Oct 152017
 

Fall is such a beautiful time of year for getting outdoors with your kids, so why not have some fun that is (shh!) also educational by doing these fun nature crafts? This a no-prep outdoor learning activity for preschoolers is a hands on way to reinforce their knowledge of the ABCs plus explore natural materials. Not only does it nurture their budding literacy skills but encourages STEM thinking as well: Which material is easier to work with, bark or grass? How can I make curved letters? Why do my leaves keep blowing away, and how can I stop it??

N Is for Nature Crafts: Outdoor Learning Activity | Alldonemonkey.com

We had so much fun playing and crafting outside, as we tried different ways to make letters using found materials. I’ve also included more fall nature crafts at the end, so now you have no excuse not to get out and get creative with your kids this fall!

N Is for Nature Crafts: Outdoor Learning Activity

To do these nature crafts, all you need is an outdoor space and your imagination! Simply look for materials like leaves, stones, or bark, and use them to make letters.

N Is for Nature Crafts: Outdoor Learning Activity | Alldonemonkey.com

Take a break from those worksheets and get outside – See where your creativity can take you!

N Is for Nature Crafts: Outdoor Learning Activity | Alldonemonkey.com

If you have a very active child like I do, this is a great way to engage their hands and minds.

N Is for Nature Crafts: Outdoor Learning Activity | Alldonemonkey.com

Not shown here is what my preschooler decided the next step should be – creative ways of destroying the letter shapes!

N Is for Nature Crafts: Outdoor Learning Activity | Alldonemonkey.com

More Fall Nature Crafts for Kids

Here are more fall nature crafts you can do with your kids this season!

Fall Nature Crafts for Kids and Teens from Rhythms of Play

Nature Crafts for Autumn from Red Ted Art

25+ Beautiful Fall Nature Crafts for Kids from Fireflies and Mudpies

Fall Nature Craft from Multicultural Kid Blogs

16 Fall Nature Crafts for Preschoolers from Kids Activities Blog

13 Natural Fall Crafts for Kids Using Natural Materials from Schooling a Monkey

31 Days of ABC 2017 | Alldonemonkey.com

It’s time again for another fantastic month of alphabet fun with the 31 Days of ABC! All this month you can look forward to 31 more days of activities, crafts, books, apps, and more, all dedicated to teaching young children the alphabet.

I am so happy to be working with an amazing group of kid bloggers, who will be sharing their ideas with us in the coming days. So join us as we jump, skip, hop, and read our way through the alphabet this October!

Find more great resources in our series from past years: 31 Days of ABCs 2013, 2014, and 2016!

Don’t forget to follow our 31 Days of ABCs Pinterest board for even more great ABC ideas!


31 Days of ABC

Teaching the ABCs – October 1

All Done Monkey: Early Literacy – Getting Started Teaching the Alphabet

A – October 2

Creative World of Varya: A Is for Aromatherapy for Kids

B – October 3

Hispanic Mama: B Is For Bilingual Baby Books

C – October 4

Witty Hoots: C Is for Cool Fingerprint Castle Keyrings Tutorial

D – October 5

Teach Me Mommy: D Is for Dinosaurs DIY Sensory Bin

E – October 6

E Is for Environmental Print to Develop Literacy

F – October 7

Look! We’re Learning! F Is for Printable Farm Paper Bag Puppets

G – October 8

All Done Monkey: G Is for Go

H – October 9

All Done Monkey: H Is for Hello/Hola

I – October 10

Jeddah Mom: I Is for Ice Cream Craft and Sorting Activity

J – October 11

All Done Monkey: J is for Jirafa (Giraffe) – Spanish Coloring Page

K – October 12

Pennies of Time: K Is for Kindness

L – October 13

Schooling Active Monkeys: L Is for Lion Craft

M – October 14

Sugar, Spice & Glitter

N – October 15

All Done Monkey

O – October 16

Kitchen Counter Chronicles: O Is for Owls

P – October 17

Creative World of Varya

Q – October 18

Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes

R – October 19

JDaniel4’sMom: R Is for Robot

S – October 20

Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes: S Is for Spanish

T – October 21

Sand In My Toes: T Is for Truck

U – October 22

The Educators’ Spin On it: U Is for Unicorn

V – October 23

CrArty: V Is for Van Gogh

W – October 24

My Story Time Corner: W Is for Wheels on the Bus

X – October 25

The Mommies Reviews: X

Y – October 26

Teach Me Mommy: Y Is for Yarn Letters

Z – October 27

Bambini Travel: Z Is for Zoo Animals

123’s – October 28

Prewriting – October 29

Books, Songs, & Apps – October 30

Printables – October 31

Royal Baloo and Logi-Bear Too

Oct 122017
 

5 million people are throwing a party, and you’re invited! Here’s why the Bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah matters to you – even if you’ve never heard of the Bahá’í Faith before. (There is a children’s book giveaway at the bottom, so be sure to scroll all the way down!)

Bicentenary of the Birth of Baha'u'llah: Why It Matters | Alldonemonkey.com

Friends, this is a very different post than you have read here before, but I decided I needed to share with you something straight from my heart.

The world is in travail, and its agitation waxeth day by day….

– Baha’u’llah

These days I’m afraid to turn on the news when I wake up. It seems like every day there is a fresh tragedy – another shooting, another natural disaster, another day when I’m feeling heartsick to see more people suffering.

What’s worse is that our own disunity and lack of coordinated vision prevent us from truly helping those in need.

Some days, I look at my own beautiful children and wonder about the world they are going to inherit. Sure, we can do our cute unity crafts and learn about peace and love, but sometimes there feels like a disconnect between that Kumbayah world I’m teaching them about and the one I see on the news.

And it’s not just me. Social media is full of friends in despair – people bitter, disheartened, and finding it difficult to muster the energy to wage another battle for justice or to raise the standard yet again for common decency and understanding.

Yet what if I were to tell you that a Prisoner who lived half a world away and more than a century ago foretold our sufferings and laid out a formula to heal humanity’s wounds and bind it together again as one human family?

Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch. Deal ye one with another with the utmost love and harmony, with friendliness and fellowship… So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth.

In a matter of days, Bahá’ís around the world will celebrate the Bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah, the Founder of the Bahá’í Faith. But wait, you might be saying, what does this have to do with me? 

He Who is your Lord, the All-Merciful, cherisheth in His heart the desire of beholding the entire human race as one soul and one body.

The Bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah

The Bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah is not so much one event as a series of activities that have been happening in local communities around the globe for the past several months, all culminating in big celebrations in every city and town marking the 200th anniversary of the birth of a spiritual Teacher whose Writings have spread around the world, inspiring and transforming families and communities in virtually every country on the globe.

The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established.

Yet His words are not mere platitudes. Baha’u’llah – who spent 40 years of His life in imprisoment and exile because of His teachings – laid out a practical plan to bring about structural change in our society and create a framework for global governance that recognizes:

– the importance of both spiritual and material development

– the equality of men and women

– the underlying unity of the beautifully diverse human family

– the common spiritual foundation of all the major world religions

– the essential harmony of science and religion

– the centrality of justice to all endeavors

– the importance of education

– the need for the abolition of all forms of prejudice

And it’s already working.

More than 5 million Baha’is around the world have been putting His teachings into practice for more than a century, slowly building up institutions on the local, national, and international level that use consultation as a form of decision-making, that put the unity and well-being of the group ahead of individual egos, and that seek to carry forward “an ever-advancing civilization.”

Related Post: Resources to Teach Children about the Bahá’í Faith

A group studying the spiritual empowerment of junior youth at the Baha'i centre in Montero, Bolivia. Copyright © Bahá'í International Community

A group studying the spiritual empowerment of junior youth at the Bahá’í center in Montero, Bolivia. (Had to share this one because this is the community where I lived and worked 20 years ago!) Copyright © Bahá’í International Community

Bahá’ís live in virtually every country on the globe and reside in well over 100,000 localities. Bahá’ís come from all walks of life, and members come from roughly 2,100 indigenous tribes, races, and ethnic groups. 188 national councils oversee the work of the Bahá’í communities, and more than 300 formal programs of Bahá’í education can be found around the world.

Students from Banani School (standing), a Bahá'í-inspired school in Chisamba, Zambia teach students at a nearby elementry school as part of a service project. Copyright © Bahá'í International Community

Students from Banani School (standing), a Bahá’í-inspired school in Chisamba, Zambia teach students at a nearby elementry school as part of a service project. Copyright © Bahá’í International Community

Bahá’ís are at the forefront of social and economic development, with several thousand projects worldwide, more than 900 of which are large-scale, sustained projects, including more than 600 schools and over 70 development agencies. Bahá’í writings and other literature have been translated into more than 800 languages.

Women learning about agriculture at the Barli Development Institute for Rural Women in Indore, India. Copyright © Bahá'í International Community

Women learning about agriculture at the Barli Development Institute for Rural Women in Indore, India. Copyright © Bahá’í International Community

So whether you are a despairing mother wondering about the world her children will grow up in, a grassroots activist looking for a model to create unity of action, or a leader wanting to inspire real change, you can find inspiration and hope in the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh and the example of the Bahá’í community.

Baha'i Faith Light of Unity Festival: Bicentenary of the Birth of Baha'u'llah

Join the Bahá’ís this month as we celebrate 200 years since the birth of Bahá’u’lláh. Celebrations are being held in communities around the globe and you are invited. For those in Sacramento, you can find out about our local celebration, or search in your own area for the celebration nearest you.

You can also see how communities around the world are celebrating with their children and download these beautiful coloring pages!

All quotations above are excerpts from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh

Life of Bahá’u’lláh Children’s Book Giveaway

To commemorate the Bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah, I am also thrilled to be giving away TWO COPIES of a brand new children’s book about the life of Bahá’u’lláh! In the interest of full disclosure, I must tell you that the author is a good friend (and hero!) of mine, and that I helped edit the book – however, I am being sincere when I tell you this is a fabulous book and a must have if you would like to teach your children about the life of Bahá’u’lláh!

The Life of Baha'u'llah | Delighted Hearts

I have been reading an advance copy with my 7 year old, and it’s really engaged him and sparked great conversations. He especially loves the family tree and full color maps. As his teacher, I really love the timeline and glossary as well. Until this point, I really hadn’t found a book for older children that gives such an in-depth view of Bahá’u’lláh’s life. I love that I can pick up this one book and know it will cover all of the major events of His life, all within the context of their spiritual and historical significance.

Written in honor of the Bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah, this 72 page book intends to share with children the story of His majestic life, through the exploration of spiritual concepts and the stages and milestones of the life of Bahá’u’lláh.

While children of all ages will enjoy the gorgeous full color illustrations, the 30 stories included in this book are aimed principally at ages 8-12.

You can find it on Etsy and Amazon (affiliate link).

We are giving away two copies of The Life of Bahá’u’lláh by Melissa López Chaperoo. One copy is available for US winners, while the other is available to ship worldwide! Enter to win by simply commenting below: Tell us 1) What gives you hope, 2) What country you live in.

Giveaway goes through midnight PT on Tuesday, October 17, 2017. Winners shown by random selection.

Sep 262017
 

Hispanic Heritage Month is here, and it’s one of my favorite times of year! Not only do I get to throw a virtual party with my blogger friends (see below for details on our big HHM series and giveaway), but it’s such a fun excuse to celebrate Hispanic heritage with my kids! While we often do crafts and read books, I also really love getting them in the kitchen to make some traditional recipes! So whether you are hosting a cultural event, teaching a group of students, or cooking with your kids at home, here is a collection of some wonderful Hispanic Heritage Month recipes to try!

60+ Hispanic Heritage Month Recipes to Try with Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

Hispanic Heritage Month Recipes to Try with Kids

I’ll never forget returning to the US after a year in Bolivia, and so many people commented to me, “You must be so tired of eating tacos!” It seems funny now, but at the time it was slightly incomprehensible: Bolivia is thousands of miles and an entire continent away from Mexico, so my friends in Bolivia had little concept of what tacos were or how they should taste. Despite some commonalities, the cultures and cuisines of Latin America are incredibly varied. Hopefully this list will give you an idea of just how diverse these food traditions are.

We hope you enjoy cooking these Hispanic Heritage Month recipes with your kiddos! Let us know in the comments your favorite dish to cook from Latin America.

Argentina

Panqueques con Dulce de Leche (Dulce de Leche Crepes), Tara’s Multicultural Table

Pastel de Papa con Eliote (Potato and Corn Casserole)Global Table Adventure

Bolivia

Arroz con Leche (Rice Pudding)Crafty Moms Share

EmpanadasAll Done Monkey

Leche Asada (Baked Milk Custard)Global Table Adventure

Chile

Alfajores (Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookies)Global Table Adventure

Ensalada (Simple Salad)Kid World Citizen

Colombia

Arepuelas (Crepes)Mama Tortuga

Pandebonos (Cheese Bread)Compras y Hogar

Pasteles de Yuca y Arracacha (Cassava Cakes)Mama Tortuga

SancochoCompras y Hogar

Sopa de Avena (Oatmeal Soup)Mama Tortuga

Costa Rica

Arepas (Pancakes)Pura Vida Moms

Arroz con Pollo (Chicken and Rice)Pura Vida Moms

Atol de Avena (Oatmeal Steamer)All Done Monkey

Atol de Naranja (Orange Pudding)All Done Monkey

EmpanadasAll Done Monkey

Ensalada Rusa (Beet Salad)All Done Monkey

Pañuelo (Cream Filled Turnover)Pura Vida Moms

Tamarindo Juice PopsAll Done Monkey

Tres Leches CakePura Vida Moms

Cuba

Arroz con Leche (Rice Pudding)De Su Mamá

Arroz con Pollo (Chicken with Rice), De Su Mamá

Fritura de Bacaloa (Codfish Fritters), De Su Mamá

Hot Pressed Pork SandwichGlobal Table Adventure

Mango MilkshakeAll Done Monkey

Pastelitos de Carne (Stuffed Meat Pies), De Su Mamá

Torticas (Sugar Cookies)Crafty Moms Share

Ecuador

Arroz con Leche (Rice Pudding)Hispanic Mama

Espumilla (Guava Meringue Cream)Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes

HumitaHispanic Mama

Pan de Yuca (Gluten-Free Cheesy Bread)Ladydeelg

Torta de Choclo (Corn Cake)Ladydeelg

El Salvador

Atol de Elote (Creamy Sweet Corn Drink)Global Table Adventure

PupusasKid World Citizen

Quesadilla (Sweet Breakfast Cake)Global Table Adventure

Guatemala

Hot CocoaGlobal Table Adventure

Honduras

Tortas de Plátano (Plantain and Cheese Turnovers)Global Table Adventure

México

Agua Fresca con Fresa (Strawberry Drink)El Mundo de Pepita

Calabaza en Tacha (Candied Pumpkin)Kid World Citizen

Cochinita Pibil Tacos (Achiote Pork Tacos)Kid World Citizen

Corn TortillasDiscovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes

Creamy Green SalsaPura Vida Moms

Fresh Fruit and Veggie SnacksKid World Citizen

Hot ChocolateMommyMaestra

Mango Jícama SaladMommyMaestra

Paletas (Popsicles)Kid World Citizen

Pan de Muerto (Bread of the Dead)MommyMaestra

Pico de Gallo (Salsa)El Mundo de Pepita

Pumpkin Noosa Cupcakes for Día de los MuertosPura Vida Moms

Tinga de Pollo (Chicken Tinga)Kid World Citizen

Panamá

Tostones (Plantain Chips)Global Table Adventure

Paraguay

Alfajores (Dulce de Leche Stuffed Cookies)Global Table Adventure

Sopa Paraguayo (Cheesy Cornbread)Global Table Adventure

Perú

CevicheHispanic Mama

Lomo Saltado (Beef Stir Fry)All Done Monkey

Mazamorra Morada (Purple Corn Pudding)Crafty Moms Share

Potatoes with Ocopa SauceKid World Citizen

Salchipapas (Sausages and Potatoes)Tara’s Multicultural Table

Puerto Rico

Kid-Friendly Piña ColadaDiscovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes

Limber de Oreo Frozen TreatDiscovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes

Mofongo with Spanish OlivesMulticultural Kid Blogs

Uruguay

Pasta con Salsa Caruso (Pasta with Caruso Sauce)Tara’s Multicultural Table

Venezuela

Cachapas (Corn Cakes with Cheese)Global Table Adventure

Tequeños con Salsa Guasacaca (Cheese Sticks with Green Sauce), Tara’s Multicultural Table

What are your favorite Hispanic Heritage Month recipes?

Hispanic Heritage Month Series 2017 | Multicultural Kid BlogsWe are so excited for our sixth annual Hispanic Heritage Month series and giveaway! Through the month (September 15 – October 15), you’ll find great resources to share Hispanic Heritage with kids, plus you can enter to win in our great giveaway and link up your own posts on Hispanic Heritage!

September 15
Embracing Diversity on Multicultural Kid Blogs: 10 Fun Facts About Dominican Republic

September 18
Spanish Mama: Nazca Lines – Exploratory Art Project

September 19
Hispanic Mama: Fun Ways to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with Your Children

September 20
Inspired by Family: 16 Great Children’s Books About South America

September 21
Spanish Mama: Folk Songs in Spanish

September 25
Spanish Playground: Food from Latin America Infographic Picture Cards Activities

September 26
All Done Monkey: 60+ Hispanic Heritage Month Recipes to Try with Kids

September 27
Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes: Hispanic Inspired Crafts for Kids

September 28
Kid World Citizen

September 29
Pura Vida Moms on Multicultural Kid Blogs

October 2
Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes on Multicultural Kid Blogs

October 5
Spanglish House

October 6
Mama Tortuga

October 12
Tiny Tapping Toes

Don’t miss all of the great posts from previous years as well: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

Hispanic Heritage Month Giveaway!

Giveaway begins September 15 and goes through October 15, 2017. Enter below for a chance to win one of these amazing prize packages! Some prizes have shipping restrictions. In the event that a winner lives outside the designated shipping area, that prize will then become part of the following prize package. For more information, read our full giveaway rules.

Hispanic Heritage Month Series and Giveaway 2017 Grand Prize | Multicultural Kid Blogs

Grand Prize

From Mariana Iranzi: A digital copy of her new CD Primavera
From Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer: A print copy of Cántale a tu bebé with music download – US Shipping Only
From 123 Andrés: A copy of the CD Arriba Abajo (digital copy if outside the US)
From Spanish Playground: Set of books, crafts, and toys from Latin America – US Shipping Only
From Carole P. Roman: Set of If You Were Me and Lived In… books on Mexico, Brazil, Cuba, Peru, Portugal, and the Mayan Empire – US Shipping Only
From Mister G: A copy of the new CD Mundo Verde/Green World (digital copy if outside the US)
From World Music with Daria: Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Musical Craft and Coloring E-Book
From Gus on the Go: Spanish Alphabet Print (US Shipping Only) & single-use promo code for Spanish for kids language app
From Lectura Para Niños: A set of printable little readers, one for each letter of the Spanish alphabet. Designed to last the entire school year, with one new book each week plus several review weeks included throughout the set

Hispanic Heritage Month Series and Giveaway 2017 | Multicultural Kid Blogs

1st Prize

From Mariana Iranzi: A digital copy of her new CD Primavera
From Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer: A print copy of Cántale a tu bebé with music download – US Shipping Only
From 123 Andrés: A copy of the CD Arriba Abajo (digital copy if outside the US)
From Spanish Playground: Set of books, crafts, and toys from Latin America – US Shipping Only
From Carole P. Roman: Set of If You Were Me and Lived In… books on Mexico, Brazil, Cuba, Peru, Portugal, and the Mayan Empire – US Shipping Only
From Mister G: A copy of the new CD Mundo Verde/Green World (digital copy if outside the US)
From World Music with Daria: Set of maracas and a Spanish fan – US Shipping Only
From Gus on the Go: Spanish Alphabet Print (US Shipping Only) & single-use promo code for Spanish for kids language app

Hispanic Heritage Month Series and Giveaway 2017 2nd Prize | Multicultural Kid Blogs

2nd Prize

From Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer: A print copy of Cántale a tu bebé with music download – US Shipping Only
From 123 Andrés: A copy of the CD Uno, Dos, Tres, Andrés! (digital copy if outside the US)
From Spanish Playground: Set of books, crafts, and toys from Latin America – US Shipping Only
From Carole P. Roman: Set of If You Were Me and Lived In… books on Mexico, Brazil, Cuba, Peru, Portugal, and the Mayan Empire – US Shipping Only
From Mister G: A copy of the new CD Mundo Verde/Green World (digital copy if outside the US)
From Lee and Low Books: Martí’s Song for Freedom/Martí y sus versos por la libertad; Rainbow Weaver/Tejedora del arcoíris; Mamá the Alien/Mamá la extraterreste; Marisol McDonald and the Monster/Marisol McDonald y el monstruo – US Shipping Only

Hispanic Heritage Month Giveaway 2017 - Third Prize | Multicultural Kid Blogs

3rd Prize

From Carole P. Roman: Set of If You Were Me and Lived In… books on Mexico, Brazil, Cuba, Peru, Portugal, and the Mayan Empire – US Shipping Only
From Mister G: A copy of the new CD Mundo Verde/Green World (digital copy if outside the US)
From Sarah Aroeste: A copy of the new Ladino/English bilingual picture book Ora de Despertar/Time to Wake UpUS Shipping Only
From Arte Público Press: Picture books Esteban de Luna, Baby Rescuer! / Esteban de Luna, ¡rescatador de bebés!, The Little Doctor / El doctorcito, Dalia’s Wondrous Hair / El cabello maravilloso de Dalia, Grandma’s Chocolate / El chocolate de Abuelita, I Kick the Ball / Pateo el balón, Level Up / Paso de nivel, A Surprise for Teresita / Una sorpresa para TeresitaUS Shipping Only

Hispanic Heritage Month Series and Giveaway 2017 Bonus Prize | Multicultural Kid Blogs

Bonus Prizes

We are giving away an extra copy of the CD Mundo Verde/Green World from Mister G (US Shipping Only) and up to 10 digital downloads of this brand new album: Watch a video of the title track!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Sep 192017
 
 September 19, 2017  Book Reviews, parenting Comments Off on Books to Help Kids with Grief and Anxiety

A common struggle of childhood is learning to deal with big emotions, whether anxiety over starting at a new school or dealing with the death of a loved one. I’m happy to share with you some wonderful new children’s books that take a creative look at grief and anxiety, allowing young readers to use their imaginations to see their problems in a new way.

Books to Help Kids with Grief and Anxiety | Alldonemonkey.com

Books to Help Kids with Grief and Anxiety

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.

Do you have a child who is afraid to try something new? Who hesitates before jumping into a new endeavor, even if it’s something she really wants to do? Smoot: A Rebellious Shadow is a fresh look at this common problem, as Smoot, a shadow to a hesitant young boy, decides to rebel and go off to have the adventures his master is too scared to have. Soon other shadows join in the fun: a dragonfly’s shadow turns into a real dragon, the shadows of two nervous insect musicians finally take the stage, and a rock becomes a castle. In the end, Smoot convinces his boy to take a chance and become more like his shadow, until soon the two are laughing and leaping together.

The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole is one of the cleverest books I have read in a long time. A young girl, still reeling from the death of her beloved father, discovers a black hole following her. It soon becomes a pet of sorts, though it has the disturbing tendency to swallow everything around it – even if really all it’s trying to do is cuddle. A black hole that swallows everything it touches is a brilliant metaphor for grief, perfectly suited for this very scientifically minded heroine. At first her new pet’s capacity to swallow objects around it is just funny and perhaps a bit inconvenient, but when it swallows her brother and her dog, she must finally face the problem (and her grief) head on.

This middle grade novel is a wonderful read for any child learning to manage their grief and anxiety, but it will be a special treat for those that love science, as it incorporates so many elements of science and especially astronomy.

Related Post: Children’s Books About Death

This post is part of a blog tour showcasing these two new children’s books – be sure to visit the blogs below for more features and even activities!

Week One:

September 12 – Welcome to Wonderland – Review & Activity (create your own pet Black Hole)

September 13 – Embers and Ashes – Review and Bookstagram

September 15 – Dazzled by Books – Review

Week Two:

September 18 – books4yourkids – Review (just Smoot)

September 19 – All Done Monkey – Review

September 20 – Four Violet Reviews – Creative piece

September 21 – DoodleMom’s Homeschooling Life – Review

September 22 – YABooksCentral – Author Guest Post – Top 5 listicle from author

Week Three:

September 25 – Teachers Who Read – Review

September 26 – Here’s to Happy Endings – Review

September 27 – Mama Smiles – Review & Creative Activities

September 28 – Cracking the Cover – Review

Aug 252017
 
 August 25, 2017  Education, multiculturalism, raising world citizens, spiritual education Comments Off on Sikhism: Learning Resources for Kids

Learning about other religions is an important of a world cultures curriculum, but one religion I did not know much about growing up was Sikhism. That is why I was so pleased to receive some beautiful books on Sikhism for kids, which prompted me to deepen my own understanding of this egalitarian, inclusive religion.

When my oldest son was very young, some friends and I had a chance to visit a local Sikh temple with our little ones. It is was an experience I’ll never forget! We were shown such kindness from everyone we met, and I was impressed with their dedication to serving others, as exemplified in the meal that was provided to everyone who attended. Since I was there with a three year old, I didn’t have a chance to really ask questions, and so was left wondering exactly what Sikhs believed and where their traditions had come from. Why do the men wear turbans, and why do they keep their hair so long? Do they believe in one god or many? Why do they all seem to have the same last names?

If you or your children have similar questions, here are great resources on Sikhism for kids that you can share.

Sikhism: Learning Resources for Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

Sikhism: Learning Resources for Kids

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. 

Related Post: India for Kids: Favorite Resources

A great place to start is this overview which outlines 10 things everyone should know about Sikhism, including the fact that it is an inclusive, pluralistic religion whose members have a long history of fighting for social justice. You can also get a good overview from the Sikhism Guide online or from the BBC website.

I really love the Khalsa Kids website. (Khalsa is the word for the Sikh community). This site is geared towards Sikh kids, but has one section devoted to explaining Sikhism and another just for teachers. These even include lesson plans and aids for classroom discussions. You really get the sense that Sikhs spend a lot of their time having to answer questions about themselves!

Your kids will enjoy this brief video introduction to Sikhism from Little Sikhs (be sure to check out their other resources as well!)

And now for those beautiful books I mentioned! I am grateful to the lovely Saffron Press for sharing them with me. All three are from author Navjot Kaur but with different illustrators, all of whose paintings compliment the text of each book in wonderfully distinct ways. (Side note: the author’s last name of Kaur is the female equivalent of the last name Singh. All Sikhs have one of these two last names – Singh for males, Kaur for females – to demonstrate their belief in total equality, a revolutionary idea when it was founded in 15th century India, steeped in the hierarchical caste system. Traditionally, last names were an easy way to find out what caste a person belonged to).

Related Post: Zoroastrianism for Kids

As of this writing none of the books below is readily available from Amazon; however, you can find them all on the Saffron Press website.

The Garden of Peace by Navjot Kaur | Sikhism Learning Resources for Kids

The Garden of Peace is a lushly illustrated book about the origins of Sikhism, using the allegory of planting a garden from seeds that no one thought would sprout. Each seed represents a central tenet of the Sikh faith, such as kindness or determination. Despite the opposition of the evil emperor and his warriors, the little seeds grow into a beautiful garden of peace, tended by a growing number of faithful followers who come from all walks of life. At the back of the book are instructions to grow your own garden of peace by, for example, planting kindness and believing in yourself. I also appreciated the extended author’s note, which gives a detailed history of the origins of Sikhism and how Sikhs today carry on this tradition of peace and service to all.

A Lion's Mane by Navjot Kaur | Sikhism Learning Resources for Kids

The award-winning book A Lion’s Mane focuses on the most visible marker of a follower of the Sikh faith – the turban. It explores the meanings of this “lion’s mane” by traveling around the world to connect this Sikh tradition to beliefs about lions in different cultures. For example, Richard the Lionheart of England had many brave knights, and being a Sikh also means having courage. The underlying theme of the book is that although the boy in the book may look different, the turban that looks so “strange” is precisely what connects him to others around the world, and, more to the point, each of us has something that makes us special: “I have a lion’s mane and I am different, just like you!” Don’t miss the curriculum guide that the author has created to accompany this conversation-sparking book.

Dreams of Hope | Sikhism Learning Resources for Kids

Dreams of Hope is a gentle bedtime story told by a father to his young daughter. “Where will our dream journey begin tonight, Little One?” His words travel with her as she flies through dreams to visit the nighttime creatures settling down to sleep in the meadow, on the mountaintop, and in the ocean. The text is sprinkled throughout with Panjabi words, explained in a glossary at the back, including the mantra Vaa hey guroo, which is used by Sikhs as “an expression of awe or wonder.” This gorgeous book is clearly meant to be a keepsake, as it contains space for you to write down your dreams and wishes for your child. It also includes a Dreams of Hope Travel Guide with drawings of peace monuments around the world.

Aug 022017
 
 August 2, 2017  Book Reviews, character building for kids Comments Off on Children’s Books About Being Brave

We all want our children to go off and have adventures, to live life to the fullest. An essential component of this is, of course, teach them to be brave, so they are not daunted when faced with a difficult situation or a new experience. As the beginning of the school year approaches, it can be an especially important time to remind children of the courage they have inside them. Here are some wonderful books for all ages that teach by example how to be brave when faced with challenges large and small.

Children's Books About Being Brave | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of some 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.

Children’s Books About Being Brave

Poor little baby bird can think of all kinds of reasons why attempting to fly out of the nest is a bad idea. Each time he peers over the edge of his safe, warm nest, the shadows twist into the menacing shapes of his fears. NOPE! is his response whenever his mother tries to prod him to try to fly. Then just when it looks like he might never leave, his mother gives him some gentle, um, encouragement but pushing him out of the nest. A very funny story with extremely simple text but incredibly expressive illustrations. 

Jabari Jumps is actually one that several of us that review books have been chatting about because we all love it so much! (You can read another review from one of them). So many kids (and adults) can relate to wanting to jump off the high dive at the pool but then chickening out when the time comes and we see how far down it is to the water. I love the character of Jabari but also his dad, who is there to offer him encouragement. He recognizes when Jabari needs a little more time but also knows just what to say when the moment is right. I am going to remember his advice myself, that instead of being scared about something we can think of it like a little surprise – because who doesn’t like surprises?

My 4 year old requests Jabari Jumps every night at bedtime, and after he was brave enough to jump into the pool recently, he told me that he was just like Jabari!

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Hello Kitty Storybook) is part of a gentle series of fairy tale adventures for very young readers. It also includes Thumbelina (Hello Kitty Storybook). If you have a Hello Kitty fan in your house, you won’t want to miss these – and if you don’t, you might after you read these books! While they present somewhat scary situations (falling through a rabbit hole, being kidnapped by a toad), here the scary factor is toned down and the emphasis is on the adventure and the happy ending.

RELATED POST: Adventure Books for Kids

The Road Home is a beautiful book about finding safety and comfort in a big world. “This road is hard, this road is long, this road that leads us home” is the echoing refrain as woodland creatures and their children begin to prepare for the coming winter. What I love about this book, in addition to the gorgeous illustrations, is the idea that whenever we are with our loved ones, we are already home. A great book to snuggle up and read with your little ones, to remind them that they are never alone.

Black Belt Bunny is a cute, funny book your children will love! Black Belt Bunny has all kinds of super cool moves to face any challenge – but he wasn’t expecting to have to face salad! What will Black Belt Bunny do when he is asked to prepare his own salad? Mind you, Black Belt Bunny actually loves his vegetables (as all bunnies do), but he’s never had to make one before, and he’s not sure he can! Luckily this fierce little bunny summons his skills to invent his own creative way to make a salad! My favorite part, though, is the end, where the grown up, who has been encouraging him all the while, has the tables turned on him – he has to be brave enough to try something new, too!

We love Harriet the Hamster Princess! In fact, I just finished re-reading the first book in the series (Hamster Princess: Harriet the Invincible) with my boys. So we were all excited to learn that there was a new adventure out: as with all of the Harriet books, Hamster Princess: Giant Trouble is a re-telling of a classic fairy tale (this time Jack and the Beanstalk), but with a spunky heroine who loves to battle with the bad guys. Harriet and her friends are back in another hilarious book that blends the graphic novel and storybook formats. Great for reluctant and early readers. These books also make great read-louds!

RELATED POST: Hybrid Graphic Novels for Kids

I’m also happy to share the latest installment from another beloved series: Mystery of the Min Min Lights is the ninth book from Pack-n-Go Girls, the chapter books that take girls around the world on incredible adventures! (I should add that my son adores these books, so they aren’t just for girls!) Wendy Lee isn’t sure about having to spend a year in the Australian outback when her mom is on assignment for work, but at least she makes friends with Chloe, who invites her to stay at her family’s sheep station. Yet soon she discovers that someone is stealing the sheep – and what does this have to do with the spooky lights that can be seen at night? To solve the mystery and help her new friend, Wendy must dig deep to be brave and do what it takes to catch the thief.

As always, readers will learn about a new part of the world, as facts are woven naturally into the story. I love that the main character (the non-Australian character who is having an adventure in Australia) is Chinese American. Usually the “normal” character is a white Westerner, so this is a great change and adds another layer of complexity and richness to this wonderful tale.

In a time when immigration is constantly in the news, Evangelina Takes Flight gives middle grade readers a fresh look at the challenges faced by Mexican immigrants to the US over a century ago. At the time, most fled their homes because of war, rather than economic hardship. Evangelina is a young girl on the cusp of womanhood when rumors of wars and marauding soldiers reach their small ranch in the Mexican countryside. Though they are not wealthy, her family knows they will still be targets because they own their own land. Evangelina is forced to leave the only home she has ever known and travel with her family to the United States, where she struggles to find her voice in a new language and confront the many Americans who are hostile to the new arrivals.

As a history buff, I loved the detail about life in revolutionary Mexico, as well as what the long journey to the US would have been like. But young readers will identify with Evangelina’s painful transition to her new school and admire her being brave enough to finally confront those who would fight against immigrants rather than giving them a chance. Would be a great book to pair with Esperanza Rising, about another young woman who immigrants from Mexico several decades later.

Jul 252017
 
 July 25, 2017  food, raising world citizens Comments Off on Enjoy Easy Asian-Inspired Dishes at Home

This post was sponsored by Ling Ling and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

Do you love Asian cooking but feel like you don’t have the time to experiment with complicated dinners? Too busy taking the kids to soccer practice or chasing after your toddler to attempt new flavor combinations? Now you can serve something both easy and delicious to your family. Feel like a rock star when you sit down to a no sweat dinner of Asian-inspired dishes that taste straight out of a restaurant!

Enjoy Easy Asian-Inspired Dishes at Home | Alldonemonkey.com

I love our family dinners, but most evenings I don’t love cooking them. After a full day of caring for three young children, the last thing I feel like doing is spending lengthy amounts of time cooking, and I certainly don’t have the mental energy to experiment with anything new.

That’s why I was so happy to learn that Ling Ling, long popular because of their pot stickers, now has a new line of fried rice dishes! As someone who loves to introduce her children to flavors from around the world, I am glad to be able to serve them authentic Asian-inspired dishes at home, without having to spend hours laboring in the kitchen!

I had the opportunity to try out some of these new fried rice dishes recently at a blogger event in San Francisco, sponsored by Ling Ling and hosted by Parties That Cook.

Enjoy Easy Asian-Inspired Dishes at Home | Alldonemonkey.com

During the event we were treated to samples of three of the new fried rice dishes, based on authentic Asian-inspired recipes: Yakitori Chicken (Japan), Chinese-Style Vegetable, and Bibimbap Beef (Korea). (You can also look for their Yakiniku Beef and Thai-Style Chicken). They were all so flavorful, thanks to Ling Ling‘s use of high quality ingredients and their unique preparation method – rather than simply giving you a sauce packet to stir into your meal, Ling Ling actually infuses the rice with the sauces so that you get amazing flavor in each bite.

Which was my favorite? I couldn’t make up my mind! Chinese-Style Vegetable, of course, is the traditional favorite I grew up with, while Yakitori Chicken had that wonderful umami flavor everyone talks about. (Plus it really did have big chunks of grilled chicken in it!) But I was most intrigued by the Bibimbap Beef, since I was the least familiar with it. The gochujang sauce has just a bit of heat to it but is also a bit sweet – I loved it!

Enjoy Asian-Inspired Dishes at Home | Alldonemonkey.com

But first we got some expert cooking tips from Chef Mike Chapter from Parties That Cook. One of my favorites? If you are tired of peeling ginger, you can either use the back of a spoon to make it easier – or skip peeling altogether! Simply grate the ginger – peel and all – then squeeze it to wring out the juice. The juice is what you’re really after, so just add the same quantity of the juice as you would of the ginger – no more peeling!

We also had the chance to try our hand at making some side dishes to pair with the Ling Ling fried rice: Crispy Kale Salad with Shiitake Mushrooms, Raisins and Almonds paired with the Ling Ling Yakatori Chicken; Hand Rolled Scallion Pancakes paired with Ling Ling Chinese Style Vegetables; and Asian Cucumber Salad paired with the Ling Ling Bibimbap Beef.

I was on the team that made the Asian Cucumber Salad – doesn’t it look great?? And it was so simple to make!

Then we all got to sit down family style to enjoy the wonderful Asian-inspired dishes. Wouldn’t you like to serve a meal like this at your house?

Enjoy Easy Asian-Inspired Dishes at Home | Alldonemonkey.com

Now you can! To try Ling Ling Fried Rice for yourself, take advantage of this coupon to get $2 off one box of Ling Ling Fried Rice at any retailer where the products are sold. You won’t regret it!

Enjoy Easy Asian-Inspired Dishes at Home | Alldonemonkey.com

What are your favorite Asian-inspired dishes? Share in the comments below!

Jul 242017
 
 July 24, 2017  bilingualism, Education, Spanish Comments Off on Teaching a Second Language with Montessori

I have always been intrigued by the Montessori method. I loved its gentleness, focus on hands-on learning, and emphasis on learning about other cultures. What you may not know is that Montessori is also a wonderful way of teaching a second language! Here are some great resources for teaching your child another language using Montessori. Share your experiences in the comments!

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the Montessori Inspiration at Home bundle 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 commission at no extra charge to you.

Teaching a Second Language with Montessori | Alldonemonkey.com

Teaching a Second Language with Montessori

The Montessori method of teaching a second language follows the general Montessori principles of starting early, trusting your child, and following their interests. So the focus is on providing a stimulating environment in the second language with activities that interest them, allowing them to experiment and try on their own, and not pushing them to activities they do not want to do. (As any bilingual parent will tell you, not following the last rule will turn most kids off learning the new language!)

If you are considering Montessori but aren’t sure where to begin here are some great resources to get you started, including an AMAZING one you won’t want to miss!

A bilingual Montessori homeschool setup

Tons of bilingual Montessori printables

Raising multilingual Montessori kids

Raising a bilingual child the Montessori way

Montessori Inspiration at Home - Toddler Series

I am thrilled to share with you the Montessori Inspiration at Home Toddler series, now on sale! This is an amazing resource for those interested in teaching a second language with Montessori or anyone wanted to use the Montessori method to teach their little ones. The bundle pack includes the new Language book (which just launched on July 19) and the earlier Practical Life Skills book (both of which can also be purchased separately).

Montessori Inspiration at Home: Language is designed for caregivers who want to nurture their toddler’s language development. The 100+ pages of ideas are so easy to follow, with simple instructions, printables, and photos – perfect even if you have little background in the Montessori method. The 12 chapters give you a basic background in Montessori as well as activities to build those pre-reading and pre-writing skills, plus crossing the midline, sound games, the 3-period lesson, teaching a second language, and more!

There are over 200 pages of printable resources, including materials in Spanish! So if you are working to create a stimulating, bilingual environment for your child, you won’t want to miss this!

I love how easy the Montessori Inspiration at Home Toddler series makes it to get started with Montessori. It gives you all the tools you need and equips you with the confidence to do it! As soon as I started reading, I felt so inspired about my own homeschooling and how I can adapt it to use the Montessori method with my little ones. I highly this incredible resource as a way to educate yourself and your child, especially if you are interested in teaching a second language with Montessori.

Montessori Inspiration at Home Bundle SALE

And if you get your copy by July 26, 2017, you can more than 50% offDon’t miss this opportunity – get your copy today!

Jul 202017
 

Cooking with kids always seems like such a great idea – until you actually do it. If you can see past the messes and inefficiency, however, you will be rewarded with a sweet experience that neither of you will ever forget! Cooking together builds confidence, teaches life skills, and encourages healthy eating habits. In addition, it can bring some of your most treasured bonding moments – that is, if you can manage to relax and enjoy yourself instead of worrying about the state of your kitchen. Here are my top tips for enjoying cooking with kids. Share yours in the comments!

Cooking with Kids: How to Relax and Have Fun | 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 commission at no extra cost to you.

Cooking with Kids: How to Relax and Have Fun

If You Invite Them to Help, Make Sure Your Mean It

If you are going to cook with your child, make sure you are really in the mood for it. If you are already feeling anxious or irritable to begin with, take a rain check and do it another time. Cooking with kids requires all of your patience and attention, so don’t start off at a deficit.

Organize Your Space

Before beginning, make sure their work space is clear, accessible, and safe. You don’t want to have them get started only to notice that the kitchen knives are within reach of your toddler or that there isn’t really enough room for them to roll out their dough. Take a few extra minutes to clear off the counter space and bring all of the ingredients into easy reach, so you aren’t leaving a small child unattended while you go to pull items out of the pantry.

Know What You’re Doing

If it is a new or less familiar recipe, be sure to read it over carefully ahead of time. Remember that once you begin you will be distracted by your kids.

Safety First

Make sure that anything dangerous is out of reach before you even begin and keep a sharp eye on what your child is doing. They seem to have a knack for discovering dangers you never would have dreamed of! Remember that you will be distracted, so as you cook, triple check that turn off the burners and put away equipment.

Allow Extra Time – But Know Your Limits

Be sure to allow plenty of extra time, not just because you’ll be cleaning up spills or teaching them how to crack eggs. Children are also much more process oriented than adults, so they will likely enjoy stirring together the ingredients or cutting out the shapes longer than is strictly necessary. Bite your tongue and let it go on for as long as you can, because often this is the part they most enjoy. Mine tend to linger at the mixing stage then lose interest and wander out of the kitchen. But do know your limits. If you feel your frustration building, gently move them along after a reasonable period.

And reliably, your child will have a messy diaper or need to go potty at a key point in the recipe, so try to make dishes that can sit on the counter while you take necessary breaks!

Cooking with Kids: How to Relax and Have Fun | Alldonemonkey.com

Embrace the Mess

Cooking with kids is messy and slow – and fun!  But you have to accept the first two in order to really enjoy the latter.

I never realized how uptight I was about messes until I had kids.  Now I really try to relax and enjoy the moment.  After all, there is often little you can do to contain the mess! Your child, covered in flour from head to foot, is bound to take off for the living room, bouncing off all the furniture, just as you have your hands full with hot cookie sheets from the oven and can’t possibly chase him down. Or he will decide to “help” you crack the eggs on the counter when you have your back turned for just a second. No matter what, there will be a mess to clean up, so you might as well make it worth it!

Set Your Priorities And Lower Your Expectations Accordingly

If you expect to bake perfect dishes in no time flat with little mess, than you have no business bringing your child into the action.  You will only become frustrated with your little one, who has very different ideas about what is going to happen.

But if you have asked your child to join you, it is probably because you want to have a special, fun experience with him, rather than a perfect product.  Just keep reminding yourself of this, when you start to switch back into a default mode of “I must get these in the oven right now!” and “Don’t pull apart the cookies!  They were so pretty!”

Cooking with Kids: How to Relax and Have Fun | Alldonemonkey.com

Try to Work with “Child Efficiency” Rather Than “Adult Efficiency”

If you are working alone, you will probably complete the steps a certain way in order to be efficient, but that may not be the most efficient way to do things when you have a little helper.  For example, when making cookies, normally I would roll out all the dough, then cut out all the shapes, then move them all to the cookie sheet.  When I did that with my toddler helping me, however, dough disappeared into his sweet little mouth before I could cut out all the shapes, and what shapes I could do were often broken or “transformed” into something entirely different by the time I could put them onto the cookie sheet.

So instead, I rolled out a bit of dough, cut a few stars, and moved those to the cookie sheet before rolling out a bit more dough.  Much more “child efficient.”

A Final Note

Some cookies will burn.  Some cakes will be lumpy.  And key ingredients will probably be forgotten.  But chances are everyone will love it anyway, especially if they know your little one helped!

And just remember: When you are cooking with kids, you always have a great excuse if your dishes don’t turn out perfectly!

Marigold Bakes a Cake

A really fun book you and your child will both enjoy is Marigold Bakes a Cake. Poor Marigold is a perfectionist, especially when it comes to baking. That is why he does it alone – until the birds show up. First one, then more fly into his kitchen and mess up the perfect cake he is baking, until Marigold finally loses his temper. After Marigold calms down a bit, he leaves to go on a walk and regain his composure. Meanwhile, the birds decide they will fix the situation by making Marigold the perfect cake he had dreamed of – except they end up making even more of a mess! Yet Marigold recognizes their love of cooking (and affection for him) and decides to teach them how to cook.

For me, this book is about learning to live with imperfection in our cooking and in ourselves. Marigold tries to be patient but fails, yet he realizes he needs to take a break to calm down. And the birds never do learn how to cook, but they have so much fun the reader can’t help but be swept up in their enthusiasm. Marigold Bakes a Cake is a fun way to remind kids (and parents!) to enjoy the process rather than getting caught up in having perfect results.

Jul 132017
 
 July 13, 2017  Geography, Kid Fun, raising world citizens, Summer Comments Off on DIY Summer Camp: World Explorers

Looking for a fun DIY summer camp you can do for your neighborhood kids? A world explorers camp is a great way to teach geography skills and expose children to other cultures. Most importantly, you can nurture a love for exploration and a sense of respect and empathy for other ways of life. Through simple crafts and fun activities you can spark curiosity about other cultures and set the foundation for further exploration.

DIY Summer Camp: World Explorers | All Done Monkey on Kid World Citizen

I got such great response to my Around the World Summer Camp Ideas post a few years back that I decided to flesh it out with more details on how to set up your own! So hop on over to Kid World Citizen to see my guest post!

DIY Summer Camp: World Explorers

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