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
 
 March 28, 2017  Book Reviews, History, raising world citizens Comments Off on Larger Than Life: The Fierce and Fabulous Lena Horne

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 Comments Off on Girls Who Changed the World: Inspiration for Kids

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?

Enter for a chance to win a copy of What’s the Big Deal About First Ladies!

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Mar 172017
 
 March 17, 2017  Education, food, household 5 Responses »

The days are so long, but the years are so short: Doesn’t it seem like you look up one day and realize how much time has gone by? And you wonder, did I waste it all on things that at the end of the day weren’t so important, like the laundry, the dishes, etc.? One way to make sure the world isn’t passing you by is to connect with the rhythms of the seasons. Seasonal living can help you feel more grounded and connected to the world around you, which is an important lesson to teach our children as well. Because children that are connected to the natural world will feel compelled to protect and nurture it as adults.

5 Tips for Seasonal Living with Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book 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 commissions at no extra cost to you.

5 Tips for Seasonal Living

1. Connect with Nature

This is an obvious tip but one that we often skip as we rush through our days. So many times I’m focused on the chores I need to complete that I don’t look up to appreciate the changing colors of the trees or the way the light hits the clouds just so at sundown. Luckily my children have not lost this sense of wonder at nature and frequently remind me to slow down and look at all the little crawling bugs and funny shaped clouds. When you are connected with nature, you are more in tune with the subtle changes as one season turns into another. It can be as simple as taking a walk around the block or spending an afternoon at the park. Pick some wildflowers and display them in a pretty vase so you can bring the outdoors back home with you as a reminder of what matters.

2. Study the Natural World

Seasonal living means not just playing in nature but really learning from it. Our home school adviser got us started on nature journals – they are such a great way for kids (and adults!) to really pay attention to what they see around them. By training ourselves to really see what is in front of us, we notice details we normally miss and appreciate the long-term changes we may miss in our day to day observations. Pick a favorite tree or spot in your yard or local park, and have your child draw it every few weeks. It is so fun to look back and see how much it changes over time! You could also track how the constellations move across the sky with the seasons or how animals’ coats transform with the changing weather. Anything to get them to attend to the rhythms of the seasons – follow their interests and build on them!

Related Post: Spring Sensory Outdoor Play

5 Tips for Seasonal Living with Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

3. Support Your Local Farmer’s Market

There are few better places to discover seasonal living than the local farmer’s market. Most supermarkets import so much of their food that it can be hard to tell what’s really in season in your own part of the world. Farmer’s markets (and CSAs) are wonderful ways to explore local crops when they are at their peak. Make it into an adventure with your kids to see what is available at the farmer’s market that week. It could be a family challenge to try something new that has just arrived – a great way to introduce spontaneity into your weekly menu planning! Get ideas from the farmers themselves: Ask them about their favorite way to prepare the produce they are selling!

4. Plant a Garden

Planting a garden is another key factor to seasonal living. Besides teaching children the rewards of patience and hard work, a garden demonstrates in a very hands on way how the natural world has its own rhythms, as plants sprout then blossom and give fruit. Tuning into that gentle pace can be calming for children and adults alike, as we align our own expectations to this slower rhythm. If you don’t have outdoor space for a garden, you can create planters on your balcony or even grow herbs or small plants indoors. Many areas also have community gardens, where you can rent a plot for a small fee. This is a great way to meet like-minded neighbors as you tend your plants!

Related Post: Gift Guide for Crunchy Mamas

5. Cook with Seasonal Ingredients

And of course, with all that great produce from the farmer’s market and your own garden, you will bring seasonal living into your kitchen as you stretch yourself to prepare foods in new ways that highlight the flavors of the season. Living in harmony with natural rhythms helps keep you from getting into a rut, plus it ensures that you are enjoying produce when it is at its most flavorful!

That is why I’m so excited about the wonderful new cookbook Farm to Table Asian Secrets: Vegan & Vegetarian Full-Flavored Recipes for Every Season from Tuttle Publishing. It makes seasonal living so easy! The book is divided into sections by season, with recipes that feature the flavors that are available that time of year. I also love that it simplifies many traditional recipes to make them accessible to modern cooks – without sacrificing any of the flavor. Author Patricia Tanumihardja draws on her experiences in several different food cultures to blend traditions to make fresh, appetizing dishes, all using ingredients and equipment that you already have or can easily find.

5 Tips for Seasonal Living with Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

One example is the Asparagus in Lemongrass-Coconut Cream Sauce. I have to admit I had never even cooked asparagus before, much less attempted a lemongrass-coconut cream sauce. But the steps in the recipe were so straightforward that even a newbie like myself was able to make a wonderful tasting dish in the brief period of time that all three of my kids were cheerfully occupied! I honestly felt like I was serving a dish right out of a restaurant!

5 Tips for Seasonal Living with Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

I highly recommend Farm to Table Asian Secrets: Vegan & Vegetarian Full-Flavored Recipes for Every Season to anyone who loves to experiment in the kitchen but worries that they just don’t have the time. Even meat lovers will enjoy these hearty, flavorful vegan and vegetarian dishes and the variety that they will introduce into your meal times.

How do you introduce seasonal living to your children?

Mar 152017
 
 March 15, 2017  Book Reviews, STEM 1 Response »

STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) is such an important part of education today, and for good reason: most careers in today’s economy are based on some aspect of STEM. And even more fundamentally, a child who can think like a scientist can apply those critical thinking skills and curiosity to any field they wish to pursue. Here are some simple ways to get kids excited about STEM at any age!

How to Get Kids Excited About STEM | Alldonemonkey.com

Related Post: STEM Fun for Kids

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.

How to Get Kids Excited About STEM

1. Keep It Fun

There are all kinds of fun ways to get kids excited about STEM – from picture books to crafts and field trips. Experiment and see what gets your kids interested! Pay attention to what they love and use that as a way to start their explorations. For example, when my oldest became fascinated with carnivorous plants, we checked out as many books as we could, did crafts, made snacks in the shape of the plants he loved, and took a trip to San Francisco to see an exhibit!

How to Get Kids Excited about STEM | Alldonemonkey.com

There are so many ways to explore. Try visiting your local science museum – they are always so fun, and will introduce your child to new topics they may not have considered. A visit will definitely get your child fired up about science!

You can also explore at home by taking an activity they enjoy and helping them experience it in new ways! Old Tracks, New Tricks is a great new book to get kids excited about STEM from an early age. You may be thinking, what does playing with trains have to do with STEM? Plenty! This is not only a fun story (what happens when a group of fun-loving train tracks are adopted into a home where the trains make everyone stick to their rules?), it is wonderful for inspiring play and learning. Through this imaginative tale, kids are invited to think outside the box and use favorite toys in new ways. Who says you can’t use your train tracks for painting or to build trees or high tower jumps? I love that this book really empowers kids to be creators by coming up with their own projects! As soon as we read this book the first time, my kids jumped up and raced to pull out the train tracks. Soon they were building and creating – and kept going all morning!

I love how the @oldtracksnewtricks book from @theinnovationpress (shown in the foreground) inspires creativity! Warning : don’t read this book with your kids unless you are prepared for hours of screen free play! My kids immediately wanted to pull out the train tracks and work on some of the “track tricks” shown in the book. Shown here is my 4 yo exercising his engineering skills to figure out how to attach Legos to the trains. #mkbkids #kbn #momsoninstagram #kidbloggersofig #sacramento #visitsacramento #mysacramento #exploresac #raisingnerds #geeknation #stem #playmatters #instagood #instakids #learningthroughplay #love #kbnmoms #childhoodunplugged #motherhoodunplugged #ig_motherhood #playtime #mytinymoments #ourcandidlife #homeschooling #kbnhs #trains

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2. Focus on Hands on Learning

Kids really get excited when you take learning out into the real world and give them projects they can do for themselves. We recently attended a Science and Engineering Night at our homeschool charter school (yes! a charter school that supports homeschoolers – we love it!). My kids loved jumping in and getting involved in so many projects, from making slime and building towers to participating in an astronaut-in-training obstacle course. What fun ways to get kids excited about STEM!

A fun way to recreate this learning at home is to use a STEM project guide like the new STEAM AHEAD! DIY for KIDS. This great activity pack includes making and building activities for kids ages 4 to 10. There is such a variety of projects included here, that you are guaranteed to find ones that you and your kids will enjoy!

From LED cards and scribbling bots to squishy circuits and bubble blowers, there is something for everyone! And note that this is STEAM, not just STEM – that extra “A” stands for Art and means that it includes craft projects that also teach science – score! Find even more resources to get kids excited about STEM on the WizKids Club website – and grab a free download – an alien doodle book!

3. Empower Them

If you loved Rosie Revere, Engineer then I know you will be just as excited as I am to learn that there is now an activity book to go along with it! Rosie Revere’s Big Project Book for Bold Engineers is a wonderful companion to the bestselling children’s book, building on the excitement it created around engineering and STEM. It includes 40+ things to invent, draw, and make. I love that it really encourages kids to use their imaginations and become inventors and creators themselves. The book also puts a big emphasis on failure as part of the engineering process. It celebrates flops and encourages kids to track their own as part of the fun of inventing. “Think about a time you failed at something and wanted to quit. Draw a picture to show how  you felt. What did you learn?”

When kids are empowered to learn from their mistakes, they feel more confident to try new things and not give up. This is especially helpful if you have a little perfectionist in your house or if you are one yourself! Worrying about getting things just right the first time can really hold them back. Make sure they know that mistakes are not only okay – they are great! Mistakes help propel the process of invention forward, so encourage your kids to be proud of what they have learned.

Related Post: Books to Teach Critical Thinking

4. Trust Them

If we want to get kids excited about STEM, we need to teach them to trust themselves and follow their curiosity. Science is all about exploration, so we have to equip them with the self-confidence to try new things – and fail. And try again. Having a growth mindset, where failure is not only okay but required, will help them develop perseverance and a belief in themselves as problem solvers. This means loosening up the reins a bit and giving them the freedom to explore, even when we know (or at least we think we know!) that something will not work. (Or that it will be messy or disgusting!)

Want to see if you can grow a bean plant in complete darkness? Let’s find out! Want to experiment with ways to grow mold on bread? Sure! Sometimes kids need to find out things for themselves, so we have to give them space to do just that.

This is one of the many reasons I love Dragons and Marshmallows (Zoey and Sassafras), the first installment in a new book series about a girl whose mother not only trusts her with a big secret (there are magical animals in the forest that need our help!) but also trusts her to take care of the animals while she is away. This is a great book to showcase the scientific method, as Zoey and her pet Sassafras carefully experiment to find out why a baby dragon is sick. I also loves that it shows a kid who is empowered to figure out a problem on her own – and ask for help when she needs it. We can’t wait to read the entire series!

5. Turn It Into an Adventure

If you know anything about the world of science for kids, you know about Bill Nye, the Science Guy! We have used his super fun YouTube videos to teach many a scientific concept, so I was really excited to see that he had co-created a new chapter book series for kids! Jack and the Geniuses: At the Bottom of the World is the first installment in an exciting new middle grade adventure series that features real-world science in a way that is engaging and accessible. Jack and his friends travel to Australia for a science competition, but when one of the scientists goes missing, they are drawn into a mystery that will have them racing to solve clues before it’s too late! I love how hands on science is woven into the story. This book also shows what actual, grown up scientists do, so kids can imagine themselves as part of the scientific world. This book is easy to read without being watered down, so it’s great for reluctant readers as well as those already curious about science. Includes additional information about the science shown in the book as well as an experiment kids can do at home or in the classroom!

What are your favorite ways to get kids excited about STEM? Share in the comments!

Mar 072017
 
 March 7, 2017  Book Reviews, Education Comments Off on Learning About Community Helpers

There is no doubt about it: Kids love learning about community helpers! Whether they are curious about doctors, firefighters, librarians, or teachers, children are fascinated with thinking about what they might be when they grow up, plus it is a great way to get kids interested in their communities. Showing kindness to community helpers is also a wonderful way to teach kids gratitude! Here are some fabulous new picture books about community helpers, plus a huge list of learning activities!

Learning About Community Helpers | Alldonemonkey.com

What did you want to be when you grew up?

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 cost to you.

Books About Community Helpers

Related Post: Favorite Fire Truck Books

My kids and I are in love with the new Tinyville Town series from Abrams Books! They are a wonderful way to teach young readers about community helpers. The illustrations are colorful and engaging, and the text is simple and straightforward. And of course I love that the characters are so diverse!

Start off with Gets to Work! (A Tinyville Town Book), a story about a town coming together to fix a big problem! It introduces children to a range of community helpers and teaches about teamwork. It also helps children think through the stages of solving a problem, from identifying it and coming up with a solution through the various stages of carrying the idea through to completion. They will never look at a bridge the same way again!

The series also focuses on individual community helpers and so far includes I’m a Veterinarian, I’m a Firefighter, and the latest I’m a Librarian.

Each of these board books looks at a day in the life of one community helper, from when they get up in the morning to when they go to sleep at night. The simple story lines are easy for young readers to follow, and the illustrations always have a touch of gentle humor. I also love how the story lines sometimes intersect, as when the fire fighter takes his dog to the vet.

These are books my little ones love reading with me or flipping through on their own. They would be a great addition to any home or school library!

Activities About Community Helpers

Related Post: Make a Fire Safety Plan

From Simple Fun for Kids: Graphing Game

From JDaniel4’s Mom: Fire Ladder Learning Activities

From Schooling a Monkey: Vocabulary Printable

From Look! We’re Learning: Spanish Printables Pack

From Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes: Spanish Fire Safety Week Homeschool Activities

From Edventures with Kids: Fun Ways to Learn About Fire Safety

From A Dab of Glue Will Do: Write and Color the Room Printable

From I Heart Crafty Things: When I Grow Up Emergent Reader Printable

From School Time Snippets: When I Grow Up Flashcards and 3 Ways to Play

From Living Montessori Now: Montessori Activities and Printables

From JDaniel4’s Mom: Poem and Craft – Five Little Firefighters

From Fun Handprint Art: Footprint Fire Truck and Handprint Fire Thank You Cards

From Simple Fun for Kids: Emergent Reader Coloring Pages

From Castle View Academy: Interview with a Firefighter and Fire Hall Tour

From The Educators’ Spin On It: Teaching Through Role Playing (Preschool Lesson Plan)

From Empowered Educator: Doctor’s Kit Play and DIY Cardboard X-Ray Tablet

From Little Worlds: Pretend Play Hospital

From Life with Moore Babies: A-Z of Community Helpers

Feb 242017
 
 February 24, 2017  Book Reviews 2 Responses »

We all know how important it is to read to our children, yet sometimes even die-hard literacy advocates like myself get, well, bored reading the same stories every night! So if you need to shake up your story time, here are some awesome new books for preschoolers that you and your tot are sure to love!

New Books for Preschoolers | Alldonemonkey.com

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 cost to you.

New Books for Preschoolers

Who could resist ABC Pasta: An Entertaining Alphabet, an incredibly creative ABC book, with all of your favorite types of pasta (plus some you haven’t heard of before!) turned into circus acts? There are angel hair acrobats and Macaroni the Magician, campanelle clowns and fettuccine fire eaters. This is a book sure to spark your child’s creativity! I asked my preschooler which pasta letter was his favorite, and he said very firmly, “This one….No, wait, this one, too. No, wait…”

Related Post: Creating a Letter of the Week Preschool Curriculum

Steppin’ Out: Jaunty Rhymes for Playful Times is a wonderful way to introduce your little one to poetry, with gentle, fun poems about topics relevant to them, like going to the beach and learning to share. The poems capture beautifully the wonder a young child experiences when exploring the world, with vivid sensory descriptions and playful use of language. And of course, kids will love the always fabulous illustrations by Tomie dePaola. A fun book to read one-on-one or in a classroom!

Life on Mars has become part of our regular rotation ever since we received it. Even my older son can’t resist looking on as the intrepid astronaut lands on Mars to search for signs of life. He has even brought a gift of chocolate cupcakes! This is a really cute, funny story whose humor is just right for this age group. And we love the twist ending! Just be aware that if your science-loving 7 year old does read with you, he may point out that, for example, Mars really should be red, not tan or gray, and that the Earth wouldn’t be quite so big in the sky from Mars, and would the astronaut really not notice that huge alien walking right behind him? Luckily, preschoolers will just enjoy the story for what it is, a light-hearted look at space exploration and the importance of persistence.

Related Post: 3 Must-Have Resources for Spanish-Speaking Preschoolers

Stuck was another instant favorite. We love Oliver Jeffers (illustrator of the wildly popular The Day the Crayons Quit), so it was wonderful to read another book with his unique sense of humor and distinctive artistic style. When Floyd’s kite is stuck in a tree, he tries everything (except what is most logical) to get it down. Will Floyd ever be reunited with his kite? (And will the tree survive having so many objects thrown into its branches?)

Alphabet books are always popular with this age group, and Oliver Jeffers has written another great ABC book. An Alphabet showcases Jeffers’ spare text and oddball sense of humor, but in an abridged version that would also be appropriate for toddlers. Many of the letters are not what you’d expect (G is for Guard, and U is for Underground), so kids will have fun trying to interpret the drawings to go with the letter of the alphabet. Fun read for kids just learning their letters!

What are your favorite books for preschoolers?

Feb 202017
 
 February 20, 2017  activities, Education, multiculturalism, Purim, raising world citizens Comments Off on Free Purim Printables

Purim is coming, and I have gathered together the best FREE Purim printables out there! They are guaranteed fun for you and your kids, as part of your celebrations of this fun holiday. From masks and puppets to coloring pages and activities, there is something for everyone!

Free Purim Printables | Alldonemonkey.com

Free Purim Printables

From Moms & Crafters: Free Printable Labels

From Moms & Crafters: Color-In Masks for Grownups and Kids

From Alpha Mom: Printable Masks

From Chai & Home: Paper Crown

From Ann D. Koffsky: Puppets to Color

From Tori Avey: Finger Puppets

From Kosher on a Budget: 10 Free Coloring Pages

From Dena Ackerman: Purim Coloring Pages

From To the Moon & Back: E Is for Esther Templates and Activities

From Our Jewish Homeschool Blog: Activity Pack

How are you celebrating this year?

 

Purim for Kids | Multicultural Kid Blogs

This post is part of our annual Purim for Kids blog hop. Visit the posts below for great ideas about sharing this holiday with the kids in your life! Don’t miss our blog hop from last year, and you can find even more ideas on our Purim board on Pinterest:


Participating Blogs

ZinnHouse.com on Multicultural Kid Blogs: Interfaith Purim Plus: A Wide Approach to Spring Holidays
Moms & Crafters: Free Color-in Purim Puppets
Kelly’s Classroom: Better-than-Best Purim
Melibelle in Tokyo: From Shushan with Love
All Done Monkey: Free Purim Printables

Feb 172017
 
 February 17, 2017  Book Reviews 2 Responses »

We all want our children to be creative thinkers and to let their imaginations soar. That’s why I’m so happy to share some wonderful books that encourage creativity! They help children think outside the box (literally, in some cases!) to become innovators. Be prepared for some great imaginative play and art after reading!

Our favorite books that encourage creativity

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 cost to you.

Books that Encourage Creativity

Very young readers will enjoy Clive and His Art, a gentle story about a boy who loves all kinds of art. It is so refreshing to see a boy expresses himself so creatively, and I love his diverse group of friends. This book and its companion Clive and His Hats do a wonderful job of challenging gender stereotypes through how Clive and his friends are portrayed, for example, boys having fun with glitter or dancing around in bright costumes. Sweet board books that encourage creativity and imaginative play.

Not a Box is one of our all-time favorite books. I even love the dedication (“To children everywhere sitting in cardboard boxes”). This book celebrates that classic toy that all children love, no matter how many expensive presents we give them: the humble cardboard box. But don’t you dare call it a box to a child, because it is so much more than that to them! It is a race car, a burning building, or a robot, but certainly not a box! Really fun book and one that will inspire lots of imaginative play!

Related Post: Creative Books for Curious Kids

Take that cardboard box to a whole new level with DIY Box Creations: Fun and creative projects to make out of REALLY BIG BOXES!. Turn those leftover boxes into a fun project the whole family can enjoy! There are classics here, like a lemonade stand and a sailboat, but often with a twist, like a Minecraft fort! I love that each project is laid out so clearly, with a supply list and step-by-step instructions with pictures. Please note, these projects require adult assistance, but that is really part of the fun, as the whole family can get involved to create some wonderful memories together.

Have I mentioned before how much I LOVE the Ordinary People Change the World series? (Oh wait, I did! Ahem, twice…) They are the perfect blend of cute picture book, inspirational read, and informational biography. Come for the adorable graphics, stay for the message and story. They are a great way to introduce your children to biographies and teach them important life lessons. The new installation, I am Jim Henson, is no exception. Who doesn’t love the Muppets and Sesame Street? Learn more about their creator, who was encouraged from an early age to use his imagination. I was blown away as I read this book, realizing just how much my own childhood was influenced by Henson’s innovative programs – their silliness, creativity, and positive message. What a great example to share with our children!

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