Category Archives: Simple Solutions for a Simplier Life

What’s in Your Child’s Bookcase Wordy Wednesday: MIMMY AND SOPHIE: THE VACATION

Sunrise at the Brooklyn Bridge

Image by Francisco Diez via Flickr

Are your children old enough to ask where you are taking them this summer?

Do you watch the television commercials for Disneyworld and feel badly because you can’t afford to take your children to this magical amusement park?

Is your budget already stretched thin with just providing the necessities, but you wish you had extra money so you could plan a vacation?

The parents in today’s recommended picture book story are faced with the same budget problems that many of us are experiencing.  However, even though they have very little money they do have a lot of creativity.

MIMMY AND SOPHIE: THE VACATION

Written by Miriam Cohen

Illustrated by Thomas Yezerski

            Summer is coming and all the children are boasting about where they are going for vacation.   Mimmy and Sophie don’t have anything to contribute to the discussion because their parents are struggling financially.  When Mimmy and Sophie ask their parents if they can take a vacation somewhere, their mother suggests they have a special picnic on the Brooklyn Bridge.

            After helping their mother make egg salad sandwiches, the two little girls accompany their parents to the store where they buy a special treat…cupcakes with filling.  Mimmy and Sophie enjoy the picnic on the bridge and spend the rest of the afternoon watching the boats in the river and the beautiful sunset.  Although they have not traveled far, both girls are satisfied with the wonderful day they have spent with their parents.

            Mimmy and Sophie were fortunate because their parents were sensitive to the needs and concerns of their children.  They used their imagination to plan a wonderful afternoon for their daughters and, with very little money, enabled Mimmy and Sophie to enjoy a very special vacation.  The time their parents spent with them helped Mimmy and Sophie understand how much they were loved.

As parents, we need to listen to our children and spend time with them just like the parents in the story: Positive Parental Participation in action!

If you are looking for activities to do for the summer or anytime, please visit my website and check out my book for parents and teachers of preschoolers.   It’s loaded with easy fun-filled crafts and cooking activities.

What craft activities does your child enjoy most?

Photo credits: Image of the Brooklyn Bridge by Francisco Diez

Cinema Sunday: PULL THE PLUG FOR CCFC’s SCREEN-FREE WEEK

Family watching television, c. 1958

Image via Wikipedia

Usually on Sundays, I review a movie that I feel others might find enjoyable.  But today, I’m devoting my post to informing you about Screen-Free Week.

From April 18 – April 24, thousands (or maybe hundreds of thousands) of families across the country will be pulling the plug of their TV sets and computers in honor of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood’s SCREEN-FREE WEEK.  Families can participate by turning off their TV’s and computers for entertainment and turning on to other activities.

What a fantastic idea!

Please don’t get me wrong…there definitely are some great programs on TV for adults and children…many of those can be found on your local PBS stations.

But no child should spend too much time in front of the television or computer screen, no matter how educational or valuable the show is.

How can your family benefit by taking part in this week-long event?

  • More family time together.  “To be in your children’s memories tomorrow, you need to be in their lives today.”  Sit down together and plan a family trip.  As a family, go through those photos that have been piling up and put together a family album.  Play board games or charades.
  • More time to go outside.  With the obesity rate climbing in this country, both adults and children will benefit from outdoor exercise such as walking, hiking or other outdoor activities.

 

  • More time for reading, crafting and cooking with your children.  If you need some ideas, please check out my book for parents of preschoolers which is an excellent resource.  It highlights 100 picture books every young child should hear and provides an eco-friendly craft project and a child-friendly healthful recipe for each recommended story.  And, if you have older children, how about having them participate by reading the story to their younger brothers and sisters and then assist with the craft and cooking activities.

For more information on this event and other family activities, you can go to the website of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood: http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/screenfreeweek/

They have lots of other ideas of what you can do when you turn off your screens.

Earth Day 2011: Preserve, Protect, Promote…How Parents and Their Preschoolers Can Participate

Devils Punchbowl Waterfall at Arthurs Pass in ...

Image via Wikipedia

Have you noticed how much your preschooler wants to be like you?

Look over at your child while you are engaged in some activity like reading, talking on the phone or even cleaning the house.

More often than not, you will see your preschooler mimicking you…the book may be upside down and the imaginary phone conversation may be on a toy…but emulating parents is what young children love to do.

With Earth Day 2011 quickly approaching (Friday, April 22), here are seven simple steps that parents can take to preserve the planet for future generations, protect our natural resources and promote environmental awareness with their preschoolers.

1.     Buy gently used clothing and toys at consignment shops or places like Goodwill and donate your child’s gently used items as well.  This cycle of recycling really helps.

2.     Use homemade natural solutions to clean your home.  They are better for your family and better for the planet.  Here are a couple of links where you can find great “recipes” and other tips: http://housekeeping.about.com/cs/environment/a/alternateclean.htm, http://www.ehow.com/about_4777601_natural-homemade-cleaning-products.html, http://organizedhome.com/clean-house/pantry-recipes-homemade-cleaning-products.  Happy cleaning!!!  

3.     Walk; don’t drive, to local destinations, if possible, like the store or the library.

4.     Spend the day at a local park…bring a picnic lunch, gloves and a big garbage bag.  Walk around and have your child help you pick up any garbage you find. 

5.     Bring your own bags when you shop…you might want to get smaller reusable bags for your young children so that they can help carry groceries in a more responsible way.

6.     Buy local.  I realize it is not always possible or feasible to buy organic, locally-grown or produced food.  However, this not only benefits your family, but also the planet.  The carbon footprint left by foods that are flown or trucked across the country is huge…and buying locally helps the growers and manufacturers who must compete with the large corporations.  The nutritional benefits to your family include not having to worry about artificial colors, preservatives and genetically modified foods.  If you are looking for healthful recipes, my book for parents of preschoolers, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking, includes 100 easy child-friendly cooking activities, as well as 100 simple eco-friendly craft projects.

7.     Buy in bulk with as little packaging as possible.   Many stores now have a special section where they offer a wide selection of foods that can be purchased by the pound or less.  The price is usually significantly cheaper than buying the product in a box with a name brand listed on the front.

Seven simple steps…if you only do a few, you will be making an important contribution to the preservation of our planet for future generations. 

Seven simple steps…if you allow your children to participate with you, you will be encouraging them to protect our natural resources.

Seven simple steps…if we all follow them, we promote environmental awareness and the well-being of the world.

You can “like” b-kind-2-earth-day and go here for more information about what lots of other people are doing: http://www.facebook.com/BKind2EarthDay/posts/139097546162617#!/BKind2EarthDay

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