Children and Art Activities: Some Observations

Once a month, our local Family Christian Store hosts the Show-Me-How Story-time with Miss Vivian program.  I read a picture book story and do a related craft project, chosen from those recommended in my book.  This is the same program that I provide to District 11 kindergartens and Pre-K’s during the school year.

Yesterday, the program’s topic was: How to Stay Healthy This School Year.  I read Stan and Jan Berenstain’s, The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food.  In the story, Mama Bear realizes that the bear cubs and her husband are eating too many sweet and junky snacks.  She removes the junk food from the pantry and refrigerator and the entire family goes grocery shopping the next day where they purchase healthy foods: vegetables and fruits, whole grain breads and cereals and eggs, cheese and milk.  They go to their family doctor for a check-up and she tells them that if they want to stay in good health, in addition to eating healthy foods, they should exercise every day.  Taking the doctor’s advice, the bears begin a program of daily exercise.  At the end of the summer, they win a prize for being the only family to finish the entire Bear Country Three-Mile Run.

After the story was over, the children eagerly moved to the tables for the craft project.  Each child got a paper plate, 2 small black circles for eyes and 1 small black circle for a nose.  Although we all started out intending to make bear faces, two of the children decided to make dog faces and one child made his paper plate into a cat.  After gluing on the eyes and nose, each child used markers and crayons to add features and designs to the paper plate face.  For over an hour, the children happily worked on their projects…the only frowns I saw on these children were when parents came to say it was time to go.  Parents were able to take home an informational flyer, Five Simple Steps to Stay Healthy This School Year.

OBSERVATION #1:

If you give children art supplies and a project to work on, they will be engaged and productive and happy.

OBSERVATION #2:

If you allow children a certain amount of freedom when they are engaged in art activities, they will almost always surprise you with their creativity.

OBSERVATION #3:

Children often become very talkative when they are happily engaged in arts and crafts…this is a PERFECT time for parents to listen and interact with their children.

So, I have a few questions to ask if you are a parent or caretaker of a child age 2-7:

  • Would you like to put educational, fun-filled activities in your child’s day?
  • Do you need tips on school readiness for your child?
  • Are you time-short when it comes to planning activities for your child?
  • Do you wonder which books to choose to read to your child?
  • Would you like to have a simple plan to follow on rainy days…or any day?
  • Do you want your child to be engaged in positive learning on a daily basis?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions:

  • Purchase a copy of the award-winning Show Me How!.
  •  The low price (50% off) is only available on my website.
  • This is a perfect holiday gift for anyone who takes care of young children.
  • Schools and other organizations can receive additional discounts.

A book is a child’s window on the world…no rules, just read!

THE BOOK PINPOINTS 100 OF THE BEST PICTURE BOOK STORIES!

Children who love books step out from inside the covers and succeed in life!

THE BOOK PROVIDES 100 STORY SUMMARIES & TIPS ON HOW TO READ TO KIDS!

Art & children…peanut butter & jelly…combinations that create magic!

THE BOOK OFFERS 100 SIMPLE CRAFT PROJECTS & 100 EASY RECIPES!

We all need a cheering committee…a parent is a child’s most important fan!

THE BOOK GIVES 100 PARENTING TIPS ON BUILDING SELF-ESTEEM!

Want to be in your children’s memories tomorrow?  Be in their lives today!

THE BOOK SHOWS YOU HOW POSITIVE PARENTAL PARTICIPATION WORKS!

Don’t let this opportunity pass you by…with gift-giving holidays right around the corner, we are excited to provide Show Me How! at 50% off the cover price.  Parents, expectant parents, grandparents, preschool and nursery teachers, babysitters…this is a gift that will keep on giving long after the package is opened.  Please visit my website to purchase a copy for yourself or as a gift for someone special!   When you purchase a copy, you are helping others…a portion of the proceeds from the sale of each book benefits three children’s organizations: http://www.JDRF.org, http://www.bessthebookbus.org and http://www.kidsareheroes.org.

Autumn is in the Air: Time to Turn on the Oven and Bake a Cake

 

I love the fall…cool crisp mornings and warm sunny afternoons.

Here in Colorado, the aspen leaves will be turning to gold, while back in New England where my daughter and her family live; the maples will be wearing flaming headdresses of scarlet, crimson and purple.

 

Many parents will be helping their children plan their Halloween costumes and decorate the house with pumpkins and sheaves of autumn wheat and Indian corn.  Years ago, our local library had an annual pumpkin-painting contest and all of my children looked forward to choosing the “perfect” pumpkin to decorate and enter…hoping to win the coveted first place prize ribbon.

 

As the weather cools down, many of us start getting out the muffin pans and cookie sheets in preparation for holiday baking.  I encourage parents to include their children in meal preparation…and holiday baking is an especially fun time to have your kids in the kitchen. If you are looking for simple child-friendly recipes, you’ll find dozens of them in my book, Show Me How!

Here’s a wonderful recipe for Carrot Cake that doesn’t appear in the book.  It’s special enough for festive occasions, but simple enough so that young children can help.

 

The best thing about this cake is that it is very nutritious (one pound of carrots in each cake) and easy on the digestive system.  I recommend it for anyone who suffers from IBS or GERD problems.

CARROT CAKE

You will need: 1½ cups flour, ¾ cup sugar, 1½ tsp baking powder, ¾ tsp baking soda, 1 tsp cinnamon, ¼ cup brown sugar, 1 egg beaten, ½ cup canola oil, 1 tsp vanilla, zest of 1 orange, 1 pound baby carrots grated, ¾ cup pineapple chunks with juice (about ½ cup), 2 bowls, 1 Bundt pan lightly greased, blender or food processor.

  1. Mix in large bowl: flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.
  2. Mix in another bowl: brown sugar, beaten egg, canola oil, vanilla, orange zest.
  3. Use a blender or food processor to grate the carrots and add the pineapple chunks and juice and blend until fairly smooth.
  4. Add the carrot/pineapple mixture to the brown sugar/egg mixture and stir well till blended.
  5. Add this to the flour mixture and stir gently but thoroughly..
  6. Pour/spoon into lightly greased Bundt pan and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
  7. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool.  After 30 minutes or so, turn upside down on a serving plate and allow the cake to continue cooling.
  8. For storage, cover with plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator up to one week.

                                                                     For parents who are local to the Colorado Springs area

PLEASE SAVE THE DATE

STAYING HEALTHY

THIS SCHOOL YEAR!

SHOW-ME-HOW STORY-TIME PROGRAM

Saturday, September 24, 2011

12 to 12:45pm

Family Christian Store: 7165 N. Academy

719-598-1500 to RSVP

Or email vivian@positiveparentalparticipation.com

  • Bring your young children and listen to a story
  • Help your child make a simple craft project
  • Get a free flyer: Have a Healthier School Year

Vivian Kirkfield is a local author, former kindergarten and Head Start teacher and mom of three. Her parenting program and award-winning activity book for ages 2-7, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking, has helped thousands of parents build self-esteem, develop pre-literacy skills and create a stronger parent-child connection.

9/11 Tribute…What the World Needs Now is Love

Sunday, September 11 will be the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy here in the U.S.

There will be many TV specials and I’m sure that all over the country and around the world, there will be events to mark the date.

Looking back, we can remember and reflect on what happened and why it happened.

But going forward perhaps we can put forth a call for more love and less hate.

Songwriters have always seemed to understand this…”What the World Needs Now Is Love, Sweet Love”, “All You Need Is Love”, and one of my favorites, “The Rose”.

We can all be part of the solution…even if it is just in our own little corner of the world.

Like the catch-phrase of the “hippy” era said, “Make Love Not War!”

Five Simple Steps for a Healthier School Year


 Your child is going to school.  As a parent, what can you do to make it the healthiest year ever?

Perhaps your child is a preschooler and will be attending a daycare or nursery school.  Maybe your child is already in elementary school.  Here are five simple steps that may keep your child from getting sick.

  1. Wash hands often: everyone should have their own towel…perhaps a different color for each member of the family.  This helps colds from spreading like wild-fires!
  2. Dress appropriately: when it is cold, children should be dressed warmly, with hats or hoods on their heads…no ifs, ands or buts!
  3. Get enough sleep: young children need LOTS of sleep so set up bedtime routines and stick to them.  Our body renews and cells regenerate during sleep.  Did you know that children between the ages of 2 and 5 need 11-14 hours of sleep?  For more information about sleep and young children, you can go to: http://www.sleepforkids.org/html/sheet.html.
  4. Make every meal and snack count:  a good breakfast is a MUST and snacks can provide additional important nutrition, especially for picky eaters.  For more ideas on healthy meal planning for the whole family, you can visit: http://kidshealth.org/parent/nutrition_center/healthy_eating/habits.html
  5. Keep a sick child home: I know it is difficult, especially when parents work…but your child will get better sooner and the teacher and the other children in the class will thank you.  With these tips, your children may stay healthy this school year and you won’t have to keep them home.

On September 24th, the Show-Me-How with Miss Vivian program will be at Family Christian Store, 7165 North Academy Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO.  There will be one presentation from 12 to 12:45pm.  I’ll be reading Johnny Lion’s Bad Day to the parents and children and then we will all make Paper Plate Lions.  This program is appropriate for children from two to seven years old.  In addition, there will be a flyer for parents to take home about staying healthy this school year.  I hope we will have a good turn-out…please spread the word and tweet this and post to Facebook…maybe some of your followers are local to Colorado Springs.

SAVE THE DATE

STAYING HEALTHY

THIS SCHOOL YEAR!

SHOW-ME-HOW STORY-TIME PROGRAM

Saturday, September 24, 2011

12 to 12:45pm

Family Christian Store: 7165 N. Academy

719-598-1500 to RSVP

  • Bring your young children and listen to a story
  • Help your child make a simple craft project
  • Get a free flyer: Have a Healthier School Year

Vivian Kirkfield is a local author, former kindergarten and Head Start teacher and mom of three. Her parenting program and award-winning activity book for ages 2-7, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking, has helped thousands of parents build self-esteem, develop pre-literacy skills and create a stronger parent-child connection.

For more information: 719-237-3111 or vivian@positiveparentalparticipation.com

A Reel Cool Summer is a Really Cool Book for Kids

Several weeks ago, I connected online with another author, Martha Rodriguez. 

We realized we were on the same page about many things…have 3 children (2 boys and a girl), love our families, have a passion for picture books, recently had our first books published…the list could go on and on.  Martha and I exchanged books and she’s already written a review of my book: http://bit.ly/peQ3mt

So now it my turn to tell you all about her book, A Reel Cool Summer.

  

As parents, we all know how difficult it can be to keep children entertained and busy…especially during the long hot summer.  The story opens with three siblings, Joey, Jacqui and Danny, complaining about how there is NOTHING to do.  After bantering back and forth, the three kids decide that what they need is a pool for their backyard so that they can cool off.  While the two younger children go to ask their mother if they can buy a pool, Joey, the oldest, goes to get the mail. 

After pleading with their mother to no avail, Joey takes his brother and sister aside and tells them about a contest that the library is holding.  All they have to do is make a movie…and the winner will receive $100…enough to buy the pool that they all want.   The entire family works together to build the props and make the costumes and Danny, Jacqui and Joey finish the movie and hand it in to the library with just moments to spare.  Will they win the first place prize of $100 and be able to buy the pool that they want?  Will they win the third place prize of the mystery box that contains who knows what?  You’ll have to buy a copy of this lovely book to find out.  You can visit the author’s website and purchase a copy at: http://www.readtomepublishingllc.com/Book.html

She also has a blog: http://areelcoolsummer.blogspot.com/

And you can contact her: info@readtomepublishingllc.com

One of the coolest things about this book is that kids love it.  I brought it along with me on my recent trip to Chicago and read it to my 8-year old great-niece and 6-year old great-nephew.  They absolutely LOVED it and listened intently to the story.  They took turns reading some of the pages and were engaged with the colorful illustrations…which were done by the author’s now-adult son, Joey.

 

Ms. Rodriguez is to be commended on her first book for children. ..kids obviously love it.  As soon as we turned the last page, my niece and nephew jumped up and ran into the house clamoring, “Can we go in the pool?”  They were also anxious to hear it another time, so later we sat under the shade of a big tree and read the book again.

I’m sure that the author has more stories about Joey and Jacqui and Danny that she will share with us in future books…I know my niece and nephew and all kids ages 5 to 9 will be ready to listen.