May 062021
 
 May 6, 2021  music, parenting Comments Off on Bedtime Yoga for Kids: Nighttime Relaxation

Help kids unwind after a long day with soothing music and relaxing poses! Adding bedtime yoga to a child’s evening routine is a great way to ease them into a peaceful night’s sleep.

Bedtime Yoga for Kids: Nighttime Relaxation | Alldonemonkey.com

Bedtime Yoga for Kids: Nighttime Relaxation

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the product 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.

Bedtime yoga can help children relax  by teaching them simple techniques to quiet their minds and bodies. These practices not only help them get a good night’s sleep, they also bolster their mental health and set them up for a lifetime of healthy habits.

I have been a fan of Putumayo Kids for a long time, so I was delighted to have the opportunity to review their new release, Yoga Dreamland. This is the latest album in their award-winning Dreamland and Yoga series. It contains gorgeous lullabies and meditative music from around the world, including a mix of traditional and original songs from Poland, Japan, Senegal, and Colombia, among others.

Yoga Dreamland also comes with a 24-page booklet of simple yoga poses and instructions to help children center themselves and relax into a good night’s sleep. I really appreciate that each pose in the booklet is accompanied by a photograph, making it easy for even young children to participate. Most of the poses also include suggestions of visualizations you can use.

Especially during these challenging times, bedtime yoga can help relieve children’s anxiety and create islands of calm and clarity. Doing yoga has been proven to help improve the quality and length of sleep.

Set your children up for a lifetime of healthy habits with this beautiful album and set of yoga practices. Yoga Dreamland is perfect for any family, whether you have already started practicing yoga together or are just getting started.

And don’t miss this special event, a virtual family yoga session, using the poses and music from the album! Led by Yoga Dreamland co-curator, yoga teacher, and musician Seán Johnson, it is a beautiful bonding experience for the whole family.

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Apr 292021
 
 April 29, 2021  Book Reviews, music Comments Off on Unique Books for Kids: Musical Picture Books

I love finding unique books for kids to enjoy! Sometimes it’s as simple as adding music to stories, making a magical combination kids will love! These musical picture books make for a unique experience that kids of all ages can enjoy.

Unique Books for Kids: Musical Picture Books | Alldonemonkey.com

Unique Books for Kids: Musical Picture Books

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.

Enjoy these unique books for kids from The Secret Mountain: musical picture books! Both of the books below include a CD with the narrated story plus music. If you’d rather go digital, simply use the code at the back to download the music plus a printable file of the illustrated story!

We’ve all experienced it: the frustration of a power outage just when we’re in the middle of homework or cleaning up after dinner. But when the lights go off in Xiaomi’s apartment building, her parents turn it into a joyful evening for the whole neighborhood! They head outside to put on an impromptu concert. Her father plays the erhuwhile her mother plays the accordion. Xiaomi dances and calls their neighbors outside to join in the fun. Summer Moonlight Concert celebrates family and community but above all music and its powerful ability to lift spirits and bring people together. Originally published in China, this book is also a wonderful way to introduce children to Chinese music.

Music All Around also celebrates music, but this time the music made by nature. On her trip to visit her grandparents, Sofia discovers that the forest has its own unique music, filled with the chatter of mice, the percussion of the foxes, and even the howl of the wolf. All of the animals join in their own way, creating a symphony that surrounds Sofia and all her forest friends. Originally published in Spain, this gorgeously illustrated book, with its accompanying music, reminds children to observe the world closely, as they discover music all around them.

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Mar 112021
 
 March 11, 2021  music 2 Responses »

Like so many industries, children’s music has been hit hard during the pandemic. Album production stalled, and tours were cancelled. Yet artists responded creatively to the challenge, tending to the needs of their young fans through livestreaming concerts and crafting new music for kids to help them through these difficult times. Here are some of our favorite new releases that will help deal with big emotions and raise their spirits. While most of the songs are not directly related to the pandemic, you will also find some tracks that have particular relevance now, such as tunes about hand washing, masking, and being stuck at home!

You can find many of the songs mentioned below in this Spotify playlist!

New Music for Kids: Thriving During a Tough Year

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

Laurie Berkner has been a favorite in our house since my now tween was a toddler, so I was thrilled to find out that she had released another album, Let’s Go! (Read my review of another recent album, Waiting For The Elevator). Production was in progress when the pandemic hit, prompting the band to add a song about hand washing, as well as the brilliant “My Super Hero Mask.” (Seriously, isn’t that a great way to get little kids to wear a mask?)

Let’s Go! is Berkner’s 14th album, and, just as in her previous works, it is filled with original songs that will hook you in from the first listen. This album celebrates special days, as in “Happy New Year” and the anticipation of being able to get on the move again with “Let’s Go!” She also has quietly beautiful songs like “Listen to the Sounds,” about being present in the moment, and “Beautiful Light,” about sharing your light with others. Long time fans and new recruits won’t be disappointed with this fabulous new collection from a beloved performer.

And be sure not to miss Berkner’s upcoming online spring concerts!

Muevete: Songs for a Healthy Mind in a Healthy Body from national treasure José-Luis Orozco actually released at the start of the pandemic, but it remains as relevant as ever. This new bilingual album focuses on fitness, making it a perfect companion to his earlier album ¡Come Bien! Eat Right!. Orozco is the OG of Spanish-English music for kids, having performed bilingual children’s music for more than 50 years! He breathes life into traditional songs as well as constantly composing new favorites.

In a year when kids are stuck at home, Orozco encourages them to get up and express themselves through music and movement. Muevete: Songs for a Healthy Mind in a Healthy Body includes fast paced numbers like “Palomitas,” sure to get kids moving, plus others like the lovely “Los Pollitos,” a melodic reinterpretation of a popular traditional song. (See him in action in this video of the English language version, “Baby Chicks”). He continues his pioneering work in pairing music with bilingual education, by encouraging language development with songs that incorporate counting, colors, and simple movements.

It is impossible to listen to Orozco and not catch his enthusiasm. His positive attitude and joyful exuberance are particularly reassuring this year, when kids can often feel frustrated and anxious.

A Mind of Your Own from the Bright Siders was another album whose production was stalled because of the pandemic. Yet the duo knew that their music, which focuses on children’s mental well-being, was needed more than ever. The Bright Siders is a unique collaboration between a songwriter/musician and a child psychiatrist. The result is beautiful, catchy tunes that tackles the big issues head on, from bullying to dealing with change. It features a star-studded list of talented guest artists and is sprinkled with skits that help emphasize the problems (and solutions!) the group is highlighting, like how to deal with being super busy and stressed out.

The first track, “The Song About Songs,” is an upbeat tune that grabs you right away, while the folksy “Sad Is Not Forever” is lovely and evocative. But of course my favorite is the bilingual Vamos a Jugar/Let’s Go Play, which celebrates that despite their differences, all kids just want to play.

Designed to spark conversations between parents and kids, A Mind of Your Own even features “try this at home” ideas to help kids explore their emotions, a wonderful tool during this difficult year and beyond.

When I first put on Make It Happen from Boston area Stacey Peasley, my kids all looked up and said, “Hey, what’s that??” The title track “Make It Happen” is an infectious tune inspiring kids to change the world. (Watch the video). It includes topical songs, like “What Girls Do,” inspired by Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign, when she famously told young girls she was running for president because “that’s what girls do.” Other timely songs are  “At the Parade” about having your own parade at home when city parades are canceled, and an updated version of her popular song “Soapy Bubbles.”

It is easy to hear the influence of rock and pop greats from recent decades, as in Peasley’s stadium anthem “Play the Game” or the ’90s style “Goodie Bag.”

This fun album, full of inspiring messages for kids, is sure to uplift and encourage families this year.

Portland-based Kelli Welli is a new favorite, with her country-fried release Let’s Go, Pistachio! I mean, how could you not love an album with a song about being best friends with a chicken? (Be sure to watch the video!) Kelli Welli is a storyteller at heart, with songs on topics that all kids will relate to, like long car rides, losing a tooth, and potty training. (The latter, “Tinkle Tinkle Toot,” is sure to get more than a few giggles from kids!) Kelli Welli clearly understands what the world looks like from a kid’s point of view, and she uses this insight to weave songs that are a bit absurd and a lot of fun, like “Let’s Go, Pistachio!” about a nut gone wild, and tongue twister “Peanut, Pinenut.” A fun listen for kids and adults alike, especially on those days when everyone could use a pick-me-up.

Great Indoors is the latest from Grammy nominated Genevieve Goings, known to many from her award-winning music video show “Choo Choo Soul” on Disney Jr. It is music meant for partying indoors! It is such a fun album for adults and kids. These dance beats will have everyone up off the couch, with songs like “Grateful,” helping us all remember what we have to be thankful for. (Don’t miss the adorable video!) The melodic R&B “Bed Time” is great for helping kids wind down at night.

You can watch her single “Summer All Year Long,” a catchy dance tune that proclaims that since we didn’t get a summer, we are making it summer all year long! We can all relate to that, right??

Enjoy this wonderful new kids’ music, helping us and our kids to thrive during this difficult year!

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Feb 132020
 
 February 13, 2020  crafts, Geography, multiculturalism, music, raising world citizens Comments Off on Indian Drum Craft and Book

When my friend Daria from Daria’s World Music approached me about sharing her Indian drum craft along with a related children’s book, I was so excited! Daria and I have been friends for a long time, and I’m a big admirer of her work. She does such an incredible job of getting kids excited about world music. You can see below how much fun we had recently making the dhol Indian drum and reading a folktale about it!

Indian Drum Craft and Book | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of some 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.

Indian Drum Craft and Book

The dhol is a drum from North India and surrounding areas, especially the Punjab region. This double-sided drum is hung around the neck with a thick strap and played with wooden sticks.

You can learn a bit more and watch the dhol drum being played. The rhythms that are played on the dhol are amazing!

Thanks to Daria, you can do this Indian drum craft and make your own dhol at home!

Indian Drum Craft and Book | Alldonemonkey.com

It is easy to do with resources you probably have on hand right now.

Indian Drum Craft and Book | Alldonemonkey.com

The kids loved getting to decorate the drums with their own designs, but best of all was running outside once they were done to find sticks and get playing!

While the kids were working, I read them The Drum, a folktale from India about a boy who longs for his own drum. Being from a poor family, however, he knows they cannot afford it. But when his mother brings home a magical stick, given to her by a mysterious stranger, the boy’s luck changes. He immediately begins a series of adventures, where his compassion leads him to help people in need, who each repay him as best they can. In the end, he gets his drum! A really fun story of a good-hearted kid being rewarded for his kindness.

Be sure to check out Daria’s store on TpT: you can make your own dhol, learn about the instruments of India, and more! 

Indian Drum Craft and Book | Alldonemonkey.com

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Dec 232019
 
 December 23, 2019  Book Reviews, music Comments Off on New Preschool Books and Music

Preschool is such a special age, when kids are excited to learn, and there is so much to be discovered! Here are some wonderful new resources that focus on topics dear to preschoolers’ hearts at the same time as they stimulate their receptive little brains. Have fun with your little ones with these new preschool books and music!

New Preschool Books and Music | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I receive 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.

New Preschool Books and Music

Enjoy exploring with your little ones using these new preschool books and music!

My children adore Acrobat Family! New from gestalten, it is so intricately made, with pop-out, cut illustrations that are so cleverly done that your child will be delighted each time she turns the page. We love watching the acrobats stack themselves up, up and up! It is not only thrilling to watch but helps little ones practice their counting, as more and more acrobats are added to the show. It also shows the value of working together as a team, and how important each person’s contribution is, even the cat!

My daughter always asks to read When Pencil Met Eraser at bedtime. It is an hilarious take on one of the most fundamental relationships in a child’s schooling – that between a pencil and its eraser. In all likelihood you have never though to question this seemingly peaceful bond, but this book calls us back to its origins. What was it like when Pencil first met Eraser? Was he angry at someone always undoing his work? And what helped him change his mind? A clever story of an unlikely friendship.

I have to be honest: Waiting For The Elevator, the latest album from the legendary Laurie Berkner Band, has caused a bit of conflict in our house. My four year old daughter insists that no one can sing along the album, which she loves, so that she can hear Ms. Berkner sing. But as any fan knows, it’s impossible not to sing along to The Laurie Berkner Band! Their songs are just too catchy! *Sigh* I just try to do it as quietly as I can and hope she doesn’t notice.

Their is so much to love about this album. While it is fun for the whole family, it seems specially designed for preschoolers. It has all those elements that they enjoy so much, like tons of animals and silliness. It also focuses on topics they find fascinating. My daughter’s favorite is the title track, all about riding in an elevator! And parents will appreciate that the songs are also educational, teaching the alphabet, names of states, telling time, and more.

Most amazing to me is that The Laurie Berkner Band manages to incorporate that repetition so important to preschoolers – while making it still enjoyable for parents! To be honest, when I saw there was a song about counting the number of times a bell chimes (every hour, through all 12 hours!) I cringed. This was sure to be a long, boring, repetitive song! And yet somehow it isn’t. In fact, it is such a lovely song I often find myself singing it around the house.

It may seem incredible that The Laurie Berkner Band has managed to put out another fabulous album, but it’s true! We love Waiting For The Elevator and are sure you and your littles will too!

It’s a great time to be a Mister Rogers fan! With two new films that honor his memory, Mister Rogers’ legacy is being celebrated everywhere you turn. And now here is a new album of all of the beloved songs from the show. Thank You, Mister Rogers: Music & Memories has all the classic songs you loved, such as Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (performed by the Cowsills) and It’s Such a Good Feeling (performed by Kellie Pickler). I love the retro feel of the album, and you won’t believe how many award-winning artists are featured, including Sandi Patty, Vanessa Williams, and Lee Greenwood. My favorite song is Podemos Ser Amigos? (Can We Be Friends?) by Jon Secada. If you are a fan of Mister Rogers, you won’t want to miss this album!

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Nov 012019
 
 November 1, 2019  Book Reviews, music Comments Off on Adorable New Books for Babies

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
 
 October 25, 2019  activities, Book Reviews, crafts, Education, music Comments Off on 75+ Butterfly Crafts and Activities for Kids

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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How Bilingual Parenting Is Like Minecraft

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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.

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