo, a treat that is a crazy mix of all kinds of fun foods like ice cream, shaved ice, coconut, and fruits – sometimes even beans!

I love how All About the Philippines: Stories, Songs, Crafts and Games for Kids really highlights the diversity of Filipino culture, through the three main characters, who represent its main cultural influences: Chinese, Spanish, and Arab. Each child gives a look at a typical day in his or her life, as well as festivals and traditional foods.

This is a really fun book for kids as it has such a variety of activities and information. Great for any classroom or homeschool!

We also really enjoyed reading Pan de Sal Saves the Day. This is a sweet book all kids can relate to, about feeling shy or that you are just not “cool” enough for your classmates. Pan de Sal is a young girl who is embarrassed of her family’s simple home and the traditional games they play instead of the watching TV or playing video games. On a school trip, however, Pan de Sal overcomes her shyness to help her friends, who discover just how great Pan de Sal really is.

This is a universal story about gaining self-confidence, but it is rooted in the specifics of the Philippines. The main character is named after a bread roll enjoyed in the Philippines (all of the characters are named after some kind of bread – like Muffin and Sweet Bread), and we see her family sing a traditional song and play sipa, a traditional sport. This is a fun book to learn about self-confidence as well as Philippine culture.

Food

The Philippines are known for their cuisine. Get a great, mouthwatering overview from CNN’s 50 Dishes That Define the Philippines.

If you are in the Sacramento area, check out one of our local Filipino restaurants! We visited Fil-Am Bakery and Restaurant. I had driven past it so often and always wanted to try it out! The staff is so friendly and helpful, which is great if, like us, you have no idea what to try! The woman who served us was so sweet to my kids in helping them pick out something. In the end we sampled turon (a sweet banana egg roll – my favorite!), bitsu bitsu (like a doughnut but made with rice flour), and – because my four year old declared he did not want anything sweet (!) – pancit (thin rice noodles). They loved everything, but the pancit had all three of them practically licking the plate! Our server made us promise to try the lumpia next time, which we definitely will – along with three big bowls of pancit!

Want to travel the world with your kids? It's easier than you think! Often you can find restaurants or small eateries in your town or a nearby city. We had fun visiting Fil-Am, a local Filipino restaurant & bakery, and sampling some typical treats. Shown here are turon (a sweet spring roll filled with fried banana) and bitsu bitsu (a kind of a chewy doughnut made with rice flour). We will definitely be going back! Find more resources to teach kids about the Philippines on the blog today! (Link in bio). . . #mkbkids #kbn #momsoninstagram #kidbloggersofig #sacramento #visitsacramento #mysacramento #exploresac #sacramentofood #mytinymoments #ourcandidlife #instagood #instakids #ig_motherhood #kbnmoms #ignorcal #philippines #filipino #yummy #yum #lecker #nomnom #homeschooling #kbnhs

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If you’d like to try cooking some Filipino dishes yourself, a wonderful resource is the blog Cuddles & Crumbs. She has tons of great recipes, including fish spring rolls (lumpia), steamed rice cakes (puto), and mung bean and sticky rice pudding (ginataang-munggo).

You can also visit Kid World Citizen to try this terrific Filipino Flan recipe.

Travel

Thinking of visiting with your family? GlobeTotting has an amazing collection of articles on traveling to the Philippines with kids.

Mar 282017
 

As we teach our children about strong women in history, one who stands out is Lena Horne. Her immense talent was matched only by her determination in the face of the racism of her times. I first learned about her from her appearance on The Cosby Show when I was a child and I was captivated by her graceful presence and that amazing voice. So I’m thrilled to introduce a new children’s biography about her which has already received starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, and Publishers Weekly. I’m honored to share below an essay by the author, Carole Boston Weatherford, in which she reflects on why she brought Ms. Horne’s story to life in her new book.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.

Author Carole Boston Weatherford reflects on the life of Lena Horne and her new biography of this legendary figure

The Legendary Lena Horne: Reflections from Carole Boston Weatherford

Often an historical figure who makes cameo appearance in one book will later warrant a book of her own. Such was the case with entertainer and activist Lena Horne. She appeared as a resident in the picture book Sugar Hill: Harlem’s Historic Neighborhood. I also devoted a poem to her in the verse novel You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen.

So it was only a matter of time before I got around to writing Ms. Horne’s biography. A collaboration with illustrator Elizabeth Zunon, The Legendary Miss Lena Horne introduces this groundbreaking entertainer and activist to a new generation.

Lena Horne lived her life in the spotlight. At age 16, she made her show business debut as a chorus girl at Harlem’s famed Cotton Club, where African Americans performed for whites-only audiences. In the 1940s. she became the first black actor with a major Hollywood studio contract.

Related Post: Biographies for Kids About Following Your Dreams

Larger Than Life: The Fierce and Fabulous Lena Horne

Refusing roles as domestics, she found herself confined to musical numbers that could be easily cut for screenings at Southern theaters whose audiences might be offended by her black sensuality. She dubbed herself “a butterfly pinned to a column.” She also appeared in all-black movies such as Stormy Weather, which produced her signature song of the same name.

Larger Than Life: The Fierce and Fabulous Lena Horne

Offstage, Ms. Horne rebelled against racism at every turn, lashing out when someone hurled a racial epithet and dropping out of a U.S.O. tour when German prisoners of war were treated better than the black soldiers in the audience. From then on, she paid her own way to perform for black troops. During World War II, she was their favorite pinup. Ironically, during the 1950s Red Scare, Ms. Horne was blacklisted for her ties to fellow entertainer and alleged Communist Paul Robeson.

In the 1960s, she took a hiatus from show business to join the Civil Rights Movement. She marched with protestors and sang at rallies. At the 1963 March on Washington, she took her turn at the podium and uttered one word: “Freedom!”
Even in her later years, she kept recording, starred in a one-woman Broadway show, played Glenda the Good Witch in the movie The Wiz, and serenaded Kermit the Frog on Sesame Street.

Larger Than Life: The Fierce and Fabulous Lena Horne

I grew up watching Ms. Horne’s guest appearances on television variety shows. Back then few blacks were on the small screen and her presence was always an inspiration, always an event. I idolized her then and I still do. For me, Lena Horne will always be larger than life—a fierce and fabulous legend.

Carole B WeatherfordCarole Boston Weatherford is a New York Times bestselling author whose 40+ books include many award winners. She is considered one of the leading poets writing for young people today. I was also proud to discover she is a long-time resident of my home state of North Carolina, where she received her MFA in creative writing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and where she currently is a Professor of English at Fayetteville State University. You can read more about her on her website.

Mar 232017
 
 March 23, 2017  Education No Responses »

As part of Women’s History Month, we learn about inspiring women from history, but it’s also important to teach kids – and girls especially – that they don’t have to wait to grow up to make a difference! Despite all of the obstacles in their path, many girls have made an impact, led by their idealism and courage. Here is a look at amazing girls who changed the world. Who inspires you?

Girls Who Changed the World | Alldonemonkey.com

Girls Who Changed the World

Who says you have to wait to make a difference? Inspire your kids with these stories of amazing girls who changed the world!

Joan of Arc (1412 – 1431)

Also known as the Maid of Orléans, French Sainte Jeanne d’Arc or La Pucelle d’Orléans, she was canonized by the Catholic church in 1920. Joan of Arc was a peasant girl who at 17 was inspired by visions to lead the French army to victory against the English at Orléans during the Hundred Years War. She was later captured and burned at the stake by the English. Her heroism and faith secured her a place in history, and she later became a symbol of French nationalism.

Joan of Arc on horseback

Joan of Arc on horseback, from 1505 manuscript

Pocahontas (1596 – 1617)

Powhatan woman who fostered peace between the English settlers of the Jamestown Colony and the Native Americans. Daughter of Wahunsenaca (Chief Powhatan), the paramount chief of the Powhatan Chiefdom. When Captain John Smith was captured, the 11 year old Pocahontas reportedly rushed in to stop his execution. She later saved Smith from another attempt on his life. In 1614 she converted to Christianity and married Englishman John Rolfe. She died from illness during a trip to England with her husband and young son.

Pocahontas saves Captain Smith

J. Hamilton Fyfe(1863)
“Captain Smith Saved by Pocahontas”

Sacagawea (1788 – 1812)

Shoshone woman who at age 17 served as interpreter and guide for the 1805-1806 Lewis and Clark expedition, which explored thousands of miles of wilderness across the continental United States. She was the only female member of the expedition. Her language skills, knowledge of the terrain, and calm under duress were invaluable to the team. One time her boat nearly capsized in high winds, and Sacagawea rescued important papers and supplies. In addition, her presence helped calm the Native Americans they encountered, most of whom had never seen white men before. They were inclined to see the expedition as friendly because she was traveling with them. Remarkably, Sacagawea did all this while caring for her infant son, born just two months before the expedition began (!) At the end of the expedition Sacagawea received nothing, though her French-Canadian husband, who also served as an interpreter, received $500.33 and 320 acres of land.

By Leonard Crunelle (1872-1944) sculptor, photographer Hans Andersen - Own work for the photo., CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Sacagawea statue in North Dakota. Photo by Leonard Crunelle (1872-1944) sculptor, photographer Hans AndersenOwn work for the photo., CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Anne Frank

A German Jewish girl famous for the diary she kept during WWII when she and her family were forced into hiding in an attempt to escape capture by the Nazis. When economic difficulties and a rise in anti-Semitism made life in Germany difficulty, Anne’s family had resettled in Amsterdam, yet soon after, in 1940, the Netherlands was invaded by the Nazis. After Anne’s older sister was called to report to a German work camp, Anne and her family went into hiding in a secret annex along with another family. After two years in hiding, they were discovered and arrested in August 1944. Only one of the group in hiding – Anne’s father – survived. Anne died of disease and deprivation in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Her father later published Anne’s diary, still read around the world. The home where she and 7 others were in hiding was made into a museum in 1960.

Anne Frank, 1940

Anne Frank, 1940

Related Post: Two Wings of a Bird Craft to Teach Gender Equality

Ruby Bridges and the Little Rock Nine

Ruby Bridges and Obama

Ruby Bridges with President Obama at the White House, viewing a Rockwell portrait of her

Ruby Bridges and the “Little Rock Nine” were students who integrated formerly all-white schools in the US following the historic 1954 Supreme Court ruling against segregation. In 1957, nine students (later known as the Little Rock Nine) integrated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Minnijean Brown (1941-), Elizabeth Eckford (1941-), Ernest Green (1941-), Thelma Mothershed (1940-), Melba Patillo (1941-), Gloria Ray (1942-), Terrence Roberts (1941-), Jefferson Thomas (1942-2010) and Carlotta Walls (1942-) were carefully chosen for their determination and strength of character. The governor called in the National Guard to block the students from entering, but several weeks later President Eisenhower sent federal troops to escort them into school. The following year the governor closed Little Rock’s high schools to prevent African-Americans from attending. The Little Rock Nine all completed high school via correspondence or by attending high school elsewhere. They each received the Congressional Gold Medal in 1999.

In 1960, Ruby Bridges, a 6 year old girl in Mississippi, became the first African American to integrate a formerly all-white elementary school in the US South. She had to be escorted into school by her mother and US marshals because of violent mobs. She spent her school days as the only student of the one teacher who would agree to teach her. She was not allowed to go to recess or to the cafeteria, and even had to be accompanied by US marshals down the hall just to use the restroom. Her bravery was memorialized in a 1964 painting by Norman Rockwell, “The Problem We All Live With.”

Mona Mahmudnizhad (1965 – 1983)

Mona Mahmudnizhad

Mona Mahmudnizhad

From early on, Mona Mahmudnizhad was known as an outstanding student who had genuine love for those around her.  She was an enthusiastic member of her Bahá’í community and taught religious classes for children. Following the Islamic Revolution in 1979, persecution of the members of the Bahá’í Faith and other minority religions intensified. In 1982 when Mona was a high school student, she and her father were among 40 Bahá’ís arrested in the city of Shiraz, as part of escalating arrests throughout the country. In June 1983 Mona was the youngest of ten Bahá’í women to be hanged.  Her father had been executed earlier that year. Mona is remembered today as a model for Bahá’í youth everywhere because of her love, enthusiasm, and dedication. The Bahá’ís continue to face persecution in Iran, including arrests, closing of businesses, denial of higher education, and desecration of cemeteries.

Related Post: Inspiring Women from Bahá’í History

Samantha Smith (1972 – 1985)

“U.S. girl Samantha Smith in Artek”. U.S. girl Samantha Smith (center) visiting the USSR upon the invitation of General Secretary of the Central Committee of CPSU Yuri Andropov in all-Union Artek pioneer camp.

Samantha Smith (center) in all-Union Artek pioneer camp during her visit to the USSR. By RIA Novosti archive, image #793152 / Yuryi Abramochkin / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

American peace activist who in 1982 (at age 10) famously wrote a letter to Yuri Andropov, the new leader of the USSR. Worried about the possibility of a nuclear war, she asked Andropov what he would do to avoid this catastrophic possibility. Andropov himself eventually replied, praising Samantha and inviting her to visit the USSR. Known as America’s youngest Goodwill ambassador, in July 1983 she and her family spent two weeks touring the USSR. When she returned, Samantha gave numerous interviews, wrote a book, and hosted a television special. Tragically, she and her father were killed in a plane crash in 1985. The USSR honored her with a commemorative stamp and her mother established the Samantha Smith Foundation, dedicated to peace education.

Anisa Kintz (1983 – )

Alarmed by racial tensions in her hometown of Conway, SC, in 1992 nine year old Anisa organized a children’s conference on race, “Calling All Colors: A Race Unity Conference.” Inspired by the teachings of the Bahá’í Faith on racial unity, the conference brought together more than 400 children to discuss solutions to racism. Soon, the idea spread to other communities in SC and across the United States. President George H.W. Bush’s foundation to recognize volunteers named Anisa as one of its “Thousand Points of Light.” She participated in the 1997 Summit for the Future chaired by President Bill Clinton and was invited to address the United Nations forum. Calling All Colors conferences are still held across the US today.

Anoyara Khatum (1997 – )

At just 12 years old, Anoyara Khatum fell victim to human trafficking. When she was rescued from slavery, she was determined to make a difference for other children in her native India forced into marriage or work at a young age. She began working with the Save the Children foundation that have saved her. Anoyara began to educate girls and communities about child marriage and trafficking through the formation of children’s groups. Since then she has rescued scores of children from trafficking and child marriages and registered hundreds of children for school. In 2012 she was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize and has been invited to speak at the United Nations on two occasions.

Mo’ne Davis (2001 – )

Former Little League Baseball pitcher from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was the first African-American girl to play in the Little League World Series and one of two girls to play in the 2014 Little League World Series. She was the first girl to earn a win and to pitch a shutout in Little League World Series history. She was also the first Little League baseball player to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated as a Little League player. The 2014 ESPN broadcast of one of the Little League World Series games in which she played had the most television viewers ever for a Little League game on ESPN. In 2015 Mo’Ne received the Best Breakthrough Athlete ESPY Award.

Malala (1997 – )

Born in the Swat Valley of Pakistan, Malala first came to prominence in 2009, when at the age of 12 she started writing a blog for the BBC Urdu service about life under Taliban rule, including fears that her school would be attacked. Despite death threats, she continued to advocate for the importance of education, especially for girls. In 2011, she received Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize and was nominated by Archbishop Desmond Tutu for the International Children’s Peace Prize. In 2012, she was shot by a masked gunman as she rode the bus home from school. The worldwide condemnation of this attempt on her life led to the swift ratification of Pakistan’s first Right To Free and Compulsory Education Bill. In 2013 she and her father founded the Malala Fund to advocate for girls and their right to education. Malala was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014. Malala contributed her entire prize money of more than $500,000 to financing the creation of a secondary school for girls in Pakistan.

Share these stories of girls who changed the world with your kids! Which is your favorite?

Women's History Month Series on Multicultural Kid Blogs

Join us for our annual Women’s History Month series, celebrating the contributions and accomplishments of women around the world. Follow along all month plus link up your own posts below! Don’t miss our series from 2016 and 2015, and find even more posts on our Women’s History board on Pinterest:

Follow Multicultural Kid Blogs’s board Women’s History on Pinterest.

March 1
modernmami on Multicultural Kid Blogs: 3 Reasons Why We Celebrate Women’s History Month
March 2
The Jenny Evolution: More Children’s Books About Amazing Women
March 3
Colours of Us: 32 Multicultural Picture Books About Strong Female Role Models
March 6
modernmami: 103 Children’s Books for Women’s History Month
March 7
A Crafty Arab: The Arab Woman Who Carved Exquisite Beauty into Science
March 8
Hispanic Mama: 5 Children’s Books About Latina Women
March 9
MommyMaestra: Free Download – Women’s History Month Trading Cards
March 10
MommyMaestra on MommyMaestra on Multicultural Kid Blogs: Celebrating Women’s History Month
March 13
Crafty Moms Share: First Ladies and Eleanor Roosevelt
March 14
Mama Smiles: Write Down Your Family’s Women’s History
March 15
Bookworms and Owls: Ruth Bader Ginsburg – Associate Justice of the Supreme Court
March 16
Creative World of Varya: 6 Quotes About Women from Various Religious Writings
March 17
Knocked Up Abroad: 7 Ways Swedish Women Can Revolutionize Your Life Today
March 20
La Cité des Vents on Multicultural Kid Blogs: Women in History or Women’s Stories?
March 21
Pura Vida Moms
March 22
Melibelle in Tokyo: After Devestation, Life – Miki Sawada Mothers 2,000
March 23
All Done Monkey
March 24
playexplorelearn
March 27
Family in Finland
March 28
the piri-piri lexicon
March 30
Let the Journey Begin

Don’t miss our Women’s History Month Activity Printables, on sale now!

Women's History Month Activity Printables


Mar 212017
 
 March 21, 2017  activities, History 3 Responses »

I have always loved history, but I’ve learned that not everyone does! For many, history is simply a collection of boring facts that they have to memorize in order to pass a test. I’m determined that my children not have this negative experience, so I try to make history fun by doing hands on activities with them. For example, when studying early US history, you could throw a Dolley Madison party! These fun activities are a great way to bring history to life and to teach children about one of our most colorful first ladies.

Throw a Dolley Madison Party! | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of What’s the Big Deal About First Ladies?; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Don’t miss a giveaway at the bottom of this post!

Throw a Dolley Madison Party

Dolley Madison was the wife of James Madison, our 4th US president, who was in office from 1809 to 1817. Her parties were legendary, so why not throw your own party to learn more about her? Learn more about her with these fun activities.

Dress Up

Dolley Madison was known for her extravagant fashions, like silk turbans with ostrich feathers coming out of them. So be sure to put on your best “fancy” clothes for your party!

Throw a Dolley Madison Party | Alldonemonkey.com

Related Post: Learning about Culture Through Play

Be a Gracious Host

Dolley Madison was incredibly personable and made everyone she met feel like a close friend. No wonder her parties were so popular! In fact, they were known as “crushes” because so many people tried to squeeze inside the White House to attend!

Eat Ice Cream!

Did you know that we have Dolley Madison to thank for making ice cream such a popular dessert here? She even served the tasty treat in fancy pastry shells – maybe an old-fashioned version of our ice cream cones?? Savory flavors were also popular back then, so if you are really brave you could try Dolley Madison’s favorite: oyster ice cream!

Related Post: 10 History Games

Paint a Portrait

It wasn’t all fancy dresses and parties for Dolley Madison! We can also thank her for saving important government papers and a beloved portrait of George Washington during the War of 1812. Dolley stayed at the White House even when most government workers and local residents fled. She made sure that treasures of the young nation were safe from the approaching British then fled to safety herself. Celebrate by drawing your own portrait of George Washington!

Throw a Dolley Madison Party | Alldonemonkey.com

Read More

Learn more about this brave and kind first lady with these great books!

A wonderful new book of facts and trivia for kids is What’s the Big Deal About First Ladies. It is an engaging and fun book about the women who have made the White House into what it is today. It is fun to see how the role of the first lady has evolved over the years, as well as how these remarkable women have influenced the nation and the world. Some facts are funny (Carrie Harrison was afraid she’d get zapped by the light switches when they first installed electricity at the White House!) while others are inspiring (Lou Hoover was the first woman to graduate from Stanford University with a geology degree and encouraged young girls to follow their dreams). My son has really loved looking through this book, and so have I!

Dolley Madison Saves George Washington is a great book to learn more about Dolley Madison. It tells about her humble beginnings and rise to become the toast of Washington, DC. Readers also learn in detail about her bravery during the War of 1812 and her role in saving treasures from the White House, including that famous portrait of George Washington. Recommended for elementary aged children.

How do you make history fun? Do you have a favorite first lady?

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