Like so many of you, our family is thinking more and more about the impact we make on our planet. While there are many great resources to teach children about conservation, nothing beats hands on experience! I’ve always wanted to compost, so this year we finally did the research and got started! Here is a look at what you need, plus tips from other composting families!
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.
Composting: Tips to Get Started
What to Buy
If you have a big enough space in your backyard, there is no need to purchase a bin; however, if you have a smaller yard, as we do, or simply don’t want to use your yard space for a compost pile, there are great options for composting bins you can purchase!
After a lot of research, we purchased a FCMP Outdoor IM4000 Tumbling Composter. It is perfect for us because it doesn’t take up much room and is super easy to use. The kids love helping turn the bin!
The guide put out by our city recommends the Compost Bin by GEOBIN. It is easy to set up and very economical.
An easy way to collect your kitchen scraps before taking them out to compost is an indoor bin like the Utopia Kitchen Stainless Steel Compost Bin for Kitchen Countertop. It is small enough to sit on the kitchen counter and comes with a lid and charcoal filter so you don’t have to worry about a smell! Just to be clear, this isn’t actually for composting, just to collect the scraps until you can take them outdoors.
I’m not a scientist and have no real expertise in the how of conservation, but what I can teach my sons is the why. Having a global worldview is a passion of mine and was the driving force behind the creation of Multicultural Kid Blogs. What has always fascinated me about conservation is what it teaches us about the interconnectedness of our small planet, so I came up with this simple STEM activity that is perfect for an Earth Day science experiment or for use with a unit on waterways.
I was a child when acid rain became a threat, and I remember clearly the point that the experts kept repeating: The environment knows no national boundaries. The pollution in one country creates the acid rain in a neighboring country. What we do to our environment matters, not just to us but to everyone else on the planet.
I wanted a way to drive this point home to my then preschooler, so I created this simple science experiment using materials we already had around the house. He had a blast and (hopefully) got something of the message behind the activity.
Earth Day Science Experiment: Our Interconnected Waterways
You will need:
Egg carton (cardboard is best)
Flax seed meal or other powdery material
Tray or cookie sheet
Lots of water!
First off, I recommend setting your egg carton on a napkin, laid inside a tray, for reasons that we become clear later. You’ll notice that I did not start this way, but soon learned my lesson!
To start we poured water into the egg carton. We had to fill it enough that the water poured from one cup to another. I talked to my son about how the waterways were all connected to each other – creeks run into rivers, which run into lakes and oceans.
Next we talked about how if we throw trash into a creek, it doesn’t just get that creek dirty. The water carries the trash to other places, like lakes and rivers. To demonstrate this principle, we took the flax seed meal and poured it into one of the egg cups. You actually have to dump quite a bit before you see an effect, but my son didn’t mind helping with this 🙂
Then we added drops of food coloring to another cup and watched as the color slowly spread throughout the egg carton.
And then the experiment jumped out of the neat boundaries I had set up, which, of course, was really the whole point. It turns out that if you let water sit in a cardboard egg carton for a long time, it will leak! And not just water, of course, but the food coloring that was just added to it.
Luckily I was able to roll this potential mishap into our Earth Day science experiment, talking to my son about how even when the connections aren’t obvious, they are still there. Water in a lake doesn’t just stay in the lake, of course, and neither do the chemicals and dyes we dump into it. All that junk seeps into the ground and spreads, just like the dye from our egg carton, which quickly stained the napkin I had hurriedly put under it.
My little mess-maker really enjoyed this Earth Day science experiment, and it was a great visual to talk about how interconnected our environment is. My son’s response? That we need to get a trash boat so we can go clean up all that trash out there! Alright, kid, I’ll put it on my list! Right along with the submarine he wants to get to scout out underwater volcanoes 😉
How much do you know about the Jewish celebration of Purim? I recently wrote a guest post on Multicultural Kid Blogs, teaching kids (and adults!) fun facts about Purim.
Click on the link to find out fun facts about Purim, such as where the name “Purim” comes from, why people eat hat-shaped cookies, and where a very special Purim was celebrated during World War II in Germany:
March 6, 2019Book Reviews, HoliComments Off on Share the Joy with a Book About Holi for Young Children
The spring festival of Holi is coming, and here is a wonderful children’s book to celebrate! Even young readers can learn the meaning of this joyous holiday with this lovely book about Holi for young children.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book below for review purposes. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Share the Joy with a Book About Holi for Young Children
Holi is a Hindu festival celebrated in the spring. It is often known as the “festival of colors” because of the traditions of throwing colored powders and colored water on each other as part of the celebration.
Celebrate Holi With Me! is part of series from Shoumi Sen of stories she originally created to tell her daughter at bedtime. These colorful books help young children understand Indian holidays with vibrant pictures and rhyming text. (Read my review of her book on Durga Puja).
In Celebrate Holi With Me!, we follow Riya and her friends as they celebrate Holi, from dancing and joining in a bonfire and parade, to eating favorite sweets, and – of course – dousing each other with water and brightly colored powders!
Riya also tells the story behind Holi (but in a not-scary way), about a wicked king who tried but failed to kill his son, who was devoted to Lord Vishnu instead of to the king.
This book is a wonderful way to share the joy of the season with young readers and help them understand more about Holi.
And now US readers can enter for a chance to win your own copy! Just hop over to my Instagram account for more details!
Related Post: 5 Reasons Everyone Should Learn About Holi
Go green this Easter with these easy and environmentally-friendly ideas! Easter is such a fun holiday for kids, but unfortunately many of the products associated with it are meant to be disposable and so produce a lot of garbage. For example, each year more than 8,000 tons of waste results just from Easter egg packaging. Since Easter is a spring holiday, let’s show a little kindness to green and growing things by being mindful about what we use and buy. Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered with this huge collection of eco-friendly Easter ideas for kids, from upcycled Easter baskets to adorable Easter crafts made with recycled materials.
Eco-Friendly Easter Ideas for Kids
Go green this Easter with these fun eco-friendly Easter ideas!
March 1, 2018Mother's DayComments Off on 10 Mother’s Day Gift Ideas to Make Mom Feel Special
This post on Mother’s Day gift ideas is sponsored by RosesOnly; however, my love for moms and all they do is truly from the heart.
Mother’s Day is that special time of year when families recognize the hard work, dedication, and unconditional love that mothers provide to their children. There are so many simple ways you can make Mom feel special this year, whether you are looking for the perfect gift to buy or you’d like try your hand at making something special yourself. However you decide to do it, here are 10 Mother’s Day gift ideas you won’t want to miss!
10 Mother’s Day Gift Ideas to Make Mom Feel Special
Seriously! Most moms I know would give this option top rank. Motherhood requires a lot of energy and frequently demands late nights and early mornings, particularly with young children – although teens often make moms lose sleep, just for different reasons! So give her a break this year by letting her snooze longer than she gets to the other 364 days. This doesn’t just mean not having kids jump on her bed at 6 am, but maybe even taking them outside to play so she can enjoy a quiet house in order to really get some extra sleep.
2. Breakfast in Bed
Once she does finally wake up, have a special breakfast waiting for her! Of course, you can go all out and make a fancy spread, but really you can just keep it simple with juice and toast or maybe pancakes. (Just don’t forget her coffee!) Moms will definitely appreciate any meal they didn’t have to prepare themselves, no matter how simple – bonus if she gets to eat her food while it’s still hot!
3. Homemade Cards
I love homemade cards! In this day of emails and texts, a homemade card is something to be cherished. Again, I tend to go for simple and heartfelt, especially if it’s something made by my kids. There are lots of fun ideas out there for creative cards kids can make, but if you aren’t very crafty, don’t worry! A simple drawing with a loving message from the kiddos is really all that’s required.
4. Keepsake Craft
Moms love keepsakes from their children, so take the time to do an easy craft with your kids that she will cherish for years to come. Anything made with with the kids’ hand prints or thumbprints is a winner – as time goes on, she can look back and marvel that her children used to be so small! Again, when making a keepsake craft, think heartfelt over perfect. This sweet hand print craft is one we originally did several years ago for Father’s Day but works just as well for Mother’s Day.
5. Bath Scrub
Help Mom relax with a bath scrub! You can find some great ones to purchase, but did you know that you can also make your own? Try this orange coconut bath scrub! You could go all out and give her a total “home spa” treatment complete with cucumbers over the eyes and smoothies to drink – let your imagination go wild!
Moms love little things to make the home beautiful. Candles are always a lovely gift, as they can really brighten a room and add a touch of elegance. Don’t forget you can DIY them too! Look for scents like vanilla or apple spice, which are always popular, just be sure to pick one that’s not too overwhelming, especially if she or someone in your family has a sensitive nose. You can even buy or make some elegant candle holders for her to display them.
7. Cooking or Art Class
I have to admit that this is my personal favorite (hint, hint!) Taking a class can be a fun way for Mom to unwind with some friends and learn something new! These days you can find classes on everything from cooking to crafts to painting. Do a search for ones available in your area, or ask a talented friend if she would be willing to put on a class for you! This can be a fun way to support a friend and set up a fun evening out with for Mom with her friends!
8. Quality Family Time
Mother’s Day is a great time to spend quality time together as a family – whether it’s going on a hike or having lunch at a favorite restaurant. Last year we were able to take a trip to the Sierra Nevada mountains on Mother’s Day. To our surprise, it was still snowing, even though it was May! The afternoon we spent playing in the snow together is still one we talk about frequently.
9. Coupon Book
Keep the gift going long after Mother’s Day with a coupon book! We used to love making these for our mom when I was a kid, with coupons for making dinner and helping with the laundry. Customize it to give her the little treats you know the mom in your life will want – like help around the house or a date night with Dad.
Long-time readers may know that I am in love with roses, and what better way to celebrate Mom than by sending her some of these gorgeous flowers? Roses have long been a symbol of love, so they are the perfect gift for Mother’s Day. Sending roses to Mom for Mother’s Day is a beautiful way of showing your love for all that she does. You can even pair your roses with chocolate, because, well, does that really need an explanation??
So whether you like to celebrate by spending time together as a family or by making a keepsake craft for Mom with the kids, be sure to thank the mothers in your life this year with these simple but heartfelt Mother’s Day gift ideas!
Are you excited for Purim? Here are some ideas for throwing a Purim party everyone will enjoy, including an amazing new Purim album for kids! So whether your kids are already familiar with Purim or learning about it for the first time, here are fun ideas and resources to plan a Purim party your kids will love. And don’t miss the big GIVEAWAY at the end of this post!
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Purimania by Danna Banana; however, all opinions are my own.
Plan a Purim Party Your Kids Will Love
What Is Purim?
The origins of the Jewish holiday Purim go back to the Persian Empire in the 4th Century BCE. After King Ahasuerus had his wife, Queen Vashti, executed because she didn’t follow his orders, he held a beauty contest to find a new queen. The winner, Esther, was at first careful not to reveal to the king that she was Jewish, yet she was destined to become heroine for her people.
The problems began when her cousin Mordechai, the leader of the Jews, refused to bow to Haman, the Prime Minister. Furious, Haman influenced the king and set into motion a plan to kill all of the Jews. Yet Mordecai convinced Esther to intercede with the king, a very dangerous task, since anyone who visited the king without being summoned could be put to death. Yet Esther showed true courage by speaking to the king, who turned against the wicked Haman. Haman was put to death and replaced as prime minister by Mordechai. The Jewish people were saved and were finally allowed to defend themselves against their enemies.
How to Celebrate
Purim is a joyous celebration of Esther’s bravery and the triumph of good over evil. Purim starts Wednesday night, February 28 and continues through Thursday, March 1, 2018, in the US (ends March 2 in Israel). Here are some great ways to help your kids celebrate Purim and learn more about this fun holiday. (Read more in this wonderful how-to guide).
Purim is perhaps best known for the fun costumes that everyone wears. While traditionally people dressed up only as Esther, Mordechai, or the King, these days you can wear any costume you like!
Try your hand at making hamantaschen, the triangular cookies thought to represent Haman’s triangle-shaped hat. There are so many variations to love! People also send gifts of food and drinks to friends during Purim, to reinforce bonds of friendship and community.
Service to Others
Purim is also a time to think of the less fortunate. Why not do a food drive at your Purim party or collect donations for a local charity?
At the heart of Purim is the story of Queen Esther herself and how she saved the Jewish people. Read more about her as well as other Purim stories in this collection of Purim books for kids.
Make your own grogger, a special noise maker to use when you read the Purim story, so you can boo and make lots of noise whenever Haman is mentioned! Another fun activity is to color in and use these printable Purim puppets. Don’t miss these other free Purim printables, including masks and coloring pages.
And just in time for Purim is a new album from award-winning family performer Danna Banana, writer of classics like “The Goofball” and “Suddenly Summer.” Purimania is a stellar collection of tunes old and new celebrating Purim. (See details below on how you can enter to win your own copy – plus a $25 Amazon gift card!)
Danna Banana is a well-loved performer with six albums out and numerous performances across the country. He is a John Lennon Songwriting Grand Prize Winner and named New York Magazine’s Best Party Entertainer. The New York Post called him a ‘ripe talent’ and a mom in New Jersey called him ’a piñata of listening pleasure’. Trained as an opera singer, he sang leading roles all over the country in such operas as La Boheme, Don Giovanni, and Carmen before turning his talents to children’s music.
While most of Danna Banana’s work is non-denominational music for kids, among his earlier albums include Bananukah!, a celebration of Hanukah. That album’s success prompted him to create Purimania.
As in Bananukah!, Purimania mixes traditional songs with his own tuneful originals. Mr. Banana offers lively versions of classics like “In Shushan”, “Wicked Man”, and “Hag Purim” while “The Purimania Song” offers up his own whimsical version of the Purim story. In “Hamantaschen Party”, he uses recipes for Hamantaschen, the traditional cookie of Purim, as his lyric– both regular and gluten-free!
My kids and I have been listening to Purimania over and over – it is irresistible! The songs on this album are sure to add the element of fun to any Purim party and make everyone – adults and kids – want to get up and dance!
Check out Purimania! It’s the funniest, most danceable Purim music ever! Let’s party like it’s 330 B.C.! Here’s the title video:
And now for our big giveaway! One lucky reader will win a digital copy of Purimania plus a $25 Amazon gift card! All you need to do to enter is comment below with your favorite character from the Purim story.
Giveaway ends Tuesday, February 27, 2018 at midnight PT. Winner chosen by random drawing.
Springtime is here, and with that comes the rush to get outdoors and get active after the long, cold days of winter. Yet moms often don’t realize that they can easily overdo it as they strive to take care of everyone else – overlooking the need to take care of themselves as well. Here are my top tips for springtime self-care for moms, so they can enjoy all of the fun family activities that come with the season.
Parenting Hacks: Springtime Self-Care for Moms
Pack for Yourself, Too
Headed to the playground or to a baseball game? Pack for yourself just as you do for your kids: water, snacks, sunscreen, hat, and so on. Too often moms are so focused on meeting their children’s needs that they ignore their own. Take a few extra minutes to make sure you have what you need to keep you going through all your spring activities, such as Extra Strength TYLENOL® for any muscular pain, backache, or minor pains from headaches or the common cold.
Set a Realistic Schedule
What exactly a realistic schedule is will vary from person to person. Some people thrive on going to many scheduled activities during the week, while others need downtime to recharge in between the sports practices and park dates. I personally try to schedule only one “extra” activity a day outside our usual school routine. Know your own needs and make sure not to overextend yourself. It is easy to overdo it in the excitement of getting back outdoors, plus often we feel pressured to sign our children up for every available extracurricular activity. But you owe it to yourself and your kids to set limits and create realistic schedules. Remember that you are helping your family set healthy patterns as they move into adulthood.
Be Strict About Your Sleep
You are probably tired of hearing this, but getting a good night’s sleep is one of the simplest and most effective strategies for self-care for moms – and it is also one of the most ignored. I am guilty of this myself, since it is so tempting to stay up late when the house is finally quiet and I don’t have anyone making demands of me. But I really notice a difference when I commit to getting a full night’s sleep. And I know my kids can tell the difference, too!
Don’t Ignore Your Aches and Pains
We kiss all of our children’s boo-boos, carefully tending to each little wound, yet when it comes to ourselves we seldom show the same regard. As spring activities ramp up, it can be easy to overdo it, so don’t ignore those aches and pains. Whether you have a stiff back after gardening or a backache from helping set up at school events, Extra Strength TYLENOL®provides powerful relief so you can get back to what you enjoy.
We recently picked up some Extra Strength TYLENOL®at Target. You can see above exactly where we found it. So easy, since we are at Target all the time! Please remember, of course, that Extra Strength TYLENOL® is only for adults and children 12 years and older and should be used only as directed.
So this spring get out and enjoy all of your favorite family activities, knowing that you are taking great care of yourself just as you take care of everyone else!
These days Pinterest is full of fun, adorable Easter crafts for kids, but how many Easter kite crafts have you seen? Although this time of year boasts great kite flying weather, kites are not associated with the Easter holiday here in the US, but kite flying is an Easter tradition in many parts of the Caribbean, especially Bermuda.
Make an Easter Kite to Learn About Bermuda
The story goes that once a Sunday school teacher wanted to help his students understand the ascension of Jesus to heaven and so came up with the creative idea of flying a kite with a picture of Jesus on it. The idea caught on, and now Good Friday finds many Bermudians out flying kites, including an annual Kite Festival at Horseshoe Bay Beach.
Kite flying sounded to me like a wonderful Easter tradition, and a great way to do a craft that is both fun but also has spiritual significance. I’ve got three little kids, so I keep our crafts simple, but if you want to make an authentic Bermuda kite (they are beautiful!) you can watch this slideshow.
Instead, I just opted for this very easy paper kite. They are fairly small and don’t fly as well as the big plastic ones, but I wanted to use materials that we already had on hand and to make kites that would be easy for the kids to put together and decorate themselves.
They turned out really cute! I couldn’t resist putting bunny ears on mine. We were all very proud of ourselves and excited to put them into action. So the next day we headed for historic Gibson Ranch, a beautiful local park, to take advantage of the windy spring weather.
Unfortunately it was a little too windy for the boys at first, but luckily they rallied (and the wind died down a bit) so we could test out our kites and enjoy the scenery.
Beautiful Gibson Ranch
So this Easter try something different – make an Easter kite with your child and learn more about this wonderful tradition from Bermuda!
I am fascinated by the Hindu celebration Holi, the one you see the amazing photographs of each year, with people showering each other with vibrantly colored powders or colored water. But to be honest, beyond the sense of it as a joyous, lively festival, I really didn’t know much about it. Well, dear reader, for you I have decided to go deeper and find out more: Here is why now I’m convinced everyone should learn about Holi!
I received a copy of Let’s Celebrate Holi 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.
Holi is one of the most fun celebrations I have heard of! The most famous aspect of Holi is how celebrants throw colored powder on each other and spray everyone with colored water, until everyone and everything is covered with beautiful, bright colors. Talk about fun, especially for kids who are always told to be careful not to spill or get their clothes dirty! (Find out how to make your own homemade colored powders).
2. It celebrates the triumph of good over evil.
No matter what your religion or philosophy, the battle of good and evil is a classic struggle where we all can support the same side! Sharing the story of Holi is a great way to teach children that when it comes down to it, all people believe in the same basic principles.
3. It is celebrated throughout India and around the world.
Holi is not only celebrated in one of the world’s most populous countries, it has also become popular in other countries as well, in part due to immigration but also because it is such a fun festival (see #1!)
5. Your kids will think you are the coolest parent ever.
Getting messy, throwing water and powder on each other, eating great food, and hearing stories that excite the imagination: no doubt about it, if you help your kids learn about Holi, they will think you are awesome!
Convinced? Then I have the perfect guide to teach you and your kids all about Holi! You may remember the series I have reviewed previously about Maya and Neel, the brother and sister who introduce children to Indian culture. They taught about Mumbai in Let’s Visit Mumbai! and the holiday Diwali in Let’s Celebrate 5 Days of Diwali! (see my reviews here and here). In their latest adventure, Let’s Celebrate Holi!, Maya and Neel help children learn about Holi through traditional foods and activities. I love that the book also highlights regional variations in how Holi is celebrated, with colorful illustrations and maps.
I also appreciated reading the story behind Holi, something I had never really understood before. After all, what does throwing powder on each other have to do with the triumph of good over evil? Find out, plus discover what it has to do with the bonfires during Holi!
As with the other volumes in this series, the illustrations are beautiful and engaging, and young readers can easily relate to these siblings as they learn about Holi and Indian culture, as seen through the eyes of children. If you are looking to introduce your child to this festival or want a story to share in your classroom, I highly recommend Let’s Celebrate Holi!!