As a kid, my family drove to Tahoe every summer. That’s a long drive from Southern California, and we stopped roughly three times each way for me to throw up. Oh, the magic that is carsickness. Family car trips were rough on me, since all that might entertain me – books, crayons, notebooks – were out of the question. Especially in the backseat.
My friend Aliza and I just drove from North Carolina to New York, closing out a lovely mountain vacation. The drive is both lovely and long, and since we both have the carsick issue, there is very little reading, facebooking, texting, or any kind of looking anywhere but straight ahead.
So for those of you with kids that suffer similarly, I present to you: The Car Games Aliza and I Played While Driving to New York That Were Actually Kind of Fun.
Gina and Aliza leave North Carolina, counting cows.
“Now here is my secret. It is very simple. It is only with one’s heart that one can see clearly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.” –Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince. Cover art for Wonder (above) is by Tad Carpenter, image from http://campusmlk.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/wonder.jpeg
posted by Beret
R.J. Palacio’s novel appears to be written for eight- to twelve-year-olds, but is, in reality, a compelling and inspiring book for readers of most any age.
Wonder is the story of August Pullman, a boy born with severe facial abnormalities. He has been homeschooled by his mother his whole life, but when he turns ten, his parents decide to enroll him in a private middle school in New York City. Imagine all of the fear and insecurity, the freaky social and physiological transitions occurring at that time of life, and then imagine having to weather them all with a face that triggers screaming and crying, shocked stares, rude comments, and double-takes.
“I won’t describe what I look like,” August says. “Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.” August emerges as an honest and straightforward narrator, explaining in unemotional terms what it is like to walk through the world as he does. He maintains a sense of humor through many of his struggles, as well as a remarkable tolerance and understanding for the way people relate to him. Usually. Continue reading →
Were you cloud-inspired by Beret’s DIY Clouds? Have you been wishing there were more sort-of-cloud-related activities to do with your kiddos? Have you ever wondered what happens when you put Ivory Soap in a microwave? I am here to help.
For me, clouds recall lazy summer afternoons spent splayed in the cool grass, searching for sky sheep. Since I have moved to the FOG ZONE, however, summers are mostly frigid and gray. On rare clear days, the blue above is nearly always spotless. Sunsets are quick and unremarkable.
Imagine my excitement to discover that I could make my own clouds!
This experiment is fast and easy, but the science and dialogue can go as deep as you wish. Continue reading →
First: a disclaimer. I don’t have kids. You likely gathered this already from previous posts, featuring myself and Larry the Cat as Play-Doh and macro lens beta testers, rather than the small folks for whom this blog is intended. This week’s post is not cat-friendly, so I’m afraid my images will feature some other people’s kids, gathered from my trolling about the internets compiling festive bubble wrap ideas.
What’s that, you said? Bring on the festive bubble wrap ideas? Ok then!
Ages: Any, although kids 8-11 get particularly fired up about secret codes. That’s typically the age when kids decide that a little privacy would be great–especially if younger siblings are involved.
Many aspects of being a spy are, in reality, probably unappealing: lying, hiding, sneaking–all while your life is in constant jeopardy–plus a boatload of observation, sales, and psychological manipulation, according to former C.I.A. operative Lindsay Moran. Still, the idea of secret messages never gets old, and I’m excited to show you a few simple codes to get kids started. Continue reading →
So, I like rocks. A lot. What’s not to like? Rocks come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. They’re accessible. They’re inexpensive. They’re versatile. And they’re friendly. Anyone else have one of these as a kid?
I took the photo, but obviously this image credit–and the others in this post–should go to David Wiesner.
posted by Beret Ages: 5-10+
Three-time Caldecott Medal winner David Wiesner has done it again. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, he is known for crafting wild tales of new worlds–using few words, if any–with enough detail and complexity to appeal to readers of all ages. Mr. Wuffles is no exception.
Mr. Wuffles is bored. Mr. Wuffles is cranky. Substandard toys line the halls, untouched, as he searches half-heartedly for something worthy of his attention.
But what’s this nestled amongst the fake mice, feathers, and string?
When I was a kid, there was no internet and there were no smartphones. The same is true for when I was a high school and a college student. The practical upshot of this meant that I was lost a lot of the time.
BUT! The flowers are blooming, the cats are sneezing, and I can leave the apartment without 20 layers of clothing. Bliss!
Which gets me thinking about spring time, and the start of summer, and how those of us living in the cities can get that desperate craving to reconnect with something green. As I was scouting about these internets, continuing to put off the massive, massive research paper I have due next week, I found this nifty website. And you should scope them out.
To get you started, here’s a page I particularly liked, especially in light of needing to commune with trees again. Have you ever hugged a tree? For real? I did it in a college science class, and I will tell you, it was actually kind of amazing. Go hug one. And then adopt it. Then do some of this other stuff.
Kids living in urban centers, or even suburbs, are often disconnected from the nature. Here are some activities you can do with kids with nature and our environment:
Adopt a Tree
While taking a walk or hiking, have your child to pick out a favorite tree in a park or forest and “adopt” it. Essentially, your child will take on the role of being the tree’s caretaker. Do bark rubbings with crayons and paper; leaf collection and pressing in the fall; and look for flowers and fruit in the summer. Each year, take pictures of your child standing beside the tree. You can even bring along measuring tape to track the tree’s growth. Kids can also research the tree on the internet: where the tree is commonly found, usual life span, height, etc.
Clean Up the Earth
A good way to teach our children about taking care of our…