Thursday May 23, 2013
Produce for Kids® is kicking off the 11th annual Get Healthy, Give Hope campaign this weekend. If you don't know about Produce for Kids, don't feel too bad, it's something I just learned about myself, though I wish I had know about it a long time ago.
It's an organization to encourage healthy family eating among families by providing easy, healthy meal ideas and resources for parents, while at the same time raising funds for children's non-profit organizations. That may sound like a mouthful, but it's worth digesting.
The Get Healthy, Give Hope campaign is fantastic. Starting on May 26, 2013, the more people buy from participating fresh fruit and vegetable suppliers, the more money those suppliers will donate to local Children's Miracle Network Hospitals and other charities.
The Produce for Kids website has tons of "Ideal Meal" recipes you can use to cook healthy, appealing meals with and for your children. It's a great way to sneak in some kitchen learning and an even better way to learn more about eating healthy. Not to mention, the site is partnered with Sprout and has an entire section of games, printables, activities and recipes just for kids.
One of the things I like so much about these recipes is that there's always something your child can be doing to help out and that, in the end, what you end up with are colorful, visually appealing meals that taste great. If you're not much of a cook to start with, they even have videos showing you how to make them.
Time to start getting healthy. If we don't show our kids how to make better choices, we can't expect them to know how, can we?
Monday May 20, 2013
I know I'm not the only one who has a junk drawer. You know, that horrible mess of a drawer into which you throw everything for which you have no other logical place? I'm just glad we usually only have one junk drawer in our house!
I've talked about the learning possibilities of creating junk boxes for your kids, but there's also learning opportunities to be had with the junk you already have in your house.
If you're willing to invest in a good drawer organizer, give up some floor space and let your kid see what kinds of crazy things you throw into the junk drawer, you can put him to work cleaning and learning.
It's simple--dump out the junk drawer (put down newspaper or something first) and then walk your child through a junk drawer sorting activity.
It's cheap labor and your child will learn how to organize, categorize and economize!
Friday May 17, 2013
Playful Learning is great website for parents who are looking for ways to enrich their children's learning at home. Founder, Mariah Bruehl, M.Ed, is an experienced teacher and author of the book, Playful Learning: Develop Your Child's Sense of Joy and Wonder. She has an unique style in bringing information to parents that really draws them into becoming their child's partner in learning.
Playful Learning has recently launched an Ecademy component to the website. It's designed to bring high-quality, Common Core-aligned lessons into the home.
I had the opportunity to preview the ecourse "Put Ups and Put Downs," which uses simple, easy-to-learn and easy to remember phrases to teach children how to deal with being bullied and how their words can affect others.
Parents and children can watch and discuss the video lessons together at their own pace, as well as participating in accompanying activities, find new books to explore that support the lesson being taught.
What I found even more appealing than that was the interactive component of the ecourse in which kids and parents can upload their own solutions to the problems presented in the course.
That means that kids from all around the world are able to see kid-driven solutions to bullying as well as getting the sense that this is a widespread phenomena, bigger than just in their school or town.
"Put Ups and Put Downs" is a wonderful kick-off for Playful Learning's Ecademy. At an affordable $17 for the course, I would highly recommend it as a home-learning tool.
Both parents and children will learn ways to communicate more effectively. For a more detailed look at this ecourse, check out my full review:
"Put Ups and Put Downs" an Ecademy Ecourse by Playful Learning
Thursday May 16, 2013
When I was growing up, both my parents were educators, so when summer rolled around, they weren't (technically) working. I, too, became an educator and was available for my kids in the summer when they were very young.
It wasn't until I started doing work outside of the classroom and a school calendar that I understood about the the summer scramble and the need to prevent summer brain drain.
I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. If you have school-age children, the summer scramble is all about figuring out what to do with the kids during the summertime. Will they go to camp? Should you hire a babysitter? Rec programs? Do you and your partner stagger taking vacation time all summer? That's the summer scramble. And it makes a lot of parents panic about summer coming.
Interestingly enough, some kids panic about summer coming, too. They're used to the routine of school, love their teacher and feel nervous about not knowing what's coming next. That's why it's just as important for parents to find ways to get kids prepared for summer vacation as it is to be prepared for summer.
In our house, our teenager is trying to find a job or a volunteer activity, our middle guy has a bunch of STEM camps lined up and we're looking for a sitter for the little guy for a few days a week. And we've been talking about all of it for weeks now. How are you preparing your kids for the summer scramble?
Image courtesy of D. Sharon Pruitt via Flickr/CCL