Mar 262015
 

Passover Videos for Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

Looking for some great resources to teach your kids about Passover?  Of course, for us books are always a first stop (see this great list of kids’ books on Passover from the PJ Library and this one from Planet Smarty Pants), but we’ve also been enjoying watching some wonderful videos!  Here are some of our favorite fun videos for kids about Passover:

Fun Passover Videos for Kids

Okay, this one is just hilarious.  “Let It Go” from “Frozen” is parodied as “Let Us Go,” a duet between Pharaoh and Moses.  Still laughing over this from a defiant Pharaoh:”The plagues never bothered me anyway.”  Kids of all ages will enjoy this, enough those like my toddler who are little enough to miss the humor and just enjoy the song.

Jewish Kids! also has great videos for kids about Passover, including fake news reports about “the crisis in Egypt,” crafts, and a Passover robot!  More for older kids.

Monkey really loved this one from G-dcast, which is an entertaining video that reviews the meaning of Passover from several perspectives.  Find it here along with some fun apps!

Monkey also had a lot of fun with this kids’ version of Passover – warning! You might have to do some fact-checking afterwards (unlimited homework as one of the plagues!) but still totally fun.

And how can we leave out Sesame Street – that is, Shalom Sesame! This is a but more serious but kids will still enjoy watching Grover learn about the holiday:

Want more??  Here’s are more collections of videos about Passover for kids:

Kelly’s Classroom: What Is Passover?

The Jewish Daily Forward: 4 Coolest Passover Videos for Your Seder

PJ Library: Funny Passover Videos

Jewish Boston: Passover According to Kids Series

Passover for Kids | Multicultural Kid BlogsThis post is part of the Passover for Kids series from Multicultural Kid Blogs.  Go to the main page for the full schedule of all the posts in this series, as we share crafts, recipes, and more!

Mar 232015
 

Ethiopian Recipe for Easter: Defo Dabo Bread | Alldonemonkey.com

This year we are participating in a series from Multicultural Kid Blogs about Easter around the world.  I thought it would be really interesting to “visit” a country outside Europe and North America; however, for the most part it is quite difficult to find out about Easter celebrations in those countries unless you happen to know someone from there or are lucky enough to have witnessed it yourself.

Ethiopia is one of the countries that has been written about a bit more.  It does make a brief appearance in a couple books I found at the library, but for the most part I relied on online sources.  Again, most mentions of it are brief, though you can find some great pictures!

One of the main things to know is that Easter (Fasika) is celebrated in Ethiopia according to the Orthodox calendar, which tends to run a week or two later than the western Church calendar.  (The Ethiopian Church is associated with the Coptic Church of Egypt).  Also, the eight weeks leading up to Easter are marked by a fast from meat and dairy.

When Easter itself comes, it is a national holiday celebrated with great festivity.  The best resource I found about it is this article which explores the food, drink, and customs of Ethiopian Easter.  It really gives you a sense of what it might be like to celebrate Fasika in Ethiopia, enjoying a special meal with your family or perhaps visiting the market.

To explore further with my Monkeys, I chose to make Defo Dabo, a recipe mentioned in the above article as being traditional for Easter as well as other festive occasions, such as weddings and birthdays.

For the recipe itself I followed this one from Celtnet Recipes.  Please, please, visit their site to get an authentic recipe for Defo Dabo.  What follows it not authentic.  What follows is what happens when you can’t find the traditional spices (bishop’s weed, black cumin seeds) and instead let your 5 year old talk you into adding chocolate chips and cinnamon.  At least we used banana leaves to cook it!

Keep in mind also that the recipe below is on a much smaller scale than what is typically done in Ethiopia, where it is meant to be enjoyed by large groups of people celebrating a festive occasion.  The Celtnet recipe is for a loaf one-sixth the traditional size, and I cut the size in half again for my small gang of little revelers.

Traditionally, the dough is wrapped in banana leaves and cooked in a large clay pot over an open fire.  As much as the boys would have preferred this method, I followed Celtnet’s lead in keeping the banana leaves but using a deep dish pan and a conventional oven.

Ethiopian Recipe for Easter: Defo Dabo Bread | Alldonemonkey.com

A note about banana leaves: If you don’t live in a tropical country, look for them in an Asian or Mexican market.  We got ours from the latter, where they sold large plastic bags of them in the produce section.  (They are often used to make tamales).

And layer more of them on top of the bread than you would think you’d need, as they tend to shrink when baked.  They do make the house smell wonderful, though!  And if you have tons of them left over, as we do, you can always do some more cooking with these great international recipes or do a craft!

Ethiopian Recipe for Easter: Defo Dabo Bread

Ingredients

400 g of flour (approx 3 1/4 c)
1 packet yeast
cinnamon (enough so that each little helper gets several shakes)
chocolate chips (we used about 1/3 of a 11.5 oz bag, since that was all I had in the pantry!)
2 T olive oil
4 T sugar
1/2 T salt
1 very large banana leaf, cut into manageable pieces*

*Don’t attempt to just rip the banana leaf into pieces – the main part of the leaf will tear easily, but the central stem can be difficult to tear and becomes rather sticky.

Mix the yeast, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.  Add about 1 cup of warm water and stir to dissolve the dry ingredients.  Cover the bowl and let rest for about 10 minutes, so the yeast can activate.  The mixture should be bubbling at this point.  Mix in the oil and cinnamon then add the flour.

Ethiopian Recipe for Easter: Defo Dabo Bread | Alldonemonkey.com

Mix with your hands to make a soft dough (add more water or flour as needed to get the right consistency).  Add the chocolate chips and knead so that they are evenly distributed.  Place the dough in a bowl, cover, and let it rise for about an hour, or until it has doubled in size.

 

When it has risen, line a deep baking dish with the banana leaf (can substitute greased baking parchment).  Punch the dough down then add it to the pan.  Wrap the banana leaves over the top and cover the top with the remaining leaves.

Ethiopian Recipe for Easter: Defo Dabo Bread | Alldonemonkey.com

Set aside to rise for another 20 minutes.  During this time, start preheating your oven to 350 degrees then bake the bread for about an hour or until cooked through.

Ethiopian Recipe for Easter: Defo Dabo Bread | Alldonemonkey.com

Take the bread out of the pan and careful remove the banana leaves.  Let cool before slicing and serving.  Enjoy!

Easter Around the World 2015 | Multicultural Kid Blogs

This post is part of the Easter Around the World series on Multicultural Kid Blogs.  Follow along as we explore how Easter is celebrated in different countries!

 

Mar 182015
 

Spring Treasure Hunt {Naw-Ruz} | Alldonemonkey.com

To celebrate the coming arrival of spring, here is a fun spring treasure hunt you can do with your kids.  Specifically, I created it as a fun activity to celebrate the Bahá’í holiday Naw-Rúz, which falls on the first day of spring.  In the past I have focused mainly on flower crafts (tulips, daffodils, and poppies, oh my!), so this year I decided to do an activity instead.

I also wanted something that I could use as part of our home schooling, as a fun way for Monkey to use some of the concepts he’s been learning.  And who doesn’t love a treasure hunt??

To do this, I came up with 6 challenges for him to complete.  After each one, he’ll receive a clue to a final riddle, where he has to guess what word the clues are describing.  Once he solves that, he’ll get a treasure map leading to some treats!  (A variation on this would be to cut the treasure map into puzzle pieces and give the child one piece after completing each challenge).

Spring Treasure Hunt

Download a printable of all of the clues at the end of this post.

Challenge #1: Life Cycle of a Seed (Biology, Sequencing)

For this, I will cut out images of the life cycle of a seed (such as those here), mix them up, and have Monkey put them in order.

Clue #1: Has 6 letters

Challenge #2: Spring True/False (Reading Comprehension, Critical Thinking, Science)

This challenge involves several simple true/false questions about spring and Bahá’í Naw-Rúz.  Download your copy by right-clicking on the image below:

Spring Treasure Hunt {Naw Ruz} | Alldonemonkey.com

Clue #2: Contains the letter “R”

Challenge #3: Make a flower or tree out of Legos (Art, Engineering)

You can always vary the materials for this challenge – play dough or popsicle sticks, for example.

Clue #3: Rhymes with “king”

Challenge #4: Addition/Subtraction Questions (Math)

Obviously, you can vary this according to the ability of your child.  Monkey is learning basic addition and subtract, greater than or equal to, so that is what I focused on in my questions.

Clue #4: Starts in the month of March

Challenge #5: Acrostic Poem Poster (Language Arts, Art)

We will do a simple form of acrostic poetry, in which each letter of the main word is the beginning of a new line in the poem.  Bahá’ís could use the word “Naw-Ruz,” and others could do “Spring” or “Flower.”  After creating the poem on a sheet of poster board, we will decorate it to hang on the wall.

Clue #5: Starts with “S”

Challenge #6: Missing Words (Language Arts, Critical Thinking)

For this challenge, I took a line from this beautiful Bahá’í prayer that draws on the imagery of a seed:

I am, O my God, but a tiny seed which Thou hast sown in the soil of Thy love, and caused to spring forth by the hand of Thy bounty. – Bahá’u’lláh

I wrote it on a piece of paper, leaving out key words.  I then wrote these missing words on slips of paper.  Monkey will have the complete prayer to refer to, and have to determine which word goes in each space.

Clue #6: Comes after winter

Download your copy of all the clues by right-clicking and saving the image below:

Spring Scavenger Hunt {Naw-Ruz} | Alldonemonkey.com

Now that you have all six clues, did you guess what the answer is??

If Monkey guesses correctly (“Spring”!) then I’ll give him a treasure map, leading him straight to the spot in the house where I’ve hidden some treats.  A sweet way to end the lesson, indeed!

Happy Naw-Rúz, everyone!

Apr 212014
 
Below is the next installment in the popular series on Random Acts of Kindness. Each month, a blogger shares the random acts of kindness they have committed with their little ones. You can visit the Random Acts of Kindness page to see previous installments of this series. You can also follow the Random Acts of Kindness Pinterest Board. Today’s post comes to us from Jennifer of The Good Long Road, one of my favorite bloggers and a truly kind person who is making the world a better place.

 

Being Kind to the Environment and Each Other

 
 
I’m honored to be a part of this fabulous Random Acts of Kindness Series. I wanted to focus on Acts of Kindness inspired by Earth Day — acts that are kind to the Earth. Of course, there are the obvious things like picking up trash and recycling, but I also wanted to think creatively about being kind to nature/living things and connect that kindness to helping those around us. Here’s my Top 10 Creative Acts of Kindness for Earth Day!
  1. Help Someone De-Clutter – Offer to help an elderly neighbor sort through paper clutter and shred and recycle their excess paper for them. (Every time I would visit my grandmother, I inevitably ended up doing this — piles of old magazines, catalogs, newspapers and junk mail were everywhere!)
  2. Do Yard Work for a Friend or NeighborAt Pennies of Time, Sheila shared of how she and her two boys (at 6 and 4) weeded the yard of a friend who battles a chronic illness. Nurturing our environment through planting, weeding and gardening is a great way to help the Earth. Assisting others with green maintenance, who may struggle to do it for themselves, is a great way to RAK a friend!
  3. Organize a Recycling Project and Donate Funds from Bottles and Cans to Charity – Perhaps your school, community center, gym or a neighborhood gathering place lacks adequate or clear options for recycling bottles and cans. Set up proper containers to collect those items. Let kids make fun and colorful posters that make it clear that all funds raised from recycled items will go to charity. The Corner on Character shared a great book to encourage recycling and repurposing as well as activities to go with the book that would be great for a family or school. 
  4. Commit to a Birthday or Holiday limited to Thrift Sale/Yard Sale/Reused Gift Items Only – Our family began doing this at Christmas time when I was in High School, we could only give each other gifts that were purchased at resale or yard sales. I suspect much of the reason my parents did this was to save money and to remove pressure from a high school and college student who had little money of our own to get gifts for each other and our parents. It became a tradition that we loved – often keeping an eye out many months before for that “perfect” item. Shopping in this way reduces packaging waste and limits resources and pollution that are incurred when new goods are shipped around the world. 
  5. Walk, Bike or Bus to Work and School – On Earth Day, walk or bike or take a bus to school, work, the gym or the store instead of driving. See if you can commit to doing this once a week – swapping out driving with a more ecological mode of transportation. Perhaps one day will turn into two! If you’re a two-car family, you might discover you can manage with just one car – saving resources and money. (We’ve been a one car family in Southern California for years).
  6. RAK someone by giving them a reusable water bottle or coffee mug – Pick a coffee loving friend or teacher and have your children pick out a reusable coffee mug or iced coffee drink container to give them as a surprise RAK Gift! Or, if you know someone who often has a plastic bottle of water with them, RAK them with a reusable water bottle. 
  7. Visit your Local Farmer’s Market – Buying produce or other items (like goat cheese or honey) from a farmer at a local farmer’s market is a wonderful act of kindness for that farmer and for the Earth. Typically, items at farmer’s markets are often grown in much more sustainable ways than conventional produce. Plus, less resources are spent getting those items from Point A to Point B as almost every item sold at a Farmer’s Market will be locally grown. Farmer’s Markets also offer amazing opportunities for children to learn about fruits and vegetables. ALLterNATIVE Learning recently shared a great post about taking kids to the Farmer’s Market.
  8. Host a Local Food Party – Invite friends over for a unique dinner party – local food only. Ask each guest to bring one local food item. Again, buying locally is kind to the Earth because of the pollutants and resources that are saved because of minimal transport needs. Plus, breaking bread with friends is one of my favorite acts of kindness.
  9. Map Your Food – Kid World Citizen has a great post about mapping food and having kids learn about the world by seeing where their food is from. An activity like this also helps children learn how far some food can travel and is a great activity for Earth Day as you can extend it by talking about the resources (energy, oil, etc.) and resulting pollutants that are used in the process. It will help children (and yourself) understand the value of eating locally grown food when possible – or get them excited about growing food themselves. 
  10. Share Garden Goodies with Others – If you have a garden, put together a basket of locally grown food or a bouquet of flowers or herbs from your garden and share those goodies with a neighbor, perhaps someone who is housebound or on a limited income. By sharing your own locally grown items, you’ll brighten their day and are doing Mother Earth a favor too! (If you’re like me and you don’t have a garden, then pick up some extra items at the Farmer’s Market to give to a friend or neighbor). 
Jennifer is a mom of two, as well as an independent filmmaker who has taught filmmaking to youth, most notably with her Spotlight On Hope Film Camp, a free film camp for Pediatric Cancer patients. She writes about her experiences with Wild Thing and Caterpillar at The Good Long Road with an emphasis on mindfulness, imagination, and creative activities related to her toddler and preschooler’s favorite children’s books. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.
Random Acts of Kindness - Alldonemonkey.comYou can see a full schedule of the posts in this series by visiting the main Random Acts of Kindness Challenge page. You can also follow the Random Acts of Kindness Pinterest Board.


Apr 172014
 
 April 17, 2014  crafts, Ridvan, Spring 4 Responses »

Spring Banners and Lazy Salt Dough Roses - Alldonemonkey.com

The Festival of Ridván is approaching, and each year I try to make it special for my kids.  This year, in addition to making a Ridván tent, I thought we should do some other decorations.  Since Ridván commemorates the time that Bahá’u’lláh spent in the Ridván Gardens outside of Baghdad, I wanted to do something with flowers.

Monkey loves play dough, so I thought he would really enjoy making salt dough ornaments – and boy, did he!  (Once I was able to tear him away from his Legos, of course).  The only problem was convincing him that we couldn’t eat them once they were done cooking :)

I found this wonderful two-part tutorial on salt dough ornaments from Tinkerlab, which includes a recipe.  As she mentions, you will probably not need the full amount of water indicated.Spring Banners and Lazy Salt Dough Roses {Ridvan} - Alldonemonkey.com

Monkey had fun rolling out the dough and doing the shapes with cookie cutters.  For the Bahá’ís in the audience, yes, you did spy some nine-pointed stars in there!  Those super cool nine-pointed star cookie cutters were an Ayyám-i-Há gift from Grandma this year from Special Ideas!

While Monkey worked the cookie cutters (and Baby played with some of the dough), I decided to try to make some roses to set on the counters.  You can find tutorials online to make beautiful, realistic roses, but I was looking for something easy that I could make while looking after my two little guys.

I used a technique similar to what I have seen others do to make paper roses: I cut a long strip out of the dough then rolled it up and pinched together the bottom.  They won’t win any contests, but Monkey took one look and said, “They’re pretty, Mommy.”  What more could a mama ask for?

Spring Banners and Lazy Salt Dough Roses {Ridvan} - Alldonemonkey.com

Once we were done, the ornaments went into the oven to bake on 25o F for just over two hours.  (Don’t forget to use a straw to make the holes so you can hang the ornaments later!)

After they had cooled, it was time to paint!  Monkey was very enthusiastic about this part as well.  I had in mind to do lots of pretty spring colors, but Monkey had other ideas.  Right away he spotted brown paint and declared he wanted to paint only with brown.  I decided to go with it, since the decorations were for him, after all – and because I had just realized how low we were on acrylic paints, meaning that I would need to use every spare drop we had, even the brown.  (For the record, he said he was making “chocolate” flowers).

Spring Banners & Lazy Salt Dough Roses {Ridvan} - Alldonemonkey.com

As it turned out, Monkey did move on to other colors – and we did run out of acrylic paint.  Luckily we had some finger paints, which worked out fine, although they are not as bright as the acrylics.

Spring Banners & Lazy Salt Dough Roses {Ridvan} - Alldonemonkey.com

We left them to dry overnight then in the morning threaded some pretty ribbon through the holes and hung up our spring banner.  I was happy with how it turned out but was over the moon with how excited the boys were about it.  Baby couldn’t stop pointing and “talking” about it, and Monkey kept dancing around shouting “Ornaments! Ornaments!”

Spring Banners & Lazy Salt Dough Roses {Ridvan} - Alldonemonkey.com

Spring Banners and Lazy Salt Dough Roses - Alldonemonkey.com

Spring Banners and Lazy Salt Dough Roses - Alldonemonkey.com

Happy Ridván to those of you celebrating, and to the rest, Happy Spring!

 

For more ideas for celebrating Ridván, be sure to check out last year’s collaborative series Walking Through the Garden of Ridván.

Apr 102014
 

Hand Print Volcano Card - Alldonemonkey.com

As many of you know, we just returned from a wonderful trip to visit family in Costa Rica.  While we were there, we were able to take our little volcano lover to visit two of the active volcanoes in that country, Poás and Irazú.

As a result, I thought this would be a good time to share a fun volcano craft we did a few months ago.  The Monkeys and I actually did it for my husband’s birthday, but it would also work perfectly for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.  It’s easy to do with one child but also makes a great keepsake for siblings, as shown here.

Hand Print Volcano Card - Alldonemonkey.com

We used red and yellow paint for the lava.  Red had the best effect, although yellow turned out okay on the white paper.  If you are doing two or more kids, be aware that the yellow will not show up very well on top of the red, so it is better to either separate the hand prints a bit or do both in red.

Hand Print Volcano Card - Alldonemonkey.com

While Baby was napping, Monkey and I sat down to do step one.  I painted his hand red then made his hand print in the upper half of the paper.  (We did two versions just in case, since this was an experiment!)

Later in the day I painted Baby’s little hand and did my best to do a hand print with them.  He really had fun with the paints!

Hand Print Volcano Card - Alldonemonkey.com

Finally, I added the mountain below so that the hand prints look like lava exploding out of the volcano.  An older child could also do this step.  (Monkey was “too busy working” with his legos at this point so suggested that I do it).

Hand Print Volcano Card - Alldonemonkey.com

Hand Print Volcano Card - Alldonemonkey.com

I was the only one who thought my humor was funny, but since I had the pen it didn’t really matter lol 😉

Have an explosive day and always remember that we lava you!

 

 

 

Mar 122014
 
 March 12, 2014  crafts, Spring 1 Response »

Spring Flower Hand Print Craft - Alldonemonkey.com

Now that spring is (almost) here, Monkey and I are thinking of flowers!  Okay, maybe he is thinking mostly of trucks and robots, but he has at least noticed that the trees are starting to bud as the weather is getting warmer.

So when I needed an easy craft for our recent Ayyám-i-Há party, I thought it would be fun to have the kids make hand print flowers.

I knew it had to be easy, since they wouldn’t want to sit for long, but I still wanted it to be a pretty keepsake for the parents.  The result is this hand print flower coloring sheet (click on the image below to download).  Hand Print Flower Coloring Sheet

The quotation around the edges is a popular Bahá’í prayer for children.  I just love the beautiful imagery of children as flowers in a meadow.

To make the craft, trace the child’s hand on the page to complete the flower then let them color it in as they wish.  Ta-da!  Easy peasy pretty craft, my favorite kind :)

Are the flowers blooming where you are?

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!


Mar 032014
 
 March 3, 2014  crafts, Naw Ruz, Spring 6 Responses »

Spring Flower Craft: Popsicle Stick Tulips {Naw Ruz} - Alldonemonkey.com

Recently I was fortunate enough to help my dear friend Varya (of Creative World of Varya) organize a card exchange among children around the world for the Bahá’í new year (Naw Rúz), which is coming up on March 21.

It is exciting to see how the exchange has grown since it began last year.  At that time we had 63 children from 16 countries participate.  This year – 181 children from 23 countries: Australia, Austria, Cambodia, Canada, China, England, Fiji, Germany, Gibraltar, Guyana, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Ireland, Kenya, Kosovo, Nepal, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Tonga, UK, and USA.  So exciting!

As it happened, my Monkeys were paired with children in Germany.  We had fun making simple cards to send to these new friends, plus – though it wasn’t required – we made some spring flowers to include.

The Bahá’í new year falls on the first day of spring in many parts of the world, so I thought it would be fun to include a spring flower.  Last year we did California poppies, and this year we did another of my favorite flowers – tulips!

Spring Flower Craft: Popsicle Stick Tulips {Naw Ruz} - Alldonemonkey.com

For this I had Monkey paint popsicle sticks for the stems.  Then he glued on the petals I had cut out ahead of time.

Spring Flower Craft: Popsicle Stick Tulips {Naw Ruz} - Alldonemonkey.com

Such a simple craft, but so much fun, and I thought the end product was very sweet.  Hopefully our new friends in Germany will enjoy them as much as we did!

For more fun spring crafts and activities, be sure to follow our Spring Pinterest board!



Spring Flower Craft: Popsicle Stick Tulips {Naw Ruz} - Alldonemonkey.com

How are you getting ready for spring?  Have you ever participated in a card exchange?

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