Oct 242016
 
 October 24, 2016  activities, Sacramento 11 Responses »

Giveaway for tickets to see Disney on Ice in Sacramento

Take your kids on a magical adventure around the world with Mickey and Minnie Mouse as your tour guides with Disney on Ice: Passport to Adventure, coming soon to Sacramento!

On the itinerary? Exploring the African Pride Lands from The Lion King with Simba, Timon and Pumbaa; voyaging deep under the sea to Ariel’s mystical underwater kingdom from The Little Mermaid, and touring London with Peter Pan and Wendy before flying to Neverland to meet up with Tinker Bell. And don’t forget traveling to Frozen’s Arendelle for an extraordinary adventure with sisters Anna and Elsa, their friend Kristoff and everyone’s favorite, huggable snowman Olaf.

I’m excited to see so many favorite Disney characters in one show, plus it will be our first chance to visit the brand new Golden 1 Center in downtown Sacramento! We’ve been following the progress as it was being built, so I can’t wait to check it out!

Disney on Ice Sacramento

Photo courtesy of Feld Entertainment

We are giving away tickets to the opening night show! Be sure to scroll all the way down to find out how to enter!

WHEN: Thursday, November 3 – Sunday, November 6

Thursday, Nov. 3,  7:00 PM

Friday, Nov. 4, 7:00 PM

Saturday, Nov. 5, 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM

Sunday, Nov. 6, 12:00 PM & 4:00 PM

WHERE: Golden 1 Center – 547 L Street, Sacramento, CA 95814

TICKETS: Ticket prices start at just $20! Special Opening Night discount tickets available for 50% off for select seating (not valid for VIP/Front Row levels). All seats are reserved; tickets are available for purchase online at Ticketmaster.com, charge by phone at 800-745- 3000 or visit the Golden 1 Center Box Office.

*tickets prices are subject to change; additional venue/ticketing fees may apply

Visit Disney On Ice for more details about this show and the full line up of Disney On Ice productions for the 2016-2017 season.

Disney on Ice Sacramento GIVEAWAY

Congratulations to our winner, Jennifer F!
We are giving away a pack of 4 tickets to the opening night show in Sacramento on Thursday, Nov. 3 at 7 pm. All you have to do to enter is comment on this post, telling us which Disney character is your child’s favorite! Giveaway ends midnight Pacific Time on Sunday, October 30. Winner will be randomly selected from entries. 

Sep 082016
 
 September 8, 2016  activities 4 Responses »

Yes, I freely admit that we have gotten caught up in the Pokemon Go craze, and I am not ashamed. I actually have a lot of fun playing with my kids, and it’s a great way to get them out of the house and exploring our city. Many parents I talk to, though, are hesitant to let their kids play because of concerns about safety, etc. Of course you have to decide what is best for your family and your situation, but I have found that Pokemon Go – in moderation – is a fun way to game with kids. Here are some lessons I’ve learned, as well as tips, from other parents.

Pokemon Go: Top Tips for Parents | Alldonemonkey.com

Pokemon Go: Top Tips for Parents

1. Stay involved: For young children especially (my son is 6), it’s essential that you play with them. Pokemon Go is different than any game we’ve played before, a kind called “augmented reality,” where the game world is layered onto the real world. As you reach new levels, new elements are introduced, so you need to be involved to stay aware of what they are playing – and where they are wandering off to in search of Pokemon.

2. Use common sense safety rules: Because the player is glued to the phone during the game, you have to make sure your child is watching where they are going so they don’t trip and fall or walk out into traffic.  You also need to make sure they don’t go into places they aren’t supposed to, either trespassing or going into someplace dangerous like an abandoned building. And we’ve all heard about people being robbed or assaulted because the thieves were counting on the fact that players don’t paying attention to their surroundings while they are playing. The best thing to do is to have them play with someone else – you, if possible – so that someone is always watching out for what is happening in the real world.

3. Make sure you are following the rules, too: Once you know where the Pokestops are, it can be tempting to turn your phone on at a stoplight to get a few more Pokeballs, but make sure you are setting a good example for your kids (and staying safe for your own sake!) by not playing while you are driving or doing anything else that should have your full attention, like crossing the street with your kids.

4. Decide when to play: A friend and I have spent a lot of time discussing this – if you make the rule that your child can only play with you, then expect a lot of demands on your time! Some ideas to make this manageable are 1) let them play while you’re in the car running errands or going to and from school, 2) have a time on the weekends when you play together while taking a walk or playing at the park, and 3) know where the hot spots are in your area and do quick visits once or twice during the week.

Chances are there are Pokestops at your child’s school, the local library, the grocery store, the park, the mall, and so on – basically the main places where people spend their time. For example, there are several Pokestops in the park next to my son’s preschool, so whenever I pick him up we do a quick walk to hit the Pokestops and see if we see any Pokemon.

5. Set a budget: Yes, Pokemon Go is free, but they do have a shop inside the game, so make sure you lay some ground rules about whether you will be making purchases. We established from the beginning that we wouldn’t buy anything, but lo and behold just a few days ago when we reached Level 12 (yay!) our bag suddenly wasn’t big enough to hold the bigger Pokeballs (“great balls”) that we earned when we leveled up.

We managed to figure out a way to free up some space (used up some of the potions and raspberries we had accrued), but a few days later we hit another snag: We didn’t have space to catch any more Pokemon! Unless, of course, we bought additional storage space (grrr!)

I had no idea there would be any limit to how make Pokemon we could “store.” If you can’t catch Pokemon, you basically can’t play, and by the time you get to Level 12, you are committed to playing the game, so they really have you over a barrel. Yes, technically you can earn Pokecoins through the game that you can use to make purchases, but this is really difficult to do at the lower levels, since it’s unlikely you have Pokemon with high enough points to win battles.

So yes, I did decide to make the purchase ($4.99 for 550 Pokecoins, which was more than enough to upgrade my bag and my Pokemon storage), but I was gritting my teeth the whole time, and wondering if there will be any more surprises like this ahead.

Still, I have to say playing Pokemon Go with my kids has been a really fun, positive experience – for them and for me! Do you play with your kids?

Here are some other great tips, crafts, and activities for Pokemon Go:

From Pragmatic Mom: How to Play Pokemon Go with Kids

From My Joy Filled Life: Teaching Kids to Safely Play Pokemon Go

From Something 2 Offer: Safety Tips for Pokemon Go

From Mother Natured: Educational Pokemon Activities

From Parenting Chaos: Pokeballs Paper Plate Craft and Charmander Blazing Fruit Pokemon Punch

From Kids Craft Room: Pokemon Pebble Craft

From Red Ted Art: Pokemon Book Corners and even more DIY Pokemon Crafts

From And Next Comes L: Pokeballs Coloring SheetPokeball Suncatcher, DIY Pokeball Craft, Pokemon Apps, and Printable Pokemon Action Cards

From Hattifant: Pokemon Evolution Flextangles

Jul 232016
 

Our 5 top picks for families visiting the California State Fair

The California State Fair is a great place for families, and for many it is a cherished tradition to visit every year. After visiting with my young children, here are my top picks that families won’t want to miss!

Disclosure: Thank you to Pebbles Cereal for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

California State Fair: 5 Top Picks for Families

Kids Park: If you are looking for old-fashioned (and new!) carnival rides, this is the spot! While there are other carnival rides at the State Fair, the Kids Park has tons that are designed just for kids. There are height restrictions on many, but you can still find some, like the merry-go-round, for little ones. If you plan on going on a lot of rides, consider buying a wristband, which gets the user unlimited rides.

Ag Area & Petting Zoo: We spent quite a bit of time in the Agricultural area, which is where kids can see one of the more traditional aspects of the state fair. My kids loved all the stations (most of which are free), where young kids can play in the corn sensory bin or make music with parts from old farm equipment. They can also use props to practice milking a cow, saddling a pony, and roping a steer. You can see the real deal, of course, at the petting zoo, which for many families is a highlight of the state fair. Be aware that once you enter the petting zoo area, all the (very friendly and docile) animals will be walking all around you, which was a new experience for city kids like mine. Many of the animals are a bit, er, overly friendly, so keep an eye on your clothes and purse, or they might get nibbled on! Also, you are very likely to see at least one animal answer the call of nature, so watch your step (and your shoes).

California State Fair: 5 Top Picks for Families | Alldonemonkey.com

Camp Smoky: I loved Camp Smoky because it is a little forest oasis in the asphalt desert of the State Fair. It was so cool and refreshing just to walk around in the shade of the trees and listen to the very friendly young rangers teach the kids about the importance of caring for our forests. Kids can pick up a passport, which they get stamped at various stations (like the school house or the forest trail) to exchange for a bandanna at the end . The super cute puppet show teaches kids about fire safety as well.

California State Fair: 5 Top Picks for Families | Alldonemonkey.com

Jest in Time Family Stage: We had a chance to watch the clowns of Jest in Time, and they were awesome! My kids were laughing non-stop during this pair’s antics and gentle humor. There is a special kids’ seating area up front, where young helpers can get picked as volunteers. I don’t want to give away anything, but beware of flying toilet paper in the finale!

Pebbles Play

We spent a long time at the Pebbles Play area, located just next to the Kids Park. It is a fun spot for kids to get creative, explore, and enjoy some treats! This summer the Pebbles Play Tour is traveling to major cities across the US – including the California State Fair in Sacramento from July 22 to 24!! 

California State Fair: 5 Top Picks for Families | Alldonemonkey.com

First off, my kids got to build toy guitars out of recycled materials using kits from YOXO®, a environmentally sustainable toy company. (Don’t miss this video of them making music with one of these guitars!)

And what kid (or adult!) wouldn’t want a chance in a real life replica of the Flintstones Flintmobile?? My kids love pretending to drive anyway, but hanging out in the Flintmobile was just on another level.

They also loved these virtual reality – I mean cereality – goggles, which gave them a 360 degree virtual view of Pebbles World. It was their first time trying out anything like this, and it was love at first sight! 

Finally, don’t forget to grab a sample of the ultra fun Pebbles treats (Cocoa Pebbles or Fruity Pebbles) and get your dollar off coupon for Pebbles cereal (where available and while supplies last). Find out when the Pebbles Play tour is coming to your area!

Get creative this summer with the Pebbles Play Tour

Get Creative at the Pebbles Play Tour: California State Fair July 22 – 24, 2016

Where: California State Fair, 1600 Exposition Blvd Sacramento, CA 95815

When: Friday, July 22 – Sunday, July 24, 10 AM – 10 PM

Who: Families of all ages

How: Come and have fun!

Admission cost: Adults $12, Senior (62+) $10, Youth $8, Child (4 & under) Free

For more info: Visit Facebook.com/PebblesCereal/Events

 

Future Events Include:

Houston
Latin Fest, Jones Plaza, 600 Louisiana St, Houston, TX 77002
1 PM – 10 PM, Sunday, August 14
Admission cost: Free

Chicago
Festival de La Villita, Little Village, 26th St. and Kostner Ave., Chicago, IL 60623
Fri. 6 PM – 10 PM, Sat. 2 PM – 10 PM, Sun. 2 PM – 10 PM
Friday, September 9 – Sunday, September 11
Admission cost: Free

Connect with Pebbles on Instagram or Twitter with @PebblesCereal or by using the #PebblesPlay hash tag.

Find more tips about the California State Fair here!

May 242016
 
 May 24, 2016  activities, Birthdays, crafts, Literacy Comments Off on Book-Themed Birthday Party Ideas and Giveaway!

Book-Themed Birthday Party Ideas | Alldonemonkey.com

Do you have a child that loves to read? Do you want a birthday party theme that doesn’t focus on sugar or toys?  Here are fun book-themed birthday party ideas for your little bookworms, plus a big prize pack giveaway!

Disclosure: I received a complimentary party pack from Brightly for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.

Book-Themed Birthday Party Ideas

If your child loves to read as much as mine do, a book-themed birthday party would be a big hit!  It is a great way to celebrate a love of reading with your child and have some fun with a beloved character.  And don’t forget to enter the big giveaway at the end from Brightly, a fabulous website for raising kids who love to read.  In addition to loads of literacy articles and reading lists, in honor of the website’s first birthday, the folks at Brightly have gathered together resources to help YOU throw a book-themed birthday party, easy peasy!

Here’s everything you need:

1. Theme.  The most important step, of course, is to pick which book or series you are going to feature!  Ideally, choose one that the other kids at the party will also be familiar with.  (If your child really wants one that other kids won’t know, you can still make it work, as they will still enjoy the games and activities, though they might not get all the references).  Brightly has party packs and guides for many favorite characters, such as Madeline and even Elmo.  Spaceships and Laser Beams also has tons of great party theme ideas, including book based ones like Harry Potter and The Little Prince.  Tip Junkie has compiled an incredible list of 40 children’s book party themes, and Growing Book by Book has an entire Pinterest board dedicated to book party ideas!

2. Invitations.  Use cute invitations for your theme, like these Duck and Goose ones.  Invitations are a great way to build excitement and ensure that your little guests know what kind of party to expect.  If there are kids that aren’t familiar with your book theme, it also gives them a chance to read it before the party.

Book-Themed Birthday Party Ideas | Alldonemonkey.com

3. Decorations.  What better way to set a mood than with themed decorations?  Brightly’s party packs come with ready made decorations like banners, plus you can add balloons and streamers in matching colors.  I also love these creations ideas for recycling old book pages, plus you can find even more ideas here!  Be sure to set out copies of the theme books.  You could even include a reading corner!

4. Games. There are so many great book-based party games out there.  I love the fun games available in Brightly’s printables section!  I especially like that they work for a range of ages: there are crafts and simple games that even little ones can do, plus mazes and word games for older kids.  You could ask kids to come dressed as their favorite character from the book, and older kids could play book-themed charades.  And don’t forget a piñata, like this DIY Gruffalo one from Mud Hut Mama!

5. Food.  Maybe it’s just because I love to eat, but I think food can be one of the most fun parts of a party!  You can really let your imagination go wild in coming up with book-related creations.  Check out these Gruffalo themed ideas!  You can find more food ideas from classic books here.  Love that Hungry Caterpillar cake!

6. Gifts and Favors. Well, books, of course!  They work well as presents for the birthday child and favors for guests.  The Chirping Moms have great book themed birthday party ideas, including putting customized bookplates in the books you use as favors.  More creative favor ideas here, including “book worms”!  You can find fab birthday book recommendations from Brightly, plus I love these from Growing Book by Book.  You can find even more on my Books for Kids Pinterest board.

Inspired to make your next kid’s party a book-based one?  Share your inspiration in the comments, and find even more birthday party ideas on my Pinterest board!

Birthday Pack Giveaway from Brightly

And now for our big giveaway!  One lucky US winner will win a birthday prize pack that includes a Brightly tote bag, books featured in Brightly’s birthday articles, Brightly balloons, party hats, and a poster of their birthday illustration.  Enter below for a chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Apr 262016
 
 April 26, 2016  activities, crafts 2 Responses »

Angry Birds: 25 Crafts, Activities, Food, and More! | Alldonemonkey.com

Do your kids love Angry Birds as much as mine do?  They are so excited for the new movie coming out this spring, so in their honor I’ve gathered together 25 awesome ideas for Angry Birds fun – from crafts and activities, to food fun and party ideas!  Be sure to share in the comments how you are getting ready for the movie with your kids!

25 Ideas for Angry Birds Fun

From Busy Kids Happy Mom: Pinewood Derby Cars

From Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes:

Birthday Party

Pizza and Cake

Party Favors

Slingshot Craft

From Little Bins for Little Hands, STEM fun with a Plastic Spoon Catapult

From the Joys of Boys:

Waffles

Everything You Need for a Party (this one actually has tons of ideas, including games, a piñata, and more!)

M&M Cake

From I Can Teach My Child, DIY Costumes

From Lalymom, DIY Knockdown Game

From Not Time for Flashcards, Water Balloon and Sidewalk Chalk Game

From iGame Mom, How to Teach Physics with Angry Birds

From Brain Power Boys, Learn to Code with Angry Birds

From Red Ted Art:

Pom Pom Crafts

Eggs Craft

Bookmark Corners

From Paging Fun Mums, Origami Bookmarks

From DIY Inspired, The Ultimate Angry Birds Party

From Frugal Fun for Boys, Beanbags and Activities

From Therapy Fun Zone, Toss Game

From Powerful Mothering, Party Theme Ideas

From Spaceships and Laser Beams, Boy’s Birthday Party

From Happiness Is Homemade, DIY Shirts

From BentoLunch.net, a themed Bento Lunch

Feb 172016
 

Gifts that Empower Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

An important aspect of raising world citizens is empowering kids to see themselves as world changers.  Helping children recognize and nurture their own nascent abilities to effect change is a powerful way of setting them on the road to transform their communities and their world.  Here are some of my favorite gifts that empower kids and help them have fun in the process.

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of the books and kits below; however, all opinions are my own.  This post contains affiliate links.  If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission.

Gifts that Empower Kids

Books

I have to admit that I am at times a bit earnest when it comes to teaching my kids about values.  As a result, my son has developed a keen sense for when I am trying to teach him something “meaningful” and so tends to run the other direction.  That’s why I love books like Mason’s Greatest Gems, which teach values in a really engaging way that kids can relate to.  This story is based on the analogy of gems as qualities (like kindness and generosity) that we have inside us that we can discover and polish.  Kids will be attracted to the beautiful gems and the idea of digging up and discovering those gems.  (My son, who is a big fan of Minecraft, loved this idea!) Wonderful visual way to teach kids about the benefits of developing positive character traits.  The book even comes with links to free printable pages and group activities.

I Am and I Can Poetry Activity BookWhat’s really fun about I Am and I Can is that it incorporates so many elements dear to my heart – diversity, education, and empowering children – yet it does so in such a seamless way that it doesn’t feel forced at all.  It is a poetry activity book, illustrated with images of children from around the globe, where readers practices parts of speech as a way to interactively write uplifting poems.  For example, in one section they practice recognizing verbs that have to do with art and sports.  In the following section they come up with their own verbs, which they then use to fill in the blanks in a poem that celebrates their ability to uplift those around them.  My kids had so much fun with this book, and I loved the upbeat, positive message!

What better way to teach kids about their ability to change the world than by giving them real life examples of kids who are doing just that?  Doyli to the Rescue: Saving Baby Monkeys in the Amazon is a wonderful book about a real girl that the author met by chance when she and her family were vacationing in the Amazon.  Doyli and her uncle live deep in the Amazon rainforest, where they rescue and care for baby monkeys orphaned by hunters or poachers.  The narrative does a great job of showing what it is like to live in the jungle, where you have to travel in two canoes to get to school, and your front yard is flooded most of the year.  But what really comes through is the passion Doyli has for saving the baby monkeys and what a difference her efforts make.  This book, as well as the second in the series, Tortuga Squad: Kids Saving Sea Turtles in Costa Rica, will inspire kids to do their part to save the planet.

Activity Kits

I have had the pleasure of reviewing Happy Heart Kid activity kits before, so I was thrilled to receive a Perseverance (Grit) Activity Kit to explore with my kids.  Every time we open one of these kits, it’s like Christmas!  The kids are so excited to see what activities have been included this time.  It is always something fun!  Happy Heart Kid activity kits are colorful and engaging, and I love that the activities are all so well thought out.  They take into account different learning styles and skills and so include a range of activities – crafts, games, discussion, role playing, and so on.  The kits are also easy for parents and educators to use:  Everything you need is included in the kit, and there are clear instructions and notes.  I also really appreciate that the kits break down abstract ideas into concrete, fun activities that children can really relate to.  So, for example, the “Grit” kit, which focuses on perseverance, includes a game where the players work together to come up with creative solutions to challenges like how to help a nervous monkey swing from tree to tree.  These kits are great gifts to empower kids through the development of positive qualities like perseverance!

Little Loving Hands Activity KitsLittle Loving Hands transforms the idea of activity kits by making the activity itself only part of the equation.  Kids still have fun doing a great craft, but when they finish they get to donate the item they make to a worthy organization, using a pre-paid envelope.  For example, the kit we received was to make a Seek and Search Activity Bag to donate to kids being treated at the National Institutes of Health.  Children will love being able to make such a personal gift for someone else. I love that the craft is so beautifully tailored for those that will receive it.  The activity bag we made is a fun, quiet game that kids can play while adults are resting and that can be easily taken from room to room.  Little Loving Hands kits are not only fun but teach kids about giving back and inspire them to see that they can make a difference.

Oct 202015
 
 October 20, 2015  activities, Education, education3 Comments Off on Engineering for Kids: Build a Parachute

Here is a great FUN project to teach engineering for kids: build a parachute that really works!  Thanks so much to Becky of Kid World Citizen – my blogging buddy and fellow Multicultural Kid Blogs board member – for sharing this fantastic activity!

Parachutes Kids- Kid World Citizen

We recently made some fantastic parachutes out of coffee filters, popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, and paper dixie cups. The kids had a blast throwing them off of our playset, and watching them float to the ground, often holding one of their superhero figures in the cups! Here’s how we made parachutes, and what the kids learned.

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

Continue reading »

Aug 252015
 

Three Easy Ways to Use Music to Teach Preschool Spanish | Alldonemonkey.com

Now that Little Monkey is approaching three years old, I’m incorporating more preschool activities into our homeschool.  One method that never gets old (and that my five year old loves as well) is music.  My boys both love to dance and sing, and music is playing constantly at our house and in the car.  Kids seem to be naturally attracted to music, and it is a great way to make any lesson fun.

Below are some easy ways to incorporate music as you teach Spanish, whether you are doing this in a classroom, a homeschool, or just informally. (Read more of my favorite resources for teaching Spanish).

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of CD’s of Mister G for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.

3 Easy Ways to Use Music to Teach Preschool Spanish

Don’t miss the giveaway at the bottom of this post, going through September 1!

To my mind there are three levels of engagement you can employ when using musical activities to teach Spanish: passive, partially engaged, and fully engaged.  Which level you use depends on the child’s level of Spanish and interest, your own level of Spanish, your goals in teaching, and the goal of the particular activity.  My kids and I have high levels of Spanish, but I don’t always opt for “fully engaged” activities since I have to be careful about their level of interest (one reason I love using music, since they are always interested in that!)  I find that a mix of activities works really well for us, to keep things fun but also keep them learning.  Experiment and find the mix that works best for you!

1. Passive Learning

This could also be termed “sneaky learning,” but I’ll try to sound professional by calling it “passive learning.” 😉 For kids with little to no knowledge of Spanish, this is a great method to use to start out.  Basically it involves exposing the kids to the sounds and rhythms of the language by playing music in the background, either during free play time or a dance or other exercise activity.  You aren’t calling attention to the lyrics themselves, just familiarizing them with the sounds.  If you are teaching Spanish at home, I’ve found that it’s great to play Spanish or bilingual songs in the car.

My kids, for example, love listening to the music of Mister G.  The topics are really fun (what kid wouldn’t love a song about chocolate, or an entire album about animals?), plus the music itself – which features Grammy award winning musicians – is wonderful.  In addition, the albums are bilingual, meaning that kids without much knowledge of Spanish to start won’t feel lost.

For kids with more knowledge of Spanish, passive learning is still a great way to increase their exposure to the vocabulary and structure of the language.  It can also be a great tool to get them to think more in Spanish by increasing the amount they hear.  This is very important in our situation.  Since Spanish is our minority language, I’m always looking for ways to balance out how much English the kids are exposed to throughout the day.

2. Partially Engaged Learning

Once you’re ready to begin teaching basic vocabulary, you can do activities involving partially engaged learning.  This is where you start to pick out one or two key words or phrases from a song and base a game or activity around them.  So, for example, you could teach them the word rana and have them hopping around like frogs to Mister G’s La rana, or teach them jirafa and send them on a giraffe hunt to the tune of Una jirafa en mi casa.  The song Siete elefantes is great for learning to count in Spanish!

These activities are great for kids without much background in Spanish because they are engaging without being overwhelming.  It’s a fun way to learn basic vocabulary and get some exercise!  This type of learning is also great for boys like mine, who have always been exposed to Spanish but whose understanding is mostly passive (meaning they understand very well but prefer to speak in English).  I’ve noticed that my older son especially is very hesitant to speak in Spanish because he is unsure of himself.  Really taking the time to reinforce the basics can build confidence and cover any gaps they may have in their understanding.

3. Fully Engaged Learning

For kids with greater understanding of the language, you can go for fully engaged learning.  This would involve building on an activity like the ones mentioned above with extension activities.  You can ask them questions in Spanish about the song, or teach them the lyrics, or do activities afterwards based on the full lyrics.  (In Spanish: Can you imagine having a giraffe in your house?  What would you do if you found one?  Let’s draw a picture of a giraffe in your bedroom!)  You could also have them engage with the full lyrics while the song is playing, by imitating the actions described, or having them jump up or twirl around when they hear particular words.  For kids with greater understanding of Spanish, this can be a fun way of getting them to pay closer attention to the lyrics and process what is actually happening in the song.

Something rather unique that I love about Mister G’s albums is that the songs are interspersed with short spoken conversations between Mister G and his friends.  Especially if you are a non-native speaker or – even if you aren’t – if you don’t have many Spanish speakers in your area, this is a wonderful way to increase the kids’ exposure to the flow of conversations in Spanish.  Great for vocabulary and grammar!

Enter to Win a Copy of Los Animales from Mister G!

Los Animales - Mister G

I am so excited to announce that I am giving away a copy of Los Animales from Mister G to TWO lucky US readers!  Enter below for your chance to win!

Mister G is a Latin Grammy nominee and Parents Choice Gold Award winner.  His albums have been selected by People magazine, Parents magazine, The Washington Post and Education.com as top albums for children.  His new release, Los Animales, is a collection of original bilingual songs for children inspired by his love of animals.  It features Grammy award winning musicians who together with the “kid-friendly, bilingual rock star” Mister G have created a fusion of salsa, jazz, bolero, Tejano, folk and rock music that kids and adults will love!  Listen to the music here and find out more about Mister G on his website.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jun 252015
 
 June 25, 2015  activities, Book Reviews, Education, Global Learning for Kids Comments Off on India: Endangered Animals Games

India: Games to Learn about Endangered Animals | Alldonemonkey.com

As part of our unit on India, we studied about the country’s endangered animals, continuing our theme from Bolivia and Senegal.  This was a natural decision, as the boys love learning about the natural world.

I was provided a complimentary copy of Endangered Animals of India from the author; however, all opinions are my own.

Endangered Animals of India

To keep it fun, I created a few simple, interactive games based on a wonderful children’s book by Meera Sriram and Prabha Ram. Endangered Animals of India is a fact-filled book with descriptions and beautiful portraits of ten endangered animals in India, such as the red panda.  My Monkey really enjoyed flipping through the book not only for the pictures but also for the fun facts about these animals.  I love that the authors really drove home the point about how vulnerable these animals are but at the same time wove in a lot of funny details about them, such as the fact that Nilgiri tahrs alert each other to danger by snorting!

Habitat Matching

India: Endangered Animals Games | Alldonemonkey.com

One thing that really struck me was the diversity of the habitats of these animals.  So the first game we played was to match the animals to their respective habitats.  First, I made some quick sketches of the animals on poster board, then cut them out to use as the game pieces.  Next, I drew rough drawings of the habitats on a separate sheet of poster board.

Monkey then had to match the animals to their habitats – as most of the animals were fairly unfamiliar before reading Endangered Animals of India, consulting the book was allowed!

Vulnerability Scale

India: Endangered Animals Games | Alldonemonkey.com

Next, on another sheet of poster board, I recreated the vulnerability scale from the book, ranking the degree to which the animals are endangered, from Least Concern to Extinct (!)  Luckily, none of the animals in the book are in the last category (yet).  Reusing the game pieces from the previous game, Monkey had to place the animals on the scale.  This exercise really helped underline just how vulnerable these animals are.  I purposely did this game last, as by now – after reading and playing the habitat game – Monkey had started to develop a bit of an attachment to the animals and so was more affected by seeing where they fell on the scale.

Scavenger Hunt

Since it was the end of our homeschool year, we ran out of time to do the other games I had brainstormed, but these emphasized the role that children could play in helping the animals.  Since gathering information about them is crucial, you could do a scavenger hunt, where you hide the game pieces in your house, and the children would be responsible for finding them.  For older children, you could add numbers to the game pieces (perhaps on a sticky note so they could be removed for other games), indicating how many of the animals there were, so scientists know exactly how many of the animals are left in the wild.  A math extension could be adding up the numbers for a grand total, or creating a bar graph.  Were there more animals in the flatlands or the mangroves?

Animal Protection

An active learning exercise would be to create fun activities that would allow the children to see themselves as champions of the endangered animals.  For instance, one danger to the leatherback turtle is having their eggs stolen.  Children could do a race with plastic eggs to “save them” from predators and carry them to safer place.  To make it more cooperative, instead of competing against each other, you could set a timer and see how many eggs they could put in the safe place (for example, a basket) before time is up.

Global Learning for Kids | Multicultural Kid Blogs

This post is part of our new series Global Learning for Kids. This month we are learning all about India, so link up below any old or new posts designed to teach kids on India–crafts, books, lessons, recipes, music, and more!


Jun 022015
 
 June 2, 2015  activities 5 Responses »

Lego Summer Camp Ideas | Alldonemonkey.com

Have a Lego lover in your house?  Here is your resource list to set up your own Lego summer camp!  Kids will have a blast with these themed activities and snacks!

This post contains affiliate links.  If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission.

Lego Activities

Lego Clean Mud - Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

Lego Clean Mud from Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tail

Lego Slime Sensory Bins from Brain Power Boy

Lego Math Activities for Preschoolers from The Pleasantest Thing

Counting and Measuring with Lego from Imagination Tree

Lego Building Challenges from The Pleasantest Thing

Lego Count and Move from JDaniel4’s Mom

Timed Lego Build - The Pleasantest ThingsTimed Lego Build from Mom with a Lesson Plan on The Pleasantest Thing

Rubber Band Powered Lego Car from Frugal Fun for Boys

Lego Minifigure Storytelling from A Mom with a Lesson Plan

Lego Car Ramp Painting - Toddler Approved

Lego Car Ramp Painting from Toddler Approved

Printing with Lego from Kids Activities Blog

DIY Lego Shirt from Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tail

Make a Race Track with Legos - Inspiration Laboratories

Make a Race Track with Legos from Inspiration Laboratories

Ice Bowling with Lego from Lemon Lime Adventures

5 Ways to Play with Lego Bricks and Water from Fun at Home with Kids

Lego Zip Line from Little Bins for Little Hands

Flying Lego MiniFigs from Creekside Learning

Lego Snacks

Lego Yogurt Snacks - The Chaos and the Clutter

Lego Yogurt Snacks from Chaos and the Clutter

Watermelon Legos from Watermelon.org

Lego Lunch Ideas - JDaniel4s Mom

Lego Lunch Ideas from JDaniel4’s Mom

Lego Peanut Butter & Honey Sandwiches from Babble:
I made these for my kids recently and was queen for a day!

Lego Man Cheese Sandwiches from Babble

Pepperoni Pizza Legos & Candy Legos from The Photographer’s Wife:
I made Lego chocolates like these for the Monkeys’ last birthday party using Lego molds – super easy and the kids loved it!

For even more Lego ideas, be sure to follow my Lego Fun board on Pinterest!



11 Weeks of Themed Activities from All Things Kids

Week 1
Sugar Aunts: Outer Space

Week 2
Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails: Ocean

Week 3
Still Playing School: Colors

Week 4
Where Imagination Grows: Backyard Fun

Week 5
Little Bins for Little Hands: Science

Week 6
All Done Monkey: Legos

Week 7
Rainy Day Mum: Bugs & Butterflies

Week 8
The Pleasantest Thing: Dinosaurs

Week 9
JDaniel 4’s Mom: Rainforest

Week 10
Coffee Cups and Crayons: Secret Spy School

Week 11
Fun-a-Day: Frozen

 

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