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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.