Fall Festival at First Christian Church

What an awesome autumn it has been so far!

Here in Colorado Springs, the weather has been glorious…Indian Summer has been in full swing for the several weeks.

However, there is briskness in the air that tells us winter is on its way.

The cool crisp mornings give way to warm sunny afternoons.  And, when the sun goes down behind the Front Range, the frost is definitely on the pumpkins.

Speaking of pumpkins, there is a wonderful Fall Festival this Saturday from 10am to 2pm at the First Christian Church, 16 E. Platte Avenue.  There will be lots of homemade goodies and preserves for sale, as well as handcrafted items.  Activities for children are also on the agenda in addition to a wonderful silent auction.  You’ll even be able to buy a copy of Show Me How!  I’ve donated several copies and also a book and craft supply package for the silent auction.

100% of the proceeds of this event will be donated to Tennyson Center, one of Rocky Mountain regions leading treatment centers and K-12 schools for emotionally and crisis-affected child and youth, particularly those suffering from abuse and neglect.   This is a child-centered, family-focused, community-based center!

So, if you are local to Colorado Springs, head on over and bring your children to First Christian Church on Saturday, October 22…you’re sure to have a great time…and support a wonderful local cause!

Show-Me-How Story-time with Miss Vivian Travels to New Hampshire

For me, the greatest joy in the world is to be with those I love doing what I love.

So you can imagine how joyful I was this past week, spending time in New Hampshire with my daughter and her family…and visiting Toll House Preschool in Merrimack, NH where I read a picture book story and did a simple craft with my grandson’s class of three and four-year olds.

The children were seated on the floor in their story circle and as soon as Jeremy caught sight of me, he jumped up and cried, “You came to my school…you really came!”  The teacher welcomed me and ushered me to her story chair.  “What’s your name?” asked one of the children.  “I’m Miss Vivian” I answered, smiling down at their eager faces.  “I traveled here on an airplane so that I could read you a special story.”

The children sat, listening attentively, as I read Yes I Can by Sam McBratney.  They loved hearing about the three animal friends who are having fun in the autumn leaves.  When the three friends begin to argue and make fun of each other, Little Roo’s mother comes over and encourages each one to show what they do best.  Little Roo jumps VERY high, Country Mouse catches his tail and Quacker Duck floats on a puddle.  The friends compliment each other…they are learning to give respect and value their own and others qualities and strengths.

When the story was over, we talked about the different talents that each animal had and we all got up and jumped like Little Roo, turned round and round chasing our “tails” like Country Mouse and pretended we were swimming in a puddle like Quaker Duck.  This activity helped the children get a little exercise after sitting so quietly for the story.  It’s important to provide a good balance of activities for young children…if we try to keep them sitting too long, they will get restless.

The next activity for this preschool class was “centers” where the children can choose painting, clay, etc.  This was the perfect time for some of the children to work on the simple leaf family craft project I had planned.  Using leaves of different sizes and shapes, each child picked a few leaves to trace on the page.  Each shape became a member of their family as they added hair and features and colored them in.

As the children worked on their project, they told me about their families and their pets.  I’m always amazed at how verbal young children are…especially when they are relaxed and at ease…which seems to happen all the time when children are engaged in arts and crafts activities.  Parents can use this time as they participate with their children to listen and learn what is on their children’s minds. 

  

I’m sure the next time I return to New Hampshire, I’ll have the opportunity to visit with the children at Toll House Preschool again.  The teacher told me she had never seen them sit so attentively for a story before.  Although I believe in the policy of “No Rules…Just Read”, I also know that there are certain things we can do when we read a picture book to young children that will help make the experience more enjoyable and rewarding for both parent and child. 

1.    Find a comfortable place to read…child on your lap in a comfy chair or sitting side-by-side on the couch.

2.    Make sure your child can see the pictures as you read the story.

3.    Allow your child to point out things on each page and talk about them.

4.    When the story is finished, encourage your child to retell the story as you turn the pages again.

These are some of the tips I give in my book, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.  In addition to lots of story suggestions, you’ll find a matching craft and also a cooking activity for each recommended picture book.

 

PLEASE DON’T BE INTIMIDATED BY THE SIZE OF THE BOOK!  Don’t think of it as a BIG BOOK…IT’S A BOOK WITH BIG IDEAS!  Every parent and teacher who uses it says it makes planning and doing activities QUICK AND EASY!

“Kirkfield lays out a brilliant and simple program with activities that will inspire parents and teachers.”  – Diana Loomans, best-selling author of The Lovables in the Kingdom of Self-Esteem and many other books

It’s available in the original print version with lots of lined spaces on every other page for recording your child’s memorable moments.

It’s also available on Amazon’s Kindle for those of you who don’t like a bunch of books taking up space in your home.

The gift-giving holidays are quickly approaching…there’s an online special on my website that can’t be beat…it would make the perfect present for any parent, grandparent, daycare provider, nanny, babysitter, nursery or preschool or kindergarten teacher.

To see the latest review of Show Me How by Lea, a homeschooling mom, please click here.

Autumn Leaves: A Lesson in Diversity for All of Us

 

I went for a walk today.

The sun was shining down, creating beautiful patterns on the ground as it filtered through the branches of the trees.

The trail was littered with leaves, many of them already brittle and brown.

The Show-Me-How Story-time with Miss Vivian program has begun in our local District 11 kindergartens and Pre-K’s and the craft that ties in with the picture book, Yes We Can by Sam McBratney, requires leaves that are still flexible.  I’m not sure if the teachers who are reserving dates for the program in November and December will think to put aside a bunch of fresh leaves in a plastic bag.

When you plan activities with young children, it’s always good to be prepared.  I hate to disappoint little ones.  That’s why I caution parents to check to make sure they have all the necessary ingredients or materials before they begin one of the cooking activities or craft projects recommended in my book.

As I bent down to scoop up leaves, I marveled at their varying colors, shapes and sizes.  And I began to think about how even though they were different colors and shapes and sizes, they were all leaves. 

Perhaps we can learn a lesson from this that can apply to people as well…even though we are different colors, shapes and sizes…we are all people. 

I also noticed that some of the leaves had rough patches or holes where bugs or disease had left their mark…but they were still leaves.

We need to remember that when we meet others who are mentally, academically or physically challenged, they are still people…deserving of our respect, attention and friendship.  And it is important to help young children understand this as well.

The lesson of the leaves can foster a wonderful discussion with your children.  Please let me know what you think.

If you’d like to have 100’s of activities at your fingertips like the ones I do in my program, please visit my website where you can buy a copy of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.  What a great holiday gift this would make for any parent, teacher or grandparent of children ages 2-7!  Don’t forget daycare providers, nannies, babysitters, early childhood education students and even expectant moms.  They probably have enough little outfits that their babies will outgrow within a month or two.  This award-winning book also has plenty of lined spaces on every other page for recording important highlights as your child participates with you in the story reading, craft project and cooking activity.  Joan Fleischer, co-founder of the Creative Arts Therapy Center in New York City says, “I can’t think of a more valuable gift to give at baby showers or to anyone in a position to nurture and foster self-esteem in children.”  It’s definitely a bargain at 50% off the cover price and comes with a money-back guarantee!

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.