Nov 012019
 
 November 1, 2019  Book Reviews, music No Responses »

Reading together with your little one is a wonderful way to teach pre-literacy skills and early science concepts – and share some sweet snuggly time together. Here are adorable new books for babies your child will love!

Adorable New Books for Babies | Alldonemonkey.com

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

Adorable New Books for Babies

Enjoy struggle time with your little ones while teaching pre-reading and early science skills with these adorable new books for babies!

My daughter loves Look!: Babies Head to Toe and asks for it again and again. Its gorgeous illustrations of diverse, happy babies draw in little readers, as they learn about the parts of the body through the simple, repetitive text. A lovely addition to any collection of books for babies.

Baby Loves: A First Book of Favorites is a sweet follow up to Making Faces: A First Book of Emotions. (Read my review here). This book takes advantage of how little ones love to look at pictures of other babies, and uses this to build vocabulary and encourage pointing, an important early communication skill. Babies will recognize so many of their favorite things, like bananas, sippy cups, and puppies. But most of all, they will recognize that what babies most love is to be loved! (My daughter always has to end this book with a big hug!) A wonderful early book for babies.

Apple is a new book from favorite author/illustrator Nikki McClure. In McClure’s signature papercut style, this book follows the life cycle of an apple. But what is brilliant is that it doesn’t begin with a seed, as books often do, but instead with the apple babies will be familiar with. First the apple falls from the tree and is packed into a little girl’s lunch. After she takes a bite, it falls on the ground and becomes buried with the change of seasons, eventually turning into the sprout of an apple tree. With single word text on each page, this beautiful book is a perfect introduction to early science concepts for very young readers.

Introduce children to life on the farm with Farmblock! This chunky book is the latest in the innovative Block Books series, which includes Cityblock. (Read my review here). The gate folds and cut out pages create a charming effect that will captivate young readers as they learn all about the rhythms of life on the farm. I love that this book is also a gentle introduction to the seasons, as we go from planting seeds in the spring to harvest time in the fall. Great interactive book with so much to see!

My Magical Dragon is the third in the magical series that started with My Magical Unicorn and My Magical Mermaid. (Read my review of them both). These are the books I take with me whenever we have to sit for long periods, as they are guaranteed to keep my daughter entertained. In My Magical Dragon we meet a friendly dragon and follow along as he goes for a ride with a prince and princess and even lights a fire to make tea in the garden! As with the first two books, there are plenty of tabs for little ones to push, pull, spin, and slide. The adventure begins on the front cover, where young readers spin a wheel that makes holographic foil shimmer and flow through the dragon, creating a truly enchanting effect! Beautiful book to keep little ones engaged.

The musical picture book Songs in the Shade of the Cashew and Coconut Trees: Lullabies and Nursery Rhymes from West Africa and the Caribbean is one of the most beautiful works to cross my desk in a long time. It is not only a gorgeously illustrated book of lullabies and nursery rhymes from the African diaspora, it also includes a wonderful music album! The album contains full length songs, while the book illustrates the principal concepts from each (with more detailed explanations and full lyrics at the back). While you may recognize a few (like Day-O), others will become new favorites. There is so much that’s universal about these songs (such as soothing children to sleep or teaching values of love and kindness), but it’s also fun to see what’s different, like lyrics about pufferfish and gorillas.

It was an eye opener for my children to see how so many different lands on both sides of the Atlantic are connected through the legacy of the slave trade. They were especially surprised to hear songs in Spanish, not having associated Cuba with Africa before! In all, thirteen different languages and dialects are represented in this incredible collection. But despite the diversity, there is a common love of music as a way to entertain, teach, and comfort.

Where Is My Pink Sweater? is a cute story about little Rudy, who can’t find his favorite pink sweater. Children can relate to Rudy’s dilemma, as he can’t quite let go of a favorite sweater, even though he has outgrown it. He goes to great lengths to find it again, following the trail of pink yarn through various rooms with lift-the-flap surprises. I love the counting element, as he meets, for example, ten tumbling cats and nine jiving llamas. But the best is the ending, as he discovers that his sweater has been lovingly re-knit to a larger size!

Planning a trip? Or does your little one simply love vehicles? All Aboard! The Airport Train is one of a series of train books that includes All Aboard! The Christmas Train (read my review here). These unique board books are incredibly interactive, opening up so that each page is a car of the train. In addition, there are flaps to lift and hidden objects to find! This book is such a fun way to explore concepts like colors and numbers, plus it encourages children to use their imaginations in order to, for example, find shapes in the clouds.

My kids loves The Cutest Thing Ever and request it regularly during storytime. How could they not? It’s so, well, cute! It seeks to answer hat age old quesion, what is the cutest thing ever? A kitten? How about two? Wearing hats? And on and on through ever sillier combinations, until children turn the final page to find a mirror, discovering that they are definitely the cutest thing ever!

It Came from under the High Chair – Salió de debajo de la silla para comer is a fun bilingual book that teaches prepositions in English and Spanish. Like so many babies, Ivan has the habit of throwing his food around during meals. But one day, the mess under his high chair comes to life! The children try to tell their parents, but the practical adults of course don’t believe them. This silly story is a great way to practice prepositions (there’s even a pronunciation guide in the back), and kids will pick up on the moral about being neater at mealtime!

What are your favorite books for babies?

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Oct 252019
 

Autumn may seem like an unusual time for butterfly crafts and activities. Here in the US, we typically associate butterflies with spring or perhaps summer; yet in Mexico, butterflies migrating south are a beloved sign of fall. In fact, they are often associated with the Day of the Dead. And so, in honor of their long journey, here is a HUGE collection of more than 75 butterfly crafts and activities for kids, plus don’t miss my review of a wonderful new children’s book!

75+ Butterfly Crafts and Activities for Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Señorita Mariposa 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.

75+ Butterfly Crafts and Activities for Kids

Read on to find 75+ butterfly crafts and activities for kids, from painting and origami to STEM activities and music!

Butterflies are more than just beautiful: they are the ultimate metaphor for personal transformation and growth. And we can draw further inspiration from the incredible monarch butterfly’s 3,000 mile migration, which spans three countries (Canada, US, and Mexico).

Señorita Mariposa, the first picture book from award-winning musician Mister G, is a beautiful tribute to this epic journey. (Read my reviews of his albums here and here). Based on the lyrics of Mister G’s song of the same name (included on his album Chocolalala), Señorita Mariposa was inspired by the monarch butterflies he would see each year near his own home in Western Massachusetts. The bilingual text is accompanied by gorgeous illustrations of the landscapes that the monarchs fly through and the diverse people they pass along the way.

This lovely book also comes with a message about the need to preserve the habitat of the monarch butterflies and, more broadly, the natural world that our three countries share. Mister G is deeply committed to conservation and even started The Mariposa Project to inspire communities to engage with these issues.

Señorita Mariposa would be a beautiful addition to any unit on butterflies or conservation more generally and would make a wonderful gift to budding environmentalists and animal lovers.

Butterfly Music

Señorita Mariposa by Mister G, from the album Chocolalala

Butterfly by Nancy Kopman

Butterfly Outdoor Activities

Garden Butterfly Craft: Blue Bear Wood

Creating a Butterfly Garden: Mosswood Connections

Stick and Leaf Butterfly Nature Craft: Artsy Craftsy Mom

Butterfly Nature Craft: Mother Natured

Butterfly Feeder Craft: Glitter on a Dime

Butterfly STEM Activities

Books and Videos About the Migration of Monarch Butterflies: Kid World Citizen

Butterfly Identification Cards: Look! We’re Learning

Caterpillar Butterfly Life Cycle Unit: Fun with Mama

Caterpillar to Butterfly Mini Unit: Carrots Are Orange

Butterfly Life Cycle Printables: Kiddy Charts

Butterfly Life Cycle Craft Using Band Aids: The Preschool Toolbox

Butterfly Life Cycle Craft: Juggling with Kids

Butterfly Life Cycle Handprint Craftivity: Schooltime Snippets

Butterfly Life Cycle Sensory Bottles: Fun-a-Day

Butterfly Life Cycle Craft Necklace: Fun-a-Day

Butterfly Food Sensory Challenge: Preschool Powol Packets

Butterfly STEAM Activities for Preschoolers and Toddlers: Team Cartwright

Designing Wings Butterfly Craft for Preschoolers: The Keeper of the Memories

Butterfly Mats to Explore Shapes: JDaniel4’s Mom

Coloring Matching Butterflies: Teach Me Mommy

Butterfly Counting Activity: Look! We’re Learning

Painted Butterfly Wing Symmetry Activity: The Keeper of the Memories

Butterfly Name Crafts: Fun-a-Day

Butterfly Sensory Activities

Bright Butterfly Sensory Bin: The Chaos and the Clutter

Butterfly Sensory Bag: The Chaos and the Clutter

Butterfly Snacks

Butterfly Snack Bags: Mama Teaches

Butterfly Snack Bags: Messy Little Monster

Literacy Related Butterfly Fruit Snack: Primary Playground

Butterfly Crafts

Monarch Butterfly Art: Kid World Citizen

Toilet Paper Roll Butterfly Craft: The Best Ideas for Kids

Quick Cardboard Tube Butterfly Craft: Mama Teaches

Paper Roll Rainbow Butterfly Craft: Non-Toy Gifts

Toilet Roll Handprint Butterfly: Messy Little Monster

Easy Toilet Paper Roll Butterfly Craft: Look! We’re Learning

Paper Plate Butterflies with Dot Markers: Glitter on a Dime

Fluttering Watercolor Paper Plate Butterflies: Pink Stripey Socks

Butterfly Paper Plate Wreath Craft: Creative Family Fun

Cupcake Liner Butterfly Craft: The Joy of Sharing

Crepe Paper Butterfly Craft: Artsy Craftsy Mom

3-D Butterfly Craft: Non-Toy Gifts

3-D Butterfly Paper Craft: Projects with Kids

3-D Paper Butterfly: I Heart Crafty Things

Easy Pop-Up Butterfly Card: Red Ted Art

Paper Butterfly Puppet: I Heart Crafty Things

Transforming Paper Butterfly Craft: Hello, Wonderful

Fluttering Butterfly Craft: Pink Stripey Socks

Paper Butterfly Craft and Template: Artsy Craftsy Mom

Accordion Fold Paper Butterfly Craft: Artsy Craftsy Mom

Easy Folded Paper Butterfly: Red Ted Art

Origami Butterfly Bookmark Corner: Red Ted Art

Butterfly Yarn Craft Activity: Fun with Mama

Rainbow Yarn Butterfly Craft: A Dab of Glue Will Do

Yarn Wrapped Butterfly: Schooltime Snippets

Woven Craft Stick Butterflies: The Craft Train

Butterfly Painting for Toddlers: My Bored Toddler

Oil Pastel Butterfly Craft for Toddlers: My Bored Toddler

Colorful Toddler Butterfly Art: Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

Butterfly Printing with Sponges: The Craft Train

Painting with Marbles Butterfly Craft: Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

Colored Salt Butterfly Craft: Fun with Mama

Watercolor and Glitter Butterflies: I Heart Crafty Things

Handprint Butterfly Craft: Simple Everyday Mom

Paint and Fold Butterfly Symmetry Artwork: Still Playing School

Symmetry Butterfly Art with Warm and Cool Colors: Creative Family Fun

Line of Symmetry Butterfly Craft: A Dab of Glue WIll Do

Faux Stained-Glass Butterfly Art: Crayons and Cravings

Marble Painted Monarch Butterfly Suncatcher: How Wee Learn

Coffee Filter Butterflies: Organized Island

Coffee Filter Butterfly Craft: Look! We’re Learning

Butterfly Clay Footprint Ring Dish: Messy Little Monster

Mold and Cast Butterfly Craft: Our Crafty Mom

Footprint Butterfly Art & Poem: Messy Little Monster

Footprint Butterfly Keepsake: Emma Owl

Butterfly Mandala Colouring Sheet: Kids Chaos

Butterfly Coloring Pages: Simple Everyday Mom

Butterfly Notebooks: Pink Stripey Socks

Butterfly Mask Craft: Messy Little Monster

Butterfly Mask Templates: Emma Owl

Butterfly Mask Printable: Red Ted Art

 

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Oct 232019
 
 October 23, 2019  bilingualism, music, Spanish 2 Responses »

On this blog we talk a lot about activities to teach Spanish or resources for raising bilingual kids, but for many parents, a foreign language is not a high priority to add to their child’s already long list of activities. Many wonder, why should my child learn another language when they have so much on their plate as it is?

I recently had the pleasure to interview an amazing musician and advocate for teaching Spanish, the wonderful Super Stolie. Below she talks about her own journey to learn Spanish, and why she feels it is so important to expose children to other languages and cultures.

Why Should My Child Learn Another Language? | Alldonemonkey.com

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

Why My Child Learn Another Language?

Interview with Super Stolie

Super Stolie (that is, Rebecca Stoelinga) has been performing for children for over a decade. While she has incorporated Spanish into her music previously (see my review of her album Family in Harmony), her latest album Hola Ola is her first fully bilingual collection. Her music is fun and super catchy, and, on a personal level, I have to say how encouraging it is that Super Stolie is not a native speaker, yet she still has achieved a high level of fluency in Spanish!

But given that she is not a native speaker of Spanish, why is it (and the culture) so important to her, and why does she feel so strongly that children should learn another language? Read my interview below to find out!

1. Tell us more about your love for Spanish and Latin culture! How did it begin, and why does it continue to be important to you today?

When I was in junior high, we were allowed to pick between Spanish or French as a foreign language to learn. Even at 12 I was aware of the influence of the Spanish language and culture, so the decision was clear! I think being able to communicate in another language is like having a super power— I actually have lots of memories of when my language skills saved the day! Since I’ve been making connections through music for so many years, combining that now with my second language seems like a job for Super Stolie!

 

Super Stolie

 

2. Why do you think it’s important for children to learn another language?

I think it’s important for children to be globally educated, and knowing another language connects us with more people in the world, opening doors to new opportunities in travel, career and friendship. Plus, exposing yourself to a new language can help increase comprehension and speaking abilities overall by literally developing your tongue!

 

3. What can parents do to encourage their children to learn another language? (Or to learn one themselves??)

The first part of the journey is to increase awareness and exposure to another language, and preferably in a daily practice. This can be with books from the library, watching programs in the second language, using apps or flashcards, calling a relative or family friend who can pepper the language into a conversation. But my favorite — listening to music! One of my early practices was singing along to songs I loved (usually with lyrics printed in front of me) because it really helps with language fluidity.

 

Super Stolie

 

4. What is the story behind your latest single, “Fuerte sin parar”?

In 2012 I released an album called Press Play! with a song called “Top of Our Lungs” about singing and back-seat leg dancing in the car. “Fuerte sin parar” is a pop remix of that song, with an additional Spanish translation of the original lyrics weaved throughout the song. The new version is totally different, very poppy! I used the Spanish lyrics for the chorus and reworked the original English chorus to a rap in the bridge of the song.

 

5. What message do you hope your young listeners take away from your music?

There are plenty of materials already out there for language learning. As I’ve been shifting into making bilingual music for kids, I’ve discovered that my expertise as a songwriter, and now a bilingual speaker, is to offer music — for entertainment — for those children who are being raised bilingually or who already are. Why should your favorite music be in just one language, if you can speak or understand two? I hope listeners who share a passion for multilingualism continue to support a world where language crossover is another way we can unite as a whole!

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Sep 162019
 
 September 16, 2019  Book Reviews, music, parenting Comments Off on Teach Kids Self-Confidence: Books and Music

Get your child’s school year off to the right start by encouraging them to love themselves just as they are. Help kids embrace their own uniqueness with these books and music that teach kids self-confidence! Because every child should feel comfortable and happy in their own skin.

Teach Kids Self-Confidence: Books and Music | Alldonemonkey.com

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

Teach Kids Self-Confidence: Books and Music

We love these Changing Faces books! They are so adorable and fun for little ones, as the faces of the animals change each time you turn the page, thanks to something like a built-in Venetian blind. And the latest in the series, I Love You, Elephant!, has a special message of being happy just as you are. Little Monkey encounters different animals, wishing he could be like them. Yet his animal friends help him by pointing out what makes him special!

Ninja Boy’s Secret is a beautiful book about a boy learning to follow his heart – even if it means he might disappoint his father. Because unlike so many children, Ninja Boy doesn’t actually want to be a ninja. He wants to be a musician! Fearful of how his father will react, Ninja Boy nevertheless summons the courage to share his secret, by playing a beautiful violin sonata. Great story and I love the Japanese-inspired illustrations!

Honeysmoke: A Story of Finding Your Color is a beautiful story for anyone who feels like they don’t quite match anyone else. Simone, a young mixed girl, isn’t as dark as her mother or as light as her father. She longs to find a color of her own. A beautiful story about building self-confidence through embracing your uniqueness. It also sparks a lot of conversations with my mixed kids, who were curious to identify exactly what color they were!

How Do You Dance? is a great book about finding your own way, rather than trying to just imitate what everyone else is doing. There are so many ways to dance, but the most important way is the one that feels right to you! Lovely illustrations of diverse people enjoying music in all different ways!

The Love is a truly unique album! It’s hip-hop music that focuses on “love, belonging, and gender justice.” It features more than 60 artists, including many children. What really impressed me was that the album grew out of the group’s genuine engagement with their audience. As one co-founder explains, “Hundreds of kids and families trusted us with their lived experience to write these songs.” It really inspires self-confidence in kids who feel ostracized and misunderstood and encourages allies to stand up for inclusion. And beyond that, it’s just really great music that my kids love!

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Jun 052019
 
 June 5, 2019  music, Summer Comments Off on Summer Music Playlist for Families

Taking a road trip this summer or simply looking for some great kid-friendly tunes to listen to at the pool or a backyard barbecue? We’ve got you covered! Read on to learn about fab new music children’s music, plus a summer music playlist for you! And don’t miss your chance to win a pack of four CD’s in our summer music giveaway!

Summer Music Playlist for Families | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of the music 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.

Summer Music Playlist for Families

Get your summer started with some toe-tapping music by streaming this amazing summer family road trip playlist, put together by Sugar Mountain PR! Read on to find out more about the music featured on the playlist, plus don’t miss our big giveaway at the end of the post – you could win a package of ALL FOUR of the albums below!

Earworm is a fitting title for the latest album from Sean McCollough, because you’ll find yourself singing these songs all day long (though not in an annoying way!) McCollough is Parents’ Choice and NAPPA Award winner and host of the Kidstuff Radio show on WDVX in Knoxville, TN. As if that weren’t enough, I discovered that we have a personal connection! One of the guest artists on Earworm is Billy Jonas, a friend of my brother (and amazing musician) Chris Rosser! I have a lot of respect for Billy Jonas, so having him give his seal of approval for this album just confirmed my feelings that Sean McCollough is the real deal when it comes to great children’s music!

I love love the concept behind Canta Las Letras. I was already a big fan of 123 Andrés, so my expectations were high, and I wasn’t disappointed! If you have a preschooler, like me you are likely inundated with ABC songs and stories; yet, I struggled to find versions I liked in Spanish. Canta Las Letras has songs for every letter of the Spanish alphabet, teaching children the sounds for each letter. And far from being boring “educational” songs your kids will dread listening to, these 38 original tunes are so catchy you can’t help but hum along! A must to add to your collection if you are raising a bilingual preschooler or if you are just trying to learn a little Spanish yourself!

My kids love Can You Feel It from Jessa Campbell and the Saplings. In fact, now whenever we get in the car my three year old requests “The T Rex song”! I wasn’t surprised to learn that Campbell is based in Oregon, because the whole album has a PNW (Pacific Northwest) vibe, with its emphasis on ecology and nature, and folksy feel. Campbell has a beautiful voice, with a background in performance that includes opera, theatrical pop, and even touring with “Dragon Tales Live”! 

Under the Big Umbrella from Brady Rymer and the Little Band that Could is a feel-good album that is sure to lift spirits and encourage kids to be themselves. It is full of tunes that celebrate diversity, kindness and respect. Rymer is a three-time Grammy nominee, and his joyful music has a message of “hope for a future with ‘room for everyone.’ ”

Summer Music Playlist Giveaway

2019 Summer Music Playlist Giveaway

Enter for a chance to win all four of the CD’s reviewed above, a value of approximately $50! Just comment on this post to tell us your family’s summer plans! (You can also enter by commenting on our post on Instagram). US residents only. Contest ends Tuesday, June 11, 2019, at 11:59 pm PT. Winner chosen by random selection.

Apr 182019
 

Want to raise children with healthy self-esteem? Of course, we all do! Below some wonderful children’s books and music that will help reinforce a positive self-image in children and remind them that they are surrounded by unconditional love. These beautiful resources reinforce your own efforts, inspiring your child to love themselves and their own unique ways.

Inspiring Your Child to Love Themselves | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of the books and music 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.

Inspiring Your Child to Love Themselves

My children adore You Can Be. I can’t even count the number of times we’ve read it together. It has just the right blend of silliness and inspiration, teaching children that there are many ways to be a kid – funny, sensitive, smelly, grumpy – and that they can be anything they want to be – except mean or rude, of course! I love the diverse children depicted in this simple picture book, as well as how it works very hard to not reinforce gender stereotypes. For example, it is a boy that is shown to be sensitive, crying over an emotional book, and another boy shown to be caring, by watching out for a younger child. And “dirty” is exemplified by a girl playing on the ground with a truck, and “smelly” is demonstrated by a girl tooting (my kids always crack up at that one!) A lovely book inspiring your child to love themselves however they feel like being that day!

Reading That’s Me Loving You to your child is the verbal equivalent of wrapping them in a big, warm hug. It is a wonderful way to remind little ones that even when you are apart, your love always surrounds them. Best-selling author Amy Krouse Rosenthal uses beautiful imagery from nature to emphasize this point, “That shimmering star?/That’s me winking at you./That drifting cloud?/That’s me thinking of you.” A sweet book to share with younger children, especially if they are just starting school or daycare.

Do you have a child that’s fallen behind on the growth curve, or who feels like they can never catch up to older siblings? Being Small (Isn’t So Bad After All) is a great book to show children that while being small may have its challenges – like not being able to reach high shelves or being chosen last in sports games – it also has many advantages – like having more leg room on a plane or being able to squeeze into small spaces you want to explore.

I love the obvious love the mother shows to her daughter as she comforts and encourages her, as well as the little touches that demonstrate how loved she is, like the girl’s self-portrait hanging on the wall that show her as a princess surrounded by hearts. It is a wonderful way of inspiring your child to love themselves in whatever kind of body they are in, big or small!

Love Is Te Quiero, now available for pre-order, is a lovely album of bilingual English and Spanish music from award-winning artist Alina Celeste. Love Is Te Quiero is a celebration of hyphenated heritage (Celeste herself is Cuban-American) and love in two languages, inspired by her hometown of Miami. This is reflected in the language mixing in the title itself, which many Spanglish households like ours will immediately recognize! (As my son once put it, “I te amo you, too, Mommy! I te amo everyone in the whole world!”) The music is also a joyous blend of influences, interweaving bluegrass, Caribbean, Latina American, and contemporary styles. For this collection Celeste draws inspiration from sources as diverse as a Civil War-era ditty, an old Caribbean nursery rhyme, and a 20th century Spanish children’s song. One of my favorites is Chito and Abu, a melodic celebration of childhood friendship.

Celeste is also a champion of a cause close to my heart, bilingualism. In fact, she co-founded the Being Bilingual Rocks Foundation, which advocates not only for learning multiple languages but also for engaging with other cultures.

What is your favorite way of inspiring your child to love themselves?

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Mar 142019
 
 March 14, 2019  music 4 Responses »

We are a very music loving family: It’s rare that someone isn’t listening to a recording or humming a tune (or screaming it over-enthusiastically, in one child’s case!) Some of the most contested negotiations among my children are who gets to have the first turn choosing the music in the car – even when we are driving literally 10 minutes to the park or library. So I love to get to introduce my family to wonderful new music for kids. Who knew there were so many great artists out there recording for children these days??

Below is our take on new music for kids that you won’t want to miss! Be sure to scroll all the way down to find out how to enter to win your own copy of one of these incredible albums!

Colorful New Music for Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of the music 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.

Colorful New Music for Kids

The Family in Harmony album from Super Stolie is literally a celebration of color, a beautiful metaphor for how we are all different yet come together to make a beautiful rainbow. I just love her voice, showcased on songs like the title track “Family in Harmony” and the lovely “Peace Like a River.” My kids especially enjoy the silly “Chicken in the Kitchen,” and of course I love that the mix of Spanish on several of the songs. And parents everywhere will appreciate having a song (“Will You Get My Back?”) about remembering to wear your sunscreen! Now you can also get a Super Stolie Family in Harmony: Read-Along, Sing-Along Lyric Book to go along with the album. It’s a great way to practice literacy skills while you enjoy the music! 

Swamp Romp is a lovely, rollicking tribute to the music of New Orleans. Johnette Downing and Scott Billington are true enthusiasts, and their knowledge of the area’s music (and their talent for playing it) is deep. Swamp Romp encompasses a dizzying variety of musical styles, all brought into harmony by the unifying thread of Downing’s vocal talents and songwriting prowess, as well as an abiding respect and love for New Orleans. My personal favorites are the bilingual “J’ai vu le loup, le renard et la belette” and the gorgeous “Star in My Sky.” This album is truly an education, but also wickedly fun. In addition to the talents of Downing and Billington, it features an impressive array of local musicians, including one known for playing the washboard! For grown ups and older kids (and teachers), I highly recommend the liner notes, which I enjoyed almost as much as the music itself! For example, do you know the origin of the name of the “po’ boy” sandwich, or that there was a community of Canary Islanders in New Orleans (Isleños)? 

From the moment we started playing Buenos Diaz, I knew it would be in constant rotation at our house. All of the songs are so much FUN! This is an album that I listen to even when my kids aren’t around, just because I enjoy it so much. As every song starts, I think, “I’m going to be singing this one all day!” The album (releasing April 5th) is available for pre-sales, but if you want a taste of what I’m talking about, you don’t have to wait! Just check out this fun video they just released, a tribute to Mexican sweet bread, pan dulce. Many of the songs on the album are in Spanish, and others a fun Spanglish mix, and perhaps for this reason they can play with some of the stereotypes about Mexico, like instant classic “Nacho Cheese” or the dance party tune “Taco Tuesday.” The music on this album is stellar, part of why Alt.Latino chose “Pan Dulce” as one of their weekly picks. Scroll to the end of the post for details on how you can enter to win your own copy!

Building Blocks celebrates all those magical milestones of childhood, like learning to ride a bike or starting a new school. It acknowledges the difficulty of each new challenge but also encourages children to trust themselves and “Jump Right In” to every new endeavor. This album from Grammy Award winning artist Tim Kubart is filled with energy and enthusiasm, though I also love the more laid-back, Jason Mraz vibe of “Oopsie-Do!,” which reminds kids that everyone makes mistakes. The catchy pop tunes on this album deliver an important message to kids who are starting to stretch their wings – that because they are surrounded by love, taking flight might be scary but also exciting and well worth the effort. (As a side note, among his many accomplishments, Kubart wrote the Sesame Street song “We Can All Be Friends,” which introduced the show’s first character with autism!)

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New Children’s Music Review

 

Giveaway!

And now you can enter to win some of this incredible new music for kids for your family! We are giving away a copy of Buenos Diaz to one lucky winner. (If in the US, winner will receive a physical disk; if outside the US, winner will receive a digital download). To enter, just comment below to let us know what music your family loves listening to together. Contest ends Wednesday, March 20, 2019, at midnight PT. Winner will be chosen by random drawing.

Dec 072018
 
 December 7, 2018  music, recipes, Winter Comments Off on 20+ Kid-Friendly Winter Drinks to Keep the Whole Family Cozy

As we settle into colder weather, we all could use a little something to warm us up. Here are 20+ kid-friendly winter drinks to keep the whole family feeling cozy and snug this winter! And don’t miss our review of a fabulous new children’s album that will help everyone beat cabin fever all winter long!

20+ Kid-Friendly Winter Drinks to Keep the Whole Family Cozy | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Winterland 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.

20+ Kid-Friendly Winter Drinks to Keep the Whole Family Cozy

Enjoy these kid-friendly winter drinks, including egg nog, hot chocolate, apple cider, tea, and more!

Haitian Pineapple Nog from All Done Monkey

Coquito: Puerto Rican Egg Nog from Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes

Magic Milk from Multicultural Kid Blogs

Spiced Vanilla Oatmeal Steamer from All Done Monkey

Homemade White Hot Chocolate from Crayons & Cravings

White Hot Chocolate with Polar Bear Marshmallows from Gluesticks Blog

Oreo Creme White Hot Chocolate from The Soccer Mom Blog

Jaggery Hot Chocolate from Multicultural Kid Blogs

Pink Velvet Hot Chocolate from Crayons & Cravings

Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate from Kitchen Counter Chronicles

Monster Hot Chocolate from Easy Peasy Fun

Mint Hot Chocolate from Happiness is Homemade

Healthy Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate from In the Kids Kitchen

Mexican Hot Chocolate from MommyMaestra

Guatemalan Hot Cocoa from Global Table Adventure

Chai Tea Latte from Let the Journey Begin

Moroccan Tea from Kid World Citizen

Kahwa: Indian Tea from Maple & Marigold

Holiday Cheer Cozy Drink from Bicultural Mama

Holiday Spice Wassail from Gluesticks Blog

Cranberry Apple Cider from Salt & Baker

Fizzy Crockpot Apple Cider from In the Kids Kitchen

What are your favorite kid-friendly winter drinks?

New Children’s Album for Winter Fun

Just in time for the cold weather is a new album of 16 original songs from GRAMMY® Award-winning The Okee Dokee Brothers. Winterland is an upbeat, toe tapping album that celebrates everything that is glorious about winter, from playing out in the snow to getting to know a Yeti. My favorite is “Keep Me Warm,” (see the video on their YouTube channel), while my kids keep requesting “The Abominable Yeti.” (I love the rhymes on that one!)

This fun loving pair of childhood friends will catch children up in the excitement of exploring and enjoying the outdoors in winter. In a time where children often experience the world via screens, it’s refreshing to have music that takes us back to the wonders of nature and appreciating the changing seasons.

The Okee Dokee Brothers will also be celebrating the album’s release with several family concerts, so see if you can catch a live performance!

 

Nov 092018
 
 November 9, 2018  music, Sacramento 4 Responses »

Did you grow up singing along to “Down by the Bay” or help your kids “Shake My Sillies Out” to Raffi’s infectious tunes? Then you won’t want to miss his live show, coming soon to a city near you! I’ve got all the concert details, plus a giveaway for my Sacramento readers, so just keep scrolling down while you eat, eat, eat your “Apples and Bananas”!

Raffi Live in Concert in Sacramento - Giveaway! | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of the music below and tickets to the concert 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. 

For four decades Raffi has delighted audiences at his concerts and through his numerous albums, and now is your chance to share his music live with your little ones! Raffi is on tour now, singing from his beloved classics as well as his brand new 15-song album, Dog On The Floor (see my full review). Proceeds from his concerts benefit the Centre For Child Honoring.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to see Raffi live in concert! For my Sacramento readers, scroll to the end to see how you can enter to win your own tickets!

Remaining dates are as follows:

Sunday, November 24, 2018 – Sacramento, CA – Crest Theatre – 1:00 PM (SOLD OUT), 4:00 PM

Sunday, November 25, 2018 – Glendale, CA – Alex Theatre – 1:00 PM

Saturday, January 19, 2019 – Tampa, FL – Tampa Theatre – 1:00 PM

Sunday, January 20, 2019 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Parker Playhouse – 1:00 PM

Saturday, March 2, 2019 – Calgary, AB – Jack Singer Concert Hall – 1:00 PM & 4:00 PM

Sunday, March 3, 2019 – Edmonton, AB – Winspear Centre – 1:00 PM

Saturday, March 16, 2019 – Tucson, AZ – Fox Theater – 1:00 PM

Sunday, March 17, 2019 – Mesa, AZ – Mesa Arts Center – 1:00 PM

Saturday, April 6, 2019 – Hamilton, ON – First Ontario Concert Hall – 1:00 PM

Sunday, April 7, 2019 – Montreal, QC – Maisonneuve Theatre – 1:00 PM & 4:00 PM

Sunday, April 14, 2019 – Victoria, BC – Royal Theatre – 1:00 PM

Saturday, September 28, 2019 – Ottawa, ON – National Arts Centre – 1:00 PM

Sunday, September 29, 2019 – Mississauga, ON – 1:00 PM

Find more details for the Sacramento concert as well as other stops in the tour.

Raffi Live in Concert in Sacramento Giveaway!

And now for our giveaway for Sacramento readers! Enter to win a pair of tickets to his November 24, 4 pm show in Sacramento! Just comment below to let us know your family’s favorite Raffi song!

Giveaway ends Thursday, November 15, 2018 at midnight PT. Winner chosen by random selection. Must be able to attend 4 pm show on November 24, 2018.

Sep 272018
 
 September 27, 2018  Book Reviews, multiculturalism, music Comments Off on Latin American Music to Honor Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month is the perfect time to share some of the many treasures of Latin American music with your children! Latin musical traditions are so rich and multifaceted, that it is sometimes hard to know where to begin! Here are some wonderful new picture books that celebrate Latin American music, from lullabies to rock and roll.

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of the products 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.

Latin American Music to Honor Hispanic Heritage Month | Alldonemonkey.com

Latin American Music to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

To start at the very beginning, in more ways than one, you really should go back to nursery rhymes and lullabies. They are the beginning of Latin American music because they have been enjoyed for so many generations, and because they are the first melodies that many children in Latin America hear, often in the lap of a loved one.

The Hummingbird Sings and Dances – Latin-American Lullabies and Nursery Rhymes, also in a Spanish edition, makes these wonderful songs from throughout the Americas available to a wider audience. 19 beloved lullabies and nursery rhymes are beautifully illustrated in the picture book and performed on the accompanying CD for a new generation to enjoy.

They range from the lively La víbora de la mar from Mexico to the gentle Duerme negrito from Cuba. (Keep in mind that many of these songs are enjoyed in more than one country, but the country mentioned is the one whose version is shared here).

It is perfect for non-native speakers like me, who didn’t grow up with these nursery rhymes and lullabies. With the CD, I can assure that my children hear the original songs as they were meant to be sung, plus the full lyrics (in English and Spanish) are at the back, so that we can learn to sing them ourselves.

But Latin American music isn’t just about lullabies. It is also about finding expression through modern media like electric guitars. Few Latin American musicians embody this spirit of fearless innovation like the legendary Carlos Santana, who forged his own path by creating a unique blend of Latin, European, and African influences. Carlos Santana: Sound of the Heart, Song of the World celebrates this giant of Latin American music by telling the story of Santana’s early years. It is a story of perseverance in difficult circumstances but also about the struggle to find your own voice.

Santana was heavily influenced by his father, a mariachi musician whom young Carlos admired greatly. Yet he also realized early on that his path was different from that of his father. He felt no joy in playing mariachi and wanted to experiment with new sounds rather than playing the same songs over and over.

Despite his misgivings, Carlos’ father eventually gave his son a used electric guitar, which would change the path of the teenager’s life – and modern music – forever.

The artwork of the book is stunning and uniquely suited to Santana’s style. In fact, the artist was the same that Santana commissioned to create the iconic cover of his Shaman album.

What is your favorite style of Latin American music?

Hispanic Heritage Month Series 2018 | Multicultural Kid BlogsWe are so excited for our seventh annual Hispanic Heritage Month series! Now through October 15, you’ll find great resources to share Hispanic Heritage with kids, plus you can link up your own posts on Hispanic Heritage!

Find even more ideas on our Latin America Pinterest board:

September 17
Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes on Multicultural Kid Blogs: Three Course Meal Your Kids Can Make to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

September 18
Mundo de Pepita: Celebrate el Día de la Patria en Chile

September 19
Embracing Diversity: 10 Dominican Sayings that Hold Wisdom and Cultura

September 20
MommyMaestra: Puerto Rico Coloring Activity

September 21
Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes

September 24
Hispanic Mama: 5 Films Based in Latin America that Impacted Me
Pura Vida Moms: 13 Spanish Netflix Shows for Kids

September 25
For the Love of Spanish: Barefoot Books to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

September 26
All Done Monkey

September 27
Crafty Moms Share

September 28
Spanish Mama on Multicultural Kid Blogs

October 1
Spanish Playground

October 2
Kids Spanish Book Club

October 3
LadydeeLG

October 4
Kid World Citizen

October 5
Mama Tortuga

October 8
Kids Spanish Book Club

October 9
La Clase de Sra. Dufault

October 10
Embracing Diversity

October 11
Recetas Latinas Veganas

October 12
Little Nomadas on Multicultural Kid Blogs

October 15
Hispanic Mama on Multicultural Kid Blogs

Don’t miss all of the great posts from previous years as well: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017


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