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Explaining the Inexplicable to Children

Explaining the Inexplicable to Children

I have no explanation for the horror of last week. Personally, I am hoping to not share what happened in Newtown with my very young children, ages 6, 4, and 1.5. I know that others disagree but, given my children’s reactions to other recent events in our own lives and community, I feel this is what is best for my family. Honesty is not the same as full disclosure. If you are making this same decision, I … Read entire article »

Filed under: Crises

Rudolph and Friends: A Reindeer Footprint Craft

Rudolph and Friends: A Reindeer Footprint Craft

Holly, a friend of mine, posted this family reindeer footprint craft and was kind enough to allow me to share it with you. Isn’t it adorable? If you are looking for a Christmas or winter craft to do this weekend, just get out your paints and feet and you’ll have a sweet reindeer keepsake–you can even include Rudolph. Materials: brown, black, and red paint white paper frame (optional) Directions: 1. Paint a foot of each family member with brown paint and … Read entire article »

Filed under: 1-2 (Toddler), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 6-8 (Early Elementary), Featured, History and Culture, Winter

The Twelve Days of Christmas Picture Books

The Twelve Days of Christmas Picture Books

One of my favorite monthly rituals is opening our boxes of seasonal and holiday books and bringing out these classic stories. December is the time for Christmas decorations and our collection of Christmas picture books. Each year we add new treasures to our library and get reacquainted with old friends. It is always fun to see which books capture the children’s interest the most this year and to share our favorites with the baby.   The Twelve … Read entire article »

Filed under: 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergartners), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), Featured, History and Culture

Call for Submissions: Crafting Hope After the Hurricane

Call for Submissions: Crafting Hope After the Hurricane

As I have shared with you, Hurricane Sandy was a disaster for much of the Tri-State area. There are people living in homes with giant holes, molding walls, and ruined furniture–or camping out next to their homes. These areas are still without power. Many of these areas are working-class neighborhoods. Places with hardworking families that were “getting by” before the storm but now have lost everything they had built. However, we will get by…with a little … Read entire article »

Filed under: Charity, Me

Top 15 Educational Toys for 2012

Top 15 Educational Toys for 2012

On Naturally Educational, I do not promote a lot of products. My core philosophy is that we don’t need a lot of fancy bells and whistles to have an engaging, educational experience, especially for young children. However, we all like a few toys now and again, right? And no matter how many times you tell Grandma, Grandpa, Auntie and Uncle that the kids would really like that Aquarium membership for Christmas, they still want to … Read entire article »

Filed under: Me, Toys

25 Ways to Volunteer with Young Children for #GivingTuesday

25 Ways to Volunteer with Young Children for #GivingTuesday

Have you heard about #GivingTuesday? The idea is that we take a day after the frenzy of Black Friday (in which I do not participate) and Cyber Monday (in which I do because I can save money in my pajamas) to share our blessings with others. I know a lot of people with very charitable hearts. Once they have kids, they want to model giving. However, they do not know how to volunteer and bring their … Read entire article »

Filed under: Charity, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal

Our Thanksgiving Morning: Feeding People Who Are Homeless

Our Thanksgiving Morning: Feeding People Who Are Homeless

I just wanted to share a little with you about our Thanksgiving morning. It has become our annual tradition to join Volunteer 4 Long Island in preparing food for people who are homeless. My daughter was very excited because this was her first year to actually help prepare the meal. This year they prepared almost 300 meals to distribute to emergency housing and bring to places in our community where people who are homeless set up make-shift … Read entire article »

Filed under: Volunteering

Our Gratitude Tree

Our Gratitude Tree

We made a gratitude tree out of a cardboard paper towel tube, a paper bowl, and construction paper to express our thanks for all of our blessings this Thanksgiving. This was such a simple craft and it really engaged the kids’ attention. Materials: cardboard tube (either a paper towel tube, 2-3 toilet paper tubes taped together, or a wrapping paper tube cut in half) construction paper (brown, green, red, orange, yellow) glue scissors marker craft knife Directions: 1. Wrap and glue brown construction paper … Read entire article »

Filed under: 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), All Ages, Featured, History and Culture, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal

Handprint Turkeys

Handprint Turkeys

With Thanksgiving so early this year and coming on the heals of the Sandy “Frankenstorm,” we’ve been focusing on helping others and keeping things simple. We did spend a little time revisiting the classic “Hand Turkey” Thanksgiving craft with our own spin–a handprint and footprint Turkey–and then added a new twist. This time, we used magazines and catalogs for our tail feathers. Materials: construction paper (blue, green, brown, red, and orange) googly eyes magazines or catalogs glue scissors pen or pencil 1. Fold … Read entire article »

Filed under: 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), Ecology, Fall, Featured

Gratitude After the Storm

Gratitude After the Storm

I’ve started and stopped this post dozens of times. I want to tell you some contradictory things. I am grateful. I am so very grateful. And I am hurting. I am hurting so deeply. Hurricane Sandy ripped through our region, leaving much of Long Island without power–we were without power for a week and my mother-in-law lost power for two weeks.We had gas lines and gas rationing and I had to drive my husband to emergency … Read entire article »

Filed under: Featured