Jessica Mann Gutteridge (jessica) Fri 19 Oct 12 03:51
So great to hear this! I would say the gardening notion is just perfect, but you haven't seen the state of my garden.
behind on BADGES! (obizuth) Fri 19 Oct 12 06:59
jonelle, i'm curious: what were the passions your kids discovered on their own?
Katie (katelich) Sat 20 Oct 12 15:47
I'm late getting back to this discussion too, but I want to thank sooz for this excellent idea: nature bracelet activity where kids go for a guided walk with a masking tape bracelet around each wrist and pick up small things in nature to tack onto the bracelet. My kids will love that. (Amy, for Tess's 4th bday we bought those $1 wooden picture frames at Michael's and had the kids decorate them with markers and stickers. During the party we made sure to take a picture of Tess with each guest, and then printed out the pix during cake-eating time, so every kid went home with a picture of themself with Tess in a frame they had decorated. Cheap, cute, and fun!)
Katherine Spinner (spinner) Sat 20 Oct 12 22:52
Amy, I've done bread-baking with groups of children at various ages- toddlers, primary school, 5th grade- and it's always been a hit. It is time and labor intensive, and it helps to be a confident baker. What about playdough? There's one kind that's equal parts applesauce and cinnamon squished together inside zip-lock bags, then kneaded. You can bake it and it lasts for years (flatter shapes bake better.) Or no-cook oatmeal playdough, made with vanilla, lavendar oil, ? and children can pick their favorite colors. I've just made 2 batches of cooked playdough, no coloring, one with vanilla and one with eucalyptus oil, for Friends preschool tomorrow. A Friend is bringing her white cane and talking to us about being blind, so a sensory activity seems in order.
jelly fish challenged (reet) Sun 21 Oct 12 12:08
Making playdough or art with real food is controversal. Baking or cooking is fabulous, tho, and full of science, math, language and literacy.
Katherine Spinner (spinner) Sun 21 Oct 12 18:07
My word, this is a controversy I haven't run into, in decades of working with children. What is one to use, if not flour, salt, oil and cream of tartar? Is commercial, trademarked "Playdoh" treated to be inedible, un-real?
jelly fish challenged (reet) Sun 21 Oct 12 22:17
The basic flpoour seems to be ok, but aotmeal, applesauce, hat kind of thing. Macaroni necklaces. mosaics of beans. that sort of thing. So many kids not getting enough food at home, using food for other than feeding them can be an issue.
Katherine Spinner (spinner) Sun 21 Oct 12 23:09
Hmm. I've never worked in situations where that was a concern, but yes, I can see a child in trouble at home if she wanted to play with the noodles and there weren't any left to cook.
Bob Akka (bob) Mon 22 Oct 12 16:41
Wow, sooz, just caught up to reading about your book. Looks great, and I'll be picking it up soon. I've certainly been on board with the general idea, which resonates with other things I've read: - The Price of Privilege, by Levine (a Marin therapist). She argues that excessive management and scheduling of a child's life can lead to problems later on; that "over-parenting" can be just as bad as the opposite (neglect), because it keeps children from taking responsibility for their own mental well-being. - Endangered Minds, by Healy. In addition to strongly opposing TV watching, she makes the larger point that kids' minds grow best from activities where their own creativity is the main ingredient. She recommends "Passive toy, active child" over "Active toy, passive child". Our little guy is adapting well to the more regimented life of Kindergarten, after a few years at Kumara (which I noticed you mention in the intro) and then the similar minded GeoKids in Menlo Park (which we were even more pleased with). I'm looking forward to trying out a few new activity ideas from the book. Oh, and what's inside Play-Doh: http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/09/st_whatsinside_playdoh/ Short version: Flour & water, with some salt and oil, and a few other things that help preserve it, make it unappetizing, improve handling characteristics, and scent it. At GeoKids, they made their own, and I don't think they ever had problems.
Amy Keyishian (superamyk) Mon 22 Oct 12 18:08
I love those activities, especially ones that turn into a party favor! I don't know why i didn't think of that -- I have done similar at Penny's school with puffy fabric heart frames that I got at Scrap for next to nothing. Anyway, we had a great birthday party at the playground. No organized activities and lots of friends. I think we'll get organized some year, but this wasn't the one. Food from Costco, cookies from me, and no goody bags. (I feel bad about this part - I know goody bags have gotten out of control, but I love giving something out. The last party we went to, each kid got a tulip bulb and planting instructions -- that sort of thing is just right, don't you think?) We make play-dough at Penny's school. Part of the "problem" is that the school is SO good about activities and play-driven learning that there's little left the kids haven't done!
Susan Sachs Lipman (sooz) Tue 23 Oct 12 07:27
Hi All - What fun to hear some of the new voices in the conversation. I really appreciate your wisdom, Jonelle. That is so moving that your son is instituting his own Family Dinner for others. (Our kids do listen and absorb; it just takes a few years :) ) Thank you Katherine and Kate, for your lovely ideas about playdough (I love the tactile and simple) and the picture frames for parties that serve as an activity as well as a keepsake. A painted flower pot with a small plant, seed or seed packet is a similar idea. Oh, I belatedly see that Amy posted about the tulip bulb. Yes, I love favors that provide wonder and something to really do. In addition to flowerpot and other craft ideas, I also have a recipe in my book for lip gloss, which is something older girls can make at a party and then take home. And your party sounds wonderful! Really, I think kids most enjoy being celebrated and having friends around them on their birthdays. (And great that the school is so stimulating and rich.) Bob, it's great to see you! I can't believe your little one is in Kindergarten! (And I had no idea you were at Kumara School - a very formative place for our whole family.) Thanks for the tips on other resources, too. I've heard Madeline Levine speak, and she is a strong influence regarding the notion that some of our well-intentioned methods can do our kids a grave disservice, if we don't let them learn through trying, and failing, on their own. And, yes, I love that the cooking and kitchen-science ideas that Katherine, Rita and others propose. Soft pretzels (in my book) are a fun and easy alternative to bread baking. Like many of my favorite projects, it uses many of our senses and provides kitchen fun with a tasty result.
behind on BADGES! (obizuth) Tue 23 Oct 12 07:46
i totally want to do the lip gloss! and bath salts! from the book. both my girls have october birthdays, so we used to decorate orange tote bags as a craft and then that was the goodie bag, for trick-or-treating. for a while when the girls had costume parties as bday parties jonathan would take a picture of each kid in costume and print it out, and the kids made picture frames (using kits from oriental trading -- i'm not that crafty) and then during the party we'd print out the pictures and the kids could take them for the frames. the <danlevy> family still has a picture from 4 or 5 years ago of roly in his costume up in their house in one of the frames. covered in BATS!
Ruth Bernstein (ruthb) Tue 23 Oct 12 08:21
We have done the bath salts and the lip gloss, both with my 8yo girl. Loved! I think this was before the book came out, but I can see why it would be great to have all these ideas in one place.
Amy Keyishian (superamyk) Thu 25 Oct 12 10:12
oh suz, what do you think of geocaching?
Jessica Mann Gutteridge (jessica) Thu 25 Oct 12 10:35
My sister does letterboxing and my MIL does geocaching. I've gone out letterboxing with Rafe and my niece and sister and we had a wonderful time. I think it's a little more fun to try to follow the clues, rather than to use a GPS to find your way, but either way, it's a lovely way to get out into nature, parks, and historical sites and play treasure hunt. You really have to look around you and pay attention to your environment. Some of them are pretty tricky to spot, so I'm not sure if younger children would enjoy it or get frustrated.
David Albert (aslan) Fri 26 Oct 12 03:56
We did letterboxing with our daughter once. It was GREAT. Got us out walking and hunting and trying a few different paths, and of course finding the letterbox was a huge high point. But then inexplicably she had no interest in doing it again. Not sure why.
Ruth Bernstein (ruthb) Fri 26 Oct 12 06:11
We do geocaching but it's sometimes hard to find stuff that is appropriate for my little kids (I think the sweet spot for it is a couple of years older).
Amy Keyishian (superamyk) Fri 26 Oct 12 16:40
yeah it seems like maybe my stepkids might appreciate it more. Thank you for mentioning letterboxing, I think I like that even more!
Jessica Mann Gutteridge (jessica) Fri 26 Oct 12 16:46
My sister keeps little pocket-size sketchbooks, rubber stamps, and pens in a kit in the car for when they decide to go letterboxing. Every time I try, the kids raid the sash, but it's a nice idea.
Gail Williams (gail) Fri 26 Oct 12 17:20
How does letterboxing work?
Jessica Mann Gutteridge (jessica) Fri 26 Oct 12 18:33
Lots of information at http://letterboxing.org/ Basically, people stash a little notebook and rubber stamp at a public location, then describe how to locate it. You find it, leave your mark in the notebook and add the stamp to your log.
David Albert (aslan) Sat 27 Oct 12 05:43
So, for instance, we were told to go to a particular park, find a certain path, walk to the first garbage pail, turn off the path into the woods, walk 50 paces towards an oak tree, then turn due east and walk 20 paces to another large oak tree, then look for the rock behind it and dig. The notebook we found was a bit soaked, and we were the first to find it in several years. Both of those added to the excitement. But there was a stamp, and there was a book, and I was able to reach the owner by email later to let them know we'd found it.
Gail Williams (gail) Sat 27 Oct 12 08:27
What an interesting twist on geocaching.
Lisa Harris (lrph) Sat 27 Oct 12 16:45
I am fed up with the frenzy that has kept me from truly enjoying this topic. Up thread someone asked about the window for language acquisition in children. The reason I haven't been on WELL lately is due to taking a course for ESOL certification. Research shows that 2nd language acquisition for proper pronunciation is optimal in pre-puberty years. However, older students tend to be able to make language connections with their first language to their second language which helps facilitate their second language acquisition. Actually, the motivation for learning the second language and the manner in which it is taught seems to be more relevant a determinant than age. So, no rush.
Jessica Mann Gutteridge (jessica) Sat 27 Oct 12 16:53
My kids started French lesson on Saturdays, which sounds like the worst kind of frenzy achievement insanity, but is actually quite laid back and fun. They are working with my friend Sandrine, who works hard to incorporate their interests into her lessons, even if that slows me down a bit. After trying with both in the same class she discovered they do better in shorter units without the other one present, so I hang out in the playroom with whoever isn't having a lesson and Sandrine's two same-age boys. Today she let Lucas set up the Battle of Bunker Hill with soldiers from a set of Risk and worked on nationality vocabulary.
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