Nov 092018
 
 November 9, 2018  activities No Responses »

I grew up in a family that loved playing board games together, and I’m so pleased that now my children enjoy this family pastime as well. We have had the chance to try out quite a few together over the years. Here are the best board games for kids and families that we have found, for both little ones and older children.

Best Board Games for Kids and Families | Alldonemonkey.com

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

Best Board Games for Kids and Families

 

Here are some of our favorite family board games! And don’t miss our other favorite activities for family game night.

Trouble Game is a classic game I remember from my childhood, so it’s fun to play it now with my kids. It is easy for young children to understand and uses a nice mix of luck and strategy. We actually have the Despicable Me version of Trouble, which my kids love because it comes with little Minion game pieces and a Siren Bob figurine.

A friend once gushed to me about how much fun her family had playing Marvel Hedbanz Board Game. It was something that everyone in the family loved to play. Although the listing states this is for ages 7 and up, it is often played with much younger children, especially since it is picture based.

Don’t Break the Ice Game is a really fun hands on game we first discovered thanks to a board games club at our homeschooling group several years ago. Kids have to try to pop out pieces of “ice” without letting the penguin on top fall through. At the board games club, there was always a line to play this one!

Want to teach your child chess but afraid it will be overwhelming? The board games club also introduced us to No Stress Chess, with a board that offers hints and a deck of cards that teaches the moves to new players. It is a easy way to teach kids chess, while letting them get started playing right away. I also liked how you can play at different levels of difficulty, as the children begin to learn the game.

Hasbro Battleship is another classic game that seems to never go out of style. Let’s be honest – I still find it really fun to play! We have Battleship Game: Star Wars Edition, which my little Jedi knights love to play together.

Peacable Kingdom Cauldron Quest is an award-winning cooperative game for ages 6 and up. Players work together to find the ingredients to make a special potion while avoiding obstacles – perfect for any magic-loving kids! Great for learning strategy and teamwork.

I’m always surprised at how much kids love to play Hasbro Monopoly Classic Game, considering how long game play can take – yet kids always want to play for hours! (Pro tip: if you read the instructions carefully, you’ll find rules for shorter versions that you play). This long-time favorite board game has inspired many versions, several of which can be found in our games closet! My boys’ current favorite is Star Wars Monopoly. (Did you know there’s actually a Fortnite Edition of Monopoly?) What is your family’s favorite version?

Days of Wonder Ticket To Ride is one I had heard of from friends with older kids, so we decided to try it out, now that my kids are ready for more complicated games. It was so much fun! Even my 5 year old had no trouble playing once he had some practice – though my little one kept stealing all of the train tokens! This board game is now so popular that you can find it in numerous variations, such as Ticket To Ride – Europe, Ticket to Ride: Asia, and Ticket to Ride: Africa.

This is next on our list of games to try out! Whether your child loves chemistry or you are hoping to spark an interest, Valence Plus – Use Real Chemistry to Break Down Your Opponents’ Molecules and Be a Science Ninja! is a fun way to learn about chemistry and the periodical table even you start with only a basic grasp of the concepts. Created by two chemical engineering PhDs and a New York Times best-selling cartoonist, this unique game is designed for kids of all ages.

Pandemic is my oldest son’s current favorite board game, and I’m always happy to oblige when he asks to play. I know of adults that gather to play hours long games of Pandemic, but it can also be enjoyed by the younger set, as you can play at different levels of difficulty. Again, my 5 year old has also played, with a little coaching. It has now spawned variations like Pandemic: On the Brink and Pandemic: State Of Emergency.

What are your family’s favorite board games?

KBN Holiday Gift Guides

KBN Holiday Gift Guide 2018

I’m excited to join this gift guide blog hop from other kid bloggers! You won’t want to miss these great holiday gift guides for kids!

Rad Gifts for Tween Girls from The Moments at Home

Gifts for Teen Girls from KimspiredDIY

Best Train Sets for Toddlers from Play Trains!

Best Board Games for Kids and Families from All Done Monkey

Gifts for Kids Who Love Outside Adventures from Bambini Travel

10 Gifts for Kids to Encourage New Reading Skills from My Storytime Corner

Best Games for Teens/Tweens from Nouveau Soccer Mom

The Best Toys and Games for Kids to Play Together from Mosswood Connections

Creative Books for Kids that Inspire from Thimble and Twig

15 of The Most Magical Unicorn Gift Ideas for Kids from Projects with Kids

Gift Ideas for Teenage Boys from EverydaySavvy

Gifts for Messy Play from In Our Pond

15 Best Arts and Crafts Gifts for Kids from The Joy of Sharing

Girl Power Gifts for Girls of all ages from Seaside Sundays

Brilliant! Best Unisex Toys and Gift Ideas for Young Children from Heart of Deborah

Inquisitive Detective Gifts for Kids from Castle View Academy

Gifts for Kids that will Inspire Creativity from Creative K Kids

Robots, Rockets, & Tech Toys for Kids that ROCK! from Our Family Code

Seriously FUN Sensory Toys and Games from B-Inspired Mama

Gender Neutral Frozen-themed Gift Ideas from Fab Working Mom Life

Gifts for 8 Year Old Girls from What’s Up Fagans?

Best Outdoor Gifts to get Kids Outside from Creative Little Explorers

40+ Magical Gifts for your Harry Potter Wizards from Coffee and Carpool

Absolutely Amazing Gifts for Future Fashion Designers from The Gifty Girl

Nov 062018
 

As a follow up to last week’s stained glass heart craft for the Birth of the Báb, today I’m sharing a craft for the upcoming Bahá’í holy day the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh. This is an easy movable sun craft, which anyone can make as a cheerful decoration, or you can customize it with a quotation for the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh.

Movable Sun Craft: Birth of Baha'u'llah | Alldonemonkey.com

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

Movable Sun Craft: Birth of Baha’u’llah

The Prophet Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, Mirza Husayn Ali, is customarily known by the title Bahá’u’lláh, which is Arabic for “the Glory of God.” For this craft for the upcoming Bahá’í holy day celebrating the anniversary of Bahá’u’lláh’s birth, I have focused on the word “glory,” here represented by the sun.

This craft is an easy one to do at home with your child or to do with a group of children in a class or at a holy day event. If you do, please share your photos! You can either share on my Facebook page or tag me on Instagram (@alldonemonkey).

Materials (per child)

3 sheets of construction paper or colored card stock

Orange or yellow marker

Scissors

Glue

One round head fastener

Instructions

To make this movable sun craft for a class of 3-6 year olds, I prepped ahead by doing steps 1 and 2, as well as the final step. You may decide to have your students or child do those steps with you, depending on their age and attention span.

Movable Sun Craft: Birth of Baha'u'llah | Alldonemonkey.com

1. Stack your sheets of colored paper. Trace a large circle on the top layer and cut out the shape so that you have three identical circles, one from each sheet of paper.

Movable Sun Craft: Birth of Baha'u'llah | Alldonemonkey.com

2. Leave your yellow circle as is. Fold your white circle in half, lightly crease it then open again. Fold in half the opposite direction. Cut along the line of your first crease except cut a small quarter circle as you approach the edge of your new fold.

When you open it again, you should have a semi-circle topped with a small semi-circle in the middle (almost like a little UFO!). The small semi-circle will be the base of the rising sun.

Movable Sun Craft: Birth of Baha'u'llah | Alldonemonkey.com

3. Have the children color the smaller semi-circle either orange or yellow, to represent the sun.

4. Next, cut your orange sheet into rays. You can let the children cut the rays themselves in whatever pattern they wish, just as long as they cut out some pieces, so that when it is placed on top of the yellow circle, some of the yellow will show through. (In other words, don’t just cut a fringe by cutting slits all the way around).

Movable Sun Craft: Birth of Baha'u'llah | Alldonemonkey.com

If you would like a more even pattern, you can fold the orange circle in half, then in half again, and then once more. Cut out a “V” in the middle of this triangle, making it as much in the middle as possible, so that the sides remaining are even.

Movable Sun Craft: Birth of Baha'u'llah | Alldonemonkey.com

5. Open the orange circle (if folded) then glue onto the yellow circle.

Movable Sun Craft: Birth of Baha'u'llah | Alldonemonkey.com

6. Place the white sheet on top and secure them all together with a round fastener right in the middle, so that the sun can spin.

7. If you are just making the movable sun craft as a fun decoration, you can stop – you’re done! However, if you are making it for the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh then write “Bahá” on four consecutive orange rays.

Movable Sun Craft: Birth of Baha'u'llah | Alldonemonkey.com

8. Spin the sun until “Bahá” is hidden then write “Glory” on five of the yellow rays. If you did the folded method of making the orange rays then you will have exactly the right number to write both phrases. Note that for “Glory” the first and last letters will be on half spaces, so that they don’t show when you spin to show the “Bahá” side.

Movable Sun Craft: Birth of Baha'u'llah | Alldonemonkey.com

9. Finally , on the white semi-circle, write the following quote (this could also be done ahead of time):

“Thou art My glory, and My glory fadeth not.”

-Bahá’u’lláh

Related Posts

Trumpet Craft for the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh

Bell Craft for the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh

Bicentenary of the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh: Why It Matters

Nov 022018
 
 November 2, 2018  Birth of the Bab, crafts No Responses »

In anticipation of the upcoming Bahá’í holy day, here is an easy but beautiful stained glass heart craft for the Birth of the Báb we did in our children’s class. It only requires a few materials yet allows children to be creative and add their own personal touch on it.

Stained Glass Heart Craft for the Birth of the Bab | Alldonemonkey.com

Stained Glass Heart Craft: The Birth of the Bab

Next week, Bahá’ís will celebrate the anniversary of the birth of one of the Prophet-Founders of the Bahá’í Faith, known by His Arabic title, the Báb (“The Gate”). This stained glass heart craft is a fun activity for the holy day to use in a children’s class or at home. It makes a beautiful gated frame for a short prayer from the Báb.

Materials (per child):

1 sheet of card stock

1 block of contact paper, about the size of the sheet of card stock

Torn tissue paper of varying colors

Glue

Stained Glass Heart Craft for the Birth of the Bab | Alldonemonkey.com

Instructions:

For this stained glass heart craft, I did steps 1-6 myself ahead of time, to prep for a class of 3-6 year olds; however, if you are working with a child one on one or have a group of older children, you may choose to have them do some of these steps.

1. Fold the card stock in half cross-wise. Lightly crease then reopen.

2. Fold each end toward the crease mark so that they meet in the middle. This will be your gate. Sharply crease these edges then reopen the sheet.

3. Fold the card stock in half again (as you did originally) and cut out a large heart shape. Make sure not to pass the creases you just made in Step 2.

4. Take the cut out shape and make it smaller by cutting off about an inch all the way around. The amount you cut off will be the amount of space you have for the “stained glass” to show through.

5. On this smaller heart, write this short prayer (see below of a melody you can teach for this prayer):

O God, my God,

my Beloved,

my heart’s Desire.

– The Báb

6. Fold the contact paper in half (with the sticky side facing in). Trim so that it is about the size of the back of the gate when refolded.

7. Peel the paper off of one half of the contact paper and have the children place the small heart with the quote in the center.

Stained Glass Heart Craft for the Birth of the Bab | Alldonemonkey.com

8. The children can then decorate the remaining area of the contact paper with the torn tissue paper. You may also wish to give them other items, such as glitter, to use.

They can fill the space completely or leave some spots empty, as they wish. Just make sure they leave room around the edges so that you can seal off their creation at the end. They should focus on decorating the center of their rectangle, as only the area around the heart will show through at the end.

Stained Glass Heart Craft for the Birth of the Bab | Alldonemonkey.com

9. When they are done, peel off the backing of the rest of the contact paper and fold it over the decorated area to seal it in.

Stained Glass Heart Craft for the Birth of the Bab | Alldonemonkey.com

10. Glue this sealed contact paper to the back of the gate, so that the small heart shows through in the center of the cut-out heart space.

Stained Glass Heart Craft for the Birth of the Bab | Alldonemonkey.com

Once you have finished, children could also decorate the rest of the gate frame with markers or stickers, if they wish.

Here is a melody for the above prayer that you can teach the children as well:

 

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“Oh God, my God, my Beloved, my heart’s Desire.” – Bahá’í prayer . I finally have my voice back after being sick for more than a week, so I can share with you the melody for this prayer from the Báb, which we used in our stained glass craft (see post from last week). This is a short, easy prayer for kids to learn for the Birth of the Báb holy day coming up in just over a week! It celebrates the birth of one of the Prophet Founders of the Bahá’í Faith in 1819, known by the Arabic title the Báb, which means “the Gate” because He prepared people for the coming of Bahá’ulláh, the other Prophet Founder of the Bahá’í Faith. . . . #mkbkids #bahaifaith #bahai #prayer #prayers #spiritual #music #song #mommyblogger #momsoninstagram #kbnmoms #Sacramento #instagood #instamusic #ignorcal #holyday

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Happy Birth of the Báb to those celebrating next week!

Related Posts:

Birth of the Báb Gate Craft

Birth of the Báb Virtues Game

Trumpet Craft for the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh

Oct 172018
 
 October 17, 2018  activities, Day of the Dead 2 Responses »

Looking for a fun Day of the Dead activity for kids? Why not make an escape room? It is a fun way to engage a group of kids in crafts and puzzles related to Day of the Dead! We have you covered with a complete (though flexible) plan to set up your escape room, including a free printable pack! Perfect activity for a classroom setting or Day of the Dead party.

Day of the Dead Activity for Kids: Make an Escape Room | Alldonemonkey.com

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

Day of the Dead Activity for Kids: Make an Escape Room

Are you throwing a Day of the Dead party or looking for a fun Day of the Dead activity for kids for your classroom? Here is a complete plan, including a printable (see below), though it is also flexible to allow you to adjust to suit your needs.

Below are eight activities (many included in the printable pack) that you can use for your Day of the Dead escape room. Any of these can be swapped out or modified to suit your group of students; however, make sure that you end up with EIGHT activities total, so that they can solve the final puzzle. The activities can be done in any order, but all must be completed before they are given the final puzzle to solve.

For each activity done or puzzle solved, the students will receive one letter (included in the printable). Once they receive all eight letters, they can solve the final puzzle.

Variation: To add some excitement to this Day of the Dead activity for kids, you could set a time limit to the game then blow up some of these skeleton balloons and pop one every few minutes. (So, for example, if you are going to give them 30 minutes for the activity, blow up 6 balloons and pop one every 5 minutes). Once the last balloon is popped, time’s up!

Set Up

Depending on your layout and the size of the group, the children could work together on each activity on one large table, or you could set up each activity on a separate, smaller table, and have the children work in smaller groups, each of which would complete several of the activities. (For example, 4 small groups could do 2 activities each). However you decide, the entire group should solve the final puzzle together.

Print out the Day of the Dead Activity for Kids Escape Room Printable Pack to use where indicated below.

Activity 1: Spanish Color by Number Skull

Help them learn their colors in Spanish with this Day of the Dead color by number page.

Activity 2: Day of the Dead Song

Teach them a Day of the Dead song! Depending on their level of Spanish, they could learn the lyrics or just have fun dancing.

Activity 3: Marigold Craft

Let them create a beautiful Day of the Dead decoration to take home by teaching them to make marigolds out of tissue paper.

Activity 4: Fill in the Blanks

Work together to complete a Day of the Dead fill in the blank activity (included in the printable).

Activity 5: Papel Picado

Make banners with beautiful papel picado, either using this template or their own design.

Activity 6: Word Problem

Solve a Day of the Dead themed word problem (included in the printable).

Activity 7: Acrostic Poem

Get creative by writing their own acrostic poem about Day of the Dead! (Template included in the printable).

Activity 8: Honoring Loved Ones

While Day of the Dead has become a popular holiday, it’s important to remind kids about the real meaning behind it, which is to honor and remember loved ones that have passed on. Have each student make a drawing of a loved one or hero that has passed on, along with a sentence or two about what they remember about them. (Worksheet included in the printable).

Final Puzzle:

Finish off your Day of the Dead activity for kids by having them solve one final puzzle! This puzzle (included in the printable) is solved using the letters earned with each completed activity.

Treats

Be sure to have plenty of Day of the Dead treats on hand to reward them for their hard work! You could have pan de muerto (bread of the dead), sweet pumpkin dessert, or these crispy rice treats, and, of course, candy skulls! Don’t forget these Day of the Dead cupcake toppers!

 

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We love to travel and learn about other cultures, but sometimes it can lead to misunderstandings! That’s why I love this new book from @worldwidebuddies, The Marvelous Mexican Misunderstanding! When Adri and his family move back to Mexico, he is puzzled about the Day of the Dead he hears everyone talking about. When he tries to find out more about it, his sister teases him and tells him it’s the day he’s going to die! Ride along with Adri as his family prepares for the big day – and he finally discovered what it’s really all about! This is a great book to introduce kids to Day of the Dead festivities in Mexico and let them know that misunderstandings are normal! 

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While they enjoy their treats, read this fun new picture book for older kids! A Marvelous Mexican Misunderstanding is a great introduction to Day of the Dead from the perspective of a young boy whose family has recently moved back to Mexico. Like most children, Adri has heard some about Day of the Dead but finds much of it confusing. And to top it all off, his older sister decides to play a trick on him, telling him that Day of the Dead is when Adri is going to die!

Young readers will identify with Adri’s confusion and enjoy the happy resolution, learning all about the beautiful Day of the Dead holiday along the way.

I loved the artwork in A Marvelous Mexican Misunderstanding, which captures the emotional tenor of the story as well as providing some stunning views of Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico. My favorite was the nighttime boat ride to the island of Janitzio, twinkling with candlelight. My sons enjoyed Adri’s sometimes funny, sometimes nerve-wracking misunderstandings – plus his pet axolotl, of course!

While you can order A Marvelous Mexican Misunderstanding by itself, you can also find it as part of a Dead of the Dead story box that includes toys, games, and activities to teach children about this marvelous Mexican celebration!

What is your favorite Day of the Dead activity for kids?

Related Posts:

Children’s Books for Day of the Dead

Easy Day of the Dead Craft

The Aztec: Top Books for Children

Day of the Dead series | Multicultural Kid Blogs
Multicultural Kid Blogs is proud to be hosting another blog hop for Day of the Dead! (Don’t miss our series from last year, 2017, and 2016!) Be sure to visit all the posts below for great ideas on sharing Day of the Dead with kids:

 

Oct 082018
 
 October 8, 2018  activities, Spanish Comments Off on Easy Spanish Activity with Play Dough

As a busy homeschooling mom of three, I love it when I can find easy, no-prep activities that still really pack in a lot of learning. Bonus if it works for all three kids, despite the range of ages! That’s why I love this easy Spanish activity with play dough. It uses just one material (play dough), which you likely have on hand, and a little imagination! It’s easy to adapt for different levels of language ability and tons of fun for everyone.

Easy Spanish Activity with Play Dough | Alldonemonkey.com

Easy Spanish Activity with Play Dough

Getting set up for this easy Spanish activity couldn’t be simpler – just pull out your container of play dough and get ready for some fun!

Just ask your child (in Spanish) to use the play dough to make the object you tell them. In other words, you might ask them to make un gato (a cat) or una casa (a house).

Easy Spanish Activity with Play Dough | Alldonemonkey.com

You could also give them less exact prompts, like to make un animal que vive en el bosque (an animal that lives in the forest) or tu comida favorita (your favorite food).

Easy Spanish Activity with Play Dough | Alldonemonkey.com

Giving a kiss to her pato (duck)

For older students, you can flip the script and have them build an object of their choosing and tell you in Spanish what it is!

Easy Spanish Activity with Play Dough | Alldonemonkey.com

More advanced students could come up with a story related to their creation and perhaps even act it out.

Easy Spanish Activity with Play Dough | Alldonemonkey.com

Una casa (a house)

What other variations could you add to this easy Spanish activity?

Aug 292018
 
 August 29, 2018  Book Reviews, Education, Kid Fun, music, parenting Comments Off on Encouraging Pretend Play: 3 Simple Tips

Pretend play is a wonderful way for children to work out their problems, try out new ideas, and explore imaginative worlds. It is an important part of a child’s intellectual and emotional development, as well as an integral part of cherished childhood memories.

And it’s not just for the very young! We often associate pretend play with toddlers and preschoolers, but I find that it is just as important for older children, who still have big imaginations and often use pretend play as a way to unwind.

Encouraging Pretend Play: 3 Simple Tips | Alldonemonkey.com

Here are three simple tips for encouraging pretend play for your children, no matter what their age. You can also find below great books and music to set their imaginations on fire. Share your tips and resources in the comments!

Disclosure: I was sent complimentary copies of the resources 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.

Encouraging Pretend Play: 3 Simple Tips

Allow for Plenty of Free Time

This seems so obvious, yet it’s amazing how busy our schedules can be, especially when seen from a child’s perspective. If we are exhausted after shepherding our kids through schoolwork, errands, doctor’s appointments, etc., how do we think our children feel? Depending on your circumstances, opening up some free time for imaginative play may be as simple as a change in perspective, or it may mean a more fundamental restructuring of your schedule and perhaps cutting back on organized activities.

With my children I’ve found that they do better if they have plenty of downtime, whether it’s running around outdoors or playing with playdough or Legos. So, for example, in the mornings I make sure they get an hour of free play after breakfast so that it is easier for them to focus on schoolwork. Many children find pretend play a great way to decompress after school.

Provide Open Ended Toys

While my kids love toys with all the bells and whistles, to really encourage pretend play there is nothing better than open ended toys, which are great tools for children to project their imaginations. What this really means is to provide your children with toys that don’t have a set purpose but rather can be used in many different ways, such as sensory bins, building sets, or crayons and paper. Again, don’t put age limits on these toys – I’m always pleasantly surprised at how much my eight year old still loves playing with play dough.

And nothing could be simpler than getting outdoors! Nature is the ultimate playground for young imaginations, whether it’s out in the wild or at one of the many creative local parks.

Encouraging Pretend Play: 3 Simple Tips | Alldonemonkey.com

Incorporate Pretend Play into Your Day

Pretend play can introduce an element of fun into your everyday routine. My 5 year old regularly fights off storm troopers while we are at the grocery store, and your child could be a mermaid or a pirate during bath time. Many of our learning activities also incorporate some element of pretend play. For example, when we studied about knights and castles, we did a “knighting” ceremony and made shields and swords out of cardboard, followed by plenty of pretend play as knights!

Pretend play can also be a life saver if you are waiting at a doctor’s office or have a long car drive, though in those kind of spaces you might have to be more creative about what you can do!

Offer Big Ideas for Them to Dream with

A wonderful gift you can give your children is to introduce them to big ideas to excite their imaginations. In a way it is like giving them the vocabulary to dream with, the tools to construct their own imaginative worlds. Whether through exploring other cultures and cuisines, telling them tales from your childhood, or reading from great books together, these experiences of adventure and wonder will spark hours of pretend play!

Below are new wonderful books and music that are sure to expand children’s imaginative worlds and inspire pretend play!

How to Be a T-Rex

My son loves How to be a T. Rex! In fact, just the other day he was telling me he was scared to go into our back bedroom by himself, when he suddenly stood up straighter and said, “Wait! I’m going to be a T Rex!” and scampered off alone. Thank you, Ryan North!

This fun book is all about a dinosaur-loving kid (a little girl! an African American little girl!) who just wants to be a T Rex, even though her older brother says it’s impossible. Of course, she eventually realizes that being a T Rex also has its downsides, so she comes up with an even more creative solution! And even makes up with her brother when he apologizes 🙂

If You Want to Be a Pirate

Pirates are another set of classic characters that kids loved to act out. And now there is the perfect soundtrack! If You Want to Be a Pirate: Songs for Young Buccaneers is a brand new album of original songs from Tam Mason and the Blue Buccaneers. This group performs in costume (see below), often even on ships! This album was inspired by their youngest fans.

Tom Mason and the Blue Buccaneers

We have had so much fun listening to these swash-buckling tunes about parrots, a kindly kraken, and an invisible first mate. I also love that there’s even a song raising the environmental consciousness of young pirates, telling them that thanks to messy humanity you can’t see the treasure anymore because of all the trash.

If you have a pirate lover in your house, you won’t want to miss this album!

Sarabella’s Thinking Cap is a beautifully illustrated picture book for all of the day dreamers out there. I love it because it celebrates those children whose heads are perpetually in the clouds, at the same time as it offers ideas for how to help them function in a classroom setting. Thanks to her wise teacher, Sarabella isn’t shamed for having trouble focusing. Instead, he encourages her to come up with an invention that allows plenty of room for her imagination – and multiplication tables.

Mossby’s Magic Carpet Handbook: A Flyer’s Guide to Mossby’s Model D3 Extra-Small Magic Carpet (Especially for Young or Vertically Challenged People) is perfect for older children. My eight year old adores poring over the gorgeous illustrations and reading all of the detailed diagrams and instructions for flying magic carpets. He says he likes how realistic the book is, “which almost makes me think that it’s real.” This colorful guide covers everything from weather, spotting wild animals, recognizing things from above, and how “not to barf.” Just be sure to take the solemn magic carpet riders’ oath and follow the code of conduct, including only using your magic carpet for good.

How to Be a T Rex Blog Tour

This post is part of the blog tour for How to be a T. Rex, so don’t miss the other stops to promote this fun new picture book!

WEEK ONE

August 20 – Four Violet Reviews – Cooking Dino Grub

August 21 – Bookfoolery – Review

August 22 – The Kindergarten Connection – Creative Instagram Picture

August 23 – MaiStoryBook – Review + Creative Instagram Picture

August 24 – TheReadathon – Review

WEEK TWO

August 27 – Crayon Freckles – Learning Activity

August 28 – How Useful It Is – Review

August 29 – All Done Monkey – Review + Creative Instagram Picture

Jul 242018
 
 July 24, 2018  activities, Sacramento Comments Off on Indoor Playground for Young Kids: Imagine Play of Elk Grove

Looking for a fun play to take your kids when it’s just too hot outdoors? Here is our experience at a local indoor playground for young kids, where little ones can explore and enjoy no matter what the weather. And even better, local readers can win free passes in our #SummerFunSac challenge on Instagram, so don’t miss out!

Indoor Playground for Young Kids: Imagine Play of Elk Grove | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: We received complimentary passes to Imagine Play of Elk Grove for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.

Indoor Playground for Young Kids: Imagine Play of Elk Grove

Imagine Play of Elk Grove is an indoor playground for young children and a haven for parents and caregivers wanting to give kids a safe place to play and explore. Everything is perfectly sized for little ones and designed to spark imaginative play and sensory fun.

Indoor Playground for Young Kids: Imagine Play of Elk Grove | Alldonemonkey.com

My toddler and I recently had a chance to visit, and she had an absolute ball! As the youngest of three, she reveled in having a play space full of toys and equipment designed just for younger children!

Indoor Playground for Young Kids: Imagine Play of Elk Grove | Alldonemonkey.com

There was a castle with stairs to climb and a ball drop built into the side, a pirate ship, a grocery store set up, and more hands on, open ended toys than I have room to list.

Indoor Playground for Young Kids: Imagine Play of Elk Grove | Alldonemonkey.com

And as if that weren’t enough, they also have art and sensory activities offered every hour on the half hour in a connecting room. My daughter loved playing with the kinetic sand!

Indoor Playground for Young Kids: Imagine Play of Elk Grove | Alldonemonkey.comIndoor Playground for Young Kids: Imagine Play of Elk Grove | Alldonemonkey.com

Just be warned that if you bring a child to Imagine Play, they will not want to leave! Luckily, you can bring in a packed lunch and drinks (not in the main play area, but in the adjacent seated area), or purchase snacks, juice boxes, and water.

Indoor Playground for Young Kids: Imagine Play of Elk Grove | Alldonemonkey.com

Parents must be present and supervising their children, but the space is designed so that you can comfortably do this from the seated area, while enjoying your complimentary coffee 🙂

Indoor Playground for Young Kids: Imagine Play of Elk Grove | Alldonemonkey.com

Can’t get enough? You could become a member, or host a party!

We loved our time at Imagine Play in Elk Grove, a wonderfully imaginative indoor playground for young children. Be sure to stop by, and don’t forget you could win free passes when you enter our Sacramento Summer Fun IG challenge!

Jul 052018
 
 July 5, 2018  Book Reviews, crafts, History, multiculturalism, raising world citizens Comments Off on Thunderbird: Native American Legend

The Thunderbird is an important symbol found in legends throughout North America. Sometimes friendly, sometimes threatening, this awe-inspiring bird was a supernatural creature that derived its name from the flapping of its powerful wings, which was said to produce thunder. Read on to find resources to teach children about this widespread Native American legend, as well as a new middle grade fiction series that celebrates mythical creatures.

Thunderbird: Native American Legend | Alldonemonkey.com

Photo by Dr Haggis [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Thunderbird: Native American Legend

The Thunderbird appears most frequently in legends of the Pacific Northwest, yet it can be found throughout North America. It appears in songs and oral histories, even in ancient stone carvings. With the flapping of their powerful wings and the lightning that would shoot out of their eyes, the Thunderbirds were said to bring rain and storms.

A Note About Sources

When learning about Native American cultures, it is extremely important to interrogate your sources. This is a highly sensitive topic among Native communities, and with good reason. For hundreds of years outsiders have appropriated and interpreted Native culture. Even when done with good intentions, this can distort the original context, so it is important to make sure that your source is reputable and respectful.

For example, when searching for resources on the Thunderbird legend, I came across many entries from “cryptozoology,” a branch of pseudoscience that attempts to prove the existence of creatures from legend. As a result, there is a lively search for the “real” Thunderbird, sometimes thought to be a surviving pterosaur and sometimes a monstrous creature related to the condor.

You also run into a lot of links about the cars and the airplanes named after the powerful Thunderbird!

As a result, I’ve collected for you reliable resources about the supernatural Thunderbird from Native American legends, so you can learn more about it with your children. Keep in mind that the Thunderbird appears in legends across North America, so you will run across some variation.

Thunderbird: What to Read

History of the Thunderbird symbol, especially in the Mississippian culture

A history of the modern Thunderbird jewelry of the US Southwest

Thunderers in Cherokee legend

Collection of Native stories about the Thunderbird

Thunderbird and Whale stories from the Pacific Northwest

I also found a beautiful book at our local library, called Brave Wolf and the Thunderbird: Tales of the People. This traditional Absaroka (Crow) tale is here retold by Joseph Medicine Crow. It is an example of how the Thunderbird often is friendly towards humans and can help them. It is part of the Tales of the People series created with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.

Thunderbird: Where to Visit

Thunderbird: Native American Legend | Alldonemonkey.com

Thunderbird Park, Victoria, BC

Thunderbird Park in Victoria, British Columbia

Mythical Creatures for Kids

If you have a child that is fascinated by mythical creatures, then you don’t want to miss the wonderful new middle grade series The Unicorn Rescue Society. In the first book, The Creature of the Pines, we meet Elliot, a bookish boy starting his first day at a new school. He quickly teams up with Uchenna, his polar opposite in many ways except for how neither of them seems to be a bit of a misfit. But my favorite character is the wild-haired Professor Fauna, a mysterious teacher feared by most students. But when the children find a mysterious creature on a school field trip, they find that Professor Fauna is the only person in whom they can confide.

And thanks to him, they are introduced to the Unicorn Rescue Society – much to Elliot’s chagrin and Uchenna’s delight. Young readers will delight in their adventures with the Professor, and travel along with them to save a dragon in the just released second book in the series, The Basque Dragon. Highly imaginative book for anyone who believes (or wants to believe) that mythical creatures might still exist!

Unicorn Rescue Society

This book is part of the Basque Dragon book tour. Find out more in the links below!

WEEK ONE

July 2 – Liv The Book Nerd – Review + Creative Instagram

July 3 – Mommy Ramblings – Favorite Mythological Creature from a Children’s Picture Book

July 4 – Live.Laugh.Love.Library – Listicle: Five Interesting Facts about your Favorite Mythological Creature

July 5 – All Done Monkey – Review + Favorite Mythological Creature

July 6 – Storymamas – Favorite Mythological Creatures to have as pets

WEEK TWO

July 9 – The HSP Bookshelf – What Mythological Creature I would want to have as a pet

July 10 – The Pages In-Between – Creative Instagram Picture

July 11 – Lost in Storyland – What Mythological Creature I would want to have as a pet

July 12 – Laura’s Bookish Corner – What Mythological Creature I would want to have as a pet

May 092018
 
 May 9, 2018  activities, Book Reviews, Geography, multiculturalism, recipes, Spanish, Summer Comments Off on Tropical Chocolate Mango Popsicles

The weather is finally warming up in our neck of the woods, so we celebrated by concocting some fruity, chocolate-y pops! Inspired by a traditional Puerto Rican treat, these tropical chocolate mango popsicles are full of fruity goodness – mango, banana, and coconut – plus a touch of decadence from the chocolate. What better way to celebrate the fact that summer is just around the corner? Plus, you don’t want to miss our giveaway of a wonderful new children’s activity coloring book all about Puerto Rico!

Tropical Chocolate Mango Popsicles | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Puerto Rico, the Island of Enchantment 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.

Tropical Chocolate Mango Popsicles

Summer is coming, which makes us all think about tropical beaches and relaxing by the waves. To bring a little taste of the tropics to our home in Northern California, we decided to make these scrumptious tropical chocolate mango popsicles. I was inspired by Puerto Rican limber, a frozen treat similar to popsicles and often made with fresh fruits and juices. You can do all kinds of combinations, but we were especially interested in mango – which was great because I had a huge bag of frozen mango in the freezer! Of course, if you have fresh, by all means use that, but it is often hard for us to find really good mangoes in our area, plus with kids, it’s so much easier to use frozen since it’s already peeled and chopped for you.

If you want an authentic mango limber, then I highly recommend trying this recipe from Modern Mami, or you can browse this great collection of healthy limber recipes! I wanted to do something a little different, so we added a little twist to our recipe by adding shredded coconut and banana, as well as chocolate. Cocoa powder alone is quite bitter, so I actually used hot chocolate mix (!) but if you don’t have this, just use cocoa powder and sugar to taste.

Tropical Chocolate Mango Popsicles | Alldonemonkey.com

Ingredients (makes 6+ popsicles)

4 cups of mango (frozen or fresh)

1 banana

honey to taste

3 cups water (add more or less depending on how thick you like it)

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup hot chocolate mix (or combination of cocoa powder and sugar)

Combine all ingredients in blender. Taste and adjust for sweetness. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze.

Puerto Rico has been on my mind a lot lately, even since the devastation of Hurricane Maria and the excruciatingly long recovery that followed and is still ongoing. So when my friend Melissa López Chaperoo approached me to help edit her beautiful bilingual coloring activity book Puerto Rico, La Isla del Encanto – Cuaderno de Ejercicios: Puerto Rico, The Island of Enchantment – Workbook, I jumped at the chance.

Tropical Chocolate Mango Popsicles & Puerto Rico Workbook | Alldonemonkey.com

I am endlessly impressed by the author’s talent as an illustrator but also the depth of her knowledge about the subject. Puerto Rico, La Isla del Encanto – Cuaderno de Ejercicios: Puerto Rico, The Island of Enchantment – Workbook is incredibly comprehensive, covering topics as varied as history, geography, government, religion, sports, food, and the arts. It contains nearly 200 workbook pages (plus answer keys) appropriate for elementary school and even older (though younger kids will definitely enjoy the coloring part of it!) There is so much to explore here, no matter what your child’s interests, so it is sure to be a hit!

The book is completely bilingual, so whether your kids read/write fluently in Spanish, just un poquito, or not at all, this is the perfect book to expose them to Spanish and the rich culture and history of the Island of Enchantment.

Tropical Chocolate Mango Popsicles & Puerto Rico Workbook | Alldonemonkey.com

Even better, all of the profits from the first year of its publication go to recovery efforts in Puerto Rico. This book is a true labor of love, dedicated to the author’s homeland during its time of need. It is a great way to support Puerto Rico and teach kids about this beautiful island that they have surely been hearing about on the news.

Giveaway

And now you can win your own copy! Simply comment on this post, letting us know which topic about Puerto Rico you think your child would be most interested in! Geography, history, the arts, sports, or … ? Let us know!

Contest ends Tuesday, May 15, 2018, at midnight PT. Winner chosen by random selection. US Shipping Only

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Mar 302018
 
 March 30, 2018  activities, Sacramento 2 Responses »

If you have kids that love airplanes, you won’t want to miss visiting the Aerospace Museum of California! Read more about our experience, plus learn about an incredible new resource for Sacramento families!

Aerospace Museum of California {Sacramento for Kids} | Alldonemonkey.com

Aerospace Museum of California

My kids are fascinated by all things that go, so I was excited to take them to the Aerospace Museum of California, located right here in Sacramento!

Aerospace Museum of California {Sacramento for Kids} | Alldonemonkey.com

Highlights

Built on the grounds of the former McClellan Air Force Base, the Aerospace Museum consists primarily of a large, open exhibit hall plus outdoor space with 50+ aircrafts!

Aerospace Museum of California {Sacramento for Kids} | Alldonemonkey.com

Weather permitting, several of these are open every day for visitors to explore. When we visited, we got to climb aboard the “Jolly Green Giant,” a helicopter from the Vietnam War; a FedEx delivery plane; a Coast Guard aircraft; and (my favorite) a World War II era plane that flew supply missions during the invasion of Europe. Nothing teaches you history like being inside the actual aircraft that took part!

Aerospace Museum of California {Sacramento for Kids} | Alldonemonkey.com

Related Post: Sutter’s Fort – Sacramento History for Families

Back inside, there are even more aircraft (and engines) to see, plus rotating exhibits on different topics – the current exhibit is the Art of the Airport Tower. My kids loved getting into the training craft – which were actually used to train pilots – and pretending they were flying a plane!

Aerospace Museum of California {Sacramento for Kids} | Alldonemonkey.com

My oldest son’s favorite part, though, was the Morphis Simulator Ride. It is a mini-theater inside of an aircraft, which moves as you watch a short film about flight or space. (This is an additional cost from admission).

If you bring a toddler, you will need to watch them like a hawk in the main exhibit areas. Many of the aircraft on the exhibit floor are marked off with just a chain – an obvious “no touching” signal for most people, but not for a curious toddler! I actually ended up putting my two year old in a stroller as we went through these areas. Luckily there are several areas set up just for kids where she was able to play and really get a more hands on experience. She loved climbing up into the mini-aircraft and playing with the controls!

Aerospace Museum of California {Sacramento for Kids} | Alldonemonkey.com

There is a small but well-stocked Kids Zone upstairs geared toward younger children. It is gated but open to the main exhibit floor so that parents can relax and enjoy the view while their kids are enjoying themselves with the many airplane-themed puzzles, toys, and art stations.

What made the visit special for me was chatting with the docents. These older gentlemen are so knowledgeable and really have a love for the aircraft. One told me that every time his wife goes to an outlet mall, he finds an airport to visit – win win! And they are all so patient with children and love to answer questions, so be sure to take advantage of this amazing resource!

Related Post: Sacramento Day Trip – Sonoma Mission

Planning Your Visit

How long you will spend here really depends on your child’s age and level of interest. My 5 year old was ready to leave after about an hour and a half, whereas my 8 year old could have easily stayed longer than the 2 hours we were there.

Aerospace Museum of California {Sacramento for Kids} | Alldonemonkey.com

Luckily Freedom Park is right next door, so I recommend packing a lunch (there’s nowhere to eat close by) and having a nice picnic lunch and playtime at the park after the museum or to break up a longer visit. (You can exit and re-enter the museum). Keep in mind that this park is one of the few in Sacramento without a shade cover, so it gets very hot in warm weather, so you’ll want to make sure you visit it earlier in the day during the summer.

I definitely recommend visiting the Aerospace Museum of California for hands on, real world learning about aviation!

Sacramento for Kids

Disclaimer: 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 charge to you.

Long-time readers know how much I love to get out an explore the Sacramento area with my kids, but not having grown up here, I sometimes feel at a disadvantage. No more! Now I have in my hands an incredible new resource for families in Sacramento. No matter what your children’s interests or ages, you will find tons of ideas for family fun in 1,001 Things to Do in Sacramento with Kids (& the Young at Heart).

Whether you love nature or art, sports or festivals, you will find lots to enjoy in 1,001 Things to Do in Sacramento with Kids (& the Young at Heart)! I also love that the book includes activities that encompass a wide range of ages, so this book can be enjoyed by your family for many years to come.

At first I wished that the book were organized into themes, but I’ve come to appreciate the intentional randomness of the list. As the author notes, often the best adventures are actually a tangent from what you meant to do! This book is great for spring break or weekend adventures. My kids and I had a lot of fun just flipping through the book to see which ones we have done and just how many we have left to do! (The Aerospace Museum is #36 on the list, by the way!)

1,001 Things to Do in Sacramento with Kids (& the Young at Heart) is the ultimate bucket list for Sacramento families. I can’t wait for all of the adventures ahead of us!

You can find the book on Amazon or check out the website and now even the app (available on Apple and Google Play).

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