Posts Tagged ‘ getting your kids to do stuff ’

Munchkin Math

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

A recent debacle involving a missed soccer game has me pondering the fundamental importance of time telling. It can be a frustrating thing to teach and learn (and pesky to remember, well into adulthood). But it’s an immensely helpful concept for kids, especially with the nice weather approaching and directives like, “Five more minutes until we leave the park,” being put into place.
If you’re looking for a few inventive teaching techniques (for kids as young as 2) there’s a great DVD series out called Munchkin Math. The host and creator, Wendy Miller, helps an animated cuckoo bird tell time and encourages everyone watching to join in. She uses chants and rhymes, (Hickory, Dickory, Dock. There are two hands on the clock!) and even includes learning movements, like having viewers use their arms as pretend clock hands.

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Cupcake Floss!

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

Why should cupcakes and dental health be mutually exclusive? Why have I never asked this question before? Could it be that my mind was completely closed-off to this possibility? Was it too much to hope for? Well, not anymore. Welcome, cupcake-flavored dental floss, to my now much sweeter life.

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Pom-Pom Pals: A Craft Success Story

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009


One of the most rewarding aspects of our job in magazines is reading happy, positive reader mail. As the crafts editor, I'm lucky enough to get a visual of the success story, like this sweet photo from Parents reader Megan Grebowiec from Plainville, Kansas. Megan and her 3 year old daughter Kaydence crafted the Pom-Pom Pals from our January 2009 issue (and they did so very well, I might add).

If you have photos of your craft accomplishments, please send them to us at We love to see our ideas (and your creativity) in action!

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Kids in the Kitchen

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

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I am signed up for so many newsletters that sometimes, I hit delete before I read them. But today I happened to open one that I get periodically, and I was reminded why I signed up for it in the first place. It's called Yummy Fun—it's all about kids and cooking. Besides the fact that the website is amazingly fun and clever, Yummyclare, the creator, has developed a magical, interactive cooking (or as she spells it, kooking) show for kids. You can watch the trailer on her site or here. It's like Willy Wonka meets Mr. Magorium meets The Barefoot Contessa (sort of).

Her show is not on TV (yet) but you can buy DVD's. Check out her site with your kids—they will be mesmorized!

(PS…look out for the March issue of Parents magazine, where we have a great article called America's Tot Chef!)

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Brilliant Thank You Idea

Monday, January 5th, 2009

I completely heart this kids' thank you idea from the fabulous Amy at doobleh-vay. Her picture says it all, really, but in case you want a play-by-play, she's got instructions. What a perfect way to help your kids say thanks for their holiday presents and send some immediate gratification Grandma's way.

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Solutions for Winter Break Blues

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

We are well into the second week of winter break, and I'd be willing to bet that many of you are trying to keep the kids from swinging from the chandelier. Don't worry…it's okay to admit that they're driving you a little batty. If you are in need of some fun, inexpensive home activities, check out this list from of 20 boredom busters; here are some of my faves…

  • Soda bottle bowling: Raid the recycling bin for empty plastic
    soda bottles. Set them up like bowling pins and roll a ball at them like you're
    bowling. Make the game more challenging by adding some water to
    the bottom of the soda bottles (if you still have the caps!) or by
    bowling blindfolded.
  • Bottle cap Shuffleboard: Create a triangle on the end of the
    kitchen table out of painter's tape, and divide into 3 sections:
    the tip of the triangle is worth 30 points, the center is worth 20
    points, and the larger base of the triangle is worth 10 points. On the
    other end of the kitchen table, place a piece of tape to create the
    push-off line. Use bottle caps and push them so they slide
    from the push-off line toward the triangle. Players can push another
    player's cap off the triangle and the winner
    is the person who reaches 200 points first.
  • Animate a stick figure: Find a pad of paper or a post-it pack.
    Start in one corner of the page and draw a stick figure. Lift up the
    page and draw the same figure on the next page, but move an arm or leg
    just slightly, and continue on each page of the pack. On each page,
    you'll draw your stick figure just positioned a little differently.
    When you flip the pages with your thumb, you'll have an animated stick
  • Build an indoor “snow” fort: For some reason, kids love to
    build forts. Give them some blankets to hang on the back of chairs,
    couches and other items to hide underneath. Give each child a box or
    bag of crumpled up newspaper “snow balls” and let them have an indoor
    snow fight. Forts are great for playing house, or any number of
    activities active imaginations can drum up.
  • Find it in print: Gather some books, magazines and newspapers.
    Have the kids go on a “Where's Waldo” type adventure, finding various
    things in print that you call out, try: things that move, things that bark, animals that eat meat, something you find in a kitchen, things that breathe.

If you have any boredom cures you'd like to share, please do! I'm sure your fellow parents would appreciate any help they can get!

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Fun Every Day

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

Today is Fun
! Could there be a more fun blog name than that? The site features one great thing to do with your kids every day. Tip-toeing, magnifying glass exploration, DIY parachutes, sticky note treasure hunts… Hello, jackpot! Kudos to Design Mom for this seriously good find. It’s a must-bookmark for those "I’m bored, Mom!" days.

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Show Me the Money

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

I’ve posted before about schools rewarding top of the class students with Happy Meals, and here’s another get-good-grades tactic I’d love you all to weigh in on: paying kids for As. This USAToday article discusses how many CEOs use financial incentives (and we’re not talking a buck or two) to motivate their kids to get high GPAs. Granted, these families have larger than average piggy banks to dig into, but what do you think? Is cash the cure for poor report cards, or do you think equating money with grades takes away from the real purpose of learning?

image via

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