Dec 282016
 

We all want our children to soar, to go on brave adventures to help others and achieve their dreams. From stunning picture books to a magical middle grade novel, here is a collection of wonderful tales that encourage children to do just that: to have courage and embark on their own heroic journeys.

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

Tales of Heroic Journeys | Alldonemonkey.com

Tales of Heroic Journeys

Introduce children to a classic Japanese fairy tale with the beautiful The Last Kappa of Old Japan: A Magical Journey of Two Friends. The story begins, as many do, with an unexpected friendship of two children and their subsequent adventures. But while one of the children is a typical boy from the Japanese countryside in the days before the encroachment of the modern world, the other is not human at all. Rather, he is a kappa, a mythical water creature known to be playful – and to love cucumbers! Despite their differences, the boys become close friends; yet, as modernization begins to pollute the nearby waters, the kappa and his family are forced to leave. The boys only come into contact again years later, when the kappa returns to help his old friend – now a man – avoid a tragedy. They are delighted to be together again, but now, thanks to increasing pollution, the kappa is old and weak. A cautionary tale about protecting the environment, and having the courage to help our friends despite the danger to ourselves. (As a side note, the myth of the kappa is actually the origin of our modern story of mutant ninja turtles!)

I love the endearing illustrations of the two boys and the changing landscape of the countryside. And even though I don’t know any Japanese, I love having this bilingual Japanese-English edition because it is such a wonderful way to expose children to another language and way of writing!

Related Post: Global Adventure Books for Kids

Bessie, Queen of the Sky

Image courtesy of Queen Girls

I am so delighted to introduce the soon to be released Bessie, Queen of the Sky from Queen Girls. This remarkable new publishing company speaks to the hearts of so many parents who want inspiring stories for their daughters (and sons!) of remarkable women. The creators have taken stories from real life and turned them into fairy tales that will attract young readers. (Note: the heroines of these stories are queens, not princesses!) The poetic writing and and whimsical illustrations do have that magical quality of fairy tales, drawing the reader into a story about a character – the first African American female pilot – who is both larger than life and infinitely relatable.

I have a personal connection to the story of Bessie Coleman. She was from the same small town in Texas as my grandparents, though she had already left by the time they were born. When I think of how hard it was for my grandfather, a white male, to escape the poverty and depression of a sharecropper’s life there, the story of a young black woman making an even more incredible journey outward and upward is simply astonishing. I am so pleased to see this story given the attention it is due and happy to support the mission of Queen Girls to bring more such stories to light. Visit the Kickstarter page to order Bessie, Queen of the Sky and learn more about this remarkable company! (One copy of the book is donated to at risk girls for every copy that is purchased!)

Related Post: Biographies for Kids about Following Your Dreams

Imagine that the tragedies of history could somehow be redeemed, that not all of the slaves lost in the cataclysmic Atlantic crossings actually died, that not all of the “boat people” supposedly drowned while escaping the chaos of post-war Vietnam were really dead, but that they had somehow slipped through a portal into another world. In the wonderful new middle grade novel A Crack in the Sea readers can imagine a Second World where some of the First World’s victims find refuge and rebuild an ideal society on a string of islands and a man-made floating “Raft World.” Yet always among some there is a yearning to return “home” and a selfish desire to do whatever it takes to get there.

The young protagonists of the story must discover how to stop the plot and save the people of Raft World while at the same time understanding how to make use of their supernatural gifts – or their lack of them. As they journey to find safety for their families, they must contend with the ruthlessness of slavers, disease, pirates, storms, hunger, thirst, and exhaustion. But the real journey is an emotional one, as they all struggle to find their place in this world (or another) and discover the depths of their own courage and what they are willing to fight – and die – for.

For more book recommendations, be sure to visit my Books for Kids board on Pinterest!

Nov 152016
 

I was looking for an easy gratitude activity to do with my kids, but as always I had my hands full with the baby, so I knew it had to be something easy but also fun enough to keep their attention. This gratitude game requires no prep, but it is great writing practice and builds critical thinking skills. It helps kids focus on gratitude ahead of Thanksgiving, yet the end results are often hilarious.

Easy Gratitude Game: Writing Activity | Alldonemonkey.com

Easy Gratitude Game

This gratitude game only requires paper and pencil and takes just a few moments.

Each person writes a list of what they are grateful for, without letting anyone else see. For younger children, give a specific number of items they should write (we did 5). For older children, you could time it and see who can write the most number of items in a certain amount of time.

Once everyone has their list, have them try to write down what they think each other person’s list would be. (If possible, don’t tell them ahead of time about this step of the game, as otherwise they may purposely write a list that is difficult to guess). In our case, it was just the two boys, so they tried to guess each other’s lists, but with a larger group you could ask them to guess the list of the person sitting to their right.

When time is up, see how many you got right! We had a lot of fun with this part, as it was so funny to see what each thought the other had written down. It is harder to guess than you might think, even with hints! (My 6 year old’s list: PS4, basmati rice, life, the Earth, chicken).

Younger children can draw their answers if they can’t write yet, but I really recommend this for elementary age children. It was a good exercise for my preschooler to make his list, but it was so random that it was next to impossible for anyone to guess his answers. (“You’re grateful for a chicken bone?” “Yes! And flowers!”)

How do you practice gratitude with your children?

Mar 312016
 
 March 31, 2016  Book Reviews, character building for kids Comments Off on Contentment Picture Books

Contentment Picture Books | Alldonemonkey.com

One of the values we try to encourage in our children is contentment: that is, learning to accept – and even embrace – the things they cannot change.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Princess Rosie’s Rainbows and Saint Anthony the Great from Wisdom Tales Press 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.

Picture Books about Contentment

I love the beautifully illustrated new book Princess Rosie’s Rainbows.  Princess Rosie can have anything she wants, but the only thing that makes her smile are rainbows.  So the King and Queen begin a search throughout the lands for someone who can give the princess forever rainbows, so she will always be happy.  She receives rainbows of all kinds, but they are not real and so do not satisfy her.  She even learns to make one of her own, but it disappears when a rain cloud passes by.  It is an old wise woman who finally teaches Rosie the secret of looking in her own heart for forever rainbows – and happiness.  Beautiful tale to teach children an important lesson.

We’ve also been enjoying the classic The Missing Piece. In this fable, a circle sets off to find its missing piece, but what it discovers is that joy comes from the journey, and perhaps it doesn’t really want that piece after all!

A square has perfectly equal sides and is perfectly happy but through a series of adventures discovers that happiness can come from trying new things. Perfect Square is a great book with wonderful visuals about how shapes (and people!) can transform into new and even better things!

Another great book for kids learning their shapes is The Greedy Triangle (Scholastic Bookshelf). A triangle is not satisfied with having just three angles, so he visits a shape shifter to add another. After a time as a quadrilateral, he doesn’t another angle would be even better, until he eventually adds to many angles he becomes unrecognizable and can no longer play with his old friends. Great story about being satisfied with what you have.

Saint Anthony the Great is a gorgeous new book about contentment from a Christian perspective.  Anthony of Egypt felt unhappy, so he followed the Biblical teaching to give up worldly possessions and find joy in quietness and stillness.  The father of Christian monasticism, Saint Anthony taught others to love each other and live a life of peace, courage, and joy.  His story still resonates today and is brought to life through this simply told tale and beautiful paintings.  Includes an appendix with more information about his life and further reading.

Mar 122015
 

Teaching Kids about Generosity | Alldonemonkey.comPhoto via saltedgrace.com

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Pine and the Winter Sparrow; however, all opinions are my own.  This post also contains affiliate links.  If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission.

One of the first lessons we did with our character-building class for kids was on generosity.  In some ways, this is an easy lesson for kids to learn, as it is all about giving gifts and sharing toys.  From that basic understanding, you can also stretch them to think in more abstract terms, like giving your time, sharing a smile, and so on.  More to the point, that the best form of generosity is done sincerely, expecting nothing in return.

Teaching Kids about Generosity: Lesson Plan

Explanation

We talked about how generosity is giving to others without expecting anything back.  We asked the kids to come up with ideas for what this might look like, such as giving a gift on someone’s birthday (or just because), or sharing a toy or a snack.  We also talked about how spending time with someone, reading a book together, or playing together, is a gift of time.  And we can also share hugs and smiles with others.

Song

We then sang a song that I grew up with, “Magic Penny” by Malvina Reynolds.  (Here are a video and the full lyrics).  The song is terrific and easy for kids to relate to, about how love is like a magic penny – it only works if you give it away!  The version I grew up singing actually was just the chorus (“It’s just like a magic penny–“) plus variations of the verse about love (“A smile/Time is something if you give it away–“)

Ahead of time I cut out a heart, a smiley face, and a clock from craft foam, and as we sang each corresponding verse, we passed the objects around the circle like a hot potato.  This is nice because it makes it hands on, since otherwise the song can get a little long for restless little ones!

Stories

Pine and the Winter Sparrow

A really beautiful book to share with kids about kindness and generosity is Wisdom Tales Press’s Pine and the Winter Sparrow by Alexis York Lumbard.  Based on a Native American fable, it tells the story of an injured sparrow who cannot fly south for the winter.  All of the other trees turn the little sparrow away, except for the pine tree, who offers the bird shelter for the winter.  Due to this act of generosity, the Creator decided that the pine tree would be rewarded by not losing its leaves in the winter.  And thus it is due to its innate kindness that the pine tree stays green all year long.  Gorgeous book about the importance of sharing what we have and also the need to care for the natural world.  The gentle message and beautiful paintings make this a wonderful book to share with kids.


And of course, you can’t talk about children’s books on generosity without mentioning The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, a classic book about the selfless nature of giving.


Another great book on generosity is The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister, a beautifully illustrated book about a fish who learns that having something wonderful all to yourself is not nearly as fun as sharing it with others.

Activity

For our activity, we acted out the story of Stone Soup, a popular folk tale about how when everyone shares what they have – no matter how little it may be – we can create something wonderful for everyone.  There are many versions of this tale (here is one), but the general idea is that times are tight, and no one feels like sharing, as they have so little to begin with.  Finally someone decides to make a “delicious” stone soup, and as he starts to cook, one by one people start to add the little food that they have – a cabbage, a carrot, a potato – until they have a wonderful, filling soup that they all can share.

I had asked the children to each bring toy food from home (plus I had extras on hand), so that as I told the story to them, they could each take turns adding “food” to the pot.  This story lends itself very well to acting out, and it’s an easy way for children to practice generosity and see how when we share we can make something better for everyone.

Craft & Service Project

Teaching Kids about Generosity | Alldonemonkey.comPhoto courtesy D. Randolph

To drive the lesson home, I decided to tie our craft into a service project.  We made these beautiful rainbow vases using pour painting.  (You can also do this using regular garden pots).  I cannot stress how fun this craft is.  The only problem I had was that Monkey got a little too enthusiastic and knocked his vase over as we were working, so try to find vases that won’t break easily!  But not only did the kids have fun, the vases really did turn out beautifully.

And of course they make beautiful gifts!  (Find more gifts that kids can make on my Homemade Gift Ideas Pinterest board).  So in a subsequent class we visited a senior living home and delivered the vases to some of the residents.  We had called ahead to make arrangements, and the activities director was kind enough to meet with us and lead us around to those residents that would most appreciate a visit.  The kids took turns handing out the vases.  Besides generosity, it was good practice for them to be courageous talking to new people and gracious in accepting thanks from them.

Teaching Kids about Generosity | Alldonemonkey.comGetting ready to deliver our vases

For more ideas for character-building classes, see our lesson plans on Love and Service.  How do you teach generosity to kids?

Nov 282014
 
 November 28, 2014  activities, character building for kids, crafts, spiritual education Comments Off on Character Building Activity Kits: Happy Heart Kid

Character Building Activity Kits: Happy Heart Kid | Alldonemonkey.com

I received a complimentary kit from Happy Heart Kid for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.

Spiritual education is a cornerstone of how we are raising our sons, so I am always looking for resources to use at home as well as for our character building classes.  So I was thrilled to be contacted by Happy Heart Kid, a line of of kid friendly products that make character building fun and interactive for families.

Character Building Activity Kits: Happy Heart Kid | Alldonemonkey.com

Each Happy Heart Kid activity kit is based around a character trait like empathy, manners, and grit.  We received an empathy kit, and I was impressed by how well thought out it was in terms of content and packaging.  All of the materials are attractive and engaging, with an emphasis on learning through play.  There are crafts and activities, coloring, and a story.  In the empathy kit, for example, you make an Empathy magnet, put together felt flowers to give to others, practice recognizing emotions with a hands on activity, and read a story (also a coloring book!) that illustrates what empathy means.

Even my Monkey – who often will not sit still for crafts – enjoyed making this bright, colorful Empathy magnet.  He was so proud to put it up on our refrigerator!

Character Building Activity Kits: Happy Heart Kid | Alldonemonkey.com

Each kit is a self-contained unit, designed to make things easy for busy parents who want to spend their time focusing on their kids rather than chasing down supplies and materials.  So each kit includes everything you need to do the crafts and activities – right down to the crayons and glue stick!

The materials are all right on a child’s level – simple without being watered down.  This is so helpful, since explaining abstract values like empathy can be difficult.  The explanations and illustrations in the Happy Heart Kid kit are easy to understand, with obvious applications in a child’s everyday life:  How can we have empathy towards someone who is rude to us on the playground?  What can we do when we hurt someone’s feelings?

Character Building Activity Kits: Happy Heart Kid | Alldonemonkey.com

 

Call for Bloggers: Happy Heart Kid | Multicultural Kid BlogsPhoto courtesy of Happy Heart Kid

Happy Heart Kid aims to empower young kids with strong character traits in the hope of creating the next generation of leaders and change makers.

If you are excited about giving your child the tools to grow a happy heart, visit Happy Heart Kid to learn more about their products, and consider contributing to their Kickstarter, open only until December 16!

Call for Bloggers: Happy Heart Kid | Multicultural Kid BlogsPhoto courtesy of Happy Heart Kid

Oct 312014
 

Mustard Seed School: A Haven for Kids in Need | Alldonemonkey.com

This summer we had the privilege of participating in an amazing contest from One World Futbol and Multicultural Kid Blogs: rather than giving away a book or a toy to a reader, we were vying for the right to give the gift of play to kids in need!

I was so honored to be one of the lucky winners, thanks to you, my wonderful readers!  And as a thank you, I’d like to share with you our trip to donate the special, virtually indestructible soccer ball to the amazing Mustard Seed School for homeless children.

Many homeless children are not enrolled in school because the places their families find to sleep are often not near a child’s school and the family only plans to be there a short time. Sometimes the school needs an address or updated immunizations which homeless families cannot provide.

Mustard Seed School was established in 1989 to help meet the needs of homeless children in the Sacramento area.  Not having a stable address means that many school age children do not attend school.  Some lack immunization, birth certificates, or other documents; some are deterred by the requirement to provide an address in order to register for school; others are so focused on survival that schooling is a lower priority.  Almost all lack a support system and a helping hand.  In spite of their situations these children are eager to learn and to be accepted.

Mustard Seed School: A Haven for Kids in Need | Alldonemonkey.com

This is why a school like the Mustard Seed is so needed.  It truly is a haven for children in great need of a safe, inviting place to learn and thrive.  The tireless workers, volunteers and donors have gone to great lengths to make the school a fun, cozy place for children.  They are concerned with the physical and emotional needs of the children.  In addition to providing support to parents (for example, with documents and immunizations needed to enroll their children in regular public schools), they also provide healthy lunches and snacks – even “weekend bags” with food to take home for those that need it!  (I was very impressed with their emphasis on healthy food for the kids.  This is very clearly outlined in their guidelines for donors).

The Mustard Seed School is designed to be a short-term solution, until the families find housing and the kids can enroll in regular public schools. As a result, their emphasis is less on the academic and more on emotional and social support for the kids.  I love that they have a school counselor who comes once a week to help the kids through tools like play therapy.

Mustard Seed School: A Haven for Kids in Need | Alldonemonkey.com

Yet a school like the Mustard Seed also faces great challenges.  At the time of our visit earlier this month, they had 38 students enrolled, from preschool to 8th grade, but they never know from day to day exactly how many children will show up.  The children typically only stay about 4-6 weeks before they moved or are transitioned to public school.

The children come from a wide variety of backgrounds, and their education has often been done in fits and starts.  Most kids are in shelters, living in motels, or on the streets, so they all have emotional and physical needs crying for attention.

Mustard Seed School: A Haven for Kids in Need | Alldonemonkey.com

How You Can Help Kids in Need:

Do you have a similar school or institution in your area?  A friend from our character building class and I brainstormed with the office manager of Mustard Seed – who kindly took the time to show us around and answer our questions – to come up with these ideas for how we could get involved:

1. Donate supplies.  Do a donation drive to provide much needed supplies.  Call ahead to find out exactly what their needs are.  Often they can send you a list or you can find one on their website.  For the Mustard Seed School, for example, their greatest needs were school supplies but also underwear and socks for the kids.  They were also excited to receive the One World Futbol!

Mustard Seed School: A Haven for Kids in Need | Alldonemonkey.com

2. Provide food.  The Mustard Seed provides healthy lunches and snacks for up to 40 kids every single day.  You could donate lunches for one day, or sign up to do it on a regular basis.  And if you can’t do lunches, perhaps you could provide healthy snacks like granola bars and yogurt cups that they can keep in the classrooms or send home with the kids over the weekend.

3. Volunteer in the classroom.  The hard-working teachers can always use a helping hand in the classroom – whether it’s assisting with daily tasks or providing tutoring/mentorAlling.  Perhaps you have traveled to/lived in another country.  Why not come and do a presentation for the kids?  Or maybe you could do a fun art project with them!

4. Throw a party!  If there were ever kids that needed a party, it is students like those at the Mustard Seed School!  A really fun way to make a difference is to provide treats and activities for a holiday party and bring a smile to a little one’s face.

Thank you so much to the Mustard Seed School for taking the time to give us a tour of the school and to One World Futbol for sharing the gift of play with these amazing kids!

Follow our series Random Acts of Kindness for more ideas for how you and your kids can get involved in your community!

Oct 172014
 

Character Building Game for Kids {Birth of the Bab} | Alldonemonkey.com

Here is a simple but fun game to reinforce virtues like kindness and generosity.  For the past year I have been helping teach character-building classes for Monkey and several friends.  I wanted a fun way to review the lessons we had already learned, and I know from experience that this group of 4 and 5 year olds learns best by doing. 

So here is a “gate” game, inspired by the upcoming Bahá’í holiday the Birth of the Báb.  I wanted to reinforce the symbolism of the Báb as the Gate for Bahá’u’lláh, but it’s a fun activity for kids of any background, since who doesn’t want to be a gatekeeper for their friends??

Character Building Game: How to Play

One child stands at the front with his/her hands out to the sides, like a gate (in a doorway if possible!)  Then s/he gives clues (either verbally or with charades) about a particular virtue, like generosity or patience.  (For young children, an adult or older child can help).  The other children try to correctly guess the virtue in order to be allowed through the “gate.”  The first through the gate becomes the new gatekeeper.

Character Building Game for Kids {Birth of the Bab} | Alldonemonkey.com

For older children, you could make the game more challenging by not allowing them to use common words as clues for particular virtues.  So for “patience,” for example, you might forbid the gatekeeper to say “waiting” or “time.”  You could also challenge the other children to recite a piece of Scripture about that virtue in order to get through the gate.

For Bahá’ís, you could have the gatekeeper give clues about people from Bahá’í history, like Martha Root or Tahirih!

Happy Birth of the Báb to those celebrating!

Jul 112014
 

Character Building Class: Teaching Kids to Choose Love - Alldonemonkey on Creative World of Varya

I am so happy today to be sharing over at Creative World of Varya.  Varya is one of my dearest friends and bloggy buddies, and she is now enjoying some extra snuggle time with her new baby boy.  So I am sharing one of the lessons from our weekly character building class for preschoolers: teaching kids to choose love.  Stop by to check it out!

Teaching Kids to Choose Love

Mar 142014
 

Spring Flower Countdown {The Baha'i Fast} - Chelsea Lee Smith on Alldonemonkey.com

From March 2 to March 20, adult Bahá’ís in good health observe a fast in preparation for our new year (Naw Rúz) on March 21.  Today I am so pleased to share with you this post from my friend Chelsea, of Enable Me to Grow about an activity to share the spirit of the Fast with young children.  For more ideas, you can also see our Fast Challenge Bag and follow our Bahá’í Parenting board on Pinterest.

Several years ago, I brainstormed some ideas about family traditions we might like to start during the Fast.  I wanted it to be something the kid(s) could look forward to that makes the Fast a special time, and also some way they can be more involved in the Fast before they can physically fast themselves (at age 15).  Here is an easy project that only took a couple nights to complete.

First of all, the inspiration for this project was from a lovely tradition where the family lit a candle for each night of the Fast (one candle on the first night, two on the second, and so on), so that by the last night there was a lovely arrangement of candles to mark the end of the Fast and the beginning of Naw Rúz.

I loved this idea.  However, seeing as it doesn’t get dark during Fasting time until maybe 9 pm (and my son goes to bed at 7), I decided to modify it a bit and make a “Fasting Tree” using flowers instead of candles.

The day before the Fast starts, we collect sticks for the “tree”, which we put in a vase on the mantlepeice.  Then during family prayers on each morning of the Fast, we place one flower ornament on the tree so that by Naw Rúz there are 19 flowers.

I used store bought flowers in the interest of time, although felted flowers would also be lovely.  I used these Frangipanis, which reminded me of being at the Shrine of the Báb, since there was a Frangipani tree nearby.

Spring Flower Countdown {The Baha'i Fast} - Chelsea Lee Smith on Alldonemonkey.com

I simply cut up the flowers as necessary and used green and yellow pipe cleaners I had already to make an easy way for them to attach to the sticks.

In order to help remind us of the purpose of the Fast, I added a short quotation about the Fast on a leaf for each flower so that we can discuss the quote on the ornament during family prayers.  For a full list of the quotations, see the end of this blog post.

I cut the leaves out of construction paper.  To make them more sturdy you could laminate them or use packing tape on each side.  Then I punched a hole in order for the leaf to attach on to the pipe cleaner.  I attached the leaves which came with the flowers back onto the pipe cleaner, so that it will help the paper leaf stay on.

Spring Flower Countdown {The Baha'i Fast} - Chelsea Lee Smith on Alldonemonkey.com

Spring Flower Countdown {The Baha'i Fast} - Chelsea Lee Smith on Alldonemonkey.com

Here’s the finished box of flowers.

Spring Flower Countdown {The Baha'i Fast} - Chelsea Lee Smith on Alldonemonkey.com

By Naw Rúz we will have a lovely tree full of flowers!

 

Quotations used for our Fasting Tree:

“We have ordained obligatory prayer and fasting so that all may by these means draw nigh unto God”
“We have forbidden men from following whatsoever might cause them to stray from the Truth”
“We…have commanded them to observe that which will draw them nearer unto Him Who is the Almighty, the All-Loving.”
“Cling firmly to obligatory prayer and fasting.”
“Verily, the religion of God is like unto heaven; fasting is its sun, and obligatory prayer is its moon”
“Observe ye the commandments of God for love of His beauty”
“We beseech God to assist His people that they may observe the most great and exalted Fast”
“protect one’s eye from beholding whatever is forbidden”
“withhold one’s self from food, drink and whatever is not of Him”
“Fast ye for the sake of your Lord, the Mighty, the Most High.”
“Restrain yourselves from sunrise to sunset.”
“Well is it with the one who fulfilleth My decrees for the love of My Beauty”
“We, verily, have commanded all to observe the Fast in these days as a bounty on Our part”
“His Law is a fortress unto you, could ye but understand.”
“Cling ye to the cord of God’s laws”
“fasting and obligatory prayer constitute the two mightiest pillars of God’s holy Law”
“Fasting and obligatory prayer are as two wings to man’s life.”
“Act ye in accordance with what ye have been commanded in the Book.”
“It is not for anyone to exceed the limits laid down by God and His law, nor should anyone follow his own idle imaginings.”

For more ideas, don’t miss this wonderful post from Enable Me To Grow with ideas from other young families on sharing the Bahá’í Fast with children. You can also read about our Fast Challenge Bag and follow our Bahá’í Parenting board on Pinterest.

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

Mar 052014
 

Spring Sensory Outdoor Play {All Things Kids} - Alldonemonkey.com

Spring is in the air!  Or, depending on what part of the country (or world!) you are in, perhaps spring is only in your mind.  Either way, I think most of us are ready for some spring fun after a very long winter!

In that spirit, this week the bloggers of All Things Kids are hosting a series on Spring Sensory Play Date Activities.  (In case you missed them, our previous series focused on Winter Books and Activities and Showing Kids Love). Don’t forget to link up your own posts at the end!

As part of the character building classes I am teaching for Monkey and his friends, I recently did a unit on Love.  This included love of nature, so as part of that lesson I took them outside for some sensory play.

First I had them all draw in their notebooks pictures representing the five senses: ear, nose, eye, hand, and mouth.

Outdoor Sensory Play {All Things Kids}

Then we went through the senses one by one, and they had to sketch (with their mom’s help if needed) what they experienced with that sense.  So, for example, we heard birds chirping (and a truck going by, as it turned out), and we smelled different leaves we found.  In case you were worried that they would try to eat some sticks or something, for “taste” we cut up an orange from one of our trees 😉

Spring Sensory Outdoor Play {All Things Kids} - Alldonemonkey.com

It was fun to see what they came up with (one child observed that the air smelled like mud – it did!).  But most of all I hope that they experienced the outdoors differently than they had before, by beginning to pay attention to all five of their senses.

Spring Sensory Outdoor Play {All Things Kids} - Alldonemonkey.com

Has spring arrived where you are?

Spring Sensory Playdate Activities - All Things Kids

Be sure to visit the other bloggers in this series for more Spring Sensory fun: Crayon Chronicles, Sugar Aunts, House of Burke, Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails, and Fun-A-Day! (You can read the full schedule on the series main page).

And don’t forget that you can find all this and more in our All Things Kids Google Plus community and our Pinterest Board!

Now it’s time to see your amazing posts!


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