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Play-Doh Fairy Tale Sets

Here is a link.

In a more perfect world we’d just play this way without the need for the specialized molds – but I really think these are brilliant and smart marketing for Hasbro.  A very good preschool birthday gift idea – includes parental involvement, reading, acting, emotion and improvisation.  That is the makings of a quality toy.

I came across this worthwhile list today – it is, however, loaded onto 15 different pages in order to create ad revenue for the site.  Here is the article.

One paragraph per slow-loading add-riddled page is inconvenient – so here, have a shortcut.  Now you and I can print the list out and take it to the library this week.

1) Sally Jean, the Bicycle Queen, by Cari Best, illustrated by Christine Davenier

2) Brave Irene, by William Steig

3) Annie Bananie, by Leah Komaiko, illustrated by Laura Cornell

4) Tar Beach, by Faith Ringold

5) I Like Myself! by Karen Beaumont, illustrated by David Catrow

6) Sheila Rae, the Brave, by Kevin Henkes

7) Madeline Books, by Ludwig Bemelmans

8)) Eloise Books, by Kay Thompson, illustrated by Hilary Knight

9) 17 Things I’m Not Allowed To Do Anymore, by Jenny Offill, illustrated by Nancy  Carpenter

10) Strega Nona, Her Story, by Tomie dePaola

11) Amanda’s Perfect Hair, by Linda Milstein, illustrated by Susan Meddaugh

12) Imogene’s Last Stand, by Candace Fleming, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

13) Now Everybody Really Hates Me, by Jane Read Martin and Patricia Marx, illustrated by Roz Chast

Previously titled Things to Do with your 2 year old – too narrow, on second thought :)

Today I made this chart showing a month (or more) worth of weekday activities to do with a young preschooler.  This may be handy for yourself or another caregiver you know (like when Grandma or a sitter has the kiddo for a while and could use some ideas).

If there is enough interest, I’ll make new editions available.

You can click on it, click the magnifying glass and drag it to your desktop to print.

Your feedback and comments are very welcome.

Having days free with our young children is more and more rare – those of us who can do it, more and more fortunate.  They grow up fast.  Savor the time.

Lunchbox Notes

We decided to skip the “nutritious” school lunches offered in our district (entrées include: Fried Pizza Sticks – a breaded stick of fried pizza ingredients) and opt for nutritious (sans quotation marks) packed lunches instead.

I’d like to go into this in more detail on another post, a dozen things come to mind (like the joy of Bento Boxes and helpful standards like frozen juice boxes as ice packs) – but right now I’ve got lunchbox notes on my mind.

Here is a site where you can get some generic notes (for free) to print and put into your child’s lunch.  I’m considering making a bunch of my own.  You can gear them towards what is going on in their lives right now.  I’ve found dozens of sources for buying this kind of note system for packed lunches – and many seem clever and warm, but I’m left feeling it’s lazy to spend more than a couple bucks on something so simple.

Some ideas on how to make them:

1) Use a business card template in any typesetting or graphics program – or just make your own template (dragging guides or putting card border outlines on a layer).

2) Use a sharpie to rule out 10 rectangles on a sheet of 8.5 x 11″ paper. Take it to a copier and make 15 of them to last the whole school year.

Things to put on them:

 – personal notes

 – uplifting quotes that your child can relate to

 – photos or pictures of your child’s favorite people and characters

 – facts/trivia related to your child’s interests

 – question prompts to be used at your child’s lunch table (If you could be a different animal, which would you be – and why?)

 – comic strips

 – “coupons” for something special at home (a treat, an outing, guaranteed one-on-one time, extra story time, etc.)

– small puzzles (word finds, crosswords, sudoku, etc.)

 – jokes and riddles

 – stickers

 – a month’s worth of valentines in February (those little inexpensive mass-produced cards are a great size for this)

The key is probably to produce a big batch – maybe a month at a time.  Depending on your skill-sets, hand-writing them or typing them will be most efficient.  Sitting at the dinner table one evening with a joke book could cover a month or more with minimal effort (check out a joke book from the library that your child hasn’t read).

Collectible card sleeves (available where game or baseball cards are sold) would do a good job of making them water resistant.  Page-A-Day calendar pages could be great, too (available cheaply after Jan. 1 – – you can likely still get 2011 sets for next-to-nothing)

I’m going through some separation anxiety now that my oldest is a full-day student – I see this as a way to help me stay connected through the day that both of us will appreciate and remember fondly.

Let me know how this works out for you – especially if you have other ideas and approaches that work well!

What comics taught me about parenting.

How can I not link this – and add Geek Mom to my blog roll?

Go Play!

This website offers up a century of games and rhymes and other fun stuff for kids to do.

With subcategories like Running Around Games, Skipping Games, Jokes and Rude Rhymes and many more – a family could be set for generations of fun.  Remember when we needed books and wise old people with intact memories (rareish in my familial experience) to access such knowledge?

The Kids’ Zone seems to get you to kiddified versions of the idea list.  Sweet.

We never have another decent excuse for not having things for the kids to do outside (or inside – or within doorways with part of their person outside and part inside – or at birthday parties).

This is the cardboard playhouse I made with the girls this winter. It has since gotten a white coating of prime, and we plan to paint it (the marker doodles the girls covered it with bleed up through in a way we like). I’ll post an update when that happens.

ingredients: a few boxes, duct tape

tools: box cutter, yardstick

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