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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Three books to help kids learn Empathy

Empathy is to be able to put yourself in other’s shoes. You can read more about it in my post ‘7 fun activities to teach empathy to young children’. It is also an important aspect to learn to promote emotional Intelligence in kids. Here are three books that can help kids learn empathy.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Fire safety and fun activities related to firefighters

October is Fire Safety month so I thought this would be a perfect time for this post. As far as our house is concerned, Firefighters is the theme all year long. My three and a half year old son loves fire trucks and firefighters. Most of his friends, girls and boys alike, love them too. I like to use this love for real life heroes and their shiny red trucks to instill very important lesson of fire safety.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

10 nature related activities to do this fall season

Autumn is a beautiful season full of festivities. You can do so many different things with kids during this season. I started out thinking I will be able to, may be, pick 10 of my favorite things to do in fall and make a post out of it. But I soon realized that there is so much to do especially on the natural front that I should just stick to nature related activities in this post and list all the others in a different one. Readers outside of US may not be able to do some of these things but some of the information might be equally interesting to you and your kids. So here we go, here are 10 fun nature related activities to do this fall.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A box full of possibilities: Transforming and Modeling for kids

I am very excited to be volunteering at Caine’s Arcade for their first Anniversary on Oct 5th. Those of you who haven’t heard about Caine’s Arcade yet, it is an arcade built by a 9 year old using cardboard boxes. It is a perfect example of what kids can do with open ended creative endeavors. What a fabulous exercise in transforming and modeling. You can read more about transforming in my long string post and I will be writing about modeling soon.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

5 activities for 5 senses that kids will enjoy around 1st birthday and beyond

Lot of you have been asking me about activities for younger kids. Although lot of my posts have ideas you could use with kids as young as 15 months old, here is one especially for kids nearing their 1st birthday or who just turned one. The best part is all of these activities can be enjoyed by toddlers and preschoolers too. So it can be fun for siblings to play together as well. I will try to do one such post every month or two.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

10 fun activities to teach Estimations to young kids.

We use estimations in our daily life more often than we can estimate. How much salt should I put in this soup? How long will it take me to get to my destination? How hard should I kick for the ball to reach the goal post? How much lumber should we order for this project? What should be the ballpark answer to this math problem? How fast do I have to merge the paints on my canvas before paint will start drying out? We constantly ask such questions to ourselves and most times we get the answer by estimating. Needless to say, it is an important skill for kids to have. Little ones need to practice many different skills besides grasping the mathematical concept of estimations to be able to approximate with ease.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

5 easy and healthy lunch recipes

We all need lunch recipes that can be made easily and are healthy. Something that kids will enjoy eating while it is good for them, makes it even more challenging. So here are five easy lunch recipes that will be liked by kids and adults alike. Best part is, your kids can help making all of these recipes.
I am very excited to include a featured recipe by Chef Maura Redmond. Hope your family enjoys them as much as mine.

Korean Pancakes feature recipe by Chef Maura Redmond

Maura Redmond graduated from New York University Tisch School of the Arts with a degree in Film and Television Production.  She moved to Los Angeles and worked in film and TV for over 10 years before deciding to go to culinary school.  She graduated the California School of Culinary Arts/Le Cordon Bleu Program with honors and received a James Beard scholarship to continue her studies at the Ballymaloe Cookery School in Cork, Ireland.  She then worked as a Food Stylist for film, TV and print as well as a private chef.  She now cooks exclusively for her two children and husband, who eat very well.

Apple, cranberry, and spinach sandwich

Raspberry – Zucchini Pancakes

Stuffed vegetable boats

Underground Latkas

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

7 Ways to make the most out of travel experiences with toddlers and preschoolers


Traveling with toddlers might sound daunting but we all gather our courage and do it any way. It is a great learning experience for our little ones too. The action involved in watching their parents packing the bags, the excitement of a long road trip or getting on an air plane; all of this is very stimulating for them. It might be a little out of their comfort zone but they learn to be flexible and make do with limited supplies that we can carry. If you build enough excitement about it, many toddlers will even try new foods. All in all it’s a learning experience that they will carry with them for a lifetime.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Greetings cards – Creative literacy development tool for young ones

Greeting cards bring cheer to all of us. The feeling of being remembered, loved and cared for is always heartwarming. As a mom, I have found one more reason to be excited about greeting cards. Wondering what? Well, they bring the joy of learning to my toddler. Watching how he has progressed with alphabets making these greeting cards has been really special for me.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Perfect Square – collages to help kids develop pattern forming skills

We are all surrounded by all sorts of patterns. We make sense of our world by deciphering patterns. Our brains need to group everything we see, hear or touch and try to predict what's next. We are dealing with patterns  starting at a very young age. It could be in our routine, with rhythmic patterns in language, behavior of adults around us to mention only a few.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

How to develop focus and working memory of preschoolers


When it comes to a job well done, we all focus on one’s ability to focus. Pun aside, in this fast paced world we live today, one’s ability to focus is highly coveted. Not just us adults but kids need to focus a lot just to get through their day. With all the learning in the early age and their brains still developing, it can sometimes be a daunting task for these little people.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

7 fun activities to teach empathy to young children

Do you ever wish that your boss understood you better when you wanted to leave early to attend your daughter’s dance recital? Or wonder how a horse whisperer tames a horse like it was magic? Or hope that your child should grow up to be more understanding and emotionally intelligent than many adults around you? If your answer to any or all of these questions is yes, you are no different than many other parents like me. We all want our kids to be caring, and empathetic human beings.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

How to get your picky eater to try new foods?

My son, who is usually very good about trying different foods, is currently going through a phase that is making him very picky about what he will eat or if he will even eat for that matter. He went through a similar phase when he was 16 months or so. His doctor suggested that I keep some finger food at unexpected places like his book shelf or near his toy box. If he accidentally discovers it, he will be curious to try it. To my surprise, the trick worked like a charm. After all, everything new that a 16 month finds usually goes in his mouth. I was skeptical if this would work with him at this age.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Art fundamentals and imaging for kids - one dot at a time

Dot by Patricia Intriago is a perfect example of how graphics are much more than mere physical representation of an object. This book has understated yet spectacular graphics and subtle yet effective and funny text. It is a great way to show little ones how drawings can express motions, emotions and much more and can tell a great story when combined with very few words. Certainly a great lesson in art fundamentals. It will encourage them to get creative with their own imagination once they discover what can be done with just a dot. After all, even a 2 year old knows to draw dots.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Just how long can a long string be?! Many activities using string to teach transforming to kids

Recently we just seem to be bumping into books by Keith Baker at our library. ‘Just how long can a long string be?!’ is another little gem that has led to fun activities and many interesting family conversations.
This book illustrates many different uses of strings and how the length of the string varies for each application. My little boy seems to keep an eye out for any use of string he might encounter. He came up with some common ones like shoe laces, puzzles using laces, embroidery. Some more creative uses where he assumed a rope to be essentially a string. Such as the one used to pull a kayak to the shore or to tie the astronauts to the rocket during their spacewalk. This last one actually stumped me!

Tap Tap Bang Bang - Introduction to tools for kids

Emma Garcia’s ‘Tap Tap Bang Bang’ was an instant hit with my son when we got it from the library. He loves playing with pretend as well as real tools like many other 3 year olds. This book has introduction to various building tools and their sounds. It feels like you are in a workshop hearing all the tools at work when you read it aloud.
I loved it because I always am looking for things to make, that will develop his hands on skills. What better than activities that lead to mastering the use of tools that can be used to build lot many more things?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Little Green - Fun Abstracting lesson for kids

Little Green by Keith Baker is a great little book. It is a book about a little boy watching a hummingbird flying around while he paints the bird’s motion. It is a spectacular little lesson in Abstracting. This technique is used at Modern Art classes or Museums to teach adults, the concept of Abstracting.
My 3 year old was quite fascinated by this book. We have been spotting hummingbirds in our courtyard for the last few months. His familiarity with hummingbirds surely added to his excitement. By the time we read the book 4-5 times he was convinced that he too wants to paint the motions of a hummingbird. Since we have a very small patio I could not create the painting set up there. A common courtyard for the condo complex is certainly not a place to do so. And honestly, I think a hummingbird is too fast for a 3 year old to paint. Even the kid in the book is not so young. But I did not want to pass up on this exciting activity either.