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

A post shared by Leanna || Parenting, Education (@alldonemonkey) on

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 292018
 

The children are the future, and as parents we want to prepare them for it and inspire kids to make the world a better place. But often parents struggle with how to talk to their children about real problems faced by the world today in ways that are age appropriate. That is why I am so pleased to share with you a wonderful new resource aimed at parents and children, designed to inspire the next generation of world citizens through teaching them about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Disclosure: This blog post was sponsored by Mattel but all opinions are my own.

5 Ways to Inspire Kids to Make the World a Better Place | Alldonemonkey.com

5 Ways to Inspire Kids to Make the World a Better Place

We all want to raise children who will make a difference in the world, but often we don’t know where to start. Luckily, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel! Everyone’s favorite tank engine has teamed up with the United Nations to educate families about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The Thomas & FriendsTM  interactive Global Goals website has resources to help parents and children learn more about six of these goals:

  • Quality Education
  • Gender Equality
  • Clean Water and Sanitation
  • Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • Responsible Consumption and Production
  • Life on Land

For each goal, the All Aboard for Global Goals! website provides a Thomas & FriendsTM video Life Lesson, Parent Tips with conversation starters and activities to educate about the goals and get kids excited about achieving them.

Here are 5 tips on how you inspire kids to make the world a better place through using this incredible resource.

1. Educate Yourself

It’s impossible to teach what you don’t know, but this doesn’t mean you have to be an expert. What you do need is some background knowledge and – even more importantly – the right tools to teach the whole family.

One thing I love about the All Aboard for Global Goals! website is that is designed to educate parents and children. It gives you the materials and language for talking to your child about these important issues, so that you can learn about them together.

5 Ways to Inspire Kids to Make the World a Better Place | Alldonemonkey.com

2. Talk About Real Issues – in an Age Appropriate Way

If we want to inspire kids to make the world a better place, we can’t shy away from the tough issues we face globally – but we must do so in ways that are appropriate for young children. That is why the format of these upbeat Thomas the Tank Engine videos is so effective: they present the material in ways that children can easily understand without becoming overwhelmed.

The information and activities come with suggestions for older and younger children, so you can adjust to what is appropriate for your child.

3. Use Media Thoughtfully

Children immediately warm to familiar characters like Thomas & FriendsTM, and using the videos as part of your discussion will help children get excited and engaged with the material. Rather than being asked to sit through a dry lesson, you will be playing together and watching a short video with some of their favorite characters! My favorite is the one on “Gender Equality,” which uses the examples of different tank engines from the show to demonstrate that girls and boys can do the same jobs!

5 Ways to Inspire Kids to Make the World a Better Place | Alldonemonkey.com

4. Nurture a Sense of Empowerment

For each of the UN Sustainable Development Goals presented, the All Aboard for Global Goals! website offers ways that children can get involved and make a difference. At every turn they are invited to see themselves as having an important role. For example, for “Life On Land” (about caring for the environment), children can plant seeds and learn to care for their seedlings, while in “Gender Equality” they are asked to dress up as a superhero and think of tasks they would perform as a hero.

5. Keep It Fun

More than anything, for young children it is important to learn through play, especially when talking about potentially difficult topics. This wonderful resource means that you can engage with your child in fun learning activities that will inspire kids to make the world a better place.

All Aboard for Global Goals!

Join Thomas as he learns about the Sustainable Development Goals! Learn together with your child through fun videos, meaningful discussions, and playful activities on the All Aboard for Global Goals! website

Oct 262018
 

Today it is more important than ever to teach children about embracing differences and forming friendships with those with whom at first they may seem to have nothing in common. It is the critical issue facing our little world citizens, yet in reality it is as simple as making a new friend on the playground or seeing yourself in the face of a stranger. This wonderful collection of children’s books – including picture books and a chapter book – use humor and inspiring XXXX to instill these values in our children.

Children's Books About Embracing Differences | 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 cost to you.

Children’s Books About Embracing Differences

The Epic Adventures of Huggie & Stick is a laugh out loud book from the author of The Day the Crayons Quit about an unlikely pair and their lively trip around the world. What makes this book so hilarious is the constant shift in perspective between these two completely opposite characters. While upbeat Stick sees every situation as a wonderful adventure, grumpy Huggie is forever looking at the downside. Stick, for example, is enchanted by the “little elves in tuxedos” they discover on Antarctica, while Huggie describes these same penguins as “vicious” because they tried to nibble on him.

The biggest misunderstanding of all, of course, is whether Huggie and Stick are actually best friends (as Stick thinks) or not (as Huggie emphatically believes). Either way, you won’t want to miss their epic adventure together!

All Are Welcome is a beautifully written picture book about embracing differences and creating an environment of respect for all. The portraits of diverse children playing, learning, and sharing are gorgeous and demonstrate an ideal climate where diversity is seen as a community’s strength. Moreover, by portraying the children engaged in similar activities during their day, it powerfully shows how we are just as much alike as we are different.

I have been a fan of Joy Sun Bear for a long time. Joy is an adorable, curious little sun bear that promotes global education through a safe, online environment full of resources for children, parents, and educators.

And now he’s starring in his very first book! The Adventures of Joy Sun Bear: The Blue Amber of Sumatra covers many important topics, like environmental destruction and having courage to do the right thing, but at its heart it is also about embracing differences. When a group of refugees arrive in Joy’s part of the rain forest, he overcomes his initial reluctance (and the prejudices of his elders) to make friends with one of the newcomers: Tipah, a frightened young orangutan.

To help convince the others to welcome the refugees and help his friend, Joy embarks on a remarkable adventure, aided by magical creatures, in which he must rely on his wits but especially his heart to guide him.

I love the metaphor of the trickster used in the book to explain why the humans destroy the rainforest in the first place, and why Joy’s forest community is so convinced that the refugees are cursed. But the mischievousness of the trickster is matched by the light of the creatures that lend their aid to Joy and by the purity of his spirit.

I highly recommend this early chapter book for children that love animals, adventure, and the triumph of good.

Oct 252018
 
 October 25, 2018  Book Reviews, parenting No Responses »

A major focus at schools today is bullying, and for good reason. We often talk about how to help kids deal with being bullied, but there is another aspect that needs to be taken into account: what to do when they see someone else being bullied. Here are tips to teach kids to stop bullying by being allies to bullied students, to help break the cycle.

Keep in mind, these actions are not meant to replace adult involvement but rather reinforce it, as often a child is less likely to be picked on if they are with friends. Children should always tell a teacher or administrator if they see bullying. They can also be an ally, a powerful step towards preventing bullying from occurring or helping diffuse a bullying situation. For more on how to stop bullying visit this comprehensive website.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of I Am Gandhi 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.

Stop Bullying: Teach Kids to Be Allies | Alldonemonkey.com

Stop Bullying: Teach Kids to Be Allies

1. Distract the Bully

What should children do if they see another child being bullied? They can step in and stop the bullying – not by arguing with the bully or yelling at them to stop, but simply by distracting them. I was so impressed at my son’s recent karate class when the instructors taught the students to give the bully a compliment to distract them. This allows them to then take the bullied student by the hand and walk somewhere else. Distract with a compliment rather than getting into a combative situation. Brilliant!

2. Stop It Before It Starts

Most kids know who is being bullied at their school and when it usually happens. Teach them to keep an eye out for bullied students and try to head off the bullying before it begins. If they see a bully heading over to another student, they can get to that student first and invite them to join in a game on the playground, for example.

3. Practice Inclusion

Take this a step further by getting to know the bullied student and forming a friendship. When I was in elementary school, a friend of mine was constantly teased because of her looks and awkward behavior. Yet consistently if I was with her the other students tended to leave her alone – she was no longer an easy target. Having true friendships can also help stop bullying by helping build up the bullied student’s confidence.

4. Create a Respectful Environment 

Students can also stop bullying by helping create an environment where everyone feels respected and safe. If children laugh along with the bully or stay silent, bullies feel encouraged to continue their behavior. Other students can help change a toxic environment by making it clear that bullying is unacceptable and making sure all students feel included. They can work together to think of ways to foster this type of environment – by showing kindness to others, or putting on a school program.

One of the greatest historical examples of a person being an ally to the persecuted was Gandhi. Not only did he stand up for justice when his own people were oppressed, he did the same for others, including the Untouchables, the lowest of the low at the time in India. Children can read Gandhi’s amazing life story in I am Gandhi, part of the people Ordinary People Change the World series. I love getting to use this book to teach my children about Gandhi and how it sparked a conversation between my boys about what it means to “gently shake the world” as Gandhi did.

One of the remarkable aspects of this book, as with all of the books in this series, is that it puts historical events and trends into terms that children can understand without watering them down, highlighting the lessons that they can have in the children’s own lives. For example, I am Gandhi teaches them about Gandhi’s concept of satyagraha, ultimately explaining it as a “truth force” – which, as one character points out, sounds like a superhero team!

Our copy of this inspiring, extremely readable biography came in the mail one day just before we meet with our homeschooling group, so my son took it with him. Several of the other mothers noticed his book and told me how much their children love this book series. I highly recommend it as a great source of inspiration for children to become part of the “truth force,” to bring about change and fight for a world where everyone feels valued.

I Am Justice Blog Tour

WEEK ONE: I am Gandhi

October 22 – A Buckeye Teacher – Creative Instagram Picture + Review

October 23 – Little Homeschool on the Prairie – Fun Facts

October 24 – Happily Ever Elephants – Review + Learning Activity

October 25 – All Done Monkey – Learning Activity

WEEK TWO: I am Martin Luther King Jr.

October 29 – Reading by ovenlight – Creative Instagram Picture + Review

October 30 – 4th Grade Unicorns – Creative Instagram Picture + Review

October 31 – What’s a Kid to Read – Creative Instagram Picture + Review

November 1 – Bookoholicmom – Fun Facts

WEEK THREE: I am Rosa Parks

November 5 – Simple at Home – Learning Activity

November 6 – Within the Pages – Fun Facts

November 7 – Coquette Maman – Fun Facts

November 8 – Lovely Little Reads – Fun Facts

WEEK FOUR: I am Sonia Sotomayor

November 12 – My Little Poppies – Creative Instagram Picture

November 13 – Gravity Bread – Review + Language and Learning Tips

November 14 – Biracial Bookworms – Review + Creative Instagram Picture

November 15 – Girls Read the World – Review + Creative Instagram Picture

November 16 – This Picture Book Life – Creative Instagram Picture + Quotes from the Justice

Sep 212018
 
 September 21, 2018  Book Reviews, World Religions Comments Off on Learn About Durga Puja with a Picture Book and Crafts

Many of us have heard of Diwali or perhaps Holi, but there are actually many important festivals in India. And to add to the complexity, which festivals are celebrated (and how) depends on what part of India you are in. Today I’m thrilled to introduce a lovely picture book and crafts to help kids learn about Durga Puja, a fall festival related to Navrati. Kids will love learning about this holiday, which celebrates the triumph of good over evil!

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

Learn About Durga Puja with a Picture Book and Crafts | Alldonemonkey.com

Learn About Durga Puja

As a member of a minority religion, I can sympathize with author Shoumi Sen, who wanted to make sure that her young daughter would come to appreciate about their beliefs even without the support a large community of co-believers. Sometimes it can be hard to keep a child’s interest in your own religion when they almost totally surrounded by another. So Sen started to tell her daughter stories at night, making sure to tell them in a way that was fun and accessible.

These stories evolved into the “From the Toddler Diaries” series, designed to help Indian parents living outside India pass on their beliefs and traditions to their children. The series now includes Celebrate Durga Puja With Me! as well as Celebrate Holi With Me!. One thing I love about these books is that are very much aimed at young children, showing the joys of these Indian festivals in language that they can easily understand.

Learn About Durga Puja with a Picture Book and Crafts | Alldonemonkey.com

In Celebrate Durga Puja With Me! children learn about the major aspects of Durga Puja through colorful illustrations and rhyming text. I really captures the excitement and joy of the holiday as seen through the eyes of a child. Younger readers will enjoy the book as is, whereas older children can use it as a jumping off point to explore the foods, dances, and other traditions mentioned in the book.

Learn About Durga Puja with a Picture Book and Crafts | Alldonemonkey.com

Celebrate Durga Puja With Me! is great whether you’re teaching children about your own heritage or exposing them to a holiday from another culture. For background, you can learn more about Durga Puja and other Indian festivals from author Shoumi Sen.

Crafts for Durga Puja and Navrati

Kids can also celebrate Durga Puja and Navrati with these fun crafts and activities, plus there are some tips for parents!

Art with Children: Children’s Art for Durga Puja and Dussehra

Lil Creative Kids: How to Draw Durga Maa Step by Step

Hindu Mommy: Coloring Pages for Durga Puja

Artsy Craftsy Mom: 21 Navrati and Dussehra Crafts and Activities

Raising World Children: Guide to Meditation and Fasting During Navrati

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 192018
 

As a Spanish (non-native) speaker, I have mostly blogged about my experiences teaching Spanish to my children. Last year, however, we decided to try something new and add French to our repertoire. I have always wanted to learn myself, and it has been a very different experience learning a language alongside my children instead of teaching them from years of experience! Here are our favorite resources to learn French no matter what your age!

And don’t miss out on receiving a FREE code for a French learning app for kids! Details at the end of the post.

Learn French as a Family: Favorite Resources | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I receive complimentary copies of many 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.

Learn French as a Family: Favorite Resources

I am so excited to learn French with my kids! It is a language I have always been fascinated with, but I have had only limited exposure over the years. I have no formal training in French (I studied Spanish and a little Portuguese in school), so there were many surprises for me. (Did you know that when you say eighty in French you are literally saying “four twenties”? And why do they pronounce so few of the letters in their words??)

If you want to learn French along with your kids, don’t be intimidated by your lack of knowledge. In fact, there are many benefits to learning a language alongside your children. If nothing else, they will love seeing that Mom and Dad can make mistakes, too!

Books

Beep Beep In Paris is a very sweet picture book about a little car who is off having adventures in Paris. It is a wonderful way not only to practice French but also to learn about famous landmarks of Paris. As we are just learning French, it is very helpful to read a bilingual book like this, so we can check our understanding without missing the flow of the story. Be sure to enjoy with a warm cup of chocolat! 

At Home with Betty and Cat sample

At Home with Betty & Cat is part of a series of unusual bilingual books. Most bilingual books have the complete text in one language alongside the complete text in a second language. Yet the concept of these clever books is based on how children often play with language, frequently switching back and forth between languages (“code switching”). In the Betty & Cat stories, the dog in the story speaks one language, while the cat speaks another. This language distinction is just one of the differences between the pair!

This series is available in a variety of combinations (we chose Spanish and French!) The ideal reader is one that already has a basic understanding of the target language, though this need not be perfect. Especially great for kids that have started at an immersion school, whose grandparents speak another language, or whose families are bilingual.

Apps & YouTube

Gus on the Go French

Gus on the Go is a super fun, play based app that will have your children learning and playing with French words right from the beginning! Your child does not need any prior knowledge of French to get started, as vocabulary is gradually taught with fun visuals and games. But as they work their way through the levels, they gain nearly 90 new words in French!

My kids took to this app right away. They thought the games were really fun, and they loved earning rewards – always a great motivation!

Now you can try out this app, too, just by being one of the first to comment on this post! (See details at the end).

Another great language learning app is Duolingo. In fact, it keeps popping up in chat groups as an app that works well for adults as well as older children. It is easy to use and very engaging. I love that it utilizes several different kinds of questions to learn the same vocabulary – matching, translating to/from French, writing what you hear, and so on. My only problem with it is that it doesn’t actually explain the rules of the language. For an analytical person like me, it’s easier to be told the grammar rule rather than just having to guess it from the examples.

Which is why I also love Learning French with Alexa on YouTube. Alexa has a very funny personality, with well organized lessons. So you can systematically go through them, or jump right into one that grabs your interest (or that you didn’t quite understand from other sources). Also, I love getting more exposure to proper pronunciation, as this is a real challenge for me coming from Spanish.

Learning Aids

Linguacious™ Around the Home French Flashcard Game is an innovative, award winning tool that your kids will love! If you have decided to learn French along with your child, you may worry that you aren’t able to teach them the proper pronunciation. Linguacious™ Around the Home French Flashcard Game is a clever solution to this common problem. These sturdy flashcards come not only with engaging photos and vocabulary but audio, too!

All you have to do is scan the QR code on each flashcard to hear a native speaker pronounce the word. (Btw this is a great way to engage tech-loving kids! Mine love scanning the code themselves). And in the time since I reviewed their Around the Spanish Flashcard Game (read my full review), Linguacious has come out with their own app to scan the QR codes. It works so much more quickly, making learning new vocabulary even easier than before!

Now, if you are like me and want to feel like you’re taking a class (without actually having to take a class), I recommend Living Language French, Essential Edition: Beginner course. It comes with a coursebook, 3 audio CDs, and free online tools. Last summer I spent time reading the book and doing the exercises, but what I really loved was listening to the CDs. It was so easy to put them on when we were running errands, and, though it is aimed at adults, it was great to expose the kids to more French!

Pinterest Boards

There are so many wonderful language learning ideas out there. Find even more on these Pinterest boards – I’m always finding something new!

Multicultural Kid Blogs: Teaching French

The Piri-Piri Lexicon: French Resources

Biracial Bookworms: Learning French

For even more resources and activities to learn French, check out this incredible collection from my friend at Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes!

Giveaway

Now for the giveaway! You can try out Gus on the Go French app simply by being one of the first ten people to comment on this post! Just let me know why you’d love to learn French with your kids.

Please note that the codes are for Android devices, but Gus on the Go has generously offered to make iOS codes available as well – just make a note if you need one of those instead!

All participants must have a valid email address. Giveaway open through Friday, July 27, 2018, at midnight PT. Winners will be the first ten verified people to comment on this post.

Jul 102018
 
 July 10, 2018  Book Reviews, music, parenting Comments Off on How to Raise Confident Kids: 5 Pro Tips

Want to raise confident kids? We all want to raise well adjusted kids who are ready to take on the world, but sometimes it can be hard to know how to best encourage and support them. Here are 5 pro tips to help you set your child on the path to success.

How to Raise Confident Kids: 5 Pro Tips | Alldonemonkey.com

How to Raise Confident Kids: 5 Pro Tips

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 cost to you.

1. Support Their Dreams

Kids are full of amazing ideas and have a natural inclination to dream big. Ask any child what they want to be when they grow up, and you’re bound to get some fantastic answers! Yet adults often squash these glorious ambitions with a dose of (supposed) reality – this is often done with good intentions or perhaps just carelessly, but either way it just serves to make a child more self-conscious about their dreams.

Instead, find ways to support your child’s passion without pressure or judgment and give them space to experiment. Let them express themselves creatively without feeling the need to step in with a reality check.

And don’t forget to be a role model for them – share with them your own dreams and how you are following your passion!

I love Mia and the Rocket Ship Tree because it takes children’s fantasies seriously and encourages them to let their imaginations run wild. Author/illustrator Boaz Gavish created this colorful work for his niece when he saw the need for more books with girl heroes. And Mia is the epitome of a girl hero – a great role model for confident kids everywhere! The hand paintings showcase wonderfully Mia’s incredible (and tickly!) space adventures with her robot. This is a book sure to excite your child’s imagination and spark their own imaginative adventures.

But what I really love about this book is that when Mia decides to go on an adventure, she sets off despite the fact that none of her friends will join her. She is confident enough in herself that she doesn’t give up on her quest for a good adventure, even when others tried to change her mind. Beautifully creative book to share with your little explorer.

2. Encourage a Positive Outlook

Confident kids are optimistic about the future and are able to put a positive spin on events that don’t go according to plan. Teach your children how to see mistakes as opportunities for growth, and model flexibility and resilience when the unexpected happens. Being able to adapt to changing circumstances and have optimism about the future instills a sense of confidence in your child that she can handle whatever the world sends her way.

I have been a fan of Nikki McClure and her incredible cut paper art since my sister-in-law gave my firstborn a copy of Mama, Is It Summer Yet? In All in a Day, McClure teams up with Newberry Medal winner Cynthia Rylant to create a gorgeous picture book about embracing opportunities and learning from mistakes. This lovely book inspires young readers to see the beauty in each day. I especially love the message that each day is a chance to start fresh and seize the moment. Also a wonderful book for encouraging a love of nature and taking time to enjoy lying in the grass with a friend.

How to Raise Confident Kids: 5 Pro Tips | Alldonemonkey.com

3. Embrace Their Uniqueness

One of the main reasons kids lack confidence is because they feel different from their peers. As adults we have grown to be more comfortable in our own skin, but children usually want to just fit in and not be seen as too “weird.” Help your child gain self-assurance by encouraging his uniqueness and helping him connect with others who share his interests. In the busyness of our every day, we can often slip into the habit of wishing our kids would just “act normal” – usually to make our lives easier, or perhaps because we think it will make their own more stress-free.

But in the long run, encouraging a child’s unique way of being in the world promotes self-confidence and sets him on the path to becoming a well-adjusted, interesting adult.

One of a Kind is a great book to nurture confident kids by encouraging them to march to their own beat. Here is a character who doesn’t mind standing out from the crowd and doing things his own way, from how he dresses to the music he loves. It also lets kids know that even if they sometimes feel so different from everyone else, they can often find others who share their interests.

I love the bold artwork in this book, which will remind your child of a graphic novel. Great book to encourage kids to not be afraid to make a splash.

4. Arm Them with Knowledge

A surefire way to raise confident kids is to arm them with knowledge. As children enter the tween years and are hit with all sorts of physical and emotional changes, it can be confusing and disorienting. Often children feel unsure of themselves and uncertain of how to relate to their peers, who are going through major changes themselves. Maintain open communication and let your kids know you are available for questions and conversations without judgment. Provide them with resources – books, websites, and trusted adults – who can help them understand the changes they are undergoing and begin to think through the grown up they wish to become.

Boying Up: How to Be Brave, Bold and Brilliant is the sequel to the equally brilliant Girling Up: How to Be Strong, Smart and Spectacular. In this series, actress and scientist Mayim Blalik dishes on all sorts of changes that happen as you go through puberty. The books are packed full of scientific information, all presented in an easy to read and often humorous way. There are also many personal anecdotes from Blalik about her own and her children’s experiences growing up.

The books cover an incredible range of topics – from nutrition and exercise to dealing with stress and discovering your passions. But what I most love is the respect with which the books treat their young readers and their concerns. I also love the emphasis that there is no “right” way to be or to experience puberty. Some kids, for example, may find themselves suddenly interesting in dating, while others may still run the other way at the mere mention of romance. No matter what you are feeling or going through, Blalik has got you covered and reassures you at every turn that you are completely normal and great just the way you are.

Be aware that these books address all topics, including sexuality, very openly and frankly, so be sure to preview them ahead of time. (And for yourself, don’t miss Blalik’s website, Grok Nation!)

5. Inspire Them

Surround your child’s world with role models and encouragement. Make sure they have other trusted adults in their lives that they can look up to, and fill their minds with real life examples of people who have followed their dreams and made a difference in the world. Because in the end, what really will make a difference to them is what touches their hearts and sparks their imaginations.

Every Voice is a danceable album of catchy tunes you and your kids will find yourselves singing long after you turn off the music. But more than just great music, it shares powerful messages that stay with you as well.

“You don’t have to be a cool girl…You can be a real girl.” The lyrics inspire confidence, compassion, and hope, all delivered via original songs from an award-winning artist.

The album is a departure for musician Kira Willey, who is best known for her yoga albums and mindfulness workshops. While there are slower, softer songs here, the majority are heart-pumping tunes your children will love to dance to. And of course, don’t miss guest singer Laurie Berkner, who also teams up with Willey on her “Music You Can Move To” radio series.

Great music for kids with a message you can feel good about!

What are your pro tips for raising confident kids?

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

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